Thursday, September 1, 2011

Coffee: Friend or Foe?

I never really was much of a coffee drinker until the last few years.  When I was introduced to the White Chocolate Mocha (WCM's) at Starbucks, suddenly a whole new world of flavored coffee opened before me and I was sold.  I still wouldn't consume much at home, though, since I never seemed to find the right ratio of coffee grounds to water. Home coffee just wasn't the same as Starbucks WCM's, either.  We entertain quite often, however, so I learned to make coffee when others came over.

Then we moved to a new neighborhood and the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf called my name from the corner.  Now their White Chocolate Mocha's were to die for.  Martin bought me their white chocolate mocha powder, and my home coffee drinking increased a little more.  Last year I also acquired a Keurig, and with it about 10 boxes of various kinds of coffee.  It has become a hit, and people love coming over and picking out their favorite coffee from the turn style.  Suddenly the ratio wasn't a problem anymore, and I love being able to serve the perfect cup of coffee, chosen specifically for the drinker.

And so we come to today.  I don't drink coffee everyday.  I probably average about 3-4 cups a week.  But when I have it, I love it, and it is a comfort of sorts, smelling it brew through the house.  I love sitting down with the morning paper and drinking my coffee.  What is even more fun is meeting a girlfriend for coffee, sipping it slowly and savoring our time together.  It is a treat!

However, I have noticed something very interesting.  When I drink coffee, I am not well afterwards.  I am not well physically or emotionally.  I already knew that coffee exacerbates my hyperhydrosis (sweaty palms).  All the articles say to stay away from caffeine because it makes that problem even worse.  But I chose to deal with that and drink it anyway.  The other physical effects I have after drinking coffee range from shaking, to severe stomach aches, to headaches.  I know that if I drink coffee, I need to be near a bathroom for the next few hours.  The symptoms are sometimes not enough to notice if I am really busy that day, but then on other days, they are very noticeable and annoying.  I switched creamers to an all natural one (which I love and highly recommend), and the problems were still occurring (although it did help calm my stomach a little more).  I tried decaf, and the effects still happen, although not as strong.

Yet aside from the physical effects, I have noticed that my mood is remarkably different on days I drink coffee.  I am more emotional, I have more anxiety, I worry more, and I feel stressed.  On the days I drink it, I just don't feel right.  I brought this up to a friend this week and she agreed - she said the same thing happens to her.  She said if she drank it every day, she'd probably need therapy.  I completely agree.
I looked online to see if there were any articles on this correlation between caffeine and mood and found many.  

Is it just the caffeine?  I don't feel this way when I drink soda, so I looked up the caffeine content of coffee vs. tea or soda. According to the Mayo Clinic, coffee has between 95-200 mg of caffeine per 8 ounces.  A 16 oz. vanilla latte from Starbucks has 150 mg of caffeine. A chai tea latte has 100 mg. of caffeine.  A cup of black tea has 40-120 mg per cup.  8 ounces of Coke Zero has 35 mg. of caffeine and Diet Coke has 47 mg.  Typically I drink Coke Zero or Diet Coke.

So YES! I think I figured it out! Caffeine does not have a good effect on my body!  (Duh.)  The bummer is that there are many mornings where I feel like I need caffeine for a quick pick-me-up.  Decaf coffee has between 2-12 mg of caffeine.  Not sure that would be enough.  But for now, it looks like I'll be giving up my coffee habit for awhile, unless I choose decaf.

How about you?  Do you notice a difference in your mood or your body when you drink caffeine?  What other things do you recommend for a quick pick-me-up?


  1. I get headaches and grumpy if I DON'T have it. Sad, I know. But if I drink it on an empty stomach, it's a whole lot worse. Do you have food in your stomach when you drink it? It's actually not good for you, so staying away from it is probably a good idea :)

  2. I think there is only about 50mm in a shot of espresso so you could get a Cafe Americano instead of brewed coffee.

  3. I gave up coffee a few years ago, and I am so glad that I did. That's not to say that I don't crave it sometimes...especially with having Caleb and sleep is in short supply. I actually started cutting out pasta and rice from our diet, for Kurt, and I have noticed that I have SO much more energy! My sleep hasn't changed, but I am not as tired anymore. I still have my daily dose of chocolate though! :-) by the way, I post as anonymous because I am having such a hard time using Google to post. This is Anna :-)

  4. Coffee is my best friend. LOL! I drink a cup every morning, not because I'm addicted, but because I love the taste and I love sitting there watching the news with my cup of coffee. I enjoy "my time." Coffee doesn't really affect me though and I've never had ahy physical problems due to coffee so I don't really have any solutions except for one suggestion... maybe try putting less coffee in the cup and more water so it's still flavorful but not as strong? I know it might be hard with your Keurig, but you could try dumping a little out after it brews, and adding some water and stirring before adding creamer. I do that sometimes at night when I want to drink a cup but don't want to be up late and I still get the wonderful taste and feeling of having a cup, but it's not as strong.