It’s no secret that I love caffeine; just the other day I drank three cups of coffee, a double-shot of espresso and had a handful of dark chocolate covered coffee beans. Needless to say, I was jazzed up on life.
There’s nothing wrong with a little physical and emotional boost from our friend caffeine, but from time to time I need to sit back and re-assess just how much of it I am consuming. I never want my natural enthusiasm for life to be dependent upon my next cup of Starbucks.
Caffeine is the world’s most consumed drug, and for good reason: it is considered a metabolic stimulant and a cognition enhancer, positively manipulating wakefulness, attentiveness and mood. The benefits of caffeine consumption initiate approximately one hour after ingestion and, depending upon the dosage, last three to four hours on average. The average American adult consumes about 250 mg per day, and though a toxic dose of caffeine falls in at 10 grams per day, or approximately 10 cups of strong coffee, if you are taking in more than 500 mg per day, it is recommended that you cut back, according to the Mayo Clinic. Concerning children and adolescents, The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that adolescents get no more than 100 mg of caffeine a day and that young children are minimally exposed.
With that in mind, I put together a little system to check my caffeine balance: I created the below chart to compare caffeine consumption and use it to analyze were I am at with its role in my life. I believe it’s always a good time to do a mini re-set for ourselves.
In my attempt at caffeine self-analysis, I take the average of caffeine consumption I’ve ingested over the past five days and then I determine if that is an accurate reflection of my true daily average. I then challenge myself to cut my caffeine consumption over the following five days by cutting my intake by 50%. You may experience a slight headache on the first day or two of the detox, but stay the course. The headaches will go away and you will find yourself feeling amazing very shortly.
Caffeine can be intoxicating. Its addictive nature convinces us that we need it to ignite our energy and personality. As you cut caffeine this week, you will be able to tap into your natural energy sources. Additionally, as your energy awareness increases, you will be more in tune with your body’s needs. The quality of your sleep will improve as will your ability to focus when you are awake.
So, how many milligrams of caffeine are you consuming per day? Can you take on the challenge on going the next five days at 50% of your regular caffeine consumption? At some points in my life, I have topped off at 500mg, but on average, I find that I am at my healthiest (I get my best sleep, I have heightened awareness and productivity, and I feel well) when I get anywhere between 200 and 300mg per day.
Remember, life is all about ebbs and flows and this short little caffeine challenge can help you reestablish a new type of balance in your nutrition. Perhaps the most revelatory outcome from taking on the caffeine challenge can come from learning what your ideal daily caffeine consumption really is. Yours very well might be different from mine – perhaps higher, perhaps lower, or perhaps you might find that life is best for you without any caffeine whatsoever – but once you figure out your ideal sticking point, try to stick to that from here on out. If you ever find yourself over-relying on caffeine or going off the charts of your ideal daily caffeine consumption, then go back to this caffeine cleanse for five days to reset yourself.