Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Wake up call for environmental ignorance
By: Laura Schmidt
PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. — Swapping out coffee for a more nutritious energy source may help improve your overall health and well-being.
To millions of Americans, coffee is the first thought they wake up to in the morning. A fresh pot is the only motivation needed to get out of bed to start their day. The ugly truth is that too much coffee consumption paired with an unhealthy lifestyle can cause real damage to your body.
In 2010, the National Coffee Association, NCA, released a survey announcing 54 percent of Americans over 18 drink at least one cup a day. This much caffeine can not only cloud your mind and thought process, but it creates irreversible damage to your body as well.
There are many substitutions for coffee that are just as accessible and give you the energy you need. Still, for adults who drink coffee on a daily basis, making the switch to something more natural may seem difficult at first.
Alex LaLonde, 24, a student and expeditionary studies major, is a daily coffee drinker who says his habit began when he was 16.
“I saw my mom drink coffee a lot and when I started high school I wanted to start drinking it too,” LaLonde said.
Drinking coffee once a day every day isn't out of the ordinary for this mountain climber, but he also enjoys healthier sources of fast energy such as apples in the mornings.
“Apples are actually really good instead of coffee especially in the morning,” LaLonde said. “They have a lot of sugar and give you that same energy boost a cup of coffee can give.”
College students are notorious procrastinators and often look to coffee to help fuel them through something like an all night study session. This bad habit paired with too much caffeine can lead to difficulty falling asleep and irregular sleep patterns.
“The biggest key is moderation,” Jeff Vallee, dietitian and event manager at SUNY Plattsburgh. There is a fine line between a normal, healthy amount of caffeine and over consumption he said.
“If you slightly over exceed that line it has very drastic and negative effects on the body.” Vallee said. “Students who cram usually exceed their limit.”
Health issues such as nervousness, sweating, upset stomach and insomnia have been linked to the over consumption of caffeine along with other bad habits according to Vallee. “Insomnia is usually pretty big in college,” he said.
To avoid crashing after a late night, eat your first meal within a half hour of waking up, and then continue to eat small meals every couple hours. This is vital to staying energized throughout the day and is a much healthier option than on caffeine.
“I drink coffee every day once a day,” PSUC student Leanna Thalmann, 18, said on her way to class with a large, hot coffee in hand.
“I drink it when it's early in the morning and I need that little boost to start the day,” Thalmann said. “I try to drink tea some days too, though.”
All kind of tea provides lasting energy without the jitters and the inevitable crash coffee causes.
PSUC student Caitlin O'Donnell, 19, prefers tea as her daily fix.
“I don't like the caffeine in coffee and I don't want to get addicted to it, I just love green tea and I try to have it every day,” she said.
Others have been drinking coffee routinely since they were in middle school. Plattsburgh native, Jesse Atkinson, a barista at Koffee Kat Espresso Bar in downtown Plattsburgh, has been surrounded by coffee his whole life.
“I started drinking coffee at, like, 12,” Atkinson said. “It was like the family alarm clock when the tea kettle would go off.”
Koffee Kat sells a huge variety of coffee-based drinks, with decaffeinated options, to locals and students of PSUC every day of the week. Atkinson explained that the business was on its way to having more fresh pastries available and considering organic food options for health conscious customers.
The cafe offers healthier options for coffee beverages like soy or almond milk rather than milk and creamer, a small change that can make a difference in your health.
An additional source of natural energy, for those trying to kick a coffee habit, is smoothies. Blended with ingredients like yogurt and bananas or kale and carrots, smoothies are tasty and filled with necessary nutrients and antioxidants.
Smooth Moves, a smoothie and juice bar in downtown Plattsburgh, serves dozens of smoothies and drinks filled with energy from natural foods and drinks. This is another healthy alternative to coffee that's quick and tasty.
Coffee, in moderation, can be a delicious treat. Enjoy your mornings with coffee in a big mug and the crossword puzzle by your side. Just don't drink five cups a day and wonder why you haven't slept in a week. Switching from coffee to healthier options will bring great benefits your body, mind and overall happiness.