This might sound like an exaggeration, but up until a couple weeks ago (15 days to be exact), I measured my day in beverages.
On my way to work I’d pick up a large iced coffee. Sipping it got me through morning meetings, fended off email overload, and was a ritual that I craved… (desperately – I wasn’t myself without my morning iced coffee.) Once it was lunchtime, I always had a seltzer. Preferably berry, otherwise Mandarin orange. Around 3pm I’d go out / or beg a coworker to get me a second coffee (this time a smaller size), and then around 8pm (if I didn’t have after work plans) it was onto a big glass of wine at home. Beverages marked the beginning, middle, and end of my day… almost like little mile-markers I’d look forward to to get me through the tough ones.
And then I got food poisoning. I’ve always had a sensitive stomach and am used to getting sick for maybe a day or two… but when I didn’t feel better for nearly a week, I headed to the doctor. Her diagnosis was gastritis (which really isn’t a big deal and I’m totally fine now.) She gave me medicine and told me to eat bland, and avoid anything acidic. On that list? All of my beloved beverages. No coffee, no soda, no booze. I’d joke to my friends + coworkers that I had nothing to look forward to throughout the day without my coffee, seltzer, and wine; but it was kind of true, especially with coffee… I really missed/needed it.
The caffeine headaches set in and I felt incredibly groggy. Nothing (at least that I’ve experienced) is worse than a caffeine headache. It felt like my brain was splitting in two and no amount of Advil would make it go away. On top of (at the time) still feeling sick, I was out of it with a pounding headache. But they only lasted a few (grueling) days and then I felt fine.
After dealing with such horrendous headaches, I decided that I never wanted to have them again, and that I’d just give coffee up altogether. This sounds a little extreme, but the other factor in this decision was that I also realized how addicted I’d gotten, and I don’t love feeling that dependent on anything. So I quit it. As I said before, today marks day 15 with no coffee, and it’s gotten much easier. I still miss it… I miss the flavor, and when you add in a little milk + Splenda, it feels like an indulgent treat / dessert. But when I think about the headaches, the cravings, and feeling like I really needed it, I’m glad I quit. And my stomach thanks me… coffee is incredibly acidic — not so good for that.
Now I’m on to iced tea… but just the herbal ones. I get the most delicious Strawberry Mint iced tea from my local coffee shop, or I get Starbucks’ Iced Passion Tea (my other fave.) I drink like, three of them a day. But after seeing some comments on my instagram feed, I’m curious to hear your relationship with caffeine… have you given it up? How did it go?
photo by Lydia Hudgens