Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Coffee (and Tea) Talk

I’ve been trying to kick the coffee habit for a while now by switching to green tea. Coffee has always had a stigma in my mind ever since I was a little girl - I remember one Christmas morning when all 6’4” of my great uncle hovered over me and told me never to drink coffee because it would stunt my growth. It was hard not to believe him considering his height, and yet, life’s chaos settled in as I grew up, and coffee somehow found its way into my mug. But one morning when I was really craving a cup of joe/majorly dragging at work and feeling guilty about it, it occurred to me that I’m not really sure why I’m depriving myself because I’ve never bothered to look up any actual research defending one against the other. So I decided to do a little digging...

A) of all, I’ve never been a huge coffee drinker to begin with. Every now and then, I may overly indulge, but for the most part, I’ll have a cup of coffee maybe 3-4 times a week. Ever since trying to switch to tea though, I’ve upped my intake a bit because I’ll use a cup in the AM as a caffeine kick, and a decaf (okay, fine. It’s usually caffeinated too) cup in the afternoon to stave off hunger/prevent me from attacking our secretary’s secret candy stash. [pause...um Liv here. Our secretary has a secret candy stash?! You've been holding out on me. Oh - and yes, Sal + Liv work together, share a cube wall actually - but more on that later.] So am I really any better off? Well, let’s see…

Black coffee (which is how I like it) can ward off diabetes, Parkinson’s, heart disease and possibly some types of cancer – but in order for me to reap any of those benefits, I’d need to slurp back at least 3-4 cups a day. Eww. Stained teeth and bad breath aside, I’m pretty sure that much java in any given day would make my insides feel like mush. 

Tea also has some pretty bad a$$ benefits – preventing Alzheimer’s, certain types of cancer and osteoporosis, fighting cavities, speeding up your metabolism, etc, etc. But supposedly, I may have to drink a lot more than 1 – 2 cups to get any of these benefits, too. 

Hmmm. After several weeks of research, I've yet to find a conclusive answer. Which leads me to believe that there is no real answer. I think we have to listen to our bodies and determine what makes us feel our best. For me, that means sticking to tea whenever possible, but not beating myself up over the occasional coffee indulgence - after all, I need something to dunk my donut in, right?

Any helpful insight out there? What makes you feel your best – particularly when preparing for a long run? Talk amongst yourselves – gotta go grab a cup of joe I mean tea.

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