I have to admit I love my coffee. Most of the time, I drink a cup a day which I believe is moderate but I drink it pretty much everyday and therein lies my conundrum. If I do something every day, then there comes the time that I have to admit it’s a habit.
The problem with coffee being my habit is it’s effect on my body (and possibly the planet) long-term.
A former Bozeman resident and acupuncture school teacher of mine, Brendan Kelly, L.Ac., wrote a book called “The Yin and Yang of Climate Crisis”.1 As someone who did her Master’s thesis on the effects of climate on species distribution2 and who transitioned into a second career as a practitioner of Chinese medicine, I was immediately drawn to his title.
Kelly explains that the nature of coffee is hot. Not just hot temperature-wise, but after it’s ingested, it has a warming and stimulating effect within our bodies.
Long-term, this can deplete us – prematurely squandering our precious, deep, yet finite, reserves known as jing.
Jing can be thought of as the DNA we are born with and, more metaphorically, as a bank savings account. It’s really easy to withdraw from this account – drinking coffee is one way. Practices like Qi Gong can help to maintain a balance in the account.
While jing is something we should be mindful of all year long, it’s particularly important in winter. The internal organ associated with this season is the Kidney where the jing is said to reside and what serves as the foundation of overall health, reproduction and graceful aging.
So as you seek out warm drinks this winter, consider changing things up with green tea or dandelion root tea from time to time, both of which offer health benefits and a cooling effect that coffee just cannot claim.
Read Kelly’s book for more on the application of Chinese medicine theory to heal yourself and the Earth.
1 Kelly, Brendan. (2015) The Yin and Yang of Climate Crisis – Healing Personal, Cultural, and Ecological Imbalance with Chinese Medicine. North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA, USA.
2 Kociolek, Angela V., (1997) Effects of climate on ground squirrel species distribution: A GIS approach. (Master’s Thesis) Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, USA.