Coffee: Friend or Foe?

I should warn you, this is not a balanced scientific evaluation of the pros and cons of coffee drinking.  If you want the chemistry lesson you can go ask my brother the chemist as I am sure he can draw the molecular structure for you, and he may or may not have a tattoo of it somewhere on his body (he has quite a few, so it’s hard to keep up.) If you are looking for cold hard facts on the matter, you will have to read several contradicting studies to get a grip on the issue because as far as I can tell, there is a new one every week.  One will say that caffeinated beverages are dehydrating while another will say it can prevent Parkinson’s and a variety of other diseases and so on, and so on . . .

Nope, this is just about my struggle with coffee.  I come from a long line of serious coffee drinkers.  My previously mentioned brother goes through at least a pot a day and if he doesn’t have a tattoo of the molecular structure of caffeine yet, he should.  He inherited his black coffee habit from my mother who’ after years of a pot of day, has weaned herself down to one cup a day (most days anyway) and follows it up with green and herbal tea for the rest of the day.  She has cut down due to an unfortunate heart palpitation situation, not at all by choice I can assure you. 

My father still drinks, to put it mildly, a hella lotta coffee.  As does my husband.  And my stepfather.  Not to mention the people at the chiropractor’s office I work out of.  And then my own history; about 15 years of coffee shop service.  Six of which were at a corporately owned and operated giant. 

I was late to the coffee game; I didn’t start drinking coffee until I was in college and even then it was the super sweet and (soy) milky variety.  Carmel Soy Latte was my middle name for a while, but I have never been fully comfortable with my coffee drinking ways.  I really like being in the tea drinker category.  I think it gives me an aura of health and a glow of saintly self contol. I also love all things British and therefore should choose tea over coffee anyday of the week.

Over the years I have given up the “joe” for months at a time.  During the last two years that I worked wearing a green be-siren-ed apron, I only really drank coffee for the last 6 months of it.  Once I gave up coffee because of the addiction factor and the first withdrawal headache was enough for me to go cold turkey.  And once I gave it up because I was “going raw’ and coffee is decidedly a cooked item.  Right now, I have a cup-a-day habit.  Part of me says, chill out, it’s just a cup a day and most wellness professionals will say a cup a day is fine.  But something in me, maybe the perfectionist part, says I shouldn’t have any of it at all.

I’m not in it for the caffeine, although it is sometimes a nice little boost in the a.m.  I think it’s the ritual.  But then, if that is the case, a cup of tea should work just fine.  Maybe I am harboring a baby addiction, because if I wasn’t I wouldn’t be rambling on like this.

When I started drinking coffee again, I justified it by reasoning it was just getting through finals, and then it was to get through the transition from barista to full time massage therapist, and now? Well right now I have about 3/4 of a pound of Christmas Blend left over and obviously I can’t let that go bad. . .

I will say I like being off coffee because it increases my sensitvity to it so if I am really tired I get a massive boost, and in most cases it can knock out a headache. And then there is that whole saintly British thing.

Obviously I have too much time on my hands if this is what I am worrying about, or maybe, I just have too much coffee in my system. Maybe tomorrow will be the day I start with a nice glass of green juice or perhaps a cup of Earl Grey, or perhaps I will just wait until I finish that bag of Christmas blend. . .

Any other coffee drinkers out there think the should get off the sauce? Or defend the habit?

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