It’s like a warm hug in the morning that makes you feel so good. The ritual of brewing and sipping that decadent drink has become your best friend. The spicy aroma of the coffee coupled with your favorite sweet cream perks you up and prepares you for the chaotic day ahead. But after awhile that one cup turns into a second cup in the afternoon…and pretty soon you are relying on that caffeine to get you through the day. You easily become hooked, craving more and more, until finally you realize you might be drinking too much! If you’ve been considering cutting back on caffeine, here’s the how and why to give up coffee.
Thought it gets a bad rap, coffee isn’t all bad, there are some great benefits according to Certified Nutritionist and Writer Monica Spoelstra Metz.
Caffeine, and its effect on the body, can be controversial because there are some pretty appealing benefits — and some very compelling drawbacks.On the “pro” side of things, caffeine can stimulate alertness and improve mental performance; improve mood; boost concentration; help the body absorb medication more quickly; and it also provides minerals and antioxidants.”
But then she adds the cons.
Caffeine can raise blood pressure; contribute to stress reactions; trigger dehydration; impair blood sugar management and insulin sensitivity; cause food and sugar cravings; contribute to gastrointestinal issues; inhibit the absorption of nutrients; increase men’s risk for urinary or prostate problems; exacerbate female health issues such as fibrocystic breast disease, PMS, infertility, miscarriage, low birth weight, and menopausal issues; and put stress on the adrenal system.”
What I’ve noticed since having children and adding in this beverage to my mornings – is it stains your teeth, and also adds quite a bit of sugar into your diet. (Well…at the least the way I enjoy it!) I also have become too reliant on caffeine to start my day and instead of working out to get energized every morning, I turn to coffee. Before children, in order to become pregnant after infertility struggles I gave up coffee, and was totally fine with a warm cup of tea. But with night wakings and no sleep the last six years coffee isn’t a want…it’s a need. Now however I’m trying a healing diet for my autoimmune condition I’ve really wanted to cut coffee from my daily routine. So I consulted with Monica Spoelstra Metz, who is the sister of HEAT Head Coach Erik Spoelstra to help me adjust to no caffeine gradually.
how & why to give up coffee
If you’re not sure if you need to cut caffeine, Monica suggests, “The best way to explore caffeine’s effect on your body is to eliminate it from your diet. Try being caffeine free for 2-4 weeks and see how you feel. For example, take note if your digestion improves, your cravings are reduced, or if your energy levels are more stable. If you want to try adding small amounts of caffeine back into your routine, try some coffee (or green tea) after being caffeine-free for 2-4 weeks and see how you feel. If you start feeling jittery, experience sleep issues, suffer from food or sugar cravings, or have poor digestion, you’ll better understand how even one cup can affect your body.”
But for some of us (ahem ME!) cutting coffee feels impossible. I get horrible headaches and mood swings by noon if I miss that ever important cup of joe in the morning. So I love Monica’s directions on how to gradually reduce caffeine from your diet.
Eliminating caffeine should be a gradual process so that you don’t experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches. I recommend cutting back slowly, and this is most easily done if you’re making your own coffee at home. The first few days, make your usual brew with half regular coffee and half decaf. After a few days, cut back to 75% decaf, 25% regular. And then after a few days of that, go all decaf. The same process can be used if you’re drinking green tea, which also contains caffeine.
While you’re in the process of eliminating caffeine, be prepared to pamper yourself a little to get through the transition. If you’re tired, take a catnap. If you experience headaches, stay hydrated with extra water and try a Vitamin C supplement. Or if you get a really bad headache, try some ibuprofen. Remind yourself that the transition is temporary, and that you’ll likely feel better in a few days. In the meantime, make sure you get plenty of sleep. After all, you won’t have the caffeine crutch to rely on if you stay up too late working or watching TV.
Since decaf coffee can still be acidic and therefore irritating to people’s systems, you might consider adding in or transitioning to coffee alternatives along the way. Visit a tea shop and explore high quality herbal teas. Or try something simple in the morning, such as hot water and lemon. You can also try grain-based, caffeine-free “grounds” such as Teeccino, which is made from carob, barley, chicory and almonds.
I know tea can be a poor substitute for you favorite cup of coffee, I’ve now found that truly enjoy a nice cup of peppermint tea in the afternoon. And unless I have a really bad night, I don’t miss coffee at all. A morning run or yoga can really get those endorphins going! Also if you are thinking of giving up this habit, start on a weekend when you don’t have to be too productive!
Good luck and please check out Monica’s site. It really is a wealth of information!
