How I Conquered the Effects Caffeine Has on My Body

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Caffeine is a chemical altering substance that changes brain functions - resulting in alterations of; mood, perception, consciousness, and behavior. Caffeine can be found in everyday foods such as chocolate, coffee, tea, and ice cream! Which means you should be conscious of how much of these products you consume. The effects of this common substance can cause or exacerbate anxiety - and I learned this the hard way. The saying, "you are what you eat", couldn't be more true when in reference to caffeine.

If you're a woman on the go like myself, you not only enjoy the taste of a good cup of coffee, but the extra boost it gives you in the early-morning. A few years ago, when I first decided to go back to school and start freelancing - I was falling asleep late at night, and waking up early in the morning, literally running myself rugged. Having been a coffee drinker since middle school (crazy, I know), I would find comfort in at least two cups of coffee a day. I still love the way a dark arabica roast pairs with just a dab of creamer; two spoons of sugar; and a dash of cinnamon. My body on the other hand, hates too much of it (it is important to note that the amount of caffeine an individual can safely consume varies from person to person). After a few months of this daily ritual, I began to loose my appetite (caffeine is also an appetite suppressant), I found it difficult to sleep, I ALWAYS had to go to the bathroom, and then some. Psychologically, I became consistently anxious (I've had a long-time battle with conquering my mild-anxiety), and found it hard to focus. 

Now, before I continue, this isn't a burn-article on caffeine. Rather, an informational journal on being conscious of the connections to your wellbeing and the physical things you put inside of your body. Caffeine is natural and safe to consume, but like anything else, too much of it can in fact be harmful. For me, too much caffeine intensifies my battle with anxiety. But when proportionately consumed, caffeine is nothing more than a pick-me-up (natural caffeine - not that 5-hour Energy crack-caffeine). Realistically, I wasn't about these changes AT ALL, but I also wasn't giving up coffee. Besides, coffee contains a lot antioxidants and is said to have health benefits that caffeine alone does not. So instead of completely banning caffeine from my diet and becoming vegan, I decided to balance my diet and really pay attention to how what I was eating affected my body. After a few weeks of limiting my coffee [caffeine] intake (and simultaneously drinking more water), I started to notice changes in my skin, attitude, and sleeping pattern. After this revelation of how I could control my body and its functions with my diet, I began practicing better dietary habits in general.  

If you notice sudden changes in your mood or physical appearance, start paying attention to anything you've started doing differently. Changes in daily routines, cosmetic products, climates, diets, etc., are all natural stressors on the body and have symptoms - both big and small, good and bad. Knowing your body and it's relationship with the things around it comes with much reward and an overall happier lifestyle!