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One Year Without Black Coffee

I love coffee.

I drink it black. No cream. No sugar. Ever.

It has been extremely tough to quit but today marks the one year anniversary since I went cold turkey on black coffee.

One year ago today, I stopped drinking it. Not caffeine, but black coffee. I didn't eliminate caffeine -- that wasn't the goal -- just black coffee. I still allowed myself expresso as long as it was diluted in something other than water. (Since I'm vegan, that only left soy milk.)

At first I switched to tea. Then I experimented with soy lattes (an espresso diluted in steamed soy milk). Eventually, I removed all sources of high caffeine.

Now I drink water, tea, and the occasional Earl Grey Soy Misto (Earl Grey tea with steamed soy milk).

I no longer wake up in the morning feeling the need to power myself by ingesting a foreign substance.

My brain feels clearer.

I feel more in control and connected with my body.

A whiff of freshly brewed coffee occasionally spurs the craving, but for the most part I am free. I'm free of the dependence.

My Reasons for Quitting

  • To remove dependence on an external substance
  • To improve my overall physical and mental health
  • To prove to myself that I could quit

Everybody is different. Everyone has their nemesis.

But I've won. I quit.

Black coffee no longer controls my waking state and no longer demands my attention when the caffeine high wears off.

20 Reasons you Should Kick the Coffee Habit

  • Migraine headaches
  • Getting rid of your dependence
  • Can screw with intuition and creativity
  • Increased hypertension risks
  • Keeps the liver busy from filtering other toxins
  • Tooth decay
  • Weakened bones
  • Addiction
  • Causes anxiety
  • A cycle of hyperactivity and/or inability to focus, followed by a subsequent "crash"
  • Disrupted sleep habits
  • May interfere with weight loss and has been linked to hypoglycemia
  • Buying coffee products may fund inhumane labor overseas
  • Financial costs to support caffeine purchases
  • Has been linked to affecting learning behavior
  • Caffeine dehydrates your body
  • A desire for a healthier pregnancy
  • Decreased libido or sexual performance
  • A more stable mood
  • To prevent parts of your brain from becoming overactive while leaving other parts underactive

Wow.

If those aren't enough reasons to quit, then stop reading now.

My biggest motivation for quitting was my health. I want to be as healthy as possible. The high level of caffeine in black coffee screws with that goal.

Sure, it has some positive side effects, but if our bodies don't absolutely need it, then I believe it's doing more harm than good.

Convinced and ready to try quitting yourself?

First, here are some withdrawal symptoms you can expect

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Poor motor skills
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Mood swings

The good news is once you quit, those symptoms are gone. No more pain from missing your morning cup of joe. No more dependence.

Withdrawal symptoms differ from person to person (I experienced strong headaches and mood swings) and if you're lucky enough not to have any withdrawal symptoms, then quitting should be as simple as kicking the habit.

Whatever your withdrawal symptoms are, use them as motivation to quit.

Why would anyone voluntarily ingest a substance with such side effects? Coffee seems to be the perfect product from a business standpoint though: Once you start, it's painful to stop drinking it.

I hate that type of dependence. Nobody needs it.

How to Quit Coffee (or Caffeine)

There are lots of ways to quit. I chose to quit cold turkey and deal with the few days of intense withdrawal symptoms.

Here's a list of resources that you may find helpful for quitting:

How to Quit Caffeine - wikiHow
How to Quit Coffee Cold Turkey | eHow.com
How to Give Up Coffee
Give Up Coffee: How To Quit Coffee With Meditation
Stop Being a Slave to Starbucks - How to Quit Caffeine
How To: Quit Drinking Coffee

More Resources

Top Reasons to be Caffeine-Free
Wikipedia article on Caffeine
7 Food Hacks to Stay Alert Without Caffeine

Have you kicked the caffeine or coffee habit? Are you thinking of quitting? What side affects does coffee have on you? How much coffee do you drink a day? Is it a habit or just an occasional indulgence?

Write a Comment

Comment

  1. Absolutely. Good on you. Working in a shop with an awesome espresso machine didn’t help my much during 2008-9.

    I find wheat tea (from the Chinese supermarkets) is a great alternative because it has a slightly burner taste and an awesome aroma.

    I’m also limiting my intake of sugar at the moment, in an effort to just have my body running cleaner. And I’m leaning towards raw foods!

    I feel caffeine is the bane of many a desk jockey so I’m sure your article will be useful to many – thanks Raam.

    • I’ll have to check out that tea! I tried this tea called Lapsang souchong and it’s awesome. It has a strong smokey flavor.

      I’m also leaning towards raw foods! I’ve been vegan for more than 2 years now, but I’m thinking of simplifying my diet even further. However, with my upcoming nomadic journey, I’m not sure how difficult it’s going to be to maintain such a diet.

  2. How funny. First off, did I know you were vegan? I totally want to readapt that lifestyle. Good for you.

    But I was laughing because I drink Earl Grey soy mistos just about everyday.

    • I mentioned on my old About page that I was vegan, but not on my new one, so I’m not sure. I’m still working on the redesign, so I’ll have to add that back in.

      Earl Grey Soy Misto’s are awesome! I can’t believe I hadn’t even heard of them prior to a few months ago.

  3. I found out the other day that Leo Batuba from Zen Habits is vego and Johanthan Mead from Illuminated Mind too. Maybe we can start a veggie blogging mafia? LOL.

    • Yes, we should! 😀 I had forgotten that both Leo and Johanthan were vegans. I’m really interested in finding nomads or world travelers who maintain a vegan diet. I imagine staying vegan while backpacking the world would be difficult, with the limited food options and all.

Webmentions

  • coffeetag February 18, 2010

    [delicious] One Year Without Black Coffee http://bit.ly/fkqeFr