by Eve MacDonald
Ah, coffee. The holy grail of drinks and the only thing that makes me function (especially if I’ve had a late-night Netflix binge) and the only thing that I need first thing in the morning. I’m a student at the end of the day (who also works three jobs), so when I say I need caffeine in my life, I mean I really need it.
I take my coffee strong (three spoonfuls of the good stuff, to be exact) because what’s the point in drinking it, if it doesn’t do its job? I love the warm feeling, the comforting taste and the froth that comes on top of a cappuccino. But when I heard some people don’t actually drink coffee or only drink decaf (gasp) I decided to take on an experiment and cut it out of my diet for a week.
Yep, this week I went cold turkey. Your coffee-loving-gal cut it out entirely. And boy, let me tell you, it was NOT easy.
This was probably the easiest day as I’d mentally prepared myself about what to expect. Instead of my morning coffee, I had a green tea. Despite feeling sluggish in the morning, come 11am I didn’t really feel any different to how I usually do with my cup o’ Joe. Though with a dissertation deadline looming, it was a struggle to get through a very busy afternoon without reaching for a lil’ pick me up.
Hmm…. Let’s just say my productivity went out of the window on day two. I’m not gonna lie, I found it difficult not to fall asleep at my desk/ resist the urge to go and nap. On top of that, I started having withdrawal symptoms. With the headaches came crankiness and it wasn’t a good combo. I honestly never thought I was addicted before but this made me realise that maybe I was. And just as an FYI guys – a caffeine hangover is actually worse than a wine one.
I woke up a new woman on day three after the best night’s sleep ever. It felt good to wake up and not have to rely on stimulants to make me feel more awake and feel naturally energetic.
I relied more on herbal teas (especially green and peppermint) to get me through because sometimes it’s more about the ritual of taking time to sip on something warm and comforting while I get myself mentally prepared for the busy day ahead.
Not only had I seen a positive change in my sleeping habits (I was no longer waking up during the night or craving caffeine as soon as I had opened my eyes), but I also saw a change in my skin.
It appeared much clearer; less blotchy and my under-eye circles didn’t seem as prominent. It got me thinking, while I love caffeine for making me feel awake, what were the long term effects? Surely, something which acts as a stimulant to give you energy, can’t be good for you. I started to feel a little healthier and anything that gives me a glow is a major bonus!
An entire week without coffee and I didn’t go crazy, fall asleep at my desk (as much as I wanted) or kill anyone. And with a caffeine-withdrawal hangover, is a huge achievement – believe me.
Since I do the majority of my work and studying from home, I didn’t really feel the financial benefit of cutting out the daily lattes or magically have more money to spend on shoes. Sigh.
But what I did have was a better sleep pattern, better skin and a less agitated feeling. I would recommend giving up coffee for a week or so, just to give your body some benefits. It really helps. It’s also crazy how much energy you can get from other things, rather than coffee, to give your body that bit of boost that it might need in the afternoon. way.
But on those really horrible Monday mornings, I’ll still be reaching for my trusted coffee. Sorry not sorry.