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Coffee: Love it or Leave it?

As a health coach, one of the questions I get asked most often is do I drink coffee? People often seem very relieved when I tell them that yes, I enjoy coffee as much as the next gal.

Do I think that the health benefits of coffee outweigh the risks? The jury is still out on that but what I do know is that life seems a little bit sweeter when I start my day with a small amount of coffee.

Once a season I do an 11-day whole foods cleanse. Usually coffee gets the boot.   However, inevitably on day 12 I wake and my husband has made a carafe of deliciously enticing local organic coffee that is just too much to resist.

Why even question coffee? There are plenty of health benefits – increased concentration, high in antioxidants, increased performance for sports, and even a mood booster for many. And let’s not forget how good a quality cup of coffee tastes (especially on a cold Chiberia morning).

However, I wouldn’t be a good health coach if I didn’t present you with the drawbacks to coffee. Caffeine consumption can cause adrenal fatigue, increase stress hormones, cause blood sugar swings and inhibit the absorption of some nutrients. However, like most things, coffee consumed in moderation can be part of a healthy, happy lifestyle. For me, I do not like the idea of becoming dependent upon caffeine so I really try to limit my intake.

Decaf or no decaf? To limit my intake, I usually do half decaf. Because decaffeinated coffee is often produced with chemicals, it turns out not to be a healthy choice. However, there is a type of decaf coffee that is produced in a more natural way called the Swiss water process. I have discovered a brand called Jeremiah’s that is delicious. Something else to keep in mind is that conventional coffee is often heavily sprayed with pesticides so going organic is highly beneficial. In addition, coffee is a crop that is best enjoyed from a source that uses fair trade practices.

The morning ritual. I have found that for me it is more about the ritual of a hot, luscious beverage in the morning that I treasure. Other healthy choices that can satisfy this include herbal coffee substitutes such as dandyblend or Teeccino. Or try a tasty high quality tea.  The main concern is that you don’t want to become dependent upon caffeine to get you through your day. This leads to a cycle of high-low crashes and can really tax your body.

Enjoyed in moderation, a little caffeine can be used strategically. For me, on weekends where I need to stay up later than usual, I use an afternoon coffee or caffeinated tea and it makes a world of difference in my ability to keep my party going.

After all, it’s your morning. How do you feel about coffee?

Jen Loboda is a health coach and whole food enthusiast. You can discover more ideas about food at the Nutritious In The City Facebook page and follow us at @NutritiousCity on Twitter


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