Ok, so this is not the definitive exposition of all things regarding coffee and tea. That would be a lifetime work all in itself. For our purposes here, we do want to offer a short discussion about the benefits that we have found combining coffee or tea with intermittent fasting.
There are three benefits to drinking caffeinated beverages whilst you are fasting:
- Mood enhancement – they stimulate you, and pick you up;
- They suppress your appetite; and
- They increase mental clarity (reduce “brain fog”)
Black unsweetened coffee has zero calories, and contains antioxidants. It is, in fact, the primary source of antioxidants for people in the West.
There does not seem to be much negative controversy about tea. We have all been told about the antioxidant, re-hydrating, and restorative benefits of teas – and if tea is your thing, fantastic, keep it up!
I like tea also, especially the Japanese teas of Sen-cha and Hoji-cha.
But when it comes to my daily routine, coffee does play a role. I have found Nespresso coffee, specifically Fortissio Lungo capsules, to be exactly what I like. So, that is what I drink, and I have around 4 coffees a day usually.
My daily routine is as follows:
- Start at sunrise (which in Australia is around 6am on average), go to my study and open the shutters (with my eyes initially closed);
- Feel the Sun on my face, then open my eyes and glance quickly at the Sun – this is my “morning salutation” to the source of my life – it is also the best way I know to immediately wake up and get energised;
- Make a Nespresso coffee, and sit quietly for 10 minutes while I drink it slowly. I do not read, look at emails, or consume any information – I just look at the trees outside of my window and drink my coffee;
- After my 10 minute “coffee meditation”, I check emails and then read the Australian newspaper (which is now an app on my iPad) – that takes 20 minutes usually;
- I then go on my treadmill for at least 30 minutes whilst watching a YouTube documentary of interest, and if I am feeling spunky, I might go for up to an hour;
- I will have a coffee around every 3 hours, at around 10am, 1pm and 4pm during work.
That’s it, that’s my coffee routine. Nothing special, I am sure that a billion people do the same thing every day. With me though, apart from simply liking coffee and its taste, coffee helps me to remain fasted by just giving me an edge of mood and mental clarity, and by subtly suppressing hunger.
You can certainly intermittently fast without coffee or tea – many people do it. We have found through personal experience that it is a valuable addition to fasting for the reasons stated – better mood, clearer mind, and hunger suppression.
There are some negatives regarding coffee to be mindful of. Too much coffee can lead to being agitated, nervous or anxious. It is also habitual – you can get hooked on it, and to break the habit means a few days of headaches and withdrawal symptoms – not fun. However, these issues are not a huge deal, and for us the benefits of coffee outweigh the negative – obviously, if you look at the number of people who drink it, the world empirically agrees with that position.
The issue that is a big deal is that coffee may cause heart palpitations and exacerbate heart conditions, and that is no joke to people who may be vulnerable to heart problems. It is rare, but you should be mindful of it. If after drinking coffee, you feel like your heart is skipping beats or you just don’t feel right, consider seeing a Cardiologist for a heart check-up.