Healthy Caffeine Consumption And How To Reduce Caffeine Intake

What caffeine does to the body

Caffeine is classed as a stimulant drug which means it increases the activity of the brain and nervous system. It also binds to adenosine receptors, preventing you from feeling sleepy and if you do fall asleep it will prevent you from experiencing a deep restful sleep.

Caffeine also keeps the dopamine in our brain, which makes us feel good, but can also lead to addiction.

Caffeine chemistry

The average adult can safely consume up to 400 mg of caffeine per day. The maximum dose for adolescents is much lower at 100 mg, but anyone under the age of 18 should avoid caffeine consumption where possible. This is because of the potential negative effect of caffeine during brain development. You want to give your developing brain the best chance it can get to reach its full potential.

The half life of caffeine is approximately 6 hours. So if you have a big 200 mg dose of caffeine at midday you’ll still have 100 mg in your system at 6 pm.

Why should I reduce caffeine intake? How much is too much caffeine?

Caffeine is a legal drug and is so ingrained into our society that it often doesn’t occur to us that it could have negative impacts on our health. There are many positive effects of caffeine, and like most things, it is beneficial in small doses. But if you consume too much then you are putting extra pressure on your body. Caffeine is in a lot of our food and drinks so it pays to be aware of any negative side effects in your body that could be caused by excessive caffeine.

The negative side effects of excessive caffeine include; insomnia, feeling nervous/jittery/anxious, stomach aches, headaches, muscle cramps and spasms.

Metabolism varies based on genetics. Some people have a stronger response to caffeine than others and it is actually caused by the genes you inherited through your ancestry. For example, some of my relatives can drink coffee right before bed and it doesn’t have an impact on their sleep. However, I have inherited genes that make me very susceptible to the effects of caffeine. Only one cup of coffee before midday is enough for me!

It is important to note that caffeine also has a diuretic effect so it will cause you to urinate more frequently as your body is receiving signals to rid the body of extra water and salts. However, various studies have shown that this mild diuretic effect will not cause dehydration, especially if you exercise after consuming caffeine.

How To Reduce Caffeine Intake:

Remember, caffeine is a drug so you want to reduce your intake slowly to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Start by tracking the amount of caffeine you consume per day. Include all of the sources of caffeine in your diet such as tea, energy drinks, soft drinks and chocolate. You can keep a tally of your caffeine consumption any way that works for you, such as in your phone, a physical journal or a spreadsheet on your computer.

Then once you are aware of all of the ways you add caffeine to your diet, you can make the conscious decision to reduce your intake. An easy way to reduce your intake is by watering down your caffeinated drinks so that you are diluting the amount of caffeine in your cup. Steeping your caffeinated tea for longer will also make for a stronger cup of tea so try taking the tea leaves out of the water after just a few minutes. Or if you normally have 3 cups of coffee in the morning try reducing it to 2 cups to start with then make your way to one cup in the morning if that is your goal. And perhaps substitute that 3rd cup of coffee for a caffeine-free herbal tea or fruit juice so that you can still have your late morning treat or self care. Take that time for yourself, don’t feel like you’re missing out on anything.

The more you use your willpower, every time you refuse that extra dose of coffee, your willpower grows like a muscle. Also your mindset will help you on your way towards your goal, be gentle on yourself and remember to treat yourself as your friend when you fall off the bandwagon and drink that energy drink. Don’t think about the energy drink as a failure or a reason to give up, but flip it around and instead look at how long you went without an energy drink. Use that positive confidence to keep moving towards your goal, tell yourself “now is not the time to give up!”. (Hint: this same mindset can help you quit smoking or begin a new healthy habit).

I hope this information is helpful for you to move confidently towards your goals, and don’t forget to keep your cup full of positivi-tea! Or positivi-coffee, if that is your preference.


The werewolf inside

Content warning: Depictions of depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety and invasive thoughts.

On this day, All Hallows Eve 2018, it’s time to share with you my own personal horror story.

