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  • Writer's pictureHelen Gardiner-Parks

I’ve been riddled with anxiety lately

I’ve been riddled with anxiety lately. Waking up with it, experiencing it throughout the day, pretty much going to sleep with it.

I don't like it. Not only do I not enjoy the experience, but I’m aware of the impact of it on my body, my health, my longevity.

It behooves me to get a handle on it and reduce that sucker’s presence in my life.

There are as many facets to anxiety as there are people to experience it.

There are also just as many ways to mitigate its effects.

So let’s start with the low-hanging fruit:

Ix-nay the caffeine.

All of it?

That depends. (You knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?)

Step One is to inventory your caffeine consumption. (Yes, all of it, both quantity and timing.)

· How much coffee? What type and size?

· How much tea? Type? Size? How long is the steep?

· How much cocoa? Chocolate?

Every morning I make a cup of green tea with one teabag or teaspoon of loose. I then usually forget about it so that by the time I drink it has steeped well into bitterness—which I like, but which means the higher end of the caffeine scale. Oops.

For a time I was making a hot matcha drink in the afternoons—frequently having two cups of the yummy brew with hemp milk. I’d bought a pound bag of “sweet matcha” without reading the ingredients. I mistakenly assumed it was a special type of matcha, not matcha with, ahem, added sugar. Big oops. Not a mistake I commonly make—but I did it and I was determined not to waste my purchase. One cup led to two…sometimes three, if I’m being honest.

This was about when I realized my anxiety had hit the roof and it also hit me that matcha is basically super-concentrated green tea. Plenty o’ caffeine and I was imbibing in the afternoons. No wonder I was experiencing extra-large anxiety.

I immediately switched the matcha for a Helen-friendly version of hot chocolate. No sugar added just a scoop of carob, a scoop of cocoa, a half scoop of moringa, and a skoosh of sea salt all heated up hot and soul-satisfying with water and hemp milk.

Yum. Super yum. A very recent thing, and I have been having two. Meaning two scoops of cocoa. Meaning about 40mg of caffeine.


Caffeine content in beverages varies by type and freshness, but generally-speaking here’s the breakdown:

· White tea per teabag: 10-15mg

· Cocoa per tablespoon: 20mg

· Green tea per teabag: 15-30mg

· Black tea per teabag: 60-75mg

· Matcha per teaspoon: 60-80mg

· Coffee per typical 8oz cup: 125-150mg

Between the green tea and the cocoa I’m having about 70mg of caffeine per day.

There is no recommended daily minimum, of course, but the recommended maximum range is 250-400mg per day.

And I’m troubled by 70?!

I am a serious lightweight!

Who’s with me?

I get to reduce my cocoa intake and up the carob. Carob has no caffeine, is warming and tasty, plus it has fiber, protein, and trace minerals. The moringa is a fantastic antioxidant powdered leaf which adds depth to my concoction with no caffeine. A total win in my highly sensitive caffeine book.

I am also committed to switching to white tea, which has less caffeine and similar benefits to the green. Black, white, and green tea all come from the same bush—picked and processed differently for their different flavor profiles. Isn’t it fascinating?!

I love having this information. Awareness is power, so here is a step into power around this anxiety which has been dogging me.

To add to the benefit of the warming, soul-satisfying drinks—without adding to the caffeine—let me also use them as a Pause in my day for some mental fitness exercises.

I will discuss those specifically in another post.

Until then, sip well—and let me know how you fare with this caffeine conundrum.


Bring your favorite warming beverage and join in my Seasonal Re-Treat to benefit Kids In Need of Defense ( on November 28th 1-4pm EDT via Zoom. We get to relax and play while supporting children in relaxing and playing. A huge win. Text me at 704-451-3900 or email for details!

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Mary Elizabeth VonDras
Mary Elizabeth VonDras
Nov 20, 2021

I have discovered a new favorite hot drink: pour boiling water into mug, stir in a dab of honey, a splash of plant milk, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Surprisingly calming, and easy. Sometimes, just holding the cup of hot water is so soothing!

any variety of flavorings can be used in combination or as replacements: drop of almond extract; grated fresh ginger, dab of coconut oil, a lump of frozen fruit (smoothie stash), etc.

Helen Gardiner-Parks
Helen Gardiner-Parks
Nov 21, 2021
Replying to

Good for you! And, I agree—holding a mug of hotness for the win. ❤️

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