Why you don’t have to give up that morning cup of joe!

Why you don’t have to give up that morning cup of joe!


A while ago, a woman emailed me asking what my thoughts were about her morning cup of coffee, and specifically, whether I thought she should give it up.

Here is part of her email.

…I start my day with steamy hot coffee and half & half.

The morning ritual is so comforting to me.  Sitting, cozy on the couch with hot coffee, a blanket, and my Bible.  Love it!

But, I need to ask the question, “is this caffeine contributing to the [stress] problem?”  What are your thoughts on coffee and caffeine? …

This question is not unlike many others I’ve received about everything from a beloved cup of coffee in the morning to a decadent Saturday morning breakfast with dear girlfriends.

Once we begin to shift our overall diet into healthier eating, many of us wonder what to do when we recognize that certain emotional needs or emotional experiences are being filled or at least partially filled with food.

Here is part of my reply.

My first thought (in reading her complete email) was that perhaps she didn’t need to give up coffee at all.  There wasn’t evidence that she was experiencing ongoing chronic stress any longer and she was able to identify her stress flare-ups which were not happening at all near the time she drank the coffee.

Furthermore, her description of her mornings was utterly peaceful and calm.

Fulfilling her true needs.

Her morning ritual was aptly nourishing her inner needs…the need for personal reflection, the need for quiet and silence, and the need for spiritual growth.  In this case, the coffee wasn’t replacing those needs, it simply was part of the ritual that was feeding her true needs.

I also relish my morning creamy cup of joe — MOST especially when I can wake a few precious moments before my little ones do and share some quiet, soul time with God.

Caffeine impacts people differently.

But every body is different.  And it is always useful to check in with yourself and see how the actual caffeine is impacting your body and mind while allowing for the possibility that you are tolerating it just fine.

I have found in my own life, that I can tolerate a small amount of caffeine under certain circumstances.

  1. I do need to eat something substantial very near to when I have my  coffee — caffeine on an empty stomach does NOT work well for me.
  2. I also need to be mindful to drink a good amount of water on the mornings I drink caffeine, it helps me stay hydrated and keep away the jitters and anxiety that can happen if I drink too much coffee.

I share that because all emotional rituals that involve food aren’t bad –– in fact, for thousands of years, we have connected food to meaningful rituals in our lives.

How we eat food is just as important as what we eat.

A cup of coffee savored in quiet time is WAY different than a few cups thrown back as you are running around like crazy trying to get everyone to school in the morning and skipping breakfast.  It’s a totally different experience.

And the impact it has on your mind and body will be different in each of those scenarios as well.

An already stressed-out mind and body are primed and ready to be especially vulnerable to the impacts of caffeine.

A calm, peaceful mind and body are much more able to handle the caffeine intake and process it without throwing your hormonal equilibrium off.

If you look at the research, the anti-coffee drinkers and avid coffee drinkers both have science on their side.  What works for some people doesn’t work for others.

This is the beauty of coming to a place with food and health information where you can assess it on your own terms, you know your body and how to read it’s language and so can determine when shifts need to be made and when things are working just fine.

How about you, do you know how caffeine or coffee impacts your body and mind?Lisa


12 responses to “Why you don’t have to give up that morning cup of joe!”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by wellgrounded, Kara Fleck. Kara Fleck said: RT @wellgrounded: Why you don’t have to give up that morning cup of joe! http://bit.ly/bOrGIC […]

  2. I don’t comment much but coffee brings me out of my shell. I drink one cup of black coffee in the morning. That’s it. I drink herbal tea after lunch. This is very doable for my body. I don’t peak or crash from the caffeine as long as I’m getting enough sleep and good nutrition. I LOVE my morning ritual of making one cup of coffee.

