Recently, I did something I never thought I would or could do. As you can easily guess from the title of this post:
I QUIT COFFEE.
Actually, I quit a little while ago, but I wanted to make sure that it really, truly stuck. I just had to be certain that I could stay with it and to see if and how it impacted me over several weeks. And I didn’t want to be a newly quit who suddenly has all the answers. Nobody likes those! As of right now, it’s been about six weeks since I have had coffee or any other form of caffeine. Yes, I am darn proud of that!
There are various reasons for choosing to quit coffee (and with it all caffeine). While this post is not really intended to talk you into quitting, there are some compelling arguments for it. Here are some of the effects coffee consumption can have which might want you to turn your back on it as well.
Possible Effects of Coffee consumption:
- increased stress hormones
- elevated anxiety
- irritated stomach lining and increased heart burn
- withdrawal headaches
- adds significant calories if sugar, cream or artificial or flavored creamers are used
- stained teeth
- contains mold/mycotoxins
- exposure to pesticides (unless you drink organic) – coffee is one of the most heavily sprayed crops
- possible increases of excretion of calcium, magnesium and potassium, potentially causing electrolyte imbalance
Why not just switch to decaf? Well, it turns out that caffeine inhibits the growth of mycotoxins on coffee beans. Decaffeinated coffee is said to contain higher levels of mycotoxins.
Coffee, sadly is one of the most heavily sprayed crops on earth.
I am not going to bore you with too many details why I decided to quit, but a few of the above mentioned reasons certainly applied to me. In a nutshell, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. So when my natural health practitioner urged me to give it up, I was all too ready to oblige.
Today I would like to share with you how I quit the coffee habit with relative ease and why I know you can too!
I found a solid strategy for quitting coffee the easy way. Because at my age, if it’s not easy, it’s just not going to happen.
Again, this is written with the assumption that you have decided to quit and are looking for a good way to accomplish just that. If you are happy with the way you feel and see no need to quit, don’t.
My Three Step Guide to Quitting Coffee for Good the Easy Way
Step One: Find your Reason for Quitting
Any time you are planning to make a major change like this, and believe me this is major, one of the most important things is that you are crystal clear about the reason(s) for making the change. Ask yourself: What do I stand to gain from giving this up? I have encountered many people who are either declaring or are in the process of making huge changes, but cannot explain WHY. This, my friends is your jumping off point. Find your reason and it will help you get through the tough part.
Don’t make this a broad statement like: I just want to feel better.
What are you specifically expecting to gain? For me it was losing the morning headaches that often awoke me from a deep sleep much earlier than I wanted to be awake. It was the desire to reduce stress and anxiety. It was the need to find better solutions to get me through the day without a huge slump in late afternoon as well as the goal to sleep better at night overall.
Step Two: Finding a Substitute for Coffee
You have your solid reason to quit, now it’s time to plan how you will actually go about it. For many holding a cup of steaming java just starts the day out right. I have always cherished that quiet, uninterrupted time, first thing in the morning when it’s just my cup of coffee and reading up on my favorite blogs. It just starts the day out right. Quitting coffee seemed so unappealing mainly because I really didn’t know what to replace it with. So let’s start there.
When my NP first floated the idea of ditching coffee, the first thought that came to mind was: “What can I drink instead?”. Frankly, I had no idea. I just knew that regular tea wouldn’t cut it. Turns out I was wrong. There are in fact pretty passable coffee alternatives that mimic the taste and feel of coffee remarkably well. My favorite is Teeccino, which comes in yummy flavors as French Roast, Vanilla Nut, Dandelion Caramel Nut and Chocolate, just to mention a few. Dandelion Caramel Nut is my coffee alternative of choice, because it is one of the few that does not contain barley, a no no when following a gluten free diet.
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Many of the coffee substitutes listed may not be easy to find in your local store. They are readily available to order online. I get mine here, but you can also order it on Amazon. Two bags of this tea are enough for a 10 cup pot!
If you prefer to create your own substitute, check out this recipe by Katie on wellnessmama.com.
Are you used to adding creamer? Go ahead and continue using your favorite kind unless it’s loaded with sugar. I opted to swap out the old half and half for full fat organic coconut milk and can attest to its yummy-ness.
Step Three: Making a Plan to Quit and Sticking to it
Once you have found a substitute you like, set a date to begin the quitting process. Make sure you don’t plan to start during particularly stressful times like the holiday season or when you are in the middle of a major remodel. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but why make it harder than it has to be?
Not necessary, but nice: Treat yourself to a snazzy new cup!
This is a process that will take time and it varies from one person to the next. Coffee is a legitimate addiction and there will likely be side effects that can make you want to give up trying to quit. Cold turkey is not the way to go. Instead, try cutting your coffee consumption in half for a week the first and see how you feel. At this point you may be ready to cut down more. It took nearly 3 weeks for me to cut out coffee completely.
The first few days may not be easy. I found that instead of instinctively reaching for my second cup it wasn’t too difficult to begin substituting a cup of Teeccino. This got me used to the taste and gave me not only the second cup of “coffee” I was used to, but also extra fluids that seemed to help with my headaches.
Cutting down caffeine consumption gradually greatly reduced any side effects felt from quitting coffee. The morning headaches quickly tapered down for me. Once you begin feeling results, along with the realization that you can do this, try cutting your coffee consumption even more. Cut down to a half a cup the following week and then try going completely without the next. You might be surprised how well you are doing!
Through the process of quitting coffee, you may discover that a walk around the block or a quick, timed power nap can do a lot more to restore waning energy levels. Just don’t turn to soda or candy for a quick pick-me-up. Replacing substances like caffeine and sugar is not only healthier, it works better, too!
Going through the process gradually allows you to find other, healthier ways to deal with those kinds of situations.
Don’t be hard on yourself if you slip up. Just don’t make it a habit. It can be incredibly tempting to go for your favorite cup at the local coffee shop, but there are tasty alternatives. Begin thinking of yourself as someone who doesn’t drink coffee. I know it might sound simplistic, but it works!
It’s been nearly two months since I got serious about quitting coffee. What has changed and was it worth it? The most noticeable and welcome outcome is that I no longer wake up with a splitting headache. My sleep has improved greatly and I no longer find myself in a deep slump come late afternoon. My brain fog seems to be lifting as well and I have a sense of calm. This story definitely has a happy ending for me and I know if you follow the simple steps I outlined in this post you can find your happy ending as well. You’ve got this! I believe in you!
I hope you find this post helpful. Have you thought about quitting coffee? Have you previously tried but failed? Why?
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And as always,
Keep it simple!
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