Today is my first day going without coffee in a long time.
God, I hope I can do it this time. I’ve tried half-heartedly over the years when inspiration would hit that it might not be the best thing to drink every day.
I’d read a study saying coffee was healthy, and I’d load up on it. Then, I’d read one that said it could have toxins in it, mold, and just generally nasty things. Following, I’d get the urge to get off it.
Then, I’d say, “fuck it” because I love coffee so much in all the different ways you can drink it. I’d drink it. Then, I’d rethink it and I’d scale back a bit. Then, I’d go back to loving it because it seemed too much of a loved ritual to give it up. Then, again, I’d feel stressed drinking it and give it up. Fuck, I’m a mess.
I was a wreck over coffee.
I knew I was addicted to it. It’s a drug after all. Still, I could talk myself into drinking it or not, at any moment. Back and forth.
Deep down though, my intuition told me too many times to cut caffeine out of my life.
Years ago I gave up caffeine and it was great. I told others how they, too, could give up caffeine.
Then, I slowly added it back to my life. Sometimes regular coffee, sometimes not. I’d drink half-caffeine, fully leaded, and sometimes drink decaf all day long. The point is that I kept drinking it.
Today, I decided to stop cold-turkey.
I had a reason.
You might not know it, but I’m back on my carnivore diet. If you’re not familiar, it means I don’t eat plants.
Earlier this year I stopped eating plants for about 80 days and it was pretty awesome. Then, well, travel around the world happened, and it was too hard to maintain. Meat costs too much money in some areas.
But, in England, we found that I could do it, and still be frugal thanks to stores like Morrisons and Tesco.
So, I started back on the carnivore diet May 15.
Again, I have great success with it like I wrote about last time.
(Update: I even wrote a book, The Carnivore Diet Handbook detailing my experience and showing others how they can try a carnivore diet.)
But here’s the thing. Coffee is a plant extract.
I drank coffee when I did my first experiment with the carnivore diet. If you read that post you’ll see at the bottom where I share my food journal that I go back and forth with coffee. I say I’ll stop and then I drink 3 times as much. 🤪
But I really wanted to cut the coffee and tea out of my life.
I wanted all plants gone to get a real true sense of being plant free. Even though I wasn’t eating plants, these were extracts and they have caffeine and other plant chemicals, which I want to avoid right now.
Plus, there are those badass carnivore dieters out there like Charlene who drinks only water! No coffee. She eats ribeyes every day and drinks water (for like 20 years). She’s looking good, too. Go, Charlene!
Today was the day though!
I got serious about quitting caffeine!
Here’s what happened… I heard on the Human Performance Outliers podcast, between Dr. Shawn Baker and Amber O’Hearn, that caffeine is an insecticide.
Yeah, an insecticide.
Aren’t I always trying to avoid those?
I mean… didn’t I spend years avoiding pesticides and insecticides by buying organic?
Oh wait, that’s right, I learned recently that plants make their own! Oh, but those are natural so they must be ok?
I’m starting to reconsider everything I thought I knew.
Now I realize that caffeine is an insecticide, and I’m consuming it daily in my coffee. And, we’re not talking insecticides because it’s not organic coffee. No, the caffeine itself that’s naturally in the plant is protecting the plant from insects, and I’m consuming that in my coffee.
Suddenly, my mind shifted.
I thought about coffee differently. I decided to dig a bit deeper and did some googling.
According to a New York Times article,
“Caffeine and related compounds are potent, natural insecticides that help plants ward off damaging pests. … The scientist also found that when caffeine compounds were mixed with certain other natural insecticides, an increase in their killing power occurred. The potency of the combination, the researchers found, was far greater than that of the sum of the parts. In one test, for example, a known pesticide combined with a small amount of a synthetic caffeine compound was 10 times more potent than the pesticide alone, the report said.”
The article went on to discuss how it harms the insects. I know I’m not an insect but I still ponder the possible implications of consuming these things, especially on a daily basis. There’s always risks and benefits to consider.
