I adore coffee.
Everything about it: the smell, the ritual, the taste of a delicious well crafted latte… and if I am being 100% honest, I also love the buzz it gives me.
But my love affair with coffee is akin to a tragic love story where coffee does not love me back as much as I love it.
You remember that book a while back called He’s Just Not That Into You? Yeah, that basically sums up my relationship with coffee.
Coffee gives me mixed messages. It gives me feelings of euphoria and then a huge crash later. It can leave me feeling like a crazy woman from the wild fluctuations in my mood. And if I’m not careful, it can leave me hanging on like an addict who’s in denial about reality: I can easily become addicted to coffee.
A couple of years ago, I finally faced my bad love affair with coffee head on.
I was a few months into being a new mom and was overly tired and overly caffeinated. It was not a pretty combo. I had a sneaking suspicion that coffee wasn’t treating me right.
I was having a hard time getting good rest, my cravings were out of control, I was super edgy and had pretty wild mood swings. I knew that I was simply having too much of it and instead of helping me it was hurting me. Of course I know that I can’t pin all of these things solely on coffee (being a new mom with poor sleep is cause enough), but the coffee certainly wasn’t helping.
I finally got to a breaking point when my son was around 8 months old and decided enough was enough: I needed to take care of myself and feed myself as well as I was striving to feed and take care of my baby.
I was hesitant but decided that in order to really know how coffee effected me I needed to step away from it for a bit. Around this time I had the opportunity to do a whole foods cleanse with Stefanie of Luz Feminina and part of the 5-day cleanse was to give up coffee.
I was dubious. And in complete denial about just how addicted I was to coffee!
As hard as it was to give up coffee for those 5 days, I did it. I won’t lie, it was HARD. It definitely took a couple of days to get through the bad headaches but after that I was shocked to experience better, more even energy, calmer moods and feeling more rested.
It was one of the best gifts I ever gave myself.
Through that experience, I realized how important it is to analyze our relationship with the foods/beverages we consume all the time and honestly evaluate the effect they have on our lives and health.
After the cleanse I played around with caffeine: from only drinking one cup of coffee in the morning, to giving up all caffeine 1-2 days a week, to drinking only 1 cup of half caff coffee on the mornings I did drink it to finally reach where I am now: taking 1 week off coffee per month.
Because here’s the thing, I really, really love coffee. I want to have it in my life in a thoughtful way. I just need to be mindful of how much I drink and honor the way my body metabolizes it.
What I’ve found through my experimentation is that I do really well metabolizing 1 cup of coffee per morning most mornings as long as I take periodic breaks from caffeine. The breaks seem to help my body “reset” and metabolize the caffeine better. Please note: this is not backed by any hard science! It’s simply what I’ve discovered through my exploration and experimentation with my own body and its unique genetics.
However, this is fundamental to my nutrition philosophy: I encourage all my clients to honestly and openly evaluate how coffee and all foods/drinks effect them so that they can discover a way to eat and drink that helps them look and feel their best.
Because what I do might not be what you need to do and vice versa.
So what’s a girl to do if coffee is just not that into you?
As hard and as scary as it might sound, I encourage you to take a break from coffee for at least 5 days.
Here are my tips to make a coffee detox a bit easier:
- Start tapering down your caffeine intake the week or so beforehand by gradually cutting down to volume to no more than 1 cup in the morning and swapping out full caff for 1/2 caff.
- Drink a TON of water! I love starting my day with a cup of warm lemon water and a full glass of regular water. I find this actually helps me wake up even more than coffee does.
- Take something for the headaches. I usually take IBuprofen in the morning for the first day or two I give up caffeine completely.
- Be extra kind with yourself. If you are like me, your productivity might take a hit while you are detoxing the caffeine. As best as you can, try to cut down your to-do list for the week you are detoxing.
- Have fun exploring and enjoying other beverages!
Here are some of my favorite drinks to have when I am taking a break from coffee:
- Homemade hot chocolate (see recipe below)
- Rooibos tea
- Green tea
- Lemon water
- Mint tea
- Ginger tea
- Apple cider vinegar + honey or maple syrup
Easy homemade cocoa recipe to help curb cravings:
✅1 tsp honey
✅1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
✅add ~1/3 boiling water to make a paste
✅add ~2/3 cup of your favorite type of milk.
Drink at room temperature or heat up a bit more in the microwave and enjoy!
Optional add-ins: vanilla, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, sea salt, gelatin (collagen hydrolysate), chopped nuts/seeds.
Cocoa is an excellent tool for curbing cravings from withdrawal or when you are trying to lose weight. I often drink 1 cup in the morning and another in the afternoon along with a high protein snack to keep energy levels up and cravings at bay.
Last thing. Let me be clear: I don’t think everyone needs to give up caffeine but I do believe everyone should honestly evaluate how it effects them. And the best way to do that is to take a break from it, as hard as that is! Give your body a chance to see if it just might feel better a different way.
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