Considering giving up caffeine? Here’s what I’ve learned after two years without caffeine!
Two summers ago, I gave up caffeine, something I NEVER thought I would do or even thought was possible for me, the girl that LOVES coffee and caffeinated drinks. And it’s safe to say that giving up caffeine has been one of the best health decisions I’ve ever made!
Now that I am one year postpartum, I look back on the past year thinking: I did the newborn phase without caffeine?! Now that’s empowering.
Let me set the scene of why I gave it up in the first place. A few months after my miscarriage, my body started revolting. My hormones were a wreck, my thyroid was acting up (eventually leading to Hashimoto’s diagnosis), and I honestly struggled to get through the day. I was constantly tired and had horrible brain fog and couldn’t focus! <— Hello, adrenal fatigue!
I loved my multiple cups of caffeine, aka morning coffee, and couldn’t think about my daily routine without caffeine!! Seriously, it’s crazy how much I “relied” on it, thinking caffeine was the answer! I guess that’s what they call a caffeine addiction.
But I knew in my heart, that I had to take my hormone health seriously, and a small voice kept pointing me toward giving up caffeine. So two years ago in June, I gave it up and haven’t looked back since!
Giving up caffeine was one of the best lifestyle changes I’ve ever made for my health and hormones.
What does caffeine do to your body?
We all know less caffeine is better, but have you ever wondered why? Many of us enjoy a morning cup of coffee without thinking of the long-term effects a regular caffeine intake has on us. Let’s begin with the basics: Caffeine is a stimulant found in different drinks and foods, but it’s mostly in coffee and tea. It is found in black tea, green tea, yerba mate, and even in decaffeinated coffee and is a common ingredient in many energy drinks.
Although a small amount of caffeine is usually fine, there’s no doubt that giving up caffeine has excellent health benefits!
The amount of caffeine you ingest has a lot to do with how your body will react to it. High caffeine consumption (anything up to 400 mg of caffeine a day is considered a safe amount for healthy adults) often results in the following:
- increased heart rate (heart palpitations)
- interrupted sleep cycle
- fatigue and crankiness
- stimulated central nervous system
- increased anxiety levels and mood changes
That’s right, caffeine affects our health and brain chemistry, and the benefits of a caffeine-free life outweigh the benefits you get from that daily cup of joe.
Want more posts on the topic?
Here’s what I’ve learned after 2 years of giving up caffeine…
The body is brilliant at healing
When you give the body the right love and tools to heal, it can do just that—heal! Adrenal fatigue is the root cause of low energy in today’s “coffee, hustle, repeat” culture, and it certainly was the foundation of my struggles!
So what happens when we drink caffeine? What are the not so talked about effects of caffeine?
Caffeine sends a message to your pituitary glands to stimulate the adrenal glands to make cortisol, giving you a rush of energy! When the body is in a weakened state or adrenal fatigue, this surge of cortisol overworks the body and causes the already depleted adrenals to keep making more cortisol. This is why the momentary energy is fleeting and eventually followed by a crash and an even bigger long-term crash.
Does drinking coffee cause adrenal fatigue? No, chronic stress does. But caffeine does exacerbate the symptoms and can prevent the body from truly healing!
When we slow down and remove ourselves from the constant hustle that causes us to “need” a daily caffeine intake, we take our bodies out of that “fight or flight” stressed state, and our adrenal glands can eventually heal, giving you heaps of natural, lasting energy!
Removing the caffeine fix from my daily life was one of the most significant tools in my journey of adrenal fatigue healing—a key component, far more than food or supplements!
We idolize coffee as a culture
I mean we have shirts and slogans that say, “but first coffee.” And trust me, I GET IT, especially now as a mom, but it has been really nice waking up in the morning not feeling like I can’t function until I drag myself to the coffee pot. Waking up refreshed and ready to take on the day is an incredible and empowering feeling.
I’m not sure about you, but I don’t really want to idolize anything in life. I don’t like that feeling of “need.” I idolized caffeine in the past. I bought into the mentality that more equals better and thought that if I just kept doing more, more success and contentment would follow, and that’s simply not true! Now I say ‘no,’ prioritize, work smarter, not harder, and have accomplished more, all while doing less.
