Your fellow Happy, Steph, asked me this yesterday:
“Yaz – I noticed, either here or on Primped, that you don’t drink coffee – can you cover that for us? How did you give it up? Why did you give it up? What did you replace it with? I’m trying to kick the habit (for health reasons) but I can’t seem to break it”.
Your investigation is spot on, I don’t drink coffee (unless I’m in Guatemala where they are famous for their coffee, in which case I take one for the team and deal with consequences later) but generally speaking, coffee and I are absolutely not mates.
I’ve always found to have a great sensitivity to caffeine, even when I did drink coffee everyday I found it to make me extremely jittery, nervous, anxious, hot, clouded, and generally feeling like shit. I adore the taste, and the whole ritual of having a warming drink at my desk in the morning, but the health consequences far outweighed the ritual for me.
Since I’ve started getting more and more involved in health, food, lifestyle and general awareness of what I put in my body, I’ve found through reading books and studies that coffee takes a serious toll on your body, your nervous system, and your ability to absorb essential minerals such as iron, magnesium, and zinc, as well as B vitamins.
I’m reading a remarkable book at the moment called Integrated Nutrition by Joshua Rosenthal which goes into the negative effects of drinking coffee. He mentions the findings above, as well as claiming that the adrenaline boost coffee gives us jolts our central nervous system into thinking it’s time to wake up and get moving. Over time, this unnatural kick start to our system create stress levels that can damage our immune system.
The initial reason for me giving up coffee was because I didn’t like that jittery feeling, and I also found I was putting on weight. I knew the stuff just didn’t agree with me, so I decided to cut it out. That said, I was never ‘addicted’ to coffee, I just went through a stage of a few months of having one daily, so my experience of detoxing from it might be a little different to yours.
What I would suggest for you is to slowly remove coffee from your life. You’ll notice nasty side-effects like headaches, mood swings, lethargy, and tiredness but hang in there and know that what you’re doing will be well worth it. Start by cutting down the number of coffees you have, as well as switching from full-strength, to half-strength, to decaf.
Then, start mastering the art of reading tea leaves. Or at least tasting them. I drink green tea daily now, I absolutely love it and mix it with all kinds of other interesting blends like Gun Powder and Japanese. Green Tea still contains caffeine but on a much lesser scale, so you’re not having to go too far in the opposite direction.
Other substitutes include chai, dandelion (a soy dandy latte is heaven), Oolong, Rooibos tea, a caffeine-free coffee substitute called Pero, and so many more. Once you start playing around with different blends and tastes you like, coffee will be an easy thing to give up. Trust me. I’m not sure where you live but T2 have many great teas, or your local Chinatown will have an abundance of fun things to try.
Enjoy, and I hope that helps.