I’ve written many times about Dr. Andrew Weil, whom I consider to be the father of complementary or alternative medicine.  This Harvard-trained medical doctor has transformed the way traditional medicine approaches health and wellness.  I came across a post of his about caffeine, which I thought our readers would find interesting.  We’ve debated this issue on T Ching regarding tea on numerous occasions, espousing different beliefs and thoughts.

Those interested in caffeine will marvel at the list of products that contain it:

  • Inhaler (delivers a dose of caffeine straight to the lungs)
  • Potato Chips
  • Bottled Water
  • Beer
  • Breath Mints
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Oatmeal
  • Cold Cereal
  • Pantyhose (this one is particularly hard to believe, but they are indeed available on the Internet)

I find it horrifying that manufacturers are adding caffeine to their processed foods.  It offers an element of addiction to an otherwise healthy substance, requiring additional vigilance from us as consumers to read the labels of everything we consume.  Somehow I always thought that was what the FDA was supposed to do.  Perhaps the Obama administration will uncover additional inappropriate additives while they’re looking for ways to improve the health and wellness of our country.  Some substances, such as tea and coffee, contain naturally occurring caffeine; but to allow manufacturers to add this to processed foods is unacceptable.

What I did find very interesting is Dr. Weil’s continuing support of green tea.  “I recommend steering clear of caffeine in all forms except for the modest amounts found in green tea.”  Thank you, Dr. Weil.  He does go on to recommend home decaffeination methods for those especially sensitive to caffeine.  This has also caused much continuing debate on T Ching, although I have remained a proponent of this method.  How much caffeine can realistically be removed with a 45-second steep remains the issue.  How much actual caffeine is in each batch of a particular varietal of green tea is also under debate.  One thing I can report that is unequivocal: When I went through withdrawals from my cola addiction nine years ago, I had a caffeine-withdrawal headache that lasted two weeks.  I had been consuming four cans of coke daily for decades.  A few months ago, I had a potassium problem and my naturopath encouraged me to cut out my tea consumption for a month.  I typically drink 6-8 cups of green and/or white tea each day, which reflects one or two pots, which I re-steep throughout the day.  Although it was painful to stop drinking tea, I experienced NO headaches whatsoever.  This confirms for me that the amount of caffeine I have been consuming each day from drinking my tea is insignificant.

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