Have I told you how much I love coffee?
The sound of the coffee pot gurgling…
that first sip…
I love it all. (well, maybe not the coffee breath that follows)
Last August I realized I was feeling jittery and exhausted immediately after having my caffeinated coffee. I sighed, knowing what it meant.
Thankfully I was already on my way to discovering how to make decaf taste *almost* as good as regular (last week’s post will catch you up if you missed it). But first I had to wean myself off of it. And then figure out where to go from there.
Today’s post will cover three things. These are what I’ve discovered personally. Most of it did come with some study, but not enough for me to take the time to find links. So sure, take it with a grain of salt, but more importantly, know that I stand behind what I’m writing because it worked for me!
1 (least fun): weaning off of caffeine
2 (more interesting): more effective times of the day to have caffeine
3 (best part): a way to enjoy caffeine without getting re-hooked
1. Weaning yourself off.
I cut a small amount out of the amount of caffeine I was drinking each week.
The first week, I went from 2 large cups of full-caff to making the second cup half-caff.
The second week, both cups were half-caff.
The third week, my second cup was decaf.
The fourth week, it was all decaf.
This kept me from getting headaches (which I had had when I tried going cold-turkey in the past).
2. Most effective times to have caffeine
Our bodies have natural rhythms of higher and lower energy. I’m sure you’ve noticed how sometimes you’re dragging, and a few minutes later you can do a lot more. This is much more obvious late in the evening, but I notice it throughout the day.
Obviously not having caffeine in the evening is a wise choice to help you sleep well. For me, I learned years ago that I couldn’t have caffeine after 3 p.m. or it would affect my brain when I tried to sleep. You’ll have to figure out exactly what your own cutoff is.
But less obvious is that coffee first thing in the morning isn’t ideal! Our bodies are gradually increasing in energy over the first hour or two, so if you have caffeine while your body is increasing in energy, you won’t really notice it. The bigger problem, though, is that the caffeine will fade the same time your body’s natural energy fades, so the crash is much more pronounced. So when I have caffeine, I make it about 2 hours after I get up, when I can actually enjoy the increased energy it provides!
This is not how our culture views coffee, but I’ve noticed a difference in my energy level since I changed my timing.
3. Enjoying caffeine without getting re-hooked
This is my favorite part, because I can enjoy high-octane french roast without worry that I’m going to have a headache when I stop again.
An article Josh found a few years ago gave this plan:
Take 6 weeks off of caffeine. (wean off gradually and then start the counting)
Then, go ahead and enjoy it as many as 5 days in a row, but then take at least 2 days off of it.
It works! This has been my philosophy for awhile now, and it really works. If I had a horrible night and really need the boost, I’ll enjoy my regular coffee, knowing it isn’t getting me hooked again.
Oh, and the best part of all of this: because I’m no longer dependent on the stuff, it gives me far more of a boost when I do have it. (wow, I really should have started with that fact!) As a matter of fact, that’s why we originally did it: it wasn’t to avoid the withdrawal headaches, it was so that the caffeine actually did something.
So there you have it! What do you think? I would love to hear if you decide to try some or all of this, and then you can let me know how it works for you! I’d love to hear your thoughts! [email protected]
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