To Have or Not To Have Coffee… (A Nexerciser’s Story)

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English: New Year's Day postcard. Reads: "...

English: New Year’s Day postcard. Reads: “A New Year’s Resolution / Jan. 1st / To Gossip, Slang and Cuss words / I’ll bid a last “Adieu” / And place a bridle on my tongue / And thoughtless actions, too!” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


As New Year’s rolls around, I started thinking of a New Year’s Resolution for 2014. Though losing weight is still a work in progress, I have been very dedicated to exercise and Nexercise. So exercise as a resolution seems unnecessary as it is now a part of my lifestyle since September.

So what in my life can I change, if anything? I am not someone who consistently and vigorously looks for resolutions every year and then follows them. Honestly, my New Year’s Resolutions the past few years has been to become more committed to a healthy lifestyle by exercising daily. I failed miserably at that for many years but thanks to Nexercise, it seems I have found a way to reach this goal. So what else is there? I cookgood homemade meals with appropriate proportions. I monitor what I eat but without so much dieting – just eating healthy. Of course, I allow myself the occasional meal out for special events. So changing eating habits isn’t something I need to put on my resolution list.

photo 5There has always been one of my habits that I have always questioned…my morning coffee. I never used to drink coffee until about 9 years ago when I was 20/21 years old. I never liked it to begin with but it became routine around going for “coffee” with friends or having my morning cup of joe. And I started to like it. Unfortunately, I don’t like coffee black. I like the cream added in or the nice tasty delicious white chocolate peppermint mochas, caramel macchiatos, and all those “oh, so good” but so bad for you coffees. My liquid calories based on coffee is ridiculous. Luckily, I am pretty reasonable with my coffee – I have one coffee made from my Tassimo in the morning (I long ago gave up my daily Tim Horton’s cappuccino because of this machine).

photo 1My black coffee brewed from the Tassimo has barely any calories but the cream I add is over 100 calories in each cup/mug for how much I add in to make my coffee taste the way I want. It has been my morning friend but also my worst calorie enemy!

It isn’t an easy decision but for my health, not drinking coffee will be a beneficial change to my new lifestyle since I can’t give up the cream.

The next step I did was to research some of the opinions on articles through the internet. I found some opinion based, some doctor based, some fitness expert based, some with others who tried the same “no coffee” idea as myself. In the end, coffee did not seem that bad for you. Some research shows that coffee beans can actually have some benefits. However, in the end, the way I drink coffee – which is to perk up in the morning and with lots of cream, my coffee habit and its liquid calories are hurting me, even if just a little.

I started my no more coffee on December 30, 2013. I decided that because since I am a teacher and was off until January 6, 2014, it might be better to quit earlier then when almost back to work. I was hoping the cleanse will help me return work with very little side effects. To start this resolution, I had a tea in the morning and then usually a tea in the afternoon. I even would have a tea (made sure this one was decaffeinated of course) before bed – helped me to relax and get ready to sleep. The first few days I had a mild headache that lingered for a few hours around mid-morning until just after lunch. I found drinking lots of water, having a tea to sip on, even exercising, or just relaxing helped the headache to taper off. The first couple weeks of no more coffee weren’t as hard as I imagined it to be. There are so many varieties of teas that I found myself really enjoying different types and flavours! I still even have some with some little caffeine in them but not requiring my high doses of flavoured creamer. I’ve completely stopped using cream and I don’t even buy it anymore (another bonus – this one to my finances)!

As for the types, in the beginning of this resolution, I saw a question in one of my Nexercise Facebook groups which was “what was mate?”… so that started me thinking – what are all the kinds of tea we drink? I really like herbal tea. (There is argument if herbal is really tea. I don’t really care – it tastes good and is healthy for you!) So I looked into different teas and found one website that was really helpful at describing all the different teas and their specific benefit in drinking them.

Here is a brief look at the information I found:

  1. Green tea (made with steamed tea leaves) – may prevent growth of some cancers, may prevent clogging of arteries, burn fat, reduce stress on brain, reduce risk of neurological disorders (such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s), reduce risk of stroke, improve cholesterol levels
  2. Black tea (made with fermented tea leaves) – reduce risk of stroke, prevent lung damage from smoking. Has highest amount of caffeine but still largely less amount than coffee for many flavours of black tea
  3. White tea (uncured and unfermented) – has strongest anticancer properties
  4. Oolong tea – lower cholesterol levels, may be a weight loss help (unproven)
  5. Pu-erh tea (made from fermented and aged tea leaves) – reduced cholesterol, may be weight loss help
  6. Herbal tea (made from herbs, fruits, seeds, , or roots) – may help shed pounds, help and keep away colds, help with restful sleep. Some of the herbal tea types have other specific benefits. Chamomile may help with complications of diabetes, vision loss, damage to kidney and nerves, and fight growth of cancer cells. Echinacea may help with the common cold. To reduce blood pressure, it is possible drinking herbal teas with hibiscus in it three times a day will help. Rooibos tea (known as a red tea) is a fermented South African herb said to have cancer-fighting abilities.

