“The more abstract the truth you want to teach the more you must seduce the senses to it. - Friedrich Nietzche
Article Quick Glimpse
History of coffee
What happens in your body
Coffee benefits - mainly polyphenols and antioxidants
Drink plenty of water and salts before drinking coffee
The importance of Caffeine Fasts due to the severity of Caffeine Tolerance and the cues to know your in the optimal Caffeine Sensitive Zone
The importance of coffee curfews due to the long half life of caffeine. Caffeine increases cortisol preventing quality sleep
Choose quality coffee as coffee can be full of mould toxins. In short always buy organic fresh roasted beans, keep the bags sealed and do not keep the beans for too long. As a tip perhaps buy smaller bags so you finish the bad more quickly.
Coffee enhances fasting
Blend with good quality fats to make a Bulletproof Coffee
If you do not feel a large buzz from one cup of coffee you are tolerant and you need a break (3 days off 1 day on 2 days off minimum)
Coffee is great for performance Mental and Physical so use appropriately
Caffeine curfews are essential no caffeine or coffee after 2pm period
Coffee hangovers are a thing
Caffeine fasts are essential
The quality of coffee is critical - organic - fresh - mould toxin free - single origin - buy coffee from roasters and health shops
Coffee is originally a bean that comes from Ethiopia and was brewed into a drink that was used for religious chanting. The brew's purpose was to help spiritual practices go on throughout the night. The first records of coffee being used is in the 1500’s.
The beans eventually made their way through schools and authorities till it got to Cairo in Egypt. It was used in schools and authority provinces to help people learn better and stay awake late at night. Once it got here coffee houses became popular, people would talk, learn and pass coffee pots around. They became popular socialising spots. They even tried to ban coffee as religious authorities recognised it as a forbidden drink.
As Egypt had close relations with Europe, eventually the beans made their way to Europe. Coffee production quickly went through Europe. When the Dutch got a hold of the brew, they took it on explorations to America and Asia and the rest is simply history.
Coffee has been a part of our lives since the 1600’s-1700’s.
Would you have guessed that the coffee culture of enjoying coffee in coffee houses, schools of learning and authorities have been around since the 1500’s?
What Does Coffee Do In The Body?
Coffee affects you in 3 ways, it affects your:
Coffee in the Brain
Coffee/caffeine are known to affect the limbic system, but data on the influence of coffee and coffee constituents on neurotransmitter release is limited.
Increased calcium signaling and dopamine release. Increased calcium signaling is a difficult concept to describe: basically it means your cells are more responsive by:
Increasing the speed and ease of muscle contraction
Increasing muscle regeneration
Increasing speed and use of brain activity (neuroplasticity)
Coffee as a rule develops stimulating effects on the central nervous system, heart and circulation which is mainly caused by caffeine.
Controlled studies in humans show that coffee can improve different aspects of brain function. You will see below why, how and where.
Coffee affects 3 different chemicals in the brain:
Increases Dopamine - Dopamine is a mood stimulating chemical.
Decreases Adenosine - Adenosine promotes sleep and supressess arousal.
Increases Norepinephrine - Norepinephrine moves via adrenaline pathways and is stimulating.
Dopamine contributes to feelings of:
a sense of fulfillment
Caffeine can immediately improve mood by stimulating dopamine. Caffeine whilst stimulating dopamine depletes serotonin over time and therefore, consistently using coffee will cause you to feel worse.
When serotonin starts to deplete it is (quite literally) not a laughing matter.
Serotonin is critical to regulating:
carbohydrate & sugar cravings
Low levels of serotonin have also been associated with a decrease in immune function.
These are sometimes known as caffeine hangovers. Caffeine hangovers occur when you are a regular coffee drinker and you stop drinking coffee (more on this later).
Dopamine plays a role in how we feel pleasure. It's a big part of our unique human ability to think and plan. It helps us strive, focus, and find things interesting.
It affects many parts of your behavior and physical functions, such as:
Control of nausea and vomiting
Heart and kidney function
Memory and focus
Mood and emotions
Pancreatic function and insulin regulation
Pleasure and reward seeking behavior
In the brain adenosine is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. Meaning it prevents some brain activity when needed, such as slowing down the brain to promote sleep and suppressing arousal. This means, adenosine can act as a central nervous system depressant. When awake the levels of adenosine in the brain rise each hour. Hence, why you may feel the need for two coffees during the day.
You can see why your body might like caffeine in the short term, especially if you are low on sleep and you need to remain active.
Norepinephrine is a naturally occurring catecholamine hormone…….what the hell is that?
It is a hormone made by your adrenal glands, which are located on top of your kidneys.
It functions as a neurotransmitter in the sympathetic nervous system.
The sympathetic nervous system is the positive or negative stress response state your body uses like going to the gym, running really late for work or doing a presentation).
