Coffee Love Makeover

I was a coffee drinker for as long as I can remember. Being born in Europe, it was natural to drink coffee. It was part of life, it was part of culture. We had a cup of coffee for breakfast and for a late night out. The size of an average coffee cup was about 2 espresso shots 🙂

riga coffee cup

When we moved to the US, I was surprised at many things; one of them the size of the coffee mug and that coffee is offered for free in every place I worked with unlimited refill. Being a coffee lover, I appreciated the accessibility to coffee all day long. Moreover, I noticed that it is “a thing to do” to run to a Starbucks for a cup of coffee in the middle of the morning and in the middle of the afternoon. It was all great until I realized that I was feeling sleepy multiple times a day. The more pressured situation I was in, the more difficult it was for me to stay awake. I was horrified that I was falling asleep in the middle of an important business meeting. I had to pinch myself under the table but even the pain could not help me to stay awake. I remember hiding in my office to take 20-30 minutes nap. It didn’t get any easier to drive home after a long workday. Driving in traffic was unbearable; I was falling asleep behind the wheel. It got to the point of not only being embarrassed at work but actually dangerous on the road. I felt tired and exhausted all the time. I was in my thirties!

I was very concern about my condition – constantly feeling tired and I started looking for the information. First time I encountered a nutritionist who told me quit coffee, I had a nervous laugh. I thought my life and ability to function totally depended on the caffeine. I couldn’t fathom such a crazy idea to quit coffee… But I did decide to give it a try. I had a 1 liter bottle of water in the morning and I had another liter throughout the day, (I know now that having so much water is not good; it washes off necessary minerals from our body). The water quickly cleansed caffeine from my system and … what an unexpected surprise! I started functioning much better. I could go through the day feeling energized without coffee or any caffeine whatsoever!

Later on I learned that starting day with a cup of coffee before food is a shock to the system. You will wake up quickly but then you will get tired quickly. Coffee shuts down the adrenal system, dries your bones and skin, and takes you out of balance. Most a.m. coffee drinkers don’t realize it, but their morning cups of coffee set their bodies up for a rollercoaster day of highs and lows, only to bottom out at the point of exhaustion. Just a few hours after consumption, when the artificial high dies down, many people may reach for more coffee or something sugary to get another lift, leading to daily fluctuations in energy and alertness, and possibly to eventual chronic adrenal exhaustion.

By stimulating your adrenal glands to produce adrenalin, caffeine puts your body in this “fight-or-flight” state, which is useless while you’re just sitting at your desk. When this adrenal high wears off later, you feel the drop in terms of fatigue, irritability, headache or confusion.

Caffeine causes nerve cells in the brain and body to fire faster, increasing activity of the stress response system. Caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands to increase cortisol release. Cortisol then elevates heart rate and blood pressure and shuts down digestion. Once the adrenals are provoked to release cortisol in such a manner over and over again, a decreased resistance to stress occurs. Chronic adrenal stimulation from caffeine results in chronic high levels of cortisol, which breaks down healthy bone and muscle, and interferes with digestion, metabolism and mental function.

The majority of coffee drinkers who want to cut down on caffeine think, “I’ll just drink some decaf instead”.  Decaffeinated coffee is a processed product; moreover it is chemically processed. Most of the methods use chemicals like methylene chloride, ethyl acetate, and highly pressurized carbon dioxide.  After the green beans are moistened, they are immersed into the chosen solvent.  After the solvent performs its chemical reaction, the beans are rinsed with water.  The final decaffeination phase is steaming the beans. Decaffeinated drinks have been advertised as a healthy alternative for several decades at the behest of the chemical industry, but these drinks are often more dangerous than the unmodified versions.

Decaffeinated Coffee Is Highly Acidic. Too much acidity causes health problems that include heartburn, ulcers, inflammatory bowel conditions, osteoporosis, and urinary tract inflammations.

