SERVING SIZE: 1 tbsp
SPECIES: Coffea arabica
How Can Coffee Make You Feel Great?
Coffee as a SacramentWhat are your rituals around coffee? Coffee has become a sacrament in our culture. A client reports, "The only time my husband and I relax together is over coffee." My response, "If your marriage is dependent on coffee, you might be addicted."
Coffee surpasses tea as the number one consumed drug. It contains high amounts of caffeine, which stimulates the adrenals to release stress hormones. These stress hormones overstimulate the mind, and numb the heart. New trades routes brought caffeine to Europe in the 1500s, stimulating the 'Age of Enlightenment' and ending the middle ages. Before that time, the center of the mind was the heart. Since Enlightenment, the center of the mind is the brain. Perhaps the shift is due to caffeine consumption? Ayurveda comes from an older time where the mind was not separate from feelings and science was not separate from spirituality.
Native Meso-Americans drank coffee, ate chocolate and smoked tobacco as medicinal herbs, sacraments and in shamanic ceremony, a practice that continues to this day. However, many non-native Americans consume these substances daily, without the adequate knowledge of their potency or effects on the nervous system.
A Love Affair with CoffeeCan you remember what black coffee tasted like as a child? Most kids reject coffee. How have your taste buds changed? That may help you break the habit. Many of my clients drink coffee because the "like the taste," However, of all their coveted foods, usually coffee is the only food they drink daily.
Although we think we like coffee because of the taste, it's possible that the body learns to like coffee without our conscious participation because of its effect on our metabolism. Coffee offers the false promise of energy and vitality, and reorients all of our sense organs toward it. Vitality is the one substance all life forms crave.
However, all that glitters is not gold. The human body was not built for the break-neck pace of our lives in industrialized society. Covering up these uncomfortable life choices with coffee prevents growth & healing. As a general rule of thumb, in Ayurveda we never take an herb for more than 3 months in a row. Coffee, one of nature's most powerful herbs, is no exception.
Many people drink coffee when they are tired in the morning or at 3pm. People with aggravated Kapha dosha feel sluggish in the morning and need a 'pick-me-up'. If you have aggravated Kapha, avoiding heavy, oily, or sweet foods at night will bring a more authentic and vital 'pep to your step' the next morning. In the morning, wash your face with cold water, drink a hot cup of ginger tea, and practice a fifteen minute exercise routine to revive circulation.
If your adrenal glands are exhausted, you'll crave coffee most at 3pm. Unfortunately, the energy boost you receive after drinking coffee depletes the adrenals even further. This process is much like whipping a tired horse. Coffee is akin to a metabolic credit card. Sooner or later, you have to repay the debt. Ultimately, coffee increases exhaustion, anxiousness and fear, especially in Vata individuals who tend to have dry endocrine glands. Coffee over-stimulates the adrenals depleting them of fluids and creating more dryness. Licorice root in a warm glass or water nourishes the kidneys. Vata may combat tired afternoons with a homemade version of Gatorade(tm). Squeeze a wedge of lime and a pinch of salt into warm water.
Breaking the Coffee AddictionCoffee has a heavy, hearty, oily quality that is more satisfying than a simple herbal tea with water. To wean yourself from coffee, instead try herbal teas with almond milk. Rice and oat milk work as well. Reduce your coffee consumption in half each month, replacing it with one of these, or your own favorite substitute. Spices such as ginger will provide more balanced stimulation during the process.
Coffee and Reproductive OrgansCoffee affects hormones. Post or peri-menopausal women should not drink coffee because it targets the reproductive organs. Non organic coffee is worse because it carries pesticides directly to reproductive tissue. Coffee irritates the lining of the digestive tract and should be avoided by people with digestive problems. It has a laxative effect. One study reports that coffee is linked to reduced breast size.
Withdrawal symptoms of coffee include constipation, headaches, and irritability. Since the body quickly habituates itself to coffee within several days, chronic caffeine consumption simply brings our energy levels back to normal, preventing a much needed crash.
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WHY SHOULD YOU EAT AYURVEDICALLY?Eating Ayurvedically makes you feel nourished and energized. An Ayurvedic diet is tailored to your individual body type and the specific imbalances you are working with at any given time. Foods that supplement your specific body type’s needs and digest easily create your menu. Watch as you eat less but feel more satisfied because what you are eating truly nourishes you. Since Ayurveda believes all disease begins in the digestive tract, food is your first medicine. By eating a healthy diet that’s ideal for your body, you experience optimal health.
Is Coffee Good for Me?
Experiences are PersonalExperiences vary according to the person and constitution. Individual results may vary. The list of actions below has not be approved by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.
APPETITE-SUPPRESSANTSuppresses hunger without causing weight gain
STIMULATES-PERISTALSISAn herb that promotes involuntary smooth muscle contractions to facilitate the movement of food and waste through the digestive tract.
STIMULANT-LAXATIVEStimulant laxatives induce bowel movements by stimulating peristaltic movement (the contraction of smooth muscle in the intestines). They are effective when used on a short-term basis. On a long-term basis, they can create dependency.
