The Dark side of Caffeine Part 2

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

Arthur Schopenhauer

The Dark Side of Caffeine Part 1 is about why we should abstain from caffeine? Probably, you are only interested in knowing how to quit & right away put a plan into action. I am afraid there’s no shortcut. Through my multiple unsuccessful attempts, I have realized like any other addiction, the slope is slippery hence mere intention is not enough unless it’s internalized. Here’s an integrated approach for Caffeine Free society. Please bear with me and read all the 3 parts (avoid binge reading, minimum 1 day gap)

Integrated approach towards caffeine free society

My mode as a writer is to layer different perspectives: the scientific, the philosophical, the political, the journalistic. When you layer them, you get a really wholesome, interesting picture.

Michael Pollan

Have you ever wondered why average life expectancy is increasing, yet quality is deteriorating? Why US FDA has cited 400 milligrams a day—that’s about four or five cups of coffee? Why World’s top Soda companies add caffeine in Cola?

Some of us think, a cup of caffeine is harmless if coupled with healthy diet ,exercise & sleep.If you still think it’s okay to ingest caffeine then be ready for nasty consequences. It’s time to stop driving the car, and take a look from outside

Caffeine’s role in Plant

Everything in nature has a purpose, so what’s the role of caffeine in plants? It’s a quest of every specie to have more of it’s kind. Probably, that’s why human beings have outnumbered other species

Plant being the immovable specie, has a sophisticated strategy to protect itself from predators and clone without moving with the help of pollinators

Herbicide – Why does it intoxicate? Why not kill?

It intoxicates the predators because poisoning is not an intelligent idea. Per the law of adaptation, in order to survive, all the species gradually develop resistance to external threats. Rather it’s better to sedate the predator, disarm it and let it be eaten by it’s predators.

Invitation to pollinators

Caffeine is also produced in the nectar of some citrus family. How did caffeine land in citrus family? Is it an accident?A research suggests, the scent attracts the bees, helps them in recalling , thereby it visits caffeinated flower 4 times more than non-caffeinated ones. Thereby helps in spreading by creating an illusion of nutritional nectar. Just to add, citrus fruits are caffeine free.

How did we land in this mess?

Coffee 27+ million acres plantation

Zero to more than 2Bn cups per day

It is believed that Coffee was first discovered in 850 AD, accidentally goats of an Ethiopian Goatherd chewed coffee berries and stayed up the whole night. He performed various experiments on coffee beans and invented brewing. Gained popularity in Arabian Peninsula, a hot beverage that cured microbial diseases & consumed in place of forbidden alcohol. They  controlled cultivation, sold roasted beans until a dutch trader smuggled a plant (Mocha). Europeans used it to defog alcohol impact, then emerged as daytime beverage.Coffee houses promoted social, intellectual, political, cultural exchange, men of different classes could sit together. As the demand grew, Europeans turned to their colonies for massive plantation in tropical highlands of Asia, Africa, South America

The term ‘Coffee break’ came in 1950s, compulsory coffee breaks led to increase in productivity

Tea 10+ million acres plantation

1000 BC, Originated in China, used as medicine and aid to meditation for Buddhist Monks. 618 AD popularized as a recreational drink by Tang Dynasty. 17th Century, arrived in UK, only available for Monarchs & upper classes . Later on with the rise in coffee houses, it was made available to all classes. UK became the largest importer of Tea, struggled to pay back in Silver. To solve economic issues with China, British East India company planted Tea & Opium in India. UK smuggled opium in China, by 1828 opium represented 16% of UK’s revenue. Chinese mind clouded with opium and English mind sharpened with Tea. 1839, UK with its supreme Navy declared a war on China & colonized Hong Kong.

Tea in China was never sweetened, English people sweetened it because it tasted bitter. Hence it led to massive production of Sugar in Caribbean

Glorious or Inglorious, past is past. As long as we wake up

Live as if you were living a second time, and as though you had acted wrongly the first time.

Viktor E. Frankl

From herbicide to a compulsive drink, it is indeed a botanical success story.The footprint of Caffeine changed after it arrived in Europe. The World of Innovation, Science, Literature and Art wouldn’t have been possible without the heroic doses of caffeine

It’s a coincidence that ‘Minute hand’ on clock and Coffee arrived at the same time in the historical moment. For the medieval man angle of sun mattered more as he mostly worked outdoors. There was no need to sub divide an hour. As the work moved from outdoors to indoors, caffeine & light bulb released us from the fixed rhythm of the Sun. Hence, created an illusion of productivity.

Organizations & Authorities will not benefit if we become a caffeine free society. Often we get confusing information in health & nutrition space. People with ulterior interests sponsor pro-caffeine researches. Hence, we don’t hear about the real truth, If there’s no benefit why would anyone sponsor these researches?

The questions that we need to answer, What price are we paying for quick mental energy? Is this the only way to become alert & focused ?…continued in part3http://vartikasinha.com/the-dark-side-of-caffeine-part-3/

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4 Comments

  1. Well written piece. Need more inputs and I am sure will be in the next 2 parts of this article.
    Taking anything in excess is definitely harmful. However, over so many years I have come to realize that small pleasures in moderation are also necessary sometimes.

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