October 17

Dr. Mercola recently wrote an article on why he’s changing his mind on a popular beverage: coffee.

I rarely agree with Dr. Mercola on anything, as I think his advice is delivered with hype and often lacks substance.

But at least I agreed with him on coffee.

Mercola often warned against the regular consumption of coffee, and said it should only be used occasionally as a “drug” (because caffeine is a drug) in certain circumstances when you really need it. He gave the example of traveling across many time zones. One way to beat jet lag is to consume caffeine to stay awake and fit right in the new time zone, instead of falling asleep and messing up your sleep cycles.

But now in a recent article Mercola is changing his mind on coffee.

He now thinks that black dark roast coffee is good for you, and has a number of health benefits. He quotes studies that show that coffee may help with the following diseases:

– Type 2 diabetes
– Parkinson’s disease
– Alzheimer’s disease
– Prostate cancer
– Liver cancer
– Kidney cancer
– Etc.

Now in a moment I will give you what I believe is a more balanced view on coffee. But first, let me be clear that I absolutely LOVE coffee. I totally understand the love affair that the world has with coffee, and other caffeinated beverages, like tea.

But for me coffee has always been a love/hate relationship.

I love caffeine and its immediate effects on my body. However, I also know that I’m very caffeine sensitive and I know the short and long-term effects of caffeine effects on my body.

If I consume coffee one or two days in a row, I will inevitably get headaches as a result. I will also get depressed and lack energy a day or two after I stop coffee.

If I keep drinking coffee and make it a habit (I have done that at times in the past), I experience the following symptoms:

– Irritability
– Clouded thinking in the morning until I have coffee again
– Regular migraine headaches
– Back pain
– Extreme symptoms of depression that would be diagnosed as “clinical depression”

I know that I am more sensitive to caffeine than most people. Therefore, I treat coffee with respect. I don’t underestimate its effects as a drug and I stay away for the most part.

Like I said, I LOVE coffee and caffeine in general. So once in a while, I can’t resist having a cup of tea or coffee.

When I do, I love the immediate effects. But I know there will be some consequences.

I have found that if I don’t consume caffeine more than a couple of times a month (say 2-3) then I can manage with it.

There are times, for example when traveling, when using a little bit of a boost is not a bad idea.

After all, certain circumstances in life are unnatural to begin with, like traveling across multiple time zones in minutes or hours.

But what’s important is that I treat coffee for what it is:

Not a beverage like fruit juice, or an innocent little habit, but like a DRUG.

Just read the Wikipedia page on caffeine to understand why it’s truly a drug and what are its effects on the body ()

Caffeine Blues

One book that I read years ago and talked about many times on my website is “Caffeine Blues.”

To my knowledge, it’s the only comprehensive book that’s ever been published on why coffee is bad for health. (to purchase the book, click here)

On the first page of the book, you can read:

– Caffeine can’t provide energy, only chemical stimulation and induced emergency state that can lead to irritability, mood swings, and panic attacks.
– Caffeine’s ultimate mood effect can be letdown, which can lead to depression and chronic fatigue.
– Caffeine gives the illusion of heightened alertness by dilating pupils, quickening heart rate, and raising blood pressure. In fact, caffeine does not increase overall mental activity.

Caffeine blues lists many of the side-effects of coffee, some that are rarely talked about.

The negative effects of caffeine on the body include:

– Energy swings or periods of fatigue during the day

– Mood swings or periods of depression


- Gastrointestinal distress, cramping, diarrhea

– Constipation and/or dependence on caffeine for bowel movement

– Tension or stiffness in the neck, shoulders, hands, legs or stomach

- Premenstrual syndrome, menstrual irregularity, camps, sore breasts

- Painful/sensitive lumps in breast

- Insomnia

- Anxiety

– Irritability, including inappropriate fits of anger

- Irregular or rapid heartbeat

– Light-headness/dizziness

– Waking up feeling tired

– Generalized pain (back, stomach, muscles)

– High blood pressure

– Ulcers

– Anemia

– Shortness of breath

- Difficulty in concentration

- Ringing in ears
- Coldness in extremities

- Hand tremor
Now, to put things in perspective, not every coffee drinker will experience these symptoms, and for some the symptoms will only occur after a certain level of sustained consumption.

For some people, any consumption of any caffeine will lead to serious health consequences.

For others, like me, the limit is very low, perhaps a few cups of caffeinated beverage per month.

