By Jane Barthelemy.
85% of Americans use caffeine on a daily basis. America’s coffee obsession is a roaring $30 billion industry! We drink an estimated 400 million cups of Joe per day. However, if you’re a daring soul like me that wants to be truly healthy, here’s a delicious alternative. Hint: Coffee depletes the kidney energy in TCM, and that’s bad news for your creativity, libido, hair, and FEAR. Yep.
Are you addicted?
Do you drink more than 4 cups of coffee or caffeinated beverages per day? When you don’t have your usual dose, do you feel tired, irritable, depressed, disoriented, irritable or headaches? If you answered YES, then chances are you are addicted.
Coffee is a tough habit to kick, and many people can’t get through the day without their daily jolt. But that morning cup of coffee sets the body up for a roller-coaster of highs and lows all day. When it bottoms out a few hours later and the artificial high is gone, what do you do? Do you reach for a lift with another cup of coffee or something sweet? Coffee and sugar together are the dynamic duo responsible for much of our chronic disease.
Avoid Coffee Dehydration
Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it pulls liquid from your tissues through the kidneys into the bladder, causing you to pee more. You can easily test yourself for dehydration: If your urine is clear to straw-colored, it indicates you’re well hydrated. If your urine is dark or yellow, it indicates dehydration. Drink water.
Water is the foundation for our immune system. Like the moat around a castle, water is necessary for a strong defense. Caffeine (and alcohol) can cause Hyponatremia, an electrolyte imbalance. You can correct that by drinking pure water in moderate amounts. Establish a healthy water-electrolyte balance in your body over time by drinking plenty of pure water every day. Instead of coffee, consider starting your day with several cups of warm lemon water. Also make sure you are getting ample minerals in your food nutrition, because much of our food is surprisingly low in mineral content, which is necessary for H2O absorption. And since every cell in our body is housed in a membrane of lipid fats, eat lots of healthy fats to support cellular health. Healthy fats include grass fed butter, Ghee, coconut oil, and pure unmixed 100% olive oil.
Coffee is an empty food.
Coffee consumption began in the Arab world in the 9th century. It was briefly outlawed in the Middle East because it made people crazy. But that all changed and it arrived in Europe around the 15th century. Soon worldwide coffee trade swept the globe during colonization of the New World, simultaneously with sugar, cacao, African slavery, and maritime pirates. Yep. Coffee is an empty food that contains no redeeming nutritional value. Coffee has no vitamins, minerals, fat, protein or carbohydrates. So, why do we drink it?
Coffee does have its benefits.
Caffeine temporarily boosts our energy level, giving us the ability to focus and drive through short-term challenging activities. To do this, it harnesses the power of the kidneys, like adrenalin. When I’m on caffeine, I feel stronger, sexier, more vital. Woo hoo! However the short-term benefit can’t last forever. The bitter truth is, that burst of energy you feel is not real. It’s a lie. Chinese medicine says that coffee drains kidney qi, or the elemental energy stores of your life called Jing. This is your personal life force and it can easily be squandered by stress, overwork, or not enough rest. Like sugar, caffeine gathers the kidney qi and disperses it throughout the body. Chinese medicine says that kidney qi or Jing is the complete store of your energy resources. It is a combination of the original qi from your parents at the moment of conception, plus the energy or qi that you cultivate in your lifetime. A balanced life builds Jing. An unbalanced life squanders it. Jing is your emergency resource, your secret power, like a savings account in the bank. If you use it all today, you might be left with nothing tomorrow. Drinking caffeine every day is like spending ALL your money every day down to the last drop without thinking of tomorrow, let alone retirement. Kidney qi should stay in the bank for a long, healthy life.
But it gets worse. Coffee is a top cross-reactor with gluten.
Even decaf coffee! If you’re off gluten and still feel funny digestion, try eliminating coffee. See my article: Top 10 Gluten Cross-Reactive Foods to Avoid.
