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Fibrocystic breasts (Benign breast disease): In l979 two studies by Minton described impressive improvement in breast pain, tenderness, and swelling when women eliminated all caffeine from their diets from l to 6 months. We have heard the same feedback from many patients, although some women do continue to have painful breasts even though their diet is caffeine-free and need other natural treat-ment to free them from their discomfort.

Caffeine in pregnancy: Heavy coffee drinking has been associated in various studies with low birthweight and there may be a correlation with an increased incidence of birth defects.

Cancer: Coffee has been implicated in kidney, bladder, pancreatic, breast, ovarian, and colon cancer. Although further research is necessary, our feeling is "Why take a chance?"

Coffee and homeopathy: Another incentive for our patients to give up caffeine is that the oils in the coffee antidote (deactivate) homeopathic remedies. This is true of caffeinated and water-processed decaf. Though a few of our patients continue to drink black tea (which is safe with homeopathy), most take the opportunity as an excuse to eliminate caffeine entirely and tell us they feel much better after doing so.

If I do decide to quit, will I get headaches? We've helped many of our patients through caffeine withdrawal and can promise you that your headaches, if you get them, will only last 3 to 4 days. They are not always directly associated with a high amount of caffeine. Some people who only drink two cups of coffee a day may still get withdrawal headaches. You can either cold turkey caffeine and take a pain reliever such as Tylenol, if necessary, or you can taper off caffeine gradually by

cutting your coffee or tea with decaf, progressively decreasing the amount of caffeine.

How will I get up in the morning without my hit of coffee? If you give yourself a few days to a couple weeks, you'll find that you have much more productive energy, and less jazzed, wired, artifical energy than when you were relying on caffeine as a wake-me-upper. If you need to, start your day with a cold shower, some invigorating deep breathing or a shoulder stand to bring blood to your head, or take a run around the block to get the circulation going. You'll soon find that, assuming the rest of you is balanced, you will awake alert and refreshed.

How can I keep my energy up throughout the day without caffeine? Not only will you find it easier to get up in the morning and feel good once you've kicked the caffeine habit, but you'll discover a calmer, lighter, more relaxed yet vital you. Once you're free of caffeine, you may find the desire to let go of other addictions such as smoking, and may also have less of an interest in meats, sweets, and alcohol. When our patients come in for the first visit and we inform them that they need to give up coffee for their homeopathic remedy to work, they most often respond, "Oh, that's one of the reasons I came here. I want an excuse to cut out caffeine."

What is there to drink if I can't have my expresso? We have to be honest and say that there's probably nothing that tastes quite like coffee, so you might as well give up finding an identical substitute. However, there are very tasty toasted grain beverages such as Inka, Caffix, and Pero, Postum (our favorite), and, of course,

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About The Author
Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, ND, DHANP, MSW is a licensed naturopathic physician board certified in homeopathic medicine. She graduated with a degree in ...more
 
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