6 months without caffeine

Helloooooo. Happy Tuesday to ya! What’s going on this morning? We’re heading into the usual morning routine and Livi has her 100th day of school celebration. They asked the kids to dress like a 100-year-old, so naturally, I ordered her this grey wig on Amazon and cat-eye glasses. I’m taking today off from the gym, so I’ll be using the am and naptime to blitz on work stuff.

For today, I thought we could talk about caffeine. I can’t believe that I’ve been on decaf coffee for 6 months now! I’ve stayed away from caffeinated beverages since my surgery, and I thought for sure I would go back eventually. I’m surprised it’s lasted this long, but I’m riding it out while it still makes sense.

Coffee obsessed

Why I Quit Caffeine

I’ve been hooked on caffeine since college. It’s kind of funny that I met the love of my life at Starbucks – because Starbucks was a HUGE part of my caffeine addiction. The Pilot couldn’t believe this when I met him: I had a 16-cup coffee maker and would make all 16 cups in the morning and drink it throughout the course of the day. Not healthy at all. I had an enormous Wizard of Oz Dorothy mug that held at least 6 cups. I’ve always loved the taste of coffee and the energy it gave me. My life in college involved a lot more physical demands than my life does today – I’d go to school all day, teach or take a total of 3-4 dance classes at night, then go home or to the library to study until the early hours of the morning – and I drank coffee all.day.long. 

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Over time, I started to cut back and my “happy place” was 1-2 cups a day. I’d have one in the morning when I woke up and one in the afternoon with a little snack. In the past few years, I cut out the afternoon coffee because I realized it was affecting my sleep and making me jittery. While I’ve always loved coffee (and caffeine, like energy drinks), I’ve also suffered from anxiety for a long time. I’ve had it since I was very young – as young as I can remember – and when I was in college I started experiencing panic attacks. 

Caffeine and anxiety: 6 months without caffeine

Caffeine and Anxiety

At my worst point, I was experiencing 2-3 panic attacks per week. With therapy, I got it under control before we had kids – I did have some during my PPD – but they started to come back last winter. My heart rate was constantly elevated and I had insomnia, which was bizarre to me because I LOVE SLEEP. 

Leading up to when I had my surgery last summer, I was down to 1 cup of coffee a day. My anxiety was pretty high – I was nervous about the surgery and on edge from being in pain all the time – so I decided to try to reduce it. I noticed that when I had coffee, my anxiety was higher, and my heart rate was elevated. I didn’t feel focused and energized; I felt like a freaked-out rabbit.

The day after my surgery, I decided to skip my morning cup. I had a horrible headache anyway, and was on pain pills, so I figured if I was going to quit, now was the time to do it. Also, I didn’t feel comfortable drinking it with all of the drugs that were in my system. So, I stopped cold turkey.

How quitting caffeine reduced my anxiety + some alternatives. fitnessista.com | #caffeinefree #anxiety #copingwithanxiety

I’ve found that since I stopped drinking caffeinated beverages, I feel more focused and energized than I did with my morning cup of coffee. When I wake up in the morning, I feel rested (unless the girls wake us up, which happens fairly often). My anxiety is the lowest it’s ever been, which is reason enough for me to skip it. While I pass on caffeinated coffee, I still drink a ton of hot drinks. They’re warming and comforting, and I find that they’re just as good without the caffeine.

Here’s what I’ve been choosing instead of regular ol’ coffee:

-Decaf coffee. (Well duh, Gina.) My friend Michelle (her Instagram is here!) posted a lot of helpful info on choosing a good decaf coffee. I used to drink whatever, but it turns out that many companies will use chemicals to remove the caffeine. Organic fair-trade coffees will sometimes have a label on them that says, “Swiss Water Method” which means the caffeine is removed using only water and osmosis. My favorite is from Speakeasy or Whole Foods.

Speakeasy coffee

-Medicine Ball from Starbucks. With cold and flu season here, this is a little gem anyway! The original version uses green tea, but if you ask for decaf, they’ll use Mint Majesty instead. It’s peach and mint tea, steamed lemonade, honey, peppermint syrup, and life. Just try it; you’ll love it.

