I recently started the process of quitting caffeine and kicking it out of my diet.
Being that the number 1 and 2 drinks in the world contain copious amounts of caffeine (tea and coffee), you probably wonder, why anyone, especially someone like myself who wants to take life to the extremes, would want to kick such a thing.
Simple. Caffeine is a drug. It alters your mind and body. Most of the studies on coffee and tea, talk about how wonderful it is. Not many talk about how bad it is. The one take away that I’ve found in most of the studies was that they talk about usage as in a few times a week. Meaning, having 1 cup of coffee, 1-3 times a week. I know for a fact almost all the people I know that drink highly caffeinated drinks, drink them everyday, multiple times a day.
My life before and after caffeine
I used to drink tea and coffee for at least 12 years everyday. And I had plenty of Mt Dew in my teens and early twenties.
I drink water and milk, that’s about it now. I’m still winding down my tea habit, which is down to less than a cup a day. Which soon enough will be nothing. I’m at my highest performance in life. I run further, workout harder, more clarity, more energy, and more at peace.
I’m sure you’re already thinking… “So what? What is the harm? I feel great with coffee or tea and I don’t feel like there is any side effects.”
I felt the same way for a long time.
Here is your 5 reasons to quit caffeine
- The easiest – Whiter teeth In western culture, this makes a lot of sense and in many others as well. Granted caffeine isn’t the cause of the darkening of your teeth, its the tannins in tea and coffee. Still, nearly every caffeinated drink I know of has some affect on your teeth so why keep damaging them?
- Feel better I would imagine most people would say BS to this. Yes I get it, coming off caffeine (like most drugs) isn’t the most pleasant experience. I had the tiredness, headaches, mood change, all that fun stuff. But as you come down more and more, you’ll find you feel better and better. Certainly helps to try and live a healthy lifestyle as well.
- You have natural energy When you’re living off the energy of the body, you get tired, you rest. When you’re awake, you work, you do fun things. When you living off mostly a caffeine high, you’re pushing your body further than it is meant to. This is why, when you drink caffeine today and tomorrow you’re exhausted and you need more. Not only that but it dehydrates you. Making you want to drink more. It’s a never ending cycle. It’s unnatural to push your body further than the energy you supply it with (food), and you pay for that one way or another. Sleep is the same. You can cut back on sleep but eventually it catches up to you. Just as pushing the body too far, it catches up.
- Sleep better this one is a huge one, as more and more studies are coming out showing how powerful sleep really is. We have this mindset in the US of, “I’ll sleep when I die.” Sleep is like a bank account, you can add to it by sleeping properly. Or you can take from it by not getting enough or enough proper sleep. It always catches up with you. Caffeine gives you the capabilities to stretch that ability to go further with less sleep, but at a significant cost to your body and mind. Professional athletes are finding this out. I know players that sleep at minimum 10 hours a night. Some even more, especially during the season. Your mind is a muscle like the rest of your body, with out sleep, it doesn’t have enough time to reset and repair everything in the day. The thing with caffeine is that is stays in your body for 24 hours. It’s at 100% when you start your day at 8AM with your cup of coffee. By 4PM, caffeine is at maybe 50% and by 8PM you’re at 25% caffeine in your body. That means you’re sleeping with caffeine in your system. Which is why you likely have a hard time sleeping at night. Since there is still caffeine in your system, you don’t properly access REM sleep. Which is really the entire point of sleeping. Without it, our bodies don’t get the full rest we need. Which again is another layer to the never ending cycle. Because it keeps you from resting properly so you feel tired in the morning. And then you reach for the coffee the next morning.
- Mood, mind, anxiety It really amazed me how much caffeine as a whole was effecting me mentally. The obvious was anxiety, I had a fair bit of anxiety because of all the caffeine I drank everyday. I found myself with a lot of anxiety in meeting new people and stressful situations. Since cutting back to almost nothing, I don’t feel any of that anymore. When I used to think about something that I needed to handle, I’d feel the stress and then the anxiety would crank past 100. It was a lot. That’s all gone. And I was only drinking 2-3 cups of black tea a day. Which is a lot less caffeine than most coffee drinkers intake. Mood wise, I found myself depressed when I started cutting back. Like really depressed. But that only lasted for a day or so. I noticed in the past, I would get more depressed in the past in the evenings. Looking back on it, that was when the caffeine was leaving my system. Now I’ve noticed an elevation in mood overall, happiness stays consistent throughout the day, I don’t feel any feelings of being depressed unless it’s warranted. Mental clarity, yeah, that’s way way way up. I think far more clearly, remember more, have more ideas, and I for once in my life feel like I can express everything. I used to feel like I couldn’t properly express everything I wanted to say. I’d get in a conversation and I’d get this anxiety of the need to express all these things and I couldn’t seem to get them out the way I wanted or at all. I left feeling, almost all the time, like I never said what I wanted to really say. All that is gone. I feel I’m far more able to express and say what I want to say and I no longer get this anxiety of whether I can get it all out or not.
These are my findings so far. Like I said, I’m not completely off caffeine but I made a HUGE reduction in it and I do plan to completely quit it altogether. In time as I slowly cut it down. Some of this stuff I mentioned is facts and you can find all the facts about quitting caffeine online. Try it yourself. Give yourself 90 days caffeine free. I recommend cutting down your usage, say the first 30 days, then see what the next 60 give you. I know the initial results will hurt but in the long run, I think you’ll find yourself in a much better place.
I think the last part that is worth mentioning and isn’t mentioned…. quitting caffeine alone isn’t the complete answer. It’s sleeping enough every night, finding the amount of sleep you need every night, sticking to a sleep schedule (waking up at the same time and going to bed at the same time), eating right, and taking the time for yourself. Understand you need to rest and reset at times, and that’s okay.