We are all in favor of a well-balanced lifestyle. That means having some sugar every so often, enjoying that cocktail or glass of biodynamic wine, relishing our morning cuppa—but the key here, and everywhere, always, is moderation. And if we are suffering from some ill-effects it may be time to take some time off from our slightly naughty “voluntary input.”
“Caffeine can give us a ‘boost’ in our alertness and focus, but leave us with an all-too-familiar ‘crash’ when it wears off. And if you’re getting your caffeine from energy-boosting or focus/alertness beverages on the market, you may be overloading yourself with both caffeine and added sugar.” That’s quite a lot of voluntary input on the daily that our bodies have to reckon with.
Luckily, it’s not all bad, Dr. Naidoo explains. “It’s important to note that there are several positive health benefits of caffeine if you can tolerate it in moderation, such as protection against liver disease, some types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and even some fat burning!” Yee yaw, that’s exactly the news we wanted to hear. But not so fast …
“However, refraining from caffeine for a designated amount of time, or in essence, a detox, can eventually provide individuals with a sense of calm, improve sleep, and reduce feelings of anxiety,” she says. “Depending on each individual’s sensitivity, abstaining from caffeine can provide us with an improved sense of natural stimulation and recognition of body intelligence, one of my pillars of nutritional psychiatry.
“When we remove ourselves from the cycle of ‘powering up’ and crashing (often followed by another burst of caffeine), we are best able to tap into our body’s needs, and choose to fill up our proverbial cup with nourishing food, adequate sleep, and a vibrant lifestyle.” We think that’s a much more beautiful perspective on going cold turkey with our beloved nectar. But cutting out caffeine is not easy. Dr. Naidoo shares some tips on how to make it through the hump.
Tips to get through
“It’s a good idea to follow a colorful plant food diet full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals that nurture the microbiome in a way that acts as an energy-enhancing anti-inflammatory means of withstanding caffeine withdrawal. By blocking anti-inflammatory markers, cleaning up our diet may prevent the post-meal fatigue that impels us to seek caffeine in the first place. And the benefits of including a rainbow of fruits and veggies in your diet are boundless: one of my favorite ways to start is with the five-a-day mix!
“Furthermore, adding herbs and spices to the diet enhances the body’s ability to carry on energetically. I love following my recipe for Dr. Uma’s Turmeric Latte! Turmeric, with a pinch of black pepper (this makes the active compounds in turmeric much more bioavailable) whether enjoyed as a beverage or with vegetable dishes, has been shown to be an incredibly effective means of reducing inflammation and symptoms of depression and anxiety.
“Also, remember to remain well hydrated simply with water to keep your body and brain in balance.
“It goes without saying that helping the body and mind as we transition off of caffeine can be a process that requires gentle support. If large volumes of caffeine were what got you through the day, remember that what goes up must come down—accompanied by fatigue. Giving your body a consistent schedule with nourishing meals, prioritizing sleep, exercise, and mindfulness, and actively reducing stress may be crucial to gaining back your own natural, vital energy.”