I Quit Coffee Forever — Benefits of Quitting Caffeine
Courtney, 2015 Edition would have never in a million years thought she would have typed such an absurd post title as that one up there.
But it’s true. I quit coffee and I don’t miss it one bit. In all fairness, I did miss it briefly, but I don’t now.
The decision to break up with coffee came easily. I knew my coffee consumption was a little out of hand, although I didn’t particularly care. I enjoyed the taste, I relished the warm mug experience, and how many things do we moms consume that the kids don’t ask us to share? It kept me awake, and it wasn’t causing me any noticeable problems.
Around the same time that Mister wanted to do his January detox, which included caffeine, I found out that my iron was low. Knowing that caffeine blocks iron absorption, I thought I’d help my supplementation along and at the same time make the caffeine detox a little easier for Mister by not tempting him with my mug. The decision part made sense. I wouldn’t miss it that much, would I?
Ladies and gents, caffeine withdrawal isn’t fun, especially if you’re someone who sips all day. Headaches, fatigue, cravings, crankies, brain fog, and did I mention headaches? It amounted to about a week of feeling pretty darn awful, and an additional week of having less severe but noticeable symptoms.
Then one day, I didn’t feel awful. In fact, I felt fantastic. So fantastic, that I felt compelled to list all of the benefits on a piece of paper, just to quantify for myself how wonderful it’s been.
I’m not addicted to anything
I didn’t become a daily coffee drinker until I became a stay-at-home mom. (Nope, not even when I was a working mom with a twice-daily 45-minute commute, starting my day at 4:45am.) Once I started, it didn’t take long to realize that I was at the point where I couldn’t function without the stuff. Inevitably, I ran into a few times when I wanted coffee and couldn’t get to any.
Who wants to feel terrible until we can drink something to feel normal?
Road trips without having to plan for coffee
Since we’re no longer addicted to anything, we don’t have to plan for coffee while away from home. Getting coffee is easy if we’re in a populated area, but we’re camping enthusiasts, and getting decent coffee while camping isn’t always a walk in the park (cheesy pun intended). Powdered coffee in a lukewarm water bottle, anyone? Yuck. Now, we don’t have to worry about it.
For years, I’ve been all-too-familiar with the 2pm crash, and I would crash hard. Which was a bummer, because my kids usually nap then. So, just as small people stopped peppering me with requests, I would become a bag of mush unless I jolted myself awake with coffee.
I simply don’t experience that caffeine crash anymore.
When I wake in the morning, I’m awake. I don’t have that hour where my eyes are glued shut while I’m going through the motions, making my coffee then waiting for its effects to kick in. When I’m up, I’m simply up. At risk of sounding trite, I feel like a new person.
When I go to sleep at night, I close my eyes and I’m asleep, just like that. No more lying awake waiting to nod off, no more to-do list racing in my mind. I just sleep, and I don’t wake in the middle of the night without the help of my toddler.
The low coffee crankies are real. Now that I’m not dependent on caffeine, I’m not irritable just because I need my fix. Instead, I’m cranky because I found a bunch of dirty socks wedged in the bookshelf instead of in the hamper.
Coffee-stained teeth? No, thank you. I feel that my teeth have whitened since I gave up coffee, perhaps with the help of oil pulling which is another post. They’re also not as temperature-sensitive, which tells me they’re getting stronger. Win and win.
Lower mycotoxin intake
I’ve been hyper-aware of the toxins I’m taking in lately, and coffee is a big harbor of mycotoxins (a by-product of molds that like to hang out on certain foods). Now that coffee is out of the picture, I have to address one less source of toxins that burden the liver and kidneys.
Caffeine actually has an effect again
Before giving up coffee, copious amounts o’ Joe were keeping me normal, not energized. Now that I’m not adapted to the effects of caffeine, coffee will actually work to give me a jolt, should I need it. I hope to never need it.
Caffeine stays in our system long after we consume it. Even small levels of caffeine in the system have been shown to reduce sleep efficiency and duration. And then we wake up tired, then we need more…it’s quite the hamster wheel.
Believe me, there were times when I wanted to throw in the towel and reach for just one more glorious cup. But I pushed on, saying that I would make the decision once I “got through this,” not knowing the extent of what caffeine withdrawal would mean for me. But giving up coffee was the best decision I made this year, hands down.
Originally published at intentionalish.com on March 24, 2016.