4 Reasons to Go Caffeine-Free

As I sit here now, writing this blog, I am on my second cup of tea.

I am trying to focus on the flavor.

I am embracing the cinnamon, warm and spicy, while visualizing the kava root sprinkling fairy dust on top of my anxious thoughts…watching them fade away.

A picture of Yogi Bhajan, an inspirational teacher of holistic living, graces the side of the tea box below a silhouette of a women lying on her back, hugging her knees to her chest.  The text alongside her reads “Gently draw your knees to chest in a slow and easy pull and release rhythm.  Relax the lower back. Use normal breath and continue for 1 to 5 minutes.”

1 to 5 minutes?!!!!?  To lie on the ground and do nothing?  Five minutes is the amount of time it would take to toss some grounds into the coffee filter, pour in 8 oz of water and wait for my mug of energy to brew.  In that amount of time, I bet I could even add the stevia, sugar free hazelnut coffee and respond to an email or two.  Multitasking.  It’s gives me a rush very similar to that of my morning coffee.

Expect, I’ve given up caffeine.  No, I don’t typically drink 3+ cups of coffee a day.  Yes, I can still show up, still workout and still be a nice human without it.  Thus far, I can even find the brain power to write a blog.

So, why give it up?  There are actually several benefits to coffee, using it as a pre-workout to decrease perceived exertion and increase fat usage is one reason.  But I also don’t want to rely on it.  By removing coffee (and caffeine for that matter) from my life, I plan to fill it with other things.  I want to break the cycle of “needing” it.  That is my goal.

Here are my top four reasons for going caffeine-free.

Fake Energy.  Throw back a double latte from Starbucks and you’re full of energy, right?  Sure.  But what kind of energy?  This perceived energy is the result of your body’s struggle to adapt to increased blood levels of stress hormones.

Save Money.  About 90% of the time I don’t finish the coffee I’ve made.  I leave some in the pot.  I leave some in the mug.  Other times, I’m at the airport.  Or I need to get out of the house and work in a coffee shop…and I spent $5+ dollars just on a drink!  Of course, I rationalize it by saying it’s an “experience,” not just a cup of coffee….But, you get the point.  Drinking coffee can become an expensive habit.  Especially when you need to have EVERY new flavor that comes out.

Improved Heart Health.  Ever since I began using my Fit Bit activity tracker, I’ve become a huge nerd about where my resting heart rate is.  Your heart rate is a reflection of how “fit” your heart muscle is.  Quitting coffee or caffeine can lower your blood pressure and keep your heart from working as hard.  This will make you more efficient in the gym and will help ensure your muscles get the oxygen and nutrients they need, when they need them.

Break the Habit.  This is my number one reason!!! I wouldn’t say I’m “addicted” to coffee.  It’s more of a routine that I rely on to start my day.  Brew a cup of coffee.  Review my to do list for the day.  Put away the dishes.  Sit.  Sip.  It’s comforting.  I enjoy having something hot to drink.  When I first began drinking coffee, I wasn’t even a fan of the flavor.  I did it for the feeling!  The euphoria.  These days, it takes more than a single cup of coffee for me to wanna take on the world, but I still enjoy the routine.  Yet, by removing my morning coffee, I’m going to continue the routine but with tea instead.  When the afternoon lulls hit, I’m going to opt for a collagen drink, BCAAs, tea or a greens drink.  These “cocktails” are full of benefits of their own, so by adding them to my diet I hope to experience sustained energy along with the other benefits they’re known for.

Whether you decide to go caffeine-free for a day, a month or for the rest of your life, it’s important to do so for the right reasons.  Do it all at once.  Or cut back from 5 cups a day to 2 cups a day.  Have a goal.  Work toward it and be a nice human–to others and to yourself.  Have you tried to quit coffee or caffeine?  Share you experience below; I’d love to hear from you!