I drink homemade Dandelion Root Coffee many times per week. Every time I happen to mention this, or post a photo of my morning joe on Instagram I get the same questions, “Why give up coffee? What’s wrong with coffee? Why do you use a coffee substitute?”
Of course, giving up coffee is not for everyone. It’s what works best for me and my nervous system. If coffee agrees with you I see no reason to give it up. But take a minute and ask yourself. Do I use coffee as a crutch to keep going, or to get started when I have no energy? Is it keeping me from listening to and understanding my natural rhythms, and more importantly, does it enable me to be incongruent about the fatigue I feel? This was the case for me.
I gave up coffee back in 1993. I remember the weekend well. I lived in New York City and there was a huge snowstorm. The city was shut down. My boyfriend (now husband) and I spent the weekend lying on the couch in his apartment on 34th Street. I think I had a headache for three days straight from caffeine withdrawal.
It’s been over two decades now since I gave up my coffee habit. Why? For me, caffeine acts as a stimulant. I naturally have a very active nervous system that doesn’t need any extra energy. I do best with inputs that are relaxing –think slow walking, gentle stretching, reading, and sleep. Those activities calm me down and keep me more even-keeled. Not that I’ve ever been even-keeled, but with coffee, I behave like a hamster and just can’t get off that crazy hamster wheel of “doing.” I’m best when I focus on “being.”
In case you’re contemplating it, here are 5 Reasons to Give Up Coffee
5 Reasons to Give Up Coffee
1. Sleep Better
Even when consumed in the morning, caffeine can disrupt sleep patterns.
2. Decrease Anxiety
Many people respond to stimulants such as caffeine with an increase in anxiety.
3. Lose Weight
Caffeine can decrease insulin sensitivity, leading to weight gain.
4. Save Caffeine for Medicinal Purposes
When not used on a daily basis, caffeine can restrict blood vessels and relieve a headache.
5. Avoid Heartburn and Acid Reflux or GERD
Caffeine aggravates heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
There is one exception when I do use caffeine (not coffee though). When I have a headache I use it medicinally in the form of green tea. Green tea is a fantastic “medication” for me as it contains both small amounts of caffeine (a vaso-constrictor which can be instrumental in the relief of headaches) as well as an amino acid called L-Theanine, which I find makes me quite relaxed. Together this minute amount of caffeine combined with L-Theanine provides optimal headache relief. According to Wikipedia, l-Theanine, “has been studied for its potential ability to reduce mental and physical stress, improve cognition, and boost mood and cognitive performance.” Sounds good to me. And my doctors love this amino acid!
I have replaced my coffee habit with Dandelion Root Coffee which has many amazing attributes. Although it doesn’t taste as good as the real thing, it is fabulous in other ways. First, it has no caffeine, a huge win. Additionally, like coffee, it’s a hot beverage, making it easier to assimilate than cold drinks. Next, like regular coffee, Dandelion Root Coffee’s primary flavor is bitter, which is highly underrated. In Ayurveda and Chinese Medicine the bitter flavor is incredibly important for constitutional balance. We don’t get enough of it in our culture, one that is obsessed with the sweet and salty flavors. Finally, dandelion root is a liver cleanser. For me, giving up caffeine and getting healthy, liver cleansing dandelion root into my body every day is a win-win!
Finally, I’m often asked about Dandy Blend and other such coffee substitutes. Because most of them contain barley in their ingredients, I do not consume them. Instead I make my own Dandelion Root Coffee out of dandelion root and chicory.