I Tried to Give up Coffee for a Week

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Although I had tried espresso at my Nonna's house as a child, I had my first cup of coffee in grade nine on a family trip to Cuba. I remember the warmth of the creamy coffee cascading down my throat. I remember the sweetness tickling my tongue and thinking so this is what all the fuss is about. And so began my biggest vice to date.

Drinking coffee is more than just a morning ritual or reason to get up from my desk in the afternoon. A cup of hot coffee is calming and cathartic for me. It’s an excuse to meet up with a friend or an escape from my little condo. It’s a keeper of secrets and the only thing that pushes me through mornings plagued with exhaustion.

Here’s the problem with my amount of coffee consumption - it makes my anxiety worse, it makes it tough to have a good night’s sleep, it messes with my skin, and it’s dehydrating. You see, I’m the kind of coffee-lover who can have 3 coffees in an hour and not bat an eye. I make sure any and all road trips are lined with stops at Tim Hortons or little cafes along the way. I know that my love for coffee has become an addiction - probably just as bad as my phone addiction.

I’ve been toying with the idea of having a coffee detox for a while. I’ve read articles about people that have gone coffee-free for a week and noticed their skin becoming clear and blemish free, having more energy throughout the day, getting fewer headaches, sleeping better, and feeling less anxious and I always wondered what it would be like for me. So I thought I would give it a go.

Day One: The headache started at nine in the morning and would not subside until I went to bed a night. I felt a throbbing pain behind my eyes which moved to the top and back of my head in a constant loop. The craving for a coffee came in waves.

Day Two: I woke up this morning after an amazingly uninterrupted sleep without a craving for coffee or a headache. I had a peanut butter muffin with a glass of water for breakfast. Although I missed the warmth of the coffee, I wasn’t upset about not having one. Today I felt a bit less bloated, which is strange since I haven’t had a satisfying bowel movement in two days. In the afternoon I began craving a coffee but made myself a hot chocolate instead. I've been grabbing for my water bottle more often than when I drinking coffee throughout the day and my mind is less foggy.

Day Three: I watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them before bed last night and dreamt of strange creatures all night. This probably had nothing to do with the lack of caffeine in my system but I still didn’t sleep well. I woke up with a throbbing headache, dark circles, and a hankering for coffee. I don’t think I’ll be able to make it seven full days without coffee. Reaching for the aspirin as I type this. Send help.

Day Four: Okay, I had a sip of my husband’s coffee this morning in the hope that it would help me go to the bathroom (it did). Surprisingly, I didn’t enjoy the taste as much as I remembered. The craving for coffee is but a whisper, especially since my headache has disappeared.  I have noticed that my skin isn’t as dry thanks to all of the water I’ve been drinking and my stomach continues to deflate. I assume this is thanks again to the water but it could also be thanks to not having excess amounts of cream and sugar a day in my coffee. I don’t think I’ll feel like having a morning coffee by tomorrow. But we’ll see.

Day Five: It's January 1st, 2019 and I just finished my morning coffee. My first full cup of coffee in over four days.  I’m shocked, amazed and proud that apart from one sip the day before, I lasted this long without coffee.

You’d think that the massive headache on the first day, the hydrated skin, sleeping better, having more energy throughout the day and the less-bloated stomach would make me want to give up coffee for life. But I don’t plan on doing that. I plan on having one coffee a day with my breakfast in the morning. No more stops at Tim Hortons or Starbucks for sugary, creamy concoctions that barely pass as coffee. Maybe when visiting friends or family I’ll splurge and have a second one but that’s it.

I truly believe that everything is okay in moderation. I decided to give up coffee because I needed to control my intake. And even though I could on;y lsat five days instead of seven, I feel I can control it.

What’s next to take control over? My phone use? …. Good idea.