Ready to revolutionise your relationship with coffee?
Our latest podcast episode features Myra Lewin, who shares her insights on how caffeine affects our health from an Ayurvedic perspective. Myra, a renowned Ayurveda and yoga teacher & founder of Hale Pule, offers a comprehensive look into how coffee influences our hormones, digestive system, anxiety levels, and sleep cycles. Listen in as we discuss the benefits, drawbacks, and ways to improve our interactions with this ubiquitous stimulant.
We’ll dive deep into the world of coffee, exploring the addictive nature of caffeine. Myra illuminates the uncomfortable nature of withdrawal symptoms, shedding light on the hidden depths of our reliance on coffee. We also examine how caffeine impacts our physiology with an emphasis on the three doshas (Ayurvedic constitutions / elemental makeups).
Learn Ayurveda’s approach to caffeine, understanding how to make smarter decisions about our caffeine intake. This episode is an opportunity to empower yourself and make wiser choices for your health. Tune in and unlock the secrets of caffeine!
ABOUT OUR GUEST: MYRA LEWIN
Myra embraced the power of Ayurveda and Yoga when her career as a corporate executive had previously made it difficult to manage her health.
She undertook trainings in Ayurveda and Yoga in India and around the world and as she healed her own body and mind through these ancient sciences, they became the foundation for her life.
Myra founded Hale Pule Ayurveda and Yoga in 1999 as a place for those on a journey towards greater health and genuine contentment.
Myra is the author of two books, has more than 50,000 hours of Yoga teaching experience spanning 20 years.
She has spoken at several conferences around the world.
Myra leads Yoga teacher trainings and Ayurvedic trainings and immersions all over the world and online.
When Myra is not helping others find balance in their lives, you’ll find her knee-deep in the dirt pulling weeds, making date pecan muffins in the kitchen, surfing, swimming, hiking or doing fire ceremonies.
IN THIS EPISODE WE DISCUSS:
Table of Contents
Understanding Caffeine Through The Lens of Ayurveda
An overview of caffeine and its impact on health through the lens of Ayurveda.
Why is the use of coffee as a stimulant not desirable according to Ayurveda and how it leads to imbalances in the body.
An Introduction to the three Ayurvedic doshas (vata, pitta, and kapha) and their role in understanding how substances affect the body.
- e.g. Becoming reliant on coffee for morning elimination (bowel motion) and its impact on the vata dosha.
The gunas (qualities) of coffee and how they affect the three doshas.
Coffee x The Three Doshas:
- Vata: The hyper-stimulated and hyper-metabolic vata types will be easily over-stimulated by coffee and quickly become more anxious, nervous, jittery and eventually depleted by the over-stimulation.
- Pitta: Pitta bodies are already prone to acidity and heat. The very acidic and heating qualities of coffee will easily aggravate pitta bodies. Also, their over-competitive nature that is also prone to frustration, anger and doing too much without relaxing will be further increased by caffeine stimulants.
- Kapha: The stable, low-metabolic kapha types are not fussed by stress, and are slow and heavy by nature. Coffee may in some circumstances offer a medicinal boost to stimulate or enhance metabolic function of the body.
The Prevalence of Coffee Consumption
Coffee’s ubiquity in modern society and its effects on individuals.
The widespread habit of coffee drinking and its societal significance.
Caffeine's Desirable & Ill Effects on the Body
There are about 1000 active constituents in the coffee bean, and only a few of them are understood. We do know that the coffee bean, the seed of the fruit, is loaded with antioxidants.Perhaps the most powerful known antioxidant in the coffee bean is called chlorogenic acid, a compound that is most concentrated in the green, unroasted coffee bean, but dissipates somewhat in the roasting process
- A study was done on men and women aged 45-74 years of age who drank twelve cups a day and were found to reduce their risk of diabetes by 67%.
- Being very acidic, coffee may act as a digestive stimulator.
- Coffee is a stimulant and increases sympathetic nervous system, stress hormones or the fight-or-flight response.
