Afraid of “Giving Up” Your Crutches on the Cleanse? We All Are!

Here at Be Well, we coach people through dietary changes every day. One of the things we frequently recommend, depending on the person’s symptoms, is the Be Well Cleanse. The Cleanse is an elimination diet – we remove any foods that are inflammatory to the body or that commonly cause allergies or sensitivities. Everyone has a different diet and is dealing with different symptoms to clear up when they embark on a cleanse, so when they take their first look at the list of foods to remove, we get a lot of different reactions. Surprisingly though, many times people don’t even flinch at the thought of cutting out gluten, cheese or sugar. Often, the things people have the strongest reaction to and can’t imagine quitting, even for 2 weeks, are in the beverage section.

Coffee and alcohol

Giving up coffee and alcohol completely for 2 weeks can seem almost impossible for many people. These 2 substances have a really big hold on people, which is no surprise, because both are addictive, as well as a huge part of social culture. Many people feel very attached to their routine of having coffee in the morning (and often throughout the day) and a glass of wine (or 2, or 3..) at night. Can you relate? While we definitely don’t like to tell people they can’t have a cup of coffee or a glass of wine once in awhile, our goal with the Cleanse is to break those daily routines so these substances are more of an occasional treat rather than a daily habit.

Why do we cut out caffeine and alcohol?

Too much coffee can be an issue for people who are fatigued or have adrenal issues, anxiety, depression, skin issues, sleep problems and weakened immune systems – just to name a few. While there may be some benefits to having the occasional cup of joe, having too much of it can be harmful. When you cut out coffee on the Cleanse, chances are you’ll feel more mental clarity and have more natural energy (after the first few days, which are usually the toughest)! But once you’ve weaned off the coffee, if you’re tired you know it’s because you’re actually tired – not because you’re coming down from caffeine stimulation. Your energy levels will begin to coincide with your eating habits and sleep patterns, instead of artificial stimulation. Anxiety levels are often lowered and sleep becomes deeper and more regulated. How much coffee is too much? Chances are, if you’re drinking too much coffee you probably know it. There is a big difference between having coffee sometimes and needing coffee to get through the day. While everyone is affected differently, it can’t hurt to cut it out for 2 weeks and see how you feel! Read here for tips on giving up caffeine painlessly.

The main reason we cut out alcohol on the cleanse is because it’s like liquid sugar in the body (and, if you’re drinking beer – liquid gluten). Alcohol can affect anxiety levels, depression, sleep patterns, skin, weight, the immune system and more. It’s also one of those things that’s very easy to over consume, as alcohol impairs judgment fairly quickly. Like coffee, we don’t recommend everybody cuts out alcohol completely. We get it. We do recommend, however, cutting it out for just 2 weeks on the Cleanse so you can get to a point where you don’t feel like it’s such a habit, and then you can enjoy the occasional beverage. One question we get fairly frequently is “if I do decide to have a drink, what kind is best?” Well, one of the biggest issues is the sheer amount of liquid in a drink – the more volume, the more sugar going into your body. Because of this, having something like a vodka soda, with a small shot of vodka, may be a better choice than a large glass of wine or beer. Just some food for thought.

At the end of the day, we understand that everyone’s relationship with coffee and alcohol is different, so only you can really know what makes you feel best.

What do you think? Could you ever cut out coffee or alcohol? Have you? We’d love to hear your experience!

From the Be Well Kitchen: Oven Roasted Fish Fillets with Tomatoes and Onions Recipe
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