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The Caffeine Controversy

Image courtesy of http://www.popartuk.com

My name is Alison and I am a coffee addict.

Although according to my friend Professor Dan I cannot in fact be an addict, because I only have one coffee per day.

Yes, that’s right, only one. Long gone are the days of old (read uni days) when I would knock back somewhere around 8 cups a day. Usually with a no-doz chaser.

These days apart from the one morning ‘cino, I am pretty much caffeine free. I only drink true herbal teas like peppermint, lemon ginger and camomile. No pretender decaf Green tea for me, no matter how good an antioxidant it might be.

After all, antioxidants can be found in far better places. Like berries and red wine.

Back to that one coffee.

In one corner, we have Dan and the wider medical profession.

According to my quick consult with Dr Goggle, it seems there is little research available to support a theory that one coffee a day equals addiction.

In the other corner, well, hiding down at ground level below the other corner, is me.

The person who claims that actually they can be an addict with only one coffee per day.

And here is my submission in support of my case your honour.

The fact is if I do not have my one coffee per day by lunchtime, then strange things start to happen.

First of all, my brain refuses to work properly until the caffeine hits my bloodstream.

Coordinating my brain to work in harmony with my mouth is particularly difficult before those first few sips.

I suppose that can be pretty easily explained away as some kind of Pavlov’s dog response. Have coffee, brain will wake up. Repeat on a daily basis.

But then there is the inevitable caffeine withdrawal headache that arrives around mid-morning if I am still ‘cino-less.

And what I find less able to explain or justify, unless as evidence of an addiction, is my mood swing.

If it is, say, 11.30am and I have not yet had a coffee – I become aggressive. I become single-minded about procuring my coffee, and if anyone or anything gets in my way, I become a little mean. If the husband were party to this post, he would probably suggest – actually I become more than a little mean, and maybe more than a little crazy.

Image courtesy of performancedu.com

Getting that coffee becomes all that I can think about. And when I am finally handed the cup of gold, I often find my hands shaking. Yes, shaking – presumably in anticipation of the hit.

This behaviour, I am not proud to report, is pretty standard fare for me.

Even on holidays, I can be so completely relaxed I am almost permanently horizontal and yet, my one holiday stress is always – where am I going to find a decent coffee every morning?

Because the other part of my ‘addiction’ is that the coffee has to be  a good one. For a bad coffee is inevitably an omen for a tough day, there seems to be no way up after a dire caffeine hit.

Today as I waited for my favourite barista at my local espresso bar to brew my current favourite drop (soy cappuccino, I am on a dairy free health kick), I was serenaded by the other barista with my signature song.

I felt a warm glow of happiness, and briefly I wondered whether it is actually the caffeine I am addicted too, or the event?

Is it really more about the pleasure of choosing a good cafe, with warm and friendly staff to help start your day – rather than the desperate need for a coffee?

But the more I thought about it, and the more sips I took from my cup, I kept coming back to the same conclusion.

My name is Alison, and I am a coffee addict who is willing to partake in research into caffeine addiction.

As long as the reasearch is conducted before noon and a good brew is on offer.

Cheers till next time,

Ali.

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