It is better to have a small cup of organic coffee once in a while than a decaffeinated one.

A cup of high-quality tea can be a great alternative as a warm, soothing morning beverage.

Green tea seems a popular choice. While green tea has many health benefits, it still has a lot of caffeine. Green tea  contains just  41 percent less caffeine than coffee.

I drink Kukicha tea now.

I run through my long busy day staying alert and full of energy without any form of caffeine or taking a nap.kukicha tea Amazon

Kukicha tea is made from a variety of twigs and coarse leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant. Kukicha tea is a good source of calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C. A cup of kukicha tea has 90 percent less caffeine than a cup of regular brewed coffee. Kukicha has the lowest caffeine content of all the traditional teas.

To keep the tea as naturally low in caffeine as possible, growers only select older twigs. Tea producers harvest the kukicha twigs and leaves in the fall and winter seasons when they are the most delicate and the caffeine content is at its lowest.

Kukicha teaGeorge Ohsawa, the founder of the macrobiotic system, brought kukicha tea to the U.S. in the 1960s from Japan. The tea is a healthy complement to a macrobiotic diet.

  • It is a really alkalizing drink
  • It is very rich in vitamins and minerals
  • It has a high calcium content
  • It has virtually no caffeine, it can be taken any time of day, even after dinner, without running the risk of lose sleep.

How Stress Affects Your Health

A good article about stress effects on our health.
We all are faced with challenges in our life. It is important to take care of ourselves to be able to deal with stressful situations. Nourishing food, regular recreational exercises, and good night sleep will do wonders!

Our mental wellbeing has a huge impact on our physical health and taking care of yourself should involve practices related to both of these things! If your mind is frequently busy with negative thoughts and stress then you will observe that your energy and general health will decrease over time. It is often difficult to measure how much stress a person is experiencing, and for that reason it is regularly dismissed from being a health concern. However, that does not mean that you should take your stress levels any less seriously. Stress can cause some serious changes in your body that can actually be quite dangerous. Being aware of this can help you to understand why it is important to avoid stressful situations and reach resolutions to conflict quickly.

Stress has the potential to change how your genes function. This means that during periods of extreme stress the way your…

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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. We all have heard some form of this saying. Another popular wisdom says: “Eat your breakfast, share your lunch with a friend, and give your dinner to an enemy”. These are old sayings but what is the basis for paying a special attention to a breakfast?

We all have busy schedules – whether you need to get to work in the morning, get your kids to schools, take care of your elderly, pray Shacharit or all of the above…

where to find time for breakfast?! and why bother?!

Some people skip breakfast in an effort to lose weight, but that might be not such a good idea. It can backfire. Skipping meals, especially breakfast can actually make weight control more difficult. Breakfast skippers tend to eat more food than usual at the next meal, or nibble on high-calorie snacks to stave off hunger.

While adults need to eat breakfast each day to perform their best, kids need it even more. Their growing bodies and developing brains need regular refueling from real food. When kids skip breakfast, they don’t get what they need to be at their best.

Short on time? Eating a wholesome, nutritious morning meal will probably save you time in the long run. By recharging the brain and body, you’ll be more efficient in just about everything you do.

Breakfast is setting our bodies for the day. If we do not have a proper breakfast, it is difficult to manage the rest of the day. Some of us suddenly feel low on sugar and start eating cookies or chocolate, and continue snacking throughout the day. Some of us have uncontrollable cravings for bread or sweets or salt or spicy or meat. Some of us sleepy, some are irritated, some are anxious or depressed.

Millet Veggies

Your day could be much different only if you had a proper breakfast.

  • Breakfast should be about one hour after you wake up.
  • Breakfast should be enjoyed sitting down and chewed well.
  • Breakfast should be balanced and rather plain – not too sweet, not too spicy, not too salty.

If the breakfast is too sweet, your taste buds will call for something salty and vs versa later in the day.

