Monday Motivation: Why I Gave Up Caffeine
I’m not a woman with many vices. I don’t eat much sugar, I stay away from alcohol, and I’m not big into drugs (until I can get my hands on some psychedelics someday). You could say I’m boring…and you would be correct. I’m pretty basic with basic needs. I want comforting episodes of the office, extremely fluffy blankets, I want my daily workout, and I want clear skin. So when I started the Bean Protocol back in May in hopes of fixing my gut issues and forever killing my acne, one of the hardest parts of the protocol was finding out that I would have to give up caffeine. Caffeine isn’t just a comforting cup of liquid, but it’s the ONE “vice” that I was able to enjoy every single day without feeling like it was a vice.
Our American society is now filled with coffee shops on every corner. Our days REVOLVE around coffee. It’s the first thing we drink in the morning, we meet friends for coffee, we work from coffee shops, we have coffee runs to break up our days, we drink coffee for an afternoon boost of energy. As Dani Rojas from Ted Lasso would say, “Coffee (football, as he puts it) is LIFE.” We work our asses off every day, all day, and I would say that it’s partly due to the boost of caffeine we consume at all hours of the day. And since it’s so widely accepted as part of our culture, kids are drinking coffee in high school these days. I remember tasting my mother’s coffee in high school and immediately vomiting in my mouth. But these days you can get double whipped, 6 pumps, upside down, blended, sugar free, extra sugar, whipped cream on top…coffee…so middle school kids will soon be drinking it, too. Maybe they already are? Man, middle school sucks ass, coffee would have probably made it a little better.
But fuck, when I cut out coffee cold turkey on a Saturday, I thought my life was over by Sunday. I had ZERO idea how addicted I was to coffee. Zero. I normally drank 1-2 coffees a day and sometimes I would only drink 1/2 a cup, so I thought dropping caffeine would be no problem. But it was one hell of a problem. I immediately had a massive headache 24 hours after cutting it out and this headache lasted for days. And since I’m a person who rarely ever gets headaches, this was quite mind-boggling. Plus, I was doing a liver detox at the same time with the Bean Protocol, so I was experiencing FULL BODY ACHES along with my headache. I pretty much had the flu without having the flu. I was going through caffeine WITHDRAWAL. All I craved was a cup of coffee. And I thought about having one every single day, just to finally have that bitter taste in my mouth to remove that constant headache and finally take the edge off. I couldn’t believe how addicted I was and I couldn’t believe that I was experiencing withdrawal symptoms for the first time in my life. To say it was eye opening is an understatement.
Before this experience, I really had no idea what caffeine did to the body. I knew it tasted good, I knew it gave me more energy, and I knew everyone drank it with no real issue, so why shouldn’t I? Well, after starting the Bean Protocol and doing a little research, I came to understand that caffeine isn’t always the best for some people. Caffeine is high in histamine which can cause an inflammatory reaction. This reaction can show itself in different ways such as rashes, anxiety, pain, heart racing, mouth ulcers, and you guessed it, ACNE! And the more you consume it, the worse these symptoms can get and the more damage that can be done.
But I know what you’re saying – HOW WILL I EVER FUNCTION IN THE MORNING, JULI, YOU TOTAL BITCH?! And I won’t butter your biscuit here – it sucks at first. It sucks fucking ass. Tossing the salad, style. But it does get better. Not as quickly as you may prefer, but it does with time. When I cut out caffeine, I went cold turkey and I wouldn’t recommend that. You can begin by reducing your intake by 1/3 for a few days then 1/2 for another few days before cutting yourself off, then hopefully the withdrawal symptoms won’t be as drastic. And in the mornings, you’ll most likely be tired. Your body has had a substance to create energy, now you’ll have to create that energy yourself – HELLO, CLEAN FOOD! And you’ll probably miss the routine. At least I did. For the first 2 months, I didn’t have much energy in the mornings as my body got used to its new normal and I missed coffee every second throughout every day. But my body figured it out with time and now mornings feel the same as they used to.
To conclude – do you need to cut out caffeine? Maybe…but maybe not. If you’re dealing with never ending health issues, it might be worth cutting out. It would be pretty wonderful if something as simple as letting go of caffeine could begin your healing process. Am I trying to get you to fear caffeine? Absolutely not. But do I fear that caffeine may be the next cigarettes in 40 years from now? Yep. And that’s why I limit my caffeine intake to only decaf at this point and only 1-2x/week. Decaf lattes are now my vice and I dance around the kitchen on the day when I’m heading to the coffee shop to get one. How pathetic is that? Do I want a margarita that could cause a fun night of drunk decisions? No, I want a unsweetened oat milk decaf latte to make me feel like I’m living on the edge.
I simply wanted to share this experience because not only has cutting out caffeine helped my acne, but I feel much less anxious and worried than I did before. Cutting caffeine was hard and sucked huge ween, but it was totally worth it and I would recommend it to anyone who is dealing with underlying health issues. And if you think I’m a total psychopath for even asking you to consider that, that’s fair. If you would have asked me to cut out caffeine a few years ago, I would have politely asked you to jump off a cliff. But I’m in a much better place these days, a less anxious place. So please don’t jump off a cliff, just at least consider decaf, ok? Or don’t. Your life is yours, you sweet angel.
Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.
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