Cleanse and Detox:
DETOXICANTAn herb that eliminates or metabolizes toxins from the body.
Energy Vitality Strength:
STIMULATES-ENERGYThis category groups thyroid and adrenal stimulating herbs
Kidney & Urinary:
DIURETICHerbs that promote urine formation, thereby flushing the kidneys and urinary tract while eliminating any excess water retention. As diuretics reduce water retention, they are often used to reduce blood pressure.
Liver & Gall Bladder:
CHOLAGOGUECholagogues stimulate the release of bile from the gall bladder for improved digestion.
Lung and Sinus:
BRONCHODILATORAn herb that encourages the widening or opening of the lung airways. Helpful in cough and asthma.
Mind, Stress & Sleep:
Causes tension, Makes jittery,
CAUSES-TENSIONIncreases feelings of tension, constriction and tightness in the body.
Makes you tired,
MAKES-YOU-TIREDInduces drowsiness and promotes sound sleep.
Stimulates front of brain,
STIMULATES-FRONT-OF-BRAINCreates a feeling of awareness or tension in the area in the forehead. Activates the frontal lobe - the area responsible for motor function, emotional expression, thinking, and decision making.
Wakes you up
WAKES-YOU-UPInvigorates the body and improves energy by stimulating circulation.
LOWERS-THYROIDReduces thyroid function. Useful for people with hyperthyroid.
Find Your Symptom:
DRIES-MOUTHMakes the mouth feel dry, or pasty.
GENERAL-LAXATIVEPromotes a bowel movement. General laxative is an umbrella term that refers to several different types of laxatives...
(Not you? Keep scrolling!)
Are you struggling with your health?Learn how to feel your best by balancing your diet in just a week.
How to Use Food AyurvedicallyHOW DOES EATING AYURVEDICALLY MAKE YOU FEEL?
Eating Ayurvedically makes you feel nourished and energized. Food digests with ease when right for your body type (dosha). Healthy digestion is seen as the cornerstone of well-being in Ayurveda. Healthy digestion generally prevents illness. If you do get sick, a strong digestive fire reduces the severity of illness and increases your resilience. It also improves your mood. Once you begin eating Ayurvedically, you will feel refreshed, vital and strong.
View Other Ingredients for Autumn-WinterCoffee is recommended for Autumn-Winter. Check out these other Autumn-Winter foods here.
Comments & Impressions of 'Coffee'Do you like 'coffee'? Why or why not? What makes it unique? Is there something you'd like to know about 'coffee'?
(5.00 out of 5 stars) 1 review, 108 likes
John and others: here is a very wonderful(tasting) and probably healthy coffee replacement: 1T of finely ground, roasted Chicory root, 1.5t finely ground Khas root (or same of quantity of Kudzu powder) and 1.5t finely ground Rooibos. Pour 16oz. boiling H20 in a mug with that mixture or use coffee filter (I like the grounds in the bottom). No caffeine, lots of flavanoids. Can vary the quantities to taste. I believe this is balancing for Pitta and Kapha but maybe too (deliciously) bitter for Vata. John, thanks for that unbelievably wonderful article! From Karl Remmen
I am wondering, what would the effect on our bodies as a whole be if the coffee beans were not roasted, or so lightly roasted that they aren't burnt. I have this feeling that that might make coffee a little bit better for every ones seldom consumption.
Ive brewed green coffee beans (organic, sun dried) like you would any other herb with tea blends, and have noticed no side effects. It is warming (but this is possibly because i take it in as a warm tea, it is probably more neutral by itself, being that it is a green bitter stimulant), and I would also say it is a nervine(slightly calming and enhancing to the nervous system/nerves) and stimulates the heart, although not nearly as much as when its roasted then brewed. It definately also dilates my blood vessels, so it probably at least temporarily will dilate and lower blood pressure. The only thing being said to look out for would be that it is 'addictive', but I would say use as much as you need and no more and then it is appropriate medicine. It also seems to kick my liver/gall into gear to move some bile and therefore cause elimination (bowel movement) in some cases, but usually only if I'm backed up...which is a benefit.
What about one cup of organic, decaf coffee per day?
Thank you Erik of Texas. I will experiment with this when the opportunity arrives!
Eric in TX: You mean you just throw the whole bean in boiling water as you would with tea? And what's a green coffee bean? I've never heard of such a thing.
I love to drink coffee daily, but when I dont , I dont get any side effect, I may feel a headache the afternoon but I learnt to drink more water when I dont drink coffee and that way I avoided headaches! As for green coffee beans ( unbrewed coffee beans) it is used in arabic countries , and the grinded coffee is used directly in boiled water .. I 've tasted it and it was aweful for my taste but people in middle east consider it as the best coffee! And they add cordomom to the drink. :)
I love my daily coffee...even though it says it's bad for Vata...I have it with warm milk and a bit of sweetener.
a traditional home remedy forThis information has not been validated by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.
Mind Stress SleepDifficulty waking up, Excessive sleep, Fatigue / tired, Sleep deep & long, trouble waking up, Sleep during the day, Tired in morning
Blood and CirculationLow energy
About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.