I’m not, what you’d call a ‘caffeine addict’. I can wake up, get up, go to work and come home without a single cup and not feel that shaking, desperate need for a strong cup of coffee. Much like the motives of women who purchase small dogs to fit inside their handbags, to me, coffee is an accessory. A cute Instagram shot of an almond milk latte here, a gif of a steaming mug there, a quirky mug for those blog photos I’ve been meaning to shoot. It becomes a symbolic liquid, instagating the time of work and focus over the calm and relaxation of tea. And I thought I was fine with acknowledging this.
Until one day a colleague pointed out to me that, after three coffees in relatively fast succession through various work meetings and outings, I was a blur. I was talking faster, I was more excitable, I was darting from room to room, I was trying to do so many things at once that my hands never stopped moving across my keyboard. I hadn’t noticed a thing. So, slightly surprised that I gave off so many visible symptoms, but still resolute that coffee never made an impact on me, I ignored her observations. I then went to the GP, for a relatively un-related health problem, and their recommendation? Cut down on the caffeine. Taking into consideration that, on the average day, my caffeine consumption can be between 4-9 cups a day, it didn’t feel like a big problem, but even so I was motivated into action.
So now it’s time for a Detox. A Caffeine Detox. But how do you detox from your favourite drink?
Time to ditch the coffee.
Unlike a lot of people who drink coffee, I actually enjoy the taste more than the caffeine rush. A stronger flavour than tea, I always veer towards nutty, toasted roasts with a light sweet syrup – a fact so well known that my friends at uni actually memorised my coffee order by heart. But this makes it even harder to give it up.
So I made things simple. I swapped caf for de-caf. In my office, my home, even my Starbucks order, every coffee made was decaffeinated. The coffee tasted the same, but the buzz never arrived. And honestly, I’m ashamed to say that I missed it. The first few days of my detox were strangely disconnected, as going abruptly cold-turkey had suddenly flatlined my energy levels to zero. I remembering feeling numb and flat for about a week after I stopped my intake.
In terms of my skin and general health, my head, that used to buzz and vibrate after two strong cups, was steady and focussed, which definitely helped my productivity levels at work. For my skin, somehow it got a lot worse before clearing up and brightening at the end of that long first week.But I was tired. Without any form of chemical boosts keeping me awake, I would be falling asleep on the sofa at 9pm in the middle of my favourite show, without any memory of drifting off. I woke up at 6am without any real reason why, and then sunk straight back into a deep sleep that I could barely be woken up from. I’m still feeling that early night tiredness now, but my morning routine has begun to adjust to a decaf consumption to start my day.
But, unsurpisingly, that un-related health problem has cleared itself up, and is barely a problem any more. So perhaps that detox is doing some good after all!