Coffee: I Need A Break

I started drinking coffee when I was about 13, mostly because it made me feel cool and mature. 
As time went on, coffee became a part of my everyday life. 

Giving up coffee was something I never thought I’d do. I loved everything about coffee – the process of grinding my own fresh beans, the smell while it brewed, and the taste of those first warm sips. More than anything else I loved the ritual of preparing it for myself first thing in the morning. I went from groggy to alive within in a matter of minutes.

So why give it up?

There are a couple of reasons I decided to take a break from coffee. First, I wasn’t sleeping as restfully as I’d like. I’d fall asleep relatively quickly, but then around 2 or 3 a.m. I’d wake up feeling wide awake, stressed and ready to wake up (a sign of high cortisol). Second, I noticed that my energy levels throughout the day were so up and down. I felt great after my coffee, but then an hour or two later I would crash- feeling fatigued, moody, and craving something to give me energy (a snack, another cup of coffee, or having to lay down). Coffee stresses the adrenals and can cause blood sugar issues, which is why many people complain of anxiety, jitters, irritability and fatigue. Caffeine also dehydrates the body, which leads to aches, pains, and sluggishness long term. I also hated the idea of relying on coffee everyday in order to feel capable. Lastly, I wondered what a coffee-free life would be like. Would I feel different? More clear headed? Less anxious? I wanted to find out. If it was horrible, I could always go back to drinking coffee. There was no harm in doing a little experiment. Plus- I would still be drinking caffeine in the form of matcha.

Matcha is finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves with some amazing health benefits. A serving of matcha offers between 30-70 mg of caffeine while coffee offers anywhere between 95-144 mg depending on how it is prepared. Unlike coffee, matcha supplies a healthy amount of caffeine without causing you to crash a couple hours later. Amino acid L-Theanine in matcha promotes both natural relaxation while simultaneously heightening mental clarity. It is also known to reduce anxiety levels and enhance your mood! In addition, matcha is also packed with antioxidants and immune boosting properties. So matcha is awesome, okay?!

Anyway, I want to share how I stopped drinking coffee as well as some of the tricks that I used in order to make the transition less painful!

How I Stopped... Tips and Tricks

For the longest time, I told myself and others that I would NEVER give up coffee. I was in denial that it actually made me super anxious and irritable. It was difficult because even though coffee made me feel badly, I still preferred that over what I thought I would be like without coffee- unproductive, exhausted, and cranky (boy was I wrong). 

1. Drink A Hot Morning Alternative. For me, this is matcha. I love my morning matcha because I can add in all of the same things I used to love adding to my coffee- collagen Peptides, ghee, coconut butter, MCT Oil, cinnamon, etc. My bulletproof style matcha gives me a steady burst of energy without the jitters of coffee. Also, the ritual of making my matcha reminds me of coffee. I wake up and immediately start boiling water over the stove, add everything to my Vitamix, blend, and the result is a warm, soothing, frothy matcha! I love the taste and the way it makes me feel- steady energy, focused without the jitters, and I don't experience a come down. Lately, I've been using Organic Ceremonial Matcha by Mizuba Tea Co.  

2. Drink Plenty Of Water! I always start my day with a glass of warm water with lemon, and a dash of apple cider vinegar. Water is the cure for everything, just drink it all day everyday. I've really stepped up my hydration through making big mason jars full of infused water. I'll add things like mint leaves, basil, lemon, lime and other fruit to add some subtle flavor. When I know i'm going to be out of the house, I fill up a reusable water bottle and always bring it with me so I don't go too long without water. This helps me feel more awake, decreases headaches, and just better all around!

3. Herbal Tea. I started getting really into herbal tea! I discovered High Garden Tea in Nashville, where they make organic and wildcrafted herbs hand blended and bagged tea. I found so many amazing blends including my current favorite called "Immortal Monk". I make a big batch over the stove with two tea bags in the afternoon, and sip on it all afternoon through the evening. It keeps me calm and occupied while I'm studying, working, cooking, etc. t's just another ritual that I look forward to!

4. Fresh Air. When quitting coffee it’s important to find sources of energy elsewhere. For me, a morning walk with my dogs really wakes me up and puts me in a better mood. The fresh air combined with some activity feels amazing. When i'm in a better mood, I'm less likely to reach for something that doesn't make me feel good. Outdoor activity also boosts our oxygen intake and vitamin D levels too!

5. Sleep! I feel my best on 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Easier said than done, especially if you have a hectic work or family life, but it is so important. By getting adequate sleep, we’re reducing our likelihood of relying on crutches like coffee to keep us going. However, you will notice that sleep will be much more enjoyable when you aren't drinking coffee. Quitting coffee has changed my relationship with sleep, because I'm not stressed out about how i'm going to sleep. Without coffee- I fall asleep quicker, stay asleep throughout the night, and wake up rested- it's beautiful. 

6. Nutrition, duh! Make sure you're eating real food! Find the foods that work best for you. For me, a diet higher in fat gives me long lasting, sustained energy. If you're skipping meals and snacking on processed food it will probably leave you feeling fatigued, moody, and stressed. This will increase the likelihood of needing coffee to make it through the day. Trying eating balanced meals made of real food. Check out some of my recipes for healthy meal ideas!

7. Exercise. I don't know about you, but after a nice workout session I feel energized and ready to tackle the day. Walking, yoga, barre, and tennis have been my favorite forms of movement lately. I've noticed that I feel so much more calm and present during these activities without coffee. Exercise will also keep your mind clear, and your more likely to make healthy decisions for the rest of the day.

8. Support! This will be difficult, so challenge a friend to take on quitting coffee with you. If you have any questions, i'm here for you! Feel free to send me a message on Instagram, or leave a comment below!

I'm sure I will have coffee again in the future, but for now I am perfectly content without it! I feel happier, more energized, and i'm sleeping like a baby. Sometimes, change is good and we have to experiment! We are all in charge of our own health!