Giving up caffeine is a game changer

I might try this in a month or two. I recently stopped my "glass of wine a day" habit and I want to see how that effects me for a month or two before starting this.

I've gone periods without caffeine for a few weeks. I never get "caffeine withdraws," but I do like the buzz of having a cup of coffee or even the milder effect of chai tea and matcha green tea. All of these substances seem to have health benefits too. I do notice from coffee I can sometimes be a bit quicker to anger and getting riled up, and I will have a stronger afternoon slump with coffee. From black tea, green tea, I do not notice these effects as much, probably because there is less caffeine. I rarely have more than one cup (a big cup, I will admit) of coffee, so it never felt that excessive... but it is still worth trying abstaining. I don't like the idea of being "dependent" on any food/beverage either.
 
I have not completely given up caffeine, but I consume much less of it. And I didn't target to do so, it just happened by changing my diet. I still make the same coffee every morning, but it used to be I needed a 2nd cup midday or I needed tea. That has gone away. I now can drink from the same cup of coffee all day long and recently I have gotten down to where I throw some of the coffee out. I have no desire to cut caffeine, I work a lot of hours and want to stay awake and alert, but if I don't need it, I will not consume it.

The reason I share this is for those looking to cut caffeine and are struggling. Here is what I have done...

#1) I eat more fruits and vegetables. I have doubled the amount I used to eat and I swear by it. I have more energy, sleep less, and need less caffeine. There are times I feel I have endless energy. I recommend broccoli and spinach + cook garlic and ginger root with your meat. For fruit I eat one apple a day, usually at the midday time I used to need a 2nd cup of coffee and it gives me just as much energy. I also eat grapes. I love grapes because they taste so good, but also they are bite sized snacks. Eat 1 or 2 and get a quick burst or eat 10 for a larger meal replacement. And they last in the fridge 2 weeks (at least they have for me so far).

#2) I take 4 teaspoons of Metamucil everyday, in two different servings (early morning and then a few hours before my last meal). This keeps my blood sugar regulated to the point I almost don't get hungry at all. It gives me more energy by allowing me to digest my food better. It is to the point I have to remind myself to eat and force myself to eat, and I have already lost 30 lbs. doing this (I didn't need to lose weight, but I am healthier) and I eat far less. I also don't get the carb/sugar rush brain fog.

#3) I have drastically cut my carbs. Other than fruit/veggies, I only eat 1 cup of dry rice a week for carbs and then maybe pieces here and there of food other people offer me, which I often decline. I have a lot more energy and feel better. I had no idea how little carbs you need when you sit on your butt all day long. I still have 3 to 4 explosive/heavy lifting sessions a week.

#4) Yoga/stretching. I try to do stretching every day, and if I feel tired/stiff, I get up and stretch a little bit.
 

Max Roscoe

Kingfisher
Fully endorse all of these. Perhaps the best diet advice I received was to do most of your shopping in the produce section, you know, the section that contains actual food that farmers grow. Your typical grocer has 80% of the space dedicated to things in boxes and cans and 20% with real, fresh food. If you flip that, and buy 80% of your food from the produce section you will be eating real nutritious food which is half the battle.

Personally I'm a fan of cooked spinach with sautéed mushrooms, but I will try the broccoli as my broccoli is almost ready for harvesting in my garden. Grapes are delicious snacks as well as cherries, which are in season now. You should be buying whatever is seasonal--eat root veggies in winter and fresh berries in summer. Garlic is excellent in almost any dish. There is a hippie / health food market near me with a cafe, that I regularly ate at and hope it survives. Many of the dishes they sell are just rice and beans and cheese. I asked them before how they make something like black beans alone taste so delicious and it was just using garlic and perhaps ginger.

The Metamucil, a friend introduced me to that, and no it's not just for the elderly. You probably don't *need* it if you're eating nothing but fresh garden food that has its own natural fiber, but that is difficult and supplementing with Metamucil does help your body regulate blood sugar. It helps your digestion to the point that you don't really need toilet paper after doing a #2. I didn't know it could help with weight loss. I've probably lost 10 pounds in the shutdown as it just gave me time to focus on eating right, I've been getting farmer food boxes and cutting out carbs. Need to get back on the Metamucil supplements.

Absolutely if you are not very active you should not eat many carbs. Carbs are a good thing if you are going hiking, hunting wooly mammoths, or playing sports. But if you are not doing that then you should avoid them. I still eat carbs in some natural foods like rice, and the occasional ice cream (sugar is a carb). And I haven't given up pasta though I'm not sure it's good for you due to the boxed food rule above. Anything that can just sit on a shelf for years without decaying is not nutritious or healthy the way fresh fruits and veggies are. Another point with carbs is that if you exercise first thing in the morning (it doesn't have to be a full workout or heavy cardio--I just walk my dog in the morning) before eating, then your body is burning fat, which it has stored from the prior day's meals (even any carbs you have eaten yesterday are converted to fat at this point), and you will lose weight and you are essentially following the keto lifestyle. If you eat a huge plate of rice and pasta and then go work out, your body is going to be burning these carbs as fuel (sometimes that's fine, just realize that if you are trying to lose weight).

Yoga was almost a daily routine for me before the lockdown. You don't need others to do it, but I enjoyed the classes. But it can quite easily be done alone and I need to get back in the habit. Also builds your core, balance, and helps with breathing and meditation.

To get back on subject to caffeine, I never got into it, thanks to wonderful parents who wouldn't allow me to drink sodas. I don't like soda as it burns my throat, and I don't really like coffee which I find bitter and bad for my teeth, but I'll occasionally have both. I don't really believe in rules of absolutes (NEVER do this___) [with the caveat that some things like "fat free foods" are frankenfoods that you should avoid] but if you are drinking coffee every day, you are probably dependent and addicted to it, and it's likely not doing much for you anyway. Caffeine has a huge effect on me precisely because I consume it perhaps once per week.

If you are having trouble getting going in the morning without caffeine, try cold showers or exercise.
 
I gave up coffee and switched to hot tea (mostly green tea), sweetened with local honey, a couple years ago. Still low levels of caffeine in the tea I know, but the immune system and allergy benefits have been considerable. No cane sugar or creamer either, both of which were no good for the body. Best or all, if I go a few days without it there are no withdrawal symptoms like there were with coffee, which were brutal.
 

westernman

Sparrow
I've been off caffeine cold turkey for almost 2 months now, and I think I am seeing benefits as well as getting used to the new lifestyle.

I feel more driven, less anxious, and less depressed. Overall more consistent mood. I feel more motivated to pull myself out of the current situation (back with parents at age 24) as there is no high/buzz making it less unbearable.

I say "new lifestyle" because I do not have that 'go get em' caffeine kickstart in the morning. Instead, I am slower and take more time to naturally wake up. On caffeine, I was quite the morning person. Waking up at 6 AM with an espresso. Now I need to focus on eating more in the AM and getting my energy starts a bit later.

During the first few weeks, I was certain when the month trial fast was over, I would return to caffeine, however now that I am experiencing life with it out of my system, i don't see myself ever falling back into it again.
 

PixelFree

Kingfisher
Inspired by this thread, I switched back to decaf 5 days ago.

Lavazza decaf (blue brick) tastes great to me. Very strong flavour, I can't believe I'm drinking decaf.

On day 3 something strange happened. I dreamt again (or rather, I remembered my dreams upon waking). I can't recall the last time this happened. I didn't want to post this until it happened again - which it did, on day 4 and 5.

Could be just a coincidence, although the older I get the less I believe in coincidences. I'll see how it goes.
Dropping into two report two things.

My dreams continue, which is really nice. I believe our subconscious speaks to us through dreams.

Also - Mountain Dew in Australia has zero caffeine. Never has had any. Was a surprise to hear it's got tonnes of it in the US.
 

animum-rege

Sparrow
I say "new lifestyle" because I do not have that 'go get em' caffeine kickstart in the morning. Instead, I am slower and take more time to naturally wake up. On caffeine, I was quite the morning person. Waking up at 6 AM with an espresso. Now I need to focus on eating more in the AM and getting my energy starts a bit later.
Waking up is the only time I miss caffeine. (I was a huge addict for years, quit cold turkey about 8 days ago).