-Caffeine-free herbal teas. There are so many amazing ones! Here are some of my very favorites:

Teas

Tulsi Sweet Rose

Egyptian Licorice

Lemon Loaf

Cinnamon Vanilla Healthy Skin

Chamomile-Lavender

Bedtime tea

-Mushroom hot cacao mix. It sounds terrifying, but it tastes beautiful. Mushrooms can provide healing properties, and you can’t taste them. The Four Sigmatic one is my very fave. (<— Ordered from Thrive Market.)

-Golden milk lattes. These are so warming, lightly sweet, with a hint of spice. This is my go-to recipe, and I also love the one you can buy from Gaia. 

Golden milk

-Morning detox drink. This has been a staple for years now. It can help kickstart your metabolism for the day, help fight cravings, and provide immune system benefits. Check out the recipe here!

So, tell me friends: caffeine or no caffeine? What’s your hot beverage of choice? I think mulled wine deserves a spot somewhere on this list for me. 😉

xo

Gina 

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34 Comments

  1. Cassie on January 30, 2018 at 7:02 am

    Way to go! Before kid, I was caffeine free and it was awesome. But like a lot of things since the little one. That has changed. I normally have 2 cups in the morning.

  2. Monica on January 30, 2018 at 7:34 am

    I am also a recovering caffeine addict who loves the taste of coffee and have been caffeine-free for about two years (dropped it right around the time I got pregnant with my daughter). This is THE BEST decaf I have found. If you like a smooth dark roast, I fully recommend it: https://m.costco.com/Ruta-Maya-Decaffeinated-Coffee-2.2-lb%2C-2-pack.product.11495115.html

  3. Janice O'Kane on January 30, 2018 at 7:53 am

    I love this, “I’ve found that since I stopped drinking caffeinated beverages, I feel more focused and energized than I did with my morning cup of coffee.” That’s a powerful statement. I’ve been hanging on to my morning caffeine dose but I think you’ve just changed my mind. Fave hot drink right now is 1/2 tsp each of grated ginger and grated turmeric – sometimes with added herbal tea as well.

  4. Brianne on January 30, 2018 at 8:13 am

    I drink 28oz of coffee in a giant pink travel mug each morning. It’s so bad! I know! I’m trying to cut back because we’re ttc and I know I’ll have to give it up for decaf or nothing when I’m pregnant but I just can’t seem to kick it. I’m kinda scared of that withdrawal headache.

  5. Katie on January 30, 2018 at 8:16 am

    I also drink decaf coffee…people think I’m crazy! Like you, I find that I am much better rested if I keep caffeine out of my system, but I still love the taste and coziness of coffee so I’m a decaf gal. I sometimes sneak a quarter cup or so of “real” coffee in to my mug though, since it does taste better to me. And of course, all the teas, especially in the winter.

  6. Blair on January 30, 2018 at 8:18 am

    Oh I need to do this. While coffee doesn’t affect my sleep or “laying down” since sleep is few and far between these days I do feel a slump in the afternoon which is causing me to snack and drink coffee more often. I would like to see how I felt without caffeine for a while. I didn’t start drinking caffeine until I started working early morning shifts and then all night shifts and early morning shifts. Now I am on a regular early morning shift schedule but NEED my coffee.

  7. erin on January 30, 2018 at 8:34 am

    i always have to laugh because i legit don’t really even do caffeine. and my friends are like HOW do you even function in the morning…. my drink of choice is just water! but i know i get some caffeine from chocolate!

    I’ve been drinking this energize drink for this 80 day obsession program I’m doing, and i can tell it’s affecting me big time, not in a bad way but it’s so different for someone who doesn’t even touch a drop of caffeine!

  8. Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious on January 30, 2018 at 8:52 am

    16 cups a day holly crazy girl! I have one cup of coffee a day, sometimes another around lunch if I really need it. I’m thankful it’s never been something I’ve gone overboard on because I truly love my cup of joe. Glad getting off it has helped you though!

  9. Liz on January 30, 2018 at 8:56 am

    Oh my….the thought of giving up my morning cup of coffee gives me more anxiety than caffeine ever could! 🙂 But I’m glad to hear that it’s working out for you! It’s so important to be aware of the effect certain foods/drinks have on us. I cut way back on wine when I realized it was affecting my sleep more than I realized. Now I only drink it occasionally. I need to try that mushroom drink!

