Why I Quit Coffee, And Why You Should Probably Start Decaffeinating
Papa could never refuse me anything, so when I asked to dip my buttered pan de sal in 3-in-1 coffee at 10 years old, he let me. We would bond over it, and ever since then, I’ve been having a cup of Joe every morning.
Fast-forward to my thirty year old self, I found myself retiring my religious cup of brew.
I quit coffee cold, and shockingly, I don’t miss it. I’m still surprised by how this happened. How could I have quit Americano just like that, with no withdrawals, no relapse, when just one month ago, I would literally feel my head throb and my hands twitch if I didn’t have a shot of espresso by 11 a.m.? When the smell of coffee roasting was literally the only thing I looked forward to in the morning? When I swore by my latte for keeping my weight in check as it sedated hunger and cravings? I literally lived by the creed: Nothing and no one happens before I sip coffee.
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Back-story: I’ve been a closet coffeeholic for years. I would literally run days on caffeine alone and it thinned my intestinal lining and inflamed my gut until I suffered ulcer. I always tell my clients, payback for bad habits start at 35, mine came 5 years earlier. The skinny bi*tch diet I lived on since I was a teenager literally gave me the most painful cramps that there are mornings when I won’t even be able to get out of bed without feeling my gut twist in knots.
Still I didn’t want to quit coffee, (yup, I was a certified addict!) Because of my profession, I knew how to detox the acid off my system every time I would get an attack. I would do blood oxygen transfusion therapy, (think holistic dialysis), drink three liters of lemon water or do hot compresses to relieve myself from symptoms that hurt me until I decided it wasn’t worth suffering for anymore.
Clearly, my body was begging off caffeine and here I was forcing the issue just because I enjoyed the taste. If I needed a wake up call, I knew Matcha, English breakfast tea, and even a steaming cup of hot cocoa or a green juice would do the job just as well sans the acid. If I wanted something to keep my stomach warm in the afternoon, I could always have ginger tea, which is actually even more soothing. The only thing I can never substitute is the smell of coffee beans, which is why I'm one of those “looney-tunes” smelling coffee beans at cafes while putting an order for green tea.
If you’re thinking of quitting or even just reducing your coffee intake, here are some fast perks to push you through it:
Steadier breathing. Caffeine has been linked to raising blood pressure and inducing heart palpitations.
Younger looking skin. Coffee dehydrates us; in fact—for every cup of coffee, it is recommend to drink a tall glass of water right after. Dehydration causes wrinkles and breakouts!
Better sleep. Caffeine stays 4-6 hours in the body, which means taking it in the afternoon literally jeopardises your chances of getting a good night sleep. Even if you only take it before noon, quitting caffeine altogether is known to improve overall sleep quality.
Good mood. Coffee alters your mood. The spike you get when you drink it also causes you to crash and feel lethargic when it wears down. Decaffeinating keeps your feelings even instead of seesawing.
Coffee also overstimulates the adrenals through the adenosine receptors, this is why people who take too much coffee are more prone to feel anxious, or agitated.
Fewer trips to the loo. Caffeine inflames the thin muscle tissue surrounding the colon, causing it to contract which makes you run for a bathroom break.
Whiter teeth. My dentists told me it’s futile to have expensive teeth whitening treatments if I’m just going to drink coffee anyway. Coffee stains the worst (turmeric too by the way) and it also erodes the enamel, causing for darker coloured and more sensitive teeth.
How to reduce/quit coffee?
Switch out your morning brew with an equally indulgent hot drink: On my case, hot cocoa! You can also opt for Matcha, Early Grey tea, English Breakfast tea, or even Decaf!
Make hydration throughout the day fun: Steep your water in lemon, lemongrass and ginger, or use cardamom, cloves and ginger to spice water, you can also use cucumber or pomelo! The key is to motivate you to be hydrated so there wont be space (or cravings) for coffee.
To stay alert mid-day: A green juice that has green apple, ginger and celery is the best recipe!
Fact: Professional gamers from Australia once hired me to supply them 30 bottles of freshly pressed green juice for the championship round because they swear by its potency without jeopardising their nerves!
Good luck with decaffeinating, and have fun with it!
Lead photos from @shaymitchell