This post could also be called “Almost an Apology for Including Coffee in the List of NOT FOOD”.
A recent post, by which I fully stand, brought me some comments from people very close to me. (Ok, my wife and I had a conversation about it.)
You see, we both love coffee. As I’m sure many of you do.
Yet I went and put coffee on the list of NOT FOOD! Sacrilege!
Well, not quite.
Let’s be honest with ourselves: Coffee is NOT FOOD; it is a drug, albeit a mild one, but a drug nevertheless.
Most of us consume said drug not because we particularly enjoy the taste, but because we believe we need it for going about our daily activities. Or simply as a habit. Much of the blame for that falls squarely on our tendency to get too little sleep (more on sleep hygiene in a later post) and some on “just doing like everyone else”.
It is my contention that given a good regimen of everyday exercise, good sleep, and proper diet, the industry that has been built around coffee would collapse.
Or maybe not. Some people really like coffee. I’m one of those. The bitterer the better. So I drink my espresso black, and I have 2-3 short ones per day, or a short one and an “allongé”. Almost always before noon.
And I can go days without having any. In fact, I was completely off coffee for many years, at one point in my life. (No, I don’t mean when I was a child, about which I have a funny story, for some other time.)
Coffee is likely here to stay. And that’s OK. As long as we are clear that it is NOT FOOD.
Therefore, when drinking your coffee, beware of the following:
- It should not be a reflex action. Make it a conscious decision, and be fully aware of what that choice means. For instance, if you don’t like it black, be aware of how much sugar and/or milk/cream/other stuff is in there. Your coffee can all too rapidly become a calorie bomb, and in so doing negate any hoped-for gain in wakefulness by causing an insulin peak and an energy drop later. Then you get trapped in “needing” another coffee to “help” when in fact it is causing more harm. Not to mention the long-term effect of so many calories on your body.
- A coffee should not automatically be accompanied of something sweet. Forget the doughnut (donut), cookie, chocolate, or whatever you may absent-mindedly just consume with your coffee. Not only is that likely also NOT FOOD, but it probably packs a punch of calories you don’t really need.
- Coffee should definitely not be consumed regularly in the evening, or even afternoon. While many claim that it has no incidence on their ability to fall asleep, it may have a negative effect on the quality of that sleep. From sleeping badly, to waking up and not being able to fall back asleep. Then, having not slept enough during the night, the cycle of drinking coffee resumes in earnest in the morning.
But it is not all doom and gloom: You are probably not among those I describe in this post. I’m sure you manage your coffee intake well, and that you are aware that it is NOT FOOD. That’s key: knowing this, you can deal with it, and consciously decide to have some, once in a while. Or regularly. But on your terms.
Just in case, try this little trick: When you see a coffee, impose on the image a label that says “NOT FOOD”. That should trigger the correct reaction in your mind.
Then enjoy some, black, no sweets on the side. Or perhaps not black, and some sugar to “kill” the bitterness, but then only a small coffee, and something truly nutritious to dampen the sugar rush.
I know I will.
Photo from Pixabay.