Caffeine: Sinner and Saint
I am addicted to caffeine. The smallest amount I can consume and still feel okay is 16 ounces of coffee. That’s the amount needed to stave off headaches. On days when I need to drive in the afternoon, I’ll give myself anywhere from 8 ounces to 16 ounces of coffee as a booster. This is down from the very high levels of caffeine that I was consuming right after the twins were born, when we were piecing together a few hours of sleep each night. I felt okay about it then because we were truly in a you-need-to-do-what-you-need-to-do sort of place trying to feed, change, stimulate, and nap two premature infants on heart monitors. But once they started truly sleeping through the night at 15 months (yes, I’m aware that’s late in the game. But we had to do night feeds until then for weight issues), I was able to bring my caffeine consumption down to my current 16 – 32 ounces per day.
Earlier in the week, the New York Times had an article about how caffeine may boost memory. I was already dragging, getting no sleep from the back pain and working on the book, so I let myself have a few extra cups of coffee here and there, rationalizing that it’s good for my memory. I mean, the tacit permission is there in the freakin’ New York Times. Have another cup, Melissa.
The Atlantic didn’t even hedge their bets covering the same study. In their world caffeine = better memory, and they recommend half a Starbucks Venti. Thank you, I think I will.
And then Elle put out their own article on caffeine on Friday, beginning with the word “scary” in the title. Scary? How can memory enhancement be scary unless we’re talking about remembering things you don’t want to remember? The “disgusting” (their word) problems that caffeine is making for my body while it helps me remember where I placed my car keys: depression, osteoporosis, and INFERTILITY!
Nevermind that I was entirely off caffeine while we were trying to conceive. I only drank decaf tea and coffee for over two straight years.
Still, Elle points out that “While not every study has found that caffeine reduces female fertility, most doctors of natural medicine recommend that women trying to get pregnant avoid caffeine.” I guess the solution for me is to not visit doctors of natural medicine but to go with the hacks who are going to tell me to take 480 ccs, STAT.
Image: Ben Schumin via Flickr
I am constantly amused that if we believe the media and scientific studies, pretty much everything we consume or come in contact with is killing us while helping us live longer/better, all at the same time.
My caffeine product of choice: Iced coffee with half-and-half and Equal. Second place: Iced tea without lemon. Third place: Diet Coke.
What is your daily caffeine consumption like?