Experiment: Quitting Coffee

coffee

Main Objective:

To observe the effects that coffee has on the body by completely eliminating it from my diet.

Sub Goals:

Attain more energy levels.
Improve my mood.
Rehydrate myself.
Determine whether or not coffee is addictive.

Duration:

14 days (10/17/13-10/30/13)

Background:

Before beginning this experiment, I started to drink a lot of coffee everyday. Worse, I found that I was unconsciously making coffee right when I woke up.

As soon as I got out of bed, I was running straight to the coffee machine so that I could wake up properly. This, to me, was very unhealthy.

On top of that, I would often make a pot during the afternoon too. So, plus my 2-3 morning cups, I was also drinking 2-3 afternoon cups. I began to wonder if this amount of caffeine was severely dehydrating me.

That’s when I decided to do an experiment. What happens when I go from drinking lots of coffee to completely stripping it from my life for 2 weeks?

People warned me: you should just cut back on the coffee so that you don’t get headaches, and then gradually wane yourself off it. Headache or not, I decided that the best way to see results is through abrupt, sharply delineated change…

Hypothesis:

If I quit drinking coffee, then I will have more clarity and an increase in energy levels and mood. I also believe that coffee is addicting and that I will experience withdrawal symptoms from dehydration.

Assumption:

Coffee is addictive and it can become an unhealthy habit over time.

Method:

Stop drinking coffee.

Results:

Did I meet my objective?

Yes and no. In some ways, I was easily able to observe the results. But in other ways it was hard to tell if it was coffee making a difference.

Did I meet my sub goals?

No, I cannot say that I attained higher energy levels from not drinking coffee.

Perhaps my mood improved slightly but not enough to attribute to the lack of coffee.

Yes, I found I was drinking a lot more water each day.

Yes, coffee is addictive, but not long term. I did experience 3 days of noticeable withdrawal symptoms, but I was not craving coffee everyday.

Did my hypothesis pass?

No, I thought coffee would have way more of an effect on my energy levels and mood than it did. However, I did notice 3 days of headaches that diminished in strength as each day passed. So I determine that, yes, your body gets into a habit with coffee and reacts badly when it’s removed.

Analysis:

Coffee isn’t bad for the body in my opinion. It’s all about moderation. Moderation includes two main factors: urgency and amount.

I’ve determined that it’s really bad to wake up with coffee, rather than letting your body do its natural chemical process of waking up.

I’ve also determined that drinking 6 cups a day is way too much, and instead it’s best to only have 2-3 small cups in a day. I believe the most healthy way to consume coffee is not to drink it every single day, but to drink it a few times a week when you really want a cup.

Conclusion:

In the end, I conclude that drinking coffee is all about moderation. Having to drink it every single day is unhealthy. Having to drink it several times a day is unhealthy. And having to drink it just to wake up is also very unhealthy.

I know coffee is addictive because the first day I quit, I had a sharp headache all day. And the second day I had a low grade headache most of the day. And then the third day I had a somewhat low-grade headache for most of the day.

After that, though, I did not experience any withdrawal symptoms. My sleep was just as good as usual. My mood seemed fairly consistent. And I did not constantly crave coffee.

In fact, the only time I craved coffee was yesterday, when I was pouring a cup for my wife. The smell, the steam, the splash of cream…mmm…

I had poured her many cups before but something about this one made me realize: I LOVE COFFEE. That’s when I decided that I’ve experienced all of the important elements of quitting coffee and that I would resume again the next day, making the experiment a 14-day trial.

I found that there’s nothing wrong with drinking coffee. It’s HOW you drink coffee that can get you in trouble. My advice: first spend a couple hours waking up, stretching, and drinking water. Then you can have a cup of coffee as your body’s natural wake up chemicals begin to fade. DO NOT go running straight for the coffee pot the moment you get out of bed. That’s an addiction habit.

Try not to drink coffee at the same time, or even everyday. If your body gets used to a foreign chemical coming in at the same time everyday, it will begin to adapt to that substance, leaving you somewhat dependent on coffee.

Finally, coffee is best enjoyed when you truly appreciate it. Even though quitting coffee didn’t kill me with cravings, there were a couple times where I was like, “Mmm that smells soooo good!” Those are the times when you should drink coffee. By drinking it everyday, your appreciation for it dwindles. My advice is to drink coffee when you’re socializing and when you’re really in the mood for it. You’ll enjoy it much more that way.

Now, with that said: I’m gonna go pour a cup. Cheers!

Here’s mud in your eye!

4 Comments

  1. Hey Russ,

    Interesting post (and structure). I know how addictive coffee is myself. I agree with your end conclusion about maintaining moderation when using coffee.

    There are only two main reasons why I would consider dropping coffee forever:
    1. There have been studies indicating that it messes up the brain from long-term use. But the studies are far from conclusive…
    2. It drain a lot of minerals (zinc, magnesium, etc) and can make it hard to sleep/relax. But I am far from depleted, and therefore see no reason to quit.

    April 16, 2014
    Reply
  2. D/C Russ said:

    Yeah buddy!

    The young will never die

    April 16, 2014
    Reply
  3. Jacinta said:

    Excellent post. Most of what you wrote seems spot-on. However, I would like to point out something about which you are remiss here and in other posts:
    No action itself (coffee drinking, stretching, etc, etc) is either good or bad–mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally, etc. What matters is the way we FEEL about the action we are undertaking, For instance, smokers who do not believe their habit is physically harmful prove themselves right, as they will rarely suffer any side-effects or consequences. And eating health and exercising is only effective when we BELIEVE that it will be. ALL action is nothing more than a placebo, if you will. Nothing we do or don’t do matters–ever–only what/how we feel about it does…

    Drinking coffee IS lovely, though, eh? Your tip (from another post) about having a morning smoothie instead of coffee resonated with me, and I think i will be putting that one into practice tomorrow (it will be good for me, because i feel it will be good for me). Capiche?

    Nice work :o)

    April 24, 2014
    Reply
    • D/C Russ said:

      Agreed, but humanity is not yet at the point where we can freely disregard beliefs and social constructions.

      Feel as good as you want about drinking ipecac…but you ain’t gonna feel too good afterwards.

      In theory, what you say is true. And I do appreciate the comment.

      April 24, 2014
      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *