Stress, Caffeine and Adrenal Fatigue (Plus a recipe for a Chocolate Maca Chai Tea)

by Nyamka Bayanmunkh in


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I have a daily caffeine habit that I have been working hard to curb it. Currently I have one cup of black tea every morning. It used to be more.  Back in the day to keep my energy levels up through the day I had coffee in the morning, and then continue the day with countless cups of black tea until I went to bed. I was so exhausted even with all that caffeine as soon as my head hit the pillow I fell asleep.

I needed caffeine to function because without it my body didn't have enough energy. Instead of slowing down and looking after my self I just upped the caffeine. Taking time out to nurse my to health was not an option. If I just had enough coffee and black  tea I could do everything but my body was struggling to keep up with it all.

I had dark circles under my eyes, I had excess cravings for salty food, my muscles on top my eye regularly twitched, sometimes my neck muscles twitched so hard I almost threw my neck out, I woke up at night because of painful leg cramps, I got light headed when I stood up,  I had very painful PMS symptoms, and my hair was going grey all at the ripe age of  20.

Of course not all of the symptoms were the result of my excess caffeine consumption. I was tired and worn out without the caffeine, but the caffeine was definitely not helping.

Caffeine is a stimulant that binds to the adenosine receptors in the brain. This leads to a range of complex reactions such as an increase of stimulation at the adrenal glands, over time it can lead to adrenal fatigue.

Caffeine  stimulates our heart,  makes our  blood vessels dilate, increases our blood pressure and amplify  our stress hormones making us more alert and concentrated even when we are tired and worn out.

The endocrine system is sensitive and a small change in your hormone levels can have a significant effect. Over time elevated stress hormones due to a stressful life or from the over consumption of caffeine wears your body out and can  increase vulnerability to a variety of health disorders related to inflammation and fatigue. Adrenal fatigue is a common occurrence in individuals who are tired and highly wired, which is what I was.

If your life is in danger and you need  to be alert to save yourself  having tons of caffeine makes sense. However, being on it every single day I was just putting undue stress on my endocrine system when it was already messed up from  my stressful life plus the antibiotics, and the other prescription pills. 

As I learnt more about health and nutrition I realised I had to stop living this stressed out full to the brim life and stop relying on  caffeine to get through my day. Cutting out that one cup of coffee in the morning was not easy. The headaches were painful and I wanted to turn to caffeine whenever I felt tired, which was very often. The headaches went away in a few days and within a month my caffeine tolerance had adjusted.

My terrible  health symptoms went away over a period of few months. I wasn't going  grey haired prematurely and I had enough energy to get  through the day with just one cup of caffeinated tea.

Now I have one cup of black tea in the morning, rest of the day I have water and herbal teas. When I have 2 cups of caffeinated tea I become jittery and shaky. So for now it's only one cup of caffeinated tea. I savour that one cup because soon I'll be going completely caffeine free. I have a feeling I will feel even better than I do now with no caffeine.

Below is a recipe for my Chocolate Maca Chai Tea, my favourite caffeinated drink for the time being. It's a warming, spicy, chocolate-y and creamy. If you want you can also leave out the chocolate because it has a bit of caffeine too.

Chocolate Maca Chai Tea

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of of boiling water
  • 1 chai tea bag
  • 1 tbsp of  coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of milk of your choice
  • 1 tbsp of cacao powder
  • 1 tsp maca powder
  • stevia/honey/rice malt syrup to sweeten it  (optional)

Directions:

  1. Infuse tea for 5 minutes.
  2. Remove tea bag. Pour hot tea into the blender and add rest of ingredients. Blend and pour into a large mug. Top with cinnamon if you wish.

Have it in the morning instead of your coffee, and over time you can slowly transition to having less and less caffeine.

Now to you, do you depend on caffeine like I do. Are you trying to quit? Do you suffer from any of the symptoms I mentioned above?  I'd love to hear your caffeine story so let me know in the comments section.

With love & simplicity,

Nyamka

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