Should You and I Quit Caffeine?

Should You and I Quit Caffeine?

How cute is this?!

If you are like me, caffeine is a daily part of your life in some way or another. You may not be able to imagine a life totally without it.

If you are like me, you also may have women’s/non-binary’s health related issues. Could caffeine be making these issues even worse or actually causing them? Those are two questions I was interested in having answered.

So to answer them, I did some research and decided to put up a post about what I learned!

A little bit about caffeine

Caffeine is actually considered a drug but it is accepted and used by many in various forms. It is a stimulant that affects the central nervous system.

It was first isolated in 1819 from mocha (coffee) beans. From there, the usage of caffeine really exploded (it had been gaining popularity since the 1600s). Coffee beans aren’t the only things that it is found in as things like tea, cocoa, Yerba Mate (plant), guarana (plant) and more have it too.

Some things that don’t have caffeine naturally in them, have the extraction added to them. This is the case for energy drinks, energy patches, pre-workout mixes, supplement/vitamin blends. There are also caffeine pills that just have it as the active ingredient.

Caffeine content is generally reported in milligrams. The following is a list of the amounts of caffeine in various commonly consumed things-

  • Kola nuts: 10-50 mg per serving (2-3 nuts).
  • Coffee: 80-130 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Energy drinks: 80-100 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Soda: 30-58 mg per 12 ounces (Pepsi One has the highest amount).
  • Puerh tea: 60-100 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Black tea: 40-50 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Yerba Mate: 85 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Oolong tea: 35-75 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Green tea: 20-70 mg per 8 ounces.
  • White tea: 10-60 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Hot chocolate: 5-18 mg per 8 ounces.
  • Chocolate candy: 0-60 mg per serving.
  • Caffeine pills: 100-200 mg per pill.
  • Pre-workout mixes: 150-375 mg per serving.

These numbers are just estimates. There are different variables and factors that go into the actual amount of caffeine that something contains.

Positives and negatives of caffeine

Consuming caffeine can have good and bad effects. The effects that one gets depends on how much they takes of it and how their individual body responds to it.

Here are some of the pleasant as well as uncomfortable things one may experience when putting caffeine in their body:

Positive-

  • May wake you up to be less groggy in the morning.
  • May increase strength for weightlifting workouts.
  • Increase in cardiovascular performance: You may be able to go for longer and/or push harder during cardiovascular work.
  • Fat burning: It may increase your fat burning ability.
  • Increase in memory and alertness: It may help your memory and the ability to be alert for work tasks and learning.
  • May prevent diabetes.
  • May provide a mood boost.
  • May treat headaches and migraines.
  • May decrease the risk of Parkinson’s.
  • May stimulate growth, stop loss and thicken hair.

Negative-

  • Causes unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when you try to quit or reduce intake. These include GI issues, insomnia and headaches.
  • May make mental conditions worse.
  • May cause anxiety and nervousness.
  • May cause irregular heartbeats.
  • May have a laxative effect and/or cause urine frequency.
  • May change how fast your body breaks down medications.
  • May block the effects of medications.
  • May mess up blood sugar levels.
  • May cause dehydration in your body which in turn may give your skin an aged appearance.
  • May increase blood pressure.
  • May deplete necessary nutrients such as vitamin B6 and B12.

Even though there are benefits to caffeine, taking a lot of it only increases the chances of experiencing the bad effects. Experts say it is best to not take more than 400 mg per day.

Caffeine and hormones

There is some evidence that caffeine can interact with our hormones in negative ways. Here are two hormones that caffeine can effect:

Cortisol-

One of the hormones it may have an effect on is cortisol which is a stress hormone. Caffeine has shown to increase the hormone which then causes an increase in blood sugar levels. Having high blood sugar can lead one to experience things like nausea, increased hunger, headaches and brain fog.

Estrogen-

One thing that has been seen with caffeine is that it can actually last longer in the body when one is taking estrogen treatments or birth control. This is not a good thing as it may be messing up one’s sleep cycle.

Another thing is that it can change estrogen levels especially if too much is taken. The direction that the estrogen level goes in, seems to be dependent on ones race. In Asians and blacks, a rise in estrogen has been seen. This is in contrast to whites in which a decrease in estrogen has been seen.

Variations in estrogen level can lead to things like hormonal imbalances, endometriosis, osteoporosis, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer.

