- Caffeinated -
The cat's out of the bag - the best places to go for coffee in Islington are Tinderbox on Upper Street and the cafe at the Almeida Theatre. I was hovering around these places for most of my free time in London, delighting in people watching, scoffing up scrumptious chocolate brownies whilst reading the Guardian. Inevitably I would have the impulse to go for a second cappuccino, even though that would mean I would be bouncing off walls. I would then have to cajole M. to agreeing to let me have another.
"Having caffeine, smoking and drinking alcohol are the three main things that will make you age,"
M. said, on a day I was being a pain about having another cup. He should know - the smug one has been told he is 'baby-faced' by none other than Liddle Sis, so he feels he has a headstart on maintaining a youthful demeanour (on the same day, Liddle Sis told me I looked less aged than I normally do).
"That's ok, I'm planning on doing lots of yoga, have lots of yoghurt and then move to a cold climate,"
"Why a cold climate?"
"To avoid exposure to the sun's harmful rays."
M. snorted when I said this, and said,
"You don't get out of the office anyway. So why worry about the sun?"
I did have an inkling that coffee is bad for you, but I just didn't want to give up yet another thing I enjoy (alcohol being the first one). And I am not hell-bent on living until I am beyond an octogenerian. But I had a niggling feeling about it so I looked up the side effects of caffeine:
The big 'C' is an addictive drug which does more damage in the long term. You need to ingest quite a lot of it if you are to sustain permanent damage to your body. The main thing that surprised me was that overconsumption of caffeine is linked to osteoporosis. You need to drink at least one cup of milk a day if you drink coffee to limit this undesirable side effect. On the plus side, you are less likely to be suicidal if you drink coffee. Another bad thing, for men, though - it reduces sperm mobility. Pregnant women are meant to abstain from drinking coffee - but this is controversial advice. And if you thought you weren't having caffeine because you don't drink coffee, you're probably mistaken - caffeine is added to most fizzy drinks, it exists in most chocolate flavoured stuff and decaf coffee still contains caffeine.
So it's not poisonous, but it's easy enough to have large amounts of it without knowing. I guess I'll stick to water as my first choice of beverage. What they sell in Hong Kong is actually brown sewage they're trying to pass off as coffee, anyway. Let me know if I look youthful in another decade's time, won't you - I may achieve a world-first by actually looking younger as I get older.