Six Weeks Without Coffee



Six years ago, I didn’t drink coffee. I didn’t drink tea. I didn’t drink caffeinated soda. If I drank soda, it was root beer which is not usually caffeinated.

But that was six years ago. 

Four years ago, I was introduced to naturally caffeine-free herbal teas, which I still love. Then I was introduced to coffee and flavored caffeinated teas. Both of which I liked and both of which I thought helped me get through working part time, interning full-time, and going to night school. 

That lifestyle ended a year ago and I continued drinking coffee and caffeinated teas…until I was hospitalized. 

I won’t go into details, but my menus were marked "no caff" (for "no caffeine") and the social worker told me drinking caffeine wasn’t recommended. (As you can see below, I was allowed decaf coffee, decaf hot tea, and decaf iced tea.)

 
Honestly, I don’t think caffeine was heavily discussed in any of my nutrition classes but I’m sure it’s “not recommended” for most people with illness. 

About 50 of my current 300 patients are on caffeine free diets.

But back to me…. when I returned home, I wrapped up all my caffeinated teas in a box, taped it shut and put it on a shelf. I knew I wouldn’t be able to avoid drinking it forever. 

I went 6 whole weeks (42 days) without drinking caffeinated soda, coffee, or tea. I still received small amounts of caffeine from chocolate. 

And, surprisingly, I didn’t miss it much…

For one, while in the hospital, I started on medication that made me drowsy and knocked me out around 8:30 PM. So, I was getting more than 8 hours of sleep each night and able to tackle an 11 hour workday without a cup of coffee or two.

Not working as many 11 hour days has also helped.

But, when I do work long days, I make sure I get up and move. I usually feel like I’m running around the building at work, but two days a week are filled with meetings. If I don’t have coffee, I need food and water and movement to help me make it through them. 

That’s just it. I need food and water and movement to stay healthy and alert. I don’t need caffeine to be healthy or to be alert.  

Admittedly, I believe in everything in moderation and have had several cups of coffee since the end of my 6-week-coffee-detox, if you want to call it that. 

It’s been another 6 weeks and I’m definitely not drinking anywhere near as much coffee as I was.
Although I hadn’t realized it in the spring, my habits had become a problem. 

A friend had said to me one day, “You’re going to get a high and then crash.” I hadn’t taken him seriously at the time.  But, he was right in a way. Even if I didn’t notice a caffeine “crash,” I probably was hurting myself by allowing coffee to be the solution to my problems rather than maintaining my energy with sleep, exercise, water and good food.


What about you? What gives you the energy to get through the day? 

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