The first day was hell and the headache and lethargy were kicking my butt, particularly mid day. But quickly after that not having the coffee wasn't an issue. I guess it was good that I pretty much confined myself to a single cup a day, the habit wasn't horrible to break. And yet, after ultimately an 8 day break from the caffeinated beverage I had my first tall americano at Starbucks today and it was wonderful. So why run back into the open arms of my coffee relationship?
Honestly it's mostly just because I really like coffee and in a life so taken over by doing the right thing most of the time I'm relenting to being human and giving myself an indulgence. One that I think is a lesser evil than say a soda pop once a day or a slice of vegan cheesecake. I take my coffee black and I enjoy it immensely so I hardly think one cup a day will send me into a death spiral. The science over whether coffee is good for you in small amounts (kind of like chocolate) is still sort of ping ponging around and yet still I suspect that in small doses it isn't at least overly harmful. But I am going to change a few things now that I'm back in this relationship on my own terms.
- I'm going to wait for my cup of coffee until my breakfast has had time to digest a little. It seems that drinking coffee at the same time or close to the time you digest certain foods will lesson your ability to benefit from that nutrition. Normally I drink my coffee immediately after breakfast and will occasionally add a second cup of coffee about 2 hours later. Now my plan is to have my breakfast upon waking as normal and either take my coffee to work in a travel cup or stop on the way to work giving my meal a couple of hour head start in digestion.
- I'm going to skip days of coffee drinking. This is mostly because I want to avoid retraining my body to needing that daily caffeine without suffering from the headaches of withdrawal. I suspect if I skip two or three days a week it won't be an issue. And likely I'll benefit from more of the buzz from the caffeine than if one cup a day were my norm.
- I'm going to use coffee as a true performance enhancer. I had my first cup of coffee in eight days about an hour and a half before a 10K run today and felt noticeably more energetic for the run. It could have been a placebo, but I'll take a good placebo any day if it works. I suspect that coffee or caffeine before every run would have a lessoning effect over time, but used strategically before key runs or activities and the benefits could be noticeable.
And so coffee and I are back together again after a brief divorce and I'm loving it. I'll try to avoid bringing it back to the unhealthy dependent relationship it once was, but certainly it's a comforting friend. We can't all be perfect all the time right?