COFFEE – Is it really THAT bad?
First off, I LOVE COFFEE.
It is NOT my enemy, in fact, I believe we can make friends with it.
But we definitely need to build a new understanding and a new relationship with coffee so that we can drink it without harm and enjoy it once again.
From espressos to cappuccinos, blended iced coffee in the summertime to pumpkin spice lattes in autumn, or just plain old cups o’ Joe, coffee isn’t just a breakfast beverage anymore; it’s a national obsession. In fact:
90% + of the entire U.S. population drink coffee regularly, at a rate of 3.1 cups of java per day!
Add it up and it’s no wonder why the coffee industry percolates 18 billion dollars in profit a year in the U.S. alone. We’re an overworked society, with a ton of pressure and we women wear many hats. We’re literally barely making it through our day, zombified without our quick hit of energy.
How Could Be Coffee Causing Hormone Imbalance? (in a nutshell)
Coffee places a HUGE demand on our fragile endocrine system, specifically the adrenals (our body’s manufacturing plant of stress, sleep and sex hormones).
There was a time, I was so far damaged that I HAD to take a break so that coffee would stop breaking ME. This way I could repair myself and stop being so worn down, wired yet tired and craving coffee in the first place. Wait…what? How does coffee break us? Here’s a quick summary, then read on for statistics and solutions:
Coffee consumption =
decrease of Magnesium and B Vitamins =
increase of bad estrogen =
estrogen dominance =
these symptoms (and more):
…and the cycle continues.
Doesn’t Estrogen dominance sound fun? Ladies, this is NOT our destiny, this is a result of our lifestyle, namely too much coffee.
My mission is to help you find your balance with coffee by way of targeting hormonal health so that you’re not causing more harm than good. This way you’re actually treating rather than depleting. (Treating = treating the symptoms you feel while drinking coffee rather than depleting = letting coffee deplete you of your hormones, your energy and your overall health)
So, let’s see where you stand with caffeine when it comes to your health and your relationship with this irresistible little hell raiser! The first question to ask is, what would my life look like without coffee?
Are you addicted?
Take this caffeine addiction quiz: Answer YES or NO:
- Do you use caffeine to induce a physical activity (ie: waking up, exercising, poop’ing, concentrating)?
- Is caffeine in the morning a NON-NEGOTIABLE for you?
- Do you drink coffee as ‘breakfast’ on an empty stomach without food when you wake?
- Do you feel your social routines would suffer without caffeine use?
- Have you tried alternatives and failed?
- Do you grow irritable, have headaches, want to yell at your boss or boyfriend if you miss your caffeine fix?
- Do you crash or have caffeine/sugar/carb cravings in the afternoon/early evening? (around 2pm)
- Do you have difficulty falling asleep at night, staying asleep and waking feeling refreshed?
- Do you reach for caffeine to heighten the effects of other substances, i.e., nicotine, alcohol, sugar?
- Does the idea of going without caffeine seem impossible to you?
If you answered ‘yes’ to three or more of these questions, it may be time to evaluate your attachment to caffeine.
Anytime a woman feels she cannot be herself nor function without using a substance (natural or synthetic), it raises my eyebrows and leads me to dig deeper into the history of use, health of the adrenals, perception of how much she feels she NEEDS to get done in a day and more. Most of the time, we women ‘borrow energy’ from our future, so we can do more now and suffer the consequences later. And I’m not talking about when we turn 80; I’m talking within the next few years. The majority of women who seek my help are gripping onto caffeine for dear life, so they can ‘keep it together’ on the outside, while their hormonal harmony falls apart on the inside.
Coffee and female hormones aren’t a good couple
We all know THAT couple…and perhaps it’s even one you’re in…. you see them fighting all the time and you ask yourself ‘how are they still together’? But yet they go back for abuse and arguing again and again and again? You think ‘they look so toxic together’. Yep that’s the relationship with your endocrine system (hormone health) and coffee. They…don’t…get…along! The proof is in the statistics:
Let’s look at some harsh realities among women’s health today:
- Over half of women between the age of 35-50 suffer PMS regularly
- It’s estimated that 1/3 of women in this lifetime will get cancer. Of that, 25% is of the breasts, mostly fueled by ‘excess estrogen’ aka xeno-estrogens (artificial estrogen like chemicals that act like estrogen inside of our body, coming from our environment and diet)
- 90% + of women suffer from adrenal dysfunction, hormone imbalance and chronic fatigue.
I don’t know about you, but I’m SO NOT OK with that being our reality. Don’t you ever think to yourself “I KNOW I am destined for more”? Sister, you’re not alone…while this reality may be common, it’s definitely NOT normal. Disease free is NORMAL, Diseased is COMMON.
How does caffeine abuse our health and hormones
…particularly our breasts and ovaries:
Research reveals that for women who have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Fibroids, Endometriosis, Ovarian Cysts, or Fibrocystic breasts, the caffeine from coffee will promote further formation of cysts, especially in those of us with compromised detox pathways.
Shocker: This is probably you, beautiful.
If you’re already facing challenges with menstruation, fibroids, cysts in your breasts or ovaries, endometriosis, infertility, low sex drive, moodiness, low energy or weight issues, coffee is undoubtedly exacerbating your problems. Whoa, hold your unicorns…what? I know…when I dove into the research years ago, I was appalled. But yet it made a LOT of sense because the side effects of caffeine/coffee were most of what I was suffering from symptom wise.
Caffeine provides an artificial override to our natural energy cycles, tricking our temple (yeah girl, your body is a temple!) into a perceived constant state of alert. This ultimately makes you more fatigued. And fat. And frustrated. Plus, if you use caffeine to cope with stress, the reality is, your solution may be part of the problem.
If these issues with cysts and hormonal problems aren’t enough to make you rethink your next cup of coffee, there are five more ways the caffeine from coffee is bad for your health:
5 more ways your Body Cringes at Coffee
#1 – Women metabolize substances (like caffeine) way differently than men.
It’s common knowledge these days that woman process alcohol and other stimulants differently than men and caffeine is no different. It’s one of the keys to why coffee is particularly upsetting for a woman’s system.
But why is that?
The human body’s primal directive is to conserve energy. While men’s bodies process (and then urinate out) both alcohol and caffeine rapidly and efficiently, women conserve extra energy for the fetus in case we’re pregnant (even when we’re not). So women’s bodies metabolize chemicals at a slower rate and retain fluids for longer in order to conserve that energy. It’s why we’re more prone to the side effects of coffee and also have worse hangovers than men. You may get no sympathy when you tell a man you’re taking a break from coffee because he won’t get it, empathetically speaking.
I recommend running a Dutch Urine Hormone test to see how your body is not only making but also metabolizing hormones, such as cortisol. Most women I test aren’t eliminating properly, which clogs up their liver and gall bladder, further causing more fat, fatigue and frustration. NOTE: only Functional practitioners like me run these and are not something an allopathic MD has been trained on. Package 2 is THE BOMB in my Work with Me Section you can view HERE.
#2 – Coffee is highly acidic, which throws your gut flora out of whack
…in turn causing estrogen dominance, a condition plaguing over 50 percent of women over 35, which is, based on my research, the main condition rooted in most hormonal disaster today. It also makes it harder for proper nutrient absorption and digestion even if you are trying to eat healthy.
To make matters worse, the majority of us add fluffy crap like sugar to our coffee, which further destroys gut flora…have you seen the Starbucks nutritional facts on how much sugar is in their ‘dessert’ drinks? 50-100grams per serving. And what I advise warriors in my online Body & Life Transformation program, The Warrior Cleanse, is to consume no more than 50g of added sugar a day! YIKES.
NOTE: Artificial sweeteners are no better than sugar. Research has proven that this class of excitatory, neurotoxins actually increase insulin, prompting the body to crave more sugar than you probably would have consumed had you actually used the real thing (this is why I recommend local, raw honey or Stevia if you DO desire sweetener).
#3 – Coffee is grown in and treated with more chemicals than any other crop!
Most people are surprised to learn there are more chemicals in their coffee than on an average pharmacy shelf.
Coffee is the heaviest sprayed crop in the world with pesticides and is grown in mold-like soil creating mycotoxins, which cannot be destroyed in roasting.
This is why if you DO indulge, at LEAST drink Organic, low mold beans, which I’ll share with you in this article.
#4 – Caffeine upsets your hormonal cycle for up to 24 hours!
Drinking coffee or ingesting too much caffeine starts a vicious cycle that looks like this:
- You need a serious pick-me-up in the morning so you grab a Starbucks or a big coffee to go, probably flavored and full of cream from hormone and antibiotic treated cows who eat GMO’s + GMO sugar + artificial sweeteners (and often on an empty stomach).
