A Day Redeemed + Coffee Conflicts

Ok, y’all: yesterday was, quite simply, weird.

It started out badly: I hadn’t slept well, I was way behind on stuff around the house, and then things started going strangely awry in really annoying ways. For example, our shower curtain had reached its limits in terms of keeping water, y’know, in the shower — so in an unexpected twist to my morning, I was greeted by water all over the bathroom floor.

It’s a good thing I was way behind on laundry so I could use dirty towels to mop up the floor. Ew.

Then, since I was running late as a result of said unfortunate shower curtain incident, I was frantically applying facial moisturizer — at which point I somehow managed to slice my nose open with my fingernail. Try to put on makeup while stemming a bloody nose if you’re up for a morning challenge! Maneuver around the Kleenex! Apply pressure to the cut while applying concealer to the bags under your eyes!

However, after all that weirdness, my day quickly redeemed itself. We had cool, crisp weather here in DC yesterday, which I looooved — this is the time of year when we get a lot of cool, clear, and gloriously sunny days. And they’re amazeballs.

I decided to take advantage of it and go running in the afternoon, which wound up being the highlight of my day. I ran 3.5 miles (I know this is, like, a warm-up for most of you — but hey, we can’t all be distance runners :)) around the National Mall, and it was as perfect as a perfect run can be. This is the time of year when most of the tourists have gone home, so the path was wonderfully open. I took a few walking breaks since recent medical tests have kept me from consistently exercising, but I wound up feeling better than I thought I would. Between that and the perfect weather, it was an awesome run!

To say the least I’m glad I didn’t give in to the temptation to just give up and go back to bed after the way my morning started. Which I, um, might have seriously contemplated.

Anyways, on to the main news! What is that news, you ask?  I’m feeling conflicted about coffee (hence the title for this post). Given the name of this blog, it doesn’t take much to realize that I’m a big fan of coffee. Seize the Latte = this chick loves her some java. It’s not rocket surgery, amirite?

I didn’t like coffee when I was younger (I thought it smelled amazeballs when my dad brewed it each morning, but the taste made me get all cross-eyed), but that all changed when I went to college.

I was especially overextended and sleep deprived my sophomore year, and that was that bleary-eyed autumn when I went from chugging chai lattes and Diet Coke to hitting the hard stuff — better known as espresso.

 

image
An accurate representation of my life in the BC (that’s Before Coffee) days

 

I still remember my first foray into coffee: in a haze of exhaustion, I went to the Starbucks on campus. “I need your help,” I said to the barista through a jaw-breaking yawn. “I don’t like coffee, but I need coffee. Can you make me something strong – something that’ll wake me up – but that doesn’t actually taste like coffee?”

Thirty seconds later, I was sipping a skim latte with almond syrup. Ten minutes after that, the most glorious caffeine buzz in the history of mankind kicked in. The rest is history.

Since then, I’ve become known for my love of – and, let’s be honest here, my dependence on – coffee. For example,  every roommate I’ve ever had has known that I only became a full-fledged human being once I’ve had my morning latte. Furthermore, my friends here in DC have decided that this little guy is my spirit animal.

 

haha

 

In recent years, though, I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not coffee and I are really BFFs. Sometimes coffee makes me feel energetic, upbeat, and optimistic. I want to run! I want to write a book! I can accomplish anything! I BELIEVE I CAN FLY! Other times, though, it makes me anxious, mopey, and jittery. My hands shake, I schvitz like I just went running in Saudi Arabia in July, and I’m a weepy, nervous wreck. I BELIEVE IN IMMINENT DOOM.

Adding to coffee’s propensity to mess with my mood, I have a long and illustrious history of tummy troubles – all of which are definitely aggravated by the acidity in coffee.

So, from time to time, I’ve tried to make the switch to just drinking green tea. Every time I do this, I feel better – less mopey, less anxious, not in a desperate search for more TUMS – and yet, I always go back to coffee. It’s like a bad relationship: it keeps sucking me back in, ploying me with promises that it’ll be different this time. “I love you, baby,” it says. “I promise I’ve changed. Things won’t be like they were before. Just give me another chance!”

And I listen. Every. Single. Time.

 

https://i1.wp.com/s.quickmeme.com/img/81/81c1836f2d42607a1e050fdc4da141655abce7f60d9b4a6b7ce22a518a7d57ec.jpg

 

A few years ago, I listened because I love it so much and simply didn’t want to give it up. When I tried to make the switch then, I was so irritable that, upon seeing some unsuspecting college student walk by with a Starbucks cup, I actually imagined stealing the coffee right out of her hands and running away while screaming like a banshee. (I obviously didn’t do this, and I was wigged out that it had even crossed my mind.)