Really – any tea is good for you – they just all have different benefits. The best benefit of any tea is that it hydrates you, as it is said that coffee does dehydrate you.

If reading my blog has made you stop and think about your coffee and if you want to make that same step as me, you may ask yourself the same question I did. Why should I? When I considered doing this, I did a lot of research. I felt this would help me in my decision.

Several benefits include:

  1. boosted endurance
  2. reduce risk of heart attack, cardiovascular, and degenerative diseases
  3. might help protect in various cancers
  4. may help fight free radicals (free radicals attack DNA and are linked to cancers)
  5. tea is hydrating (even the caffeine ones)
  6. drinking tea is connected to a lower risk of Parkinson’s Disease
  7. tea might produce more protection to Ultraviolet Rays
  8. Regular tea drinkers may help with waist line
  9. tea can help one’s body recover from radiation. Tea is good for the skin!
  10. tea is a preventative and a treatment for some neurological diseases
  11. green tea has been linked to stronger bone density

The benefits for me are very encouraging. As I ended the first few weeks of no coffee, I was amazed at how much my body actually doesn’t need coffee. I have really felt good. I wake up with no achy “I need coffee” feeling. I do feel even more energized. I had a cold during week two of this resolution so it was no problem to miss my coffee anymore as I was already drinking tea. I find that my evenings are much better now as well – I no longer feel completely exhausted by supper time. My energy seems consistent throughout the day. I drink my tea now for enjoyment and for something healthy and tasty, not for a boost of energy. I have had no headaches since the first few days of quitting coffee – I never use to go a week without at least one bad headache. The weight is dropping off faster which I am sure is related to quitting my coffee. The best way to describe my life without coffee is “freeing”. I honestly feel free of coffee – I don’t require it to rid me of headaches, to wake me up, to boost me, or to feel better.

One of the strong arguments against coffee is about the caffeine which wasn’t the main reason to quit coffee for myself. Some important information to understand is that there is caffeine in most teas. The bulk of the tea I drink is from David’s Tea. My favourite two morning teas are either Main Squeeze or Read My Lips. Main Squeeze is a very refreshing stimulant tea. Feels like a hit of orange juice and coffee in a tea format. Read My Lips is an almost sweet cinnamon chocolate peppermint tea. My go to afternoon tea is Strawberry Rhubarb Parfait (no caffeine). I often like to mix organic super ginger into my strawberry rhubarb tea. YES – you can mix teas!

All the teas listed through David’s Tea have a caffeine listing of 0-2 or Stimulant. I had no idea what the different levels of caffeine meant or even what Stimulant meant so I emailed them. This is the results they gave me:

0 – Caffeine-free – contain less than 1 mg of caffeine per cup

1 – Low caffeine – contain 1-35 mg of caffeine per cup

2 – Medium caffeine – contain 35-90 mg of caffeine per cup. Medium selection still means that you won’t be getting the high caffeine content of a cup of coffee.

S – Stimulants – because of their unique combination of stimulants (including caffeine) and their various effects, stimulant blends (yerba maté, guayusa, guarana) hold their own category. Think of these as being about the same as our “medium” blends or even higher.

I found this information interesting. I don’t need coffee (with cream) to get my caffeine fix. With tea, I am getting some caffeine but without the extra calories or the fattening creamer. Plus all the extra benefits of drinking tea.

So to have or not to have coffee?

For myself, the answer is… NOT to have coffee. My original resolution was to make a month without coffee and I have no doubt I will make that goal. I have only 11 days left. After that, my plan is to continue my life without having coffee. I may occasionally have a cup of coffee with a friend or at an event after this January cleanse is over, but coffee is no longer going to be my every day morning “cheat” treat. I can find so many better ways to have a treat without it being wasted on a single coffee. Instead, coffee will be a treat I only indulge in on rare moments. Instead, I will chose to treat myself and my body everyday with tasty hydrating teas, without the countless liquid calories hidden in my creamers for my coffee which were making it even that much harder to lose the weight I want. As the French would say, I will leave you with “A votre sante!” –

To your health! Happy 2014 to all who may come across this!


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