  3. A great post!! I still debate about how caffeine affects me….sometimes one cup can make me feel loopy, while other times, several cups while out for breakfast seem to have no effect. So I know there’s more to it than just the coffee issue. I’ve also noticed that on days when I skip coffee, I tend to be more headache prone later in the day. I try to see correlations between what I consume and how I feel…and I can’t seem to nail down a direct coorelation with caffeine either way.
    I always think about the Biblical concept of “all things are permissable but not all things are beneficial” and that I have to decide what works and doesn’t work for ME, and my body. I have to be careful with my caffeine and sugar because of occasional anxiety symptoms and have debated about my morning cup of coffee off and on for years!
    I love the ritual of it and I, too, enjoy mine while doing my morning time with the Lord. It’s soothing, relaxing and enjoyable. My father-in-law even got us a Keurig, which is perfect for making one cup, fast! It’s wondeful! 🙂 I do like mine with a little sugar and some cream.
    Even today, I woke up a *little* “edgy” for whatever reason….so I debated about the coffee and had tea first. I felt better after an hour or so, so I went ahead and made a cup (it was in the 70s this moring–COOL for Arizona, so I had to celebrate it!) and it was lovely, and didn’t seem to affect me. I, like you, have to eat around the time I have my coffee, and one cup is my limit!
    I love your point about filling our true needs…and I believe coffee is just part of my ritual, too. It’s great to evaluate these issues sometimes!
    We absolutely do have to just learn to know what our bodies are trying to tell us! I love that point!
    Now if I can just figure out how to keep my sugar cravings under control! 🙂

  4. Lisa, thank you! I am just starting at IIN and let me tell you, I’ve been worried that they were going to tell me NOT to drink my beloved coffee!!!!! I did give it up this summer and I did notice a difference, however, now it’s cold and I’m back to my morning cup…half decaf. I am overjoyed to hear that I am not alone in coffee, cozy, Bible time is a morning ritual…at 530 am to beat the kids out of bed!


  5. I enjoyed this post immensely. My morning coffee has played an important role (both negative and positive) in the last fifteen or so years in my life.

    As someone who has learned to curb both a negative coffee dependence and enjoys a life intentionally guided from stress, I too believe that you can enjoy your morning ritual as long as there exists a balance.

    All or nothing seems to rarely be the answer.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
    I enjoy your insight as a stay-at-home wife (and hopeful future mom someday).

  6. @ Renee- Don’t I know it, coffee seems to be a hot spot for many of us! Gets us in the conversation 🙂

    @ Tabitha- Love that quote, “all things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial”- is that from proverbs? Many times with caffeine it has to do with other factors, did we have a good breakfast? are we stressed out or anxious to begin with? did we have a restful sleep? – I think caffeine can really play off our environment more than we realize!

    @Selena- Good for you!! Feel free to email me if you ever want to chat about your experience at IIN! I know what you mean, I felt concerned at first too that I didn’t have a “clean” enough diet when I started– little did I know their perspective completely shifted me out of a dieter’s mentality once and for all, Thank the Lord! 🙂

    @Teresa- Totally agree– all or nothing rarely is the answer I think!

  7. I just found your blog through a friend and this post truely spoke to me! I have been struggling with sleep and a restless recently weaned child and I am coming to grips with how my morning coffee and daily caffeine consumption all play a role in a lot of my day. This post is something I will ponder for the rest of my day for sure.

  8. Lisa, this is a great post and a well-balanced view. But I just wanted to add that for anyone struggling with adrenal fatigue, caffeine should be avoided. I know because this is me. 🙁 Someone with adrenal fatigue will have a very hard time weaning from caffeine precisely because they have adrenal fatigue, but once they’re weaned their adrenals can begin to heal.

  9. Hi Lisa! I haven’t commented in a while but always read your posts. Glad you’re doing well.

    I gave up caffeine for a full year once just to see what the effect would be. It was the slowest year of my life. 🙂 Really, I decided that the positive things coffee brings to my life outweigh the disadvantages. Now I drink it in moderation and love the lift it gives me. But I can also go without it and I’m just fine.

  10. After reading this…I just had to have a cup! 🙂 YUM!

  11. Hi Melanie!
    I did the same thing– went off coffee for a while, and know I’m not addicted as I often go a few days without thinking of it, but when I do indulge (which is often about 1/2 cup) I thoroughly enjoy it! And I know the signs that it is impacting me negatively so I can work with it 🙂

    Sarah- Smiles 🙂

  12. Hi Katie–
    Excellent point! I talk about adrenal fatigue in the stress course and I believe it is a very real issue many women are facing– when your body is that worn down and tapped out, caffeine can truly be too strong of a chemical for you to handle in a healthy way!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *