I’m Torn: Caffeine
[Life isn’t black and white. As much as we wish we simply loved or hated things, there is often that whole annoying gray area in the middle. Like how we love American Apparel basics, but aren't so sure about the gold lame... Or how we love staying on campus all summer, but just aren't so sure we wanna be in the classroom. Damn you, gray area; you make decision-making that much more complicated!]
“One venti double chocolate chip skinny white mocha frappuccino with a single shot of espresso, half whip, skim milk, sugar-free caramel syrup, shaken not stirred.”
Does that sound like you? I, like so many people I know, can’t function without a big mug of Joe in the morning (and one in the afternoon). My eyes won’t even open until the heavenly scent of coffee hits my olfactory glands. Yes, I even grab one on the way to the gym. It’s not my fault – I’ve been conditioned by our go, go, go and caffeine-obsessed culture. But I wonder: is that (extra large) cup of energy-charged caffeine really good for me?
I admit it: I’m a caffeine addict. Coffee, tea, diet soda, you name it, I drink it. I have many reasons for my addiction, reasons I use to combat the imaginary little guy on my shoulder that tells me all this caffeine is not all that good for me:
Coffee reduces the risk of disease, improves your performance, and even has a few antioxidants in those heavenly beans. Tea has even more health benefits: it fights cancer, lowers cholesterol, strengthens your immune system, and has an amazing amount of EGCG. Some scientists even believe green tea can speed up weight loss. And when you need a fiz fix, there’s nothing like a can of ice-cold Diet Coke. And what about those late-nighters that seem like a college requirement at times? It’s why I currently have 3 cans of Red Bull in my fridge (originally a pack of 4). I mean, I always drink at least 8 cups of water to keep my body happy, but sometimes water just doesn’t cut it. It doesn’t wake you up like coffee does, doesn’t provide as many health benefits as tea, and isn’t as fun to drink in a little cafe with your friends while you catch up on the weekend’s happenings. So be quiet, imaginary little anti-caffeine man and let me enjoy my caffeine in peace.
There’s a reason why humans are only supposed to consume under 300 mg of caffeine daily, which is equivalent to about 3 cups of coffee. (And I’m talking actual cups, not those giant venti things I’ve been walking around with.) Too much can cause twitching, an increased heart rate, tremors, upset stomachs, anxiety, and insomnia. Since caffeine is a diuretic, it can also lead to calcium loss which can ultimately lead to reduced bone mass and even ostereoporosis. Not to mention, too much caffeine leads to frequent trips to the bathroom (I don’t know about you, but this is why I never drink before long trips). Dark caffeinated beverages like coffee and Coke also stains your teeth and make your once-pearly whites not so white or pearly anymore.
I love my caffeine and could never give it up (just…can’t…do it….), but I do try to limit my intake so I don’t become too jittery and high-strung. And I’m working more milk into my diet to offset the calcium loss. And I’m brushing my teeth more often. And I’m….well, I’m doing anything to keep from breaking up with my Starbucks barista.
What about you? Are you trying to decrease your consumption as well? Or will you still make your (twice) daily latte runs?