Putting it all together

As you can see, caffeine can have negative effects in regards to women’s/non-binary people’s health. It can:

  • Make anxiety and irritability that is experienced with PMS/PMDD, worse.
  • Mess with one’s sleep cycle which can worsen mood issues (among other things).
  • Raise blood sugar which in turn adds to and/or makes PMS/PMDD symptoms worse.
  • Cause a hormonal imbalance which in turn can cause worse PMS/PMDD, lower sex drive, irregular periods, worsening mental conditions, headaches/migraines, weight gain, hair loss, ovarian cysts, insomnia, fatigue, brain fog and heavy bleeding.
  • Deplete B6 which helps regulate hormones.
  • Deplete B12 which can cause things like mood swings, fatigue, brain fog and memory problems.

Not every woman/non-binary person will experience these things. If one is experiencing a lot of mental and physical discomfort during their cycles, it may be a good idea to look at how much caffeine is being consumed. Quitting or reducing it may be the answer to feeling better.

My caffeine consumption and hormonal issues

I am guilty of having a higher than recommended maximum dosage of caffeine. Each day, I take in around 450-480 mg of caffeine. Yikes right?

I used to get most of my caffeine in the form of coffee, special coffee drinks (caramel macchiato to be exact!) and tea. Now it is mainly just caffeine pills and tea. I typically take 200 mg from the pills in the morning, green tea in the afternoon and another 200 mg from the pills before working out in the evening.

Since upping my intake of caffeine, I believe that I have had worse PMS/PMDD symptoms. When I look back at my health tracking journals, I experienced a lot of severe symptoms up until starting Claritin. It was like I barely ever had a good day.

While things are better, I still have my bad days (bad moods and extreme GI distress) and I think that maybe reducing the amount of caffeine may help me. My plan is to try and get my intake down to 300 mg for a while and see how I do at that amount.

I know that there will be always be some discomfort I feel due to my hormones and life itself but if reducing caffeine can help me in any way- I am willing to take less.

It is your decision

It can be hard to break up with caffeine-either part of the way or all of the way. For some people though, it may be a good idea to be more mindful about how much is being consumed. In terms of women’s/nonbinary health issues, it may be making them worse or it could be the cause of them.

How much caffeine do you take in each day?

Thanks for reading!

#caffeine #caffeinemolecule #womenshealth #nonbinaryhealth #pms #pmddtreatment #hormones #coffee #tea

Here Are Some Yummy Eats!

Here Are Some Yummy Eats!

I have been consuming some good stuff (in my opinion) these days. For this post, I wanted to share them with you all so that you can have some new ideas of things to eat and drink!

My recent eats and drinks

  1. Johnsonville Fully Cooked Original Bratwurst

These are absolutely delicious (in my opinion). After cooked in the microwave, they actually taste like they came off the grill. These boast 260 calories per link and have two grams of carbohydrates. They are a good option for a low carb snack or meal if you don’t put them in buns.

2. Member’s Mark Mesquite Grilled Chicken Fillets

If you have a Sams Club in your area and are a member-consider picking a bag of these up. They taste delicious and make for a great, quick meal. You can use them to make chicken sandwiches, put them on salads, use them in fajitas etc.

After cooking them, I melt a slice of cheese on top and eat it that way. Yum!

3. It’s Just! Chili-Lime Roasted Brazil Nuts

These Brazil nuts are pretty tasty. The brand has other flavors as well. I purchased them to get my selenium intake in everyday.

The kicker about Brazil nuts is that you can’t eat very many otherwise you might get too much of the mineral in your body. All you really need is one of the nuts per day for the possible health benefits.

You can find them here: https://www.amazon.com/Its-Just-Cookies-Gluten-Free-Friendly/dp/B07VQXGN94/ref=sr_1_8?dchild=1&keywords=It%27s+Just%21&qid=1620888470&sr=8-8 (I don’t know why it says “cookies” in the address)

4. DavidsTea with heavy cream

DavidsTea products with heavy cream is one of my favorite things these days. What I do is brew two servings of tea (2 tsps) in 12 ounces of water and add 1/4 cup of heavy cream to it.

If you like to drink tea, I would highly recommend trying some of DavidsTea options if you haven’t already.

5. Kars Trail Mix

I have always been a trail mix lover and these really hits the spot.

I also love that it comes in portioned out bags. If I get a big jar of trail mix I will end up overeating sometimes so this is a great thing!

6. Libby’s Canned Pureed Pumpkin

I love pumpkin. It tastes good and is healthy. You don’t have to use it just in pies either!

I put some in oatmeal, mix some with Cool Whip, make bread with it and use it for face masks.

7. Monk Fruit Extract

I only recently found out about monk fruit and how it can be used as a sweetener (as a Splenda alternative). My husband decided to buy it in bulk for whatever reason so I decided to try it out.

