Can I vent for a minute?
Part of this transition which has been the most challenging so far has been giving up coffee. To illustrate how difficult it has been, I would like to compare it to quitting smoking. Honestly quitting cigarettes was so much easier! Maybe it was all the unappealing repercussions that came with smoking (this list could go on for days). When I was smoking my chest would hurt, I got a surging sting through my left breast which the doctors never could figure out, there was the nasty smell, the bad breath, having to stand out in the cold to “enjoy” my vice (I HATE being cold!), wheezing, coughing, and other unpleasantness. Take with that the risk of heart disease, cancer, and did I mention the stroke I had back in ’08? All of these things make cigarettes an easy friend to say “good riddance” to.
Without fail it was always the first two weeks that were the most challenging; once I was over that initial hump it was much easier to go without a cigarette from there. I still crave cigarettes from time to time, but it’s a small, fleeting thought that goes in and out of my brain like a breeze; a breeze which I have come to accept will always come and go.
Coffee however, is a whole ‘nother story.
Coffee is warm, comforting, and delicious. Coffee is a ritual. Coffee is a culture in and of itself. Coffee has been a staple in my life since I was a teenager. I will never forget watching Katie (my highschool boyfriend’s mother) as she prepared her morning brew. She kept her package of Major Dickason’s blend in the freezer (she had it shipped specially from California each month). I was fascinated by the her process of measuring, grinding, boiling and slowly brewing the morning beverage through her Mellita on the stove. And the sheer strength of Katie’s coffee. Whew! It would strip the paint off of a fender. Even now I sometimes wish I could go back and just taste it again for the first time.
Aaah coffee. How I love just the smell. From that faint whiff that draws me down the aisle in the grocery store, to the pungent smell from a single pound of Fresh Moab Coffee that would envelop my car for the entire drive from Moab, to even that weird burnt toast smell that is emitted from the Millcreek and Salt Lake Coffee Roasting Companies, I love every smell associated with coffee.
And the colors! The dark, cola-esque, blackish browns seen through a clear plastic cup filled with ice; the white heavy cream splash into the cup like a cloud burst, mixing and contorting until resting at a perfectly rich, creamy tan.
Finally the thing I miss most of all: the taste. Oh to have the bitterness of a black cup pass my lips again! To taste a cool iced americano with cream and just a hint of coconut. To sip on a cup of FMC with thick, delicious, full-fat whipping cream. Aaaah… Those moments were what a cup of coffee was all about.
However… once the coffee left my lips and started making its way to my belly was always where the appeal would end. I do not like what effects it had on my body: dehydration, jitters that made it impossible for me to focus on anything until they subsided, the feeling that my stomach was eating itself, loose bowels (tmi?) insomnia, and ultimately the CRASH. Those are the things I don’t miss, and those are the things I have to remember that I don’t want or need in my life.
“On the down side are coffee’s well-documented side effects: anxiety, insomnia, tremor and irregular heartbeat. It can also irritate the digestive system, bladder and prostate.” -Dr. Weil
All very good reasons to switch to hot water and lemon. In fact, the internet is full of information about the harmful effects of coffee. I know for me the first thing quitting brought me was reduced stress levels. I also noticed that when I would practice Bikram (which I also teach) I don’t need as much water. I was always guilty of chugging 40 oz. while I was in class, now I can get away with 15-20. I also sleep much better. I also don’t have to worry about that rogue cup that would once in a while really throw me for a jittery loop where I would have to slow down and just focus on my breath until it subsided.
I truly never have gone very long without a cup of coffee—maybe a few days. Coming up next week it will be two months since my last cup. I remember how I felt immediately after drinking my last cup of coffee. It had been about a week, so I was already re-sensitized to the effects, and I got so shaky I felt like I was vibrating. I had to chug water and do nothing until it went away. As a reward for myself, I got a teeth whitening kit from the dentist that I have been using, and I can see the stains on my teeth each day. These memories are what give me the knowledge and the faith that it is best for me to give it up. I know it is totally worth it. I just miss it a little.