I wake up and am groggy in bed, and there's NOTHING more I would like to do than crawl under the covers with a steaming mug of coffee and a book.

But you gotta slay that dragon... and thankfully, I have a super high-energy dog that needs to be walked in the morning. So once I've gotten a 3-4 mile walk/run in, I'm up and fully energized. No caffeine needed.
 
My dreams continue, which is really nice. I believe our subconscious speaks to us through dreams.
There is definitely something about dreams that is rejuvenating. I almost always feel good after a night of dreams, even if my length of sleep is lackluster. Usually I after a quality night's sleep with dreams, I have a renewed sense of wonder about the world and the possibilities in every moment.

When I'm on caffeine, zooming through each day/week/month to meet arbitrary "goals" whether personally or in work... I start to get a reduced sense of intrigue and wonder in the world. Things become more mechanical and boxed in.

Sleep is definitely the key to everything.
 

Georges89

Sparrow
This thread has inspired me a little to think about my coffee addition. I had been drinking tea only or occasionally decaff coffee since August 2019 till about mid-March. I was living at a family house during lockdown and my mum bought an expresso machine. One thing led to another..

I can't remember a specific night and day difference when I got back onto coffee but in my tea only period I was definitely much calmer and less anxious. In fact, my anxiety more or less went away completely. Since I've been drinking coffee again, slowly but surely the anxiety and insomnia has started to return. I've had that knawing 'background' anxiety in that I can feel in my upper back and chest, which isn't good. I generally wake up a lot in the night too, so I know its having quite a bad effect. It's literally making me feel worse and sleep worse on a day to day basis. When I put it like that it seems so obvious.

I last detoxed on a kind of meditation retreat abroad, and I guess having 1-2 weeks outside of your normal environment helps to break the habit a lot. Being in the 'daily grind' in a busy city, especially over 2020, doesn't allow for much introspection. It's just work work work and no time for rest, and less possibility for holiday given the constraints at the moment.

I feel like giving up coffee is one of those things that would help anyone feel 10% better on a daily basis, if not more or so. Given its often a single contributor to anxiety, I think the difference betweem drinking it and not drinking it could be really large, for a lot of us.
 
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bubs

Sparrow
So I started drinking coffee once I started working in office setting after college. It was a game-changer for me. Drinking ~ 2-3 cups each morning from start of my day and then shutting down at lunchtime, gave me full of energy to be highly productive all day without getting sleepy. In HS and college, I was always so lethargic and tired while sitting in classes and in the afternoon breaks between college classes I'd fall asleep and take a nap (even after 8hrs sleep..didn't matter). If only I would have discovered coffee early, I would have been bot alot sharper in classes and more sociable in HS (more energy = more talkative).

I've noticed on the weekends when I'm not working at the office, I usually only have time for a max 1 cup of coffee early on and then go about doing outside work around the yard, out running errands etc. and notice same energy low situation as HS/college, particularly if I sit down in the afternoon, I'm prone to fall asleep/need a nap. Never happens when I'm caffiened up.

Whether addiction or not, caffiene has aided me to be more productive, sharp and alert for 16hrs straight without hitting any lulls of sleepiness.

Negatives: I sometimes get a little too jacked up and scattered mentally early in the day / lacking focus, bouncing from 1 thing to the next, but if I just work through "anything" and put in the time, things are getting done vs. not getting done. Also can be a little hot tempered as others mentioned. Usually after lunch I'm a little more dialed in and calmer yet still energized to carry through.
 

Georges89

Sparrow
My sleep has been the worst its ever been over the past week or so. I guess some of it must be mental but I need to take immediate action. I'm going to buy some decaff from the shop and throw out my coffee and dark chocalate. I'm going to only drink decaff plus tea. The insomnia I've been struggling with has been hellish. You wake up in the morning feeling terrible. I need to put a stop to this right away.

I think screens before bed / having electronics in the bedroom are also a potential factor, but I'm going to detox on coffee first. I could have easily woken up on 10 seperate occasions last night, it was not restful at all.
 
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bubs

Sparrow
My sleep has been the worst its ever been over the past week or so. I guess some of it must be mental but I need to take immediate action. I'm going to buy some decaff from the shop and throw out my coffee and dark chocalate. I'm going to only drink decaff plus tea. The insomnia I've been struggling with has been hellish. You wake up in the morning feeling terrible. I need to put a stop to this right away.

