No Caffeine Whilst Detoxing?! Why?
Why is caffeine a no-no during a detox? Many of us can’t imagine starting our day without our beloved cup of coffee. Although caffeine is not advised during a detox, you may find yourself wondering… would it really hurt to just drink a little of my coffee anyway? Let’s take a moment to learn how caffeine can be counterproductive during your detox and why now is the best time to start thinking about how much caffeine you’re actually consuming…
Many experts name caffeine as the most pervasively used psychoactive substance in our culture. Some, but not all people, will experience withdrawal from suddenly stopping regular consumption of caffeine containing beverages. It’s a good idea to gradually wean yourself from caffeine before you start your detox to lessen withdrawal symptoms.
Is caffeine unhealthy?
This is a hotly debated subject. On the unhealthy side, caffeine can be addictive and in large amounts can increase calcium loss from the body, worsen underlying tremors and cause anxiety, insomnia and rapid heart rate.
On the healthy side, coffee (and chocolate!) contain anti-oxidants. Moderate consumption has been correlated with lower risk of certain cancers, easing migraine symptoms, (although caffeine can worsen migraines), improving cardiovascular exercise performance, mood and Parkinson disease motor defecits.
Why is caffeine not advised during a detox?
One of the primary purposes of a detox is to give your body a break from many of its daily duties of processing the components within the foods and drinks we ingest to ‘clean out’ or encourage increased and natural detoxification with clean-foods. Caffeine is a substance that is metabolised by our liver by a process that includes oxidation. This means that our liver must perform work to safely package and remove caffeine’s compounds from our bodies. Ingesting caffeine will give your body more work to do and could therefore hinder or lessen the overall effectiveness of the detox.
Weight loss in general is a good thing for wellness. For those losing significant amounts of weight during a detox, you will want to give this concept and cutting out caffeine extra thought. When our fat cells shrink, they release stored, potent, fat soluble toxins into our bloodstream. Research has shown that once released (Stage 1 of detoxing), your body then needs to convert them into another form to expel them from your body (Stage 2 detoxing). When you detox, you’re taking in a huge dose of phytonutrients which have the potential to grab those newly released toxins and neutralise them.
How to slowly come off caffeine BEFORE you start your detox…
At least one week before you start your detox, you will need to wean off of caffeine. To make this process more gentle, follow this guide:
Days 1-2: No more than 3 cups per day (black filter coffee)
Days 3-4: No more than 2 cups per day (black filter coffee)
Days 5-6: No more than 1 cup per day (black filter coffee)
Day 7: Green Tea (only 30mg caffeine)
What if you feel the need for some caffeine to help manage headaches early on during your detox? Don’t worry if you’ve jumped right into your detox and didn’t come off caffeine gradually before you started. If you can manage it for 1 week, you’ll allow detoxification to happen.
Caffeine facts to think about…
Enjoy minimal amounts of caffeine by drinking tea. A typical cup of Arabica coffee has 70-120mg of caffeine and tea is typically around 30-45mg. Green Tea, Yerba Mate Tea and Chai Tea all contain natural anti-oxidants and other health promoting compounds, so including a bit of these will give you a lower dose of caffeine compared to coffee and offer some phytonutrient based benefits. For example, Green Tea is scientifically known for its ECGC compounds which have been shown to help discourage tumors from being able to make their own blood supply – a process known as anti-angiogenesis.
Establish a sound sleep schedule. We often use caffeine to help ‘wake us up’. When you stop drinking coffee first thing in the morning, you will decrease your need for a caffeine jolt.
Drink plenty of water and pure-juice throughout the detox. The headaches that often accompany the first few days of a detox can be caused by a number of factors. But more often than not, drinking more water and pure-juice can help to remedy or at least reduce the severity of this common and normal side effect.
Should I go back to drinking coffee after my detox?
This is a very personal decision. As we have learned from scientific research, there are both pros and cons to drinking coffee. However, the research is very clear that moderate amounts are best and excess consumption of caffeine is risky for health. If your morning latte returns to your daily post-detox routine, aim to choose coffee in a healthy form. Avoid added syrups, sugar or artificial sweeteners and add a non-soya or non-diary ‘milk’ like coconut milk or just drink it black. Finally, most coffee beans are sprayed with over 250 pesticide chemicals, so switch to organic!