Some other people are sensitive to the high levels of caffeine in coffee, but can drink green tea every day. (Personally if I drink green tea every day I still experience many negative side-effects, including irritability).

Others seem to to process caffeine better and do well with a certain amount of coffee per day, like a cup of espresso.

But everybody has a caffeine “breaking point.”

But here’s what worries me with all those “pro-caffeine” articles: nobody talks about the fact that caffeine is a drug, that people self-medicate with it, and few are aware of the side effects.

Many people live with “clinical depression” that is in fact a consequence of drinking coffee. Nobody ever told them that depression can have physical causes and be as simple as the regular consumption of coffee, when one is very sensitive to caffeine.

I knew a guy who complained to me that he’d been depressed for years and didn’t have the energy to meet the day anymore. He thought his depression was caused by his marriage.

This was about 5-6 years ago. I suggested to him at the time to quit drinking coffee and read “Caffeine Blues.” He did and his depression went away in about 3-4 weeks after drinking coffee, but he told me that he only went back to his “true self” about 60 days after quitting coffee.

If caffeine is a drug, and we know that it is, then it may well have some benefits, like many drugs do.

I’m not questioning this research on how coffee may help with some health problems like diabetes or may help to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

I have no opinion about those studies because I’m not an expert doing the research.

However, if caffeine is a drug that has same benefits, then it also has side-effects. And some individuals are more likely to develop those side-effects, just like with any other drug.

But nobody likes to talk about the side effects. It’s just not popular to question America’s most popular drug.

I’m not saying that there’s no place for caffeine in the world, and that everybody should quit drinking coffee. But you have to find out how your body can operate at its best, and for many people, that means drinking no coffee or caffeinated beverages at all.

But I want to hear from you. Do you consume any form of caffeine? Do you consider yourself sensitive to caffeine? Did you quit coffee or caffeine?

I’d be curious to hear your story! Let me know in the comment section below…

I used to drink coffee, but after a lot of trial and error I realized it caused me a lot of pain and suffering. And I’m not talking about the withdrawal symptoms.

Even though 90% of American adults use caffeine on a daily basis, few realize how bad it is for them.

Coffee is the most common source of caffeine, and also the one with the most negative drawbacks. Although health authorities tell us that up to 400 mg. of caffeine a day (the equivalent of 4 cups of coffee) is perfectly healthy, many people are more sensitive to caffeine and can suffer many symptoms when drinking even just one or two cups of coffee.

Symptoms of caffeine sensitivity include

– Back and shoulder pains
– Headaches
– Chronique fatigue and irritability
– Anxiety and panic attacks
– Depression
– Lack of focus and concentration
– Extreme jitters

When I used to drink even very small amounts of coffee or tea, I would fall into a deep depression and become extremely irritable. These symptoms only went away once I eliminated coffee 100%

A big mistake people make is to try to give up coffee “cold turkey.”

For example, many people don’t realize that even cutting down caffeine intake by half can cause extreme withdrawal symptoms like migraines and headaches.

To give up coffee, the best product I have found is a natural herbal coffee called Teeccino. Unlike other coffee replacement, this one tastes great!

I have even served Teeccino to coffee drinkers and they didn’t even realize that they were drinking fake coffee!

You can find Teeccino in some health food stores in the United States, Canada, the UK and some other countries. If you can’t find it at your health food stores, you can order it on Amazon.com.

Some people are not as sensitive to coffee as others and can get by with small amounts, but many people are not so lucky and will suffer extreme symptoms even with small amounts. The best way for quitting the coffee habit without pain and suffering is to give it up slowly, by replacing coffee with Teeccino progressively over two weeks, until at the end you only drink Teeccino. That way you won’t feel any withdrawal symptoms!

September 19

Did you know that at some point in my life I used to smoke cigarettes? I also drank coffee.

When I was 16, I saw an ad on TV against cigarettes. It featured young people in their late teens telling their stories on how they tried smoking and quit because they realized it was not “cool”.

After seeing one of those ads, I decided to give smoking a try! I’m being honest, the ad had the opposite effect on me and aroused my curiosity, so I “borrowed” a cigarette from my dad’s pack and tried smoking for the first time.

I smoked for a year or two, and then one day realized on my own what it was doing to me, and flushed my last pack down the toilet and never touched cigarettes again.

I’m not sure what gets young people smoking these days, but for me it was the lure of doing something “forbidden”.

