Thursday, January 14, 2010


*After I wrote this post, a huge earthquake hit Haiti, taking many lives and devastating the country where a reported 80% of the population lives below the poverty line.


Photo credit: Getty Images

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Day 1 of my oncology rotation began at 7:30 am Tuesday morning. Naturally, some caffeine was necessary.

How many of you start your day with a cup of coffee {or tea}? Personal faves include Trader Joe’s Gingerbread coffee and a Traverse City Cherry brew at my fave place in Michigan. And in the winter, I’m a big tea fan, too.


Kath asked about caffeine intake recommendations, so I thought I’d do a little research on the topic.


  • may help improve performance when sleep is lacking BUT
  • can interfere with sleep
  • takes about 3-4 hours to be completely eliminated by the body
  • can lead to disturbed sleeping patterns, anxiety and nervousness, upset stomach, headaches and difficulty concentrating
  • recommendations (University of IL, University of Washington School of Medicine): < 250-300 mg or ~ 3 cups of coffee

:: caffeine comparison* ::

caffeine chart

*Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2007

Bottom line: caffeine is ok to consume in moderation, but it shouldn’t be a substitute for getting adequate sleep, since we know important processes occur while you're getting your beauty rest. You should also ensure that you’re staying adequately hydrated and not substituting caffeinated beverages for water.

Caffeine dependency is controversial. The amount of caffeine to cause withdrawal symptoms (headache, fatigue, irritability, etc) differs depending on a person’s size and metabolism. I think it’s fair to say that even the recommended amount of caffeine may lead to symptoms of withdrawal in some people.

This is a good prelude for an upcoming post featuring an organization that buys coffee through a 40 family cooperative in Honduras. If you’re confused about fair trade, shade grown, etc., you won’t want to miss this post!

Off to save lives through nutrition. :-)



  1. So sad about the earthquake ... and I feel like I don't really even begin to know how sad it really is because I'm sitting in my home all warm and protected ...

    I start my mornings out with tea ... I love my tea! :)

  2. Oh, I looooove my coffee! I recently found a new brand that's produced in Lansing but I can't find the name of it - boo. I only have my daily two cups and then I'm cut off!

    Good luck on your rotation :)

  3. Here's an interesting story; you know how I am trying to cut down on my caffeine? Well I was in Caribou coffee the other day and I thought I would get a medium coffee. I wasn't sure how much caffeine was in their medium )16 ounces) so I asked the barista. I wanted to make sure there was not much more than 200mg. WELL, she said, "50 mg!!!". I was like, umm, I don't think so, yet she insisted! I went home and found out there was over 300 mg in one medium Caribou coffee. I must say, I was pretty pissed. I knew it wasn't 50 mg, but come on women, learn some basic information about the coffee you serve! I e-mailed Caribou about it.

  4. I love caffeine and I do what you recommend, keep it in moderation! :) Thanks for the info.

  5. hmm its so funny how starbucks coffee has a seriously larger amount of caffeine then the others. i wonder if the caffeine amount correlates to the price amount..

    i'm trying to downsize my caffeine through green tea first thing in the morning. i had a little bit of coffee angers at first but so far so good!

  6. In my internship I wrote an article for the state association newslaetter about caffeine. I had mostly negative things to say, but research had just come out with all these benefits and they were like no we can not publish this, do your research. I was annoyed, but they wanted me to push for the health benefits, which there are and there are links to benefiting diseases like Parkinson's, so the end result was a mix of pros and cons and as you said...moderation!

  7. thanks for the info emily :) i love coffee but my annoying bladder cant handle it.

    let me know if you're up for yoga on saturday!

  8. thanks for the info girl! gah, i cannot go without coffee!! but more than 1 big cup.. i get so gittery and anxious!

  9. ahh i LOVE coffee, it is the one thing i will NEVER give up! I need to start my day with it :) I dont ALWAYS have two cups a day, but when I do one is caffeeine(morning) and the other in the afternoon is certainly decaf!

  10. This information was soooo helpful! I've never been completely clear on the recommended amount of caffiene and the differences in caffienated drinks. Thank you so much!
    p.s. How ironic is it that I'm drinking Trader Joe's Gingerbread coffee as I read this? It's so good :)

  11. Im so sad to hear about that tragedy in Haiti. My thoughts and prayers are with them all!

    Interesting post about caffine for sure! Im defienntly a HUGE coffee drinker. And not because of the caffine. (I switch to decaf when I can) but I jsut like the taste. Although Ive been kinda worried about my caffine consumption so Ive switched to teas during the daytime (Coffee only in the morning!) I love a really good vanilla herbal tea. Delish!

    Have a wonderful day and thanks for the great info!

  12. Thanks for the info! I usually have about two cups per day. One when I wake up and one when I am on the way to class. I wake up at 5, so caffiene is much needed ;)

  13. I drink coffee every morning, and I LOVe that gingerbread coffee from TJs, too.
    I myself have really high tolerance of caffeine. I can drink a huge cup (or two) of strong coffee, yet fall asleep in the next 5 minutes. I wonder why?

  14. Great blog! So sad about the Haiti devastation...
    I love tea, cutting back alittle on the coffee - 1 to 2 a day - but love tea with stevia and milk and Hot chocolate ;)

  15. I'm so afraid of caffeine. I drink a lot of tea because I like the flavor, but I actively try to stay away from coffee dependency.

    Thanks (in advance) for discussing fair trade coffee!

  16. Kaldi's Natural High Blend= super tasty, organic, local and fair trade.

    Excited for the guest FT post. I wish we could just drop the internship for two weeks and do more than donate money for millions suffering in Haiti.

    Have a great weekend!

  17. The Haiti earthquake is so sad! I lived there for a long time (my parents worked there!) and I still know several Americans there, who thankfully are all OK.

    I'm guess I SAFELY exceed the daily recommended amounts of caffeine. :) I you have to check out the TJ's gingerbread stuff!

    And question: how did you figure out how to make new pages at the top of you blog? I love your layout and I'd love to add some pages to mine, too. You can e-mail me if you want.

  18. This is why I can't concentrate....I thought it was old's too much coffee. Wow, thanks for shedding some light on my caffiene addiction.

  19. I love coffee! Recently, got some really good Caribou Coffee on sale.

  20. it was hard kicking caffeine, but i'm glad i did it. i like not being beholden to a cup of joe to get me feeling "like myself"

  21. all great organisations or red cross, great caffeine post


  22. Great post! I have a cup of coffee probably about 4 days a week. I love the pick me up qualities, but I also just love the flavor! Also wanted to mention that a grande iced coffee has even more caffeine than the regular coffee (190 mg) because it is double brewed!

  23. Per one of the comments you wrote on my blog I put applesauce, yogurt, and cinnamon in my oats this morning. Delicious!! I will definitely repeat!

  24. Thank you for mentioning the crisis in Haiti. It's so important we all aid in any way we can.

    hope youre doing well darling <3

  25. :) Just catching up on blogs!! That's what I concluded too: <200 mg/day and less if you're sensitive :)


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