I was a regular coffee drinker long before the Starbucks craze swept the nation, err, planet Earth. I remember venturing to "J Street Cafe" (the local coffee shop in my hometown) with friends in high school. A true coffee shop in every sense of the word from the multi-pierced baristas (or were they simply "coffee makers" back then?) to the poetry readings and open mic nights.
My coffee habit continued all through college and, of course, law school. I actually took a 3 month hiatus from coffee after the Bar exam because I worried that I had a dependency issue(!) But the three months weren't as difficult as I feared so I gave myself permission to resume the habit. And I'm glad I did. It's much easier to lose weight without the extra calories contained in soda, juice, and even flavored waters. There are also a number of health benefits that make coffee a great choice for those who have chosen to get healthy.
Coffee is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, which increase cognitive function and protect against diseases of aging such as Type II diabetes, depression, stroke, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Studies also suggest coffee may help fight against breast, skin and prostate cancer.