Now, I can’t stand the smell of cigarette, even if I’m outside and someone is smoking at a good distance from me. As long as I can smell it, it bothers me.

In North America, it’s become outlawed to smoke in literally every public place, but unfortunately in Europe smoking is much more common. And Europeans tend to smoke more and more often than Americans.

I’m traveling in Greece at the moment (I’m on the island of Santorini as I’m writing these lines!), but it’s so beautiful here that I don’t mind having to deal with an occasional smoker.

I still don’t understand what leads people to smoke, but I know WHY they keep smoking.

Nicotine is a stimulating drug, similar to caffeine in many ways (some complimenting each other).

You see a lot of people starting their day with a cup of coffee, while reaching for their pack of cigarettes.

For those who don’t drink coffee, there’s plenty of other options available for chemical stimulation.

There’s tea, black or green, or oolong.

There’s yerba maté.

There’s cacao (raw or cooked).

All of these products are stimulants. They all contain either caffeine or a substance that acts similar to caffeine on the body.

And make no mistake about it: caffeine is a drug, just like nicotine.

The stimulation we get from it is similar to the stimulation a horse would get being whipped constantly.

It’s not true energy, but chemical stimulation that produces a “fight or flight”, adrenaline kind of response in the body.

Getting energy from stimulants is like borrowing from the bank. Whatever energy you get, you have to pay back in recovery time, plus interest!

That’s why the most common cause of chronic fatigue or adrenal fatigue is the constant use of stimulants like coffee.

What’s a better alternative?

Exercise, fasting, and raw foods are the best “natural” stimulants.

Exercising literally releases “feel good” hormones throught your body that will create a feeling of wellbeing that will last for hours, without the negative consequences of stimulants.

Fasting, strangely, is a great way to “stimulate” your body naturally. Use it when you feel you need to give your digestion a break. A 24-hour fast is a great way to “reset” your system.

Raw foods, are not stimulating but they are not depressing either, like most cooked foods are. By eating raw, you feel a constant surge of natural energy, and don’t feel like taking a stimulant like coffee or raw cacao.

Want my best raw food recipes for natural energy? Check out my low-fat raw vegan DVD set here:


Yours for health and energy,


PS: My Raw Cuisine DVD Set is one of a kind. It’s the only series in the world that teaches raw food cuisine the “low-fat” way, which is the only approach that will give you sustained energy. Check it out at:


September 17



– Frederic’s Update

–  Raw Cacao


I’m here in Calgary getting ready for a raw food event called “High Fat or High Fruit?”, put together by the wonderful Diana Stoevelaar from Awesome Rawsome, who’s also contributing a great article on cacao for this issue of the ezine.

If you’re in the Calgary area and would like to attend, the event is on September 23rd at 7 p.m., on “High Fat or High Fruit”, that is the question! For information about attending, go to: www.awesomerawsome.com.


New Edition of How to Make a Living in the Natural Health Movement

Do you dream of starting your own business in the raw food or natural health field?

Would you like to make a full-time income working part-time doing something you love?

We’re about to launch the next edition of our course “How to Make a Living in the Natural Health Movement”. We only do this twice a year at the most! The next edition is going to be great!

Today is the last day left to sign up: http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/makealiving.html

“Who Else Wants to Watch Professional DVDs and Become Confident in the Kitchen With the Most Amazing, Simple and Delicious Low Fat Raw Recipes Ever?”

Watch the preview YouTube Video to get a peak at what’s inside this DVD series. For more information on the Low Fat Raw Vegan DVD Series, click here. On the video, click “HQ” after it has started for better quality.

yellowarrow.gif To order the Low Fat Raw Vegan DVDs, click here.


Is Raw Cacao a Superfood or Harmful Stimulant
By Diana Stoevelaar of www.AwesomeRawsome.com

Is raw cacao a superfood or harmful stimulant? Although some raw food leaders highly promote cacao as something that should be revered as a food of the Gods, others have spoken out against raw cacao and raw chocolate. Who should you believe? Don’t be fooled by all the hype!

“Many people are being mislead to believe cacao and other foods are healthy. Many of the people who promote it, have a good heart and really feel it is a good food, but I know there are many who sell this product knowing it is toxic and addictive, just to make money.”

