Off the Coffee - How I quit coffee in 30 days
Over the last few years, I have changed my dietary habits. I have become more conscious of what I consume. By slowly transitioning I have become aware of the addictive and habitual relationship I have with food and drink. I have been able to dramatically reduce the consumption of alcohol, refined sugar, wheat and poor quality foods like GMO’s and as a result, become more sensitive to how these substances affect my being in a negative way. Feeling that I have transcended these food addictions I moved my attention to coffee. I started to feel unwell after consuming coffee so I started having it with almond milk. Then I reduced the amount of espresso and had weak lattes. Then I reduced the frequency and now, for the last month I have not had any.
Despite my careful planning, I had a few lapses. I completely underestimated how addicted I was. Surprisingly, I found it far easier to abstain from alcohol. And like alcohol coffee has a social component. You are often offered coffee by friends to share in the conversation. Also, the ritual of having a chat with my local barista or café owner psychologically associates coffee with a positive experience. A trip to your local café can be a great way to start the day, and I felt I was giving up that as well as my daily caffeine hit. We all drink coffee for different reasons such as flavor, ritual, temporary relief of exhaustion, improved cognition for work performance or simply habit. But such is the nature of our attachment to coffee, we are not always conscious of these reasons.
Coffee as a band-aid
I discovered I often used coffee to feel better temporarily to get work done. In reality, coffee does not give energy it only offers temporary stimulation. I also realized that this type of use would simply ‘paper of the cracks’ concealing other issues. I really needed rest, I needed to sleep better and I needed to stop over thinking and remain calmer during my workday. Coffee did not help any of these issues and proved only to be a short term solution.
Coffee as a habit
Waking up in the morning and feeling a little tired, we all reach for the coffee cup. But even when I woke up feeling good I would still go straight for it whether I felt I needed it or not. Being used to having the same biochemical reaction every day can become a powerful motivation to stay on the coffee. I started to realized by abstaining from coffee when I’m tired, that the tiredness will pass on its own. On other occasions, my tiredness may be caused by needing food or water. Becoming aware of the habitual nature of coffee use can make it easier to make alternative choices.
Coffee in the Workplace
Coffee is often part of a self-medicating plan to get one through the workday. Also associated with a stress release, the catharsis of a coffee and a chat with colleges has a social benefit. We can reduce our coffee consumption without giving up the communication with others. Finding ways to look after yourself and not become over stressed/stimulated at work can help reduce the perceived need for excess caffeine. Now let’s look at some alternatives to coffee.
With coffee behind me, Chai has become my go-to beverage of choice. Masala Chai still contains some caffeine from the Black Ceylon Tea, however, this is not the same as a coffee buzz. Our Raw Chai contains no caffeine for those that are sensitive to it. The reason I love Chai as I feel it gives me energy rather than just temporary stimulation.
Organic Latte Blends
Latte Blends are a great way to still enjoy the comfort of a hot beverage with only benefits for health. They are great if you are staying off dairy as well. For Turmeric Latte, try with Rice Milk as it brings out the best flavor of the Turmeric. Almond milk makes a great match for Beetroot Latte as it sweetens the flavor.
Organic Herbal Tea
There are many herbal teas available that have many different benefits. My advice is to go for organic and enjoy exploring the amazing world of herbalism. If I ever had the coffee jitters I would drink Lemon Verbena Tea as it has a cleansing/sedative effect. It is also good to have before bed.
Matcha is made through a Japanese process of taking new green growth of the tea plant (camellia sinensis) and making into a fine powder. A renowned alternative to coffee as it has half the caffeine. Matcha delivers energy in a more sustained way throughout the day as opposed to the up and down experience of coffee. It has a unique flavor and some health benefits so our Matcha Latte is worth a try if you still desire some caffeine.
I am surprised at how often a glass of filtered water can make one feel better. Sometimes we simply need fluids rather than stimulation.
Think your way into it. Think your way out of it.
My father used to correct me if I ever said “I’m getting sick” to which he would respond “don’t talk yourself into it”. I believe in many cases we talk ourselves into things. Another example is people saying “I have a terrible memory” through our intent we are reinforcing the belief and making more likely to manifest. I think it is often the same with coffee, we tell ourselves “I couldn’t possibly go without my coffee, I can’t function without it.” I believe this statement is rarely tested and by changing our language and thinking we can examine how true these beliefs are.
There appear to be many negative consequences to drinking too much coffee and the purpose of this is article is not to demonize coffee. All things can be enjoyed when in balance. In my experience, reducing coffee was a psychological and psychosocial issue that demanded I become more aware of my thinking and associated emotional responses. I have had no side effects from quitting coffee but many experience headaches when trying to cut down on coffee and in those cases, one may need to seek advice from a health care professional.
After being off the coffee for a while I have only experienced positive benefits from its absence. I sleep much better and I am more relaxed in general. If you feel your coffee consumption is causing more harm than good, I would recommend a process of patient transition towards alternatives and some reflection on the underlying reasons for your coffee habit.