So, I put the label on my coffee jar “insecticide” and when I look at it, I see it differently. And, I’m kind of excited because, maybe, I finally hit upon something to help me quit coffee and caffeine for good.
One might inquire as to decaf coffee.
I know I did, but I love the buzz from caffeine and I’m addicted to it. I’m addicted to that drug. Decaf won’t scratch that itch. I can’t help but say, “Why bother.”
Furthermore, the coffee plant protecting itself doesn’t stop with caffeine. Even though the caffeine is taken out of the plant through later processing, I have to imagine the plant is still equipped with other plant chemicals designed to protect itself.
So, I quit coffee today.
I have a fucking headache, and I’m still trying to manage. I also feel, overall, a bit shitty. That could be real or just because I think quitting caffeine should naturally be difficult, if I’m going cold-turkey.
Here are a few things that have helped (a little):
- I started the day with cold water on my face and that helped.
- I went to the kitchen and turned on some upbeat music to boost my energy. It worked.
- I drank a cup of hot water and surprisingly it was fine.
- I meditated because I was feeling too “off” to work without caffeine. Damn that addiction.
As of now, because I feel differently when I think about coffee, I’m still strong in my efforts. 💪🏼
I actually don’t want coffee. But, I don’t feel well without it for now, and that sucks. It reminds me of the addiction I have, which I don’t want.
This is all temporary and should pass within a few days.
Maybe in the future I’ll have a cup of decaf if there’s a special circumstance warranting it, um… like my first time in Italy or a Paris cafe. To experience the culture. I don’t know.
I’m not convinced my life will be without plants forever, and I don’t think it’s entirely practical either. However, being choosy about them seems like a smart plan. I don’t want to be addicted to coffee, and I feel good about my choice to give it up since it was a daily thing.
I’m hopeful my body will rebalance and in a few days my energy levels will come back naturally instead of being stimulated. I’ll let you know.
Update: I’m on day 4 of giving up coffee and tea. The first day and a half I had headaches and felt overall blah. Yet, I also felt happy to give it up. I was glad I did. I took it easy on myself and didn’t do anything too difficult. 🤪
In fact, the first full day I wok up that morning and felt a tiny sliver of hope that I was on to something great and powerful for me. Just a sliver though.
Then, for the next couple of days I drank boring-ass water in the morning. Sometimes chicken bone broth. The headaches went away and I think I got through the addiction phase. Not too hard.
Here’s the thing though. I love love loved coffee so much and it was a big part of my life. My husband and I cherished cups of coffee together. ☕️ Now that it’s out of my life. I don’t miss the coffee itself; rather, I miss the happy experiences I used to have with it. I miss the feeling of getting excited to wake up because I was going to have coffee.
It’s all a very weird experience.
I’m determined to keep it up though. I will give it a full month to see how I feel longer-term without it. At that point, I might decide to only have a cup on occasion. Maybe it’ll be medicinally if I have a headache and use the caffeine as a drug for that. Maybe it’ll be decaf to experience a cup of coffee while sitting in a cafe in Paris.
Update again: It’s been about a week since I gave it up. I am happy to be off caffeine and don’t have any plans to go back on it regularly.
I am reconsidering decaf coffee though. I know it has its own potential issues but with the caffeine out of it, it might not be as offensive.
My challenge is that I enjoy coffee sooooooo much ☕️ and I think I might really like to have some in my life.
The insecticide label on my coffee jar was put there to turn me off of coffee. But, when I ask myself how it accomplishes that, I’m must be honest that it instills fear in me. Like, who wants to drink insecticide? And, I don’t want to live in fear.
I think living in fear is more harmful than the insecticide.
I’m soul searching, asking a lot of questions of myself. Wondering what is driving my behavior and choices. Most importantly, am I happy with the results? To give up coffee out of fear, I’m not so happy. I don’t know, I’m always trying to think of things from all angles. Do I feel better without it? Not exactly. Hmmm much to consider.
For now, though, I think I will have a small cup of decaf in the morning and see how I respond.