Many raw food leaders including Victoria Boutenko, Dr. Doug Graham, Frederic Patenaude, Paul Nissan, Jeremy Safron, Dr. Fred Bisci, and Dr. Brian Clement, have already come to the conclusion that raw cacao is not a superfood but an addictive stimulant. What do they know that you perhaps don’t yet know?

They probably have discovered what Dr. Neal Barnard says in his lecture, Breaking the Food Seduction, namely that, “Chocolate, just like sugar, elicits an opiate reaction within the brain that trips the dopamine receptors and gives us a pleasure response…I don’t mean to say that chocolate is a drug. What I mean to say is that chocolate is the whole darn drugstore!”

When Narcan or Noloxone, the drugs used to block opiate receptors for those suffering a heroine overdose are used in research studies for those with a chocolate addiction, test subjects lose their desire for chocolate.

Jeremy Safron’s findings were as follows:

  • Cacao is one of the most addictive substances known.
  • In some cases of long term use there are also psychological effects that range from addictive tendencies, sexual dysfunction, violent outbursts, lack of reasoning, and decreased will.
  • At mega does of 40 plus beans it acts as a hallucinogen and can cause many effects attributed to LSD or Hashish.
  • Cacao is super toxic to the liver.
  • The result of long term use is a high level of liver and blood toxicity which can cause extreme: mood swings, angry outbursts, violence, depression, paranoia, and dizziness.
  • It is extremely clogging due to the toxins carried in the oils contained within. Plus the fat chains are highly complex and require tons of work to break down.
  • It acts as a stimulant and agitates the kidneys and adrenal glands this can cause: insomnia, nightmares, waking up in the middle of the night, shakes, and extreme energy shifts.
  • No animal in nature will eat it unless tricked into it with milk or sugar.
  • If you can convince an animal to eat it then it greatly shortens their life span if it doesn’t kill them immediately. (as with dogs)
  • The native people who ate it only ate the fruit of the theobroma (which contains all the benefits and none of the detriments) and only used the cacao seed as an addition to their psychedelic brew ahyuwascaand as a medicine in emergences.
  • Native people did not eat it as a food nor as a supplement, but only for sacred use.
  • When Native people did eat it, they only ate the fruit which contained the benefits without the detriments.

Jeremy Safron’s final stand on cacao is that it is for medicinal, sacred and for entertainment usage only; it is not a health food!

Paul Nison says, “The processing of cacao beans into powder and chocolate is an unsanitary, risky procedure to say the least. To be blunt – chocolate and cacao are laced with animal feces and hair, insects, and molds. The carcinogenic mold called aflatoxin has been found in large quantities on cacao beans.” and continues…

Watch Paul Nison in this very informative 9:33 minute video of with references to the scientific research regarding the harmfulness of raw cacao/chocolate:


Doctor Fred Bisci, a raw foodist for about 40 years also confirmed what Jeremy Safron and Paul Nison suspected; cacao is toxic!!!

You can hear him speak about his findings and personal experience with raw chocolate here in this 3 minute clip:


Listen to Dr. Brian Clement explain in this short clip why he does not recommend raw chocolate:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuSWFZO2qs0&feature=related

Cacao is a Dangerous Heart Stimulant

Just last week I was visiting a health food store to purchase my greens (nature’s best source of minerals, trace minerals and magnesium) all without stimulants, addictive substances and high amounts of saturated fat, when I got into a conversation with a very health conscious gentleman who asked me what I thought about cacao. I told him that I agreed with Dr. Neil Barnard and others, that chocolate is harmful to our health. Chocolate contains caffeine, theobromine, as well as phenylethylamine which slows down the breakdown on anandamide just as with the use of marijuana. Now you can understand why it’s so addictive!

He relayed an interesting story to me that clearly illustrates raw chocolate’s stimulating effects. He told me how he had recently started adding chocolate to his energy sports drink to help his energy and recovery. He rode his bike to the Blood Donor Clinic as he does every two months and tried to donate blood.

Unfortunately he couldn’t pass the screening test because his heart rate was too high! They asked him to sit for 15 minutes to allow his heart rate to normalize but it was still too high. He was shocked since this had never happened to him before!

Adding raw cacao was the only thing he had changed in his diet. Now, you might wonder why chocolate would make his heart race? Its due to the caffeine and theobromine, a sister molecule to caffeine, the same chemical that kills many dogs when they eat chocolate! The adrenal glands rev up metabolism so as to quickly eliminate the offensive substance. This is called stimulated energy which is always followed by fatigue, and therefore a desire for more of the stimulant.

