Should You Cut Out Coffee When Trying To Conceive?
Are you confused about how much coffee to consume if you’re trying to get pregnant? I want to share a quick little story with you. Meet client X, a type A, self employed powerhouse who prided herself on healthy, clean eating, regular exercise and a daily meditation practice to help her manage the stress in her busy life. She was trying to get pregnant and thought she had been on top of her health game with regards to making all the right choices to support her body and reproductive system.
After a few months of trying to conceive without a positive test, we started working together to see where she could fill in the gaps on optimizing her fertility. She was one of those people who couldn't get through her day without her morning cup of coffee. While most people don’t think this is really a big deal, there is something to say for being dependent on a stimulant to get you started on your day. Especially when the body is naturally designed to be the most energized first thing in the morning. Coffee is such a normalcy in our culture, as a matter of fact, it's almost weird when you tell people you don’t drink coffee. That said, my client didn’t think twice about her daily coffee habit.
After diving into the nuances of Client X’s health, including hormone testing (4-point cortisol), sugar cravings and her energy highs and lows throughout the day, we found some interesting information. My client’s cortisol pattern was flipped on its head. What does this mean? Naturally, cortisol should be highest in the bloodstream first thing in the morning (your cortisol should be waking you up, not your alarm clock) and then tapers throughout the day. It should then dip to its lowest point in the late evening, to help the body naturally fall asleep.
This natural cycle of physical, mental, and behavior changes that the body goes through in a 24-hour cycle should all be dictated by hormones alone. What we found was that my client's cortisol was at its lowest point in the bloodstream first thing in the morning (hence her NEED for coffee to get her day going) and then did this wave like rollercoaster dance throughout the day, then ended up at its highest point at night. You know that feeling of being so tired yet wired? Well that became her normal for so long, she didn’t even recognize it was uncomfortable anymore. Let me put it this way.
Do you know anyone who sustains an adrenaline rush well? All of the work you are doing to balance your stress hormones will be in vain if you are forcing your body to release cortisol by regularly pumping your system with coffee.
The body needs time to rest and recover regularly, especially when trying to get pregnant. By getting too much caffeine, we push our body beyond its natural limit, forcing it to run on fumes, and then crash.
Once my client saw her hormones in black and white on paper, that was her breaking point. She even wanted to write a letter to her adrenal glands telling them how sorry she was for neglecting them over the years (no joke). So, now you’re probably wondering what happened. After weaning her off coffee entirely, and replacing it with healthy substitutes, we began to nourish her body step by step with supporting her gut health and adrenal glands. Within the next 4 months, she got pregnant!
How to wean off coffee and why it’s necessary when trying to conceive:
By enjoying viable, tasty substitutes for coffee, you can start to give your poor little adrenal glands a break without feeling super deprived. These tiny two walnut sized glands sit on top of your kidneys, and are literally responsible for your life energy and vitality. Feed them well by giving them high quality fat and protein when you FIRST wake up. This gives them what they need to make cortisol so you have energy, instead of kicking them with coffee, which forces them to give you cortisol you haven’t quite earned yet. The latter is like stealing from the energy bank. You will have to repay this borrowed energy with exhaustion at some point.
Remember, that it’s always about moderation and accountability. Having an 8-10 oz cup of organic, unsweetened (or naturally sweetened with coconut sugar) coffee AFTER or WITH a substantial breakfast never hurt anyone. It’s the coffee consumption first thing in the morning without any breakfast that needs to be addressed, especially if your hormones are out of whack.
What about decaf?
I hear you asking! I’m afraid I don’t have the answer that you want. Unfortunately, caffeine is mostly processed out of the coffee bean via chemical stripiping, which is toxic. If you do drink decaf or are planning to make the switch, seek out Swiss water processed decaf to ensure it is processed naturally. Any brand will do as long as it’s Swiss-water processed and organic. There are several good tasting brands made with Peruvian beans.
How to wean off coffee without the terrible withdrawal symptoms:
If you are not a cold turkey type, here is a great way to start weaning yourself to help prevent severe withdrawal symptoms:
Reduce coffee by ½ cup (this will vary from person to person depending on how much coffee you typically consume)
After 2 days, reduce another ½ cup. Drink this amount for another 2 days
Once you are down to 1 cup of coffee, switch to espresso for 1 day (espresso has 75mg caffeine, drip coffee has 250mg)
Then switch to green tea. Green tea contains 35mg of caffeine per cup, but also contains l-theanine, an amino acid that increases serotonin output and relaxes our brain. It is pretty much caffeine without the jitters.
There are tons of delicious coffee alternatives now on the market, made from your choice of mushrooms and herbs, you’ve got lots to choose from. Here are my top three favorites.
Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee with Lion’s Mane