Kicking the Coffee Habit
I did it, and so can you. Read how I went from five cups of coffee a day to zero, overnight.
I am pretty addicted to coffee, just looking at this featured photo makes me want to drop everything and run out for a double espresso. My recent pattern was to drink two strong cups before I would even get dressed in the morning; another cup mid-morning at work; and another two (or three) in the afternoon. The only thing I can say in my defense is that the coffee at work is very weak…
Many years ago I read the book Caffeine Blues. The information in that book, plus some health issues I was having, were enough motivation to make me quit coffee for eight years! (Then started again about three years ago.) There is quite a bit of detail in this book, but here is the main point that struck me: the way coffee works is by triggering an adrenaline response in our bodies. It puts us into a “fight or flight” mode, which is why it increases our energy and focus. But at a cost. This constant agitation triggered by the adrenaline also increases stress, anxiety, and insomnia. The book goes on to name a whole list of other ailments associated with drinking coffee, such as heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes.
I followed the instructions in the book and went completely off of caffeine for more than two months. I kept waiting for my natural energy to kick in, and I guess it did, but not as much I would have hoped. I could function, I could get up, get dressed, get the kids off to school, drive to work without falling asleep at the wheel, make it through the work day… I survived. But I felt kind of blah. I didn’t feel that bursting energy that I’ve grown to love! So eventually I decided to include some caffeine, and added in green tea. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, one of my go-to sources for everything health related, green tea has a lot of health benefits. Here are his ten reasons to drink green tea.
After eight years of drinking tea, I tried coffee one day to see how it felt. And well, it felt great, and before I knew it I was back up to five cups a day! One of the problems with coffee is the body does adjust and it takes more and more caffeine to feel that same alertness. As much as I love coffee, it is depressing to feel like I can’t function without it. And I do worry about the health consequences of drinking so much.
So, here we go! Periodically I do a coffee cleanse, to give my body a break, and I decided to start one three days ago. Yup, that’s right folks, I’m on day three without coffee and I’m still functioning. Here is how I do it, painlessly: I switch to green tea, a LOT of green tea, to start. Even though I go cold turkey off of coffee, I don’t abruptly cut off the caffeine. Then, over the days, I reduce the amount of tea I consume so my caffeine consumption does go down. This is easy for me to do because let’s face, green tea is okay, but just can’t compare : )
Here is a picture of my yummy green tea latte. I use Organic Matcha, which is a Japanese powdered green tea, and homemade cashew milk. I wouldn’t recommend the Starbucks version which has a ridiculous amount of sugar in it. This has a fair amount of caffeine, and is especially nice in the first week, and first thing in the morning. I also just brew regular teabags of organic green tea, especially when I’m out and about and don’t have my Vitamix handy.
I’m not sure how long of a break I’m taking this time!! Sometimes it’s just a few days, and sometimes years! Time will tell. I think this will be a long one, I’m motivated.
Featured photo detail: This was taken at my hotel in Maputo, Mozambique. After a week of working 14 hour days, I slept late and then had three of these double espressos before I could even go for a walk.