Many of my patients look at me blankly when I suggest they detox off caffeine. A doctor has never told them to decaffeinate before – and that may have something to do with the fact that 90% of doctors are addicted to caffeine. Yet the same patients tell me they’re exhausted, they don’t get restorative sleep, their sleep is disrupted with awakenings at 1 am or 2 am or 3 am or 4 am or all of the above, they have a hard time winding down, they’re “wired but tired.”
We check their labs and cortisol is too high after their cup of Peet’s, and there’s a muffin top emerging in their mid-section. They have blood sugar instability and get irritable unless they eat frequently. Even worse, caffeine increases inflammation, which is the final common pathway for many bad things from bad aging to cancer.
All related to caffeine. Kick the habit!
Substitute real sources of energy rather than fake sources.
My top suggestions to replace caffeine:
- Exercise in the morning instead of your cuppa Joe.
- Take maca capsules or add maca powder to your smoothie.
- Herbal teas.
“But I only drink decaf!” is another common refrain in my practice. I drink decaf too, well Blue Bottle Night Light Decaf to be precise. It has a fair amount of caffeine (usually 1-3% to comply with international standards), and the process for decaffeinating is not exactly good for you. Here are 5 methods that are currently used to create decaf coffee as described by WiseGeek:
- The direct method steams the beans for half an hour and then rinses the coffee beans with ethyl acetate or methylene chloride. After the chemicals are drained, the beans are then steamed again. When this process uses ethyl acetate derived from fruit or vegetables, the coffee is said to be naturally decaffeinated
- Instead of steaming the coffee beans, the water method or the indirect method soaks the beans in water. The water is then drained and either ethyl acetate or methylene chloride is added. These chemicals evaporate as the beans undergo intense heat. The beans then take another bath in water that is reused because it is thought to contain the essential flavor and oils of the coffee. This indirect method is often thought preferable, though coffee enthusiasts argue that the process compromises taste.
- A variant of the water method employs a charcoal filter instead of chemicals to produce decaffeinated coffee. The charcoal is normally coated with a carbohydrate solvent, as well as water. This is thought to prevent the charcoal from absorbing not only the caffeine but also the flavor of the coffee.
- The carbon dioxide method is thought to be the most effective. The beans are steamed and then soaked in carbonated water. The water is then drained through a charcoal filter.
- One final process soaks green coffee beans in a water and coffee solution to remove the caffeine.
I’ve taken a fair amount of chemistry and biochemistry courses, and I can tell you that “solvent” is almost never a good thing.
To assist in the detoxification process, I suggest:
- Drink white tea (third infusion only).
- Avoid decaf coffee as well.
- Drink lots of herbal teas, including ginseng.
- My canary: hot filtered water with lemon and two pinches of cayenne.
I’m lovin’ my liver again and so can you!
Dr. Sara Gottfried, MD