In the West, we’re fuelled by coffee.
And with a hectic schedule, long hours, and weekends spent slaving over a hot laptop, I am no exception.
Lattes are my favourite, and I have always maintained that the taste, not the caffeine content, is what keeps me hooked.
I know about the benefits of going decaf, of course. But I can taste the difference, and I need the real stuff.
Why I quit coffee
Back in the winter when I was freelancing for a business centre, my client noticed that I was burned out.
“You look tired, Helen,” he told me. (Nobody ever gets my name right.) “It’s like you’re carrying a burden.”
He was right. I was waking up exhausted – and going downhill from there.
I wondered, could coffee have anything to do with it?
How to quit coffee
I have tried to give up coffee before – even going so far as a coffee enema. (Caffeine is so addictive that it’s not advisable to go cold-turkey.)
This time, I really wanted to quit. So, I stopped drinking coffee, and stuck to regular tea for a little caffeine in my system.
At first, I was still having my customary 3 cups of tea per day. And I still felt really, really tired.
I missed my morning coffee, the cup that means – “You got out of bed! Have a reward.” But I stuck with it.
I made myself ‘coffee replacements’ each morning:
- Smoothies with spinach, berries, almond milk and maca
- Raw turmeric and cinnamon latteswhich I took to work in a flask
- The occasional hot cacao drink (cocoa contains caffeine) which I drank unsweetened, for that bitter kick.
Side effects of quitting caffeine
Despite the healthy coffee alternatives, I became run-down and caught two horrible colds, one after the other.
Looking back, I was also dealing with some toxic emotions. I was freelancing AND working reception at the business centre AND doing a regular job two days a week.
My regular job was not serving me at all. Nothing was ever good enough for my boss and I was on edge, trying to be what she wanted me to be.
I survived without coffee only by drinking about forty-five cups of herbal tea and honey each day (this was good, because it reminded me that herbal teas are delicious).
[Side note: I accidentally gave my cold to the very same kind and concerned client who had sparked the idea to quit coffee in the first place. (“Oh, Emma. I feel rotten.”)]
Be warned – coffee is a stubborn mule that will give you one hell of a kick on the dismount
But it is totally worth it if you’re suffering from fatigue.
After five weeks without a single cup of caffeinated coffee, and having cut my tea and chocolate intake right back, here’s how I felt:
- A lot better in myself – I was no longer exhausted during the day
- Caffeine cravings were nearly non-existent – I could easily go a day without a cup of tea, without feeling deprived
- I found it easier to get up in the morning
- I felt a lot less irritable
- My skin improved
- I’m was getting more done
- People stopped telling me I looked exhausted.
For me, these were impressive results. Quitting coffee cured my chronic exhaustion. Could it do the same for you?
Let me know in the comments below.