Monday Motivation: Why I Gave Up Caffeine

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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.

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Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.

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20 thoughts on “Monday Motivation: Why I Gave Up Caffeine”

  1. I started drinking coffee when I was 10. My friend and I would go to the supermarket that had complimentary coffee and have our 10am coffee break (we had been out riding bikes and at the park since 7am) sit on a bench and chat and then go back to the park or one of our houses. Then in High School I worked at a bakery/coffee shop and basically had unrestricted access to free coffee. I drank so much coffee in High school , the same in collage. One day when I was in my 30s I just stopped drinking coffee and now (40, ugh) I don’t really like it at all. I prefer tea. My favorite is the Iced Earl Grey latte at Starbucks.

    One thing that is interesting is that there were a lot of customers at the bakery I worked at that were coffee fiends and then they all slowly shifted to Tazo Awake tea and said they would never go back to coffee. They said that the caffeine in it affected them differently. I have always felt that way with drip coffee (unless super weak) vs espresso.

  2. You crack me up! I thoroughly enjoy reading your posts and listening to your podcast just so I can have random bouts of spewing whatever liquid I am drinking out of my mouth. But not coffee… I slowly weened myself off a few weeks back and quit on Friday. Although my weekend didn’t suck balls as much as your detoxification did – it did suck a little!
    I saw you make a morning smoothie with beans and your power active greens (?) maybe in an IG story but haven’t been able to find it since. Will you share that recipe or direct me to it? I need something easy and beany in the mornings! Thanks for being fucking awesome!

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  3. i think, at the very least, making people at least THINK about their relationship with coffee/caffeine instead of taking it for granted is so important. If I have coffee more than 4-5 times a week (depending on my stress levels for the week and a host of other factors) the caffeine stops impacting me, and I could drink 5 cups without feeling anything. That’s my flag to lay off caffeine for awhile, though i have never had any kind of detox symptoms, which is important to me. I miss coffee in the morning if it’s a day where I’m going without (because it’s comforting and delicious), but I have always been careful to monitor if I start going down the road of addiction, which is where most people are at! and I think, as you recognized, if you’re having withdraws symptoms something is not going well!!! thanks for making people be more mindful of this! 🙂

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  4. When I was a full-time college student, I thought it would also be a good idea to be a full-time assistant manager at the mall (wrong!)… that led to alot of coffee drinking to get all that work done. For my psychology statistics class, one of things we had to do was write on a paper how many cups of coffee we were drinking in a day. I knew there was a problem when the instructor was like, wow which one of you is drinking 21 cups per day??! (me). I’m a tea drinker now lol

  5. Hi Juli! Thanks for posting this. Where did you get your information about how caffeine affects the body (particularly, the skin)? I’ve never really thought that I should stop drinking coffee; I only drink a small cup a day. But, I do have really bad Eczema flares sometimes. Now I’m thinking about giving it up! Thanks!

    1. First time I did a Whole30- 6 years ago, had so much energy I went to 1/2 caf, then 1/4, then straight decaf. Never drink it after noon. I’m low on decaf and have added in some caffeinated til my next order arrives and it is amazing. But that “energy” is best used only on occasion – it doesn’t come for free. As a childless bitch I have always prioritized sleep. LOL

  6. Haha this post is too funny and got me thinking about my own caffeine intake! I am a tea drinker, but I RELY ON THAT TEA heavily in the morning. I don’t think my dog would like our AM walks as much if i hadn’t had some green tea. But could it be in my head? I do notice on the weekends when I don’t have an instant morning tea that I’m a little foggier/takes me longer to wake up. But it’s worth trying out or trying to limit to one per day at least.

    In college though I had a disgusting energy drink habit and when I tried to go cold turkey I felt EXTREMELY hung over. And after being sober for 7 years (woot woot!) I’m not down for anything resembling a hangover again. Have to be careful with the stuff. It’s seriously like legalized meth. Okay maybe I’m being dramatic. But you know .

    Thanks for the post and I loved your recent podcast “where’s the beef.” Love having so many topics to “discuss” with you haha 🙂

  7. Yep, I also gave up the hot, bitter nectar… I still love to smell it, but it’s not worth all the insomnia, jitteriness, etc. I uploaded my genetic information to a database, which is probably dumb, but it told me that I was a slow caffeine metabolizer. It is a drug, and I was addicted to it–that withdrawal headache is no joke! But you only have to do it once! It’s much better to just work with the body’s circadian rhythm: go to sleep at a decent time, and get outside first thing in the morning and your hormones take care of the rest!

  8. I quit drinking coffee a little over a year ago. I was having 1-2 a day and having increased anxiety & migraines. So, I tried a little experiment to see what would happen if I stopped drinking it for a while. Bam! Decreased anxiety & migraines. I’ve tried having one a few times since and immediately felt anxious and got a migraine, so no more for me. Im not going to lie … I miss it. I love the smell, the taste and the experience of holding it in my hand. But, its not worth getting migraines over.

  9. This right here is a piping hot mug of TRUTH! Juli, thank you for making me feel a little less weird about being the ‘but do you have decaf?’ gal. I’d dance with excitement for an unleaded oat milk latte, too! All the deliciousness w no heartburn, flop sweat or stomach ‘splosions. Yes, please and thank you.

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  10. Do you drink caffeinated and/or no-caffeine tea? Have you increased your water intake? For me, it’s partly the holding onto a warm mug of something. That in itself is probably part of the addictive habit for me, like a smoker who feels secure just to hold a ciggy between their fingers.

    1. no. when i started the bean protocol, i dropped everything all together. i don’t like tea and i didn’t want to find myself addicted to other coffee alternative drinks, so i just went cold turkey and only drank water.

  11. Question- I am in week 4 / month 1 of your Powersculpt Program. I will say, it’s not easy at 55 years old, but making consistent gains. 😉💪🏼 I think I’m missing something. Is there a video for each move on what NOT to do? I only see the video of the correct movements, which works, but would like to see the watch outs. I used to be an instructor in my 20’s and 30’s, so for the most part, know what not to do, but want to make sure. Thanks!

    1. within those each video, it shows a side by side or how to and how not to, and i always talk about what to watch out for when performing the movement!

  12. Jennifer Jardine

    Hi Julie! I gave up caffeine at the beginning of July (also gave up alcohol at the same time). I too, thought I didn’t have a problem and I, too, got a splitting headache for a couple of days. I’m wondering if you found something you like to drink in its place? I make my own organic decaf cold brew. But, I always want more than one cup. I need a decaf tea to take the place of coffee. Thanks!

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