Around about Christmas time, I decided to cut back on coffee. Not so much ‘caffeine is bad’, demonising or complete exclusion, and more ‘all things in moderation’, ‘let’s try this for a while’ and curiosity about whether any benefits could be gained. I had been suffering quite badly with the effects of autoimmune illness and to be frank, was ready to try anything to alleviate the symptoms. Having read a lot about the subject of chronic illness I was swayed by suggestions that pumping myself with caffeine might not be in the best interests of my health.
To be fair though, this was really something of a gradual process. Several months earlier my love for caffeinated tea had already become a casualty of going gluten and dairy free. I went from drinking about four cups of tea a day (and usually two coffees) to basically zero on the tea front. The reason: despite my best efforts, I just could not find a type of non-dairy milk that tasted nice when mingled with my daily brew.
I tried drinking black tea for a while but just found it horribly bitter. I went round the houses with lots of herbal teas but couldn’t find anything that I liked. In the end, I did strike on one that seemed to suit my tea-loving pallete (Tulsi Organic Original, in case you’re interested). And from that point on my builder’s tea habit, which I so enjoyed for many years, came abruptly to a halt.
It therefore seemed an easier transition to cut back on the coffee when the choice presented itself. It wasn’t as if I was a massive coffee drinker anyway, but I did love the odd almond latte now and then (and for the record, instant’s always good enough for me 🙂 ). I decided to switch to a non-caffeine, gluten-free alternative (Barleycup – yeah, I know, this rock n’ roll lifestyle gets overwhelming 😉 ) . For all but the hardest of coffee-loving people I’d say it’s pretty much okay.
I still drink coffee when we’re away on day trips, on holiday or enjoying coffee dates. As I noted the other day, that’s probably one reason I arrange day trips, holidays and coffee dates any chance I get 🙂 . For me now, there is a real sense of excitement about the prospect of going out for coffee. It’s not an everyday thing by any means so it’s something that gives me, quite literally, a buzz.
As for the health benefits, I’m in two minds about them. I find it easier to drift off to sleep at night but that could also be due to some of the other routine changes I have made. My autoimmune symptoms have improved in recent months, but once again I’ve been doing lots of other things to tackle them. At the end of the day, maybe there is just a synergy to these things.
And if it’s working, that’s good enough for me.
What do you think? Could you cut back on caffeine or is it a prospect too awful to imagine? Has cutting back on caffeine helped you in any way? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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