Waking up has come to mean reaching for that first cup of steaming hot Columbian roast or jasmine green tea. Sometimes the potion hits our lips, before our eyes even have a chance to fully open. And as we sip our brew of choice, we’ve grown accustom to that familiar jolt that comes along with it, prepping us to face challenges of the day ahead. After years of teaching our body to depend on that extra kick, the idea of quitting caffeine can seem daunting.
Just because we crave caffeine, doesn’t mean it’s doing our body good. That comforting boost is deceptively seductive. Researchers at Johns Hopkins have now recognized caffeine withdrawal as a true medical disorder; they discovered that the more we drink, the more intense our withdrawal symptoms. And this doesn’t just apply to those of us who can’t get enough of the stuff. Surprisingly, just one seemingly harmless cup of caffeine a day is enough to form a bonafide addiction, according to the study that covered 170 years of caffeine withdrawal research.
Why We Crave Caffeine
Ever wonder what physically happens to a body on Caffeine? It’s kind of amazing. The substance works by artificially stimulating our central nervous system and triggers the Flight or Fright response in our brain. Flight or Fright’s origin dates back to prehistoric times. Back then its true purpose was created to protect us from perceived harm and by giving us the tools to combat oncoming danger. That’s why it gets our adrenaline pumping with a vengeance; our heartbeat and breath quicken. We become acutely focused, ready to defend ourselves at a moment’s notice.
Caffeine functions by fooling the body into believing it needs to come to our aid, so we can ride the high octane feeling. Essentially, Caffeine is a sneaky trickster, exploiting our natural defenses for a quick fix. Being inauthentic with our body comes with a steep price.
According to a study in the Korean Journal of Family medicine, performed on 234 middle school students, (Daegu: Kyungpook National University), higher caffeine intake was linked to weight gain, lower academic achievement, increased odds of significant depression and insomnia. And additional studies have also shown by artificially keeping us awake throughout the day, we suffer sleep-disruptive effects throughout the night hours.
Embrace Healthy Change
Other than the obvious buzz, often what we enjoy about caffeine, is partially linked to a favorite ritual and a sensory experience. Maybe we’re lured out of bed by the aroma of fresh roasted coffee beans brewing in our French press. Or we slowly steep white tea while listening to our favorite podcast. Instead of quitting caffeine cold turkey and leaving a void in our lives, why not try a Yogic approach: swap a negative habit for a positive one.
Introduce Moringa into your life. A highly nutritious, nutrient-dense superfood, Moringa provides the mind and body with a naturally sustainable energy source, minus adverse side effects.
You can purchase it in powdered form, or if you’ve got a green thumb and would rather grow the plant in your edible garden, you can harvest Moringa yourself. It’s health benefits are boundless; this ancient medicinal plant contains powerful antioxidant and neuroprotective qualities and has been linked to fighting Inflammation, cancer, diabetes, anemia, and the list goes on… Over 1300 medical studies have been performed on Moringa and continue, in hopes of better understanding how we can advance science through its use. So if it sounds like some kind of magic maybe that’s because it is: nature’s.
Maybe you’re wondering: if we substitute Moringa for our morning brew, how can it supply us with the kick we crave? Because Moringa is rich in magnesium, potassium and B vitamins, these B vitamins serve to intensify the potency of the magnesium and potassium, which naturally relaxes our muscles. In a way, it’s method is the opposite of caffeine’s, which works by exploiting our fear response. Instead, as Moringa reduces stress it helps the mind achieve clarity and focus. And the B vitamins have multiple benefits… they also turn the sugar in our body into a sustainable energy source.
Beyond nutritious, Moringa can be prepared in a variety of ways (recipes, teas, smoothies), throughout the day. Although, for our purposes we’re using it to kick caffeine addiction so crafting Morninga into a latte makes the most sense. Plus, it’s a luscious green way to start the day.
To prepare your morning elixir: mix one teaspoon Moringa powder with 1 tablespoon coconut butter (not coconut oil), 1.5 cups boiled water and if you like, add a bit of honey or agave. Pour all the ingredients into the blender for a quick pulse until it turns frothy. Below is a slightly more complex Cashew Butter Moringa-Maca Latte.
Stay on the Well-being Track
It’s not enough to make your first Moringa Latte and love it, even though that’s a pretty easy thing to do. In order to successfully substitute your negative habit with a positive one, you need to ingrain the new routine in your muscle memory and psyche.
For years we’ve been told it takes roughly 20-30 days to form a new habit. However, these numbers were not based on facts. So psychology researcher at University College in London, Phillippa Lally, was determined to uncover how long it actually took to incorporate a new habit into one’s life.
Lally led a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, “How are habits formed: Modeling habit formation in the real world.” Lally’s work involved studying 96 people over a 12-week period. In the end, Lally’s findings were not so clearcut. Lally discovered the timeframe for new habit to take root was unpredictable and varied according to the person. It could take anywhere between 18 to 254 days for a new habit to become fully ingrained. On the upside, Lally found that skipping a day or two, was not a setback, and didn’t prevent the new habit from forming.
Since creating new life patterns is an evolving process that takes commitment over time, then it stands to reason that true change begins with a simple desire. So if we show up with our Moringa powder each morning, ready to make our latte, in time we’ll begin to notice positive ripple effects.
Eventually we’ll associate the natural energy and improved healthy feeling with our new habit.
Our senses will become involved too… Instead of the aroma of coffee brewing, we’ll crave the delicate earthy floral scent of Moringa, and enjoy the pale green hue that happens when we blend it with nut milk.
Celebrate Your Resolve
While adding Moringa to your routine, why not create a twofold healthy intention and add another mind/body benefit: meditation.
Each morning when you awaken, meditate for 3-5 minutes before starting the day. Find a clear space to sit comfortably in the position of your choice. As you relax, let your breathing slow, lengthen your torso. Let the sounds and thoughts pass without judgement.
Visualize a healing light moving through your body, removing any physical or emotional tension and toxins, and release them into the air. Think of that light as tapping into your body’s own internal energy source, nourishing you with all the inner strength and resolve you need to face the day ahead.
Then slowly open your eyes and return the breath to normal.
Feel good about your choice to leave caffeine behind and nurture positive change.
Simply go to the kitchen once again and make your healing Moringa latte. Enjoy.