An efficient way to cut off coffee is to identify the actual bodily need that is driving consumption of coffee and to meet that need in a healthier way, that doesn’t cause unwanted side effects.
For example one may need more energy, or crave the bitter tastes, or just needs help with going tothe toilet in the morning, or enjoys the morning routine, or the social environment that comes with drinking coffee, or the creamy, sweet milky taste….there are many reasons why one person may drink coffee.
And there is nothing wrong as long as there is balance in the body and mind.
Coffee as a food is hot, dry, toxic, acidifying, stimulant, rajastic, fermenting, pacifies kapha but increases vata and pitta. Coffee causes tension, is laxative and is drying in nature.
So generally it is to be avoided – or prepared in a certain way – for people suffering from pitta (fire) or vata (air) imbalances.
Also worth noting that in Ayurveda, it is recommended that changes should take place slowly and progressively to prevent withdraawal symptoms and make them easier to maintain in the long run.
Once you have identify the main need for coffee you can explore alternative ways to meet those and slowly cut down on coffee:
If you do not want to really give up coffee and have mild symptoms of acidity/heat in the body this first tip is perfect for you !
# 1 – Adding cardamom to your coffee, drink water with your coffee and eat a date after
- “Cardamom neutralizes the stimulating effects of caffeine, [it] boosts the digestive process without boosting the nervous system. Throughout the Middle East, coffee is brewed with cardamom.”
- Dates are sweet in taste which balances the bitterness of coffee. Dates are also cooling, satvic, heavy and nourishing. They will balance the heating and acidifying qualities of coffee. Dates are not necessary if you take milk or a raw form of sugar in your coffee.
- Water or diluting your coffee helps prevent the drying effects of coffee and minimise the stimulating effect.
If you crave bitter taste, or just can’t give up on the habit and you are open to alternatives the next two options are for you:
#2 – Replace your coffee habit with chai, fresh ginger infusion, fresh ginger with stimulating herbs such as peppermint, sage, rosemary, turmeric and mint infusion, cinnamon & cardamom infusion, Ashwaganda. According to season and constitution.
If the bitter taste is really what you crave – you always take your coffee black and maybe you crave dark chocolate too! – This is mostly true for pitta consitutions or people with excess fire in the body. Foods with bitter taste are cooling and detoxifying in nature, you can slowly include more of those in your diet and watch your craving for coffee reduce – the next tip is for you :
#4 – Inlcude more bitter foods in your diet such as leafy greens, turmeric and fenugreek. Green juices are also a great alternative. They will satisfy your need for bitterness and you can add some pungency for the stimulating effect.
For example : celery + green apple + ginger + turmeric juice OR mint + celery + apple OR cucumber + roka + pear + ginger OR spinach, parsley, black pepper, turmeric, cucumber, green apple. Add a squeeze of lime & drop of olive or coconut oil. Customise your green juice according to your Ayurvedic Constitution or consult your Ayurvedic Practitioner for assistance.
If you need coffee as a stimulant – or else you feel sleepy all day long :
#5 – Observe the level activity you put yourself through and wether this requires you to artificially stimulate body and mind with coffee, white sugar and other stimulants. Perhaps you can try to slow down your activity levels.
If you need help with going to the toilet in the morning you can check this next tip ;
#7 – Ayurveda supplements to help cut down on coffee – please speak with a registered Ayurveda Practitioner.
Most of all, take it easy, do not apply force, get to know yourself and your needs, so that you do not create unwanted frustration and boomerang effect. When the time is right coffee will not be a necessity and if sometimes it is, then perhaps that is also ok for your body right now.
Natural Health Practitioner – Ayurveda
The Ayurveda Centre – Athens
Ayurveda Nutritionist & Ayurveda Massage Therapies