Well y’all, I did it. I officially went ONE FULL YEAR WITHOUT A SIP OF CAFFEINE. Yes, I went the first (and hardest) sleepless months of the newborn stage without any coffee, green tea, you name it – I didn’t have it.
This is the second time I’ve really cut caffeine out of my diet. My first time was after I left my job at NBC is New York City after Drew and I got engaged. When I left The City That Never Sleeps, I wanted to create a long-lasting healthy lifestyle, and that included limiting caffeine. I was always drinking coffee or Coke (Ew, who was I?! I haven’t had any soda since 2013, I won’t even put them in mixed drinks. Exception: Ginger Ale & Sprite during my first trimester of pregnancy. I NEEDED it to survive not throwing up – even though I still would). Anyway, I really slashed my caffeine intake, but I didn’t completely stop. I would get a latte or caffeinated beverage on the days I really needed “the energy,” or if I was just trying to be social and a friend or family member wanted to do a drive-thru Starbucks run. I slowly kept lessening my intake to the point that when I lived in Arizona for 3.5 years, I rarely had it. It would, once again, be a social thing every once in awhile at an adorable local desert coffee shop. And when I would have caffeine it would mostly be matcha, green tea, or a cute (insta-worthy) latte. There were the few and far between occurrences of me pouring myself a cup in the morning out of Drew’s pot he would brew. (Drew is a huge coffee connoisseur so I went caffeine-free with smelling coffee brewing in my face every morning and the smell of coffee beans being prepped every night.)
In this post I’m sharing why I did it, why it’s beneficial, and how you can cut caffeine out of your diet also. Let’s not get excessive, this isn’t me telling you to do the same. This is me saying to you, if you’ve been wanting to cut back on your coffee consumption and don’t know how to start the daunting task – here’s how. I personally went cold turkey last August, (and I share why below), but I know that is not the recommended route. If you’re looking to cut back, it’s advised to start slowly. Hopefully my tips at the end help you along the way!
Whatever your reason may be for wanting to eliminate the amount you’re drinking, whether it’s for health purposes or just wanting to prove to yourself that coffee doesn’t own you – you’ve got this!
BENEFITS OF ELIMINATING CAFFEINE
- Overall health and mood improvement
- You will naturally have more energy
- Your body will absorb nutrients better
- Less cardiac risks
- Aid in bone strength
- Lower blood pressure
- Less headaches
- Less Anxiety
- Better sleep
- Less mood swings
WHY I DID IT
Well, it sure wasn’t due to popularity! How many times do we scroll through Instagram on a Monday morning and see coffee everything with punny captions. Or how about the classic, “But first, coffee” shirts. We’re programmed to believe coffee is cool and we physically and mentally cannot survive a day without the cup(s) of pick-me-up.
I know lots of pregnant women have no problem drinking caffeine during pregnancy. Lots of them are so dependent on coffee they just can’t seem to imagine doing it any other way. They aren’t even willing to try. There is insufficient evidence on caffeine and pregnancy other than doctors know it’s not good for you to consume a lot of it. They tell you one cup of coffee (about 200mg a day or less is fine). And every mama out there I know does that and has perfectly healthy pregnancies and perfectly happy and healthy little ones. But for me, I personally didn’t want to put anything in my body that I knew wasn’t beneficial for my baby. I didn’t want to consume anything that there was even a threshold of between “ok” and not good for you. I only wanted to fuel my body with the good, wholesome stuff. Yes, of course, these days it seems you can say anything is bad for you. But, when you know there is a distinct correlation with fertility/pregnancy issues and a specific factor – then why do it at all? This is just my personal opinion on how I felt during my first pregnancy. Do I judge ladies who drink coffee/caffeine pregnant? No. It’s their body, their baby, their decision. And this is mine.
So now that you understand my mindset, I’ll tell you I stopped drinking any caffeine one year ago when my husband and I first started trying to conceive our sweet Bridget. (I can’t believe it’s been a year since then?! I know that’s super personal and not something people celebrate. But, I celebrate everything and I think that’s a very important milestone in life and worthy of at least a little hoorah with you and your significant other remembering that special time). Anyway, I stopped then. Not only did I not drink coffee, I didn’t drink anything with caffeine. No caffeinated teas – nothing. (Yes, I know green tea is healthy for you and you’re probably thinking by now I went overboard and a little excessive. But, this is something I wanted to do that was important to me).
Why didn’t I start up again after I gave birth? At that point, I just wanted to prove to myself I could make it one full year caffeine-free. Call me crazy, because yes, that meant I went through all the sleepless nights of the newborn stage of being up 24/7 without a single sip of any stimulant.
HOW TO HELP CUT CAFFEINE OUT OF YOUR DIET
- Sleep: This is easier said than done for new moms or moms with multiple young children necessarily, but simply get good sleep and plenty of it. I made sleep and giving my body rest a priority so it could properly recharge.
- Water: Drink water, water and then more water. Teach yourself to feel naked if you don’t have a water bottle in your hand at all times. Don’t sit on the couch, drive in your car, or fall asleep without water next to you.
- Exercise: That quote, “I really regretted that workout, said no one ever.” Exactly. Endorphins. Get out and move and you will instantly feel more energized and go on throughout your day feeling better for it. Or you will just feel proud of yourself for moving and get a boost of pride/happiness. Please do not discredit walks. Walks are exercise and you feel just as good after a long one.
- Get outside: Simply stepping outside and looking up at the sky or feeling sunshine on your skin is an instant gratification boost. Whether you take a few deep breaths standing outside for a minute, have time to sit down for a few, or get to go on a walk – you’ll feel full and energized. There is just something about it. I don’t know if it’s a gratitude thing that when you look up at the sky, you know something bigger is out there or if it’s a Vitamin D thing. But, it works.
- Eat healthy & Wholesome foods: When you put crap in your body you feel like crap. “Real” foods fuel your body.
- Inspiration quotes/Positive podcasts/ Self-Help books: Whatever motivates you, read/listen to it. I feel like I can do a million things after I read quotes, articles or listen to a pump me up podcast. Let these inspire and lift you up – not a cup of joe.
HOW I’M FEELING NOW
Great! No lie, I could absolutely keep going caffeine-free. I have plenty of energy and it’s natural energy which makes me feel even better! I’m not having to rely on a chemical reaction to give me my personality! I am more calm and content than I have ever been in my life. (That’s also being a mother now and feeling whole and living with more purpose than I ever could have imagined feeling. Or because I have worked really hard for years on bettering myself through books, podcasts, quotes, and conferences). But, I swear, I have never felt this good and this way before, and I believe this dietary change is a factor. Will I keep being this strict on myself? Nope. I wanted to go one full year. That was my goal and I did it. Will I start drinking caffeine regularly? No. But I will let myself enjoy caffeine when I please and how I please. Yup. (At least until my next pregnancy I’m sure I’ll revisit my thoughts). Plus, I now have to introduce Miss Bridget to caffeine since I’m nursing which worries me a bit since she’s never had it. So, we will see how her body reacts to it and go from there. She’s an angel of a sleeper – 12 hours a night with no dream feedings – and has the sweetest disposition – so if any of that changes once I start drinking caffeine, I’ll stop it again.
Hope these tips help you if you’re looking to reevaluate your coffee consumption!
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