Every 28 days the affliction takes over.

It begins innocuous enough, everything is seemingly fine. Sometimes there appear to be no hints of what is to come, that is the most frightening part. The unknown.

For about 1.5 – 2 weeks every month I feel amazing. As long as I keep an eye on my mental health, everything is running smoothly.

Then, slowly unnoticeably, the change begins. The werewolf inside lurks beneath the surface, ready to take control of my rational mind.

It starts small: unexplained feelings of unease in the pit of my stomach (anxiety); unwelcome and unfamiliar thoughts invading my brain (depression).

For 7 – 10 days these symptoms rise to a crescendo and the monster breaks through, taking control. As I cower aside while the creature appears in full form all I hear from its mind into mine is:

Destroy yourself.

You’re worthless.

I believe it. And it warps all of my thoughts and impacts on every interaction between myself and others.

Eventually the pain of anxiety from deep within my gut becomes unbearable. I must make it stop. It has to stop. The physical pain and the emotional pain reach a fever pitch.

I need to make it stop.


In one of my most favourite novels, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, we discover that the Wolfsbane Potion is used to relieve the symptoms of lycanthropy (or “werewolfism”). It is not a cure, as no cure exists for lycanthropy, only treatment is available.

I am one of the 3-8% of menstruating humans who have been diagnosed with PMDD. My menstrual cycle controls my life, my behaviour, my thoughts and my feelings.

My personal Wolfsbane Potion is SSRI antidepressant medication.

If you think you, or someone close to you, may have undiagnosed PMDD a GP can help you find the most suitable treatment available. All it takes is a conversation with your GP.

Please know that there is relief available and if you need advice please comment below or email me at

My experience with… Anxiety

Have you ever felt anxious?

Imagine that feeling before you stand in front of a crowd to give a presentation or a speech. Imagine feeling that for days on end with no relief in sight.

It’s very difficult for people who haven’t experienced anxiety to understand or relate to the symptoms of anxiety.


The way I describe it:

It feels as though someone has a hold of your intestines and is squeezing as tight as possible, wringing out every drop.

I lose my appetite. I have my “gloomy specs” on so that everything is seen from a negative point of view. I jump to the worst possible conclusion of everything. Thoughts are quick, irrational and it’s like sinking, struggling to stay afloat to see past anything but the completely negative situation.

Anxiety clouds my mind. While trying to get through the day the fog in my head is sometimes too difficult to think through. It’s completely frustrating.

It’s so overwhelming that sometimes normal tasks like eating, sleeping and breathing are a struggle. I feel like I’m barely surviving through some days.

Yes, it’s frustrating for everyone around me. I’m aware. If I could fix the anxiety I would have already.

If someone you know has anxiety:

My opinion is that anxiety requires patient friends and family. Very patient.

Sometimes just a hug can relax the irrational thoughts for a moment so I can have a tiny bit of much needed clarity. That can help immensely.

What I have been doing to improve:

I have been increasing my use of meditation and practising mindfulness. Mindfulness is helping me become more aware of the present instead of being lost in my anxious thoughts of the future or mistakes of the past. I am beginning to notice when the thoughts are getting worse as it’s much easier to calm my mind before the anxiety takes complete hold.

Focusing on my breathing instead of the anxious thoughts brings me back to the present moment and helps me reduce some of the anxiety symptoms (fast breathing and heart rate).


Before sleeping and upon waking is usually when I have my worst anxiety. Thinking of my to do list for my day ahead often whips me into a frenzy inside my mind. Just knowing that this is my weakness, I acknowledge it and breathe, remembering that I can’t do anything about the to do list until I arrive at work. So I am able to put it out of my mind until I’m ready to deal with each task.

I hope my experience can help you understand how someone you know is feeling. Or if you have ever experienced anxiety in this way I really hope this post has brought you new ideas to try so you can feel some relief.

Big comforting hugs from me to you.