Coffee. An interesting relationship I have with you. I didn’t introduce myself to the taste of coffee until I was in my mid 30’s, perhaps right before I was diagnosed with hypothyroid disease and a time in my life when I was traveling all over the Midwest doing Passion Parties, trying to get a speed dating business going and having overall stress on my body from eating too many quick meals and trying to keep up the pace. It wasn’t a very holistic period of my life and as I look back, beginning the coffee was a way to boost theenergy as well as helping me to heat up on cold winter days and nights. Now, forward ten years later, I don’t need the coffee, nor the excess energy. If I drink coffee now it is because I like the organic taste, warmth and digestive qualities. But, some of those benefits for me are controversial in the literature so let’s review those opinions.
Where does coffee come from? Coffee comes from a few places in the world but the best beans, or seeds rather, are in hot climates near the equator. It dates as far back as the 15th century and has been an import of great demand over the years but its quality has become much more at risk due to the necessary use of insecticides and lack of shade from trees for growth due to climate change and tree killing. Thus, it is estimated that shade grown coffee, in particular, will be at risk for continuation and “coffee rust” is trend that offers no foreseen resolution.
Why Organic Coffee? The obvious is why organic anything? Because it delivers less chemicals and toxins to its consumer. But, you have to be very careful of your sources. Most soil is not organic and many farmers cannot afford to grow organic coffees. Thus, finding a good source for Organic certified coffee in areas that were previously not growing organic coffee is difficult to trust as the process for becoming organically certified takes several years. This is why we are seeing many more local, fair trade and other roaster sources forcoffee showing up that we had not previously in countries like Hawaii, parts of Africa, and even in North America. Organic coffee is the fast growing. On a personal note, at one point in my life I nearly started an organic coffee business with a friend. (Sure wish that would have worked out, but our building needed thousands of upgrades in fire codes so that nixed it).
Is any coffee healthy? This is where the controversy comes in. Let’s review types of coffees. Beans. Herbal. Ganoderma. We discussed coffee beans or seeds above. There is also herbal coffee. You can find this mix at places like Mountain Rose Herbs or even on Amazon.com which is a combination of herbs that create a similar taste to coffee and have limited amounts of caffeine and you will pay a much higher price. There is also Ganoderma, a form of black coffee enhanced with the Ganoderma Lucidum, Gano, Reishi, Chaga and/or Maitake Mushrooms and is said to have actual health benefits ranging from eradicating tumors to lowering cholesterol and has rare side effects. Some critics Thus, of all the options, it may appear that herbal coffee is best, with ganoderma and organic coffee in a tie for second as they both have their pitfalls. In fact, organic coffee is probably least healthy unless you have a super fresh, completely trusted grower of local/national organic coffee. But, what about the caffeine?
Is Caffeine a drug? Here is where the real juice is. Persons drink coffee for the caffeine typically. Many persons treat it as a ritual, a medicine that they need in the morning to function, and need more and more as they get more and more addicted to this drug. First of all, I tend not to waste my time at WebMd or the FDA as I do resonate with their research. It is obviously biased to the drug world and I am certified as a Drugless Practitioner. The answer to whether caffeine is a drug, is yes, it is. Is it harmful? Yes, it can be. If you are not exercising regularly, detox’ing regularly, doing enemas or getting colonics, chances are the toxins of coffee pesticides and insecticides are in your system as well as the side effects of caffeine. But, my respected physician go-to source is Dr. Joseph Mercola who outlines the benefit that coffee can have. He also mentions, as you can see, to not drink caffeine while pregnant!
How to make your Cup of Joe more Holistic: I would recommend that you follow all of the above information as well as use the following tips for a more Holistic Coffee experience:
- No cream or sugar and definitely any of those flavored creamers. Instead add coconut oil, butter, almond milk, coconut milk, organic almond oil or vanilla, some cinnamon and here are some more Vegan options.
- Use a french press. Drip coffee makers are so boring once you have tried a French Press. The coffee from a French press is even better than getting an Americano style coffee from the best source you can imagine. It comes out fresh and creamy.
- Use filtered water. There is no sense in having organic or herbal coffee if you are going to use water full of chemicals. We buy our water at those fill up stations at grocery stores for 20-25 cents a gallon. Whole Foods also has them available.
- Limit your intake. It is a holistic practice to limit intake on all food and drink we put into our body. If you are drinking caffeine all day long, chances are your adrenals, thyroid or blood pressure is going to be an issue. In fact, my brother, who has been a committed athlete as a young teen was diagnosed with high blood pressure and he couldn’t figure out why. The caffeine was the culprit. My mother, same issue, but hers was due to daily intake of up to 6-8 small cups of coffee per day, something they did in the 70’s along with smoking to get through being a stay at home with up to four to six kids, I guess. Now she has completely limited her intake and likes to Zumba.
I hope this has been helpful for you and that you continue to make your coffee less about your morning ritual and more about a dash of good taste from a reliable source with added holistic benefits. Here’s to you coffee lovers.
Cynthia Djengue, MSW, AADP, CHHC