One Week without Coffee

Last week I posted a picture blog about what I used to eat vs. what I eat now.  The picture of before and after my lifestyle change were completely different except for one thing: my morning Starbucks iced coffee.

morning ritual

I admit it.  I’m a Starbucks junkie.  Before I started trying to lose weight, I drank iced coffee with whole milk and sugar.  Once I started counting calories, I weened myself off the sugar and started drinking it unsweetened.  Once I started reducing animal products in my diet, I switched from cow’s milk to almond milk.  Calorie wise, my iced coffee is negligible, which is why I never thought about not having it.

Stopping at Starbucks on the way to work (or class) has been a ritual of mine for probably close to 10 years.  I always call it my last vice – I don’t smoke cigarettes anymore, I don’t overeat, I drink rarely and moderately… let me have this one thing.

After I posted the before and after pictures of how I eat, I finally started thinking about that Venti Unsweetened Iced Coffee.  I love the smell of coffee and I love the taste.  But once I thought about it, I realized that the acidity of the coffee wasn’t really all that pleasant when it was sitting in my stomach.  Then there’s the caffeine.  I drank coffee daily out of compulsion.  If I skipped it, or waited too long, I would be treated to a caffeine headache that no amount of caffeine would cure.  This was problematic on days when I wanted to do a lot of things in the morning that didn’t involve coffee- like running or going to the gym.  Finally, there was the cost.  At about $3 per day, Starbucks adds up.  Again, I justified this to myself.  I told me long ago, “If you don’t smoke cigarettes, you can have Starbucks every day.”

Obviously making my own coffee at home would negate the cost issue.  But I’ve never been able to pull off making anything that I found remotely as tasty and satisfying as Starbucks.  I know that’s a point of debate- but to my taste buds, Starbucks iced coffee is king.

I decided last weekend that it was time to try not having it, just to see how it affected things.  Instead, I brewed a light iced green tea.  I figured it would be easier to have something with a lot less caffeine at first than to just quit caffeine cold turkey.  It’s been seven days without Starbucks, and I don’t think I’m going back.

The first few days were pretty miserable.  I had a headache despite the green tea and I felt just kind of weird and off.  After 5 days, I had an iced black tea with lunch and it made my heart race like caffeine hasn’t done to me in many years.  Apparently the tolerance to caffeine wears off very quickly!  I did not like the way that felt.

Iced green tea is good.  It’s easy to make, not acidic, and it’s cheap compared to Starbucks.  Since the switch, I feel I’ve slept better and my stomach has been happier.  Yesterday, I was able to wake up at 6:30 am, go pick up veggies from Bountiful Baskets Food Co-Op, putz around the kitchen, head to the gym for cardio and BodyPump – all without any caffeine or the dreaded caffeine headache.  It’s worth it.  After drinking it daily for so long, I stopped liking the coffee all that much, I guess.

I’m going to let myself get used to the green tea for awhile and then see if there’s something without caffeine to drink.  Herbal mint tea is one suggestion that sounds appealing to me.

Now, I know some of you are reading this and thinking “Oh hell no.  I am not giving up my coffee.  Nope.  Don’t even bother suggesting it.”  Don’t you worry, I’m not suggesting it!  I don’t think coffee hinders weight loss in any way and there are many health benefits to drinking coffee (avoid sweeteners though.)  For me, it was just time to try life without it.  I think it’s a good practice in general to question anything you’ve been doing by habit for a long time to see if it’s still working for you.  When I questioned the coffee, I realized it wasn’t working for me anymore, so I changed.  If I still loved it the way I used to, I wouldn’t even dream of giving it up.

15 thoughts on “One Week without Coffee

  1. I just read a article in O magazine that talked about brewing your own ice coffee or frapuccino. I use to love Starbucks but they became to pricey for my budget. I always got the iced caramel Macchiato with soy… yum. The caramel certainly isn’t vegan :-( but I sorta let that slide. Anyhow, according to the directions you can make a coffee concentrate by putting 1/2 cup ground coffee and 1/2 cup cold water in a glass container– stir, and then add 2 more cups of water. Close the container and let sit for 12 hours. Strain the grounds in a filter. (If it comes out cloudy, strain it again) It stores for up to 2 weeks in the fridge. To serve you add milk, ice, and sugar. I have been making kick ass hemp milk in the vitamix. I plan on using that and nixing the sugar. A little vanilla extract might be good too. :-) of course this is only for those wanting to make it at home. I realize you kicked the habit

  2. I’m not so much for coffee anymore either – but I still like Starbucks at Home! I’m a big fan of their iced Passion tea. I make it in my Mr. Coffee Iced tea machine( I always thought tea machines were stupid until my sister who was a big fan gave me one – love it!) and I get several pitchers full for the price of one venti at Starbucks!

  3. It’s really funny. I NEVER drank coffee until I hit my 60s. In the beginning, I forced myself to drink it because it has been proven to help stave off Alzheimer’s. I make flavored coffee at home. I have two cups of coffee with almond milk (real milk negates the value of the coffee [or cocoa]) and Truvia. I’m still not wacky about it, but it’s growing on me.

    • This is so true and a good reason that if coffee agrees with you and you don’t go overboard you could still enjoy the daily cup.

  4. I pretty much have the exact same relationship with coffee. Sometimes I think it could impact my weight loss in some ways. One, because a large iced americano with cream/no sugar, will sometimes make me forget to eat a nourishing breakfast or lunch and when I realize I am starving 2 hours later, I am more likely to make bad choices.. The second way is that I’ve heard that caffeine raises cortisol levels (as can chronic stress) which can negatively impact your metabolism….That said, cutting bad on caffeine is on my “to do list,” but pretty far down on the list.

  5. hey, Congrats! I quit coffee about 2 months ago and the first week was hell – headaches, muscle spasms, etc. I used to only have one huge cup a day, in the morning – for decades. And I HAD to have it. I couldn’t imagine quitting. Now i’m so happy to have that monkey off my back.

    Now I have a nice hot cup of Cafix in the morning. It’s a grain beverage, no caffeine. And some mornings I can skip it when I want to.

    • Never seen Cafix. Growing up and into my late 20′s used to drink Postum but never see that in the store anymore. Maybe it is the abundance of decafeineted products now.

  6. Not sure I’m ready for cutting coffee yet, although I have thought about it. Your commitment to good choices is amazing. I’m getting closer to sorting out my nutrition!!

  7. I drink whatever I feel like that will make me feel refreshed, relaxed, revived at that particular moment in life. It may be coffee, tea or water or soda or chai. It may be hot, cold, iced, blended. But never juice…I have never liked juice or “smoothies”. It may be sweetened or not, may have dairy milk, soy milk, rice milk or almond milk. Occasionally even non dairy creamer (that is all they had a church this a.m.!)

  8. When I gave up sugar for a month late last year, I decided to stop drinking coffee, too. It was surprisingly easy.
    But I now have a piccolo latte most days for the pleasure of it. I could never go back to having sugar in my coffee, though. It totally ruins the taste for me now.

  9. I wish I had your strength and fortitude. My coffee habit is one of my few remaining food vices left. I drink it black so it’s not adding calories to my intake (and may be helping burn a few too), but I’m always worried that I drink too much.

  10. Good for you. As you, at first it was hard, for me I stopped cold turkey, and the headaches were terrible, then the problem of not being able to wake up. I realized if I eat an apple it gives me that pick me up that I need. What is funny, my co-worker was feeling the same way, I gave him an orange to help him get the pick-up and it worked. I guess the sugar in the fruit. Yesterday I had a cup, and was feeling you. My body is not used to it anymore.

  11. Me again…we’re at work and all loving the life-size picture of the Starbucks iced coffee, BTW. 2 of us bring our Starbucks cold cups every day…I have homemade Constant Comment green iced tea in mine today. They are really handy.

  12. I gave up caffeine for August, but I’ve still been drinking decaf, and hansen’s rootbeer. Eventually I will give both of those up completely, and probably only consume caffeine if it’s in chocolate, but it’s a process to get there.

  13. I have been debating with myself for nearly two years about whether or not to give up coffee. I was down to 3 cups a week nearly two years ago, but then starting dating someone who drank a lot of coffee. In no time at all I was back to 1-2 cups per day. I’m now down to five cups per week, but I’d love to get off altogether. I know that green tea contains antioxidants that are good for me, but I’ve never considered it an alternative to coffee because it also contains caffeine.

    Maybe one day…. just not today.

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