ditch coffee on
your juice cleanse?
Without a doubt the hardest thing about a cleanse that we hear from our customers is trying to give up their daily coffee habit for the duration of their detox. So today we thought we’d do a deep dive into coffee and cleansing with the help of Nutritional Therapist, Grace Kingswell.
Should you even give up coffee on a cleanse?
It’s not quite as simple as ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ and that’s because we’re all on our own personal journey with regards to our caffeine tolerance. Genetically speaking, some of us are predisposed to metabolise caffeine more efficiently than others. You’ll know which camp you fall into based on how quickly you feel the effects of your coffee wearing off. For example, if I have a coffee at midday I will 100% still feel it in my system 12 hours later (caffeine has a quarter life of 12 hours). You’ll also likely have a good idea of how badly your body reacts to lack of caffeine. Common side effects of missing your morning latte are things like headaches and irritability, and if you find that these side effects disappear as soon as you have your fix then you’re likely very susceptible to the effects of caffeine, and, moreover, 100% addicted!
Some people don’t feel as many adverse effects if they skip a day. If you’re in this camp then I would definitely suggest limiting or completely removing all sources of caffeine on your cleanse so as to reap the greatest benefits.
The majority of us, however, will fall somewhere between “moderate,” and “severe,” need or addiction for caffeine, and there are two ways you can approach your cleanse if you think this is the case for you.
Firstly, 3-4 days before you know you’re going to start your cleanse you could start weaning yourself off coffee, so that any headaches or withdrawal symptoms have passed by the time you start. Let’s face it, any kind of detox or cleanse is a bit of a battle mentally as it is, and you don’t want to be suffering through a migraine on your second day because you’ve gone cold turkey on the caffeine. You’ll be less likely to stick with it if that’s the case. If you’re keen to take this approach, then perhaps start your cleanse on a Monday and giving yourself the weekend to get used to no coffee.
The second thing you could do is simply switch your morning flat white for a green tea. Not only is there less caffeine in green tea, but there’s also a hefty dose of beneficial antioxidants. You might feel some side effects from simply not having as much caffeine, but it won't be nearly as bad as going cold turkey and you’ll still get a good break from the hard stuff.
Sugar addiction is a real cause for concern in our Western dietary patterns these days too. The Presscription Sugar Detox Cleanse (as seen above), has been designed alongside Nutritionist Amanda Hamilton to carefully and effectively help you detox from the affects of sugar in your diet and help you curb your cravings.
So, why would you want to ditch the coffee during a cleanse in the first place?
These days we’re all very good at not tuning in to how our bodies are feeling. We take painkillers when we have a headache or back ache, we drink coffee if we’re tired, we have a glass of wine when we need to relax and so on...But ultimately the goal must be to exist in such a way so as to not need an external source of energy, relaxation or whatever it may be to get us through the day. Coffee certainly has its benefits, and these are well documented in the literature, but I tend to lean on the side of wanting our bodies to be self-sufficient. If coffee for you is more enjoyment that necessity then you’re doing it right, but if you can’t get through the day without it then your caffeine addiction could be hiding some other bodily imbalance or insufficiency that really should be addressed.
In this way, a cleanse is a great opportunity to really listen to what your body is telling you and perhaps make some lasting changes to your lifestyle.
What’s actually happening in your body when you take in caffeine?
It’s all to do with a chemical messenger called adenosine. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that’s responsible for making us feel sleepy and tired. Throughout the course of the day adenosine builds up causing what’s called a “sleep pressure,” and eventually, as is supposed to happen, this pressure from adenosine attaching to it’s specific receptors in your brain makes you fall asleep.
However, caffeine can also attach to the adenosine receptors in the brain, and in doing so it blocks the sleep inducing action of adenosine and holds it off. The reason we experience such a huge “crash” with coffee is because adenosine still builds up in the background even if it’s being pushed off its receptor by caffeine. Then, when the action of caffeine runs out, all of a sudden you have a huge surge of adenosine attaching to its receptor in the brain and you feel as though you’ve hit a wall. At this point it’s common to reach for another coffee or something sugary to perk you up, and it all kicks off again.
What’s the bottom line?
My general advice would be to limit caffeine, either in part or entirely, for the duration of your cleanse but only if you feel like it’s safe to do so. Caffeine addiction is real, and the withdrawal effect can be pretty nasty and ideally you want your detox experience to be one that’s conducive to feeling better and increasing your wellbeing, vibrancy and energy levels. If you feel like you’re ready to have a break from coffee then I really would recommend beginning to limit your intake a few days before you start your cleanse, otherwise it might all be a bit too much of a shock to the system.
“My aim was to detox from Christmas and stop my sugar cravings. I was worried how hungry I could feel but it was not a struggle at all. I didn’t feel hungry, no sugar cravings even while shopping for my family. It is pricy but it is worth every penny. I tried similar products in the past but they are not as efficient.” - Jo, Sugar Detox Cleanse