I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember the last time I didn’t start my day with a large coffee. Sure my tastes have evolved from the Grande Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks to a large cup-o-joe with a bit of honey and soy or almond milk but the point is, I accepted coffee as part of my daily routine. That’s just what adults do, isn’t it? When we are young, we always want to be “grown up” and liking, breathing, coffee is one of those things – along with wine 🙂 but that’s another story. Every work place always has coffee machines, and we are exposed to about 5 coffee shops en route to work/school/life (at least in Vancouver). Not to mention, all the marketing ALL the time that shows us that you need coffee to wake up in the morning. But do you really? I had been experiencing some problems relating to digestion/pain when I would have it (mostly in the afternoon), jittery feels and some anxiety at the same time one of my favourite bloggers, Lee from Lee from America posted about doing a caffeine free week. I was shocked because the thought of cutting out caffeine NEVER ran through my head. It was just what I did every morning to function but the more I wrapped my head around it, the more I realised that I didn’t necessarily feel energetic in the morning unless I had way too much and felt like a mad woman!
Having done a dairy detox in the past (see post here) I know how powerful it can be to eliminate something from your diet that may be wreaking havoc on your body that most people don’t think twice about. By doing my dairy detox, I opened my eyes to what it felt like to be without dairy and I loved how I felt so much that I didn’t go back (minus the occasional bad choice – I always regret)! So I decided why the hell not and jumped in to try it! BUT – I wanted to get my feet wet slowly to avoid some inevitable withdrawal symptoms…
Week 1 (April 24-April 30, 2017): I decided to cut out just coffee. So during this time, I still had Earl Grey, Matcha, Green Tea, Black Tea etc.
How did I feel you ask? Well… Mondays are always a bit tough so I felt pretty groggy at work, after the 2nd day I felt okay… Not terrible but just not very energetic. As the week progressed, it got easier but by about Thursday, I was super tired due to school/life. I had only had about 5 hours of sleep the night before and I really wanted to just cave!! The smell of coffee makes me melt so I tried to stay clear of it and kept going with my matcha in hand and finished this part strong!!
I’m so glad I did a coffee-free week before a totally caffeine free week. It broke the automatic habit I had of just grabbing coffee first thing in the morning. I slowly began to believe more and more that I could do it. If I gave up caffeine right away, I’m not sure how long I would have lasted for. Half of the struggle is mental…am I right?
Week 2 (May 1- May 7, 2017): I then decided to go completely caffeine free. That means no kombucha, pre-workout etc. I relied heavily on my green juice (from Suja) in the morning to replace my “morning beverage” along with cacao tea with a bit of honey. The ginger in the Suja juice really zapped me awake and made me feel energetic!! I was really surprised that I didn’t really feel like I NEEDED coffee. Sure I missed the taste but I had no headaches or withdrawal symptoms. I REALLY REALLY REALLY missed my pre-workout the most. It provides me with the push I need to workout and be focused on just my workout. I feel like it’s different in the sense that I use that energy to exercise rather than just sitting and letting anxiety run through me. During my caffeine-free week, I found it easier to fall asleep at night and stay asleep as well as get up in the morning. This might have something to do with it finally being light out when I wake up!!
I also noticed that my skin looked more hydrated, less dry and firmer. This probably has to do with the extra water or other liquids I was drinking that aren’t diuretics.
Unfortunately, I gave in on Saturday morning so didn’t finish strong but had a great day biking the seawall with some friends so really I have no regrets. In the days I did last, I realized that I didn’t really need it but that I just enjoy coffee.
The verdict: Well, I’m glad I did this little experiment. It allowed me to give my body a break rather than the constant stimulation coffee provides. I’m going to drink less and monitor my anxiety that comes as a result of too much caffeine and adjust. Some days it’s totally fine and some days I push the envelope when I know I shouldn’t. I only have about 1-2 cups of coffee a day so in the grand scheme of things, I don’t think that’s a lot. I DID realise that I replace times when I should be having water with coffee so I’m going to try to increase my water intake and maybe do this detox a bit more frequently. Coffee and caffeine is not all bad and coffee does have it’s benefits being:
- possibility to improve memory
- improves mental function by decreasing fatigue
- increases stamina during exercise and provides you with that energy to get off your bum in the first place
- contains antioxidants
- could increase your mood by boosting production of serotonin and dopamine
You really need to do what’s right for YOU and YOUR body. It’s a total worthwhile and fun experiment of will power and experimenting. I challenge you to try and break the norms around you and give it a try! It’s 2 weeks of your life – it’ll fly by!