  10. Marina on January 30, 2018 at 9:23 am

    I gave up caffeine while I was pregnant and haven’t gone back, a few years later. I definitely crave it, but I agree with you that I generally feel more focused and rested in the mornings. I have a milk frother and make myself “tea lattes” or London Fogs in the morning and evening. I find that that warm frothy drink really scratches that itch!

  11. Jenny on January 30, 2018 at 9:30 am

    I’m glad the caffeine is helping with the anxiety – anxiety can sometimes feel worse than any external life events. I have found that a B complex (with folate not folic acid) 5-7 days a week, and a good B-12 (methylcobalmin) once a week, has been a huge factor in reducing my anxiety.

    • Jenny on January 30, 2018 at 9:31 am

      * I meant no caffeine 🙂

  12. Laura @FitMamaLove on January 30, 2018 at 9:41 am

    I looooove coffee, and not just for the caffeine. I love the taste and holding a cup of it. We make half caff in the morning so I can drink more without going crazy on caffeine. I do think my afternoon espresso effects my sleep, though. I once switched to decaf in the afternoon, and I definitely felt the slump, but fell asleep much better at night. That didn’t last long, but I might try it again.

  13. Katie on January 30, 2018 at 9:46 am

    I really cut back on caffeine because of anxiety also. I’ve noticed that depending on where you go, drinks like cold brew can be made with much less water than I would make it with at home, and my body instantly goes into panic mode. I still drink it, but I am much more mindful of how much I am drinking than I used to be. It is crazy how directly it can impact the panic response, especially if I am already worried about something.

  14. Hillary on January 30, 2018 at 9:56 am

    Just curious have you done any research on how decaf coffee affects your memory? I don’t know much about this but someone mentioned it to me once and it made a lot of sense to me because my grandma had dementia and was an avid decaf coffee drinker. Probably nothing, but may be something you want to look into!

    • Jeannie on January 30, 2018 at 6:53 pm

      Is your grandmother also on acid reflux meds? My husband’s Dr asked him to get off of it because of a study linking it to Alzheimer’s. Just a thought.

  15. Meagan on January 30, 2018 at 10:14 am

    I’ve had caffeine here and there while I was growing up and through college but it was never actually a cup of coffee, just a latte or frapp from Starbucks while on a trip or something. I think my 2 biggest deterrents in getting into coffee were that my parents never drank it while I was growing up and then listening to my teachers and classmates talk about being dependent on it and how awful withdrawals were. I love making teas at home and have a large collection. I also like making decaf chai lattes at home all well because they are delicious!

  16. Taylor on January 30, 2018 at 10:39 am

    That is very impressive!!! I actually found out that I was sensitive to coffee so I cut it out about 6 months ago too. I still have caffeine daily, but not nearly as much as I used to. I used to drink coffee all throughout the day and now I will just have some type of caffeine in the early morning if I need it. I found that the coffee was negatively affecting me, not the caffeine. I would get so jittery, my stomach would hurt and I just wouldn’t feel right when I consumed even one cup of coffee. I am working on drinking less caffeine, but it definitely is not easy!! Thanks for sharing!

  17. Lauren on January 30, 2018 at 10:47 am

    I love this! I have been psychotic about limiting my caffeine since I gave it up while pregnant with my first. I realized that having it every day just made me dependent and I got no real boost or benefit from it. I currently drink decaf 5 mornings a week, and on weekends I drink a small amount of regular. I really looking forward to enjoying the taste of (regular) coffee and I get a nice little energy boost since my body is not used to having it on the regular.

    Coincidentally, my coffee-addict hubby (6-7 cups a day) gave it up for the new year and says he has never felt better. He is sleeping better and controlling cravings much better as well.

  18. mi-an dela cruz on January 30, 2018 at 10:51 am

    You know I work in the mental health field so I get excited when people open up about their mental well-being because it’s such a stigmatized domain, so I always advocate for this.
    Nice post and thanks for the recommendations on the mushroom cacao mix thingie!
    I have 1 cup of coffee in the morning (love the warmth, taste). I add random things to eat when I don’t eat breakfast like a scoop of protein powder. This morning, I added a scoop of collagen peptides and maca powder. yum yum. I only have 1 cup daily, if I drink more I get acid reflux. I love tea as well and that golden turmeric milk. 🙂 My body was in super recovery mode this morning. It was so hard to wake up!!!

