By Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, LDN; Reboot Nutritionist
Many of us can’t imagine starting our day without our beloved cup of Joe. Although caffeine is not advised during your Reboot, you may find yourself wondering… would it really hurt to still drink a little of my coffee anyway? Let’s take a moment to learn how caffeine can be counterproductive during your Reboot and why now is the best time to switch to a morning cup of Joe’s JUICE instead!
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. We will share ways to gradually wean yourself from caffeine before you start your Reboot later in this post.
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, improving cardiovascular exercise performance, mood and Parkinson disease motor deficits.
Why is caffeine not advised during a Reboot?
One of the primary purposes of a Reboot 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 help “clean out” or encourage increased and natural detoxification with vegetables. Caffeine is a substance that is metabolized 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 Reboot.
For those losing significant amounts of weight during the Reboot 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 suggests this may actually lead to an increased risk of disease in some individuals despite the fact that weight loss in general is a good thing for wellness. The Reboot can be a remedy for this conundrum. When you Reboot you are taking in a huge dose of phytonutrients which have the potential to grab these newly released toxins and neutralize them.
How to slowly come off caffeine BEFORE you start your Reboot
At least one week before you start your Reboot you will need to wean off of caffeine. To make this process more gentle follow this guide:
Days 1-2 – Cut your coffee intake in half. Make your coffee 1/2 decaf and 1/2 regular. Drink no more than 3 cups per day (1 or 2 is best)
Days 3-4 – Limit yourself to 1 cup of coffee a day with at least half decaf. Add in 1 cup green tea.
Days 5-6 – Drink 1-3 cups green tea per day. Make the 2nd or 3rd cup decaf green tea.
Day 7 – Switch to decaf green tea.
What if you feel the need for some caffeine to help manage headaches early on during your Reboot? Don’t worry if you’ve jumped right into your Reboot and didn’t come off caffeine gradually before you started. Here are some ideas of what you can do as you wean.
Enjoy a minimal amount of caffeine containing tea. A typical cup of Arabica coffee has 70-120 mg of caffeine and tea is typically around 30-45 mg. 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 well 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. Learn tips for creating a natural system to get adequate rest and decrease your need for a caffeine jolt.
Drink plenty of water and juice throughout the day. The headaches that often accompany the first few days of a Reboot can be caused by a number of factors. But more often than not, drinking more water and 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 Reboot?
This is a very personal decision. As you have learned in this post 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-Reboot routine, aim to choose coffee in a healthy form. Avoid added syrups, sugar or artificial sweeteners and choose a non-processed and non-dairy “milk” like soy or almond, or organic skim milk. You may even find that your morning juice provides all the energy boost you need!