Is it the Coffee or the Caffeine? : Exclusive Renegade Health Article

Monday Aug 6 | BY |
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coca leavesI think some coffee drinkers would benefit from some mineral-rich coca tea — but you can’t get it in the U.S.

Like I promised, clarifications, answers and deeper insight into my coffee experiment that seemed to hit at just the right time for many of you…

Since there are about ten major concepts you asked about, I’m going to jump right into them.

They cover how much coffee I drank, if I took blood tests, why some people can drink coffee and others can’t, am I targeting the coffee or the caffeine and more.

Here we go (I had a little bit of fun with these, so I hope you enjoy)…

1. Is caffeine the culprit or the coffee?

Paul thinks…

“Interesting… sounds like caffeine is the culprit here. I wonder, did you ever try the experiment with Swiss water washed decaffeinated coffee?”

Yes, Paul, I’m pretty sure it is the caffeine.

Coffee, for me, is not a few parts of a whole. When I want coffee, I want everything it gives me — including buzz and following adrenal strain. This is why I quit, again.

So I’m sure there are decaffeinated coffees that would taste good, but not have the buzz — but as I wrote at the beginning of my article, I like everything about coffee — including the caffeine.

For those who do drink decaffeinated coffee, be sure to know how your coffee is decaffeinated. Do some research, you may find out that the caffeine is removed using toxic or undesirable chemicals. (I don’t like Wikipedia as a source, but it’s a good starting point to do your own research on decaffeinated coffee – here.)

2. How many cups?

Dana wants to know…

“How many cups a day did you have during your experiment?”

I never had more than one cup of coffee and one shot of espresso at any time during the experiment.

Most of the time, it was either a single or double shot of espresso or a small cup of coffee.

Toward the end, I did start having a “red eye” occasionally (and literally) — which is one small cup of coffee and one shot of espresso.

I wouldn’t consider this a large amount of coffee to American standards, so I think my experiment — and my personal reaction to the coffee — is relevant, even if the coffee is organic, drip, pour-over, cold-pressed, fair-trade, or whatever other distinction the marketers want to make.

(Organic and fair-trade are, of course, the only coffee you should drink if you do. It’s the right thing to do for the world and for your health.)

3. Why do some people not react to coffee?

Raf wants to know…

“My husband drinks about 24 oz a day and can sleep at night after a cup at dinner. Is that a problem or do some experience more negative effects than others??”

Raf, I seriously think your husband is an alien. I know people like this. I don’t understand how this works. If I drink a cup of coffee after dinner, I’m up until breakfast.

This is a perfect example of how our bodies process different chemicals in different ways. I don’t know if he has superior function or the opposite, but it’s a perfect lesson and wake-up call for those who think we all work the same.

(Yes, the use of “wake-up” was intentional.)

4. How did I make the coffee?

Roger asks…

“Kevin, how did you make coffee?”

I didn’t make the coffee at all. I had no tools or utensils to do so in our apartment.

I tried all different types though from various vendors.

Cold-pressed, pour-over, espresso, drip, etc.

My physical reaction to all of them did not seem to be any different.

Now, I’m sure that there are subtleties that I didn’t pick up on, but the whole of the issue was that, for me, coffee just doesn’t seem to work — not only for what it chemically is, but what it does to me mentally.

5. Why did you drink more?

Manwel wants to know why I couldn’t just drink one shot of espresso…

“Kevin, you were doing quite well on one shot a day, things seemed to change when you doubled your dose. It seems like moderation is the key, same what happened with your chocolate experiment – you over-did it.”

Manwel, put me on a couch, hypnotize me and maybe I’ll crack. I have no idea why I over-did it.

Like I said above, for me, it’s not just the physical chemicals in coffee that are addictive. It’s the way it makes me feel.

I’m sure many of you reading this can relate to this.

Some people can do moderation well, others can’t.

I can do moderation for some things very well. Other things, I struggle. This is my nature.

I’m envious of those who can just have a cup of coffee two times a week.

My experiment wasn’t only, as I explained in the article, to just examine the health benefits (or negative effects) of coffee — it was to also examine if I could quit if I found it to be unhealthy for me.

That to me — regardless of the medium — is really the value of this exercise.

But, Manwel, back to your assertion. Yes, I’m sure for some, coffee in moderation is perfectly OK for some.

6. Espresso vs. Drip Coffee

Sarah wants to know the difference…

“I’m curious if you noticed any difference when you drank the espresso versus the drip coffee?”

Definitely taste… LOL! 🙂

The single shot of espresso, to me was the least amount of coffee — as well as the least amount of caffeine. So for me, this was the least “toxic” to my body and mind.

The challenge was that after I lost the buzz from the single shot, I needed to upgrade.

This is where it got messy.

In terms of caffeine, in case you’re interested, an ounce of espresso has anywhere from 40-75 mg of caffeine while an 8 ounce cup of coffee has 95-200 mg. That’s a pretty significant difference. (These numbers vary greatly, but these are from the Mayo Clinic.)

7. Are they giving medals to martyrs?

Mary wants to know…

“Your journey was interesting in that it proves the lesson that if something hurts, you should stop doing it. I wonder if you went on despite the damage to your body just to prove a point. Are they handing out gold medals for martyrs these days?”

No, they aren’t. But they are handing them to Michael Phelps — possibly the greatest Olympian ever. His experiment (bong hits + Olympic level swimming) is an interesting one. Could he have been better and won more medals? Or does hanging loose a little allow him to be the best ever at what he does?

Something to think about…

In the past, I’ve gone too far to prove a point with my health. These days, I’m much more conscious of when I step over the line.

8. What were the blood test results?

Alice wanted to know…

“Did you get blood tests? if so, what did they show?”

Great question, Alice!

No, I didn’t need to get the blood tests.

My symptoms of adrenal stress — cold and clammy hands, jitters, etc. were exactly the same as they were when I was eating too much chocolate (and when I watch close Steelers games.) They are distinct signs of the adrenal “red zone” that I shouldn’t be in — and that caused my poor adrenal blood tests in the past.

I didn’t need to spend the money on new tests to confirm that this is where I would go if I continued.

9. Is it the source of caffeine or the caffeine?

Great question from John…

“Do other sources of caffeine have fewer effects than what Kevin experienced with his coffee experiment?”

I think so, John.

First, of course, you have to consider how much caffeine is in the food or drink — and then you may be able to consider how the caffeine is in solution with other nutrients. I’m sure there is variation in some cases that could be more helpful to the body that in others.

10. Coffee from behind?

Finally, Rocio wants to know about coffee enemas…

“Kevin, have not read the other posts yet… the same for me, but even the coffee enemas if they are too strong make me very, very sick. Does anyone has the same reaction?”

Rocio, you can absorb the caffeine through your colon, so, yes, you could get a similar reaction.


If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask them here… if I get more I’ll address them this week… if not, this topic is done (and I’m off to the next experiment.)

Your question of the day: Do you have any other questions on coffee or my experiment?

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

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