My Personal Experience with Cacao

I never bought into the raw cacao craze; I was forewarned by knowledgeable people who knew the truth, but when a friend of mine wanted me to import some for her a few years ago, I obliged after trying to persuade her not to buy it. When it arrived I asked her if I might sample some so I could have a personal experience with it. She offered me a few nibs which I popped into my mouth. I chewed them a few seconds and felt compelled to spit them out into the kitchen sink. They were so bitter I couldn’t stand them and I used to be a dark chocolate fan! Apparently no animal in nature will eat them either unless you fool them into by combining the raw cacao with milk or sugar. So ended my desire to ever try it until…

I had the opportunity to try a raw chocolate dessert (a brownie made with raw cacao powder) for the first time at a raw food potluck. After just a few bites I felt a strange trembling sensation throughout my entire nervous system and then faintness came over me. I became very weak and had to be supported to walk. I linked the experience with the raw chocolate and decided not to touch it again until…

I worked for Avena Originals and they begged me to try their chocolate saying it was more “pure” than the cacao I had imported from a supplier in California. So after much coaxing I agreed to their request – to test their cacao by consuming just 2 tablespoons daily in my banana smoothie at lunch instead of the usual carob. After adding twice the amount of dates to the smoothie that I usually used, it was actually quite delicious.

The first thing I noticed was that I always wanted more after I had consumed the last drop, unlike the satisfied feeling I had with my banana –carob smoothie.

Secondly, I found it difficult to sleep through the night and suffered from insomnia. My gums started bleeding after about a week of consuming cacao daily, but the most unbearable side effects I experienced were the excruciatingly painful leg cramps in my calves that occurred nightly after about 2 weeks of consuming cacao. It was then that I abandoned my experiment and decided that cacao was definitely harmful for me. It appears that the cleaner one’s body the greater the sensitivity, which explains why long term raw foodists tend to experience the worst side effects. Fortunately all of these symptoms disappeared when I stopped consuming cacao.

I know you probably don’t like to hear that your favourite raw food is not good for you. That’s why I’ll never be as popular as those you try to convince you that it’s a SUPERFOOD. But then I am only doing my best to educate you; I’m not trying to convince you that the chocolate addiction you brought with you from the cooked food world is now actually good for you and that you should now consume cacao or raw chocolate with reckless abandon because it’s a SUPERFOOD! No, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night, not due to cacao’s stimulating effects (I don’t eat it!) but because I have a conscience.

costa_rica_bribri_cacao.jpgPlease note that I stand nothing to gain by telling you not to consume cacao except knowing that I did the right think to inform you so hopefully you would not be led astray and lose what health you’ve gained by consuming more raw food. Reserve your money to buy real superfoods – leafy greens!

“Greens are nature’s true superfoods.”~ Sergei Boutenko


Some people claim that raw cacao is perfectly healthy because it’s a fruit. Because I live in Costa Rica half the year, I know what a real cacao fruit is. In fact, I often buy it at the supermarket. There’s a sweet/acidic pulp surrounding the seeds, and the way to eat the fruit is simply suck on the seeds like a candy, and then throw away the seeds! Why? They are not edible and taste horrible in their completely raw, natural state.

On the right is a photo of a Bribri native in Costa Rica, eating Cacao fruit.

What is your experience with raw cacao? What do you think?  Let me know with your comments below!

June 18

The Dark Side of Coffee

Filed under Caffeine and Stimulants by Frederic Patenaude

One of the things that many people struggle with when transitioning to a raw diet is an addiction to caffeine, more notably, coffee. Heck, I even struggled with it and every once in a while, I’ll be honest, the habit sneaks back into my health routine and I have to cut it out again.

Isn’t it funny that what started out as a European delicacy has turned into one of the most craved substances and addictions in the world. People drink coffee more than any other beverage including soft drinks or tea. Second only to oil in world trade, annual coffee consumption worldwide was estimated in 2003 to be over 400 billion cups, with Brazil as the largest producer globally. Americans consume more than 400 million cups a day! So you can be sure that I have more than a few readers who drink the stuff.

Whether you drink or don’t drink coffee is a personal choice. But it should be a choice that is made with complete knowledge of the adverse effects rather than just being influenced by commericals and ads that promote it as a pleasurable cup of comfort, relaxation, rejuvenation, and source of health. The truth is coffee is really a caustic placebo that can lead to major side effects, health complications, and disease but you don’t ever see a commercial about how that morning cup of java actually adds to the rise in health problems, do you?

