March 4, 2012

Why I Broke Up with Coffee


My relationship with coffee started in the spring of 2007 when I started teaching. When I would drive nearly 30 minutes to the high school where I was student teaching, the sun was no where close to waking up. Our school day started at 7:15 and in those lowly January and February mornings, it was all I had to just make it to school on time. I started off by drinking a glass of juice in the morning and then realized maybe something warm would keep me awake. I transitioned to tea and before long, it acted as all gateway drugs do, and turned me on to coffee. 

I love coffee. I love going to get coffee with my husband. I love reading with coffee. I love planning breakfast envisioning a warm cup of coffee right beside my bacon. I love the warmth it provides to the mug and, in turn, to my hands while I hold it. I love the energy it brings me first thing in the morning and how if I treat it right, it can take me right into the night. 

But it became too much. Even though I was only drinking a cup a day--give or take 8-14 ounces, I was going crazy. I would become jittery by 9:30 a.m. and be jumping on the anxiety train by 10. I would lose a lot of sleep because my brain wouldn't turn off. I was drinking coffee because I loved it, but it made me paranoid. I was thinking and worrying about frivolous details--Cory! You accidentally threw away this aluminum can instead of recycling it!

Long story short, in early February there was a moment when I thought my heart was going to explode. I was at work and my heart was beating so fast and I just said, "enough" and chugged a few cups of water to help my body. 

The next day, I decided to start to ween myself off of coffee; we clearly needed some space. I had about two sips and then just told myself that I simply didn't need it anymore.

And you know what--ever since, I have been just fine. 

Like I mentioned earlier, I have been making breakfast parfaits every morning for breakfast. I use a 1/4 cup of vanilla yogurt on the bottom, cut up fresh strawberries, bananas, and blackberries to equal about a cup of fruit, and then use another 1/4 cup on top. I add in a handful of granola on the top, mix it up, and it's delicious. Way more delicious than coffee. The natural sugars of the parfait help me naturally wake up--nice and easy. 

Knowing that coffee wouldn't be around any more--I also decided to change when I leave for work in the morning. Before I would abuse my snooze button all too much and I would rely on coffee to get me to the "place" that I needed to be to feel successful for my day. No more. I do that on my own. I wake up at the same time, every day, 6:15 a.m. and I drive to work as the sun is coming up. By the time I'm at work the sun is fully shining. It's like I'm waking up with the sun. It's awesome.

Now, you might be wondering, what about all other forms of caffeine? Chocolate, tea, sodas? I have not eliminated chocolate from my diet. I mean... I just don't want to torture myself. However, I don't consume a lot of chocolate on a regular basis--unless these guys are around. I have abstained from drinking any caffeinated tea, which is sad because I so love me some green tea, but I have found that Celestial Seasoning tea brand carries a lot of yummy teas that are caffeine free. For example, I'm really loving the Honey Vanilla Chamomile and Raspberry Zinger. Also, I have never been much of a soda drinker, so this hasn't really changed much, but if I feel like I really want some bubbly carbonation with lunch, I'll just drink Sprite or Root Beer. No big deal. 

And obviously, due to the lack of caffeine in my diet, I am sleeping like a champ. I am sleeping very soundly and deeply. It is amazing. I still hold the same sleeping hours--but I have found my sleep is much more restful, and for that, I am grateful.

Have you given up an element of your diet that has changed the way you feel? 
Or have you experienced the same symptoms from caffeine? 

I would love to hear from you!

Caffeine Free Liz

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