Monday, July 6, 2009

Coffee's Kickin' In...

I have not always enjoyed drinking coffee. Just a few years ago, I wondered why anyone would actually like drinking something that tastes like it could strip paint. For the longest time, I only drank the stuff for the high doses of caffeine it provided. Little did I know that not all coffee tasted as bad as the stuff in the office break room.

After giving birth to Littleshoes, having a pot of coffee in the mornings became de rigeur and I realized then that the stuff, when done right (and is not the cheapest thing the company can buy in bulk), actually tastes pretty good. I've really come to enjoy sipping on a cup of joe. Especially on Sunday mornings - while everyone is still rubbing sleep from their eyes - sitting out on the porch with a smoke and a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee feels a little like heaven.

So, ever since becoming a regular coffee drinker, I've often wondered about one of its lesser talked about properties.

Coffee makes me poop.

After doing a quick Google search, I see that I'm not the first person to wonder why coffee seems to have a somewhat "laxative" effect on most people. When typing in "why does coff..." Google's intelligent data field immediately spits out a list with "why does coffee make me poop" and "why does coffee make you poop" and, the more refined way of putting it, "why does coffee make you go to the bathroom."

I have yet to find any definitive answer to this question. Some of the theories are interesting and definitely plausible, but, apparently, no one in the scientific field finds the quandary compelling enough to do any real research on the topic (at least, not that I found on the 2 or 3 pages of Google search results that I bothered to look at).

Apparently, the most common theory is that the caffeine acts as a stimulant on every part of you, even your inner most recesses. This makes the most sense to me, considering I've noticed an increase in the effect when combining coffee and cigarettes (which seem absolutely made for each other, Jim Jarmusch even made a quirky, but excellent film revolving around the two, but that's a whole other topic). Nicotine also acts as a stimulant in mammals and would explain why those Sunday morning sojourns to the porch always end quickly with me running to the bathroom.

Another answer I've seen often is that coffee is a known diuretic. I always thought that referred more to #1 than #2, but some people seem to think it affects both. The only answer I was able to find by someone calling himself a doctor (and I say that with an eyeroll and a huge helping of skepticism because, let's face it, this is the internet) was that caffeine increases the production of stomach acid which could assist in the sudden evacuation of the bowels.

Whatever it may be in my coffee that makes me have to poo, I'm thankful for it. I've always had problems with regularity and can't seem to make the add-more-fiber-and-water-to-my-diet-thing work. It's nice to know that, when the stressors of adult life get me backed up, I can always count on my morning cups of coffee to get things movin' again.

As much as I know you'd love to hear more about my poo habits, I gotta wrap this up because, well... the coffee's kickin' in.