Here’s an unknown fact:

Reliance on coffee to jump start your day is actually depleting your physical, emotional, and mental state.

According to Gayle Reichler, MS RD CDN, “Within five minutes after you drink your morning coffee, the caffeine begins to stimulate your central nervous system, triggering the release of stress hormones in your body, causing a stress (‘fight or flight’) response. Within the next hour or so, after the stress response dissipates, you will probably feel more tired and hungry.’ So what appears as “quick energy” is in reality a stress response triggered by the adrenal glands!

Dangers that lurk in the cup:

The major ingredient in coffee, caffeine (or otherwise known as 1, 3, 7-trimethylxanthine) is the most widely consumed pharmacologically active substance in the world. Its major action is to stimulate the central nervous system. Excessive amounts in turn, increase the chance for negative side effects such as:

  • mood swings
  • depression
  • chronic fatigue
  • irritability
  • accelerated heart rate
  • panic attacks
  • dilated pupils
  • and high blood pressure

Caffeine can also have the same mind altering effect that similar psychoactive drugs such as morphine and nicotine have on the body creating pseudo-benefits. That’s why you’ll sometimes see someone smoking a cigarette alongside drinking coffee, because it acts as a double stimulant. That’s why, people who try to quit smoking, often need to give up caffeine and nicotine at the same time – and often fail as a result of the double whammy to their addictions.

Caffeine may also wreak havoc on your blood sugar levels, causing it to dip and rise which can masks true hunger and cause you to overeat (if your blood sugar is low) or undereat (if your blood sugar is high). You’ll find that diet aids such as Hoodia list caffeine as one of the ingredients. Caffeine also increases respiratory rates, and for people with tight airways, it can open breathing passages. Caffeine is also a diuretic and a mild laxative. Again, two effects that are helpful to people who are trying to lose or control their weight. But it’s not wise to turn to caffeine when trying to make dietary changes in your life.

Caffeine is the biggest culprit behind the coffee addiction. It contains hydrocarbons (PAHs), theobromine which increases the stimulating effect of 40 milligrams. The only means of detoxifying the body from caffeine is to release it through the liver to eliminate the stored blood sugar releasing insulin. For people suffering with epilepsy, it can be even more dangerous, since it drops the blood sugar below normal and can trigger a seizure. It can cause hypoglycemia and increase the appetite not to mention aggravate or further complicate pre-existing conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, acid reflux, Crohn’s, or migraines (just to name a few.)

Coffee also contains tannin which is the same thing used to make leather soft and shiny. Tannin blocks the orifices of tiny cells in the body and aids in indigestion and constipation, adding stress to and diversely affecting the liver. Caffeine teamed with tannin increases the risk of neuro-genetic disorders.

According to www.coffeeresearch.org, there are 21 compounds contained in coffee, including, chlorogenic, caffeic, cytric, malic, and lactic acids which contribute to indigestion and buildup of toxic waste, cardiovascular diseases, auto immune disorders, arthritis, and rheumatism. Additionally, when caffeine is broken down, it produces uric acid which can lead to kidney stones, gout, and other prostate conditions. Drinking coffee and other caffeinated substances can also lead to a loss of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and trace minerals.

Let’s not forget the adverse affect caffeine has with medication.

According to the Mayo Clinic, some medications and herbal supplements(such as Cipro, Noroxin, Theo-24, and Ephedra) can negatively interact with caffeine causing such side effects as nausea, vomiting, heart palpitations, and raise the risk of heart attack, stroke, seizure, and even death!

While raw food consumption actually reverses health issues, increases vitality, slowing down or reversing the aging process, and weight loss, drinking coffee long-term can produce the opposite. Plus, for women, long-term coffee use can lead to osteoporosis and anemia.

For the raw foodists who still make coffee a part of their day, they may find themselves experiencing an even greater hypersensitivity to the effects of caffeine.

Healthy Alternatives:

Apart from drinking warm water with lemon, there are many non-caffeinated herbal teas you can drink as well as teecino (order at www.teecino.com) which is made from all natural ingredients, is caffeine free, contains no chemical residue, is high in potassium, is alkaline, and rich in inulin that improves digestion and elimination.

