Goodbye, Java? Hello, Chai?


My favorite coffee friends.
My favorite coffee friends.

I Love Coffee

In this regard, I’m the perfect Seattleite. I love the smell, the flavor, the ritual. I love all the little local coffee roasters and shops in Seattle. I refuse to go to Starbucks while I’m in town, but the second I travel out of state I gravitate towards the green glowing beacon of predictable coffee experience.  My sweet, amazing husband has ALL the coffee contraptions and refuses to let me drink anything but the best beans brewed in the best ways.

Coffee in the morning. Coffee on my walk to work. Coffee at my desk in my cute little owl mug. Coffee before dancing. Americano when it’s chilly and cold brew when it’s hot out. Basically, coffee all day everyday.

I had no qualms with my love of coffee, and indeed, I didn’t even question it.

Then…the Cleanse…

A friend of ours decided to do a 21 day cleanse and CJ and hopped on board to do it with him. The cleanse entailed purging our diets of gluten, meat, dairy, alcohol…and caffeine.  Sure, I knew it would be challenging, but 21 days would just fly right by. A small price to pay in exchange for learning some healthier habits.

Cold Turkey

The first five days was fucking awful.

I felt tired all the time and I couldn’t think clearly. It was as if brain was swimming in a bathtub filled with mud. My body was not pleased, either, and damn near refused to dance. (My brain and my body had to compromise – I only danced for two hours instead of four.) Also, I will freely admit that I was not particularly friendly that week.  I’m honestly surprised my coworkers didn’t kick me out of the building.

But…surprisingly…that was it.  Just one shitty week and then…

I started to feel great. I had energy in spades and I started to think more quickly and clearly than I have in years. This was such a revelation for me. For a while now, I’d been feeling like something was preventing me from performing as well as I knew I should.  I just chalked it up to getting older. Now I feel like I’m me again. It’s good to be back.

Let’s be clear. I’m enjoying the way I feel right now, but it doesn’t prevent me from MISSING everything I love about coffee. This is difficult. I’m very susceptible to addiction – it runs in my family – so I’ve always been drug free and very, very careful about alcohol. It just never occurred to me to be wary of caffeine. Oops. So yeah, I’m missing coffee with the passion of a Seattleite, and craving it with the genetics of an addict.

What’s Next?

I’m loathe to give up the energy I’ve regained. The cleanse is officially over, but I still haven’t had any coffee.  Chai tea lattes with almond milk are now my friend. While they aren’t totally caffeine free, they are still much lower than coffee. Decaf is also an option, but I’ve yet to meet a cup of decaf I’ve actually liked.

I think its unrealistic to say, “I’ll never in my life have another cup of coffee”, but for now…yeah. I’m free of an addiction. For now, my plan is to hang on to this as long as I can.

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