My name is Neil and I am an addict. Well, I used to be. The old me would drink 10 or more cups of coffee every single day, each of which would be loaded up with sugar and milk. So how did I kick the habit?
Earlier today I received a tweet that said “Day 2 of juicing. Cut my coffee intake down from 4 mugs to 1, coffee craving gone been replaced by #gingerslammer instead”. This was promptly followed by tweet from another follower asking “@TheJuiceJunkie any tips for kicking a 10 a day coffee habit?”
This got me thinking about my old caffeine addiction, when I couldn’t function in the morning without my cup of C8H10N4O2 (the molecular formula for caffeine).
In fact, I couldn’t function in the afternoon or evening without constantly getting a coffee fix. I had coffee so strong, that it often looked like mud (even with a big glug of milk). It was also too bitter for me to drink without at least 2 heaped spoons of sugar.
I didn’t write a blog back then, but if I did then I guess I would have been the “Un-Natural Java Junkie”.
Kicking your caffeine habit can be challenging, but it is achievable.
Here is my 3 step plan for kicking your caffeine addiction.
Step 1 – Decaffeinate or Go Green
I remember the first time I cut my caffeine intake. It wasn’t planned. My wife had started buying decaffeinated coffee and I hadn’t noticed. I only found out about the change because I was getting terrible headaches on the days I worked at home. I wasn’t happy when my wife told me we’d gone ‘decaf’. I seem to remember asking if we were going to have dehydrated water next!
The truth though is that on the days when I had some coffee (unleaded fuel) at home and some when I was out (fully leaded) I was cutting my caffeine intake without getting the withdrawal headaches.
When I eventually decided to cut coffee from my diet in 2009 I initially switched to green tea. Although green tea still contains a small amount of caffeine it also has long been hailed as a healthy hot drink and some recent research suggests green tea enhances several cognitive functions, in particular our working memory.
I have to confess that I wasn’t too keen on the first cup of green tea, but the taste soon grew on me and green tea became a regular feature in my life. Unlike decaf coffee, when I switched to green tea I didn’t get withdrawal headaches.
My advice would be to try switching coffee for green tea.
If you don’t feel you can give up your cup of joe that easily, have a small amount of decaf or even mix decaf with your regular coffee to gently ease yourself off of it.
Step 2 – Hippy Sh*t
Before 2009 I would have labelled all herbal teas “hippy sh*t”. Back then I also thought of fruit and vegetables as a garnish. Oh how times have changed.
After I embraced green tea, I decided to experiment with other herbal and fruit teas. It was a bit trial and error. Some teas tasted a bit odd, others were a revelation. For example, I couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed peppermint tea, ginger tea and cinnamon tea. All of these are now regulars in my life. These days I drink more mint tea than any other hot drink.
Alongside green tea I would suggest you experiment with a few different herbal teas that are naturally free from caffeine. Alternatively you may want to try adding a slice of lemon or lime to hot water.
Step 3 – Take an Extended Coffee Break
When I first quit coffee I went around six weeks without touching a drop. Green tea quickly became my new best friend and when I did eventually decide to have a coffee, my tastes had changed. I found I my old cuppa to be sickly sweet and also disliked the way the milk stuck to my mouth and throat.
Most people take around 3 weeks to form a new habit and my six week coffee break was enough to break my addiction.
These days I do drink the occasional coffee, but I prefer it black and unsweetened.
Bonus – The Healthy Espresso
If you need a ‘shot’ to wake you up in the morning I suggest you try my Ginger Slammer. This simple juice recipe is sure to wake up and warm you up!
It has other benefits too!
Ginger plays an important role in ayurvedic medicine, where it is used as an appetite-stimulant and digestive aid. Ginger helps to prevent flatulence and is an intestinal spasmolytic, soothing the intestinal tract.
Modern research supports its use as a safe remedy for travel sickness, and for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
Ginger has also been shown to have an analgesic effect on the joints, reducing the pain, and improving the mobility, of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis sufferers.
You can find the recipe here: Ginger Slammer Juice Recipe
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