1 Month Without Coffee

Getting the Shivers

I don’t consider myself as a big coffee drinker. However, since I started working full time I’ve been having 1-2 coffees every day during the work week and maybe one during the weekend. I found that I would have slight shivers and a rather high pulse by the end of the workday. I also felt my skin getting very dry, particularly in my face. Moreover, felt that I was becoming more and more dependent on coffee to kick start my system in the morning and afternoon. Furthermore, my quality of sleep seemed somewhat reduced, but I didn’t think much into it. After all, everyone drinks coffee, right?

coffee4Before the Christmas holidays, one of my colleagues stopped his intake of caffeine for a bit. He would normally have 6-7 cups of coffee and a bottle or two of Pepsi Max per day. When he suddenly stopped feeding himself all the caffeine he claimed that he started having bad head aches, nausea and felt irritable. After staying away from it for a while he said the head aches and nausea faded away and his mood went back to normal. He also said he had better sleeps at night.

Hearing this, I thought I might try and hold off from coffee for a month and see if I could escape the shivers, high pulse and dryness at the end of my workdays. The first week I was really caving a big cup of coffee when getting in to work. I also felt very tired throughout the day. However, it slowly wore off, and by the second week I didn’t really think about coffee that much. Interestingly, I also felt that I had more restful sleeps every night.

Other Side Effects of Coffee

Most people have a lifestyle and diet that makes the body very acidic. With high levels of stress, the brain creates adrenaline and other chemicals that produce an acidic environment in the body. Unfortunately, the Western diet mainly consists of food and drinks that creates high acidic levels in the body. With a high intake of foods containing sugar, dairy, wheat, deep fried and other Fast foods, and then flushing it down with soft drinks, coffee or alcohol,  the pH levels develops way too far into the acidic side of the scale. As my main focus in this article is coffee, I will stick to the effect of this popular drink – I will be writing a post on the balance of alkaline and acidic levls in the body shortly, so stay tuned.

Coffee can result in:

  • More acidic body (leading to more inflammation)
  • Restless sleep
  • Leach precious minerals from our systems
  • Shivers and high pulse
  • Dehydrating the body
  • Caffeine dependence
  • Bad breath
  • Discoloring of the teeth

Alternatives to Coffee

coffee3I found that being in an office working in front of a computer the whole day makes you want to have little treats quite frequently – simply because it is stagnant work. I tend to want a snack or a drink because I’m actually a bit bored and want a distraction. Coffee is the most common drink to have, and makes you feel more awake and focused at the same time. However, as mentioned; after a while off the caffeine I didn’t reach the same levels of tiredness throughout the day. I found that drinking various types of tea (my favorites are green tea, chamomile tea and chai tea with organic soy milk), coffee alternatives such as Bambu Coffee Substitute (picture), and even water was just as good.

I found that reaching for the coffee is all a habit. When the body is dehydrated by 2% of normal levels, we can perform up to 20% poorer (read more about this in “Water“), so just by restoring those levels we automatically regain energy to continue on.


Results & Discoveries

As mentioned, during the month that I didn’t drink coffee I had no shivers or high pulse when leaving work. Neither did my face feel dry. Importantly, I also fell asleep faster and had better quality sleeps every night. Another side effect of this experiment that I did not expect was the feeling of cleanness. I actually felt that my body was somewhat more pure. I don’t know whether this was because of the acidity of my body going down or as a result of better sleep or even the absence of coffee itself. Either way it felt great! As much as I appreciate the taste, smell and feeling of coffee, I’ll be aiming at having it only occasionally and fully enjoy that treat.

Below is my first coffee after a month off; can’t remember last time I enjoyed it this much! ★



The Truth About Exercise

Dr Michael Mosley discovers that what we thought we knew about exercise is not the full story. It’s not necessarily the longest and most intense training sessions that gives you the greatest results. This documentary shows that minimal efforts can, in fact, make a huge difference for your health. Research has found that people respond very differently to exercise. There are 11 genes that predict this, which can be identified through blood tests.

