If You Don’t Stand for Something, You’ll Fall For Anything!
By Greg Fitzgerald, Osteopath and Naturopath
As I sit here in front of my computer, I am looking at literally hundreds of research articles and news reports on the controversial topics of caffeine, tea, coffee, chocolate and alcohol.
One day a study says tea, because it contains a polyphenol called epigallochallate-3 gallate (EGCG), can boost heart health; another day a study says tea has too much fluoride, tannins, caffeine and theophylline, all of which are implicated in health problems.
One article states that those who drink six cups of coffee a day have 60% less (lethal) prostate cancer, another declares that four cups a day considerably increases all-cause mortality. Caffeine gives us atrial fibrillation (boo!); caffeine prevents Alzheimer’s (yeah!). Chocolate provides antioxidants (yum!); chocolate gives us pimples (yuk!). Alcohol thins the blood (ducky!); alcohol contributes to breast cancer (sucky!) No wonder people become confused. In fact, as I was typing this, my son, Rikky aged 15, alerted me to a news report which said coffee has been shown to increase memory over 24 hours in the latest study. We both laughed. WHO IS CONFUSED?
All animals eat and drink food that is appropriate to their species, and when they have appropriate need for them. All animals except man. All animals rest when they are tired. Except man. All animals expend energy when it is abundant. Except man.
Mankind eats UFO’s (Unidentifiable Food-Like Objects) and calls them food. For many years he/she had to consult a pyramid to know what to eat! Man drinks fluids when he/she is not thirsty because he has been told by an ‘expert’ that by the time he is thirsty, he is already dehydrated. In the Zone Diet by Barry Sears, he states that the best time to eat is before you get hungry! Barry, like so many other authorities, is very confused. When animals are tired, they rest. When humans are tired, they stimulate themselves with food/drink/exercise. If mankind’s gullibility was not so tragic, it would be funny. The reason the majority of people are totally confused is because the health authorities are totally confused. It’s that simple.
ENERVATION DOES NOT NEED STIMULATION
The chronic, long-term lack of vitality that many people experience, through less than ideal living habits, is called enervation. When this becomes profound, the body has less energy with which to eliminate toxic wastes, and toxaemia is the result. This is where the tissues and organs become congested with toxic wastes, and an acute elimination will most likely result. Such acute illnesses are reparatory and remedial, expelling mucous, wastes and discharges through any one of the 10 apertures in the body (can you name them?). These acute illnesses are really allies in disguise, or ‘eviction notices’. The living does not tolerate well the presence of the dead!
What do most people do when they feel run down or enervated? They stimulate themselves with more toxic substances like coffee, tea, chocolate and so on, and/or take pain medications to ‘give’ them the wherewithal to go on.
We have listened to the drug adverts exhorting us to ‘soldier-on – and tragically the majority of people are doing what they are told. Soldiering-on is the modern day mantra!
Our society is drowning in drugs, is hyper-stimulated and sleep/rest deficient, existing on UFO’s. Is it little wonder people are falling apart. Soldiering on kills more people than soldiering, in my opinion.
THE STIMULANT DELUSION
Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant. It appears to give us energy, but all that glitters is not gold, and caffeine, like all uncompensated stimulants, is fool’s gold.
For nearly 200 years certain doctors and health advocates have been warning of the trap of ‘forcing’ or stimulating energy into the system. The truth is that this energy comes from the body, not into the body. It forces the body to exert energy with no compensatory benefits, unlike the appropriate fight/flight cascade of hormones which are compensated by immediate physical action.
In 1931, the great American naturopath, Dr Herbert Shelton, wrote an entire chapter entitled, ‘The Stimulant Delusion’ in his landmark book, Human Life: Its Philosophies and Laws. This encapsulated the problem as follows. The body feels the energy that it is using in metabolising the drug (caffeine, for example), not the energy that is given by the drug. No drug can give us energy. Energy is a by-product of healthy living. It is an inside job. Sugar is also a stimulant. Like caffeine, it occasions an increase in energy, only to be followed by a drop in energy soon after. Stimulants rob what they appear to give! The stimulation of ‘empty’ caffeine operates like the stimulation of ‘empty’ calories. The upper becomes the downer!
