It’s been one month since I last consumed a caffeinated beverage.
OK, so like I said, this is a small anniversary. Perhaps you’re not much of a consumer of coffee, tea, or soft drinks. Or, perhaps you’re highly disciplined when it comes to food and drink, and wouldn’t have any issues with your eating and drinking habits. If so, that’s great! That’s a good place to be.
For me, this is a nice step in that direction.
If you’re like me, you might be someone who has your caffeine during the day at one time or another. Maybe it’s the morning cup of coffee. Or the cola at lunch. Perhaps it’s both. Maybe it’s at multiple times during the day.
There are many people that are hooked on caffeine, whether they realize it or want to admit it.
I have been advocating drinking water instead of less healthy alternatives, and had pushed myself to get to that point for the most part. However, my lifelong taste for Diet Coke emerged in a big way in recent months, with an extremely busy schedule at home and work. I previously would have one occasionally, but I slowly escalated my consumption until I was having at least 2 or 3 per day. This was reminiscent of my habits about 10 years ago. Additionally, if I came across free coffee anywhere (bank, office, etc), I would be sure to have it. That might be a few times a week too.
The result was that I just didn’t feel right, and decided that I needed to take steps to get more disciplined with my the food and drinks that I put in my body. So, eliminating caffeine seemed to be a good first step.
The first few days were rough, as I started to get headaches and felt nauseated. It felt as though I had some type of bad flu virus, for those initial days. Interestingly, when it was that bad during that initial time, I ran to a quick-serve place and picked up a fountain drink. After a short while, I felt good. While it was nice to feel better, it made me realize the hidden power of caffeine.
From that point, I resumed staying off caffeine, and I haven’t had any since. It’s been a month now.
No Diet Cokes, no coffee, no caffeinated tea and no vaporizer or ecig.
Mostly lots of water every day.
There have been a few days where I had juice, and one day when I had two glasses of beer. That’s it.
The result: I actually feel better! Here are four benefits I have noticed:
- Falling Asleep Easier. Caffeine isn’t preventing me from sleeping.
- Getting Better Sleep. Once I fall asleep, I stay asleep more often
- Less Ups and Downs in Energy. There are no bursts of energy followed by mini-crashes and lethargy; rather, I’m consistently at a good enough level of alertness throughout the day
- Improved Concentration. It seems like it’s a bit easier to maintain focus for extended periods of time
In terms of the pocketbook, I’m clearly saving some money by having water instead of soft drinks, as I frequently suggest. But the bigger thing is that I’m able to maintain energy throughout the day – which I hadn’t been able to do as well before. This, I believe, can only make one a more productive, energetic, and innovative worker. It may not be directly quantifiable, but I think there’s at least a potential financial benefit that could be attributed to those factors.
Will I keep up this strict regimen? Probably not to this extent, but I hope to reestablish a long-term pattern of limited caffeine, with sodas being only an occasional indulgence once every few weeks. If I have a caffinated drink, maybe green tea would be a good option. We’ll see.
Regardless, this one month exercise gave me a direct example of how good dietary habits can impact one’s energy, std health, and even the ability to earn and save money.