I’m one of the world’s biggest consumers of caffeine and have no intention of stopping. I love caffeinated products and thrive on them but, unfortunately for some people, they don’t. Faced with jittery nerves, anxiety, stomach problems and other adverse effects, some people are desperate to quit caffeine, without facing the side effects and headaches that often come with stopping. Quitting caffeine can actually be done, quickly and easily, as I can attest to the three times I’ve done it. There are some simple steps you must follow to make sure your caffeine withdrawal is managed and you’ll find your side effects and headaches are minimal or non-existent.
Cut Out One Cup of Coffee – The three times I quit drinking caffeinated coffee, I found it easy to do. When I decided to stop drinking coffee, I simply cut out one cup of coffee every three days. As I drink around 15 cups of coffee a day, that meant it took me a month of cutting out an additional cup of coffee every three days, to wean myself down to five cups a day.
For those who drink a lot less (4-5 cups a day for instance), if you cut out one cup of coffee a day, you’ll be completely coffee and caffeine-free within two weeks. With this gradual reduction of intake of caffeine, your body won’t notice a difference. So, by the time you’re only drinking one cup of coffee a day, you’ll be able to cut that one out quickly without experiencing any adverse side effects or headaches.
Drink 50/50 Caffeinated and Decaffeinated Coffee – One trick a friend of mine used to quit caffeine without getting headaches was to substitute her normal caffeinated coffee with some decaffeinated coffee. During the first few days, she made coffee with 90% caffeinated coffee and 10% decaffeinated. Then, as the days progressed, she slowly replaced more of the caffeinated coffee with more decaffeinated coffee. Until, at the end of three or four weeks, she was drinking 90% decaffeinated and 10% caffeinated.
Once you get down to that level of caffeine in your coffee, it’s extremely easy to get rid of the rest of the caffeine then kick coffee completely – if you want to.
Drink Plenty of Water – The faster you get the caffeine out of your system, the faster your body doesn’t want it any more. Make sure, if you’re trying to quit caffeine, you drink at least 6-8 glasses of water every day as this will help flush the caffeine from your body faster, as well as give you energy and wake you up.
Don’t Drink Other Caffeinated Drinks – When many people try to quit drinking caffeine, they’ll often find themselves reaching for a Coke, Diet Coke or Mountain Dew instead. Don’t. Not only are they loaded with caffeine, just as much as coffee in fact, drinks like Mountain Dew contain not only massive amounts of caffeine but also are stuffed full of chemicals, preservatives and sugar – far worse for you than a cup of caffeinated coffee.
Once you start to cut out the caffeinated coffee, substitute bottles of sparkling water with added flavors like fruit juices, green tea etc. I drink bottles of sparkling water every day and, if I add some fresh lemon, or a couple of shots of orange juice, pineapple juice, mango juice or any of the other fresh juices I can buy at my local store, I find it lessens my cravings for caffeine and I feel a lot healthier too.
Ease Up on the Chocolate – Chocolate too is loaded with caffeine, which means it makes no sense to be cutting out caffeinated coffee then chowing down on bars of chocolate instead. Packed with fat and calories, chocolate is great in small amounts as it also has antioxidants, which are good for you. But, if you go from drinking a few cups of coffee a day to eating four chocolate bars just to get the caffeine, you’ve just subsituted one potentially-damaging habit for another – and you’ll get fat.
Sure, eat some chocolate now and again. But a couple of small pieces a day is acceptable. Several bars is not.
Be aware, when you start to quit caffeine, it will take at least two weeks before the caffeine you’ve already consumed is out of your system. That means, if you quit caffeine gradually, you’ll be completely over it and feeling ‘normal’ again, at the end of a month.
If, like many people though, you’re finding the negatives to caffeine are outweighing the benefits, it’s well worth spending a month to quit as you’ll likely feel so much better when you do, but without all the side effects and headaches some people experience to get there.