MODERN BIOCHEMISTRY EXPLAINS
Courtesy of modern biochemical research – that was unavailable to Herbert Shelton 80 years ago – caffeine is now known to compete with adenosine, a neurotransmitter which builds up in the brain during the day, and when it reaches a certain level then induces tiredness and sleep. This is a natural and normal cycle. Unfortunately, the receptor sites which accommodate adenosine also accommodate caffeine.
Consequently, people who consume caffeine on a regular basis – coffee, tea, chocolate, cola drinks, energy drinks and some pain medications – do not know how tired they really are. They are stimulating away their own vitality.
When this concept is understood, we do not easily fall for the studies that show a ‘pick-me-up’ effect. We know that these stimulants are really irritants, forcing the body to metabolise and neutralise them, and in the process of doing this, the energy expended is felt as a ‘lift’.
Further, studies that highlight one particular nutrient or compound in a substance, and ignore the rest of the substance, have limited applicability to health. For example, tea, coffee, chocolate and alcohol do contain some antioxidant compounds, in particular polyphenols and resveratrol, which are nutritionally useful, but they have other compounds which are health-averse. Normal materials that the body uses for its function and structure do not have this to any deleterious extent. Apples, broccoli, papaya, almonds, etc, are healthy for the whole body.
To promote foods and drinks because they contain some nutritional qualities while also containing harmful compounds is a mistake. Marijuana, morphine and tobacco all contain high antioxidant constituents, but we don’t recommend them.
The following article is one I have given to all my patients for 25 years now. Maybe you will relate to some of the real effects of regular consumption of the stimulant, caffeine.
More Than a Pain in the Neck Because of its stimulation to the central nervous system, long-term caffeine consumption has been associated with muscle tension and nerve irritation in four areas of the body.
These areas or ‘hot spots’ are:
The base of the skull;
The neck and shoulder blades;
A ‘band’ above and between the eyes (across the forehead);
The lower back.
The following problems have also been associated with daily caffeine consumption:
Headaches, including migraines;
Heavy heads and ‘brain fog’ – a ‘fuzzy head’;
A feeling that your neck cannot support your head;
An ache in the neck and between the shoulder blades;
A band of pain above the eyes;
Heavy and achy legs;
Restless leg syndrome;
Chronic lower back pain.
Other well documented effects of caffeine include:
Cyst formation, particularly benign fibrocystic breast lumps;
Insomnia, or inability to sleep well, plus nocturia (night urination);
Bloating and fluid retention;
Chronic fatigue due to the adverse effect on iron absorption of caffeine and tannin;
Nervousness, agitation and irritability due to the effect of caffeine on the central nervous system;
Female infertility (The Lancet medical journal 2: 1988);
Sinus congestion and pain.
As you have been advised, when caffeine is eliminated from the diet, certain withdrawal effects are very common, irrespective of how much caffeine was consumed or how weak the beverages were.
These withdrawal effects are:
Headaches, sometimes severe;
Vomiting, mainly bile, occasionally accompanies the headache, especially in females who have consumed five or more cups of tea or coffee daily for 10 or more years;
A ‘heavy’ head; Nausea; Achy legs;
Extreme fatigue and lethargy – lasting up to one week. This is because the blood sugar level is no longer artificially elevated by the caffeine stimulant;
Virus-like symptoms, including muscle aches, etc;
Weight loss – quite rapid in some people.
NOTE: It is important to understand that the above withdrawal symptoms are only temporary, for a few days at most, and that is possible by resting and eating very lightly to enable your body to eliminate chemical irritants more rapidly. Only medicate withdrawal symptoms if absolutely necessary, as this adds to the toxic load of the body.
A FINAL WORD
Keep in mind that the occasional deviation for robust, healthy people is not the issue. The reality is that stimulants like coffee, tea and other caffeine-containing substances, by their very addictive nature, are not indulged in occasionally by the majority of people. They are taken habitually in order to soldier-on, masking tiredness and lack of sleep in the process. Never fall for the quick fix, or try to trick nature. Build your health on sound, natural principles – they will not let you down. When you stand for something, you won’t fall for anything!