I have not had coffee or soda since August 13th, 2012.
Guys, this is HUGE.
I cut out caffeine in my first round of The Crazy Sexy Diet (CSD). When I first read CSD and came across the section that discusses eliminating caffeine, I had a mini panic attack, after all, I needed my caffeine.
I have been quite the caffeine addict for about 10 years now. Like most people, I discovered the magical elixir when I was in college. I started with Diet Coke and developed a severe dependence on this addictive nectar. I would chug to stay awake during classes, I would crack one open as soon as I got to work in the morning. I would use it as a quick pick-me-up when I was dragging in the afternoon. Just the sound of the can opening would make me feel happier and improve my outlook on life.
Soon, I discovered coffee. Where had I been?! I felt like I met my soul mate. I loved the taste of it, the jolt of energy, the ritual, and there was nothing I did not love about it.
It even escalated to a point where last summer, I was making coffee ice cubes and adding them to a huge glass of Coke Zero (my elixir of the moment). I was drinking this first thing in the morning and felt airy in my massive caffeine buzz.
Regular drip coffee was not doing enough for me anymore. I soon had an espresso machine; coffee grinder, and French press crowding my kitchen counter. I was a coffee snob who only bought her beans at Augie’s coffee and developed massive headaches if I did not have some form of caffeine within an hour of waking up.
I knew I was pretty badly addicted, but like any addict, I legitimized my dependence. I would cling to facts and studies that touted the health benefits of coffee. I would tell myself it helped me be more mentally alert and improved my running performance. My Love (who was just as addicted) & I would say we would quit when we retired, and there was no need to give it up now.
In early August, I went to my yearly doctor appointment and was told I have high blood pressure. This was perplexing to both of us. My diet is plant based and I exercise regularly. I knew in the back of my head though, it could be the copious amount of caffeine I drink. My doctor started talking about the potential need for medication, and that’s when I knew I had to change something. There was no way I was going to be taking medication for something that I could control with some changes to my life.
It was around this time that I read CSD and knew I wanted to at least try. I figured I would cut all coffee and soda out for 21 days, then reduce the amount I had after the cleanse.
I started my first round of CSD on August 20th, but I wanted to ease into it, so I decided to cut off coffee and soda 1 week before, so I wasn’t making too many changes too fast.
The first day was a Monday, and not as bad as I expected. I felt weird to not have a drink in my hand for most of the day. I did have a glass of iced green tea in the afternoon, when I started to feel my energy dropping low.
Tuesday, I felt like I was dragging. I had a glass of green tea in the morning and the afternoon. I was missing the energy jolt that I got from coffee and soda though.
Wednesday was by far the worst day. I had a headache the.whole.entire.day. It was there as soon as I woke up in the morning. It felt like there was an ACME anvil pressing down on my head. I tried deep breathing, I tried some yoga stretches, I tried drinking more water, but nothing worked.
I suffered through the headache and my desire for a Diet Coke, the entire day. The headache was still there when I went to sleep at night, but when I woke up on Thursday, it was gone!
After that horrible Wednesday, things drastically improved. I began sleeping better, my head felt clearer. I used to always think that caffeine gave me a certain mental acuity, but I realized, it made my head and thoughts fuzzy. I have also noticed INCREDIBLE improvements in my stress and anxiety levels. I would generally feel “wound up” or like I was running in 50 different directions. My work load or schedule has not changed at all, but the way I approach it has, this has brought about so much more peace and stillness into my life.
Needless to say, after the 21 days was finished, I did not return to drinking coffee or soda. I have much more natural energy now. The quality of my sleep has improved so much that I do not feel like I “need” something to help me wake up. For those days that I may need a bit of a lift, I will drink a cup of green tea, which gives me more of a feeling of natural energy as opposed to a huge burst, that comes with the subsequent crash. Even green tea has become more infrequent and I am definitely much more sensitive to caffeine now. I drank a cup of black tea the other day, without realizing it had caffeine in it, and I felt like my mind was racing.
I still love warm drinks on cold mornings and nights, but there are so many caffeine –free, herbal teas to choose from. I really hope to stay away from coffee and soda from now on. It is nice not to have something that I am addicted to and “need” to feel “normal.”