For more healthy living stories – please check out this directory. You might also like my Top 5 Healthy Fast Food Options for Families.
Or my Paleo recipes including tips to help your picky eaters!
Monica Spoelstra Metz is a certified nutritionist, health coach and writer. She draws upon her extensive training in holistic nutrition, dietary theories, preventive health, and healthy cooking to help people lead happier and healthier lives. A former sports marketing executive and recovered workaholic, she is a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and a member of the American Association of Drugless Practitioners. Find out more at www.monicametz.com.
I do like my coffee in the morning, but I can honestly say that I don’t think I’m really addicted to it. On the days that I don’t have it, I miss it, but I don’t get a headache or anything. If I was needing it multiple times a day, I’d definitely consider cutting it out. I’d rather use my calories on food instead of drinks 😉
Herchel S says
I’m such a coffee addict. The only time I don’t drink it is when I am pregnant and God helps me out by making it taste horribly then. It’s the first sign for me to take a test!
Anne Marie says
Over the past 2 or so months I have cut my coffee intake substantially! I was drinking around 4 cups a day and have cut down to my first cup in the morning to get me going…and keep the headache at bay! When I feel myself wanting to reach for another cup, I either make some green tea or flavored water and I find that it helps. I’ve also noticed that if I am up and about I tend to drink less coffee than when I am sitting at the computer.
Jennifer Oradat says
I gave up coffee for several years, and I really did feel so much better. But then I realized that I don’t drink coffee because I need it, I drink it because I actually enjoy it. Some days I have some and I’m happy, and others I don’t, and I’m fine! <3
I used to be addicted to caffeine from both coffee and Diet Dr. Pepper. I loved my flavored coffee with sugar free International Creamers. When things got crazy after my diagnosis 1.5 years ago, I accidentally quit, so decided not to go back. My oncologist actually thinks black coffee, as Monica above mentions, has health benefits. But I feel like I can get some of those through clean eating and a healthy lifestyle, so stay away because I don’t need the downfalls of the caffeine. I pinned this morning and will share on other social mediums now.
My vice is soda. I know it’s horrible for me but oh I do so love it. 🙂 I think it would be extremely easy for me to give up coffee, although I could just be in denial. 🙂
So just by giving up soda your body will naturally lose 10 pounds!
I am on that’s addicted to coffee. I loved it as a teen. I then went about 10 years without it. Now, 9 kids in, I drink 2-3 cups a day. I am starting to cut back. I love it, but would like to get to a cup every other day.
sounds like a great plan.
I’m so weird. haha Coffee/Caffeine has the opposite effect on me. It makes me really tired and out of it. So, I don’t drink it! Water and alcohol are pretty much the only things I drink haha (although no alcohol for me at the moment!). So, I’m usually able to get myself moving and feeling alert using other ways (exercise and all that). I always thought coffee was good for you though (in moderation of course… and without all the sugary add-ins), so this makes me feel better about not drinking it.
I switched to organic coffee made pesticide-free that’s certified ToxicFree and I found I no longer got headaches 🙂
gave coffee up during my fertility issues too! very important. i can survive without coffee. i barely drink it when working on the am show but now, i don’t want to!
ps. totally agree with warm lemon water sub! such good health benefits!
I don’t drink coffee but one of my greatest joys is my morning tea. And I drink a lot (A LOT) of tea. I have been trying to cut myself off at noon every day because I just can’t sleep at night if I drink it after 1:00pm, but it’s kind of my lifeblood. I LOVE TEA.
I decided I won’t give it up unless medically necessary because it brings me happiness.
But I AM trying to drink less, so I am taking this pot to heart!
I love the smell of coffee, but as a non coffee drinker the taste is kind of icky for me. I think it is an acquired taste? As a kid my mom used to drink this hot fiber drink called Postum. Never liked that much either. Monica has some very compelling information in supporting giving up coffee! I am a big supporter of herbal teas. It is just a little hot right now.
Janine Huldie says
I do like a good cup of Joe, but still do like tea, too. So, after reading this you have made me think twice. Thanks.
Talitha Haynes says
I tried going without coffee, but went right to it. It was calling my name. Sometimes I need it just to get my day started.
Jody @easypeasymom says
Great article! I go back and forth about giving up coffee, but I’ve tried the Teechino herbal coffee and I actually really enjoy it! I think a gradual approach is definitely helpful. Thanks for sharing!
I’ll have to try that – and do what’s best for you! This is just what’s working for me and I thought I’d share this great advice!
Tove Maren says
OH WOW…. I saw this title and just HAD to read it. I would love to try to cut back on my caffeine intake. These are great incentives and reasons to get healthier! Thank you for sharing this information.
