Do I Have to Give Up Coffee?

This is the second post in my blog series titled “Juice Cleansing 101″ that addresses the basic and not-so-basic elements of the juicing journey. If you are new to this series I recommend starting at the top and at least skimming through my post addressing the importance of elimination (i.e bowel movements), which is arguably the most important determining factor in the success and rewards received from a cleanse.

The Question

“Do I have to give up my coffee?” is a common question that I receive from clients and struggle to answer. I struggle because I know how strong the bond and deep the love is that some people have for coffee, and it breaks my heart to hear the sadness in their voice at the sheer thought of giving up their sacred cup of joe, even for three days. According to the National Coffee Association’s 2010 survey of coffee-drinking trends, 56 percent of Americans indulge in a cup of joe on a daily basis. Despite its popularity, the effects of this beverage are not always positive.

The Quick Answer

Some of you reading this post are curious to hear what I have to say, but in all honestly have NO intention of giving up your morning cup. No way, no how, not gonna happen. I get it. I have the same relationship to dark chocolate (well, sort of, but during a cleanse I suck it up). If this is you and you’re planning to do a juice cleanse then here is my advice for you:

Spread your consumption of coffee over the course of the day. Instead of drinking a full 16oz cup in the morning, try consuming just 2-3oz every hour or so. Relish that sacred cup of joe! Moderation is KEY. Alternatively, limit yourself to a half cup in the morning and then sip on green tea through the remaining day as you need it. This saves you from the ultimate heart break, but holds you accountable to your health by making small sacrifices. It will also save you from potentially debilitating headaches.

The Cost

For those of you that are up for the coffee-free challenge and want to stand in full integrity with your cleanse then please read on. Here is the essence of my argument. Beyond stirring up and eliminating toxins during a juice cleanse, one equally important goal is to restore optimal tone to your autonomic nervous system and all of the organs that your autonomic system governs. (Side note: our autonomic nervous system is responsible for monitoring our internal organs, the “fight or flight” response and the ability to “rest and restore”). With increased stress and excess stimulants in our diet such  as caffeine and refined sugar, our adrenals became exhausted leading to fatigue, decreased quality of sleep and mood imbalance just to to name a few. In fact your body loses its ability to regulate its own energy levels. Each of us have experienced that pattern of energy where we “drag” in the morning and “crash” or feel sluggish again in the afternoon, until we have another cup of coffee or sugar boost that is. This way of being is NOT your natural state. This state is caused by chronic overconsumption of stimulants. Consequently one of the keys to restoring optimal tone to your autonomic nervous system is to avoid stimulants. The most common stimulants used in everyday life are alcohol, nicotine, and drinks that contain concentrated doses of caffeine, like coffee, most conventional teas, some types of soda, and energy drinks. So the answer to this question is that it’s quite important to try to avoid the use of coffee while on the full body juice cleanse program. While you can still experience significant health benefits if you drink coffee during your cleanse, you won’t experience optimal improvement in the health of your autonomic nervous system.

The Alkaline Argument

This topic merits a separate post or an entire book for that matter (and there are MANY out there on the acid/ alkaline balance). I will not pretend to be an expert on this topic, but I will address it briefly. From the research I have read, two of the main factors leading to cancer are an acidic pH and a lack of oxygen. As such, are we able to manipulate these two factors so as to prevent and control cancer? We know that cancer needs an acidic and low oxygen environment to survive and flourish.  One study has shown that terminal cancer patients have an acidity level of 1,000 times more than normal healthy people. Why is this? The reason is simple. Without oxygen, glucose undergoing fermentation becomes lactic acid. This causes the pH of the cell to drop to 7.0. In more advanced cancer cases, the pH level falls further to 6.5 and can even fall to 6.0, 5.7 or lower. The basic truth is that our bodies simply cannot fight diseases if our pH is not properly balanced.

What does this have to do with coffee? Well, coffee is an acidic beverage with a pH of around 4.0. Not exactly on the right side of the stadium when it comes to fighting disease in the body.  While pH levels are not the only answer, controlling acid and boosting alkaline levels will greatly improve your chances of fighting toxins, allowing healthy cells to thrive and prevent the low-oxygen environments where cancer proliferates. By maintaining a healthy pH level, you’ll realize that you’re making a lot of healthy diet changes – avoiding high fructose corn syrup, abrasive sodas (Coca-Cola has a pH level of only 2.2!), increasing your intake of green vegetables and fresh fruits, and making new lifestyle choices, such as avoiding pharmacuticals, cigarettes, and too much coffee or alcohol.

Conclusion

If you are going to go through the effort of a cleanse, and you are genuine in your journey toward radiant health, then stand tall and proud through your journey and do it with integrity! Its only three days, or maybe you are taking charge with a six-day cleanse, but whatever the number I promise that your sacred cup of joe will be waiting for you right where you left it. With a smile. Question is, will you still be waiting for it?