More than 20 years ago, when I first decided that coffee was probably something that was doing me more harm that good, I asked Dr. Borgquist about its ill effects. He said, "No one ever died from drinking coffee!"
Right, I thought, and because of the stimulant effect and it's great smell and, for me, great taste, it is definitely not a beverage I really wanted to give up once I got hooked. But there was mounting evidence that it was causing me lots of problems.
The first difficulty I noticed was abdominal distress: painful belly aches. The dumbest thing I did with regard to coffee was get in the habit of having a cup before I went for a run. The combination of the coffee and jogging definitely plays havoc on one's tummy despite that fact that it also boosts energy for the run. When I was marathon training, my tummy distress was at its height though it was actually years before I connected the problem to drinking coffee.
However, it was around that time that I decided to quit drinking coffee, mostly because I could directly connect the drink with mood swings, especially irritability. Within a half hour of drinking coffee, my patience went down the tube and lots of things aggravated me. So I quit cold turkey one day, and I DID nearly DIE. I was so sick!! I had a headache that nearly blinded me and I vomited for several hours. Now if that wasn't a sure sign that coffee was poison.
I managed to stay off coffee for a year that first time but then the drink snuck it's way back into my life. Over the next 20 years, I quit drinking coffee again and again. Two more times I did it the hard way: getting violently sick by going cold turkey. Then I learned to decaffeinate slowly, giving myself a week to get off the stuff.
While in SF, I used I tip a learned from Jennie Lou that when you change environments, it's easier to change a habit. I started decaffeinating last Thursday on the day we left for the city, and by Monday I had my first day without coffee. I'm still having a cup of black tea in the morning but tea does not seem to have the same ill effects as coffee for me. And it's only a half step from black tea to green tea which actually has lots of cool effects, most notably that it is an anti-oxidant.
This time I made a list: Why I don't drink COFFEE:
1. joint pain
2. hot flashes
3. chronic anxiety
4. intermittent insomnia
5. abdominal distress
6. frequent urination
I put the list on the chalkboard in the kitchen. Right now, I'm high on the success of quitting, but history tells me that I'll forget why I quit and that's when this list will come in handy. For now, all 6 things on my list have disappeared after only 3 days off coffee. Such a quick reward!!