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F3 Fuel Challenge Week 3– Cutback on the Caffeine

Way to go, fellas! We’re TWO weeks in to the fuel challenge. Now it’s time to discuss the Week 3 Challenge: The Caffeine Cutback.

Yes, it hurts me, too. Yes it’s hard. Yes, our co-workers and families may want to avoid us this week.

There’s nothing inherently bad about moderate (<3 cups a day) use. In fact, Caffeine has a number of well-documented benefits (See appendix below). Since some are dependent (will get a headache if you stop suddenly) we decided quitting “cold turkey” wasn’t the best or brightest option.

F3/Cleanse Weekly Goals

1) Become aware of our dependency on stimulants and other chemicals like sugar. 2) Learn how to discipline ourselves (that’s why you post at 5:30 AM right?) 3) Take control of external influences. 4) Drink less (or eliminate) caffeinated, flavored, diet, and sugared beverages and drink more water.

Ramp Cleanse — Suggested Schedule.

Monday – Report how many caffeinated/diet/flavored beverages you had.  What did you add to your caffeine delivery system? (cream, sugar, artificial sweeteners) Tuesday – Cut your consumption by 1/4 Wednesday – Cut in half Thursday – Remain at half of normal caffeine consumption for the rest of the week.

If you want to go all out, you can take on the Beast Mode Caffeine Challenge by following this: Cut by 3/4 Friday – No Caffeine Saturday – No Caffeine (This makes Coffee-teria difficult, but, you can substitute a protein shake) Sunday – No Caffeine

This week take control of your habits that you want to change. If you’re not a caffeine user, then this is an exercise in support for your brothers. Learn about the triggers of your behavior and find discipline to choose what is best for you.  Perhaps you can treat this week’s cleanse challenge as a way to rid your minds’ craving for something that you may not want or need, but have been programmed to drink.

Additional notes:

Facts to consider

▪ Consumption of caffeinated beverages is associated with some short-term benefits, including increased mental alertness and improved athletic performance. ▪ Consumption of caffeinated beverages is associated with short-term adverse effects including headache, anxiety, tremors, and insomnia. In the long term, caffeine is also associated with generalized anxiety disorder and substance abuse disorders, although causality has not been established. ▪ Long-term benefits of caffeinated beverages are dose-dependent. Caffeine is associated with a reduced risk of Parkinson disease, Alzheimer disease, alcoholic cirrhosis, and gout. Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee are also associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. ▪ Heavy coffee intake may trigger coronary and arrhythmic events in susceptible individuals, although coffee intake is not considered a long-term risk factor for myocardial disease. ▪ The majority of studies show there may be a modest inverse relationship between coffee consumption and all-cause mortality. (Coffee drinkers live slightly longer) ▪ Although the existence of caffeine dependence and abuse are controversial, caffeine withdrawal is a well-documented clinical syndrome with headache being the most common symptom.

If you are a heavy user (more than 3 cups/soda day) here are some tips to get past the first few days.

• On Day 1, delay your first caffeinated beverage until you start getting a headache

• After Day 1, delay your first caffeinated beverage by an hour each day of your first week

• Beware of pain relievers with caffeine (e.g. Excedrin)

• Use ibuprofen and water to help relieve your headaches

Give yourself a boost! Modify your diet and add these suggested supplements:

• Drink an unlimited amount of iced green tea. It has a quarter of the amount of caffeine found in coffee!

• Try B vitamins or foods with B vitamins like chickpeas, spinach, and whole grain cereal. They’ll give you energy!

Try these remedies to combat some of the side effects you may be experiencing.

• Hot beverage: Rooibos, peppermint or decaffeinated tea – these are caffeine-free and can relieve nervous tension associated with caffeine withdrawal

• Cold beverage: Smoothie with ground flax, psyllium, of chia – it will cleanse you out and help keep you regular

Appendix; Medical Facts about Caffeine – including the documented health benefits

Caffeine is the most consumed stimulant in the world, usually in the form of coffee and tea. Based on current data, there is insufficient evidence for promoting or discouraging coffee and/or tea consumption in the daily diet.

There are some additional reasons you might to lower your dependency – improved response during athletic performance. Caffeine ingestion prior to exercise increases performance during prolonged endurance exercise and short-term intense exercise.

Is coffee/tea bad for you? No, not in itself. Beverage additives — Coffee and black tea are often consumed with a creamer, sugar, and/or milk. Non-dairy creamers contain partially hydrogenated oils and, when used in large amounts, could be a significant dietary source of trans fatty acids.

Added sugar may make a significant contribution to the dietary glycemic load and thus negate some of the potential benefits of coffee [4]. Sugar and nondairy creamer may also affect the maximum antioxidant concentrations [5]. Addition of a nondairy creamer delayed appearance of phenolic acid in plasma.

Lastly, after last weeks challenge of dairy if you want to stay off cheese and milk, you might be interested in this documentary about the China Study. http://www.forksoverknives.com/about/



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