Quitting Coffee: The Bulletproof System
I've been quitting coffee for over a month now. Yes, I've been down this road before but this time, I mean it. I'm going slowly, trying to outfox the headache. If you've never had a caffeine-withdrawal headache, you've never truly suffered. Ask anyone who's had one. Caffeine withdrawal is a big reason why I'm quitting. ZYTO made it clear that, while I am on the path to vibrant health, perfection still awaits. For me, the final level of difficulty includes quitting coffee. I say "for me" because coffee is not the culprit. There are zillions of articles and mountains of evidence that prove coffee is not bad per se. In fact, coffee is likely a health food! Millions of people drink it to good effect. If I thought it were doing me some good, I'd never give it up. Sadly, it's not doing me any good. At least not until my adrenals, acid reflux/stomach, esophagus and vocal chords are healed. And here's the big Proof that I should not be drinking coffee: how can something be healthful that causes an intense, painful, sickening withdrawal? I've quit cold turkey a couple of times and each time suffered a week-long intense migraine and hangover rolled into one. I'll never quit cold turkey again. I'm brave, not stupid. Here's the other thing: I am addicted to coffee and I hate addiction. If I'm spending the night away from home, the very first thing I do is secure a source of caffeine for the am. Like a drug addict. When I smoked, I couldn't leave the house without cigarettes and matches. I could leave the house without money, keys, water, a bath... but not without cigarettes and matches. That's being a slave to a habit. Ugh. I quit smoking because I didn't like that something had such a strong hold on me. I was powerless over nicotine and that annoyed me. So I quit smoking, badda bing. Well, coffee has that hold on me now. Like, if there was no coffee at Disneyland, I couldn't go. But there are other reasons, too:
Health Reasons for Quitting Coffee
1) Caffeine is hard on the adrenals. A big adrenal crash contributed to my getting so sick so fast when I almost died. 2) Caffeine contributes to insulin resistance which has all kinds of negative health consequences. I know this because Dr. James D'Adamo told me so in 1987 when he put me on a 100% sugar-free diet for six weeks. That included giving up coffee because coffee and sugar have the same effect on the pancreas. Coffee is like a hammer to the adrenals, causing them to release cortisol which increases blood sugar to make you feel good, which causes the pancreas to release insulin. Everything working overtime for a little cup of Joe in the am and I didn't even get to have a banana split. This is not how smart people with exhausted adrenals behave. I felt amazing after that six weeks of no sugar, by the way. Amazing. Wonder why I didn't keep it up... 3) Because of 1 and 2, my energy is unstable. I have energy highs and lows like a sugar junkie and my sleep is not sound.
Here's How I Quit Coffee: Week #1
I cut down to one cup a day, and I mean 8 ounces. I got to have cream and honey in that one cup, neither of which I use on a regular basis. I wanted to make that one cup a treat since I was not looking forward to giving up the java high. To keep the inevitable headache at bay, I put a glass of black coffee in the fridge. I wanted it cold and ready for a "hair o' the dog" cure. As long as you catch the headache early, hair o' the dog works. Sure enough, the first headache appeared late afternoon on the first day. A few sips of cold coffee got rid of it. On the second day, the headache came at 11pm. The third day it was 3am. Each time, just a few sips of cold coffee and the headache disappeared within 20 minutes. The fourth day, I got the headache just before waking up which told me that my body had adjusted down. Yay! I was over the first big hurdle.
Week #2 Quitting Coffee
I cut down to 1/2 cup and started making it Bulletproof, an idea I got from Mark Sisson who got it from Dave, the Bulletproof Exec. My version is below and it is DELICIOUS. I still drink this without the coffee, just more Dandy Blend. And no eggs, just coconut oil, occasionally a little Stevia if I need some extra sweet. I don't eat until at least noon and very happy not to have to fool with breakfast!
The Bulletproof "Quit Coffee" Recipe
C=Cup | T=Tablespoon | t=teaspoon
1 C. milk (raw if you can get it) or filtered water if you aren't a milk fan 1-2 t. Dandy Blend 1/4 t Vanilla 2 T Coconut Oil 1-2 Eggs tiny dash real salt (optional -- too much salt ruins it) 1/2 C prepared coffee
Directions 1 - Put all ingredients except the hot coffee in a small saucepan and blend with a stick blender. 2 - Turn on medium heat, blending occasionally to keep the eggs from cooking. 3 - When very warm, add in the hot coffee and blend. 4 - When it's hot enough for your liking, pour through a strainer into a cup so you don't get all the foam. Plus, pouring through a strainer makes the bit of foam that does get in very smooth like cappuccino foam. Yum! 5 - Dandy Blend makes it sweet enough for me. If you like it sweeter, add any sweetener to taste. Hal and the boys like raw honey. NOTE: Adjust recipe to taste. For instance, you can use equal amounts coffee and milk. Or no milk at all and just use water.
I add Dandy Blend specifically because it gives a coffee-like flavor. Even if you are not quitting coffee, Dandy Blend is good stuff. For the boys, I use 2 C milk, 1 C coffee, 4 eggs and 3 T coconut oil. For a cold drink, omit the coconut oil and blend with ice. Unless you're going to drink it right then, the coconut oil hardens up pretty quickly. The boys like putting this in a thermos and drinking it during the day.
Week #3 Quitting Coffee
I cut down to 1/4 C coffee. Cold joe in the fridge still keeping the headaches at bay. Yes, still getting them... the withdrawal is unbelievable. Sending a signal, ya think? FYI, I'm now using filtered water instead of milk. It's lighter and I just like it better now.
Week #5 Quitting Coffee
Due to a hectic schedule, I've been on 1/4 C for two weeks. Tomorrow, I go to 1/8 C coffee. Five days later, to 1 T. As soon as the headaches stop, then no more. My birthday is the 28th. I'll be caffeine-free by then. My energy is already much more stable, I'm sleeping better and I take naps like crazy: really good deep-sleep naps -- yummy. Plus, I'm actually looking forward to being off coffee instead of depressed about it. This is good!
Am I Quitting Coffee Forever?
Except for marriage and kids, I never say forever. I'm definitely off for three months, then I'll re-evaluate. If vibrant health is the goal and coffee is a barrier, it's out. I'm so in this for the long haul.
Caffeine free! Today is my birthday and my first day with no coffee at all. Yesterday was the first day of 1 T of coffee and I fought a headache all day. Had a few sips of cold brew several times during the day and that knocked it back a bit but didn't cure it. Around 8pm last night, I finally took two aspirin and that took care of the headache. Got a good night's sleep and I feel great today. It's 7pm and no headache today, not even a smidge. That means I'm free of caffeine. Wow, that was easy :) UPDATE 2/1/16 Remember when I said, "Never say never!"? Well, I've been back and forth these last 3.5 years... mostly back, drinking coffee. However, I've just had a challenge from a friend to quit for 3 months again. My health is so much better that I think quitting coffee for a bit might put me over the top. So here we go! I can do almost anything for 3 months. Pura vida, babe, got me some Dandy Blend, and rarin' to go! I'll be back with updates, stay tuned.