When people begin the Phase One Diet, one of their first questions is typically, “Can I have ______ on the Phase One Diet?” That blank space can be populated by any number of items, from obviously excluded items like corn chips or French fries, to less obvious items, such as coffee.
Coffee is one item that many folks feel like they can’t live without. For coffee lovers, until at least a cup is consumed in the morning, the day just hasn’t begun, which is why so many coffee lovers about whether it is OK for the Phase One living. To answer that question, we should explore a few things.
First, part of the Phase One Diet is breaking addictions––addictions to sugar, alcohol, tobacco, grains, certain lifestyles, etc––and caffeine is undoubtedly an addictive substance, which is why many people feel like they can’t live without it. Many folks count on it for energy, and most people who try to quit drinking coffee altogether after years of use report miserable withdrawal symptoms, including having no energy whatsoever. We’ve touched on how caffeine can, in the long run, rob you of your energy and interfere with sleep, thus depriving you of more energy. This said, a new study a week comes out on how caffeine, specifically caffeine in coffee, can improve focus, concentration and performance. So coffee, as far as the addictive nature of the substance works against the Phase One Diet, is a bit of a double edged sword.
What goes in coffee is often a concern for people on Phase One, but let us assume for a moment that you shun all the chemical flavoring agents, creamers, sugar and other doctoring agents typically associated with coffee. Is there anything else in it you should be worried about?
Coffee is consumed fairly ubiquitously and is responsible for a global trade nexus for the beans, which only grow in specific regions. In order to get coffee all across the world, the beans must be stored and transported across long distances. This means that coffee is susceptible to mold contamination, and subsequently, mycotoxin contamination. Sometimes, organic coffee is even more susceptible to mycotoxin contamination than conventionally grown coffee. Caffeine, however, is a powerful fungicide. Regardless of this characteristic, coffee is susceptible to mycotoxin contamination. Again, a double edged sword.
Finally, coffee is a legume, something disallowed on Phase One, but allowed on Phase Two. Again, though, the reason legumes are disallowed on Phase Two is because of their carbohydrate content, something that isn’t really a concern for black coffee.
So, a consensus on coffee: It is really up to you. If you believe that you’re addicted to it, it may be wise to break the addiction. After you push through the withdrawal stage, you’ll likely find that you ultimately have far more energy. If you are worried about mycotoxins, there are some great coffee companies that source mycotoxin-free coffee. Try sticking to that. And, if you’re using the Phase One Diet to combat serious fungal problems, it may be best to avoid coffee until you graduate to Phase Two.