Caffeine might be your “idol” like it was mine, or maybe it’s exercise, perfection, or hustle. Maybe even trying to find balance is your downfall. And that’s ok because we are only human, right? Removing something I idolized, something I held onto so tightly because I thought it was helping me hustle and do more, has been freeing and empowering!
People often look at me like I am crazy when I say I don’t drink caffeine. I get lots of weird looks, proving how much we idolize our coffee and caffeinated beverages!
It’s so nice waking up every day and not relying on something physical like caffeine to get me going in the morning!
Drinking decaf coffee in the mornings is now something I look forward to. Something I want and enjoy rather than something I “need” as soon as I am out of bed. Usually, I go 3 hours before making my collagen and cream decaf coffee too! I’ve already accomplished a lot before I even reach for the coffee.
It’s Taught Me to Stay Conscious
Giving up caffeine requires a constant, conscious effort. It is easy to give into the hustle, stay up late working on another project, and then grab a cup of coffee in the morning (sometimes that is necessary)! It is harder to learn to say no, to have discipline, to focus on what really matters, and to focus on true, holistic healing. That’s the harder choice but the best one in the big picture!
Since I still love drinking coffee—the taste, the smell, the emotion, the memories, the comfort—sometimes finding a decaf option takes a bit more intention or means bringing a bit of your own when traveling.
It also means prioritizing sleep and commitments! This, by far has been the biggest life blessing of giving up caffeine. I don’t have something to “pump” me up momentarily when I am tired. I must dig deep and rely on myself, my routines, and my discipline!
It’s Empowered Me
Knowing that I have given up caffeine for not just 1 but 2 years, including the entire newborn phase with my daughter, is empowering. If I can do this…I can do anything! You, too, can do the hard things.
Anyone that knows me knows how much I loved and lived from cup of caffeine to cup of caffeine…I hope my story encourages you that this is possible; anything is possible!
When you set your mind to it, you can follow through. You, too, can cultivate discipline in your life!
Once I started focusing on my adrenal glands and recovering, my energy, focus, and productivity went through the roof. All without a sip of caffeine!
It is absolutely possible to have energy all day long without caffeine! Morning rush, afternoon slump, and all—thriving through the day with energy is a reality. After all, it’s what the body longs to do.
I hear people say oh, I “need more coffee just to get through the day” (hello, that was me at one point too). If that is you, I really encourage you to focus on healing adrenal fatigue first. I promise you will eventually have SO much energy, all without caffeine!
Now, this healing hasn’t been instant or easy. It’s taken me months and even years of consistent work, but I am thankful to look back on the journey and see just how far I’ve come.
And yes, in full transparency, I might occasionally have a cup of caffeinated coffee when traveling. And I occasionally enjoy my Iced Vanilla Matcha Latte in the afternoons (but caffeine from matcha is slow-burning caffeine that doesn’t spike your cortisol the way coffee does). I enjoy it and never feel guilty for having a splash of caffeine. I don’t make it a regular, daily occasion. But I also don’t live with guilt when I choose to do something against my norm!
To me, it is not about perfection. It is about intentionally creating routines, habits, and rhythms of life that support this way of life.
So, two years without caffeine—do I plan to keep going? YES! The benefits of removing caffeine from my days have totally transformed my hormones, skin, and energy levels! At this point, I don’t ever plan on drinking caffeine on the regular again, but I’ll always take it day by day!
Tell me, did this inspire you that you can do the hard things?
Hey Caroline! I recently stumbled across your blog after borrowing one of your cookbooks from my local library… And I am loving all of these posts! I have recently begun my own journey to tackling stress and anxiety (possibly even fighting my own adrenal fatigue) and your posts have been so inspiring, so thank you!
Thank you so much for stopping by and saying hello! I so appreciate your kind words 🙂
[…] switching to decaf coffee in the mornings for many reasons and this post from Caroline as to What She Learned After Two Years Without Caffeine, might just have been the nudge I […]