Oatmeal Broccoli

Healthy nourishing breakfast consists of complex carbohydrates (whole grains), freshly cooked vegetables or seasonal fruit and a small portion of protein. Light warm vegetable soup could be a nice start of the breakfast to promote healthy digestion. It brings relaxation if your condition is too tight. A warm cup of organic green tea or kukicha tea is a perfect satisfying conclusion to the breakfast.

Carbohydrates are macronutrients needed for optimal brain function and energy through the course of the day. Whole grain porridge contains a high amount of complex carbs, which gets digested at a slow pace, unlike simple carbs. This gives you lasting energy and balances blood sugar.

Those who start the day with vegetables may experience higher energy, improved mental clarity, and reduction in crazy food cravings, loss of pesky pounds and more. Starting the day with green vegetables will not only keep you satisfied for many hours, it will also gently cleanse your body and set a fresh, healthy tone for your day… and your life as whole!

Healthy Life Lessons from Maimonides to our Days

Rambam

Our generation is facing one of the serious health issues – obesity. In response to public demand many diets were introduced in the recent years. Some of them come and go quietly without creating too much damage; some of them unfortunately did not go so unnoticed. We have rights to ask the question who is behind promoting those diets and how many years of scientific studies did they undergo?

When a new diet shows up, people jump to it without realizing we are playing with our
own health. It is not yet another book, or an article – it is our health that is at risk.

Some people who follow kosher dietary laws would eat anything as long as the package has a trusted rabbinical certification. It is assumed to be good. G-d will take care of theside7 rest. Is it true?

We do not seem to think that the Torah requires us to control our eating to preserve our health. It is quite opposite. There are laws in the code of Jewish laws (Halacha) about eating. I will have another post to cover this amazing topic.

Maimonides – one of the greatest Jewish philosopher and the outstanding doctor who lived 800 years ago wrote a tremendous amount of material concerning health. Maimonides’ teachings have withstood hundreds of years and are as solid and truthful as they have ever been. Many recent nutritionists outside of Jewish world came to the same conclusions after decades of proven studies on the matter. Every science and medical discovery till nowadays just provides confirmation of Torah’s ultimate truth and wisdom. It encourages the fact that this manual for living is given to us with love and care.

In his writings, Maimonides gave very clear instructions regarding what, when and how much people should eat in order to lead a healthy life. One of his well-known quotes is: “No disease that can be treated by diet should be treated with any other means.”

His attitude to medicine is based on three main fundamentals — nutrition, physical exercise and balanced mental state. If you practice physical activity but neglect your nutrition, or eat healthy but do not exercise, or suffer from depression, then eventually your health will suffer. Maimonides has talks on the benefits of sun exposure, vegetarianism and a good night sleep.

Maimonides teaches Don’t eat three hours before bedtime; wait one hour after rising to eat; don’t drink milk; avoid meat (if you must eat animal flesh, choose chicken); eat small fish, such as the sardine, instead of big fish, like the tuna; don’t drink as you eat, (Too much fluid dilutes the enzymes, which makes digestion harder) and, the most obvious one, don’t overeat.”

Maimonides says that most of the health and sickness of the body ruled by how one digests his food. One who does it in the proper way will be a healthy person, but one who does not do it right will be a weak person and can bring himself to danger.

The beginning of the digestion process takes place in the mouth, as the teeth grind the food and mix it with saliva. Therefore, one should not swallow any food without chewing it first. The stomach’s job is much easier if one were to chew his food properly before swallowing it. Since chewing is so important, one should refrain from talking (including talking on the phone). Aside from the danger of choking, this also prevents proper chewing. Reading also distracts one from chewing. One should not place food on his fork while he is chewing, as he will swallow his food faster if he sees food ready on his fork to be eaten.

One should be in a happy mood and not full of anger, fear and worry while eating.


Even a snack requires you to sit down, chew well and give it your full attention.

Healthy Snack