The Coffee Culture

Updated: Jun 3, 2019

Thirty-four years ago, I gave up drinking coffee for the first time when I was breastfeeding my third baby... to see if it would help her sleep pattern. I remember that it made a difference for her, but what I remember most is how much softer I felt without the daily addition of coffee to my diet. Recently I've been attempting to give it up again... this time for my liver! And coincidentally, the same daughter who lives 14,000 miles away from me on another continent, has just made the same decision... unaware of my new choice. All life is indeed connected and DNA is definitely shared.

This time I've noticed how strong the pull is to continue drinking coffee. Again I noticed how more than 2 weeks without it has changed my personality and I've become someone softer, gentler, more allowing, more compassionate.

I keep having flashes of standing in queues in Costa or Starbucks in London when I've been passing through, and watching the workers rush in for their take-away-coffee-fix in their personal mug. Queues that continued all day every day - to keep them all focused, driven, but most of all.... surviving.

As I register the personal positive impact of drinking no coffee, I find myself dreaming into how the world would be different without it.

I notice that, just like alcohol, some people who are addicted to it will say "I don't even really like the taste of it". Yet the body craves the chemical rush that occurs when caffeine hits the bloodstream and we find ourselves suddenly more focused, motivated, clear-headed and determined. For some the caffeine causes such a rush their nervous system can't handle the stimulus, so they avoid it completely. For me, coffee seems to calm my nervous system and give me a feeling of being more grounded, and yet I know I won't sleep if I drink it after midday.

I've had clients who were drinking 15 cups a day and wondering why they had severe bladder pain and other body symptoms. I've known people who can drink coffee and go to sleep immediately. This is a sign of a very congested liver which has lost the ability to respond. I've known others who will suffer from constipation without the coffee, which acts as a bowel irritant. We all have our own reasons for consuming this globally popular beverage.

In some cultures very strong sweet coffee is the reason for a social gathering and supportive friendships. A regular meeting place in a town or village, where connections are maintained and decisions made. And although the British have made an art of afternoon tea, that too has changed and in some circles it's now considered a bit odd to go out with friends and not have the coffee and cake combo.

What intrigues me most is the subtle way that constant coffee intake is supporting an unsustainable way of life, at least in the western culture. Adrenal exhaustion is a common occurrence and coffee is one of the main options we use to mask our tiredness and often a lack of whole-hearted interest in the way we earn our living. Barbara Wren, famous UK nutritionist says that when we drink one cup of coffee we need to drink an additional 4 glasses of water to balance the dehydrating effect on the body (on top of the 8 glasses she recommends anyway). She also says that dehydration takes us into fear and disconnects us from ourselves.

The huge rise in depression and the drug culture associated with it, is also partly fed by coffee intake. A fully functioning brain is 80% water so the brain is the first place to register dehydration. In depression the brain can be dehydrated to as much as 40% of its normal capacity. This creates a person who is very cut off from their full potential and the full experience of inner wisdom.

If stagnation becomes extreme it can affect brain function quite dramatically, so it’s not easy to think clearly, make decisions, see choices and the person becomes more and more cut off from the universe, behaving without reference to what is really going on outside, and finding socialising difficult. When a person is very dry there is a strong message of fear coming from within their own body.

And often, they'll drink more coffee because they believe it helps them to "think clearly, make decisions, see choices" etc. but instead it's making them more and more dehydrated.

Anything we ingest that has a dehydrating effect in the body is leading us away from our true purpose and the deeper connection to our heart and soul.

Then let's consider the latte options... the dairy element which is a strong part of the culture and is known to have an inflammatory effect on the intestines. Inflammation is sometimes also a result of dehydration. So it's often a double whammy.

Then we can go to the Bulletproof high fat trend and see how the liver is being totally overloaded by these recipes containing butter and oils. Yes, it's satisfying and energising and keeps your appetite low, but the liver will become congested. And if you take this as your first morning drink, you're immediately switching off the detoxification process in the liver and asking it to produce bile and breakdown fats. Whatever toxins remain unprocessed will begin to add to the general toxic load and contribute to overall stagnation. Be friendly to your liver and drink hot lemon water first thing, or give your whole body a tonic and try celery juice on an empty stomach. Coffee kills digestive enzymes in the stomach, so whatever you eat after your first coffee probably doesn't give you much nutrition, and then you'll reach for another coffee to keep going... it's a slippery slope. It also messes with your mineral levels, makes your kidneys overactive and affects your blood sugar balance.

I'm not much into conspiracy theories, but I see the subtle numbing and dumbing impact of high gluten wheat products in our world and the rising cancer, obesity and diabetes from sugar and carbohydrate addiction.

I'm suggesting we need to notice that coffee is feeding a completely different energy. An energy that potentially leads to aggression and disconnection, and maintains a lifestyle that drives the economy for those who are making the big money. As the "worker bees" I imagine there has to be a lot of investment in getting us addicted to coffee so we will keep over-riding our body's innate wisdom.

Anything we ingest that has a dehydrating effect in the body is leading us away from our true purpose and the deeper connection to our heart and soul.

And I still love the taste of coffee.

I've never been one to take a strong stance on dietary matters, although in my work I advise and educate from a place of knowing the impact of optimum nutrition. I also know that choosing the positive impact isn't a logical choice for people. Addiction is a powerful energy and my approach has always been to improve conscious awareness of what happens just before, or after, a particular food or drink is taken into the body. Experience is by far the best teacher.

So I now ask myself what feeling or thinking I'm wanting to distract myself from, when I have the urge to drink coffee.... and I sit with the uncomfortable awareness that as my softer more vulnerable self, I feel less safe in the world. With efficiency and competence as my primary defence for the whole of my life, approaching each day with an undefended heart can actually feel risky.

But letting go of judgement and living with warmth and heart-felt care for myself and others is a beautiful pay-off for engaging my willpower a little, and I hope makes me a force for good in this world.

I'm looking forward to trying a chicory substitute... a friend tells me it's even better than coffee ....and it contains pre-biotics that improve digestion and gut health. Perfect.

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