SUN.STAR columnist John Pages’ column two Sundays ago talked about coffee and exercise. Apparently, John began his affair with the “brown cup” in 2007. I can’t remember when mine actually began but probably around the time John started drinking as well.

I was advised by my doctor to drink coffee many years back because I suffer regularly from migraine but since I don't like coffee, I ignored my doctor’s advice until the day my migraine attacks became so frequent and debilitating that I was willing to try anything. Besides, I figured that coffee was probably better than painkillers in the long run.

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Coffee has brought me much relief from migraine. But before you rejoice, know that coffee is not the panacea to migraine. Coffee can offer relief from a beginning migraine but a migraine in its late stage cannot be relieved with coffee. Know also that coffee is a double-edged sword. It can offer relief but it can also trigger a migraine. So don’t drink too much.

How much is too much? I only drink one cup of coffee a day. On rare occasions, I take two. I’ve read that drinking up to three cups of coffee a day is quite safe. I would imagine, though, that 8-10 cups of coffee a day is more than enough and can probably trigger a migraine when you withdraw from it. So learn to pace yourself.

Still, despite my daily affair with coffee these days, I still don’t really enjoy the taste of coffee. So why do I drink it? Well, I used to drink coffee only for migraine relief. Starting a month ago, though, I inadvertently discovered what all coffee drinkers probably already know—that a daily dose of caffeine can do wonders for one’s energy levels.

I do realize it’s my age catching up on me because now, it’s just very difficult for me to get through 14-hour workdays. It’s probably not normal to put in 14 hours of work a day but I’m used to working long hours—I have to because I take long vacations. Since I work hard and play hard, I need tremendous amounts of energy on a daily basis.

In the past, I had my youth to tide me through. Today, I subsist on coffee to get me past midnight.

For caffeine virgins, though, drink with caution. When I first started drinking coffee, it interfered hugely with my sleeping patterns. I also suffered palpitations. It takes a while for your system to adjust. Don’t drink more than what your body can take. And if you have trouble sleeping, I suggest you stay away from caffeine.

My tastes in coffee are quite unsophisticated. I prefer my coffee cold and black. On occasion, I do drink coffee with milk, sugar and everything else that can justifiably be called sinfully fattening. On a daily basis, though, I prefer it black.

I’ve always had very high energy levels since I was young. In the last few years, though, falling asleep on the couch has become a regular occurrence. While I always prided myself on always being “wide awake,” it’s been more like “fast asleep” in the last few years.

Youth forever lost, I say. To start the workday as well as to survive it—I really need my black cup in the morning. It’s been a humbling experience.

(sunstarcebucolumnist@yahoo.com)