Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a coffee addict. I can’t function without three cups of coffee in the morning. This is the story of how I gave up coffee and why I did it. You will be surprised at the result!
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Coffee Really is Good for You…
There are always going to be controversial studies as to the health effects, but by and large, coffee is really good for you. It’s healthy to drink in moderation. Coffee may be great to help prevention against diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, and even some cancers. It is full of antioxidants and polyphenols which help to prevent cell damage.
… Until it’s Not
Coffee makes you… um… go. Most people can handle their cuppa joe normally. For those with “tender tummies,” it happens quickly and isn’t always pleasant. For some, and especially those with autoimmune diseases, the coffee may cause damage or additional damage to your intestines. You can call it IBS or leaky gut or tender tummy, the reality is that your intestines are damaged and coffee is further causing distress.
Remember when I talked about gluten and sensitivities? If you are sensitive to gluten, you may also be sensitive to coffee. Coffee is one of the most common cross-reactive foods for gluten.
If you struggle with inflammation, as many folks who have AI do, coffee actually contributes to the inflammation.
If you fall into any of the above categories, coffee may not be ideal for you, whether you feel it or not.
My Love Affair
I started drinking coffee back in 2000 when I was in training as a mountain bike and XTerra racer. Drinking java was a social event with the team, but it also gave me a nice little jolt during my intense workouts. It soon became my caffeine of choice and replaced my morning Coca-Cola ritual.
I like my coffee strong. I even prefer it stronger than Hubby, who is a Green Beret. And those boys KNOW how to put down some coffee! The stronger, the thicker, the sludgier, the better. It’s a love affair. And it’s all over my Instagram account!
Would I prefer a week without coffee or a week without my husband? A week without coffee or a week without money? A week without coffee or a week without the internet? Hands down, coffee will win. Every time. Yet, somehow, coffee addicts are “cool” and “normal” unlike other additions like alcohol, drugs, or gambling. It’s still an addition. And it’s mine. I claim it. I own it. I love my coffee.
My 7 Day Coffee Detox
After being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and going through some significant health and dietary changes, I would often tease that “you will have to pull that cup of coffee out of my cold dead hand.” As my nutrition protocol became more and more restrictive to reverse the horrific side effects of autoimmune disease, coffee was one of the few bastions of hope that I held onto.
I read plenty of articles recommending that for someone in my condition, I should eliminate coffee from my diet. It’s the coffee that interacts with some autoimmune diseases, not necessarily the caffeine.
What I “loved” was always what followed – what to substitute for morning energy without coffee. Dry brushing was one idea. Seriously? If you make me give up my coffee, that dry brush is going where the sun don’t shine.
Coffee doesn’t negatively affect me and I’m drinking it forever. It’s my morning elixir. It’s my BFF. It’s my soulmate. I was “fine” with drinking coffee. Until I wasn’t.
I had no intention of giving up coffee. Today started like any normal day. I drank my traditional first cup at home and filled my travel mug.
As I was driving to work, I could feel my skin breaking out in a rash and hives…. from my stomach to my neck and head. I knew it was time. I had to say goodbye. I took one last sip out of the travel mug and put it back in the cupholder.
I arrived at work having consumed about half of the coffee/caffeine I am used to. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew the withdrawal would be pretty bad, and I would feel worse before I felt better. I drank a cup of green tea when I got to work, and I also drank a lot more lemon water throughout the day than I normally do.
I was tired, but no more or less than I normally am, and I didn’t get a headache, nor have any jitters. Overall, not a bad first day of unexpected detox!
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I think that drinking coffee is 50% caffeine and 50% the experience. It’s part of your morning ritual, whether you brew your own or go to Starbucks. I knew that my body would handle the caffeine withdrawal in one week or less, but I needed to trade the mental aspect of associating waking up and being energized with coffee. There is something about holding that mug of coffee in your hands, smelling the fresh aroma, and beckoning it to awaken your soul.
Waking up and getting out of bed was as impossible as it normally is. I groggily walked into the bathroom and drank a cup of water before I even opened my eyes. After I brushed my teeth, I came back into the bedroom and did some yoga sun salutations and focused on my breathing.
Every day before my shower, I dry brush to jump-start my lymphatic system. Normally I look at it as an annoying time-suck. Today I viewed it as my wake up call. I sprinkled some energizing Citrus Essential Oils onto the floor of the shower and then turned on the shower to heat up while I dry brushed.
I drank one cup of coffee before I left the house, and that was it. By the time I get to work, I felt like a zombie. Just staring. Into nothing. But then the fog cleared and I was fine. Again, no headaches or jitters or any other uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
Today was my last official day with coffee. One half of a cup. Hubby and I have a morning routine that he will bring coffee to me while I’m getting ready for work. I mumble thanks because I’m not awake yet. He stands there with his arms on his hips…. waiting for his accolades. “Best. Husband. Ever.” I roll my eyes. He walks off with a big smile on his face. It’s what we do. Every morning. Or what we did. Somehow, this ritual doesn’t seem the same with a glass of water. Or even green tea.
Still, no withdrawal symptoms and I’m fine with that. Two cups of green tea seem to be doing the trick.
Did anyone catch the number of that bus that just hit me? I was dragging all day. Not sure if it was because today was my first day sans coffee or I was tired for other reasons. I could barely get out of bed and felt like my brain had stopped working. I had to change my password on the computer at work and when I went back to check it… all of two minutes later… I forgot what it was, entered the wrong password too many times and locked myself out. This is what not drinking coffee does to you. I want my coffee back!
I didn’t even hear the alarm go off or Hubby get out of bed. The next thing I know, I opened my eyes and was already 25 minutes behind schedule. No dry brushing, no wake up routine this morning. Just good ole fashioned adrenaline to get me to work on time. I felt fine until I drove to work, then my eyes started to become heavy. Once I got to work though, I didn’t notice anything and carried on with my day as normal.
Today is the first Saturday without coffee. Coffee is ritualistic. Saturday and Sunday morning, I spend the first hour (give or take) waking up on the couch with my coffee and laptop and getting caught up on work. Today, the work that I needed to do took about 20 minutes and I was finished. I missed working and reaching over for coffee. I missed the weekend routine of when Hubby comes upstairs and I hold the cup out for him to refill. But today, work didn’t fill up the space of drinking 3 cups of coffee. It was finished when it was finished. I sat there in a bit of a stupor not sure of what to do. I was off my routine, but I’ll get there.
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I’m actually really shocked that other than being tired, I didn’t go through major withdrawal symptoms. The grogginess passed after the first week. I could really feel a difference in how much-sustained energy I have throughout the day.
The most difficult adjustment for me was changing my routine. I am not bound to the time it takes to drink coffee. I don’t “have” to wait to leave for work until that first cup is empty. Weekend rituals are now only bound by what I want to do, and not finished when the coffee is.
I miss coffee, but I feel so much better without it. If you love your coffee, by all means, I’m not trying to tell you to quit. Again, it’s super healthy for you, so keep on drinking! But if you are contemplating giving up coffee for one reason or another, all I have to say is that if I can do it, you can too!
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Love, hugs, and steeping some green tea.HERE.