Is Your Coffee Toxic?

If you ask most Americans what their morning routines are, many would say "wake up, walk downstairs, brew coffee."

There are shirts and mugs that say no coffee, no talky. No matter where you are in the nation, you're probably close to a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. And where do we get work done, meet up with friends, or wait 20 minutes in line for a $4 drink? Coffee shops.

Okay we got that out of the way. Lots of us love coffee.

The confusing thing is the conflicting information surrounding coffee. If you Google, "is coffee bad for you?", you will read articles about its anti-cancer qualities, but also about how it can increase your risk for cardiovascular disease.

The thing is, there is no clear cut answer with coffee.

This sounds like the cop-out answer, but it all depends on the person. If you get to the point where you feel like you physically need it right in the morning, or for a pick-me-up at 2 or 3pm, that can be a sign of an adrenal issue. Coffee will then just continue to over work them and potentially burn them out.

If you do choose to have coffee like lots of us do, typically a cup a day in the morning works best. Choosing a better coffee for your body goes way beyond the smells, flavors, and packaging. After some research, I came up with tips that I use when I buy coffee.

1. Organic is key
Considering a major coffee distributor's motto states America runs on it, you can imagine the demand for coffee, and for it to be produced quickly. Well, if we take a look at food production today, quickly doesn't always mean healthy. Conventional coffee is one of the most chemically treated foods (up there with peanuts!) on the market.

America produces lots of harmful chemicals and pesticides (so harmful it's illegal to use on our own soil) that are then sold to other countries, which produce foods, such as coffee, that are sold back to us.

With organic coffee, only organic sources like coffee pulp, chicken manure, or household organic waste are used in production. This not only ensures a less toxic cup of coffee, but also better conditions for the farmers, and for the communities near the farms. 

2. What if I don't want the caffeine?
Once I realized caffeine's affect on me and my adrenals specifically, I still craved that bold coffee taste, so I switched to conventional decaf.

Even though harmful chemicals used in caffeine extraction, like benzene, are no longer used, there are a couple different ways to do so now.

One way uses methylene chloride or ethyl acetate to remove caffeine. It is said to leave little residue on the beans, but this still uses chemicals and I'd rather stick to natural ways of doing this without any chance of putting chemicals in something I drink frequently. More natural ways are using carbon dioxide, or the swiss water method. 

Caffeine itself provides a natural fungicide for the bean. When the caffeine is stripped in decaf, the beans are more at risk to contain both aflatoxin and ochratoxin (carcinogens). This is one of the reasons why lots of people are switching to mushroom coffee. So I don't drink decaf often, but when I do I make sure it is coming from a quality source and is organic.

3. Fair trade Certified
Even though Fair Trade isn't better for you health-wise, I love looking for coffees (and chocolate!) that have this certification. It means the farmers/workers/harvesters are getting paid better, and their social and environmental standards are improved.

One of my favorite brands to buy is Ethical Bean coffee. I order it off Amazon, and their coffees are organic, fair trade, and there are tons of different varieties. I used their beans to make this cold brew drink too which is perfect for summer. Check it out :)

Alexandra Agasar