Welcome to Part 2
In the last Blog I explained why EMF and artificial lights are stressors with potential to make other stressors in your life less manageable. I'm going to continue with a stressor I'm currently withdrawing from, which has been one of the most impactful stressors and one that virtually everyone in our society is on. I'm talking about caffeine.
A few weeks ago I gave up coffee and shortly after all forms of caffeine including my beloved chocolate addiction. I am a true caffeine addict so I know what you're thinking as you read this. The fact is no one with stress, anxiety, or sleep issues should be consuming this drug as it contributes to those issues. In the same way no one drinking a beer should be surprised if they aren't sober, no one consuming caffeine should be surprised about anxiety, sleep issues, and so many more negative effects. Just one cup of coffee is enough to keep measurably reduced blood flow to your brain. Caffeine in any form spikes the sympathetic nervous system, putting you in fight or flight mode. This prevents healing, weight loss, and prolonged stress. I finally realized I have struggled with anxiety for 20 years and have also been on some form of caffeine for 20 years. This means my nervous system has been taxed by a drug this entire time. I now have no idea what my adult life is like without that constant flood of stress hormones running through me. It's not enough to go off for a day. I need at least 60 days 100% caffeine free to even have a baseline (I don't like citing sources but there's a lot of great data and info on the specifics of caffeine in the book Caffeine Blues). It will certainly take my nervous system a long time to recover from being taxed for so long, even if the drug is out of my system. I realize the vast majority of our society is on this drug so it is almost impossible to get a baseline. It takes the body weeks to months to repair fully and most studies on caffeine (done by coffee drinkers for coffee sellers) look at a person on coffee one day and off the next which is no better than testing someone on heroin and someone withdrawing from heroin. Better to compare a person not on heroin at all to really see. Coffee, tea, chocolate, soda and on and on. Who is really off this stress drug?
Take a close look at anyone, especially anyone in alternative health claiming to be bulletproof. Perhaps they just found a legal drug to get you hooked on. It's good for business and bad for your health. I'm sure you will here more about this from me as I have found that my few weeks off caffeine has been one of the most humbling and beneficial steps in health I have ever taken. This worsens the effects of EMF and artificial light (mentioned in part 1) and leads me directly into the fourth stressor I'm going to talk about: over-training.
I've been that guy. The guy at the gym with the shaker cup filled with some caffeine-filled, neon-colored drink lifting way too hard just to feel strong. With my skin exposed to florescent lights, surrounded by tech devices, all in the name of health. This is the culmination of all 4 stressors. Overtraining in general is a problem. It is fun to feel strong but we often push ourselves to exhaustion piling on a massive amount of stress on an already stressed body. I'm not saying to stop exercising but I will say If you are in the longevity phase of life (35+ years old) then it would be wise to shift from growth to longevity by doing far less aggressive wear and tear on the body. I see people pushing themselves so hard and not loosing weight. They seem to look worse and worse and have a sympathetic-dominant nervous system. They never recover, chronically adding to an already stressed life. What's even worse is caffeine is a constrictor and lifters are trying to increase blood flow. When you mix caffeine with substances that dilate the body has a very tough time since it can't do both at the same time. I believe over training, and caffeine are intimately connected. I did this for a prolonged period of time, learn from my mistakes. If you want to look good and lose weight or build muscle, engage the repair and restore mechanisms of your body and know that caffeine consumption will not allow for this.
Remember that health is contingent upon the body's ability to repair itself. The higher the stress, the lower the charge meaning the less power the body has to regenerate itself. There are countless stressors in this life. Some are unavoidable while others are voluntary. Remove what you can and the ones that remain will be more manageable. I call this margin. As your margin increases, so does your health. No one pushing a substance like caffeine that clearly pulls you out of rest and repair wants you to be healthy. These are hard truths but if you go into your doctor's office for anxiety or sleeplessness and find a cup of coffee under LED lighting waiting for you to just be sold some drugs, you may want to reconsider your strategy. Very few people are willing to look at EMF, tech, caffeine and excessive exercise as problems. Guys, if you're overly stressed your testosterone will be low. Women, if your worried about wrinkles no amount of collagen in your coffee will stop the caffeine in the coffee from disrupting skin cell repair any more than adding collagen to a beer will keep you looking good.
If this blog is stressing you out, stay tuned. Part 3 will have some solutions to the 4 stressors that I have covered in this blog series.
Rob Alexander is on a journey to learn not just about health but everything else.
This website does not provide medical advice.
The information, including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this website are for informational purposes only. The purpose of this website is to promote broad consumer understanding knowledge of various health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified Health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.