I really like it!

It sweetens well and has a bit of maple aftertaste that I find particularly pleasant. I would recommend it to people who are looking for an alternative to sweetener but don’t like Splenda or the other ones on the market.

8. Blueberries and yogurt

I did a post on this wonderful snack a while ago. It is just so good and I have been eating it a couple times a week. This is another thing I highly recommend trying.

It is just frozen blueberries, cinnamon, sweetener and plain Greek Yogurt mixed together.

Try these out!

I know that we don’t all have the same likes when it comes to food but these are worth a try if you like anything close to them. They may not be the healthiest in some people’s minds but they can easily be fit into one’s diet.

What kind of yummies have you been enjoying lately?

Thanks for reading!

#healthysnacks #ketosnacks #highproteinsnacks #eat #foodie #tea #nutrition #diet #lowcarb

13 Ways to Reduce Bloat Fast

13 Ways to Reduce Bloat Fast

Having a bloated belly happens from time to time. There are different reasons as to why it occurs. No matter the reason, it is always uncomfortable.

Fortunately, there are ways to relieve some of the bloating in a short amount of time. The purpose of this post is to show you those ways (the ones that actually work) so that you can have them in your arsenal when are experiencing it.

13 ways to reduce bloat fast

The reasons behind bloating can be harmless but it is probably a good idea to rule out things like food allergies just in case.

For a relatively quick fix, the following are things to do and/or take to get some relief from the bloating:

  1. Dandelion tea– This tea is great to have around. Two cups can be of great relief. There are some interactions that may occur if you are taking certain medications so make sure to do some research on it first.
  2. Water with cucumber and/or lemon slices- Some say that cucumbers and lemons are nature’s diuretics. Putting slices in a glass of water may be of help to you.
  3. Turmeric and ginger tea-Combining these two together in a hot drink may help relieve bloating due to their anti-inflammatory effects. If you can’t handle the taste, you can keep around pre-made turmeric capsules and get it that way.
  4. Cinnamon tea- This tea will help with bloat and diarrhea. It will also make your house smell delicious! Just put a cinnamon stick or two in a cup of boiling water and let it steep for about 10 minutes.
  5. Fennel tea– This is a great for all types of GI upsets and menstrual cramps. Two cups of fennel tea a day should suffice.
  6. Slippery elm– This is also great for all GI upsets and menstrual cramps just like fennel! You can find this in powdered, liquid extract and capsuled forms.
  7. Hot pack or heated blanket- Placing a hot pack or heated blanket on the abdomen may bring down the bloat. Make sure they aren’t too hot when you place them on your skin.
  8. Chamomile tea– Not only is this great for calming the mind/body but it also can reduce the bloat! If you have it around, drink a few cups of this per day to combat it .
  9. Ginger- This has always been regarded as being great for GI issues and bloat is one of them. For this problem, it is best used in tea form (along or with other things).
  10. Peppermint- Peppermint helps with stomach upset and can also help with bloat. Drink some peppermint tea and/or rub diluted peppermint oil on your abdomen.
  11. Child’s Pose– This Yoga moves feels really nice and may relieve some bloat. It does this by giving your body (inside and out) an overall good stretch.
  12. Warm bath or hot shower- Higher water temperatures on the abdomen seem to help bloating. A warm bath is also very relaxing just in general!
  13. VapoRub- This is not just soothing to tired muscle but it can also make your abdominal bloat go down. Just rub a little on your entire abdomen.

Ditch that bloat!

The list of fast reducing bloat remedies are all ones that I have had success with. While results may vary in people, I think that there is at least one of them that may help anyone who is looking for some relief.

What ways work for you when it comes reducing bloat in a short amount of time? Let me know!

Thanks for reading!

#bloattreatment #supplements #tea #herbs #bloating #menstrualcycle #pcos #gi #physicalsymptoms

Oolong Tea Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oolong Tea Chocolate Chip Cookies

Okay so I forgot to take a picture this time but I swear they looked a lot like this!

I really enjoyed baking the Matcha tea cookies and dropping some off at family member’s houses for them to try. Since I love to experiment in the kitchen (especially with tea), I decided to use up the rest of the Oolong tea bags I had left to make another cookie recipe.

Here is the recipe if any of you are interested!

First, why milk chocolate instead of white chocolate?

I chose to use milk chocolate chips for this recipe because they go better with the flavors of Oolong tea. This type of tea has a stronger taste than green tea so the stronger flavor of milk chocolate is necessary (in my opinion).

Dark chocolate would probably be even better. I will remember that for next time if I choose to make them again.

