Caffeine Withdrawal and the Paleo Diet
For coffee lovers, making the switch to a completely paleo lifestyle is often a little difficult because they are not inclined to give up that daily cup of coffee. In fact, that cup is often the last hold out for many people as they transition to fully complying with the caveman diet. Our bodies become addicted to the caffeine in coffee and for many, that is a needed element in their morning ritual. Without it, they are left feeling foggy, grumpy and not fully functioning.
This addiction makes coffee a difficult thing for many people to eliminate from their diets. It’s true that most people who cut off coffee will go through a period of withdrawal with symptoms ranging for intense cravings to mild lethargy to miserable “caffeine headaches.” Because caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, these are true physiological side effects the body most overcome in order to “heal” from a caffeine addiction.
Caffeine is an addictive substance and caffeine withdrawl can cause headaches, fatigue and other symptoms. These symptoms can obviously make eliminating caffeine an uncomfortable process for followers of the paleo diet. To reduce the effects of withdrawal, it is recommended to make the elimination of caffeine a gradual process. You can begin by drinking a cup of coffee that is half regular and half decaf, then continually increase the amount of decaf at a comfortable pace until you are drinking a cup of entirely caffeine-free coffee. At that point it will be much easier to give up that daily cup and eliminate it completely from your diet.
Many paleo adherents will continue drinking coffee on a daily basis as their one “cheat” from the lifestyle. You can choose to continue caffeine consumption while still following paleo foundations if you so desire. That is really a matter of choice and one that will need to be made personally. A cup of coffee will certainly not reduce all of the other benefits of eating paleo, however, it may keep you from experiencing the full range of well being. Just make sure you educate yourself on the side effects of caffeine, such as impacting on adrenal fatigue, so that you can make an informed decision.
If you are not sure whether or not you can give up coffee for good, try 30 day elimination just to see how you feel without it. Begin with the gradual process mentioned above and continue without for the course of a month. You may just find that the benefits you enjoy far outweigh the caffeine boost from that morning cup.