I had plans to write this blog post when I decided to give up all caffeine about 2 months ago. I figured I would be writing it from a place of withdrawal, missing it something fierce and unable to function in the world. That has turned out to be very wrong. I want to share with you what I have learned from giving up coffee and a few tips if you want to do the same.
a love affair with coffee
First off, coffee is not bad. No way in the world would I demonize it. I have lived off of it for about 25 years. Everyday. Sometimes multiple times a day. The past few years, though, my internal compass has been pointing me in the direction of giving it up. And I have fought that tooth and nail. Usually whatever we resist the most is what we need to do the most.
You see, I was addicted. I thought I couldn’t live without it. I would go to bed excited to wake up and drink my coffee. And then a second cup. Then a latte in the afternoon. I was out of control. All the while, my moods would be up and down and my energy would crash around 11am every day. Then again around 3pm. Then I started waking up around 3am most nights and sometimes not be able to fall back asleep. My adrenals were toast, it seemed. Another fun thing I started noticing was some serious PMS symptoms that lasted 1-2 weeks each month.
The main reason I leaned on coffee was to help speed up my sluggish digestion. I won’t beat around the bush…..yes, I needed it to poop. Or so I thought. That was why it scared me to give it up. And when I was so tired I couldn’t see, I used it to prop me up if I couldn’t take a nap. One more reason I leaned on it is that coffee with some sort of creamer is just damn delicious. I loved it as a treat and as an excuse to meet a friend at a coffee shop.
why should you give up coffee?
Honestly, not everyone needs to give up coffee or caffeine. It’s a personal choice. Every physical body is different in how it metabolizes caffeine. Some are better than others. Some get the coffee shakes from one cup. Others can down a pot every day without a noticeable difference (my husband).
Test your body out and see how you feel with out it if it is something you have been considering. I’ll even help you with some tips.
tips to wean off coffee
TAKE IT SLOW.
This is the most important tip. The withdrawal from caffeine can be like any other stimulant and stopping cold turkey can cause headaches and flu-like symptoms. Therefore, drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated will be a huge help.
Set a goal about a month out to be done with caffeine and step down following this outline:
- Week one- eliminate any afternoon caffeine. Replace it with water. You can do it.
- Week two- If you are drinking more than one 8-10 ounce cup of coffee each morning, wean down to just one cup by the end of the week.
- Week three- make each cup of coffee half decaffeinated. You can buy decaf grounds and use half regular when you brew it.
- Week four- switch to all decaf coffee for the week and then be done with coffee from here on out.
Congrats! You have now weaned off caffeine with (hopefully) no side effects. It is still normal to have some light headaches as decaffeinated coffee still has a small amount of caffeine.
REPLACE YOUR COFFEE WITH SOMETHING WARM IN THE MORNING
- Hot water with lemon. I know this sounds dire, but it really does do the trick
- Steamed milk (dairy-free almond milk, etc) with a splash of vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. You can add a teaspoon of maple syrup as well. And heck, throw in some collagen powder.
- Herbal or other decaf tea
benefits of giving up coffee
NO ADDICTION- you can live freely, not looking for the next coffee shop.
HORMONE BALANCING- caffeine and estrogen dominance go hand in hand (source).
STEADY ENERGY- no 3pm crashes
MORE MONEY- because you won’t be buying $7 lattes.
Once you are weaned off from caffeine, should you ever decide to have a regular cup of coffee, the effect of the caffeine will work again as your body has not built up a tolerance to it. The idea is to use it as a source of quick energy and not slide back into a habit.
So, here I am, 2 months caffeine free and I feel really good. I definitely have my moments of really wanting a latte from my favorite shop but that moment usually passes. However, I have treated myself to a decaf latte a couple times and will continue to do so every once in a while because learning how to have balance is important. I don’t think I will be going back to full throttle caffeine every day. I feel too even-keeled right now and love it.
We can all do hard things, like giving up coffee. You can do it. I will be here cheering you on.
Want some more encouragement and honesty on the other beverages in our life? Check out this post all about alcohol and our relationship with it.