In my opinion, these tests should be undertaken in school. The students should make a physical education program based on their results and get marked on how well they can tailor it to their body type and as a result increase their fitness. This would be very beneficial for their health and be a great motivation to stay fit and healthy – a fantastic investment for the rest of their life.

Exercise and Diabetes

Dr Michael Mosley found that only as little as 3 times 20 seconds per day resulted in massive health benefits in terms of fat levels in the blood and how well the insulin could process sugar. This is awesome news for people with diabetes! The documentary also goes through how movement throughout the day switches on genes that burns fat and increase metabolic rate.

Fresh Fig & Arugula Salad

Recipe of the Day

I am in fig heaven.  Does a more divine, sweet, and delicate fruit exist?  They must truly be the food of the gods.  Besides being so delicious, they are incredibly healthy and detoxifying.  I adore them fresh this time of year, but be sure to eat them within a day or two of buying because they are very delicate and will not last more than that.

Fresh Fig & Arugula Salad Recipe

Serves 4


  • 4 cups arugula, rinsed and dried
  • 4 fresh black figs, gently washed and quartered (with skins on, stem removed)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  • In a large bowl, combine arugula, olive oil, vinegar, molasses, pine nuts and salt and pepper.  Toss to combine.
  • Separate into serving bowls and top with quartered figs.

Chicken Carrot Coconut Curry

coconut curry

I make a coconut carrot soup and its one of my fave’s! It has a slightly sweet taste and wonderful creamy texture, which led me to experiment with turning it into a healthy alternative curry dish.

Trust me, this dish will not disappoint you! Please experiment with it, add your favourite complimentary flavours like ginger, oranges or just more spice! Take out the chicken and add more veggies for a vegan dish! Its so simple yet packed with flavour and all guilt free! I may have licked my plate!

coconut curry2


2 cups diced carrot

1 diced onion

2 stalks of celery diced

2 cloves of garlic diced

2.5 cups of water

1 can of regular coconut milk

1 tablespoon curry powder or more if you like a bigger kick!

1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 chicken breasts-diced

1.5 cups of fresh pea pods

Chives for garnish

Salt & Pepper to garnish


Step 1. Add your diced onion, celery and garlic to stock pot and sauté with half of your tablespoon of coconut oil & half of your curry powder. Sauté until the onion is soft.

coconut curry3

Step 2. Add in your diced carrots and water to the stockpot and simmer for about twenty minutes on medium heat until the carrots are soft.

Step 3. Remove your stock pot from the heat and let it cool to a temperature that is safe to purée  in your blender. Once cooled blend on high to create a creamy sauce without any clumps. Do your taste test now and see if you need to add more spice or salt & pepper.

Step 4. In a separate pan sauté your chicken with your remaining coconut oil & curry powder until it is cooked throughout and the chicken is coated. Add to your stock pot along with the puréed carrot sauce.

Step 5. Serve over rice and steamed green peas, garnish with fresh chives!

coconut curry4

After-Work Run in the Park

Calming, Cleansing & Revitalizing

It’s something about a run in the park after a long and stressful day at work. The sound of birds, smell of the grass and fresh leafs, and a gentle breeze on the skin. Green has a calming effect on us, which makes the park an excellent place to recover from a day of stress.

I’m lucky to be surrounded by several great parks, and try to go for walks, runs and fitness sessions as often as I can. Also, I don’t have a gym membership as I enjoy exercising outdoors no matter what the weather gets up to. Dropping into a gym for a class or to use some of the equipment is good for changing it up. However, the park is a great place to take some weights and boxing equipment for a session.



Before I came to Australia, I didn’t know that black swans even excised, but here I see them quite often. They’re beautiful things, but not by any means less aggressive than the white ones. I enjoy the wildlife in parks and always take time to stop and look if something catches my attention. After a workout and a round of stretching it’s nice to sit down to breathe and absorb the goodness. Tomorrow’s stress and concerns will come soon enough, so better appreciate the peace while I can   ★

Pre Workout Foods

Is a Pre Workout Meal Vital?

Food eaten throughout the training week as well as food and fluid consumed during exercise is just as important. Consuming food and fluid before exercise should be seen as an opportunity to fine-tune carbohydrate and fluid levels and to ensure you feel comfortable.

