I Stopped (Started) Drinking Coffee
Coffee is the ex that you can’t be friends with
First, a bit of housekeeping. One other thing I did last week was realize a Friday deadline, while a tidy bookend, doesn’t give me the time I want to write something (hopefully) worthwhile. New posts will be coming to you on MONDAYS now instead of Fridays, reflecting whatever misadventures I got into the week before. Let’s crack into it.
Here’s the tea on coffee.
We have a complicated history. I love it, but it doesn’t love me back (anymore). Sometimes I bump into coffee on the street after months of hardly ever thinking about it, and then it all comes rushing back. The old routine of meeting up every day, holding the warm cup when it’s cold out. Sipping cold brew when it’s hot. In every season, it’s there. It’s been there for me since high school. It saw me through disgustingly sugary french vanilla cappuccinos to the studious depths of dark roast with a scoch of cream and sugar senior year of college and beyond. We went on so many coffee dates together. Coffee met all my friends, even solidified some friendships for the rest of my life (love you, Cait).
But a few years ago, maybe more than a few now, I decided that coffee and I needed to break it off. It was so hard because we still loved each other so much, but coffee was hurting me, and that isn’t a healthy relationship. The realization hit while on “The Cleanse of 2014” with my sweet roommate and his now-husband. Advised by a trained nutritionist and life coach, we prepared. For five weeks (one prep week, three cleanse, one easing old foods back in) we cut out dairy, meat, added sugar, gluten, alcohol and COFFEE! When I tried to let coffee back in my life, we just didn’t get along any more.
I didn’t quit drinking coffee, of course. We stayed together for a really long time. It was when my boyfriend had a heart scare that turned out to be over-caffeination propelling his heart rate that I stopped. I quit out of solidarity, but I still had coffee on my mind.
Off and on again, coffee and I have a danger infatuation with each other. We reconnect, it lasts a few weeks, then I come to my senses. The appeal of coffee has never been the caffeine, it’s deeper. I don’t need coffee to have energy. Coffee culture, however, is SO fascinating. When people see me with coffee, I’m cool by association. You look at me and think, “There’s a girl who has an extra $5 for Starbucks in the morning”. I look like I’m so preoccupied with my fascinating and busy life that I need a little coffee to clear my head. My last backslide was pretty much the whole month before Christmas. I mean, they put so many damn delicious things in coffee that time of year. Pumpkin spices, gingerbread, peppermint, miracles, happiness, joy, and of course my personal favorite, cinnamon.
This past week marked the first truly brutal days of cold weather this winter, with temps in the single digits. Bitter cold, huge sweaters and dull skies had me craving coffee so badly that I spent a stunning amount of time daydreaming about it. I would never, but if I did, where would we meet up? What kind would I get? Would I get a pastry, too? Everyone near me on the train had coffee, and it smelled amazing. I slowed down walking by any one of the 10 places to get coffee on my walk to work.
On Thursday it was rainy but not too cold and I WANTED a coffee SO BAD I almost took laundry money to get a cheap one from the cart by work with the nice lady that calls me mami or hon, and it's, like, one of the only times I don’t mind it. She puts 2% milk and regular old sugar in it, and it reminds me of coffee at my grandparents house. My brain was running in circles, dancing around my resolve to not have coffee. I had to jump off the hamster wheel that was spinning in my brain, so I wrote down my feelings as a pros/cons list. For your entertainment, my (largely unedited) lists.
PRO: Give Yourself a Coffee!
You could use your new metal straw and save all the sea turtles. It looks good when other people are carrying coffee, they look so cool. Making a coffee stop delays you a bit more in getting to work, so bonus! It’s only a few dollars, and up until a few months ago, having spare money for coffee wasn’t even a thing. Live a little. It will make the day better because you’ll have coffee energy. It makes you look so cool to carry a coffee around and say things like “First coffee, amiright?”. Cold brew is so trendy and it doesn’t even hurt my stomach as much as hot coffee. Everyone ELSE IS DOING IT!
CON: Say No To Coffee.
You get super wound up, and not in a productive energy kind of way. You get hyper and can’t dispense the energy then you feel unaccomplished for not dispensing the energy. You poop angry, smelly poops, the poops come out many times during the day and urgently. It makes your heart race. It makes your stomach hurt. You feel shaky. You think you need to eat to soak up the coffee, enter terrible junk food lunch. After you eat, you crash hard. Coffee cups create more garbage and are bad for the environment. It doesn’t even taste THAT good; when it does taste really good, it’s because there is way too much sugar in it. You haven’t had any coffee since Christmas, hold on!
The thing I did this week is I didn’t give in, so I guess it’s the one thing I didn’t do. Coffee did not get a text or a “oh my gosh, I must have butt dialed you!” call. It’s a small thing, but one cup always leads to more and then I’m drinking it every day again and feeling gross for it. Substitutions help, though. My cold weather sub of choice is a hot chai latte, heavy on the chai. I’ve also developed love for milk tea, sometimes with bubbles, hot or cold. So good. Tea in general is helping, but of course is never quite the same.