Do you start the morning with a cup of Joe, have an afternoon pick-me-up of Earl Grey, and then throw a soda in here and there? There are a few reasons why you might want to consider cutting back on your caffeine intake.
Even a small amount of caffeine can stimulate your nervous system and adrenal glands. However, this stimulation is very short lived. Once the caffeine effect wears off, your body will feel “low” and you’ll want to consume more caffeine. Over time, your body will need more and more caffeine to get the boost – leading to a caffeine addiction.
Caffeinated Drinks Contain Sugar
To combat the natural bitter taste of caffeine, many drinks containing caffeine also contain a lot of sugar (or artificial sweeteners). The combination of caffeine and sugar can lead to detrimental health effects, especially as your body gets used to the “high” and requires more caffeine and sugar to feel normal – hence a burgeoning obesity problem in developed countries that provide easy access to soda and energy drinks.
Linked to Side Effects
Since it’s been around for a long time, scientists have had a lot of time to study the side effects of caffeine consumption. Here are just a few to consider:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Staining of teeth/tooth decay
Caffeine is particularly associated with sleep disorders – which is why it’s often advised against consumption of caffeinated beverages in the afternoon.
Feel Better Without
When you forgo caffeine, your body immediately reaps the reward. Blood pressure lowers, moods are more even, anxiety decreases, as does the occurrence and severity of headaches. Additionally, without the diuretic properties of caffeine in your system, you’ll find yourself taking a lot fewer trips to the bathroom.
Tips for Cutting Back
Your body, once accustomed to caffeine, can have a hard time letting go. The most common withdrawal symptoms include lethargy and headaches, which is why it is recommended to cut back on caffeine consumption gradually, rather than going cold turkey. Eliminate one caffeinated drink, every other day, until you are down to zero. Remember to stay hydrated with water and herbal (non-caffeinated) teas to help mitigate the side effects.
22 Days Vegan Challenge
During the 22 Days Vegan Challenge, we suggest that you eliminate caffeine and instead hydrate your body with water and unsweetened teas. While this may be a challenge at first, many people find that their newfound energy from a healthy, plant-based diet more than replaces the caffeinated drinks that they relied on in the past. We believe that the 22 Days Vegan Challenge is an opportune time to cut back on caffeine and create a healthy new habit! Have you eliminated caffeine from your diet? How do you feel?