Caffeine can cause a vast array of health problems and everyday difficulties, but it is also highly addictive and can be difficult to cancel out of your diet. Those of us who have become addicted to caffeine, and can’t get through the day without a few cups of coffee or caffeinated sodas know all too well the headaches and irritability that can occur after going a day, or even just several hours without our “fix”. Here are a few tips on gradually eliminated your consumption of caffeine.
Take baby steps.
If you’re a hardcore caffeine addict like I was, one of the worst things you can do is to stop your caffeine intake “cold turkey”. You’ll find it difficult to begin your day and even more difficult to make it through the early afternoon, and you may experience headaches, nausea, and extreme irritability. So instead start with baby steps. If you’re used to three cups of coffee a day, take it down to two, and spread them out (for example, one cup in the morning and another after lunch). Do that for a week or so and when you feel comfortable, take it down to one cup. If you find that you’re missing your coffee routine more than the actual caffeine, try drinking decaf or drink hot green or herbal tea. If you miss your caffeinated sodas, try replacing your usual pop with a tall glass of fresh juice.
Another thing that may help you is to try to find support from those close to you. If you live with your significant other or spouse, and they also drink coffee or other caffeinated beverages, cutting it out of your own lifestyle can be more difficult. Talk to them and see whether they would be willing to reduce or eliminate caffeine from their diet with you. Or try finding a friend, coworker, or family member outside of your home who is also interested in cutting down caffeine. When you have someone to support you and check in with, you’re more likely to stay on track and not go back to your old habits.
Make healthier choices.
Making healthier choices in your daily life can really help you to feel more energized, which makes it a lot easier to forgo the coffee machine. Start eating more fruits and vegetables (try a fruit smoothie for breakfast!), and whole grains, and cut down on processed foods or foods with processed sugars and oils. Try to cook as many meals at home with fresh ingredients as you can, and drink plenty of water throughout the day. If you don’t already, start taking walks outside or working out at least three times per week. These healthy choices will make it easier to get through your day feeling great, and will eliminate the need to drink coffee in the first place.
Get your rest.
This last tip seems a bit obvious, but I can’t stress it enough. Always get your rest. I know it may be difficult for those who have children or full time careers, but work in as much rest as you can. Optimally get 8 hours of sleep a night, but if you can’t, try to sneak in a quick nap around lunchtime. Especially if you have problems with insomnia, take time before bed to unwind. Take a relaxing bath, change into your comfiest pajamas, enjoy a cup of chamomile tea, or read a book. Getting to bed at a decent hour and getting a proper night’s rest is key to making it through the next day without feeling the need for a cup’o Joe.