Hello, all! I apologize for the radio silence this past week. Not only did I have a massive computer crash that warranted sending off my laptop to Apple for repair, but my great-grandfather was in a big car accident, which put a halt to pretty much everything last week. Thankfully he walked away with only bumps and bruises, even though his truck is totaled and he's 99 years old. It's a miracle, but more about that later. Thanks for reading!
To review: I gave up coffee for Lent this year, and I didn’t realize it was going to be so hard. I subbed multiple cups of black tea for my daily java, and I took advantage of the weekly feast day (Sunday) to drink at least two cups of coffee. I realized that this wasn’t all that much different than drinking coffee regularly – I was just substituting another vice in its stead. After doing this for a couple of weeks, I started waking up totally smashed on Monday mornings after my coffee binges, like I was hungover. Not fun. So I decided to cut out caffeine entirely, and drank Delicious Obsessions Clean Living Herbal “Coffee without my Sunday indulgences. I felt great, I slept well, my mornings were calmer and I made it through.
But that first cup on Easter morning was glorious.
Now, it's been just over a week since the end of my coffee fast, and in the spirit of self-experimentation I decided to take the seven days after Easter to indulge my coffee-loving side and see what reintroduction would do to me.
I admit, I had a little too much.
The novelty of it was the most alluring – instead of making do with whatever tea sachet was on the menu at a coffee shop, I could order a pretty cup of something dark and roasty. I could make myself a [LARGE] French press in the afternoons to accompany my writing projects, and I could have a DIY latte if I wanted. And I did. Repeatedly.
As fun as reintroduction week was, it put in sharp relief the positive benefits that giving up coffee had added to my life - benefits like steady energy levels, fewer instances of a racing heartbeat, and no longer relying on a stimulant to get me up and out of bed.
Here are some specifics I learned about me:
I look to coffee when I'm feeling bored or wanting a "treat."
If I drink coffee before I eat breakfast I get jittery and mean.
Too much coffee wrecks my digestive system.
I have extremely high standards for the coffee I drink.
I like French pressed coffee best.
And last but not least, I LOVE COFFEE.
I've decided I won't be giving up coffee for the long run, but I will be drinking less and paying attention to my reliance on it and response to it. (And I promise to eat breakfast before I drink any. You really don't want to see me cranky.) I enjoy the ritual and the taste too much to let it go forever, plus, there are some benefits that I - and the scientific community - find valuable.
Potential benefits like:
Hello, alertness. (Thanks, caffeine)
High levels of antioxidants, some of which may contribute to cardiovascular health
Improved athletic performance
But I’ve found that the best thing about reintroducing coffee is the shared social experience. Right now I’m enjoying a pound of specialty beans that my husband sent me (Kick Ass by Kicking Horse Coffee, if you’re interested), and that helps me to feel closer to him despite the distance. I relish the ritual of grinding the beans, the rhythm of a bubbling kettle, the aroma of a steeping brew, and the first sip of a rich cup of coffee. I associate coffee with home, comfort, routine, reliability, and sometimes those emotional connections to a thing or a place can be more impactful than whatever health benefits they may or may not offer.
What about you? Have you ever gone without coffee, or given up another favorite vice? There were some great tips and tricks shared over on Instagram, so stop by and join the conversation.
(Open-source image from Unsplash.com)