The Caffeine Challenge

This Caffeine Challenge is the first of four health challenges we are doing here at Sweat4Health.  Although many of us have celebrated at the occasional research which hints that caffeine is healthy,  most scientists would agree that if caffeine is healthy that it is only healthy in moderation, and most people consume caffeine far in excess of moderation.  There are many potential health problems linked to excessive caffeine consumption:

  • high blood pressure
  • increased chance of stroke
  • increased cortisol production (makes gaining muscle difficult)
  • anxiety
  • heart palpitations and other arrhythmias
  • reduction of sleep quality
  • reduction of sleep duration
  • insomnia
  • restlessness
  • irritability
  • auditory hallucinations
  • decreased bone density
  • upset stomach
  • heartburn
  • muscular tremors

The Caffeine Vortex

The problem is that not only is caffeine addictive but the more you consume, the more you need to get its effect.  Many people get stuck in what I call the caffeine vortex.  You dont sleep well so you need an extra cup of coffee in the afternoon to stay awake at work.  Because you had the cup of coffee in the afternoon, you sleep even worse the next night.  Because you are even more tired now, you need even more caffeine to stay awake at work the next day.  Over the months and years as you get sucked into the caffeine vortex - your sleep patterns get worse and worse and your caffeine consumption ratchets upward until one day you wake up, shake your head, and realize that something needs fixing.  We will work together to get out of the caffeine vortex.

Caffeine Reset

We are going to do a complete caffeine reset!  Those of us who consume considerable amounts of caffeine thru coffee, tea, sodas, or energy drinks have built up a tolerance.  To become sensitive to caffeine again so that we can get the desired buzz with small, moderate amounts of caffeine requires some cold turkey.  We will do a two day taper off caffeine to help reduce the withdrawl symptoms then we will do 7 days with no caffeine whatsoever.  After that, the following 7 days will be measured, small amounts of caffeine in the form of green tea (more about that in the next section).  Here is our schedule:

  • 9th of September: 1 cup of coffee
  • 10th of September: 1/2 cup of coffee
  • 11th of September: no coffee, colas, energy drinks, or any other source of caffeine
  • 12th of September: no coffee, colas, energy drinks, or any other source of caffeine
  • 13th of September: no coffee, colas, energy drinks, or any other source of caffeine
  • 14th of September: no coffee, colas, energy drinks, or any other source of caffeine
  • 15th of September: no coffee, colas, energy drinks, or any other source of caffeine
  • 16th of September: no coffee, colas, energy drinks, or any other source of caffeine
  • 17th of September: no coffee, colas, energy drinks, or any other source of caffeine
  • 18th of September: two cups green tea with no cream nor sugar
  • 19th of September: two cups green tea with no cream nor sugar
  • 20th of September: two cups green tea with no cream nor sugar
  • 21th of September: two cups green tea with no cream nor sugar
  • 22th of September: two cups green tea with no cream nor sugar
  • 23th of September: two cups green tea with no cream nor sugar
  • 24th of September: two cups green tea with no cream nor sugar

 Caffeine Delivery Vehicles - Coffee and Tea vs Green Tea

Health is all about establishing and reinforcing healthy patterns.  The first part of this challenge is to get back down to moderate and healthy caffeine consumption.  While we are at it, lets establish an even healthier pattern.   Although the coffee lobby hates this, there is a lot more evidence that green tea is healthy for us than there is evidence that coffee is healthy for us. Green tea's antioxidants (catechins) destroy free radicals that can damage DNA and contribute to cancer, blood clots, and atherosclerosis. Green tea also seems to help against heart disease. An important factor to consider is that many people drink both their coffee and black tea with cream and sugar - neither of these substances is healthy and these hidden calories have been the bane of many a unsuccessful dieter.  Green tea is not bitter and tastes good plain without sugar and without cream.  Many of us cant conceive of eliminating our lifeblood - coffee, but just give green tea a chance for one week.  Complete this challenge as prescribed, if at the end of it you still want to go back to your coffee or black tea, thats fine but give the green tea a chance.

 
Are you going to do this with me? Lets support each other in the caffeine challenge support group.

Join us for the Caffeine Challenge!!

The Caffeine Challenge