Cupped Lightning

I wrote a post about coffee a couple years ago.  Check it out HERE.  I thought it might be time to readdress this…this little caffeine issue.  I’m addicted to caffeine.  I admit it.  As I talked about in my blog post, my caffeine intake is pretty much like a roller coaster.  It gets out of hand, then I quit cold turkey, then it gets out of hand, then I quit cold turkey… It’s just how it goes.  I think a lot of it might have to do with the fact that I’m a paramedic who works 24 hour shifts and has a 2 hour commute one way. Just a hunch.

The other day, I woke up at 0500.  I didn’t sleep very well due to some nagging hip pain, so I added 2 scoops of Spark before the gym that morning.  2!  After the gym, I drove through Starbucks and ordered 2 venti coffees.  Black.  No room.  For myself.  This was all consumed by 0800.  A little while later, I couldn’t keep my eyes open, so I took a 2 hour nap.  After I woke up, I thought hey, maybe this isn’t so healthy.  Lets evaluate this…

In my post about coffee, I talked about how coffee has its place.  I still agree with this wholeheartedly.  A couple of cups a day?  Sure.  nbd.  A couple pots a day? Ehhhhh……that might be an issue.  It’s kind of a catch 22 for me. The first cup or 2 in the morning help me to wake up, as caffeine is supposed to do.  After that, I don’t drink coffee to keep me awake.  I drink coffee because I REALLY just love the taste of coffee.

As I visited with my mom on the phone this morning, I realize that I should blame her for my coffee problem.  100%.  We love coffee.  Good coffee.  Our latest favorite thing to do is to find fun coffee roasters and order beans.  Intelligentsia, Coava, Stumptown, Kickapoo… these are just a handful of our favorite roasters.  In our conversation mom said “Some people really have no idea what good coffee tastes like.”  So much truth in those words! She’s so wise!

Now, as I mentioned before, I love the taste of coffee.  I’ll drink hospital cafeteria coffee and I’ll drink fire station Folger’s.  Shoot, I’ll even ask for a 2nd cup of Perkins coffee that has been sitting in the pot all day.  I won’t complain.  BUT a good cup of coffee brewed with freshly roasted, high quality beans, now that’s where it’s at.  It’s a real treat for the ol’ tastebuds.  As you may have guessed, Folger’s does not belong in my house.  I have bags of good beans, and I have bags of REALLY good beans.  When I have to work, I’ll put a few scoops of some of the good beans in my Cuisinart grind and brew the night before, set the timer, and BOOM, I wake up to the delicious aroma of freshly brewed coffee.

On my off days, it’s a little bit of a different story.  I get home from the gym around 0700 or so.  After I put a few slices of bacon on the stove, I begin to work on my coffee.  When I’m off duty, I use the smaller, more expensive bags of REALLY good beans.  I have an electric kettle that I purchased at the Target, which heats the water super quickly. So far, I haven’t burned myself! That’s a big win for this accident-prone paramedic. The kettle also has a little light the flips off when the water begins to boil.  As the water is boiling, I grind the beans in my electric grinder.  On occasion, I also grind the beans by hand.  It takes a little more time and a lot more energy, so I keep this little gadget in my cupboard in case of the zombie apocalypse.  Coffee is definitely a huge part of my doomsday prepping.  Once the beans are ground, I remove my French Press or Chemex out of the cupboard with care. I also have an AeroPress that I use on occasion.  I’m sure I’ve lost you in my coffee nerdiness by now.  Basically, grind, boil, brew.

Once the little light on my kettle turns off, it’s go time.

Oh buddy, when you spend a little time and a little money, coffee has the ability to taste like an angel.  Remember those old Folger’s commercials when the actors open the container, close their eyes, and smell?  Or when the actor holds the hot cup of freshly brewed coffee in both hands, takes a sip, then smiles?  Yeah, that totally happens on off duty coffee days.  Every time.

What’s your coffee status?  Do you have a favorite roaster?  I’m always looking to try new coffee.

Life is too short to have bad coffee.  BUT maybe I’ll live just a little bit longer if I keep my caffeine consumption in check a little better.  Balance and moderation, my friends.

-my name is Lindsay, and I have a caffeine addiction

#coffeemugofmemories

 

Coffee

coffee

Coffee. C8H10N4O2. Cuppa Joe. Go Juice. Liquid Energy. Rocket Fuel. Many different names with 1 amazing purpose.  Just a little bit of energy to get through the day.

But…how does coffee fit into the whole Paleo way of eating?

First, the facts.  What is coffee?  Coffee is made by brewing the roasted seed…or “bean”…from a coffee tree.  Coffee = caffeine.  Caffeine is the main stimulant found in this little bean, often consumed as a little “pick-me-up.”  The consumption of this tasty chemical stimulates the central nervous system in humans and tends to make the user less drowsy. It is also a diuretic.  In my research, I have read that in some studies, coffee has also been found to decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease as well as diabetes.  Black tea has also been found to decrease the risk of diabetes. So, caffeine does have it’s place.

