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Common drinks & your health
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Coffee and health

Coffee drinkers suffer at least twice the incidence of pancreatic cancer suffered by their coffee-shunning sisters and the rate is directly proportional to the amount consumed. This as probably the result of pesticides most of which dissolve in oil, and coffee is rich in oil. The caffeine in coffee is linked to heart disease, and coffee drinkers suffer from 60 per cent more heart attacks than abstainers if up to five cups a- day are drunk, and 1 20 per cent more when coffee consumption exceeds this level. It causes palpitations, raises blood pressure and cholesterol levels, increases stomach acid, aggravates fibrocystic brew disease and Increases the risk of miscarriages, premature births and birth defects. Its psychological effects include insomnia, anxiety, panic attacks, depression and aggravation of schizophrenic psychosis The combination of caffeine and sugar in soft drinks like Coca- Cola and Pepsi is particularly insidious because both caffeine and sugar are addictive.

Decaffeinated coffee

Decaffeinated coffee is not the answer. Trichlorethylene was used to decaffeinate coffee until quite recently when it was proved to he carcinogenic. Now petrol-based solvents are often used instead and I think these are almost certainly going to he proved harmful in the long run too. The only firm way know which does not use chemicals and which is prepared to divulge exactly how their decaffeinated coffee is processed is Nestle. Their beans are flushed several times with pressurised hot water which dissolves the caffeine. This then drains away in the liquid. The green beans are then washed and marketed as freeze-dried instant coffee caged Decaf . Please remember that even decaffeinated coffee may upset the digestive process because of the amount of tannic acid, which remains in it. The alternatives are grain coffee made from cereals and fruits and readily available in health food shops; chicory coffee; dandelion coffee - not the shop-bought instant stuff which is high in lactose and sickly sweet, but the real root. You can make your own. It requires a little effort but the fresh taste is well worth it.

Dandelion coffee as opposed to bean coffee

Harvest the taproots especially carefully on a fine November day when the root is at its richest in inulin. You will need to dig deep and carefully, to avoid gouging them. Shake off any surplus soil, hold them under running water and while you do so scrub them with a stiff brush until they are clean. Pat dry with a cotton tea towel and split any very thick roots with a stainless steel knife. Lay them on a baking sheet and dry them out in the oven at a low heat. Once a root snaps it is ready. If it merely bends it still has some way to go. A temperature of about 300 F/1 5o C / gas mark 2 will he adequate. You can now store these dried roots until you want to use them. 1 then roast them in an oven until brown, mill them reasonably finely in a coffee grinder and treat the result in exactly the same way as coffee. Dandelion coffee tastes very bitter, so sweeten it with honey if desired. Always serve it black (I think milk makes it taste decidedly odd). It is wonderful for cleansing and strengthening the liver and so purifying the blood but for medicinal use the freshly scrubbed raw root is much more effective.


There is twice as much caffeine in tea as in coffee, which makes it a very strong stimulant. The tannin in it curbs hunger pangs and it is so astringent that it inhibits the absorption of iron. Imported tea contains copper and other impurities. The only alternatives I would recommend apart from herbal teas are green China tea that is actively medicinal and tastes delicious preferably bought direct from China untreated. 1 drank it in enormous quantities while in China and found it lowered my body temperature in blistering heat and eased and promoted the digestion of meals (some of which certainly needed the extra help because they contained such exotics as bear's paw, locusts' camel's hoof and moss!).

Bancha tea, which is made from the twig of the tea bush and so contains no caffeine, is superabundant in minerals and available in macrobiotic food shops. Rooibosch tea, which is made from the Aspalanthus linearis has a pleasantly smoky flavour and is rich in vitamin C and trace minerals while being caffeine-free.

Alcoholic Drinks:


The good news is that wine and beer are actually healthy taken in moderation - no more than two drinks daily and these always with meals. Wine is closer in composition to our gastric juices than is any other drink but it may also he loaded with chemicals (none of which need legally be listed on the label). Many asthmatics react severely to the sulphur dioxide used in wine to halt fermentation and kill bacteria. Other common additives include white sugar (manufacturers are permitted up to 53 per cent water and/or sugar in wine). Other additives (a choice of nearly 100 in all) may mean you are virtually drinking a chemical factory, though happily the recent lethal addition of the major constituent of antifreeze was quickly nipped in the bud. To avoid all this 1 go over to Germany to buy organic wine yearly. Many California wines is also additive free.


Many beers labour under the same additive problems as wine. Any German beer made according to the 'Bavarian purity decree' is fine and these include Lowenbrau, Lederer-Brau, Spaten, Wuzberger and Hofbrau Bavaria.


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