The most popular beverage (part 3)


After reading my previous parts to this series on coffee you might feel that you want to try to reduce or quit coffee. Maybe you have tried previously. Here some practical tips that might help.

Continuing to consume coffee despite the knowledge that it is causing or exacerbating health problems, such as stomach ulcers, heart palpitations or anxiety, can indicate addiction. If you suspect you’re addicted to coffee or caffeine it may be helpful to assess how much caffeine you consume and consider whether it’s affecting your health or daily life. Gradually reducing your intake, diversifying your sources of energy with a balanced diet, and ensuring adequate sleep can help manage dependency.

Rather than quitting cold turkey, which can lead to withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, and irritability, try gradually reducing your caffeine intake. Lower the amount you consume each day or by replace caffeinated drinks with decaffeinated alternatives. Increasing water intake is crucial and can help alleviate withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings, and make sure you prioritize sleep. Try replacing your coffee with herbal tea, tasty alternatives like Assam and Gunpowder (green tea) both have caffeine, but less than coffee. Also understanding that withdrawal symptoms are temporary can help you stick to your plan, so prepare for a few rough days and plan activities that can help you relax and distract you from withdrawal symptoms.

Yes, decaffeinated coffee still contains caffeine but in much lower amounts than regular coffee. The decaffeination process typically removes about 97% to 99% of the caffeine so an 8-ounce cup of decaf still contains about 2 to 5mg of caffeine, compared to approximately 80 to 100mg in the same serving of regular coffee. This small amount of caffeine in decaf coffee usually isn’t enough to affect most people, making it a suitable alternative when looking to reduce caffeine intake. However, for individuals who are particularly sensitive to caffeine or who have been advised to avoid it entirely for health reasons, even the small amount in decaf coffee could potentially cause some mild effects.

If you are looking for coffee alternatives you may like to also try Yerba Mate, a traditional South American drink made from the dried leaves of the Ilex paraguariensis plant. It is renowned for its unique balance of caffeine, theobromine and theophylline, which are natural stimulants and provide a distinctive type of energy boost compared to coffee and tea, often described as more balanced and less jittery. In addition to its stimulant properties it contains antioxidants, amino acids, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals, earning praise for its array of health benefits which include enhancing focus, boosting energy and aiding in weight loss. Yerba mate still has caffeine, varying depending on how it’s prepared, but generally less than coffee yet more than most teas. On average, an 8oz serving contains between 30 to 50mg of caffeine, compared to about 95mg in the same amount of coffee.

What about plant toxicity? 

Green (un-roasted) coffee beans contain higher levels of chlorogenic acid and caffeine compared to roasted beans. High consumption of green coffee beans has been linked to similar side effects as excessive caffeine intake, such as nervousness, upset stomach, increased heart rate, and trouble sleeping. There is also a risk of caffeine overdose if a large amount is consumed. The roasting process reduces some of the chlorogenic acid and other compounds, however the caffeine content remains significant. Normal consumption as a beverage is generally safe for most adults, but excessive consumption can lead to caffeine-related side effects.

Coffee leaves have traditionally been used in some cultures for their medicinal properties, and recent studies suggest they contain antioxidants and might offer health benefits. However, they also contain caffeine, though in lower quantities than the beans. The toxicity risk from consuming coffee leaves, such as brewing them for tea, is low for most people but the caffeine content still needs to be considered, especially if you are sensitive to caffeine.

Usually the coffee plant is not considered highly toxic. The main concern would be the caffeine content, which can be problematic in high doses. Coffee plants don’t contain the more dangerous toxins found in many purely ornamental plants or wild species known for their high toxicity levels. Although, ideally choosing organic coffee option as possible always the best. 

I hope I did not make you nervous about consuming coffee, however like almost everything we have a limit that we are able to handle, so be cautious and be aware of the side effects if you see any. Lastly, make sure you are honest with yourself too!


Balance Coffee. “Coffee Consumption Statistics (Simple Stats For Journalists)”.

Food and Beverage Insider. “Coffee consumption hits record high in US”.

NCA. “NCA releases Atlas of American Coffee “.

Alcohol and Drug Foundation. “What is caffeine?”.

Kids Health. “Caffeine”.

European Food Safety Authority. “Scientific Opinion on the safety of caffeine”.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. “Caffeine and bone loss in healthy postmenopausal women”.

AmeriSleep. “Six Reasons Coffee Can Make You Sleepy”.

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competition history

Ayda competes regularly in fitness competitions and is currently preparing for the 2023 North American championships.

NPC North American Championships, 2022
NPC North American Championships, 2022
NPC North American Championships, 2022
CPA Toronto, 2021

You’ve probably heard so many people say “I love what I do”, BUT in my case I can truly say it from my heart. I’ve competed in sports all my life, but it wasn’t so long ago that I really understood that actually I can only ever compete with myself.

“You are perfect, until compare yourself with someone else”

I started contest prep in 2011, and since then I didn’t stop competing. In some competitions I got first place, in some it went not so well, but every competition that I prepared for taught me something more about myself and helped me take the correct direction, which I believe has shaped my work and my life in such a positive way.

When I competed in my first bikini competition I had just moved from my home country Turkey to Canada, and was getting used to the Canadian lifestyle — and, of course, the language too, which was the hardest part for me. I always wanted to do a fitness or bikini competition, but when I was still in Turkey the work and cultural differences made it so hard to do.

So I was in Vancouver BC, working at Steve Nash Fitness Club, and one of my co-workers, who was a competitor herself, asked me “why you are not competing?” I started asking myself and questioning if I could do it? I’d never done anything like it before… Maybe you’re asking yourself the same questions right now! Of course I told myself “absolutely, I can’’. And my competition journey began!

Each show that I competed in gave me more knowledge about my body, and how I can improve. Of course, it’s not easy to correctly identify what’s missing with training and nutrition, and this learning process and all of the experiences pushed me to learn more… I’ve been a personal trainer since 1993, but I wanted more and began my nutrition studies. I finished my Comprehensive Nutrition and Sports Nutrition degrees.

And yes, I am still competing! You can see a list of all of the competitions that I’ve competed in further down this page. And right now, AGAIN, I am getting ready for my next show…!

I’ll warn you right now, it wasn’t easy at all. The easiest part was the training, which was already part of my daily life. But posing, dieting, supplementation, getting a bikini, finding a trainer… This was much tougher, not the mention the cost for the registration, jewelry, tanning, hair and make-up, they cost a lot too. 

But I wouldn’t let anything stop me, and right after my first show — WBFF in May, 2011 — I immediately started looking for the next show to compete in. I was hooked!

I am so happy to be able to help other competitors who are willing to work and improve their mind and health at the same time. My goal is to create healthy and happy bikini competitors, who want to challenge themselves and put in the work that needs to be done to reach their goals. There is really no easy way to get there… But there is a smart way.

I look forward to working together and sharing my knowledge with YOU to get you in the best shape of your LIFE!!!!! 



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