While caffeine definitely has its purpose, more is certainly not better.  Moderation is the key word here.  Frequent coffee-drinkers (myself included) can attest that there comes a day when their daily cup of coffee no longer gives them that much anticipated energy burst that they once had.  Coffee has an addictive nature, gut-irritating properties, and may cause negative effects on sleep patterns.  Actually, many habitual coffee drinkers have reported that they suffer from sleep disturbances, headaches, and general “sluggish” behavior.  This has been referred to as adrenal fatigue.  Caffeine stimulates your adrenal glands to release the hormones linked to stress.  Adrenaline and cortisol primarily.  This is fine…once in awhile.  Where it gets tricky is when you add in a stressful lifestyle, lack of exercise, poor sleeping, and a crappy diet.  All of these things definitely take a toll on your adrenal glands.  THEN add in copious amounts of coffee to “help” you get through the day.  Now we have adrenal fatigue.  The adrenal glands are tired and overworked from unending stress and inadequate rest and recovery.

Scott Hagnas, founder of CrossFit Portland, said it perfectly.  “I agree that coffee isn’t as evil as some have made it out to be, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t often abused.  Quite frequently, those with some level of adrenal fatigue use caffeine as an energy source for their day.  In reality, caffeine doesn’t give you energy – it gives you stress.  I see so many people that try to eat well and exercise intelligently, but have trouble making progress because of a stress filled life.  The total stress load is cumulative, so coffee becomes fuel for the fire.  I have also observed that those with damaged adrenals are more sensitive to coffee’s adverse effects than those with healthy adrenals.  As a simple rule, if you feel like you need it, then you should evaluate your habits.  If you feel like you can do fine without, then a few cups now and then should be ok for you.”

Now, that’s some solid wisdom there.

Now, my thoughts.  I guess if you are looking for the purest form of Paleo, I recommend avoiding caffeine. Completely.  Paleo is all about promoting a way of eating that encompases anti-inflammatory foods as well as bringing the body back to a more normal energy level.  In my opinion, part of the idea behind this way of eating is to somewhat cleanse your body.  Balance.  You remove the food items that cause irritation and inflammation.  Stop eating the foods that cause your blood sugar to spike.  Get rid of the things that can be addictive.  YOU be in charge of the food that you eat.  Sugar and caffeine are 2 of the big ones in this category.  Don’t let them run the show.

I think for some, caffeine consumption has gotten out of hand.  Many people can’t even get dressed for the day without their caffeine fix.  I have been there…more than once.  Once in awhile, I’ll be a few hours into my day and realize that I’ve had 10-12 cups of coffee before 0900.  As a paramedic, I work 24 hour shifts.  I work overnights every so often.  Sometimes I’m up for 24+ hours.  Many days, I run on about 4 hours of sleep.  Even if you aren’t in public safety, I’m sure you can relate.  Go Go Go Go Go….who has time for sleep?  So much to do! It’s just how society is today …When I feel that I’m getting to this place of caffeine addiction, I force myself to take a step back.   I remove the caffeine.  Now, while some people cut back to a cup or 2, I just quit cold turkey.  Yes, there are headaches, and yes, I feel like a bag full of garbage for a few days, but I know it’s what I need to do to get back some balance.  After 5-7 I begin to notice the difference.  Natural energy.  Better sleep.  After awhile, a couple months, I add a cup or 2 back into my day…then begin the cycle again.

Whole9 has some great tips for coffee:

-If you’re not currently a caffeine user, don’t start
-Limit your consumption to 1-2 cups of coffee a day, always before noon to prevent sleep disruption
-Your coffee pot is not a cup.  Nice try
-If you’re using coffee as a crutch to get through your day – or just to get out of bed – reconsider whether that is a healthy relationship
-We don’t think the above is a healthy relationship, thanks for asking
-A couple times a year, give your body a Caffeine Holiday for at least 30 days. (That means NO caffeine – no black or green tea, energy drinks, or even decaf)

In short, moderation is really the key word here.  “When it comes to coffee, less is generally better.  Think before you drink.”  -Whole9

Cheers!
Lindsay

The majority of my research came from reputable Paleo sources including Mark’s Daily Apple and Whole9.

 

Bulletproof Coffee

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Bulletproof coffee. My NEW favorite way to enjoy coffee.

Quite a few of the people that I follow on Facebook have posted about this or have messaged me about it. Thought I’d give it a whirl.

What you need:
Coffee
Coconut oil
Unsalted grass-fed butter (such as Kerrygold)

I eyeballed about 1 T each of oil and butter then just mixed it all together with each cup of coffee.

I was a bit skeptical at first. I thought it sounded like an odd combination of flavors, however I was thoroughly impressed. The flavor is pretty fantastic. The butter gives it a rich, creamy flavor, while the coconut oil gives it just a hint of coconut. They really compliment each other well.

The idea behind it is to provide a cup of coffee that will give you energy as well as help you stay fit. It’s also a great way to get a little extra good fat into your diet. None of that extra super processed, crazy ingredient garbage. Just a legit, clean cup of coffee with an added punch of awesome. Careful, it really does pack a punch.

Check it out. Let me know what you think.

Bulletproof website HERE.