Back in 2006/2007, I was quite addicted to caffeine.
Photo credit: Mat.teo, Flickr
Tough to say, but there’s really no way to sugar coat it. Thinking about it now, I kind of recoil in horror about the amount of caffeine intake I had. I would regularly wake up and have a coke for breakfast (horrible, I know), and then it would be a few hour break from caffeine (and all liquids, actually), then I’d get home, relax and make some dinner and then start on my homework/work and have another cup of tea (or 2). This tea was typically green or black, but on occasion I considered my caffeine intake and switched to white tea (but only if I was planning on going to bed soon). It wasn’t good, and not only was the consumption outside this world, the rate at which I consumed a cup was astounding. Either way, it got to a point where even I started to realize my consumption was high, so I decided to make an effort to cut back. Here are some of the BEST reasons I found to give up caffeine:
- Caffeine has a half life of 4.9 hours for healthy adults (women taking oral contraceptives, it’s 5-10 hours, dont ask me why)
- Caffeine hogs your liver. When you drink caffeine, it gets broken down into 3 parts in the liver (Paraxanthine 84%, Theobromine 12% and Theophylline 4%). When your liver is breaking down these things that you put into your body knowingly, it cant break down toxins that are in your body that you don’t know about.
- Caffeine has been linked to miscarriage, with women who consume more than 200 mg a day (2 cups drip coffee) doubling their risk.
- It will make it harder for you to fall asleep, and you’ll wake easier
- We all know about the feeling a few hours later when you crash. Coffee is a lot like credit cards in this way – you can keep having fun, but eventually you’ll have to pay the piper.
- It will dehydrate you.
- The acidic nature of caffeine drinks has a negative effect on your body by preventing other nutrients from getting absorbed.
- The “Latte Factor” (or soda factor) It doesn’t really matter how much you do or don’t drink of the stuff. It will add up no matter what, and lets face it: Water is free & better for you.
You’re probably addicted to the stuff (Just like I was), depending on the amount of caffeine you drink. Lets work out how long it could take. 1 shot of espresso from starbucks has 75 mg of caffeine in it. Given our half-life formula, that 1 espresso shot (or drink) will stay in your body for the next 31.5 HOURS, Give or take a few hours depending on how healthy you are. At 4pm tomorrow, are you still going to be thinking about that espresso shot you had at 8am today? I didnt think so either. It’s probably time to give it up.
Like I mentioned in a previous post, something as simple as getting a waterbottle to fill can help you out. The soda can/tea cup I used to reach for was replaced by a water bottle, and I didn’t really notice the difference at first, then I started to feel a lot better after a while. Once you start switching to water during the times that you typically blindly reach for a caffeinated beverage (read: at your desk) you can start doing the difficult part: purposefully avoiding it at restaurants, in bars, etc. But, please, don’t try both of these at once.
I suggest starting with having your morning coffee ( and if you started out drinking 3+ cut it down to 3, then to 2, then to 1). While you’re doing this, start replacing the coffee you’re not drinking with 2x the amount of water. It will fill your stomach up and leave less room for the caffeine. You’ll also rehydrate yourself in doing so. Once you get in the habit of doing this, you can move on to the next step!