The Coffee Debate… and my love/hate relationship

Posted on January 26, 2012 by Mary Patterson

Did you know that there have been over 19,000 studies done to research the health impact of coffee? How does one go about filtering through those studies to show which one is good, valid, worth sharing and believing? Most of us will read just enough to get the answer that we are looking for. Healthy!? Sounds great to me!

I have a strong belief for staying as close to nature as possible with everything we do. However, I also believe that science has an important place in our health, environment, and lifestyle. It is very challenging to find the perfect combination of both. Another component is the individual – their genes, lifestyle, emotion, mindfulness, etc. I believe tapping into the individual is the first and key component of any decision or debate when it comes to our health.

So why am I getting philosophical about coffee? 

It has played a near and dear relationship in my life since… oh about senior year in college when I started falling asleep in my 2pm classes and then continues into my career when I just had to find every job that for some reason I would have to rise at some time between 4:30am and 5:30am to start my commute or start work and finally being blessed with that second child who wanted to defy every philosophy I strongly believed in on how to get a baby to sleep through the night. 

I loved (and still love) coffee!

But is it REALLY healthy for us…..for me?  Diving into research and reading articles here and there, I found an overwhelming amount of research for the positive effects of coffee drinking.  However, in the end no matter what I read, I questioned the positive health effect it had on me personally. It did not help that my favorite way to have it was “cream and sugar please” or “yum mocha!” So just under 3 years ago (once my youngest son decided to sleep through the night) I began my journey of trying to get rid of coffee.

First step, lets get rid of the sugar and limit the mochas. That was not so hard; however, I needed a lot of cream. Then I started to eliminate dairy (that is another post).  I finally found Coconut Half and Half. All set! Or was I?

Throughout trying different “healthier” ways to enjoy my coffee habit and not feel so guilty about it, I learned how coffee is one of the most heavily sprayed crops. Oh yum, let’s drink a cup of chemicals and pesticides. As a result, I went organic. As you see this leaves me to only making coffee at home or stopping in my local Whole Foods. So I will admit to cheating and reverting back to old ways from time to time just to get my java fix.

I still did not like the fact that, I felt like I needed coffee. Throughout the three years of experimenting with healthier ways to enjoy my coffee and get the most health benefits from it, I would occasionally torture myself and try to give it up. It was not until a little over a year ago that I was able to give it up for a full month and then just go back to it occasionally. What was different? I was ready to really commit to kicking some bad food habits. (Yes, I am human and I have some not so good vices that would get mixed in-between the greens and fruit.) I addressed my addiction to sugar and my sensitivity to wheat and gluten. 

When I am on track with my good choices – keeping the good stuff in and eliminating the foods that don’t work for me, you will rarely see me with a cup of coffee. Instead, you will see me with hot tea or water. I do still love coffee and do believe when organic and without sugar it has health benefits. I still enjoy my cup of coffee and will admit to sneaking in those seasonal latte’s; however, I don’t need it. I enjoy it instead.

So my point…. There are foods and habits that we can read are healthy or unhealthy. Read up and educate yourself; however, when the time is right, take a look at how the food or habit plays a role in your life. Is it good for YOU?

- Mary

PS: here is a quick article that goes through the coffee debate by topic. I have more information, articles and research. If you are interested, feel free to email me.

Posted in Mary Patterson, nutrition, pursuit of happiness

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