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Coffee and Other “Energy” Drinks

What is a drug? My definition of a drug is somewhat original: In the land of qi, a food is any ingestible that the body can use to build cells, while a drug is any substance that stimulates the release of qi.

Coffee is one such substance. To understand exactly how coffee operates on the qi level, you need to know that there are five types of qi (water qi, wood qi, fire qi, earth qi, and metal qi). Of these five, coffee primarily stimulates water qi release.

What does this mean? It means that the qi system reacts to the presence of caffeine by releasing water qi into the mind and body. In turn, this water qi increases the activity level of all the systems of the mind and body that run on water qi.

Let’s look at some examples. Water qi directs the adrenal glands, which is why coffee acts as a stimulant. Water qi also runs the kidneys and urinary bladder, which is why coffee often has people running for the bathroom.

Caffeine’s stimulant effect is consistent with water qi’s associated mental state: attention. Attention means alertness, or awareness of the surrounding environment. Overdone, this alertness can create something of a twitchy feeling. In fact, panic attacks are themselves an extreme form of excess water qi. (I myself have dealt with panic attacks in the past and was able to use qi theory to largely eliminate them. I will talk more about this in a future post.)

The point is that drugs as I’ve defined them act to imbalance one’s qi state. The way we experience an imbalance is what I call an “indicator.” Even if the indicator is as mild as the need to run to the bathroom more than usual, the mere fact of qi imbalance is obviously not a good thing. More importantly, using even a mild drug on a regular basis will gradually deplete one’s qi stores, in this case one’s store of water qi. In turn, depleted qi is at the root of most chronic illness for the simple reason that without sufficient qi, the body is forced to under-fuel one system or another.

Using even a mild drug on a regular basis will gradually deplete one’s qi stores.

“Energy drinks,” so called, fall under similar indictment as most of them also rely on caffeine to provide their primary boost. In addition, many add insult to qi injury with heaps of sugar (as do a lot of modern coffee drinks). Sugar itself is very much a drug in qi terms as the sweet flavor stimulates the release of earth qi. In turn, earth qi fuels the pancreas, which is where the link between sugar consumption and diabetes comes from.

Of course, there are many other strange (and wonderful?) ingredients in energy drinks, things like guarana, ginseng, gingko biloba, yerba mate, and so on, too many to assess right now. But I will make one global observation on the subject of nutrition: The healthy body doesn’t need “special foods.” It will function very nicely on simple, whole, clean (i.e., organic) foods.

So, while you’re chewing on that tidbit, you might want to see if you can learn to wake up the old-fashioned way, by getting to bed early and giving your mind-body as much sleep as it needs (see Sleep Long and Prosper).

Let me know your “energy drink” of choice and the pros and cons you’ve experienced with it.


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