The Ugly Side of Coffee

I love coffee.

In my kitchen there are a multitude of coffee-making implements – an aeropress, a cafetiere, a burr grinder, and I have experimented with everything from moka pots to Hario V60 drip makers in the past.

Over the past 3 years I have spent approximately £6 each fortnight on a bag of the magical beans. Not to mention coffee from cafés, additional coffee-making equipment, and additional Aeropress filters.

Coffee pic
The family photo

I would easily consider coffee one of my favourite hobbies.

That is, until last week.

When I decided to quit.

I think coffee is one of the most amazing taste sensations around. But caffeine? When the sweet, liquid delivery of caffeine into your bloodstream becomes a part of your daily routine – that’s when problems can occur.

Make no mistake about it, caffeine is a drug, and people have even died from consuming too much. So its habitual consumption can have some rather nasty effects. These include:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches when you don’t get your caffeine fix
  • It is a rather potent laxative (not great when you’re in meetings or out and about!)

It’s not just that. The scariest thing about coffee is what it does to you over time.

You body contains a chemical called adenosine which tells your body when you’re tired and should sleep. Caffeine is incredibly similar to adenosine, so when introduced into your body it makes its way into the adenosine receptors and starts to tell your body that you’re no longer tired.

This means that once the caffeine exits your body it causes adenosine to come rushing back into your bloodstream, which is why you may ‘crash’ a few hours after having a cup of coffee.

Over time, your body creates more adenosine receptors, meaning more caffeine is needed to produce the same effects of alertness that you had when you first started drinking coffee. Meaning that, if you drink coffee every day, you’ll soon need it to feel as alert as you normally would – and that’s pretty damn scary.

I found Christopher Bingham’s video to be the final step that pushed me over the edge, and made actually decide to quit. If you’re struggling giving up coffee (maybe it’s been a part of your morning routine for years now) then try to implement some of the tips below:

Tips for waking up and staying alert without caffeine 

  • Move about more! Part of the reason most people need caffeine to help them function is because they’re cramped up in a tiny office all day. Try walking or cycling to work or going for a walk on your lunch break.
  • Drink more water – especially in the mornings. Most people are dehydrated after being asleep for 8 hours, so drinking water as soon as you wake up makes you more alert without needing that additional caffeine boost.
  • Try replacing your daily habit of making coffee with something caffeine-free or with reduced caffeine such as green tea, decaf coffee or fruit juice.
  • Try not to do work in places such as coffee shops if you’re trying to quit, try looking for a library or a park.

Even a week after quitting, it definitely felt like the right thing to do. I’ve been drinking decaf coffee and green teas, but I realised that part of why I drank so much coffee was because making a coffee in the morning is an enjoyable routine, and makes you feel more productive (even if you don’t end up getting anything done).

Have you tried to quit coffee or anything else you really enjoyed? Leave a comment down below and let me know about your experience.

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