- That surge of caffeine triggers a release of extra cortisol (stress hormone made by your adrenal glands) in your body, which your brain perceives as ‘Oh $hit we’re in trouble, we need to be ALERT, release sugar into the bloodstream for more ENERGY’. Your body stores sugar in easy to access places like your liver and muscle tissue in case of emergencies like this. The only problem is…there IS no emergency here. Yet the repeated consumption of coffee ‘feels’ like that to the brain and body.
- The ensuing spike in insulin causes your blood sugar to crash (because your stored sugar is now low), making you crave sugar or fast digesting carbohydrates AND you inevitably start eating unhealthy foods that provide the ‘Quick Fix’ energy you’re desperate for.
- Your body is now operating at a hypoglycemic level, which causes you to desire even MORE carbohydrates and sugar just to get through your day.
- This sets off a chain of events that forces your entire endocrine system to divert its attention to your morning coffee, neglecting all other important functions – including your ovaries.
- Your body won’t reset until you go to sleep and wake up the next day, but caffeine, even from a morning coffee will disrupt your natural sleep patterns for up to 24 hours, keeping you tossing and turning all night. “But I don’t toss and turn and I drink coffee”…doesn’t mean you’re not getting the deep sleep you need. Don’t shoot the messenger but:
95% of fat burning happens while we sleep, so if you struggle with weight loss, Coffee is probably your major Roadblock.
- You wake up still tired, not refreshed, and feel so sluggish and groggy that you can’t wait to drink that first cup of coffee to get you going again. Why do you think the ‘But first…coffee’ memes are super viral? Because our hormone makers are so burned out (from coffee + other stressors), we can no longer make hormone energy on our own!
It’s a vicious cycle!
#5 – Caffeine strips the body of micronutrients that are essential for hormonal balance (specifically estrogen)
While the negative health effects of caffeine and coffee for women aren’t as highly publicized, you’ve gained insight into how harmful it can be to our hormone levels.
We’ve all heard of those heavily promoted as health coffee alternatives like Bulletproof Coffee and others but while there may be some benefits, they still have a lot of caffeine. So, for women these alternatives still deplete micronutrients needed for hormonal balance, release cortisol that spikes insulin and throws off the endocrine system.
Coffee depletes stress supporting nutrients, such as Magnesium and B Vitamins, which over 80% of women are dangerously low in.
These two are critical for your hormonal system to function properly, mainly preventing estrogen dominance and toxicity which is to blame for the majority of endocrine related disease today.
“Specific nutritional deficiencies can also lead to excess estrogen. Low magnesium, for example, is associate with high estrogen levels in women. Vitamin B12 and Folate also help produce ‘good’ estrogens and decrease formations of ‘less good’ estrogens.” –Dr. Sara Gottfried, “The Hormone Code”
(NOT SO) FUN FACT: A vitamin B12 deficiency is thought to be one of the leading nutrient deficiencies in the world. Additionally, it is said that over 80% of women are magnesium deficient. Check out how deficient I was in magnesium when I was drinking coffee EVERY morning. Note how deficient I was with other important things such as antioxidants, which help us to flush ‘bad guys' from the body. Without these, we age quick and our immune system shuts down. Coffee beans are known for their ‘anti-oxidant' affect, but that doesn't apply to ALL of us, as you can see here:
This is the type of testing I run on my clients to explore deficiencies, and at times, it takes this before people really come to grips with reality…because test results are an eye opener. I could write about it all day long, but until you see how it's impacting you biochemically and physically, you (like most) cover your eyes “I totally didn't just read that”.
Ok so, now what? I’m scared to quit! I NEED energy!
I know, you’re probably cursing me and would rather give up anything else other than coffee! But don’t worry beautiful…I come in peace.
Here are 10 Tips to at the very least minimize or cut out coffee completely:
Drink ONLY healthy coffee beans
As in, Organic. If you MUST drink real coffee, I like Bulletproof. I would rather see you cut it out mostly, however and prefer the Mushroom Coffee herbs referenced in the Metabolic Mocha latte below. Add to the latte grass fed whey, collagen, ghee, MCT Oil and a few herbs like cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne and Stevia
Don’t add sugar or artificial sweeteners
If you MUST drink a hot cup of coffee in the morning, definitely avoid adding sugar to minimize the impact on your blood sugar levels. Also, your brain told me to tell you to stay away from the Sweet N Low, Aspartame, Sucralose and Equals…they’re neurotoxins that will make you even HUNGRIER, leading you down the path of craving carbohydrates and MORE sugar for energy as the day progresses.
