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I Gave Up Coffee For A Week Because I’m Insane

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My addiction to coffee falls into the cliché Lorelai and Rory Gilmore category. Seriously. I had a boss once express her concern for my health after seeing me fill up my giant (but not this giant) mug for the sixth time. There is literally only one day (aside from the hellscape of a week I'm about to describe) I can remember in the last 11 years that I haven't had coffee. And that was in order to test my cortisol levels to try and figure out why I was so exhausted. While numerous studies have reported coffee's health benefits, it can actually have a negative effect on someone dealing with adrenal fatigue like myself. So, I decide to give it up for a week for the sake of my health slash I'm feeling masochistic.

Before quitting cold turkey, I do my research and read a bunch of stories wherein people give up coffee and, even though it's hard, persevere and find a multitude of health benefits. These people are like, "I'm addicted to caffeine so I need to quit my one-cup-a-day habit." LOL, what? These articles make me feel very insecure about my six-cup-a-day routine and further bolster my decision to cut out my beloved coffee.

It should also be noted that I had my food sensitivities tested recently (I know, so LA) and one of the random, annoying triggers that came up was tea. So I can't even cheat by drinking that. Ugh.

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My initial resolve wavers the moment I walk into the office kitchen and smell the coffee brewing. I steep my sad cup of dandelion tea (I'm only sensitive to actual tea leaves, so the herbal variety is fine), which is marketed as "the herbal tea that tastes like coffee." I guess it sort of does. It's also supposed to give you a natural energy boost, and it isn't acidic like coffee. When I sit down at my desk, my editor is drinking her coffee next to me and I proceed to give her major side-eye for the rest of the morning.

By the end of the day, I'm legitimately craving the taste of coffee. It's as bad as the way I crave pizza when I'm PMS-ing hard-core. It's not fun. I drive my miserable self home, eat dinner and go to bed early.

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The next morning I have a horrible headache, and I want to murder everyone in my path. I'm dragging at work, and I contemplate writing an angry email to the makers of my dandelion tea.

The third day I start having an existential crisis. It takes me longer to write stories at work, and I don't feel like myself. I start to wonder, Is all I am the result of being caffeinated since I was 14? How much of my personality is derived from coffee? It's rough, y'all.

I think you get the gist of how the rest of this experiment goes.

I know these kinds of stories usually end with some sort of uplifting takeaway, but honestly, the only good news I can share is that by the end of the week I feel more hydrated because I've been drinking more water—thanks to the Advil I'm constantly popping. J/K. Kind of. As a result, I now make a much more concerted effort to drink water. Perhaps quitting coffee for longer than a week would result in the better skin, mood and energy others claim—but I'll never know, because I'm never again going without coffee (although I may attempt to not drink quite as much). And I'm okay with that.

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