Thank you for visiting! Walking the Walk is meant to be a source to assist you in your quest for a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Through my own lifestyle, I hope to give you creative ideas that make adopting a healthier, more holistic lifestyle as enjoyable and easy for you as possible!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

No caffeine? No problem!

So, you've just found out that you have high blood pressure or perhaps you suffer from migraine headaches or your most recent lab results confirm a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes.

What do the above 3 illnesses have in common? They are all immediately improved by the discontinuation of caffeine ingestion.  That means no coffee, no Coca Cola, no black tea and no chocolate.  I know, I know-easier said than done, right?

The good news is that caffeine-free does not have to equate boring.  I have a few tips for people struggling to get off caffeine and back into health that I'd like to outline in today's post.

1. Have an understanding about how your body is going to feel for the first 2 weeks sans caffeine.  The great thing about reality television is that it exposes us to all sorts of things we wouldn't normally see first hand, such as someone going through withdrawal symptoms in a rehabilitation institute.  Now, obviously, your experience cutting out caffeine will not be nearly as intense but realize that you will not feel too great for about 2 weeks as the stimulant (yes, caffeine is a drug) leaves your system.  Most people report headaches, fatigue and even slight tremors.  Just keep reminding yourself how very lucky you are that you get to take important steps towards a more healthy and vibrant you and be sure to drink lots of pure, clean water to help your body eliminate the caffeine more efficiently.

2. Find suitable replacements for your morning cup of joe or can of pop. A lot of people find cutting out a bad habit much easier if they have something that can take its place, albiet a healthy something.  Most NDs will suggest replacing your daily coffee with a herbal tea such as peppermint, but I find the 2 to be so dissimilar that it makes it even harder to accomplish since your body is so very aware that it isn't getting its coffee fix anymore.  I found the best substitute to be a tea called Chicory Dickory Dock from David's Tea.  It has a warm, almost caramel-like, full flavor that is able to hit the spot without being caffeine-laden.  As for a suitable pop substitute, can I suggest an Italian soda? You can make it by mixing an ounce or 2 of fresh juice with a sparkling water, such as San Pellegrino.  My mom gave up her Coca Cola for unsweetened cranberry juice with San Pellegrino and she has never looked back since.  Go ahead, give it a try.

3. Take steps to keep your anxiety in check.  Usually we consume certain substances as a way to cope with life stressors.  You may have been using caffeine to help you cope with anxiety felt from working or studying in a high stress environment where you've had little sleep and little rest.  The truth is that caffeine gives you a false energy that will eventually catch up with you.  It's like allowing your gas tank to get to empty-sure you can squeeze out a few more miles, but you're doing major damage to your engine.  I find that daily meditation has helped me immensely in this regard.  Studies have consistently shown that 15 minutes or more of daily meditation will help reduce anxiety levels exponentially.  I know first hand how daunting meditation can seem, but a little secret I realized is that meditation is just breathing with your eyes closed. Yep, it's that simple so set your timer and breath deeply.

A colleague of mine recently turned me on to this amazing tea by Yogi called Classic India Spice.  It is basically all the spices that are in chai tea without the black tea, meaning it's entirely caffeine free.  One of my favorite teas, by far!

 Yogi tea is only $3.99 at Essence of Life in Kensington market

The best thing about Yogi tea? The little pearls of wisdom that come written on each tea bag.

Have a calm, relaxing, caffeine-free day.

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