About five years ago now I finally quit caffeine, after trying to ween off it for months. I simultaneously had radically changed my diet and started exercising regularly, so between all that, I had more energy on the daily than ever before. More energy from NOT drinking coffee every day? Absolutely!
But oh coffee…Who doesn’t love a rich, bold, aromatic cup of coffee or espresso, finished with your favorite milk or creamer to start the day, open your eyes and get moving? It’s delicious, nutty, satisfying and well, part of our routine. So why would anyone want to give that up? You might not! But if you’ve been thinking about quitting, and would like to wake up raring to go, here are some tips and reasons for detoxing caffeine out of your system.
Find your baseline energy
This means no stimulants like sugar or caffeine. What do you feel like when your body is clean, healthy and running on its naturally occurring hormones and chemicals, like adrenaline, cortisol, serotonin and endorphins? Without steep hills and valleys, find an energy level you can sustain throughout the day.
How to quit
Ween - This is probably the easiest and most effective way to switch from a caffeine ritual to one that doesn’t rock your adrenal system. This is how I quit. I started buying decaffeinated coffee along with my regular coffee, mixing in some scoops of the decaf, until eventually all the scoops were decaf. And then after awhile, I quit coffee altogether and switched to herbal tea, because I certainly wasn’t going to give up my morning cup of hot something! After all, this is the ritual, the routine, the ceremony of choice to start the day.
Maybe caffeine is such a deeply integrated part of your daily life that the thought of not having it makes you shiver. If you do decide to quit, studies show that caffeine does indeed have addictive qualities, which means that when you’re trying to move away from it, you may experience temporary withdrawal symptoms, as with any other drug.
- Cold turkey - Not recommended, as this method could swing you too far in the other direction, only to find yourself crawling back for more. In other words, it’s not necessarily sustainable. You wouldn’t want to successfully quit for a short time and then start right back up again.
- Intersperse - Caffeine one day, herbal tea the next, a different herbal tea the next, then some green tea, and so on (you’ll have to stock up on some variety at the grocery store). Similar to weening, this technique is helpful in adopting a new morning habit, showing yourself that it doesn’t totally matter what’s actually in your morning cup. And some herbal teas even lend themselves well to milk/creamer, like rooibos, honeybush and chicory root based teas.
The link between caffeine and insomnia
This might be the best reason to quit the coffee habit. Our bodies are perfect, regulating machines. When our health is optimal, all of our systems can function properly and efficiently. In order for the body to have a chance to heal, operate and do what it’s designed to do, it must be fueled with the best of the best. Sleep is regulated, in part, by the hypothalamus in the brain. There’s no need to add caffeine to help this process along. As long as you’re thriving on a healthy diet, the brain takes care of this function all by itself.
With the absence of artificial/outside stimulants, the body’s sleep mechanism and circadian rhythms can do their thing and afford you the best night’s sleep, every night. This in turn leaves you feeling refreshed, healed, revitalized and optimized for the day ahead. Try it for a month or two and watch how your sleep improves. No more restless nights trying to fall back to sleep after a routine trip to the bathroom and no more middle of the night hours spent online.
No? Not ready for that much disruption in your routine? Then let’s not be one sided here.
Check out my handy pdf, which also shows the benefits of caffeine.
Decide for yourself
Ultimately, the choice is yours. Is it time to quit the coffee habit? Are you ready for a change and wanting to feel more naturally energized? Could you use a better night’s sleep on a more regular basis? Have you been thinking that you want to quit and aren’t sure how? Or maybe you’re not feeling the need to make this change right now and want to stick with your routine.
I’d love to hear from you! Have you found any successful approach to giving up caffeine? Have you noticed any positive changes in the way your body and mind feel? Share with us!