Norepinephrine is used in adrenalin.
Basically it stimulates your body and brain through the adrenal glands located near your kidneys. Coffee is a big stimulator of these glands and this hormone.
Neuroeprineprhine causes certain adrenal receptors to do the following:
causes an increase in the force at which the heart muscle contracts
Increases heart rate
Lungs airways to be less tightened
Allows more volume of blood to flow through the body
Coffee through caffeine through norepinephrine injects adrenaline into the system to give you a boost.
2. Coffee in the Body
THE BODY WILL BUILD A TOLERANCE TO THE EFFECTS OF CAFFEINE IF CONSUMED EVERYDAY.
Tolerance to caffeine through coffee unfortunately builds up rapidly within 2 -3 days.
Caffeine has a range of performance benefits affecting the heart, lungs and muscle fibres. After a few days of using the adrenal glands the body basically wears out (more on this in the benefits section below).
As the adrenal system gets used it also needs a rest to recover. Hence, the need for coffee curfews and caffeine fasts. Also, constant use causes caffeine or coffee hangovers.
3. Coffee in the Gut
Coffee leads to a more diverse background of bacteria in the gut leading to better nutrient absorption (which is the most important ever), energy balance and immune system strength. Bacteria in the gut control your overall health over your entire body from your gut to your brain and all your organs.
However, if you are not in optimal health or you do not have optimal gut health and you have conditions such as IBS, or you drink too much coffee it can have a negative effect on gut health and may cause ulcers, discomfort and make gut health worse. Everything is good in moderation. We are not supposed to be drinking coffee everyday….as depressing as that is.
Coffee also cleans out the colon i.e. makes you need to go to the toilet.
Caffiene itself is a stimulant to clean out your bowels but the coffee been helps stimulate gastrin which is a hormone that signals the bowels to get a move on. The coffee bean also stimulate cholecystokinin (CCK) which is a a digestive hormone.
Hence, combining fasting and black coffee are powerful and fasting is also really handy for cleansing the gut and colon.
The Benefits of the Brew
One awesome thing about coffee specifically is that the bean is really high in antioxidants and the brewing method increases the amount of antioxidants high enough to protect against alzhiemers.
Free radicals are always being formed in your body and come from all types of lifestyle stress, pollution and chemicals. Without antioxidants free radicals cause oxidative stress on the body (which is really not good...DNA damaging. You do need some free radicals so having the right balance of antioxidants and free radicals is essential.
I do believe we are more exposed to free radicals than ever before so a real generous amount of antioxidants is needed daily. How good that coffee can contribute to this.
Studies show that caffeine enhances short term memory, mainly in the morning. Long term memory is not affected.
This study shows that although short term memory can be beneficial with a cup of coffee, too much caffeine in coffee can have the opposite effect and prevent blood flow to the brain. Again, everything in moderation.
Recommend: One cup per day, two if it is going to be a long day. Be sure to regularly detox from caffeine, stick to a caffeine curfew of 2pm and be aware of the triggers. Caffeine is awesome but it is still a drug.
Prevent Cognitive decline
Another study found “That the benefits of coffee that protect the brain and cognitive performance are not due to caffeine alone, but rather to other bioactive compounds in coffee.” This means that coffee can decrease motor and cognitive deficits in aging. Again, how good.
Type 2 diabetes
Slightly increased insulin sensitivity
Coffee is good for your liver!
One study concludes: “The data from this survey supports the fact that there is an ingredient in coffee that protects against cirrhosis, especially alcoholic cirrhosis (cirrhosis is liver damage or liver being over stressed and breaking down).
Meaning coffee supports your liver and prevents it from breaking down when it's under heavy load such as drinking alcohol. Amazing.
Studies show 100mg of caffeine increased the resting metabolic rate of both lean and postobese human volunteers by 3-4% over 150 min. Metabolic rate is the energy expenditure an animal has over a period of time. In other words how fast you burn calories.
They also show an increase in thermogenesis for postobese subjects. Thermogenesis is the process in which we lose energy through consumed food via the body creating heat. This means we burn more calories. In other terms if facilitated correctly, if the body is healthy and hydrated, coffee’s thermogenic effect can really help with fat loss.
Special Note* A cappuccino, frappe, latte dripping in sugar will NOT help with fat loss; there are too many calories. Any black style of coffee will come with these benefits including a firm 0 calories.
Caffeine can be used as an ergogenic aid. An ergogenic aid is simply anything that increases mental and physical performance. Studies have shown that caffeine increases energy output and mental focus in healthy adults but mainly endurance performers.
How To Best Prepare Your Body For Coffee
It is critically important to remember that coffee is ALWAYS A STRESS TO YOUR BODY.