- Caffeine’s addictive nature (related to dopamine release) and individuals’ underestimation of their dependency.
- Coffee’s negative impact on:
- Blood preasure
- Heart health
- Brain neurotransmitters
- Kidney stone risk
- Bone density (particularly in women)
- Erectile disfunction
- Specific impacts of caffeine on the body, including increased acidity, heartburn, and withdrawal symptoms.
- Caffeine’s contribution to conditions like adrenal fatigue.
- Symptoms of caffeine addiction, including nausea, depression, anxiety, and fatigue.
- Potential impact of caffeine on yoga practice, emphasising the need for mental focus and stability.
Alleviating the Ill Effects of Caffeine with Ayurveda
The use of fats such as butter or ghee in coffee to mitigate negative effects of caffeine (slowing the delivery of caffeine into the bloodstream).
- Ghee has been used for millennia in Ayurveda as an “anupana” – “vehicle of administration” to naturally time-release herbs to be delivered to the body.
Herbal alternatives to coffee like dandelion, chicory, and barley drinks.
Using cardamom seeds and herbal formulas to offset bitterness and hyperstimulation.
- Recommended Formula: “Bliss” by One Eleven Health
- Reduces Rajas (stimulation) and Tamas (dull, one becomes dependant on caffeine).
- Sheeta effect balances pitta.
- Vata anulomana – grounding and helps with anxious feelings.
- This calms nerves and offsets the bitter stimulating qualities of coffee.
Mindful Reduction of Caffeine Intake
Gradual reduction of caffeine consumption as opposed to abrupt cessation.
The role of understanding one’s dosha and individual tendencies in choosing the right approach to go about this.
The potential for enhanced well-being and an increased sense of ease in life by reducing caffeine consumption.
How And When To Drink Coffee (If You Want To)
Emphasis on staying hydrated while consuming caffeine.
Having coffee on an empty stomach causes very high acidity and can have a very strong impact on the adrenals and nervous system.
- Drink with food or after breakfast.
- Not more than 1 coffee/day.
- Before 10am – in kapha time.
- Give one day a week a miss.
- Spring (kapha season) – the tikta and kashayam rasa can be helpful.
Ayurvedic Coffee Alternatives
Encouragement for using substitutes to gradually reduce caffeine dependency.
The role of hot milk with spices or herbs as a satisfying ritual.
Herbal coffee (Caffeine free) – dandelion, chicory – even start but cutting your coffee with these to adjust the flavour in a subtle way, then build up.
Caffeine free chai.
Hot water will dilute and clear acid.
Even black or green tea if you really struggle without caffeine for now. These have less caffeine.
Hale Pule’s Website – HERE
Hale Pule’s Instagram Account (@halepule) – HERE
- Food Addictions, Quick Highs & Compulsive Behaviours with Myra Lewin #017
- Coffee, Whisky & Lord Shiva: Integrating Ayurvedic & Tantric Algorithms with AI, DNA Energy & Mahāśivarātri: The Great Night of Transcendence | Dr Sumit Kesarkar #104
Other links and resources:
- Identification of coffee components that stimulate dopamine release from pheochromocytoma cells (PC-12) – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22019894/
- Occult caffeine as a source of sleep problems in an older population – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7636092
- Prevalence of erectile dysfunction and its correlates among men attending primary care clinics in three countries: Pakistan, Egypt, and Nigeria – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12825103
- Relationships between the acidity and osmolality of popular beverages and reported postprandial heartburn – http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7806034
- Almonds decrease postprandial glycemia, insulinemia, and oxidative damage in healthy individuals – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17116708
- John Douillard at Lifespa.com
- Using of Coffee and Cardamom Mixture to Ameliorate Oxidative Stress Induced in γ-irradiated Rats – https://www.walshmedicalmedia.com/open-access/using-of-coffee-and-cardamom-mixture-to-ameliorate-oxidative-stress-induced-in-irradiated-rats-2161-1009.1000113.pdf
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