How To Tell If You're A Coffeeholic

How To Tell If You're A Coffeeholic

It's time to face the facts, coffee lovers.
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According to a survey of Zagat readers in 2014, 87 percent of Americans drank coffee every day. Those surveyed drank, on average, 2.3 cups of coffee a day. If you drink more than this, as I usually do, you just might be verging on the sacred title of coffeeholic.

Now, I know what you're thinking. There's no way I could be drinking too much coffee. Four cups before noon is just how I roll!

Trust me: I'm thinking the exact same thing.

As I write this article, I'm actually hopped up on delicious java, courtesy of my school's coffee machine in the cafeteria. (Tragically, my Keurig hasn't been working properly since the end of last semester.) So I understand your daily pain of getting out of bed and rushing to get that first cup of coffee before class or work. It's a ritual for which I hold the utmost respect. But as I've been consuming more and more coffee as my workload drastically increases -- hello, two essays, two projects, one presentation and one short story due by the beginning of May! -- I've begun to wonder whether the amount of coffee I drink is simply too much. Writing this article is a way to not only help myself become more educated about the (is it even possible?) harmful effects of drinking too much coffee, but also to help all of us understand when it's time to cut back for our own health's sake.

How much coffee is too much?

In college, students learn to survive on coffee to balance out the fact that we've only gotten three or four hours of sleep the previous night, thanks to whatever studying or homework needed to be done. Or maybe we finally just relaxed and didn't realize how late it was until we remembered our 8 a.m. class the next day. Whatever it may be, students adapt to a need for coffee just to stay awake throughout the day. I, personally, find that I need at least one nap on days that I have an 8 a.m. class, sometimes two. And that's after I've already had about three or four cups of coffee in the morning, which are usually followed by about two more in the afternoon and evening while I work on homework.

According to the Mayo Clinic, up to about four 8-ounce cups of coffee a day is safe for adults. Any more than that and there can be side effects, which include but are not limited to insomnia, restlessness, stomach upset, and irritability. (That last one is fairly ironic since most of us are already just as irritable before our coffee.) It's important to keep in mind that most coffee cups -- whether at a coffee shop, Starbucks, or your own home mugs -- are often either 12, 16, or 20 ounces If you drink two 16-ounce cups, you're drinking your maximum for the day, even though you might not realize it.

The other day, I made the questionable life choice of drinking seven shots of espresso. Even though I'd eaten, I felt so sick since I haven't had that much espresso in several months. My body isn't accustomed to much more than black coffee, and I worried whether I would ever be able to sleep again. I could feel my heart beating in my chest at what seemed like the speed of light, but when I checked my pulse it seemed perfectly normal -- I was just so jittery I couldn't think straight.

One 8-ounce cup of coffee has 95 milligrams of caffeine, while one 1-ounce shot of espresso has 64 milligrams. This means that the daily maximum of caffeine one should intake is about 380 mg. When I had seven shots of espresso, though, I had about 448 mg. It's no wonder I was feeling sick and couldn't concentrate. A caffeine overdose is about 500 mg of coffee. Thinking back on it now, I realize that I was one shot of espresso away from officially overdosing on coffee -- but the scariest part is, I've had eight shots of espresso before, so about 512 mg of caffeine, and I felt relatively fine. My tolerance just a few months ago was much higher, and I rarely stopped when I hit 380 mg of caffeine; I didn't even realize eight shots was too much. I just needed my coffee.

When should I stop drinking coffee for the day?

The half-life of caffeine is around four to six hours, so it is suggested to stop drinking coffee about six hours before bedtime. Coffee, and caffeine in general, can affect the body by prolonging sleep latency, shortening total sleep time, increasing light sleep while shortening deep sleep time, and causing more frequent awakenings. Generally, many people choose to stop drinking coffee after noon, but you can stretch it out just a few hours, depending on what time you typically go to sleep. But beware: even decaf still has a little bit of caffeine they just can't get out.


It's also important to think about how much sugar you're intaking if you get lots of fancy drinks from Starbucks or take your coffee with three sugars. Luckily, I drink mine black, so I don't have to worry about unwanted calories and sugars -- but if you're not like me, then you should.

You can actually track how long caffeine will be in your system with caffeine-tracking apps for your phone. For example, Caffeine Zone 2, developed at Penn State, takes into account the specific coffee you're drinking, how quickly you drink it, etc. Apps like these can help you regulate that your coffee drinking does not cause you to have more than the recommended 380 mg of caffeine in your system at any point.

I'm not even going to verge on the subject of coffee addiction, because I'd rather not know whether it's applicable to me. If you'd like some information on it, though, you can find that here. From what I skimmed of that article, headaches are a symptom of caffeine withdrawal -- but since I've had chronic migraines for years, I may continue to live in denial of any coffee addiction.

If you want to be reassured that your own possible coffee addiction is justified, a study done last year is here to save the day. When looking at coffee consumption among nonsmokers who drink between one and three cups a day, they have a 6 to 8 percent lower risk of dying than non-coffee drinkers. Those who drink between three and five cups a day -- regardless of the symptoms that much coffee might give you -- have a 12 to 15 percent lower risk of dying. In the end, it might just be that us coffeeholics will outlive non-coffee drinkers -- unless, of course, there's a coffee shortage that rolls around first.

Cover Image Credit: www.mindthegraph.com

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An Honest Review Of ItWorks! From Someone Who Doesn't Sell The Products

No, I'm not looking for you to "join a team" or begin any challenges.
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I'm sure you've seen your friends on Facebook transition from friend to salesman. Whether it be for Scentsy, LipSense, or AdvoCare; multi-level marketing companies are on the rise thanks to social media. ItWorks! remains one of the most prominent.