Tessa Shull says
Unfortunately, I already know all of this is true, but I just LOVE coffee so darn much. I go back and forth with coffee but luckily only drink it black. I don’t drink any other form of caffeine aside from the occasional green tea. And I know my body does 10x better when I’m not drinking coffee/caffeine at all. The plus side to not drinking caffeine also is, if I’m have a really rough day or was up all night, drinking a cup of coffee every once in a while actually has the effect I need. Whereas, like you mentioned, now that I drink it every day, I’m constantly having to up my intake to even get through the day. I’m working up the motivation to cut it out again though! Thanks for the boost :).
yes I like it everyday thought that’s the problem, and then at 3 or I crash. And then I’m up all night. Just worked out better for me but you have to do what’s right for you!
Aubrey @ 53weeks says
I guess you could say I’m “lucky” that I was traumatized by my Mom with a mocha birthday cake for my 5th bday that ever since then I have rejected all mocha/coffee flavors! haha! So I have never picked up the drinking a cup of Java habit and usually just do tea or hot cocoa. Hmm..I should write a post of why I don’t drink coffee! LOL
Write it! And I LOVE coffee but loathe mocha flavored anything.
I totally agree with this.. I was drinking way too much coffee and when I got a bad stomach flu I decided to cut myself down to only one cup since I had already gone through the horrible withdrawls!! I feel so much better now and I dont even have to have a cup when I wake up.. i can wait until 10am or so.. or skip it altogether. Now I look back and I cant believe how much I was drinking, and that I didnt even really need it as much as I thought I did!
Right? It really is amazing. And now I’m dragging so I’ll drink a fresh juice and be fine! So glad I SOMEONE agrees with me LOL!
Wow, I had no ideas of all those things that could happen! I actually can’t drink coffee. It has always affected me but it got worse after kids. I can do decaf with a little cream and maple syrup for a treat. I do love the taste and smell.
I know so many people feel a need for caffeine in the mornings (my husband is a total grump without it). This all makes me so grateful that I never really got addicted to it. Best of luck kicking the habit!
Shay from Trashy Blog says
OMG, I love my coffee. I will never give it up. It’s like the time my boss said to me, as I was admonishing him on his choice of dinner (pizza) the night before: “Shay, I could easily have a rock-hard body with the amount of time I work out by eliminating certain foods. But I’d rather work out and eat what I want and look PRETTY good, because eating pizza makes me happy sometimes.” I never forgot that. I’m the same way with coffee. The smell of it, the taste of it, the feeling I get from that first sip in the morning…holy cow, I even go to bed looking forward to it in the morning, and I’m not even addicted! I only have a couple of cups a day. But still, even if I could give it up, I wouldn’t want to. All of that being said–you’ve obviously done your research and this is a great post for those exploring (THE HORROR OF!) giving up coffee. 🙂 But seriously–awesome post!
These are great tips for giving coffee up gradually! I went without caffeine for three years. I lost weight because I had been drinking those high calorie mochas. Now I have it about once a week.
I am a total green tea woman – obsessed. But you know – I think I’m pretty decent with the whole morning drink routine. I start every day with a huge glass of lemon water. I drink the entire thing before putting anything else in my body. I shit you not – it decreases the cellulite on my booty. I am not at all kidding. And it makes me feel awesome. Then I drink my green tea with local honey. Sugar, yes, but also so, so good for the my throat. So no coffee…none at all. But definitely green tea. Because I just love it so, so much.
Nicole Rose says
Though I don’t drink coffee myself, I know just who to send this to… 😉
I do love my coffee in the morning, but I actually prefer decaf over regular and only make decaf at home. For me it’s more of the taste and the ritual rather than the pick-me-up. Although I have wondered if it still might not be the best thing. I enjoy tea on occasion but I’ve never been a big tea drinker so I feel like it would just be easier for me to drink nothing than tea (although peppermint tea sounds lovely!). I’d also be curious to try the Teeccino. I’ve heard those caffeine headaches can be awful — my mom and sister get them. I feel very lucky I don’t, but it sounds like if you wean yourself slowly off of it it can be pretty manageable. Your post is definitely food for though, thanks for sharing!
Live from the Playroom says
My big problem is Diet Coke!!! I need to give up the caffeine!!
I totally see where you are coming from… I have cut out caffeine before because I would have withdrawal headaches… I did great and then I started to watch Gilmore Girls and I was right back at it lol. This summer I might do it again. I do drink a lot of water during the day. It is mostly out of habit that I make that first cup.