29 July 2008

Switching to Decaf

One of my favorite parts of my morning routine is getting up and starting a pot of coffee in the kitchen. While I’m getting ready and opening my office for the day, the smell of the freshly brewed coffee fills the apartment and helps me feel much more awake even before I’ve poured my first cup.

We know caffeine is stimulating. And recent research reveals even the aroma of coffee gets people going in the morning (as is apparent from my morning routine). What’s more, caffeine is addicting, so people become dependent on it to get through their days.

We also know caffeine can be harmful to our health. Pregnant women, for example, are encouraged to cut back on caffeine to protect their unborn children. Others find caffeine begins to effect them negatively. My mother can’t have caffeine or she gets “the shakes.” My mother-in-law gets terrible headaches if she has any caffeine.

If you’re a regular coffee drinker and you're considering making the switch, I urge you to do so carefully. If you're addicted to coffee, quitting "cold turkey" is not smart. If you do, you could suffer headaches, irritability, nausea, and other symptoms of withdrawal. So if you decide to reduce your caffeine intake, you should do it slowly to let your body adjust to the lowering levels of caffeine.

If you drink coffee every morning, get some decaf to mix in with your regular. The first day you do this, your grounds should be 2/3 regular and 1/3 decaf. Drink this combination for a few days, letting your body get used to the reduction in caffeine.

After a few days, adjust the coffee so ½ is regular and ½ is decaf. Again, drink this for a few days as your body adjusts. Then switch so only 1/3 of your coffee is regular and 2/3 is decaf. After a few days of that combination, you should be ready to switch to full decaf with little to no side effects.

Once you’ve made the switch to decaf, be careful about introducing caffeine back into your system. If you’ve weaned yourself off caffeine, then go to Starbucks and order a double shot cappuccino, your body will be more effected by the caffeine than it did prior to cutting caffeine out of your diet.

As with anything, you should make yourself aware of the health risks with caffeine intake. If you’re concerned, talk to your family doctor.

And remember: you don’t have to sacrifice your health for the smooth, delicious taste of coffee.

1 comment:

Add a little caffeine to my life...