The Hammer … the Irresistable Kiss …. of Caffeine



So, it’s been 3 weeks since my last taste of coffee. It actually may have been 4. I’m losing count mainly because my mind gets all loosey goosey without the polarizing power of my favorite drug. I had already been minimizing my coffee intake due to its effect on my anxiety levels. I know that sugar and caffeine are horrible for anxiety, and I LOVE them both. But, 3-4 weeks ago on a Sunday night, I had enough. I woke up in the middle of the night in horrible anxiety, and I couldn’t go back to sleep. I actually took the day off Monday it was so bad. I vowed to stop doing this to myself. So, I cut out coffee, sugar and started a daily yoga practice complete with deep breathing.

I’ve had a great stretch of anxiety-free days. They’ve been mellower than normal days – days that float by without the ups and downs of the coffee trip. I struggle with wanting to “ramp up” my energy. I was raised on coffee. I drank coffee before the rest of my siblings ever started it, and my sister still doesn’t drink it. I loved the ritual, and I loved the way it picked up my energy and focus. I loved the hit of coffee as it slammed into my central nervous system, especially the first time in the mornings. For a long time, coffee was definitely my drug of choice. I can’t even imagine how much coffee I’ve consumed in my life. I was a supervisor at a Starbucks in Valparaiso IN for a short stint. We drank coffee, frappucinos and lattes all day long and into the night. It was free while you were on shift, and we experimented with all of kinds of mixtures and recipes. Even then, I could go home and go straight to sleep. In fact, sometimes coffee would put me to sleep. I’d drink a cup and get very, very sleepy. It seemed it had loss its effect on me. My email was I loved … loved … loved … the flavor … the intensity … the richness … the boldness … the beautiful sultry kiss … of those dark-roasted coffee beans.

Toward the end of my second marriage, I started going through peri-menopause, and my stress level sky-rocketed due to my troubled marriage. I began to struggle with tolerating caffeine. My anxiety was so high that I had to start paying attention to ALL of the factors that were amplifying it. I also think my body quit processing caffeine the way it did before. My acupuncturist tells me that because coffee is so processed, it hits the nervous system with a hammer. Tea has a softer lift because it is minimally processed. Maybe we are born with a certain number of cups of coffee allotted to us, and I had reached that number. Maybe my adrenal glands had reached their limit, and they couldn’t tolerate the hammer the way they used to. I don’t know the reason. I just know that I’ve had a love-hate relationship with coffee ever since then.

So, the last few weeks, I’ve been drinking chai tea. I’ve sipped on green tea. I’ve gotten re-acquainted with my favorite coffee substitute, Teeccino. The tea gently lifts my energy in the mornings. I haven’t needed the hit of coffee so much since I’ve been practicing yoga first thing. The stretching, twisting, opening of my body and deep breaths of new oxygen lift my energy naturally. So, the tea has been enough to wake me up for work. I’ve become very cognizant of my natural energy level. It’s not nearly as high as I would like it to be, but it is steady. I’m sleeping much better, and I’ve had NO anxiety except for a tiny bit yesterday morning after eating a brownie the day before. I don’t know if they were related, but, with the knowledge that I have about sugar, I’m sure it was the culprit. Luckily, it was mild enough that my yogic breathing stopped it in its tracks. And, I haven’t had a desire for coffee. That last incident with the anxiety scared me. I don’t want to live like that anymore.

This morning I thought I might try to go without caffeine. Yesterday, I only drank it in the morning, and I slept so good last night. In fact, I fell asleep yesterday evening when Lisa was pampering me for my monthly facial. I stayed up too late two nights in a row, and I was a bit tired, so my body slept like it should. I did my yoga practice at 4:45 AM and fixed a cup of Teeccino. If you are not familiar with Teeccino, you should check it out. It’s an herbal coffee with a flavor similar to coffee without the acidity. It is made with roasted nuts, fruits and grains. It’s delicious with almond milk and stevia. It also raises my energy level naturally. I took Ashok for a walk and made a smoothie. I was doing okay until the headache started. Along with the headache, I got a little twitch in my brain that it needed something. I recognized the hunger. That kiss of caffeine was starting to call me ever so enticingly. So, I made some chai tea to perk me up. It had been at least 18 hours since my last caffeine hit, so it felt kind of amazing going down. Why is the kiss of caffeine so sweet? Mmmmmmm … Happy Friday, y’all!

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