In other cases, it’s been because I think that I’ve found a magical solution that will prevent the negative side effects I often experience. I’ll be fine! No tummy issues or anxiety for me, because I’ve figured out a work-around! It’ll be great! (Fact: this is never true, and apparently I’m delusional.)

Sometimes it’s because I have too much to do and not enough time to do it in, and then I wind up desperately tired and sleep-deprived. Not getting enough sleep turns me into a heinous, cranky, exhausted, and borderline psychotic beast. Coffee keeps me from becoming that beast. It’s best that I save myself and everyone around me from that fate. (See? Coffee drinking is in service to humanity.)

Most recently, though, I did it because I needed that extra jolt of energy in order to get through my morning workout. Green tea wasn’t cutting it, and I was draaaaaagggiiiiiiinnnnnng myself to the gym each morning. With the coffee, however, I was raring to go. I was amped! I was motivated! BRING THE PAIN!

 

https://i2.wp.com/commitnesstofitness.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/pitt-treadmill.gif

 

Last week, however, three separate articles crossed my path in one afternoon — all of which discuss coffee’s role in insulin resistance, depression, anxiety, and hormonal imbalances. Not one, not two, but <i>three</i> articles landing in front of me within one day? This seemed too coincidental to ignore. (You can read the articles, two of which are from Mind Body Green and one of which is from Dr. Mark Hyman’s website, here, here, and here.)

As I read, I realized that all this stuff really, truly, and undeniably is a problem for me.

Anxiety? Check.

Feeling “Wired and tired”? Check.

Inflammation? Check.

An unhappy GI tract? Check.

Hormone imbalances? Check, check, check, and more check.

And so, I decided to try — for, like, the 8 billionth time — to kick my coffee habit in favor of green tea. I’m exactly five days in, and I admit that I mightily miss my cup of java in the morning. I miss the smell, I miss the taste, and I really miss the caffeine buzz.

However, I keep reminding myself that my body needs this. My brain needs it, my stomach needs it, and my endocrine system needs it. The only thing keeping me from successfully making the switch is myself.

So, I’m going to do everything I can to get out of my own way with this. The allure of the hazelnut coffee (both in my freezer at home and in the cafeteria at work) is strong, but I must. Remain. Stronger.

With that in mind, tell me:

Have you ever tried to kick the coffee habit? Has anyone succeeded in letting go of caffeine entirely (and, um, if you did this, did you hate everything)? What have your experiences been with this? Do you have any suggestions on how to ease the transition?

13 thoughts on “A Day Redeemed + Coffee Conflicts

  1. olivesanwine November 5, 2013 / 8:09 am

    So, it’s a little known fact that coffee makes me faint. Yep – jittery, sweaty, fast heart rate and then all of a sudden my blood pressure drops and BAM – I’m on the floor. Sexy. I’ve switched to decaf – somedays half regular:half decaf but when it does something that extreme to your body, it’s easy to give up! Best of luck with your recent switch – you can do it!

  2. Charlotte November 5, 2013 / 9:14 am

    ahh we both have the phrase “while screaming like a banshee” in our posts today! i think you’re my spirit animal. when it comes to coffee- ive had those thoughts of quitting it when im in the midst of the bad caffeine high- jittery, kinda nauseated, hormones like whoa- but then the next day my coffee gets me to that perfect level of “I CAN DO LIFE TODAY” and i never want my relationship with it to end. to date, ive never tried to completely quit it. best of luck to you in this endeavor friend!

  3. Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama November 5, 2013 / 9:53 am

    Even though I love the smell of coffee and can eat an entire half gallon container of Blue Bell coffee ice cream by myself, I’m not a coffee drinker. I prefer my caffeine in the fizzy, calorie-laden version (aka Fountain Coke). Way to get out for a 3.5 mile run! I bet DC is fabulous for running when tourist season is over!

  4. Caitlin @ The Siren's Tale November 5, 2013 / 11:27 am

    Oh gosh, I’m right there with you. I’ve actually started noticing lately how bad my coffee addiction is. For example, today was one of the {many} days I’m running late for work, so I had to forgo my drive-thru iced coffee this morning to not miss my 8:30am appointment. Despite making a hot cup of coffee when I arrived at work, it’s 11:30am now and I feel like I am literally going to pass out, cry, and then maybe even die. It’s that serious, LOL!

    Coffee addiction is so hard to kick… keep at it! Maybe that will inspire me to give up this ridiculous cycle of love/hate with java.

