Tuesday, December 4, 2012

I Love Coffee, But it Doesn't Love Me

I really like coffee.  It's a relatively new addiction.  I blame an old boyfriend of mine, who made a delicious creamy latte for me once when I was horribly hungover.  I didn't know coffee could taste the way it smells.  I had only ever experienced nasty instant or flat, dull filter coffee and I just didn't see the point.  I became hooked on one lovely, creamy, devilishly good coffee a day about 4 years ago.  I can go without.  I don't turn into an antichrist.  I have convinced myself I don't get raging headaches.  I certainly do miss it if I don't have it.  I miss the ceremony, the time it takes to make it, the luscious texture, the smell as the coffee brews.  Ahhhh....coffee...

I've decided to give it up though.  Why?  Surely one cup a day is ok.  It is, yes...I suppose, but I have noticed that I can get a bit mental if I don't have my one cup a day.  Not the usual coffee 'cold turkey', but definitely a bit touched.  I've noticed too that my energy levels are not what they used to be and my very strong and sturdy digestive system is struggling a bit.  For a mid morning snack, I used to have a herbal tea and some nuts, or maybe an oatcake with some almond butter.  Coffee has completely displaced that, so the healthy snacks have diminished and coffee has taken over.  Not good.

There is a lot of mixed press about coffee.  In a nutshell, my opinion on it is that one coffee a day, made with organic beans is probably no big deal.  However, coffee does interfere with the absorption of various nutrients, so it's probably better to drink coffee away from food for that reason.  It also suppresses stomach acid, which might sound good if you suffer from reflux, but stomach acid is really important for digestion and protection from weird bacteria and parasites.  Hmmmm....  Infuriatingly, coffee also dramatically raises adrenaline and blood sugar levels.  So, if you drink coffee on an empty stomach, it can really make any problems you might have with low energy, weight gain & insulin resistance much worse.  That's all before you get into the kind of milk in the latte.  Dairy linked with cancer and bone problems (yes, really) Soya connected with hormone problems and cancer (again) Other milks just don't cut it for me...  For these reasons, and more, there doesn't seem to be a good time or way to drink coffee.  Being a nutritional therapist, I know all of this in rather a lot of detail.

Sometimes knowledge is an annoying thing.

When we moved into our new apartment in Malmö, I realised the kitchen hob was induction, which meant my aluminium espresso pot wouldn't work (there's another problem - aluminium!).  I've been using a camping stove since then, to make the espresso I need for my daily latte.  Seem desperate?  I could have bought a special espresso pot that would work on the hob, but I didn't, because I keep toying with the idea of giving up and it would be a bit daft to buy a new kitchen gadget that I won't use, right?

To further slow down the removal of coffee from my world, I've discovered that coffee in Sweden is bloody gorgeous and meeting for 'fika' here is the social equivalent of a quick pint in the local pub.  Opting out of coffee could have dastardly effects on my brand new social life here!

I've made the decision though.  I'm giving it up.  I started my new coffee free life on Saturday the 1st of December and yesterday put away the espresso pot and camping stove.  Right now I am sipping on a cup of 'Relax' tea from Pukka and nibbling on some home made raw chocolate treats.  Gorgeous calming, soothing herbs in the tea and nourishing goodness in the raw choc treats.  No real cravings for coffee, though I have had some rotten headaches...  I do miss the ceremony, but I'll just have to find ceremony elsewhere.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.