The use of powerful substances

Caffeine, alcohol, sugar and medications are powerful and we need to respect them.

If these things were invented today, and they had to go through the FDA, they would be approved as “drugs”. I would include herbs in this category as well. They are that powerful. There are substances that can very strongly move the body in a certain direction. That's why people use them. I imagine that many people begin their day with all of the above, in some form. It may not be an alcoholic beverage, but perhaps a cold or allergy medicine that contains alcohol. They have coffee with sugar and their Rx without giving it any thought.

Anything that has power requires our respect. A gun or a power tool like a chain saw. These things are powerful. You need to know what you are doing with them and proceed wisely. Powerful substances can benefit you or harm you. However, the dose makes the poison. That is the simple science behind all toxicology. Your're taking in poisons every day as you breath, drink, eat and come in contact with substances through your skin, but not enough to kill you quickly.

Anybody can eat as much of these substances as they want, the substances they are consuming can be causing or influencing their unwanted symptoms, or habits. If they are complaining of mood issues and low energy, insomnia and fatigue, that’s causing them to down energy drinks in the afternoon, they should think about how that can contribute to their unwanted symptoms. Some people are very caffeine sensitive and it increases stress the response more so in them, than other people.

You may not be eating a lot of calories, but you start your day eating sugar. All the clinical research that’s been done indicates that what you eat first, or at breakfast, will affect your appetite and food preferences and insulin levels for the rest of the day. It’s predictable that when you start your day with a refined carb diet, that you will crave sugar and carbs for the rest of the day. You will think you have a willpower issue, but it’s really about brain chemistry. The brain wants more sugar when it senses more sugar.

The brain has evolved knowing that fruits are only on the tree for a limited time and therefore eat as many as you can, while you can. Come winter, there will not be much food, so fatten up now while the sugary foods are available. That is hard wired into the instinctual brain and we need to understand that in order not to create a self defeating habit, unawares. Insulin functions in a feed-forward loop, meaning that when your body and brain are producing insulin, it gets excited and wants you to produce more insulin, and therefore becomes hungry for more sugar. That’s why sugar is a trigger food for many people. It’s all about quality and quantity.

I listen to my clients relationship to harmful substances and decide if those things are related to the reasons why my client is here to see me. All too often in our culture, we are oblivious to the powers of some of the foods and drugs we consume. Culture promotes or encourages this unawareness. People are taking Rx and don’t understand the side effects. Example: Anti-depressants cause lack of sex drive and weight gain, so for somebody to have those two complaints is a clear indication that they may not be aware of what that drug is doing in their body. I invite my client to understand what these substances are doing to their body.

Caffeine is a drug categorized as psychoactive stimulant. The effects of caffeine on the human body have been a subject of much debate for many years. Essentially, caffeine affects the central nervous system to ward off drowsiness but can become a habit. People who drink an excessive amount of coffee or other caffeinated products may come to depend on it, just like any addictive drug. Caffeine also has an impact on your digestive system and may lead to ongoing problems in the gastrointestinal tract. Decaf, coffee, chocolate, black tea and green tea all have caffeine
• increases hydrochloric acid production. The stimulation of caffeine can result in hyperactive secretion or excessive production of gastric acids.
• The process of gastric emptying, food moving from your stomach to your small intestine, may speed up when ingesting caffeine. • Coffee is highly corrosive gastric acid hits the lining of the intestine sooner than it should. This causes irritation of the lining and eventually damages the tissue.
• allows H pylori bacteria to inhabit and thrive in the stomach.
• Caffeine may act as a diuretic, causing excess urination and excretion of fluid. This can result in dehydration. Lack of proper hydration affects the body ability to form proper stools, leading to constipation.
• slows digestion and metabolism, causing constipation in some people, poor assimilation and excess weight or prevents weight loss.
• stimulates bile, which stimulates peristalsis which causes diarrhea in some people. Also, some people need morning coffee to have a bowel movement.
• inhibits enzyme production in the pancreas, which interferes with digestion.
• anti-nutrients and non-nutritive. Caffeine drains the body of valuable nutrients in order to be metabolized and cleared from the body, resulting in a poor quality of health over time.
• acid provoking, causing an acidic pH in the body.
• caffeine is an addictive drug. Would require FDA approval if introduced today.
• Caffeine elevates the hormones cortisol, epinephrine and norephinepherine. This may result in increased heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety. Shunting of blood resources away from the GI tract due to hormonal flux may cause indigestion. Excessive anxiety or a fight-or- flight response can affect neural control of the GI system.
• increases cortisol = produces adrenaline and excess stress. Chronic stress physiology that is caused by increased cortisol on a continual basis signals the body to hold onto fat and not build muscle, causes you to age faster and damages your mitochondria (the energy producing organelle in every cell), so that you become more fatigued and perpetuates the cycle of dependence on caffeine to keep going.
• skews time perception so you feel like you never have enough time; time is running out.
• increases insulin = blood sugar dysregulation. Every client who has diabetes drinks coffee.
• Caffeine affects your body's ability to absorb magnesium. Magnesium is a crucial component in maintaining bowel regularity. Magnesium is also a necessary nutrient for other body functions outside of the digestive tract.
• GABA is a neurotransmitter produced naturally in the brain and GI tract. It helps manage mood and stress. GABA's purpose in the digestive tract is to act as a calming agent. Caffeine interferes with the binding processes of this important neurotransmitter, resulting in an irritable mind, as well as bowels.

People who diet or go for long periods without eating will have coffee throughout the day to carry them through. They will not have the blood sugar stability and mental performance as someone eating a whole food diet, which includes breakfast and a snack, which provides a slow, steady release of glucose to fuel the body.

If you have questions, email johnna@wholefamilyhealthandnutrition.com to schedule your free introductory consultation. I look forward to serving you. JVW