  5. Lindsay November 5, 2013 / 1:34 pm

    Oh my gosh, this post hits the nail on the head! PS, I totally laughed out loud on two separate occasions during this post: picturing you talking to the barista the first time & when you envisioned taking the coffee from college students. I love your writing! I’ve tried to kick caffeine SO many times. Mostly, I’ve tried to kick my diet soda habit. When my anxiety started rearing it’s ugly head something fierce last Spring, I tried really really hard but I still haven’t kicked the habit. I’ve been known to drink upwards of like 6 cans a day, which is not helpful for my wallet or my journey to try to lose weight! For now, I’m trying to stick to one soda and 1-2 coffees a day but I know that’s probably way too much. I just bought green tea bags so I can start making iced green tea and stop spending $4 for it at Starbucks. I bought the Tazo tea brand so I can try to pretend it’s still Starbucks? Can we try to do this together? I feel like my body needs me to bring my habit down a notch haha

  6. Ms. Chocolate @ Cheating On Chocolate November 5, 2013 / 3:26 pm

    I refuse to read those articles for fear they’ll make me want to give up my coffee.

    I hope you can do it!! You’re a stronger woman than me.

  7. Phillippa Kassover November 5, 2013 / 3:50 pm

    Also plagued with GI issues (IBS) but have tamed them with daily (never, ever missed) probiotic organic yogurt at breakfast, and limit myself to 2 mugs, not too strong, and only with breakfast! Also cut back on wheat/gluten, and eat rolled oats, nuts and dried fruit with my yogurt. Everybody has a very unique GI environment so you have to find what works for you, but do try the probiotic yogurt. Many others I have recommended this to have really benefited.

  8. Molly Wingate November 5, 2013 / 4:35 pm

    I have learned to love good decaf. I am a better person without caffeine. Once in a while I’ll have regular coffee (or green tea) and I remember why I drink decaf. My GI track isn’t always agreeable with my decaf, either. So, I acquiesce for a while. Without caffeine, I am not a beast, I love life, and I am not doubled over. And I actually think I’m funnier — but then again, I may be the only one who finds me funny at all.

  9. Davida @The Healthy Maven November 5, 2013 / 8:34 pm

    Oh my god I could have written this post myself! Coffee and I have a loooooong history. I actually love the taste and obviously the energizer bunny benefits but sometimes (and I can’t always predict when) it sort of makes my brain go haywire. Like that morning anxious feeling on the subway and the fear you might puke on the person in front of you…just me? Yeah well I’ve tried to kick the habit and for the most part I have, I really do love tea. I have an epic tea collection which helps keep things interesting and then occasionally I allow myself a latte or a cup of coffee and I seem to enjoy it more because it’s an indulgence. But I’m sure one day when I have some maniac tiny people keeping me up through the night I’ll be back on the coffee train, so it’s more like a see ya later kind of deal.

  10. Em @ Love A Latte November 6, 2013 / 2:20 pm

    Great post! I can 100% relate. I have definitely gone through periods of cutting coffee out of my life. I don’t want to be reliant on it and I feel bad when I am. I like to have a latte or a cup of coffee for the enjoyment of it. I’ve been told a cup in the morning is totally ok, but then I’ve also been told that I should never need caffeine to get going. Conflicting opinions coming at me. My advice would be just to try to lower your intake. I was making it so that on Fridays I had coffee and it was really nice when I wasn’t having it every day. Lately, I’ve been having a lot of decaf lattes (like daily) as well. Gets my coffee flavor love in check without the crazy caffeine. Also, tea is a great transition. Have you ever tried Teecino teas? They are herbal coffee. Tastes like coffee, but they are caffeine free and a tea. Fantastic!

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte November 8, 2013 / 6:59 am

      Right? All the conflicting opinions make the whole thing feel like it’s impossible to navigate. I’m guessing it’s different for each person: some people probably have no (or very few) negative side effects, while others are probably more sensitive. At this point, I’m not going to try and cut out caffeine altogether, but just to rely on tea instead of coffee. Tea seems like a kinder, gentler source of caffeine, and I tend not to experience all the weird coffee side effects when I rely on chai and green tea. I like the idea of the Teecino teas, too — I’d heard about them once, and they sound fantastic! 🙂

  11. Karla @ Finding My Fit November 6, 2013 / 2:25 pm

    Bless your soul-I don’t think i could do it. Although I too would probably benefit from it. My stomach hurts most of the time & I never really thought it could be attributed to my large caffeine intake. But it’s an experiment for a later day. I simply cant get out of bed at 430 without coffee the secondmy feet hit the floor.

    Excited to see how this works out for you =)

    • Lillian @ Seize the Latte November 8, 2013 / 6:55 am

      ZOMFG, getting up at 4:30 sounds unspeakably painful. Can we give you an award for that? I feel like you deserve some sort of honorable mention for having the discipline to get up so early. 🙂 That said, I can see why you’d need some serious coffee! I think I’d need an IV line of it at that hour!

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