How I Quit Coffee
I love coffee. I don't just drink it because of the caffeine, though that part's nice. I genuinely love the flavor and the ritual of coffee. It grounds me in the morning and helps me start each day with a pleasant, slow lead in to the rest of the day. I'm a big ole introvert, and I like to ease into the morning. A coffee mug in your hand in the morning is like the international symbol of "I'm not all the way up yet" to anyone but my children. So, when I went on a trip to Idaho in January and the dude who owns the property was anti-coffee, I gasped. No coffee! What am I going to do? I thought to myself. But, you know, I've heard all sorts of things about why I shouldn't drink coffee and I'd already cut down to one cup a day ever since being pregnant with Bug (who is now 6). Some people snuck in contraband coffee, but I decided to just go cold turkey. I had my last cup of morning coffee on that Southwest plane headed to Spokane and I haven't looked back. So, how'd I do it? This is how I quit coffee...
Before we talk more about HOW I quit coffee, let me tell you a little bit about the why. It's not the caffeine. At least, not entirely. I've suffered from insomnia my entire adult life, so I've never been able to enjoy coffee or other caffeinated beverages late in the day without risk of being Up. All. Night. But it's when I heard about how it jacks with your cortisol levels that I really wanted to kick coffee to the curb. It turns out that morning is the absolute WORST time to drink coffee. The roller coaster of cortisol really interferes with your sleep patterns and I need all the help I can get on that front. Just holding a cup of coffee lowers your body's frequency. And, well, it makes your hormones go all wonky.
According to Dr. Mark Hyman, "The caffeine in coffee increases catecholamines, your stress hormones. The stress response elicits cortisol and increases insulin. Insulin increases inflammation and this makes you feel lousy." And "Constituents in coffee can interfere with normal drug metabolism and detoxification in the liver making it difficult to regulate the normal detoxification process in the liver. Another issue to be aware of with coffee intake is how certain medications such as levothyroxine (thyroid) as well as tricyclic antidepressants are poorly absorbed, making symptoms curiously worse for patients."
Uh, hello, I used to be on levothyroxine , WHILE drinking coffee. Ugh. So, it's not just the caffeine, it's particular constituents of the coffee beans. Bummer. That was the last straw for me and coffee continuing our daily morning date.
How I Quit Coffee
1. Pick a Date
Just do it, quit cold turkey. I chose my trip as a great opportunity to say no to coffee. Sure, it was hard. And sure, I had some mild headaches and was a little more groggy in the morning. But it was so much easier than cutting back slowly would have been for me, emotionally. I was ATTACHED to my coffee. Being away from my traditional coffee haven (home) really helped. But drawing that line in the sand and saying no more coffee after this day really did it for me. Don't just cut down and expect to get rid of coffee eventually. It's a crutch. Kick it. Now, having said that...once I truly quit coffee (about a month or two later), I was comfortable drinking an occasional cup out at a breakfast restaurant because it's yummy. But I didn't do that until I was SURE I had kicked the habit. If you slip too early and get back in the habit, don't beat yourself up. Just try again. you can do this!
2. Find an Alternative Bevvy
Like I said, I love the ritual of coffee. The warm mug in my hands, steaming warm coffee smells into my face. Can't beat it. But herbal or black teas can be a great stand in. Get yourself a tea kettle. Boil up some water and try some herbal (caffeine-free), black (caffeinated) or green/white (tiny amounts of caffeine) tea. And, drink some of that (not boiling) water, too! You'd be surprised how much your energy picks up when you drink enough water and all your cells are happy and content. You can do this.
3. Drink Herbal "Coffee"
If you really can't stomach the tea, try Dandy Blend. Now, let me preface this with the fact that it doesn't taste like REAL coffee. Like great, fresh ground beans. But I'll be darned if it doesn't taste like pretty good instant coffee. I think it tastes a lot like Nescafe Taster's Choice. I think the best way to "brew" it is like you would cocoa. Warm yourself up a mug of good whole milk (or coconut milk or your milk sub of choice) and stir in a heaping tablespoon of the dandy. The milk gets nice and caramelized and makes the flavor much richer and tastier. The Dandy Blend contains over 50 trace minerals in each cup, most of which the body uses to help synthesize compounds needed in metabolism.
4. Ningxia Nitro
Ningxia Nitro is a natural cognitive fitness supplement made primarily of a juice blend of cherry, kiwi, blueberry, acerola, bilberry, black current, raspberry, strawberry and cranberry juices. It tastes delicious. It supports mental alertness and a component, bioenergy ribose, increases overall energy reserves. And in that first week of coffee cold turkey in Idaho, I ordered 2 boxes of the stuff (I get my Nitro HERE) thinking I'd really need it to survive. I actually only ended up drinking one each morning and that was plenty. Now I drink them usually in the afternoon for a little pick me up in that tough period between after school snack and dinner. Why does it stretch soooo long between snack and dinner, mamas? Why?
5. Natural Energy Support
Essential oil blends like En-R-Gee, Motivation and even single oils like peppermint essential oil really help me maintain my energy levels naturally through the day. I don't know what I'd do without them now. I get my essential oils HERE.
I couldn't be happier with kicking my coffee habit. Yes, I still have the occasional cup of delicious, delicious coffee when I'm out. Rarely, like once a month at most. But, I'm done with the morning habit. I like my teas and my dandy and I sleep. So. Much. Better. And I'm less frazzled. I feel less stressed out and jittery all the time. I'm sure my cortisol levels have evened out and I just feel so much better all around. It is definitely worth it.
Are you willing to give a coffee-free life a try?
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