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.”
I was a bit sad by the title – I mean, how can you quit coffee?!? – but it seems like a no-brainer of a decision for you. I don’t quite get those sorts of headaches and other issues and in the summer I’m hardly drinking any coffee, so for me the idea of quitting coffee is foreign and honestly does not feel like an option (I’m madly in love with it still) so knowing that that’s the kind of relationship you had with coffee makes me admire your strength and ability to give this up even more.
I really loved it, but way too much. I was way to dependent on it!
Great job! You are a brave girl!!
Thanks, I never thought I would do it!
I read this and was nodding my head the whole time. I don’t think I drink as much caffeine as you used to (I don’t drink soda- ever- and I have at most two cups of coffee a day, except the rare occasion that I MAY have three… And then there are days that I’ll have one or even none! It really depends on my mood) But still, the idea of cutting it out of my life completely? Depresses me like there’s no tomorrow. I don’t *love* the taste of herbal tea at all, green tea doesn’t taste very good to me, and I genuinely have such a deep love for Starbucks while I study and work lol. I’m still torn about this. I think that in terms of anxiety and sleep, cutting caffeine might help me tremendously (I’m anxious by nature, I wonder how much caffeine impacts that part of me?) but I just had such a crappy experience last time I quit caffeine. I think I just have a very addictive personality. I don’t like the idea of quitting things that I feel are so important in my day to day life. This is horrible logic, I know. I’ll keep thinking about it though. Your post inspires me 🙂
I still love the whole ritual of a warm drinking, and hanging out at a coffee house. Tea has been able to replace that for me, and there are some good, hearty ones with rich flavors that are more similar to coffee (at least more than green tea, anyways).
The vanilla tea from Coffee Bean is really good, or hazelnut. I add in coconut or soymilk, and it is much more similar to the “coffee experience.”
Wow this is inspiring! I am a serious diet coke addict and this gives me hope I can quit one day too – you’re amazing!
Thanks. I was pretty bad with Diet Coke, so it can be done!
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