Ever since the ninth grade, I’ve been hooked on coffee. In the beginning, it was just a cheap cup of instant Folgers crystals–that’s what my dad drank–well actually my dear old dad drank an even cheaper, toxicer imitation of Folger’s instant coffee crystals that he bought in bulk from a discount store called “Mac Frugrals” in San Jose, CA. I quickly discovered that he didn’t drink the hot black beverage for its taste. When I first sipped the nasty sludge, I shuddered as it slid down my throat into my gut. It was terrible. I tried to kill face puckering taste of the “coffee” with whole milk and lots of sugar. It worked. Soon I was happily addicted to caffeine.
Years later, when I hit De Anza Community College-, the instant coffee-like drink, just wouldn’t do. I moved onto properly brewed and roasted coffees. I discovered many exciting roasts and exotic blends. I had no idea that coffee could actually have flavor. One cup a day quickly turned to three, especially on exam days. Then when finals hit, I was up to five. And that’s where my intake remained for decades, until, quite by accident, I decided to eat fruit for a week.
The fruit diet cleansed my palate and ended many unhealthy food cravings. It also gave me a naturally simple way to kick my caffeine habit:
I stopped adding creamer and sugar to my morning cup.
That trick automatically decreased my intake. Instantly, I dropped down from three cups in the morning to one. I drank one cup of bitter black coffee for about a week. And then….
I switched to tea.
A properly brewed cup of tea has less caffeine than a cup coffee. I sipped the tea without cream or sugar. The rigid, earthy flavor of tea is not much for the taste buds, yet much more interesting than black coffee. The first day, I drank one cup, but I got a headache about half an hour after finishing it, so I had another cup–I drank it tepid. By the second day, just one cup was enough. Towards the end of the week, I cut myself down to half a cup tea. Eventually, I just forgot to brew my tea in the morning.
For me, the trick to kicking the caffeine habit was NOT to go at it cold turkey. Every time, I’ve tried to go cold turkey, the headaches sent me back to the barista. All in all, it took me slightly over two weeks to completely quit caffeine. It’s been over a year since I stopped drinking caffeinated beverages. I still enjoy the delightful aroma of coffee, but the craving to drink it is gone.
You might be wondering why I choose to quit coffee. After all, research shows that it can be good for you. First, coffee is an expensive daily beverage. I was spending at least $15 a week on coffee. That’s $780 a year! Second, I HAD to drink it or suffer terrible headaches. I didn’t like having that level of addiction in my life. And quite frankly, it surprises me that society is comfortable with it. Caffeine is sanctioned addiction. At the library where I work I see twelve year girls drinking tall coffees right next to mom and dad. No one thinks it strange that these preadolescents are already physically hooked on a meth-like-substance. The parents of these caffeine junkies would probably not let their children play with “Bricking Bad”, a lego knock-off that lets toddlers build their very own meth-lab. Yet they allow their kids to gulp down liquid crypto.
Is it really worth the buzz?