How I Ended My Relationship with Coffee
Let me just start by saying that I loved my cup of ‘Grande Soy Latte’. But, I didn’t like how it made me feel after the ‘kick’ worn off. I live in Seattle, the home of Starbucks, where coffee culture is BIG, and coffee shops are sprinkled on every street corner. Every day, I walk past seven coffee shops on my short eight-minute walk to the office. Deciding to quit was a personally challenging one, and I am very proud to announce that I’ve been ‘clean’ for 8 months.
Caffeine can be a sneaky little pick-me-up. I hated how it made me feel afterwards and how much I was dependent on it. Here are other reasons why I decided to quit:
- I was sweating more.
- I would get nervous for no reason.
- I would feel dehydrated
- I felt mentally “numb,” less sensitive to my surroundings, less intuitive and less creative
- It was hard to truly relax and be calm.
- Headaches from lack of caffeine.
- I saw my friend hospitalized from too much coffee on a regular basis.
- I learned that coffee is highly acidic (I’ll cover acidity and alkalinity in food in another post)
- Caffeine masks both our true physical and emotional states. Giving my body a false boost of energy made it harder for me to tell what I really needed: more food, more sleep, more calmness?
So, I decided to end my eight year ‘love affair’ with coffee (who I ‘saw’ at least twice daily). How did I do it? The answer lay in restructuring my habits. I started with staying off coffee for two weeks, and then another two weeks, which eventually turned into eight months.
There are four areas I focused on and found replacements for, which helped me part with my coffee addiction:
- Drink – Replacing coffee with Tea. In the beginning, I drank black tea for two weeks during my ‘transition period’. Then overtime, switching to healthier choices, such as fresh fruit, water with lemon. I now relish herbal tea as a fragrant treat.
- Thought – Replacing the thought that ‘I need coffee to stay alert’ with ‘I focus on the present moment, and in this moment, I have enough energy in me to stay alert’. The power of attention isn’t limited by what I drink. I am strong and healthy with keen mind.
- Habit – Replacing the emotional dependency on the act and habit of ‘getting coffee’ as a form of break, with getting up to stretch, getting a glass of water and eating raw almonds. I realized that I was drinking coffee partly out of habit, “Oh look, it’s 2:30, coffee time!” Like any other habit, I just replaced it with a healthier one.
- Need – Replacing the false energy boost with more awareness and care of my body. I learned to listen to my body more. I found it helpful to ask myself, “What do I actually need right now?“. Often, instead of “I need coffee.”, I found the answers to be: ‘I need water, my body is dehydrated.”, “I need to sleep earlier.”, “I need to take five minutes to close my eyes and regroup”, “I need to get up and walk around.”, “I ate too much at lunch.”
The first two weeks was the hardest. I felt unreasonable tired. But once the two-week period was past, I felt less and less tired, less and less coffee cravings. Also, if you are not able to make this last long term after your first try, don’t be so hard on yourself. My first attempt to quit last year failed after 3 weeks of hard work. But the second attempt worked like a charm.
After incorporating this change into my life, I am seeing significant benefit. I have uncovered my real energy. I feel healthier and I love the freedom away from being dependent on a drink. I’m not trying to lecture you into quitting, but merely to share my experiences with you. If cutting coffee out completely is too extreme for you but you’re still interested, you can benefit by reducing the amount of coffee you drink or gradually replacing it with alternatives I’ve high-lighted from the 4 focuses above.
How does your body react to coffee? What do you do when you are tired? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments.