Guest Post: Side Effects from Coffee and How to Best Give it Up

Lifestyle, Nutrition Advice

For some, caffeine has its perks, but it can pose problems, too. Even small amounts of caffeine are enough to affect some people adversely with symptoms of depression, nervousness, irritability, headaches, heart palpitations, and insomnia. People prone to feeling stress and anxiety tend to be especially sensitive to caffeine. Why exactly is this and what steps can we take to give up the coffee habit?

Firstly, coffee is a stimulant drug and we can actually become physically addicted to it. That’s why you feel good when you get your first cup of coffee in the morning and why you feel pretty bad when you first try to give it up. The pleasure you feel when you drink your first cup in the morning comes from satisfying the caffeine cravings produced by your body’s initial withdrawal symptoms as a result of you body not getting its periodic fix of caffeine for 8 hours or so while you slept. The supposed benefits are that it stimulates the central nervous system, which can temporarily alleviate fatigue and improve concentration and focus. There are emotional addictions to the caffeine high as well such as the belief that with the caffeine stimulation you’ll perform better. The rush certainly provides that illusion, but it’s brief and when it’s gone you generally get the opposite effect.

So what are some of the downsides to consuming coffee?

Coffee stresses the adrenals: It encourages our body to secrete adrenaline from the adrenal glands, which then stimulates insulin secretion, and this in turn can fuel hypoglycemia, which means craving for sweets a few hours later and having crazy dips in energy, and moodiness!

Coffee is extremely acid-forming in the body: For optimum health, we want to choose foods that will help us raise the alkalinity of our blood and our bodies and coffee does the opposite.

Coffee taxes the liver: Long-term coffee drinking taxes our liver, a major fat-burning and detoxifying organ.

Coffee can deplete us of nutrients. Heavy coffee consumption can cause a deficiency in B vitamins, making us feel fatigued, nervous and achy. Regular consumption can prevent nutrients from being absorbed efficiently in our small intestine, which can further contribute to nutritional deficiencies such as calcium loss.

What are some of the with-drawl symptoms you could expect if you’re giving up the coffee?

Anxiety, nausea, tiredness, muscle tension, headaches, moodiness, constipation, and inability to think clearly.

You may be wondering if switching to decaf or organic coffee is a healthier alternative. Well get a whiff of this…decaf coffee usually has the caffeine extracted from it by a chemical called trichloroethylene, which is toxic…as in its used for dry-cleaning and degreasing metals! It can be a good way to wean yourself off coffee, starting with the lack of caffeine but still allowing you to enjoy the flavour you’re used to. As for organic, if you’re going to drink coffee, this is definitely a case of organic is best as coffee is one of the most heavily sprayed crops in the world!

In order to give up coffee successfully, it’s important to firstly understand what your body and emotions will go through for a few days during withdrawal. The intensity of the withdrawal depends on how much of and how long you’ve been drinking coffee.

As with most drugs, physical withdrawal lasts about 3-7 days. Psychological withdrawal lasts about 30-90 days with symptoms being the most intense during the first 21 days and then they’re progressively easier to handle in the weeks and months that follow. You can give up coffee cold turkey although to ease yourself off caffeine, I recommend that you do it in these three steps.

1. Identify your reasons for wanting to stop. The stronger the reasons you identify for giving up coffee, the lesser the impact that the withdrawal will have on you.

2. Gradually reduce the amount of coffee you drink based on a predetermined schedule. Let’s say you normally drink 5 cups a day. Over a week period, cut out one cup per day so that by the sixth day you’re at zero.

3. On your first day without coffee, which would be the sixth if you follow step 1, replace the habit with green or non-caffeinated herbal tea. Your best choice is non-caffeinated herbal tea but if you need a little transitional help, drink green tea for a few days and then non-caffeinated herbal tea for a few days after that.

Your mind may come up with some amazing excuses, justifications, and reasons for giving in. The key is to recognize them for what they are — caffeine cravings – and ignore them.

