BY STEPHANIE RIMKA / AJT //

coffee-blackSound a bit extreme? Well, caffeine is indeed classified as a drug and is addictive, so it’s not really a stretch.

And Americans in particular love it. Roughly 60 percent of adults – and from what I see at Starbucks, a rapidly increasing number of children and teenagers – are gobbling it up.

I used to believe that all drugs are pretty much bad and that being an addict (to anything) was even worse. But, life is about learning, growing and changing. So as all this new research and discussion about the health benefits of coffee started emerging into the mainstream a few years ago, I opened myself up to being wrong.

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After reading some articles by open-heart surgeon Dr. Dwight Lundell about the antioxidant properties of coffee, I decided after years of denigrating and protesting a country of drug addicts that I would try an experiment and drink coffee to see for myself.

It’s been well over a year now, and “wow!” is an understatement. No wonder people love this stuff! But is it a healthy choice for me?

Now, according to Chinese medicine, all things have healing properties when used at the right time and in the right way, and anything used in a way that implies need (addiction) poses a health threat. For example, though I never recommend cow milk for health to anyone, looking at it through the lens of Chinese medicine, nothing moisturizes a gut in desperate need like milk, and thus it has health properties in certain circumstances.

I find that to be a fascinating principle. I think of this concept for myself when it comes to coffee. Still, before you go off guzzling the stuff, consider some tips:

  1. Keep it close to nature: organic, fair trade beans; filtered, chlorine-free water; no filter or a natural unbleached filter
  2. Drink it black. Sugar and processed milk destroy a lot of the antioxidant properties.
  3. First thing in the morning before exercise. Limited amount.
  4. Don’t use it a crutch to stimulate the adrenal glands for energy throughout the day.

I know I am in the minority of adults drinking coffee since I didn’t start until I was almost 40 years old and I did it based purely on research and health incentives. But I must say, I enjoy the physical and emotional benefits tremendously.

And I actually enjoy the taste. I am acutely aware of the pleasure centers being stimulated in my brain. It floods me with a profound sense of happiness. Perhaps I am more sensitive because I am new to this substance?

Either way, I appreciate how the energy, the better mood and the decreased bodily pain have improved the quality of my life. I feel good knowing that I make healthy choices with high-quality organic coffee and flooding myself with the benefits of a plant that nature gives to us as a gift.

Also, I have to admit, being able to be a part of the “coffee club” of general society does feel good. Being the black sheep all of the time can be a drag.

Editor’s note: Stephanie Rimka, owner of Brain & Body Solutions (brainandbodysolutions.com), is a personal brain trainer, health advocate, chiropractor, speaker and perpetual purveyor of hope.

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