Every morning as I wake up, I make a mental list of the things I am grateful for. Every morning, the first thing on that list is coffee.
I will admit, like many of you, I am under the spell of this mysterious bean. Do I really care if it’s healthy or not? Do you? Let’s be real, it’s probably not going to change anything – we are of the coffee cult and it’s our one little indulgence (or so we tell ourselves).
‘Good or bad’ are tricky words, and I generally don’t like to classify things this way, so forgive the headline, but it got you reading, right?
Now let’s get down to business (something I can only do after my morning cup of coffee). What’s the deal with coffee? Healthy or not?
For the health nuts who can’t survive a day without overloading their brain on scientific facts, I took the courtesy of scouring the internet for you and these links are worthwhile clicks: Coffee: Your Poison or Your Medicine?, Coffee: Pros and Cons for Your Health, Ask the Expert: Coffee and Health.
But I am going to take the less scientific route on this one. Whether that’s good or bad, it’s all about how you use it!
Coffee makes me happy
How do you approach your morning cup of joe? As a zombie in need of brains or as a semi-lucid being who appreciates the ritual and grounding of this precious drink?
Those 15 minutes on a morning as you sip can be made into a wonderful meditation: an opportunity to give thanks, to smile and sip consciously, to prepare yourself for the day with mindfulness and clarity.
Make your morning cup special and truly appreciate it. For many of us, this is our one time of day where we can actually take time to be silent and peaceful.
If you are sipping in serenity, then coffee scores a point.
Coffee is addictive
Coffee withdrawal: horrible. I get a headache just thinking about it.
For one dreaded minute, imagine if one day the world woke up and all the coffee had just disappeared. It would be complete utter pandemonium. All kinds of shit would fall apart, Wall Street would crash, so would a lot of cars on their morning drive to work, wars would likely ensue as aggravated world leaders may not be in soundest state of mind during the first horrid, nauseous, unfocused hours of caffeine withdrawal. Children would be yelled at, pants would be put on backwards, juice would be poured into cereal, and quite frankly, half the coffee addicts wouldn’t even make it out of bed that day.
It can take days for coffee withdrawal symptoms to ease, but by then the world would have changed forever.
So in light of this awful scenario, this is a boo point for coffee.
Coffee has some healthy qualities
I said I wouldn’t get into the scientific side of things too much, but as a reminder, coffee perks include antioxidants which can help prevent a variety of ailments, plus a little boost in brain function and positive effects on your metabolism.
On the flip side, sugar and creamer are not really tooted for any kind of health benefits. If your fix isn’t quite a fix without lots of milk and sugar, consider healthiness cancelled out.
Wean your way to nice, high-quality black coffee; really taste the roast and the flavourful bean. This will get you a lot closer to that meaningful relationship with coffee that I spoke about before.
Coffee is a cause for controversy
As we’ve been discussing, there is no right or wrong answer to the coffee consumption conundrum, as reports and studies are majorly contradictory.
Coffee is associated with some negative health effects, all serious and relevant, especially to the majorly addicted more-than-four-cups-a-day types, and all recognisable to the most casual of users. These effects include an instant spike in heart rate, anxiety and irritability, dehydration, bad breath, sleep issues and of course, dependency.
You need to answer this for yourself. Honestly. Observe your patterns and moods, your sensations and tendencies. Consider your unique body and its unique health needs.
If you have afflictions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or depression, I do encourage you to click all the great reference links and really do your research.
If you are just the curious drinker browsing the net as you sip on your cup, my conclusion is this: enjoy your cup of coffee wholeheartedly.
Be aware of the smell – smile.
Enjoy the temperature, just how you like it – smile.
Take that first glorious sip, taste it, truly taste it – smile.
With each sip, reflect: a small seed buried below a shallow layer of cool, moist, dark soil. A young pale sapling making its way to the surface and feeling radiant sunshine for the first time. A process of converting powerful sun energy to useful green nutrition to grow and support a full and abundant plant can take three to four years. Deep red cherries, carefully selected during a labour-intensive harvest. A human being, choosing and picking each cherry.
Days of processing and drying. Hulling, polishing, grading and sorting. Transporting the beans to their destination. People. Tasters (yes, that’s a profession). Roasting: a careful process of attaining perfect heat and chemical reactions within a bean. Aroma, flavour.
Reflect on every important part of the journey of this drink we consume in such abundance. The grinding, the packaging, the transaction. Brewing and sitting and drinking and reflecting.
Coffee is a beautiful and intricate process, appreciate it and I say, yes, its good.