No eggs for these either

If you read my Matcha cookie recipe post, you would know that I have issues with eggs. They make me feel very sick and give me hives.

This means that I can not use them in anything I make.

For baking, I typically use unsweetened applesauce to replace the egg but for this recipe I tried out plain yogurt instead.

What is the flavor like?

These cookies have a chocolatey taste with the Oolong tea undertones. You can make the Oolong tea flavor stronger by steeping the tea bags longer and/or adding another tea bag full of dried leaves to the flour.

They are a bit different tasting but very good! Even my 5 year old son loved them.

The recipe

Here it is!

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 5 Oolong tea bags
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of white sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt, 1/2 tbsp oil, 1/2 tbsp water (egg and egg yolk replacements)
  • 1 1/2 cups of mini milk chocolate chips

Instructions-

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Either grease baking sheets or line them with parchment paper.
  2. Mix flour, baking soda, salt and the tea leaves from one bag of Oolong tea together in a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Steep the four tea bags into the melted butter in a medium size bowl for four minutes. Take the tea bags out and squeeze the excess butter out of them in the bowl. Mix in the sugar, vanilla extract and egg/yolk substitutes until creamy.
  4. Mix the creamed butter in with the dry ingredients until just blended. Pour in the chocolate chips and use gloved hands to mix them into the dough.
  5. Drop 24 portions of the dough down onto the cookie sheets.
  6. Bake until edges are light brown-around 14 minutes. Let the cookies cool for a while after they are done.

Simple and easy treat

Treats are wonderful to have once in a while. You can still maintain a great figure with them in your diet.

These Oolong tea cookies are not your typical flavor but they will definitely satisfy a craving for something sweet.

Thanks for reading!

#baking #tea #cooking #chocolatechipcookes #cookies #recipes #cheatmeal #dessert

New Research Suggests Green Tea May Be of Use In The COVID-19 Fight

New Research Suggests Green Tea May Be of Use In The COVID-19 Fight

Yay for Matcha tea!

If you have read my other posts, you may know that I love tea. A nice hot, steaming cup is very therapeutic to me.

I came across recent articles from medical research sites that went over the possible use of green tea as a preventative and treatment option for COVID-19. Needless to say, this really excited me!

Health benefits of tea have been touted for a while now

Green tea has been gaining in popularity over the years. This is due to the benefits some researchers say that it has. They are as follows:

  1. May lower cholesterol
  2. May lower high blood pressure
  3. May help with weight loss
  4. Provides energy without jitters
  5. May help with skin conditions such as aging and acne
  6. May have anti-inflammatory effects
  7. May protect against cavities
  8. May help regulate blood sugar levels

These alleged benefits are said to be due to the tea’s content of a catechin called, EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate). To get as much EGCG as you can, here are things one can do:

  1. Drink multiple cups a day- Research says 3-5 cups is best.
  2. Drink between meal times- This is so you can absorb all of the EGCG instead of having it bind to the food you are eating.
  3. Pick green tea with the most EGCG in it- Loose leaf teas with the most EGCG are Gyokuro, Matcha and Sencha. Tea brands that sell tea bags with the most EGCG include Celestial Seasonings and Lipton with Stash having the lowest amount.
  4. Go straight for the EGCG- This catechin is sold by itself as a supplement from a few different brands.

What the articles are saying (extremely simple explanation)

Green tea has been known to have a possibility of treating viruses such as HIV, Influenza and the Rotavirus. There are now a few research articles stating its use in the war against COVID-19, too.

The constituents in green tea (EGCG being one of them) are said to have antiviral effects. When it comes to fighting COVID-19, it possibly does this several ways. These ways include inhibition, interaction and binding activity

But wait, I have had green tea daily for years

I have been drinking multiple cups of green tea per day for years now and I still got COVID-19 in March.

This is probably due to me not drinking the kind of green tea that has a high amount of the constituents discussed in the articles and because the research is not definitive.

Green tea may not actually do anything

Some say green tea has health benefits, some say it has absolutely no benefits.

I do not think it will do miraculous things to our health but I am still going to drink it. If in the off shoot it is actually doing my body some good (maybe it kept me from having to go to the hospital?), then great!

The main thing I really love about seeing these articles is that there are people working immensely hard on trying to figure this new virus out. This gives me so much hope.

Do you like green tea? If so, what brand/kind do you drink?

Thanks for reading!

Some articles-

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-27545/this-is-how-much-green-tea-you-should-be-drinking.html

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7367004/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32720577/

#greentea #health #covid19 #covidlonghaulers #supplements #virology