Butter, eggs, sugar, fruit, fiber, dairy, meat, and coffee.
What do all these things have in common?
Answer: people commonly have strong opinions either for or against them.
We want to know, are these things good or bad for us?
Today I’m going to look specifically at coffee.
But before I get to the nitty gritty, let me be clear: this whole “good or bad” mentality is not healthy or helpful in my view.
Life isn’t so black and white. It is nuanced and complex.
And coffee is like that. Nuanced and complex.
There’s a strong puritanical streak in American culture, and American culture has a strong influence in many places outside of the U.S.
The puritanical view is that coffee is a dangerous stimulant that wreaks havoc in the mind and body.
This is the essence of most of the arguments against coffee. Some of the claims now seem quaint and absurd. Like coffee causes cancer – clearly a variation on “coffee is a dangerous stimulant that wreaks havoc in the body”.
But the same basic view continues these days as people tend to throw in a caution that “too much coffee causes adrenal exhaustion”, which is just a veiled variation on “coffee is a dangerous stimulant that wreaks havoc in the body”.
There’s also another phenomenon that is quite common in American culture. And that is the rebel with science backing him.
The rebel with science backing him now likes to shout from the hilltops that coffee has been proven to be good for you.
They point to the studies that show that coffee consumption appears to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, liver cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, brain cancer, and just about every type of cancer. Coffee seems to have a positive effect on liver health and may help to reverse non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Coffee consumption appears to reduce the risk of depression. And coffee is a rich source of antioxidants.
What was bad is now good according to the rebel with science at his back.
But there’s another view, which I am a proponent of. That view is to remove all unneeded, obsessive worry and fear around food and lifestyle, and to learn how to tune into the body and think for yourself.
Do you like coffee? Does it seem to agree with you? Is your sleep good?
Okay, great. enjoy coffee.
If we still have concerns that coffee is bad for us, we can use all information available to us to ease our concerns. After all, we can see from research that there’s a strong correlation between coffee consumption and a long list of health benefits.
So the notion that coffee is some kind of evil vice becomes less credible. And perhaps we become more freed up to trust in our bodies.
And maybe not worry about going to hell so much.
And maybe remember that this moment right now is all that is guaranteed. Live a little.
On the other hand, genuinely don’t like coffee? Or coffee causes problems for you? Then don’t drink it.
I know that seems so ridiculously over-simplified as to be pointless. But I think there’s something useful there if we’re all willing to let it sink in.
On this site an in my books I’ve sometimes made the mistake of arguing for or against some things. I’m not perfect. But it continues to be my intent to work toward undoing the chronic worry and the pursuit of right versus wrong.
I am convinced that health is much more accessible than we’ve been taught. I don’t think we have to learn lots of rules. I think we just need to tune deeply into our experience.