Caffeine is a micro stress dose to your body and a larger stress dose if you have way too much. Therefore, it is important to remember that adrenal glands are used for:
Increased heart rate
🔑 So the KEY here is to support your adrenals.
How do we support our adrenals?
Firstly they are located at the top of your kidneys so being well hydrated is critically important. Dehydration causes stress on your body and can cause your adrenals to release cortisol.
If you would like to learn more about hydration please click on this link to do so.
Adrenal fatigue comes from high stress levels and poor food choices. Some foods and practices that can put stress on your adrenals are:
If you love coffee and would like to drink it regularly please be aware of this and support your adrenals to support your coffee drinking which will support your health, immune system, longevity, prevent burnout and increase happiness and comfort.
How to support your body
To support yourself as a coffee addict if you are one simply being aware of this is so important.
What you can do is:
Attempt to drink close to a litre of water first thing in the morning BEFORE coffee (again look at the hydration article here to find out why).
Be aware of your hydration throughout the day, are you getting enough salt and water?
Avoid food that is going to put more stress on your adrenals. Simply don’t eat it if you’re drinking lots of coffee (see a shopping list here with a screenshot you can use when buying food that is fukll of adrenal supporting food and no adrenal stressful food).
Caffeine has a half life of 6 hours, again set yourself a caffeine curfew. No tea or coffee after something like 2pm.
Ashwagandha which is a medicinal mushroom is studied to reduce overall stress levels successfully and reduce the amount of cortisol produced, decrease blood pressure and support adrenaline. You can take it in a powder or liquid form.
This is a great supplement to support your adrenals but is second to giving them a break. Many off the shelf “adrenal support supplements” carry ashwagandha. I prefer getting the pure stuff. Ashwagandha is also known as withania.
Caffeine Fasts & Coffee Curfews
I have mentioned before how important caffeine fasts and coffee curfews are.
Your body starts to build a strong tolerance to coffee over three days of drinking it every day. Imagine the tolerance it has after months?
A caffeine fast is simply giving your body time to remove the tolerance it has built up to it. You need a break from coffee/caffeine to put less stress on your body and your adrenals.
Giving your body this time also prevents your body from receiving any of the adverse effects coffee has on the body.
This time will decrease the daily amount of coffees you need per day putting less stress on your adrenals preventing any burnout you may be having due to coffee and also allow you body to be MORE sensitive so you will need less.
I am going to repeat that: Having a break from coffee will make you more sensitive to it and you will need less.
If you take one thing away from this article may it be that coffee is supposed to give you quite a buzz if one cup is not giving you a buzz you have a tolerance and you need a small break.
How to caffeine fast:
If you have been drinking coffee daily for a long time. Your body will need a week or more without it to reduce its tolerance.
What I recommend:
If you are strong go a week or more cold turkey no coffee or tea
If you simply can’t do that the next best recommendation is to test the waters by dipping your toe in and out.
I strongly recommend 3 days no caffeine but 2 in a row may work as well
Once you have gone 2-3 days without coffee, have one and see what happens
You may feel a large crash from it, this is part of your caffeine hangover this means you need another 2 days before having a coffee again
If you have a coffee and you feel a good buzz and no crash, your sensitivity is back and that is a good sign
Caffeine hangovers are a thing if you feel tired and helpless for those days without a coffee…..you are supposed to feel that. When you wake up and you are not feeling down and lethargic that is a good sign your tolerance has gone.
To keep your tolerance I strongly suggest having intentional days per week with no coffee
2 days in a row per week with no coffee is best
2 - 3 separate days with no coffee if you do not need one
1 day with no coffee but replace coffee for 1 to 2 extra days with a high quality green matcha tea ceremonial grade (the caffeine is less and the quality of caffeine is much better)
Caffeine curfews are so crucial for your health. If you have read most of this article you know that caffeine stimulates your adrenal glands to release cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that is needed to decrease to basically nothing at night time so your melatonin hormone can increase.
Melatonin helps your body repair and get into a good quality sleep but it will not increase if any cortisol is present.
Coffee = cortisol, caffeine has a half life of 6 hours. Therefore, if you have a coffee at 5 pm and as an example it has 200mg caffeine at 11pm you will still have 100mg of caffeine in your system meaning cortisol is running wild before melatonin gets a chance to do its thing. To read more on cortisol melatonin and sleep click HERE.
If you look at the history section in this article coffee has been mainly used to keep people awake to study or work.
Caffeine tolerance could make this worse as you have had a few coffees throughout the day so you will have more caffeine in your system our body needs to digest.
You do not want to be doing this every night. It is too much stress on your body and your adrenals you feel burnout and become quite addicted to the feeling of needing a coffee to function.
Therefore, setting yourself a strict time of 1-3pm to have your last coffee is essential for your health and your relationship with coffee. Remember caffeine is a drug, everything in moderation and these are strategies for moderation.