I think screens before bed / having electronics in the bedroom are also a potential factor, but I'm going to detox on coffee first. I could have easily woken up on 10 seperate occasions last night, it was not restful at all.
The key is not to have caffeine or chocolate later in the day. If I have cake, ice cream, dark chocolate etc a few hours before bed, I’m probably going to have trouble sleeping that night. Caffeinated drinks anytime after mid day for myself is pretty much the same thing. Just for me personally if I caffeine up well in the morning, I’m good to go for the day. Also drinking plenty of water helps with energy levels and mental sharpness as well. I’m starting to always have at least 6-8oz of water in between my coffee cups then stick with water as my thirst requires/ not forced, all afternoon and evening.
 

Georges89

Sparrow
The key is not to have caffeine or chocolate later in the day. If I have cake, ice cream, dark chocolate etc a few hours before bed, I’m probably going to have trouble sleeping that night. Caffeinated drinks anytime after mid day for myself is pretty much the same thing. Just for me personally if I caffeine up well in the morning, I’m good to go for the day. Also drinking plenty of water helps with energy levels and mental sharpness as well. I’m starting to always have at least 6-8oz of water in between my coffee cups then stick with water as my thirst requires/ not forced, all afternoon and evening.
Yeah, I probably could have one cup of coffee in the morning, but the problem is, I find it hard not to have another one. That's why decaff or green tea works better. I was speaking to a friend today who said he'd also had some problems sleeping and we agreed that the heat may be a factor.
 

bubs

Sparrow
Yeah, I probably could have one cup of coffee in the morning, but the problem is, I find it hard not to have another one. That's why decaff or green tea works better. I was speaking to a friend today who said he'd also had some problems sleeping and we agreed that the heat may be a factor.
Yeah, if it’s hot I can’t sleep at all. I’m pampered and need the AC. Also if I’m even remotely sticky or sweated during the day, forget sleep, I need to be clean/showered or Im waking up every 5 minutes iching.
 
How have everybody’s experience with reducing caffeine been lately?

Recently I’ve been making iced matcha lattes with high quality matcha. Def better for you than espresso, but still need to stop and make it a treat.
 
Had my first anxiety attack a month and a half ago. I went to work after drinking two scoops of a pre workout which had enough caffeine that was the equivalent to two medium coffees, and on top of that I had a small iced coffee with espresso in it. Had the major jitters and an intense feeling of fear afterwards.

I've cut out caffiene since then and felt great. Withdrawal symptoms weren't too bad, only had a headache for two days. My sleep has improved, getting about 8-10 hours a night which gives me more energy than any stupid coffee could. Its a bad crutch and I advice more people cut it out.
 

FactusIRX

Robin
Had my first anxiety attack a month and a half ago. I went to work after drinking two scoops of a pre workout which had enough caffeine that was the equivalent to two medium coffees, and on top of that I had a small iced coffee with espresso in it. Had the major jitters and an intense feeling of fear afterwards.

I've cut out caffiene since then and felt great. Withdrawal symptoms weren't too bad, only had a headache for two days. My sleep has improved, getting about 8-10 hours a night which gives me more energy than any stupid coffee could. Its a bad crutch and I advice more people cut it out.
Unless you’re doing a 2 hour heavy workout session, there’s no need to have a pre workout. And if you’re taking a pre-workout, that should be the extent of your caffeine for the day. I know you said you quit, but I just wanted to get that out there for anyone reading.
 

SouthernTory

Sparrow
Gave up coffee as I was having terrible headaches and it felt as though my heart rate was way up. Have noticed my mood is much more stable since and I don't have any headaches or palpitation like stuff anymore. For me the side effects were too great for me to carry on with it and it was odd as the headaches and heart stuff got worse over time. Anyone else find that?
 
Unless you’re doing a 2 hour heavy workout session, there’s no need to have a pre workout. And if you’re taking a pre-workout, that should be the extent of your caffeine for the day. I know you said you quit, but I just wanted to get that out there for anyone reading.
i used it for workouts, but on rest days i would use it in the morning before work as an extra boost.
 
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