Tea, Coffee and the Plight of the Adrenals

I’m a big fan of single origin, light to medium roast, semi wash, fermented and dry cracked beans from India, Java Indonesia or elsewhere and there are indeed some major health benefits to drinking coffee. Besides the short term feeling of uplift from the caffeine, there is evidence to suggest that consumption of coffee can reduce incidence of Alzheimer’s in later life and will also quicken metabolism.

With this being said there are a few reasons that I will be switching off from coffee for the next month and probably looking to reduce my consumption indefinitely –to around one cup a day during the week. To put it as non-scientifically as possible, coffee will awaken you by squeezing your adrenal glands to produce the adrenalin hormone. The problem occurs in that modern life also squeezes our adrenals pretty frequently with work, life and exercise stress and it is the combination of coffee alongside life stresses that combine to really strain the adrenal glands and actually make that specific stressful situation feel a whole lot worse. Adrenal fatigue, in short, will screw up your hormones and your sleep leaving you feeling exhausted.

So the plan for the morning is to use yerb mate –much like ultra endurance legend Scott Jurek. Yerba mate is a plant with origins in South America that contains caffeine in significantly lower levels than coffee and also contains the stimulants theobromine and theophylline. I actually prefer the stimulant effect of yerba mate over coffee as it feels like a calmer high. The tea provides the minerals potassium, magnesium and manganese alongside antioxidants and is also thought to improve mood, enhance sleep, reduce inflammation and the support the immune system.

In the afternoon and evening I am going to make time for consumption of pu-erh tea. This is an ancient Chinese fermented dark tea that evidence has shown can lower LDL and increase HDL cholesterol, aid in weight loss, reduce inflammation, provide antioxidants, and improve circulation. Pu-erh tea has a history of use in tea ceremonies and resultant of its deep roots and higher altitude cultivation –if wild or non-mono cultivated- it can be thought that upon consumption you are literally drinking the weather and the natural environment itself. Tea master WuDe recently spoke of this concept on the Rich Roll Podcast and I would highly recommend checking out the episode for more information on this topic. Interestingly WuDe answered a question on the purely physical benefits of drinking this tea by addressing only its stress reducing benefit if drank in a conscious manner –being in the moment of the act itself.  I think WuDe didn’t want to address the micronutrient profile so as not to diminish this spiritual and mental benefit as every known disease is either enhanced or created from stress. If we actually think about this increase of pu-erh consumption in place of coffee in eastern terms then we are increasing our yin to balance our yang.

So there it is guys, give your adrenals a break, drink yerba mate and pu-erh tea but most importantly:

Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the present focus of your life.’                                                                                                                                                            Eckhart Tolle –The Power of Now


Until next time, take it sleazy



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