I often get asked what I think of the whole “raw cacao” craze. If you don’t know about this, there are some people who currently claim that raw chocolate is the ultimate food of mankind and that we should eat as much as possible to benefit from the high levels of anti-oxidants, magnesium and other trace minerals.

Truth is, their claims are completely flawed and wrong.

But, it doesn’t mean that you should stop eating chocolate altogether.

Let’s take a honest look at the issue, by looking at some claims made about cacao:

“Cornell University food scientists found that cocoa powder has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times what is found in green tea.”

MY COMMENTS: Yes, cacao contains lots of antioxidants. But the question is not “what is the highest source of anti-oxidants” but “what is the “healthiest source of antioxidants”.

Cacao is rich in fat and contains some caffeine and theobromine, which is a stimulant alike caffeine. Therefore, one should not eat too much of it. But blueberries and other berries are free of these concerns and also contain lots of anti-oxidants. In my opinion, they are a much *healthier* source of anti-oxidants.

“As we have noted, cacao is one of nature’s richest sources of magnesium, which is a heart as well as brain mineral.”

Same here. Cacao may be rich in magnesium, but that’s not a reason good enough to make it a main part of your diet, when it’s rich in fat! Other foods contain lots of magnesium, including green vegetables.

“Cacao, because it is unadulterated, has an even stronger love energy. In ancient Aztec wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom would exchange 5 cacao beans with each other.”

What can I say here except that I’m surprised people buy this kind of non-sense. Lots of very unhealthy foods have been praised throughout the world for their “magical” qualities that it’s not surprising to find cacao among them.

The bottom line about raw cacao and raw chocolate is that it’s not the healthiest source of anti-oxidants or nutrients, and it’s no “magical” food.

I’m all for enjoying food and life and having some cacao as part of your diet occasionally and enjoying some health benefits that way is perfectly fine. But to make raw cacao an important part of your diet, as is recommended by some people, is completely ridiculous and unhealthy.

November 2

Not enough people are saying it: but quitting caffeine is probably the single best thing you can do for improving your health and energy.

The negative effects of caffeine on the body include:

– Energy swings or periods of fatigue during the day
– Mood swings or periods of depression
– Headaches
– Gastrointestinal distress, cramping, diarrhea
– Constipation and/or dependence on caffeine for bowel movement
– Tension or stiffness in the neck, shoulders, hands, legs or stomach
– Premenstrual syndrome, menstrual irregularity, camps, sore breasts
– Painful/sensitive lumps in breast
– Insomnia
– Anxiety
– Irritability, including inappropriate fits of anger
– Irregular or rapid heartbeat
– Light-headness/dizziness
– Waking up feeling tired
– Generalized pain (back, stomach, muscles)
– High blood pressure
– Ulcers
– Anemia
– Shortness of breath
– Difficulty in concentration
– Ringing in ears
– Coldness in extremities
– Hand tremor

This list is taken from the highly-researched book “Caffeine Blues“.

But that’s only the beginning!

Once you do realize that caffeine is not good for you, and you try your best to quit caffeine, you then have to face the terrible withdrawal symptoms, which include:

Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms

Profound fatigue
Increased muscle tension

That’s one of the main reasons why people are afraid of quitting caffeine: those damn withdrawal symptoms.

Here are a few helpful tips for you:

– Don’t go cold-turkey! Allow a period of 2-3 weeks to completely get off caffeine. Use the painless program at: http://www.teeccino.com/quitting.aspx
– Once you have completely quit caffeine, don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t immediately feel better. It will take 4 to 8 weeks AFTER you are completely off caffeine to feel back to your old self. But be prepared for a big change in your health: you will feel a lot better! Just give it enough time.
– Replace caffeine with exercise! Get a natural oxygen boost that way.
– Learn some valuable breathing exercises.
– Improve your diet. Drink more green smoothies. The beneficial elements in greens will help you overcome caffeine addiction.

Raw Vegan Mentor Club

August 30

I’m going to be frank and honest with you, in a way that many “gurus” of raw foods and natural health never are. I’m not perfect with my diet and healthy lifestyle. Who is, anyway? But I am very committed to improving myself all the time, and learning from my mistakes, but also sharing the results of my experience with my readers.

So today I want to tell you about my “experiments” in the wonderful world of coffee and caffeine over the past years and especially of last year, and why I’ll never put that stuff into my body again.