Live well, live long, live naturally

Renée x

Connect with Renee:






Swisse Skincare




Gaia Retreat & Spa


The Healthy Life


JSHealth Vegan Meal Plan


JSHealth Travel Plan




14 Day Slim Down Plan - 2 weeks to a leaner you!


The JSHealth Shopping List - Stock up on these foods for a healthier household


Nutrition 101 - A step by step nutrition guide to optimal health


Emotional Eating Guide - Learn how to rebuild your relationship with food and your body


The Clean Life - An Expert Guide To Health From The Inside Out


Restart Plan - Cleanse your system in 2 - 4 weeks & reveal a slimmer, healthier you


JSHealth Partners


Hi Jessica, I believe in synchronicity so when I was guided to you .on FB I was intrigued and inspired. I turned 46 last week and my husband bought me your book. I wanted to thank you for sharing your wisdom in such a beautifully presented way. My  copy is now filled with tabs and post it notes with actual notes throughout. I am dairy intolerant since having my gallbladder removed 15+ years ago, I don't eat meat, very minimal gluten and was told 12 months ago my gut was not digesting my food properly so I wasn't receiving sufficient nutrients and taking supplements would be a waste of time.  My weight fluctuates tending to gain rather than lose but now I believe I have a tool to help me bring my body back into balance that I need for my health and longevity of life - so again thank you. The first few steps to creating a stronger path forward for my health has found its foundation in your beautiful book, The Healthy Life.

With kindest regards Samantha

I'm writing this email because I wanted to tell you how much I love your blog and how you really helped me in my health journey. Thank you for sharing all your advices and experiences.

When I started my studies, I was drinking lots of coffee and I was eaten the wrong foods, and feel bad about it, I wasn't at my best. So I had done some research on the net but at first I didn't found advices that are for me, and then I found your blog. It was exactly what I was looking for, good advices and healthy recipes. Now I'm following your advices on rest more, and snacks between meals and prep the meals and take time for myself to reconnect with my body and let go my anxiety, etc, and I have a more balanced life and have a new relationship with food thanks to you.

I bought your book and it's honestly the best book I have ever bought. I suffer from IBS and anxiety. I have paid so much money seeing naturopaths however after reading your book and all of your tips I'm noticing so much of a difference, so simple and easy to follow. And symptoms have dramatically decreased. Also you have helped me to relax. Currently drinking the protein health smoothie! Thankyou your amazing.


Hey Jessica!
I haven’t yet brought ‘The Healthy Life’, but I do have the clean life and your slim down plan! I would like to thank you so much for the knowledge your share and the message you put across about health and wellness. I’m studying Nutritional Medicine in Melbourne and absolutely love the philosophy that you share with your JSHealth community. The work you’ve done to show people that leading a healthy lifestyle isn’t boring, tasteless, difficult or depriving is amazing and hope to share the message myself one day. You’ve inspired me to start my own blog , to share the message and have taught me so many things about my own health! You should be proud of your achievements! Thank you again

- Jacinta

I searched for help and tips through the Internet and found Jessica Sepel. This is seriously not exaggerated, but she was the reason why I have dared myself to eat again, to have snacks in between, to nourish my body. I could slowly improve my negative thoughts about my body image and my stupid anxiety of gaining weight. Besides, The Cleanest Gut was awesome too! A huge thank you! Especially from my mum. Seriously, without you I wouldn’t be where I am now!


Congratulations on your new book! It looks absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been following you on Instagram for a few years and you’ve inspired me to slowly but surely eat healthier without giving myself a hard time when I don’t. It made me so happy (and weirdly proud) to see the Daily Mail article on The Healthy Life. I remember trying out your recipes before you even had your eBook out! I can’t wait to get my hands on the book. Keep up the great work.

– Sophie

Cooking in this way truly brought out the foodie in me and has instilled a huge passion for health and wellness! Life throws you hard and frustrating things sometimes but I truly believe that this is where we learn more about ourselves and what our passions in life are! Thank you for inspiring me on my journey to health and wellness!


I am a yoga teacher in Johannesburg and am thrilled to have bought your book today. I love making healthy, nutritious food for my family, friends and fellow yogis! Thank you for this book and your inspiration (had to share a pic of my book on my recipe stand in the kitchen).

– Helene

I bought your beautiful book during the week and told my bestie to go out and buy it also! I love love love it. It is the book I would give to my younger self if I could (I am 41 years old). Everything is just so sensible and informative and is definitely a book all teenagers should have. This should be a text book for girls becoming teens. I will love going back and re-reading it many many times and can't wait to make more of the recipes. Thank you Jess - you are an incredibly inspiring woman and you should feel so proud

Michelle Curtis

My fiancé bought your book and we have cooked some of your meals. Amazing! I love your outlook on a healthy lifestyle and your hints and tips with preparing tasty meals are fantastic. Thanks for reviving us to live a healthier lifestyle and get our bodies wedding ready.