Friday, August 5, 2011

Coffee, alcohol and sin

  • What! Coffee at Kripalu!  
  • Sex and alcohol before sports
  • Coffee may help prevent _________, __________, and _____.  Coffee may cause _________, _________, and ________.

I have seen books from the early 1900's right up to today that advise little or no coffee (or tea or other caffeine beverages) for better health.

I like to breathe unconsciously but most things are better done consciously.  So, I try to pay attention to each cup of coffee I drink. They aren't really cups, which the coffeemakers I use define to be 5 oz.  My mug holds 16 oz. and I drink one mug of coffee each morning.  It is unwise to fill the mug to the very top so the comfortable margin probably means I get 15 oz.  At lunch, I make the coffee with 25% decaf, 25% French roast and 50% Columbian.  The barista and other sources assure me that the extra-bold roasts like French or Italian actually have less caffeine that the milder ones like Columbian.

My partner seems pretty sensitive to the amount of caffeine and gets headches if I make the whole pot French roast.  At one point in one of his novels, the author Nicolas Freeling has a character mention "the French and their rat-shit coffee".  The French roast may have the sharpest taste of any blend and I often used the Italian roast instead.

Likewise, alcohol is something we both enjoy daily.  Neither of us likes getting what is called a "buzz" on, although as we age, the exact same sized drink that we had two decades ago does now sometimes give us that slightly dizzy buzz.  We find a mixed drink a day sufficient but we sometimes have a glass of wine in addition.

Many older books suggest no caffeine beverages and no alcohol for what is sometimes called "clean living."  Older books often advised young people preparing for challenging physical feats to also avoid sex.  Meanwhile, many current health newsletters and articles suggest that coffee may lessen the chance of this or that illness.  Similar advice mentions the possible benefits of limited wine.  Other religions besides parts of Christianity also have limits or prohibitions on coffee and tea and alcohol.  Some scholars of religion identify self-control, self-restraint or self-denial as basic religious impulses and avoiding these three drinks is often held to be cleaner or self-denying.  The pivotal yoga center in Massachusets, Kripalu, has shocked some former workers by opening a coffee bar!

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