Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How To Drink Less Coffee

I have been drinking coffee as long as I can remember. Well, maybe not quite that long, but for a long, long time. I love coffee and everything that comes with it: its smell, its taste, and the ritual of taking a “coffee break.” And I love the little kick it gives me to get through the afternoon, and I couldn’t live without it. Well, at least that’s what I thought for a long time.

Coffee has some potential health benefits, but too much coffee is certainly not good. Over the years, I have tried to “quit” a few times as I felt I had become too dependent on coffee, but it never worked. I always attempted to quit “cold turkey” and was left with horrible headaches. Plus I felt like I couldn’t get through the afternoons. So I tried to “cut back.” And I always would for a while. I’d have a cup in the morning and one in the early afternoon. But I would always slowly but surely increase my intake to two cups in the morning and to two in the afternoon and then some.

Finally, a few weeks ago, I was tired of my “coffee cycle” of trying to drink a reasonable amount and ultimately always ending up drinking too much again. I remembered when I stopped drinking diet soda. Several years ago, I drank way too much diet soda but was able to stop completely by first banning it from my house and then elsewhere.  I never thought I could live without my diet soda, but I can and life is a lot better…

I knew that I wouldn’t be able to stop drinking coffee “cold turkey.” I had tried it before, and it didn’t work. Plus, I still wanted to drink one cup a day, and I was pretty sure that I could do it. And that’s what I did. I also knew that making a pot of coffee, which somehow always meant “extra coffee,” would be a problem, so I switched to single serve instant coffee (I really like Starbucks Via and buy it at Costco). While I prefer organic, fair trade whole bean coffee, I knew that having whole bean coffee and a coffee maker in the kitchen would just tempt me too much. I therefore used up the last of our coffee beans and didn’t buy anymore. I also “retired” our coffee maker. Hubby was shocked. I actually “made” him start drinking coffee a few years ago, and he now drinks one cup a day. He has also tried to tell me to drink less for a long time…

So how is it going? Great. Much, much better than expected. Honestly. I get up every morning and make one cup of instant coffee. When I finish it, I’m done with my coffee for the day. My brain gets it! Do I get any headaches? I had a very slight headache the first two days, but I’m not even sure it was from the “coffee withdrawals.” How about that afternoon slump? It didn’t really happen. In fact, hubby commented just yesterday that I seem to have a lot more energy now that I drink less coffee…

How about the coffee ritual? I replaced my many cups of coffee with other beverages, mostly green and herbal teas. And I love it. Green tea does contain some caffeine, but a lot less than coffee. Plus, green tea has a lot of health benefits. Dr. Weil just recently wrote about the benefits of green tea on his blog.

If you want to drink less coffee, here is how you may be able to break the coffee habit:
  • Only make one cup and not a whole pot
  • Plan for a substitute drink – I like green and herbal teas and “interesting” water with frozen citrus and berries
  • Treat yourself to a new mug and thereby start a “new ritual”
  • Consider retiring your coffee maker
Questions: What’s your favorite beverage? Do you drink coffee? If so, how much do you drink? Do you think you drink too much? Have you ever cut back or given up drinking coffee? If so, what was your experience?

Be well,