I love coffee so much that it took me a few years to finally be able to admit the following two statements.
- I'm addicted to coffee
- Coffee is harming my body and mind.
They say you're addicting to coffee if you find yourself craving it every few days when you stop consuming it. Well, I drank coffee every day and still found myself craving it multiple times a day! And I still wouldn't call myself an addict.
My brother used to tell me that I'm addicted to coffee, but I would reply by saying "no, I could go on without coffee without headaches or any other caffeine withdrawal symptoms. I just love the flavor and smells so much, that's all. Running out of coffee was a nightmare. Sleeping over at someone's house would stress me out because I worried there wouldn't be coffee in the morning. I personally don't like to depend on anything, even if it was food. I like to try to free myself from most attachments. Sounds like I'm talking about drugs; ugh, actually coffee is a drug.
Just like any other drug; coffee has its ups and downs. I loved the ups, sometimes it feels like I can take over the world. However, the ups weren't always great, sometimes I felt more stressed than hyper. Even on the good ups, I felt like I don't have much control over myself. My friends know how I'm when I'm hyper, it's weird. Maybe I'm weird.
The main problem was that it seemed like no matter how much I meditated and exercised, I was still stressed and my mind wouldn't stop running. I found myself constantly playing with my hair and clenching my jaw (my two obvious signs of being stressed). Basically, no matter how much I tried to calm myself down, it felt impossible. Then I started noticing that I only feel this way after I eat breakfast, which is after I drink coffee. I would be feeling good in the morning, I usually wake up, wash up, pray, move (either yoga, walk, or HIIT), shower, meditate for 10-15 minutes, then go make a huge breakfast, a cup of coffee, and a thermos filled with coffee.
I found a few coffee alternatives that I liked and made me feel good. No heartburns, no caffeine highs and lows, no bathroom emergencies, and I felt relaxed. Ginger tea, mint tea, and barley coffee; these are all caffeine free. My favorite is to mix ginger and fresh mint. I also tried to mix the barley coffee with ginger, it was okay.
My Dad told me that my Grandpa drinks barley "Arabic coffee" sometimes too and you could hardly tell the difference! I'll have to find out how and let you guys know.
I never thought that I could give up my morning coffee. It was a lot easier than I thought. I don't think I will give up coffee completely, for a couple of reasons. It's a big social factor here in Saudi and I love coffee too much. Plus, it's not that bad for you in less than moderation. And honestly, I have given up many things; I gotta keep something! For an instant, I never drink (I don't need to drink to make bad decisions. I already do that), no cigarettes, I'm vegan, no junk food. So yeah I'll only be drinking coffee occasionally. That way I don't have to suffer when I smell that irresistible coffee aroma.
Stress was the main reason I started thinking about changing my coffee habits. After I noticed what's contributing to my stress I started researching about coffee and how it impacts our bodies. I got convinced and that made it so much easier to give up my morning coffee. As I mentioned, I'll be drinking coffee occasionally. That way I'll get to treat myself while still keeping my digestive system in order. Ever wonder why coffee gets you rushing to the bathroom? Yeah, your food doesn't get digested properly when you drink coffee and makes the food leave your body too soon. In addition to that, it hinders your body's ability to absorb, calcium, iron, b12, and protein. Read more about coffee and digestion problems here.
Stress and poor digestion were enough reasons for me to (mostly) give up coffee. Other things that bothered me was how it dehydrated my body and left me with a dry mouth. I drink a lot of water but when I drink coffee, no matter how much I drank I still felt thirsty (I'm very dry). If you're thinking about giving up coffee, I'd say listen to your body and be honest with yourself. Don't let your love for coffee make you ignore all the signs. If you think that coffee isn't impacting you negatively then enjoy!