Caffeination nation – my one month detox

04Aug12

Hi I’m Aleks – and I love caffeine. Specifically, I’m a coffee girl. And if you followed me on Instagram or Twitter you’d know this as I’m often posting pictures of various coffees I like to drink.

Hi I’m Aleks and I love coffee. I also like taking pictures of coffees I drink both domestically and while traveling.

There’s nothing better than the smell of full-bodied perfection in the early mornings. I dare you to show me a better smell than a freshly pulled espresso topped with foamed milk and some chocolate shavings.

Triple dog dare you.

But over the course of the month I found myself drinking not one, not two, but up to three coffees per day. Now let’s set aside for a moment that not every coffee is homemade and thus financially I don’t even want to think about the impact to my wallet, rather I think about how my endocrine system reacts to caffeine. I imagine it looks like this:

Image credit: http://www.thegameeffect.com had this posted when Steam went down. It was so funny I’m reusing it here with cred. I dunno where they found this or if they made it but it’s awesome!

So for the month of July I decided to have a caffeine detox by removing all caffeine from my diet with one exception – one coffee allowed on weekends OR special occasions.

Results:

  • Day one – I’m tired. Like really tired. As in I feel like I haven’t slept in days kind of tired. This morning I poured water in my coffee cup and died a little inside. Have officially decided to only use these cups for coffee as any other use puts me in a psychological tail spin – my brain knows I’m lying to it.
  • Day two – Coupled with this ridiculous tiredness is headaches. Ugh. Oh and did I mention I’m having a hard time focusing on any one task? I often find myself with pen to paper and not sure what I was going to jot down or I’ll read a line in a document and need to re-read it a few times to understand what’s being said. Efficiency rating is down to code red.
  • Day three – Why did I do this to myself?! The exhaustion, headaches and lack of focus are unnerving but I know I’m doing this for the greater good. What did I do before coffee to wake up? Will my body know it’s morning soon and get back to getting up normally again? Tell me it will. Please?
  • Day four – My headaches are less intense and I’m starting to be more awake in the mornings. My focus is back completely and am feeling a little better about this. I am not ready to walk into a coffee shop because just the smell of coffee makes my taste buds dance and I worry I won’t be able to hold back.
    • The good news is I’ve replaced coffee with this delicious tea I found at David’s Tea called Bamboozled. It’s super tropical with a combination of bamboo leaves, pineapple, apples and peaches. It’s the perfect summer tea whether it’s hot or iced. I recommend steeping a strong batch and adding cool water or lots of ice cubes to have an iced tea you can enjoy instantly. This tea has quickly become my new morning ritual and has helped me drink tonnes more water throughout the day. WIN!
  • Day five – Headaches are gone. Focus is strong. Mornings are slowly getting easier but it’s hard to tell when I was never really a huge morning person. I can do this!
  • Day six – I think I’m ok to head into a coffee shop in the afternoons but my morning’s are still in jeopardy. Hope I have the willpower to withstand.
  • Day seven – Sweet, sweet coffee. It’s been so long since we’ve had a chance to reunite! This week’s indulgence is a tall non-fat Starbucks with whip (don’t judge but getting it half sweet is the only way I can justify the whip cream, ok?). My taste buds are partying.
  • Week two – Amazingly I may actually be a morning person again! As long as I get enough sleep, waking up doesn’t seem like that much of a chore. In fact, it’s downright amazing! I can now go into coffee shops in both the morning and afternoon without giving in.  This week’s indulgence? Kept it simple with an Illy espresso at Espressamente Illy at Yorkdale. Was a little bitter for me but I am beyond jittery right now. Guess detoxing off caffeine makes the effects stronger. Who knew?!
  • Week three – No longer need to talk about symptoms or temptation. I’m actually feeling really good about this detox and am happy we tried it. I know my espresso machine at home probably feels differently but I think this had to be done just to see if I could indeed accomplish this. This week’s indulgence was a vanilla affagato from Pizzeria Liberetto on the Danforth which is by far the most amazing coffee I’ve had in the city. Period. Happy birthday to me!
  • Week four – Here comes the end of my caffeine detox. What a wild ride it’s been and quite frankly it’s been kind of amazing. Sure it was tough at the beginning (tough might be an understatement because I was downright exhausted) but now I feel like my energy levels are back on track.  This week’s indulgence was a quick run to McDonald’s. I only drank half a small and I was up for hours – in fact I couldn’t sleep for most of the night.

Want to see my indulgences? Check out the slideshow….

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Post detox wrap up

Although it’s a little grueling at first, I recommend this detox to any heavy coffee drinkers! It’s nice to just get your body back into rhythm again – it’s almost like you don’t realize what you’ve lost until it comes back. I’ve noticed my energy levels increased and are more stable throughout the day, my water intake has increased dramatically, and my mornings are light years easier to handle than before. I guess it is true what they say, everything in moderation!

In fact, I feel so great I’ve decided to keep a lot of the same principles into August – one coffee (or other caffeinated bevy) per week either special occasions (i.e. my birthday, a wedding if I’m driving home late, etc) or weekends.

Updated in August – So August is coming to a close and I wanted to update you on my caffeine detox part deux as I noted above that I would continue it. For the most part I’ve kept up with my one coffee a week – there have been instances where a special occasion or two have popped up but I’ve had a drum total of six coffees this month and plan to keep it up. 🙂

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