Mixing caffeine curfews and weekly caffeine fasts will improve your relationship and sensitivity with coffee. If you want to get the most out of coffee and live as healthy and as optimally as possible this can work for you.
I use these methods myself and it works for me. I love coffee and I regularly become too tolerant as I sometimes forget to have a caffeine fast. However I do follow these strategies to get back to a caffeine sensitive state and enjoy the coffee.
You can tell when you have had a caffeine fast, and you get to enjoy an espresso (my favorite). It will hit you something fierce. It is an amazing buzz and you will say to yourself “ahhh this is definately how coffee is supposed to feel”.
What Is Quality Coffee? Why Should I Get It? What Do I Look For?
Coffee beans are known to grow tiny moulds that produce mycotoxins. These are not good for your body, have poor quality caffeine and can ruin the effects and benefits coffee can give you. You know the coffee beans are not good if the coffee tastes real bitter like it needs sugar.
Blends of coffee are also not the smartest idea as a lot of the time they mix old toxic beans with the good fresh ones. Arabica beans are the most likely to have less toxins.
Any old, non fresh non-organic beans will have this.
You know you are drinking the wrong coffee if it has the following:
It's instant - the coffee has already been cooked and dried, instant coffee is full of bad mould and mycotoxins that can affect you if you have autoimmune problems, your brain and your health. Remove it from your environment and stick to the good stuff.
You feel a crash from it even if you are sensitive
You feel a crash later on in the day even if you are sensitive
What to look for:
Look for roasteries close by, in Adelaide you do not have to look far
Make sure the beans are organic
Roasters should have beans that they have roasted within a week or two GET THOSE
Look for beans that come from Central America like Peru they are been known to be the freshest
Only choose single bean origins
Always ask which coffee has been imported the quickest, which beans have been roasted the shortest time from now
Do not keep coffee in the house for too long, drink it all within a few weeks.
Buy the size of bags of beans you know will only last a few weeks do not bulk buy unless there is a few of you who will finish them
IMPORTANT: When buying or going out for coffee stick to the following checklist:
Single bean (single-origin) not blends
Fresh beans from Central America are best
Furthermore, coffee has so many historical ways of making coffee. Get used to making your own coffee from your freshly roasted beans and experiment with all the ways of brewing coffee until you find your favourite.
Coffee Can Enhance Your Intermittent Fasts
Firstly black coffee has close to 0 calories so it is unlikely to break a fast. The additives in coffee such as milk and sugar definitely will.
Coffee can enhance fatty acid mobilisation from adipose tissue and metabolism. Fasting and intermittent fasting is another method of achieving these results. By combining fasting and coffee you can further increase the benefits of fatty acid mobilisation and metabolism.
Fatty acid mobilisation: Fat stores being used as energy
Adipose tissue: Stubborn fat stores
Therefore, it is beneficial to make sure you are plenty caffeine sensitive when fasting to increase some of the benefits of fasting.
Why And When You Should Blend Fats Into Your Coffee? (Bulletproof Coffee)
This is very simple.
Why: Caffeine binds to the fat cells once blended which gives you a much longer caffeine high or buzz without a crash.
Why not: Many calories consumed
When you’re diet involves less carbs and your body is more fat adapted you will get better results
When you are caffeine sensitive and healthy
When you know you are in for a big day to get stuff done
Note* This strongly increases the buzz from caffeine use appropriately.
In a blender, blend a mix of the below with coffee:
Coconut oil or grass fed butter or both
Extras add cinnamon
Medicinal mushrooms like lion's mane ;)
Some people also use almond or cashew butter
The Triggers You Need to Takeaway
Caffeine hangovers happen when you do not get a buzz from caffeine and you have some days avoiding caffeine and you will feel down, depressed and lethargic. Know this is temporary and you body is withdrawing
Your caffeine is over when you feel great and energetic throughout the day without coffee
When you do not feel a large rush of energy from a coffee you are tolerant and you need to try a Caffeine Fast.
If you struggle to wake up in the morning or struggle to sleep at night you either need to try a caffeine fast or re-adjust your Caffeine Curfew. Notice when you struggle to sleep and struggle to wake up and when you last had a coffee. You may need to reduce the time. My caffeine curfew went from 3pm to 11am. If I have a coffee after 11am it affects me.
A Friendly Reminder What Substances Have Caffeine
Caffeine in common substances
Source Caffeine (mg)
Espresso (50mL cup) 150 – 200 mg
Small energy drink (250mL can) 80 – 100 mg
Instant coffee (1 teaspoon) 60 – 80 mg
Dark chocolate (50g bar) 60 mg
Black tea (250mL cup) 50 mg
Cola (375mL can) 50 mg
Milk chocolate (50g bar) 10 mg
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