When should I eat?

Food consumed before exercise is only useful once it has been digested and absorbed.  You therefore need to time your food intake so that the energy becomes available during the exercise period.  The time required for digestion depends on the type and quantity of food consumed.  Foods higher in fat, protein and fibre generally take longer to digest than other foods, and can cause stomach discomfort during exercise.  A general guide is to have a meal about 3-4 hours before exercise and/or a lighter snack about 1-2 hours before exercise.

What if I Exercise Early in the Morning?

If you do, try and opt for a light snack about an hour before exercise.  Examples are: Fruit or a museli bar on the way to training along with some fluid such as a glass of almond milk or juice.

What should I eat?

Food eaten before exercise should provide carbohydrate containing low GI complex carbohydrates, about 15-20 grams of protein and a combination of good fats (monounsaturated fats and omega 3′s). This combination of foods will break down slowly, keeping your energy levels consistent and provide the necessary nutrients to aid muscle growth. Most exercise sessions emphasizes on carbohydrate and fluid for the pre-event meal.

Some food suggestions suitable to eat 3-4 hours before exercise:

  • Salad with pumpkin and tofu
  • Tuna and salad sandwich (wholemeal) and an apple
  • pasta or rice with for example tomato, root vegetables and egg
  • Baked beans on toast (whole grain)
  • Quinoa and vegetables + banana
  • Fruit & vegetable smoothie
  • Fruit salad with nuts

Note: The main goal of pre workout meal is to keep your blood sugar levels consistent throughout your training session to prevent muscle catabolism (breakdown of muscle for fuel). Therefore low GI carbohydrates should form the basis of this meal in combination with lean sources of protein.

Some food suggestions suitable to eat 1-2 hours before exercise:

  • Fruit and vegetable smoothie
  • Sports bars (check labels for carbohydrate and protein content)
  • Raw chia seeds almond milk porridge with berries
  • Organic rolled oats with almond milk
  • Coconut milk yogurt
  • Fruit

The ideal pre-workout snack is one that is quickly digested and predominately consists of water and carbohydrates. Examples include solid foods like an orange, banana or grapes. Liquid snacks might include fruit juice, a pre workout shake or a sports drink.

Are Foods With a Low Glycemic Index Better?

Carbohydrate-containing foods have different effects on blood glucose levels.  Foods with a low glycaemic index (GI) cause a slower, sustained release of glucose to the blood, whereas foods with a high GI cause a rapid, short-lived rise in blood glucose.  Research has shown that low GI foods could be useful in the pre-event meal as they would result in a slower and more sustained release of glucose during exercise maintaining blood glucose levels for a longer period.

Athletes: What if I am too Nervous to Eat?

You will perform better when you are well-fuelled and well hydrated, and the pre-event meal could play an important role.  Athletes need to experiment to find a routine that works, and foods that are safe and familiar.  Liquid meal supplements such as protein shakes provide an alternative for anyone who has difficulty tolerating solid foods pre-exercise. Muesli bars and sports bars can be eaten if you nibble them slowly over the hours leading up to your game or competition.

Avoiding Carbohydrate Pre Workout

In some cases, eating carbohydrates can improve the outcome of the session.  However, a small percentage of people experience a drop in blood glucose levels and symptoms such as fatigue, shakiness and dizziness after consuming carbohydrate immediately before exercise.  This is a response to the increase in carbohydrate use that occurs after the intake, associated with a rise in the levels of the hormone, insulin.  However, for most people, this is a temporary event which is quickly corrected by the body without any side-effects.

What if I am Trying to Lose Weight?

Exercising in a fasted state (around 8 hours since the last meal) results in a greater proportion of fat being used as energy compared to doing the same workload after a carbohydrate-containing meal or snack.  However, you may be able to exercise harder and for a longer period if you consume carbohydrate before exercise.  As an overall, this will result in increased energy use and a greater contribution to fat loss. If your primary goal is weight loss, (and do the same amount of exercise regardless of whether you eat or not), save your meal until after the session.

If your primary goal is weight loss, (and do the same amount of exercise regardless of whether you eat or not), save your meal until after the session.


nuts and raisins