  19. Jillian on January 30, 2018 at 11:39 am

    My story is very similar. Love coffee but it does not love me and after I experienced a panic attack I stopped drinking it. I get enough sleep so usually feel fine, but on the rare day where I absolutely need something I have green tea and it does the trick without the anxious panicky feeling. Alcohol is mostly out too for this reason. It makes me feel so anxious the day after. I am expecting my first baby in July and am a little worried that I am going to be hit with debilitating anxiety again. I know how hard it can be!

  20. Ashley @ A Lady Goes West on January 30, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    That’s pretty cool that you removed caffeine from the diet and had benefits you weren’t expecting. I don’t deal with anxiety or caffeine issues, but I only drink green tea — so don’t get a ton in my system on the daily, unless I get a festive coffee shop drink with espresso (which is rare) — and those really get me going heheh! What about kombucha? Are you still drinking that?

  21. Michele on January 30, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    Although never addicted I drank one cup of coffee regularly because I love the taste. After having heightened anxiety with panic attacks, low low energy and just feeling really off I realized I was suffering from adrenal fatigue. Caffeine was the first to go and made a world of difference

  22. Sara on January 30, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Love this post! I quit caffeine last summer and it’s easier than I thought! I usually only had one cup in the morning, but I HAD to have that one cup which I didn’t like. I switched to decaf at first, and then decaf black tea, and now green tea for my morning drink. The only difficult part was when we were vacationing in Seattle and visited the original Starbucks first thing in the morning. They looked at me like I was crazy when I served decaf and didn’t have any brewed (bc Seattle duh Sara) so it took like 20 mins for them to do a pour over. The husband was not happy haha!

    • OM on January 30, 2018 at 5:18 pm

      Green tea has caffeine in it. More than in decaf black tea.

  23. Sarah G on January 30, 2018 at 3:01 pm

    I went off caffeine to try to improve my cystic acne. Unfortunately, it didn’t really help much, but now I’m so overly sensitive to caffeine. The feeling of being tired, but laying in bed thinking “why am I still awake?” after an hour is enough to keep me pretty much on the decaf train. I will also get super jittery if I drink it now, and I have even gotten legit caffeine hangovers after a few cups of starbucks

  24. OM on January 30, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    Decaf coffee has caffeine in it though. Much less than regular coffee but it’s still in there.

  25. Jeannie on January 30, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    I’ve lowered my coffee intake to 8 oz in the morning. While on a keto diet (in the past) I got used to drinking my cup with heavy cream & sugar free flavoring such as caramel pecan. I was wondering since you are into being fit what do you flavor your coffee with?

  26. Amy S on January 31, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    Before I got pregnant, I would generally have one cup of coffee in the morning, and OCCASIONALLY a second cup in the afternoon if I was really dragging. Once I found out I was expecting, I switched to decaf and was surprised that I didn’t miss regular coffee as much as I thought I would. Also, Starbucks will make pretty much any of their fun lattes for you as a decaf drink, which is awesome! I’m 8 months pregnant now and I’m not sure if I’ll switch back to regular coffee after I have my daughter. Time will tell, I guess! 🙂

    • Fitnessista on January 31, 2018 at 11:15 pm

      yes!! i love that you can get pretty much anything decaf at starbucks 🙂
      excited for you!! do you know if you’re having a boy or girl?

      • Amy S on February 2, 2018 at 1:15 pm

        Aw, thanks so much! 🙂 I’m having a girl – due on March 12!

        • Katie on February 6, 2018 at 11:49 am

          I’m so excited Starbucks can make a decaf latte!!!!

  27. Jessie on February 2, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    I’m a sugar free Monster drinker, it is my vice in life and I love my one can a day! I’ll cut it out when and if I’m ever pregnant but until then, I’m going to love my drink lol!

  28. Mackenzie on February 4, 2018 at 10:47 am

    I’m a full-time high school teacher, CrossFitter, and graduate student… I only do 1-2 shots of espresso a day but I’d be scared trying to function without it!

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