If you must cream, make it a healthy one
Skip the soy. First of all, in larger doses (as in ‘soy milk’) it is highly estrogenic, which block receptor sites so the estrogen you make on your own can’t get into the cell, furthering hormone imbalance, threatening estrogen dominance. Also ditch the 2% or non-fat. Go for the FULL FAT creamer or milk. Hormones are MADE of fat, so if you seek hormone balance, get healthy fats. Raw, organic, whole fat milk would be IDEAL, but most of us don’t live on farms. We live at coffee shops. LOL! If you find yourself at a Starbucks and can’t get the ‘good stuff’, opt for coconut or almond milk (lesser of evils). If you really want gluten free brownie points, you can try making it on your own with my NUT MILK recipe.
Just like with the food we eat, portion control is fundamental to balance and good health. Drink a small black coffee instead of a monstrous Venti sugary coffee and the damage to your system will be exponentially reduced.
That process may look like this:
- Week 1: 2 cups a day down to 1.5 cups (take adaptogens)
- Week 2: 1.5 cups a day down to 1 cups
- Week 3: 1 cup a day down to ½ cup
- Week 4: ½ cup down to nothing
Drink coffee with food
Your body will absorb and digest coffee and process the caffeine much easier if you take your coffee with a meal in the morning. That means no
coffee as a replacement for breakfast or on an empty stomach! OR if you
chose to keep it around or try on occasion, at LEAST drink it Bulletproof.
But AGAIN, this is only AFTER you’ve taken a break from it for 30 days at least, then reassessed the health of your adrenals by taking inventory of your energy levels throughout the day, sleep quality, food cravings, cycle symptoms, etc.
Don’t drink coffee out of plastic cups
I carry this cup with me in my car and have one inside as well, so if I do make coffee on the go or if I have the urge to grab one while I’m out, I have them fill up my coffee in here, rather than the plastic lined cups that end up in landfills.
Just say NO to plastic straws
Remember that BPA and plastics are ALSO estrogenic and hence throw our hormones out of whack…I carry these straws in my purse so I never have to come into contact with plastic straws and I’m doing my part in saving the planet with one less straw on the beach or in the sea. This is by far the #1 most popular item we pick up on our Xanadu
Beach clean ups.
Take adaptogenic herbs, i.e. supplements to help your adrenal function
If you need that jolt of mental clarity that coffee provides, try herbs like ginkgo biloba, rhodiola, maca or ashwaganha; or vitamin B12 and vitamin B5 for increased energy! I like the BioRay herbal blends, Loving Energy and Liver Live, which are the herbs we use in The Warrior Cleanse.
Eat a big breakfast with balanced macros
There are plenty of theories and weight loss plans with diverging opinions about if you should eat breakfast or not, but remember that eating breakfast is in line with your body’s natural biorhythm. It should be one of the central meals in the day because that’s when you need fuel the most. If you want help customizing Macros, I recommend you consider running an Hair Tissue Analysis, which I can help you with (Package 1 or 2, which you can see HERE).
Try these recipe alternatives
- Metabolic Mocha Latte – well-known for healing your adrenals because it contains adaptogens
- ‘Love my Hormones’ Shake – a Warrior favorite for hormone remodeling
BOTH of these Recipes (and more) can be found in my Free Starter Kit.
Grab your copy now while you can.
In the end, it’s all about being mindful of your choices that either contribute to your health or take away from it.
“It is far easier to get your hormones in balance than to live with the consequences of hormonal craziness.” – Dr. Sara Gottfried, “The Hormone Cure”
The former takes 3-6 months with concerted effort; the latter could be a lifetime. The good news: You have the power to pick! The ‘gooder’ news: It involves change. And we both know:
“If you want something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done.”
You got this, Sista! I’m here for you.
https://blog.bulletproof.com/why-bad-coffee-makes-you-weak/ https://blog.bulletproof.com/one-ugly-mug-the-science-behind-just-one- mold-toxin-in-your-coffee/