My Little “Caffeine Background”

Growing up, I was never a soda drinker. My mom didn’t buy sodas, and when I did drink it, it was generally the brands that didn’t contain caffeine.

After high school, I enrolled in music school, and noticed that most of my friends in college started to drink coffee. I remember to give it a try one day, thinking it would improve my concentration while practicing.

Since I was not used to drinking coffee, it gave me an instant buzz. My heart was racing, and when I sat down to practice the guitar (I was practicing 5 hours a day at the time), I noticed that my hand was shacking! I certainly couldn’t practice like this, so I didn’t try coffee again.

Later a friend of mine told me that some Flamenco players drink a lot of coffee in order to be able to play in a very fast, jittery style. I remember thinking, “this doesn’t make sense! I couldn’t even play a arpeggio right when drinking the stuff!”

Later I got into raw and healthy foods, and so I wasn’t enticed to drink coffee (even though I met many raw-foodists who were fond of black espresso coffee).

I eventually slipped off when a girlfriend introduced me to the wonderful world of gourmet coffees: lattee (you could even order it with soy milk!), capuccinos, espresso, mokaccino, and so many more delicious combinations.

I instantly became a coffee fan. So I drank it occasionally for a number of years, but eventually gave it up, as I realized the stuff wasn’t doing me any good.

But for some reason last year, I started drinking coffee again. The old addiction came back! One day I woke up, had a cup of black coffee, was instantly hooked again, and drank it every day for months in a row!

I loved the buzz of caffeine, the taste of coffee, the so-called “enhanced mental clarity” and basically everything about it.

But as I quickly realized (and actually already knew, but I was fooling myself)… the “energy” you get from coffee is actually false energy. It’s sort of like borrowing from the bank… you later have to pay it back, with interest!

Little by little, I was drinking more coffee, and the negative effects showed. I was no longer waking up in the morning “happy and ready to meet the day”.

Rather, it was more that I was half-somatic until I put some java in my system again.

Even though coffee can make you very “active” and productive… like all stimulants, they lead to a crash. The subtle symptoms are depression, “the blues”… and just not feeling like yourself anymore.

I tried to blame it on stress.

I tried to blame it on a lot of stuff… because unconsciously, I’d love the idea that I could somehow still drink my morning coffee and be okay. Everything in moderation, right?

So I decided to give it up… for good! I had done that before, but this was the first time in my life that I was definitely drinking coffee on a regular basis.

I did the transition gradually, using Teeccino (a wonderful replacement you can find at: www.teeccino.com), but I would say it took me about 2-3 weeks to come back to my “normal self” with natural energy. That’s one of the reasons why people are NOT able to give up coffee: because of the withdrawal symptoms.

Of course, the system has to adjust. But there is no doubt that I DO feel much better now, without any caffeine in my system.

Now, let me answer a few questions you may have:

Why did you drink coffee? I thought you were an advocate of raw foods and good health?”

Everyone has different things they “compromise” with, wherever they are in their path to health. I’m not going to judge anyone for that. It’s perfectly normal and human. I’m open about my own process so to me saying that I was drinking coffee even though I am advocating a mostly raw diet is not dishonest. I know plenty of so called “raw-foodists” who drink espresso coffee. I won’t name anyone but some are pretty big names in the raw-food “business”.

“What are some of the negative effects of caffeine?”

There are so many. Most people are familiar with the “caffeine headache”, but the list is actually much longer, and includes depression (which is contradictory but makes sense once you think about it).

For the full details, check out the article I published in my magazine Just Eat An Apple, “Coffee, the Great Energy Sapper”, where you will learn more about caffeine side effects and caffeine withdrawal symptoms.

“If I go raw or go on a cleanse, should I also quit coffee?”

Yes! But not cold turkey. That’s a recipe for disaster. Do it gradually over three weeks, using the program at: http://www.teeccino.com/quitting.aspx

“If I have just one cup of coffee a day, is it still okay?”

I suggest you read the book “Caffeine Blues”. You’ll realize what negative effects a “cup” can really have on your system. I believe caffeine is best left out of the diet entirely. Try it for a month, and notice the difference (but give it at least a month!).

What about the caffeine in green tea?”

Depending on the method of preparation and the type of tea, green tea can contain very little caffeine or actually quite a bit. If you prepare it from loose green leaves, and let it steep in near-boiling water for about 2-3 minutes, the caffeine content is small (about 15 mg. per cup, versus 80-140 for coffee).