Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Cutting the crap - quitting caffeine

I have been a coffee drinker since I was about 12. For me it was a symbol of adulthood and independence and I've never really moved on from there! While I love a really good coffee, most of what I drink is instant tar usually supplied during work meetings. While I love coffee and a nice cup of tea, I'm not sure they love me.  With a little more time to think about how I feel and how I am affected by difference things it is fairly obvious that after a day drinking tea of coffee I really don't feel that well. It just makes me feel sluggish and upsets my stomach.

Now that I am not working full time in an office the temptation to guzzle down huge amounts of coffee is still there but the fact that I have to make it myself means I have to think about whether a really want a coffee or a tea and whether I should have something else so I have a real opportunity to change my habits. But...............I have tried in the past to give up caffeine and although I have been successful for up to a month, after that I typically get bored and slow slide back into my old habits.

So the challenge is how I am going to make this time different? By having a plan! I found some great guidance on and the plan below is largely based on that.

1. Have a powerful motivating reason and refer back to it regularly.
Think about why you want to give up. For me I want to feel healthier, to be more specific I want to have more energy, improve my sleep, cut headaches and improve my digestion. I also have a lot of problems with muscle tension and wonder if this is connected.

As an additional motivator here are some known side effect from caffeine.
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Heartburn
  • Insomnia
  • Poor digestion
  • Decreased bone density
  • Increased muscle tension
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
That makes it sound about as attractive as smoking,...............................

2. Have a substitute 
If there is nothing else available I will reach for the tea or coffee so some restocking and reorganising is required in the kitchen. I have plenty of lovely herbal teas so I have moved them to the front of the cupboard and the real tea and coffee to the back.

3. Address the social side
Having coffee is a social activity in its own right. I don't want to say no to invitations for a good gossip so I need an alternative plan. This means hunting out cafes that serve lovely teas, good quality decaf and hot chocolate if a real treat is required!

4. Address habit and boredom
This is a tricky one. I gulp down coffee in meetings for a couple of reasons, if I am holding a coffee I don't fidget (!) and in a very long meeting, getting up for a coffee is a blessed relief . The answer I think is just to find an alternative, a herbal tea or a water. I have stocked my handbag with nice herbal tea bags.

5. Take stock and celebrate
Go back to the motivators on a daily/ weekly basis and ask honestly whether I feel I've made progress.

I am not planning to try a weaning off process. I have already cut my consumption quite drastically so I think it must be time to go cold turkey :0

Here are some of my favourite alternatives so far:

Pukka herbs three mint tea, refreshing and uplifting

Pukka herbs, Peppermint and Liquorice, delicious

Brewhaha Super Happiness Tea, quirky and fun

Wish me luck!!

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