ItWorks! is a health and wellness company using primarily plant-based ingredients without any artificial sweeteners or coloring. Their "number one seller" is the famous body wraps but the company is mostly weight loss supplements and vitamins. The company has a passion for the natural over the synthetic. Co-founder Mark Pentecost states on the site's Our History page that "you want to know that you're putting the very best things in your body."

Since most reviews of these products come from distributors, who are therefore biased, I have reviewed three of their greatest products and one I believe you should avoid.

1. Greens™ Blend Chocolate

As a vegan, I sometimes have to double check that I'm receiving the proper nutrients. ItWorks! Greens have been saving my life lately. It contains 52 herbs and nutrient-rich superfoods as well as 34 fruits and veggies. It is meant to alkalize, balance, and detoxify.

This is my favorite product! It gives me energy and even fills in for breakfast sometimes. It honestly makes me feel great. Then again... they always said eating all your fruits and veggies would!

ItWorks! gives you those healthy servings in a delicious chocolate flavor (which is bomb with almond milk). Make sure you use a blender bottle or blender. Like many powdered supplements, it can have that grainy aftertaste.

2. Advanced Formula Fat Fighter™

The idea behind this supplement is that it’s "okay to indulge if you have your Fat Fighters." Basically, if you just must have that sweet treat or piece of bread then you can take this pill within an hour to prevent your body from absorbing the carbs and a portion of the fats. If you're anything like me, you eat what you want when you want, so you'll end up taking these pills on the daily.

The main reason I like the Fat Fighters is that they reduce cravings and I normally have such a sweet tooth!

3. ThermoFIGHT™

This product is meant to increase calorie burning, boost the rate of your metabolism, and boost your energy. Like with Greens, I definitely feel energized when I take this supplement. Not in a jittery or wired way, either.

They say "abs start in the kitchen" but I'll try and cheat the system when I can!

4. Ultimate Body Applicator™ and Defining Gel™

This is the ItWorks! claim to fame... and that ASTOUNDS me.

I used to be so skeptical of this company because of the wraps. I tried them three different times and was not impressed each time. The ultimate body applicator and defining gel are meant to tighten and tone the skin to redefine the appearance of your body’s contour. Sure, you'll receive those results... just at an outrageous price. It's an expensive product that requires a lot of re-purchasing in order to receive any drastic results. Not to mention the most drastic results are just reduction of water weight.

They're really just an overpriced skin firming lotion. I suggest finding a nice cream from Target and sitting in the sauna instead.

If your facebook-friend-turned-salesman pushes for you to buy the wraps, just remember that I warned you.

I would like to give an honorary mention to KetoCoffee (probably their second most popular item). Because it is not vegan, I have not given it a try. I have heard amazing things from multiple women, though. Most keto coffee recipes give people the shakes and amp them up too hard. I've heard that ItWorks! has perfected the recipe.

I have used the first three products for a little over three months now. Sometimes I am inconsistent and miss servings. However, I match these products with a vegan diet (mostly whole foods based) and 3-4 days of exercise. I do not have drastic results but I have lost a little over ten pounds and feel great each day. I plan to remain a customer with this company (I have Greens on Autoship!).

I feel so blessed to be a Loyal Customer with ItWorks! because I receive up to 40% off and free shipping after three months. Without this discount, I probably never would have given this company a second thought. I highly recommend going that route because, well...

Cover Image Credit: Savanah Garcia | Instagram

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I'm Chronically Sick And It Made Me Appreciate The Little Moments In Life

My doctor's office became a second home to me, but never gave me the answers I needed.

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People get sick all the time, a cold here, the flu there. It doesn't seem like anything out of the ordinary to get sick a few times a year - I wish that was the case for me.

I have always been the kid in class who seemed to get a cold every couple weeks. It never caused an issue in school, I always pushed through.

As I got older I got sicker.

If I look back at the last year and compare the times I was sick to my friends, you would be amazed. One of my friends would get a cold and it would pass in a few days. I would catch the same cold, and it would stay with me for multiple weeks. This happened every time someone around me was sick, it didn't matter that I had had the same virus two weeks prior. My body couldn't shut out illness.

I remember the day I came into the editor's office at the magazine I was working for and everyone froze at the sight of me. I had mono, strep throat, and a sinus infection - all at the same time. I looked like a walking ghost. To make it worse, I had already had mono and strep throat previously that winter.

My doctor's office became a second home to me, but never gave me the answers I needed. Everything was just a little annoying until it got serious.

Halfway through fall semester at Washington State University, I faced the scariest medical moment of my life so far. I started getting stabbing pains in my left side. They escalated over the next couple weeks, but I didn't have the time to get it checked out. School, work, my friends, and my boyfriend at the time kept me busy.

It got to the point I couldn't stand it anymore.

When I finally went into the hospital the doctors were amazed I was still as active as I was. I had developed a massive infection in my left kidney. My doctor ordered a rush CT scan to ensure I didn't have to have surgery. In the meantime, I was on multiple painkillers and medications, bedridden for over a week. The results finally came back and I was in the clear. With that said, I now only have half of my left kidney function and it is unclear if I will gain it back.

I was lucky that I didn't lose my kidney from that infection. With that said, I lost my job, my depression levels rose and I barely passed my classes last semester due to the complications. My sickness had finally caught up with me, and that was the final straw.

Once I recovered from my infection I started seeing an immune specialist. We discovered that my sinuses had been stripped of all needed particles that filter out viruses and that my body was a boundaryless breeding ground for bacteria.

I'm defenseless against getting sick.

To this day we still do not know what is going on, but we are constantly doing testing to try to make my life as easy as it can be medical wise. I will always be sick, but the experiences I have had have only made me appreciate the little moments in life more. While I hate the fact I'm getting sicker, and it makes me struggle with self-love, it is something I'm constantly learning from.

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