I love coffee. I mean, I really love coffee. Macchiato or latte, black or with cream, iced or hot, Colombian or Arabic — I will drink it all. In fact, I can proudly drink six cups a day and not feel a single jitter. My friends joke, that if I could, I would get a permanent coffee IV. I've looked into it. It's not recommended.
Coupled with my two-three cups of green tea, there's a very large amount of caffeine floating around in my body. The recommended daily caffeine intake is 400 milligrams or less. Four hundred milligrams is about four cups of coffee or tea, two energy drinks or 10 sodas. In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association classified caffeine withdrawal from excessive intake as a mental disorder.
Even if it is a mild stimulant, caffeine is a drug. Coffee and tea are both linked to numerous health benefits but too much of a good thing can be bad thing. Too much caffeine can adversely affect your nervous system, cause anxiety and disrupts sleeping habits. I took a very informal quiz from Caffeine Informer to quantify my vice. I'm only highly addicted to caffeine and need it to function. I do not disagree.
If you are doing a caffeine-free challenge, determine what your goal is first and why are you are putting yourself through it. I'm only willing to cutback on my daily consumption.
I began scaling my caffeine intake because quitting cold turkey sounded like the tenth circle of Dante's Inferno. Not taking trips to coffee shops help significantly. If I wanted coffee or tea I had to make it myself. In about a week, I was down to about two or three cups of caffeine a day. Then I quit all together.
The withdrawals are miserable and I can see why APA classified it as a disorder. At first, I thought I was fine. I felt good cause I was doing something for me. But then the withdrawal headache hit and I felt like a zombie. It was one continuous migraine for several days. I was not a pleasant person and I felt sluggish.
Coming out of the withdrawal stage took more than a week. The cravings were still there. I could almost taste a skinny vanilla latte with three shots in the back of my throat. But eventually, I accepted that I wasn't going to have coffee for thirty days and that was that.
I am three weeks without caffeine. I desperately miss it but I do drink more water in replacement of caffeinated beverages. I've also saved quite a bit of money. If I buy two coffee drinks a day for six days, I'm spending approximately $50 a week on just coffee. I've saved $150 in three weeks, which isn't a lot until you consider that based on those numbers, I've approximately spend $2,600 on coffee a year for the past several years. Then there's the coffee and tea I buy for my home.
I have one more week of no caffeine. I probably never quite caffeine unless I receive a strict doctor's order, but I will certainly cut back on my daily intake.