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No Coffee for an Entire Year

It was after waiting on hold for two hours and being transferred to three different call centers that I unleashed a tirade of frustration on a traumatized customer service employee who probably really didn't deserve it. At that moment when the last word of anger left my mouth, I knew I had been an unbelievable jerk. Yes, it was true that the reason that I called was not handled at all and that my entire afternoon which I needed to get a multitude of tasks completed had instead become a sort of soul-sucking waste of my day. None of that mattered. I had been rude to the wrong person and as I sat there feeling deflated I asked myself what I could do to prevent that from ever happening again. In my hand was a now room-temperature cup of coffee, with a double shot of espresso added. Just then I scapegoated that as the catalyst for my tantrum. I latched onto that idea and made a type of self-edict that I would not touch any caffeinated beverage for as long as I could stand. There was probably unavoidable caffeine ingestion like when I didn't know something had caffeine in it like chocolate or something of that nature. Still, I was true to my self-imposed mandate for an entire year and this is what came of it.

To begin with, I tend to be an anxious person who has a hefty dose of depression that although difficult for anyone else who does not know me well to spot, is constant in my life. In those first few days and later weeks of no coffee, I found that there were initially lots of headaches. Luckily after the headaches cleared up, there was a noticeable decrease in the intensity of my usual anxiety. I'm by no means making the false statement that taking coffee out of one's diet will stop the serious condition that anxiety is, but for me, it did make it less crushing. Another identifiable positive to my no-coffee life was that at the end of the day, I was not as heavily exhausted and my temper was a little more even.

Aside from the decreased anxiety, less burnout, and slightly more excess cash in my wallet, not everything about a coffee-free life was as beneficial as I had hoped. By the end of the year in fact, I had gained a total of thirty pounds and realized that I had no extra energy boosts when I needed it like when my day was long or when I was tired. My chronic depression was not improved, but was easier to hide. Those things considered it was better and not better at the same time I suppose, because I did not have those moments when I was too tired to hide how unhappy I was. By the end of the year and now knowing the pros and cons of coffee I found that being a coffee fiend was not the way to go but I did decide to slowly reintroduce caffeine into my diet. I did need the energy boosts that it gave me for those days when I had to be a little more energized than I could naturally be.

Not long after I went back to drinking coffee again I realized I spent roughly $90 a week at coffee shops and that I was drinking a lot of soda which is fattening. With the calorie count of soda in mind and despite me downing Starbucks since it is a part of my morning coming back to life ritual, I did lose about ten pounds in the first summer back on caffeine, but not all of the weight. I also realized that I had more upper body muscle that I didn't have when I was drinking so much coffee, maybe a sign that the overconsumption of caffeine was causing a vitamin B deficiency that I was unaware of. I did find though that because I was using drive-throughs less I was skipping more meals because when I stopped for coffee I usually also bought a panini. So no coffee caused me to miss my lunch it seemed and that was not so great for a person like me who has to schedule every meal or miss out because of the pace of my workday. When I miss eating, I tend to be less productive on the job and grouchy too.

Taken all together I found that coffee is not evil necessarily, but not to overdo it because it can cause anxiety and burnout. It also can be costly to only buy from coffee shops all the time, but that's not the end of the world if it also helps you to remember to stop for lunch or is a part of your self-care. For me, I just switched to decaf to find that sweet spot of a bit of energy without becoming overly twitchy. Do you find that coffee is a part of your self-care or is it a diet faux pas? Say how you feel in the Conspiracy Meow! social media comment sections and as always, Let Your Inner Shut In Totally Wig Out!


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