BIG Hint: Coffee Depletes The Kidney System in Chinese Medicine
How does that affect you? Well, it slowly steals away your essence. In Chinese medicine, the Kidney is responsible for far more than filtering the lymph. The Kidney supplies Jing to all organs. It is like the FIRST organ, which stores Jing, our congenital & acquired essence. The Kidney houses the Yang will & Yin will. Your generosity, creativity, desire, and libido are all generated by the Kidneys. The Kidney also rules the bones, spine, and bone marrow. It rules the ear and hearing. The Kidney provides digestive fire for the Spleen and warmth to the Heart. It generates the brain and nervous system. The Kidney controls hair and graying of hair. It rules the knees. Low Kidney qi can lead to low creativity, libido, and incontinence. The Kidney generates fear, and an awareness when there is danger. But sometimes FEAR is a signal that your Kidney meridian needs attention. Quit your coffee, and you’ll notice your level of fear drops.
My Personal Story of Weak Kidney Qi
When I was very ill, weak, addicted to coffee, fearful, and spending my energy unwisely, my hair became very thin. The hair on my legs was almost nothing, and I didn’t exactly mind that. But then my eyebrows thinned to almost nothing. That was the year I carefully painted my eyebrows every day and began to make changes in my life. I became more aware of how I used my energy every day. I studied QiGong, Yoga, TaiChi. I changed my diet, wrote my cookbooks, and started this blog. Now ten years later, I’m not afraid of anything. The hair on my legs is thick and bushy. Ha Ha! The hair on my head is a rich mass. And my eyebrows have long hairs that disturb the facial practitioners. My beautician asks: “Can I pull these long ugly eyebrow hairs?” I fearlessly say “NO!” It’s a reminder that my kidney Qi is strong, and I’m so happy.
Kidneys are the Congenital Root of Life – ARE YOU WITH ME HERE?
Kidney energy controls sexual energy, libido, and creativity. A steady diet of caffeine slowly drains your original energy, depleting your sexual desire and power. Coffee steals this all this away from you so slowly you don’t notice. When your essence is gone, you die. Hey! Does this mean that all that power and stamina I feel from coffee is slowly making me weaker, less sexual, less creative, and less vital? YESSSS! Perhaps it’s no wonder we’ve got a society of wimpy, weak kidneys and low sexual vitality. Fortunately there’s an easy solution! Read about the Kidneys in my healing website here.
My other secret solution is to snack on 100% chocolate, which is loaded with happiness chemicals like dopamine, phenylalanine, serotonins, endorphins, and a LITTLE bit of caffeine. Best quality pure chocolate is quite tasty. Cheap 100% chocolate is terribly bitter, but does the trick. It’s important to use 100% chocolate, which means “dark chocolate” is out. Anything over 35% cacao is defined by the food industry as “dark chocolate”. We know the rest is most likely sugar – not your friend.
Here’s a Healthy “Coffee” Recipe!
This Paleo Brew is gentle on the kidneys and protects your vital energy. It tastes so delicious you won’t miss that expensive Starbuck’s Caramel Macchiato with whipped cream. The recipe uses any roasted chicory and dandelion root granules, available in most whole food stores or online at Frontier Coop or Mountain Rose Herbs. Look for roasted dandelion root granules or roasted chicory root granules, organic if possible. You can also buy the unroasted granules and roast them yourself in the oven.
You can brew this just like coffee!
Add the flavorings of your choice. Yield: Two 16-ounce cups of Joe. Equipment Needed: A French press coffeemaker, or a fine-mesh tea strainer will do.
- 1 tablespoon roasted chicory root granules
- 1 tablespoon roasted dandelion root granules
- (Buy them online from MountainRoseHerbs.com or buy Frontier brand at Amazon.com.)
- 4 cups boiling filtered water
- Place the granules in a French press (or saucepan) and fill it with the boiling water.
- Let steep for 2-5 minutes.
- Then press the plunger (or strain with a sieve).
- Pour into two large coffee mugs, and enjoy!
Creamer: Add unsweetened coconut milk, or any alternative milk.
Sweetener: Add a few teaspoons of Just Like Sugar Table Top natural chicory root sweetener, 1/4 teaspoon PureLo Lo Han Sweetener by Swanson, or 1 teaspoon raw honey, or your favorite sweetener.
Chocolate: Add 1 to 3 teaspoons of pure cacao powder.
Cinnamon: Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
Nutmeg: Add 1/8 teaspoon of grated nutmeg.
Vanilla: Add 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.
Salted Caramel: Add 1 tablespoon of raw yacón syrup plus 2 pinches of unprocessed salt.
Maple: Add 1/8 teaspoon maple flavoring to your cup.
85% of Americans are addicted to caffeine. Are you?