When i was a kid my parents used to make coffee every morning with an old Bialetti Moka pot. I grew up with the heart-warming smell of freshly brewed Coffee in the kitchen and i have perpetuated the tradition since then.
I am a coffee aficionado. I started drinking coffee at an early age and i never looked back since. I enjoy coffee so much, the smell of freshly grounded coffee, the taste of a good espresso, warming, comforting, cocooning,… hmmm in fact where is my cup right now?
Why i decided to give up Coffee for a month
I drink coffee on a regular basis, or should i say daily basis,
or should i say hourly basis? Seriously, i am really what people would call a heavy coffee drinker. I can’t start my day without a proper espresso. In fact, the thought of having my morning coffee motivates me to get out of bed every day.
My routine is a simple one, every morning, i prepare my coffee with a family size Bialetti Moka pot and drink the whole thing before leaving for work. This beverage is what i call my Supersized Espresso (Yes it is normally intended for 4 to 6 people!). Then, i will probably have another coffee mid-morning at work, another one after lunch, and again in the afternoon (Don’t tell my GP!).
For the past few years, in order to improve my health and challenge my body, i have started doing an annual month of Detox / Cleansing / Restriction (call it whatever you want) to challenge my body and improve my mindfulness. During that month, i remove a certain type of foods from my diet and change my habits. Last year, for example, i went vegetarian for a month, avoided any type of highly processed food and i switched to cold shower every morning. These experiences are challenging but tends to be really rewarding afterwards.
This year, my “Detox” took place in May and i decided to include removing coffee in the process (to give your more details, besides many other things, the idea was to drink only water for a month). This was really challenging. In fact, removing Coffee was my biggest apprehension. How can i survive without coffee for a month? how would my body react? what would happen?
To give you a better understanding of my situation; I am a manager working for one of those big global corporations which means, lots of responsibilities, long hours at work and a stressful performance-driven environment. Add to that 6 days of workout to my weekly schedule and you have a pretty good understanding of why coffee is an essential beverage in my daily life.
The first day was fine, the following was hell…
Here we are, it was beginning of May, the first day of my month of Detox, i said good bye to my dear Black Gold friend and started what would be a really challenging month.
I don’t want to discourage any of you taking the noble path of caffeine detox. The below is a description of my own experience, and i want to warn you of what you might experience. Everyone reacts differently and here is my personal feedback.
The first day of the detox was curiously fine. It was a Monday, i skipped my morning coffee as well as all the other ones and it was ok. I was not feeling tired or in need for my caffeine fix. I went to the gym after work without any lack of motivation, It was probably the calm before the storm.
The following day i started feeling tired and in need for a coffee. It has worsened the following days. I was feeling sluggish, really tired, i was thinking about having coffee almost constantly in the morning. It was really hard to motivate myself to get things done, and especially to go to the gym after work.
Feeling tired was not the worse part of the experience, after a few days i started feeling lightheaded. I was experiencing brain fog, i had episode where it was really difficult to concentrate (especially in long meetings).
I also experienced a strange feeling of dizziness on a daily basis, most of the time in crowded places.
I was thinking about having coffee every day, it was hard to stay motivated and keep up with the challenge.
I was not prepared nor expecting all of this to happen. To resume it in few words; I was basically feeling like sh*t all day.
Out of one month of detox it took me approximately three weeks to feel that my dependency to Coffee was gone. Some days were easier than the others, some mornings were really tough.
After these three weeks, i have started feeling good if not better, the symptoms of caffeine withdraws were almost non-existent. I could feel that i was less nervous and agitated than usual (compared to when i was drinking coffee).
What did i do to counter these awful effects during three weeks? Nothing! I considered that these effects were my body telling me how dependant i was to caffeine.
It was a great reminder for my years of caffeine excess! You know this kind of awful long lasting hangover which reminds you to drink less during your next night out.
It would have been too easy to have a magic pill to counter all of that, but i had to experience hell to understand what caffein dependency is really all about.
If you want more information regarding the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal here is an interesting like from the website Caffeineinformer.
The first Coffee afterwards
I have to admit, after a month without coffee i was really impatient about the idea of tasting coffee again. It was a weird mix of feeling between excitement and guilt (i know i was going back again to my old habit).
The first coffee i had after this month of detox was not that great to be honest. I was quite disappointed, even though i have to mention it was just a random Nespresso i took at the office prior a long meeting.
However, I have to say, this coffee gave me an amazing buzz, a great kick, something i rarely experienced with coffee before, i was focused and feeling full of energy for the next few hours.
The bad news is, … it probably took me about a week to be accustomed to Coffee again and get back to my old habits.
A month later, i drink coffee like water again, and i feel bad about it (I know it is bad but i just love the taste soo much!). I still keep in mind how tough these three weeks were.
I have tried to buy decaf to compensate, but the taste is simply not the same (or may be it is psychological?). I try to convince myself that if it is impossible for me to stop drinking coffee, i should at least reduce my consumption to 2 cups a day.
One thing is for sure, looking back at this experience, removing coffee for a month will be part of my annual detox from now on.
My advice if you want to give up coffee :
Here is my list of key advice if you want to stop coffee. Whether it is for a few weeks, a month, or for a lifetime:
- Enjoy your last sip of Coffee (Probably the most important one!)
- Forget about Decaf. They still have caffeine in it, and even if it was not the case, the taste of coffee would work as a Placebo on your body and would probably trigger a similar reaction. Here is an interesting link about that
- Forget about Tea (at least at the beginning). Most of them contain caffeine. I would recommend you to look for a caffeine free option of Herbal Teas.
- Forget about the fizzy drinks (They put caffeine everywhere). Most of the soda available contain caffeine.
- Say no to that one cup of coffee. It is like a cigarette, if you drink one, you will have your second and third in hand even without noticing it. Stay true to your decision.
- Think about the bigger picture. Quitting caffeine is not easy but it has so many benefits for your health. I won’t go into too many details about it in this post but you can have a look at this link which explains really well the 20 awesome benefits of quitting coffee.
To conclude this post, i would recommend all the heavy coffee drinkers to try and give up coffee for a few weeks if not a month just to understand and appreciate the effect it has on your body.
Have you ever tried to give up Coffee for a month ? Let me know about it in the comments section below.
And don’t forget, health is wealth, my friends.