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Coffee good or bad???

coffee blog2

coffee blog2

 What happens when we drink coffee?

Caffeine stimulates our sympathetic nervous system, which you may also know as our ‘fight or flight’ state. In this state our adrenal glands release cortisol and adrenaline, which in turn stimulate the release of glucose into the blood stream to provide us with a quick source of energy. This is all well and good if you need energy to get out of the way of danger however this is generally not the case.

When we’re sitting enjoying our coffee we’re not using all of the glucose that has been dumped into the bloodstream. Insulin comes along to draw the glucose out of our blood and return the body to homeostasis. Insulin first takes glucose to the muscles and liver. But the liver and muscles have a limit on how much they can store and any leftover glucose gets stored in our fat cells, which unfortunately have no limit in how much they can expand.

Cortisol also encourages fat to be stored around your middle and increases sugar cravings.

So, what does all this mean for your body? If you’re having 3 or more cups of coffee a day then cutting back on your coffee could help shed those hard to budge kilos. 

The good:

As we all know caffeine is a stimulant. It can improve short-term brain function and help you feel more alert.  Caffeine stimulates release of neurotransmitters, norepinephrine and dopamine, that help to overcome tiredness. It also increases blood flow to the brain. Studies have shown a daily coffee habit may protect you against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. (You can read more here)

For me, coffee can halt an impending headache.  Sometimes I’ll wake and can feel a niggling headache coming on. A coffee will halt it in it’s tracks. It does this by constricting blood vessels that are often dilated during a headache or migraine. 

Coffee is also high in antioxidants that fight free radical damage and ageing.

The not so good:

Coffee is acidic and inflammatory. If you are in poor health or have gut issues then removing coffee for a period of time can be very beneficial.

As mentioned caffeine switches on our ‘fight or flight’ state. With our busy modern lifestyle it’s very common to be in this state a lot of the time. If you’re suffering from stress or anxiety coffee could be making things worse.

Caffeine keeps us alert, so the downside is it can keep you awake at night if consumed in the afternoon. Caffeine in coffee has an affect on your body for 10-12 hours, peaking approximately an hour after consumption. If you’re experiencing poor sleep then ditch the afternoon coffee.

Green tea

An alternative:

If you are drinking too many coffees I suggest replacing your afternoon coffee with a green tea. Green tea contains approximately 20mg caffeine versus 100mg in coffee.  However, the big difference is green tea also contains the amino acid  L-theanine that provides a sustained release of energy without the jitters.  In fact Buddhist monks used to take green tea to enhance focus during meditation. 

A common response I often get is “I don’t like green tea, it’s so bitter!”.  However, there are some beautiful blends available which enhance/disguise the flavour of green tea. You could try:

  • Green tea & peppermint. Perfect after a meal as it helps with digestion too.
  • Green tea and ginger.  Great for circulation.
  • Green tea and lemongrass. Smells beautiful, very refreshing and uplifting.

Watch out for:

Be mindful of the milk you add to your latte. Avoid skim milk due to the higher sugar content. Some people don’t tolerate dairy well and as we age we produce less lactase enzymes to break down the lactose. If you’re trying a nut milk as an alternative then watch out for added nasties such as sugars, preservatives and gums. 

Another tip when reducing your coffee intake is to do it gradually to avoid withdrawal headaches.  If you have a coffee upon waking and then another mid morning I’d recommend you remove the early morning coffee. Instead have breakfast and then enjoy a coffee mid morning. And really enjoy it. Look forward to it, savour it, don’t just gulp it down mindlessly.

As with food you’re the best one to judge if coffee is for you. If it gives you heart palpitations and makes you jittery or anxious then coffee’s not for you. Listen to your body. However be real, five coffees a day is too much. Experiment – perhaps go coffee free for a week and see how you feel!

If you have any questions please comment below or feel free to email me.

Warm regards


Wendy Middleton
0403 861 117
Adv Dip Nut Med, ATMS 50532

My Pantry Essentials

pantry jars small

Have you noticed JERF being bandied around on social media…. it’s an acronym for JUST EAT REAL FOOD. The key to any health regime is nourishing whole foods and the key to success is ORGANISATION. There’s no way around it. You do need to be able to cook & you also need to be organised if you want to stick to your health goals.

You know the feeling. You’re tired & cranky and your blood sugar levels are dropping. Your body is craving a quick source of energy and this is when poor food choices are made.

The answer is to be organised and the first step is to give your pantry a detox.Get rid of anything past it’s best before date including all spices. There’s no flavour or nutritional value left in them. Then whatever is your biggest weakness throw it out! Chips bin! Shapes bin! Chocolate bullets bin! If it’s not in the cupboard you can’t eat it. You’ll be surprised how much room you have in the pantry.

Then tidy it all up. As much as I covet beautiful storage jars I have so many jars from catering that I simply recycle these. Then all you need is a label maker. I also find putting groups of similar items in baskets helps to keep it tidy too.

pantry jars small

The next step is to make sure your pantry is stocked with nourishing ingredients. You’ll find my list of pantry essentials here. By no means is this list exhaustive. It’s simply a list of my favourites that I use over & over. If you’d like to know which brands I prefer please ask below.

Once you’ve got your pantry stocked you might like to try this Cacao Granola recipe. It’s gluten free, grain free, dairy free & delicious 🙂 You can enjoy this for breakfast with yoghurt and berries. Or I snack on a handful when that afternoon slump hits.

Cacao granola

Thank you for sharing our healthy love of food.

Warm regards


Wendy Middleton
0403 861 117
Adv Dip Nut Med, ATMS 50532

Cacao Granola

A gluten free, dairy free, grain free breakfast option


150g raw whole almonds, roughly chopped
100g raw cashews
100g (1 1/2 cups) coconut flakes
75g (1/2 cup) cacao nibs
40g (1/4 cup) cacao
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup (60ml) pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
Goji berries (optional)


Preheat oven to 120C.

Add all dry ingredients (except Goji Berries) to a large bowl. Stir to combine.

Add maple syrup & vanilla. Mix together using your hands (wear disposable gloves). Mix until mixture is wet & glossy.

Spread granola evenly and thinly onto a lined baking tray. Bake for 45 minutes until crunchy.

Cool completely on oven tray and store in airtight jar.