Kick the coffee obsession with minimal withdrawls. Here's how.
Naturopaths and doctors don't always agree on everything. So when I find an intersection in their advice I tend to take note: Kicking your sugar habit is one of those things. Kicking your caffeine habit is another.
Though you'll get a momentary kick of energy from both, they overstimulate your adrenals and increase the likelihood of adrenal fatigue, a condition experts believe will affect 80% of adults at some point in their lives. And caffeine addiction isn't just a potentially unhealthy habit; it's also an expensive one! It's been estimated that the average American spends nearly $1,092 annually on coffee. Just to put that into perspective: that's enough money to get you an 8-day, all-expense paid trip to Italy. Kinda makes you realize that morning coffee may not be worth the cost, doesn't it?
Last year, I decided to give up coffee after finding I was crazy-buzzy and full of major anxiety by 9 am. While reading Yuri Elkaim's All-Day Energy Diet book, I realized I was likely dealing with some serious adrenal fatigue, a condition where your adrenal glands (those babies responsible for adrenaline release) become over-stressed and stop working right. What I thought was everyday stress and a constant feeling of being overwhelmed was actually my body screaming for help.
Knowing I couldn't reduce much of the stress in my life (I'm a single mom and sole wage-earner of four kids), I decided to cut caffeine, which had become a ritural I thought was keeping me going. Turns out, that caffeine habit wasn't helping me at all. I made a slow switch from coffee to a green smoothie or glass of tea each morning and within a week, the near-constant anxiety melted away. It was incredible.
Having a wake-up call that you need to give up an addictive, harmful substance is one thing. Actually giving it up is entirely another. It takes a realistic plan that helps you cut withdrawal symptoms and replace soothing rituals with something that's healthier but equally satisfying. I offered up my 7-Days To Sugar-Free Plan several months ago but felt it was hightime to walk you through a week without caffeine.
TO START: Write down your goal. Post it somewhere you can see. You'll want to refer to this through the week to remind yourself how important it feels today to kick the coffee/caffeine habit.
DAY 1: Order your ususal coffee, but go half-caff. Secret Tip: Tote a Larabar in your pocket for extra energy, if needed.
DAY 2: Order your usual coffee, but go decaf. Secret Tip: Tote ice water and sip it whenever you need extra energy. It can refresh you and wake you up in the same way coffee can.
DAY 3: Order unsweetened herbal tea OR a veggie-based green smoothie or green juice. Add a little sweetness or cream if desired. A squeeze of lemon is even better. Secret tip: Day three of withdrawal can be the hardest. Reduce your stress as much as possible today and remind yourself why you're doing this. It will help you get through when cravings or low energy hit.
DAY 4: Skip the coffee shop today. Make unsweetened herbal tea at home OR a veggie-based green smoothie/green juice at home. Secret tip: Support your natural energy levels by avoiding sugary carbs for the rest of the week. Focus on greens and high-quality fats and protein like grassfed beef, wild salmon, avocados, and nuts. Great idea: Tote your tea in a reusable container. You'll be saving the earth while you save your adrenals.
DAY 5: Skip the coffee shop today. Make unsweetened herbal tea at home. Secret tip: Add a squeeze of lemon. It can help your body flush out toxins. Great idea: Get out for a brisk walk today. The movement will naturally reenergize you.
DAY 6: Make unsweetened herbal tea at home. Or try a green smoothie, green juice, or detox water. Secret tip: Look for an opportunity to commit a "random act of kindness" today. It can boost your oxytocin levels, the chemical responsible for your feel-good emotions. No coffee needed.
DAY 7: Start the day with tea or detox water. For extra energy, drink ice water, go for a walk, or do something unexpectedly kind for someone else. You now have several no-caffeine drink options plus a whole bunch of energy-boosting habits that can replace that cup o' joe.
At the end of this week, take note of the new rituals that feel most satisfying to you. Write these down and add them into your life. It can take up to a month (or more) to rewire your brain with new habits. Be patient and persistent and you'll be kicking the coffee addiction in no time at all!