Why I Gave Up Coffee

“Haven’t you given up enough already?”

This was my mother’s response to hearing the news, that I, her vegan, tree hugging, reformed smoker, alcohol free, no chemicals, reusable bag loving, plastic-free child would be giving up one more thing. She wasn’t mad of course and I don’t think that she was judging me either but more stunned that even in my little world there was more I was willing to go without.

So WHY ditch my lifeline?

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I have been raising little boys since 2012 and it’s exhausting. Caffeine has pretty much served as my sleep replacement for the last eight years and I’ve relied on it to get my day started since I was about sixteen. That is the precise reason I gave it up. Something about waking up every day and insisting that my kids don’t even talk to me before I’ve finished my cup of coffee rubbed me the wrong way. How was I allowing this drink to control my mornings that way?

Additionally, I have trouble sleeping and issues with anxiety that coffee seemed to make worse. Essentially, giving it up was nothing more than an experiment I was conducting on myself to see if limiting my caffeine intake could help resolve certain issues that I’ve just “dealt with” for years.

Results.

  • Fewer migraines and headaches. After giving up coffee for an entire month, I can safely say that I have had far fewer instances of wanting to curl up into a ball and cry because of painful migraines or headaches.
  • Less stressful mornings. Not starting my day with the need to get a pot of coffee brewing gave me time to start a healthier habit, working out.
  • Happier mornings. Without the withdrawal of caffeine drawing me away from my kids and into a glass of hot bean water I was able to take things a little slower every day which put less stress on everyone in the house.
  • Lower levels of anxiety. I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed that I was less anxious throughout each day, though not entirely free from my anxiety.
  • More energy throughout the day. I’m not entirely sure if this was a result of giving up coffee or from beginning a workout routine as I’ve heard that working out can have that effect on people.
  • Fewer poops. This isn’t necessarily a good thing (or proper thing to talk about) but I’m not here to only admit to the good, that’s not an honest study. Like most people the first cup of coffee gets everything going and without it, I did notice that I wasn’t having the same elimination as before… That’s all I am going to say about this topic.

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Ability to use caffeine as medicine.

This one was a fun discovery! Back when I used to get five or more headaches or migraines each month there wasn’t really anything that helped. I was tired of dumping OTC drugs into my body and trying every home remedy without relief (including having another cup of coffee).

During the month that I gave up coffee, I had fewer day to day disruptions from headaches, however, I get what are called “menstrual migraines” occasionally with my cycle. They grow in intensity over the course of the first few days, even going to bed doesn’t help, the migraine is always waiting for me again when I wake up in the morning. On day three of my cycle, I was sitting on the couch in actual tears because of how bad my migraine was which is actually pretty normal for my menstrual migraines. Day three is always the most intense, where even moving my head in any given direction causes severe pain and the tiniest sound or spec of light is enough to bring me to my knees.

Unfortunately, menstrual migraines do not care what over the counter drugs you try, they are practically immune since they are triggered by your changing hormones. My husband, seeing me in agony offered a piece of advice, “try a cup of coffee.” At this point, I was going strong with over a week without coffee and I didn’t want to cave but again, I was in tears over the pain so I went ahead a brewed myself just enough for one cup.

And it worked. 

I wasn’t even going to share my experience, because quite frankly who cares why I gave up coffee? I’m never going to deter an avid coffee drinker away from their lifeline with my personal experience, that being said after I used coffee to treat a second migraine on a separate occasion I figured I would put this out there for anyone interested in my results.

*If you plan on giving up coffee I definitely advise weening your way off of it over the course of a week or so to avoid caffeine withdrawal headaches.

As always, thanks for reading.

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