As you may have seen via my Instagram posts, I’ve been on the road to being coffee free again. Although I do LOVE my coffee, especially in winter, somewhere about mid November 2014 I started to notice that I had become really anxious, couldn’t sleep and was having an afternoon energy crash. Thus I decided to enact a little Coffee Break. After making a post about it on Instagram I found it interesting to see how so many of you thought this was something that you could never give up. I know coffee is considered an addictive substance by many medical professionals, and that as such it is harder to stop drinking it (whether you think your addicted or not). But, take it from someone who drinks coffee not for the energy or other benefits but for the taste, it is possible, quite enjoyable, and not as hard as you might think to take a Coffee Break.
Going into the coffee break this time I already knew what the light at the end of the tunnel was. I knew how I had once before found renewed energy, felt lighter and brighter throughout the day all without caffeine or coffee. Since my last coffee break I’ve also learned a few helpful ways to make the transition an easier experience, rather than an ultimatum. I too recognize that coffee is more than coffee, for most it is a ritual. I anticipate because of this, for many of you giving up your coffee ritual is like giving up a reason to get up on Monday mornings. Given a Coffee Break isn’t everyones idea of fun, and many of you might reject the idea of a Coffee Break, I encourage you to try it anyway. Take a Coffee Break with the following thoughts below in mind, see what happens, and most importantly how you feel!
One note to mention before we dive in is that I am not a health care professional and this is merely from my own experience so depending on how much and how often you have consumed coffee over the years you may want to consult with a health care practitioner if you have any concerns about transitioning off , or taking a break from coffee.
First things first, lets get the excuses out of the way. Aside from trying to escape the symptoms I experienced: anxiety, lack of sleep, and the mid day crash, fellow coffee consumers often asked why would anyone want to take a Coffee Break ? Then there’s the ever present: “It doesn’t seem to harm me and I feel worse without it”, or better yet the creative “its just too hard” (just a hint of sarcasm there). As you’ll see in the video below, although a daily coffee doesn’t exactly cause severe harm, and yes due to the chemical changes in your brain and body you may initially feel worse, a Coffee Break will eventually feel better! Watch this fun little video about what happens to your body when you drink coffee:
Now do you see why it will take time for your body to recalibrate? Once you stop drinking coffee or caffine your body learns to stop over producing the Adenosine Receptors. As we saw initially the additional Adenosine Receptors are why a caffeine free day or week might not be so much fun. But we can make this easier! From my experience taking a Coffee Break and getting back to your body’s own energy is a slow and steady process rather then an abrupt halt into the land of fatigue and deprivation. If you take it slow and let your body adjust a Caffeine Break can actually feel good, help you sleep better and recalibrate your body’s natural hormones and rhythms.
So, are you ready to take a Coffee Break? Below is the process as well as some tips and tricks I’ve come to use when going on a Coffee Break:
Here’s a little bit more about the Coffee Swaps and Substitutes that I make when on a Coffee Break:
These are some of my personal favourites to resort to when I’m going caffeine free or coffee free.
Green Tea: Although it has caffeine, the caffeine releases in your system differently as a more steady stream so you don’t get the spike and dip of energy like you do with coffee. I find I can have Green Tea with out any problems so generally I keep my coffee breaks in phase 3 of the above plan. For more Green Tea benefits visit WebMD.com .
Crio Bru: One of my new favourite things. After a winter obsessed with hot Cocoa I found Crio Brew, basically its cacao beans ground up like coffee grinds and when brewed is somewhere between a coffee and a hot cocoa flavour. So far i’ve only tried the original, but can’t wait to order different ones to try. Its super yummy if you want a more earthy taste. For more benefits of Crio Bru check out their website!
Dandelion Tea: This one took me some getting used too. You can get Coffee substitutes that are Dandelion based, however they often have a lot of filler (including gluten) in them so I had to go right for the tea version. Be careful as some of the Dandelion blends still contain caffeine, so look out for one like the Traditional Medicine’s Herbal blend which you can find here.
Yerba Mate Tea: I found Yerba Mate tea over the summer at a whole foods during my trip to California. Somewhere in between a coffee and a Green tea blend this Tea still has some caffeine but yet not quite the same effects as coffee so its a good one to use when transitioning in between coffee and coffee free. This stuff is AHMAZING! I love how clean it tastes and that it still felt like it gave me some energy. The one I like best is the Yerba Mate. You can find it here or at your local whole foods.
Hot Lemon water: I call this one Ye ol Classic. You can add in some cinnamon, ginger or turmeric if your looking for a little morning detox, but plain hot lemon water is also awesome. This one gets things moving much like coffee when you use half a lemon squeeze out all the juice and let it sit for a min or two.
Alas like all coffee lovers you may find a day comes when you want to return to coffee or caffeine, so here are a few simple tricks to keep it from minimizing the effects it has on interrupting your body’s natural rhythms:
– avoid caffeine or coffee after 12pm/Lunch, this will give your system enough time to process enough of the coffee that your body can still produce the necessary hormones for sleep.
– Start slow back into it. Don’t go for the XL or Venti right following a coffee break, you’ll find your body will have reset itself and so less will be more.
– If you put anything in your coffee remember to keep it clean! Whole milk (or a unsweetened Coconut Milk) and no sugar is best. Stevia, Honey, or Maple Syrup are better then Sucralose, Aspartame or Splenda.
Let me know if you decide to take a Coffee Break, and if you notice any differences in how you feel when you do!