Inspired by the American philosopher Morgan Spurlock, I decided to go a full 30 days without the one thing I knew I was addicted to. Coffee. My super size reliance on coffee started at university but my dependency grew working in finance firms.
I wondered whether my four grande lattes a day were such a bad thing? Would there be cappuccinos in Elysium? Surely the gods need coffee? I know Superman indulges in a cup after a hard days work.
There is a wealth of information available on the dangers of coffee addiction. There are tried and tested methods for ‘curing’ the addiction like hypnosis and a coffee drip. None of these excited me. Spurlock had a theory that eating McDonalds for 30 days would show America that it was eating itself sick. However, I was going 30 days and giving something up. According to Sarah from coffeeaddiction.net excess coffee can cause gastric and duodenal ulcers as well as heart related issues.
The benefits of reducing coffee intake were clear – improved sleep, less stress and an increase in stamina.
I decided I was going kick coffee in the but – my 30 days would be tough but I was determined to succeed, or at least give it my best shot.
One week in and I was clearly in need of help. I did not realise that I was so dependent on coffee to start my day. Not only did I give up on coffee, I decided I needed to remove any caffeine from my system. No coke, no caffeinated tea no red bull. I was ill in week one and could not focus on tasks long enough. Elysium seemed to get further and further away. I intended to power on but needed motivation – boot camp wasn’t really an option (and the thought of getting out of bed early was enough to give that idea a miss). I did some more research on the negative effects of caffeine.
Information from good-health.co.uk confirmed there was evidence to show that a high consumption of caffeine over a long period of time can increase your blood pressure. If you consume too much caffeine, it can make you shaky and give you continuous headaches, migraines not to mention bowel issues. Over time it also stained teeth.
Weeks two and three made me desire that early morning cappuccino even more. Early meetings, late nights and various coffee houses offering free drinks. I was slumping and the temptation to have a coffee was enormous. Friends wondered why I was doing this but I knew I had to do it. Spurlock would be proud.
In my final week I decided that the first coffee I had would be amazing. I discussed meeting everyone I knew for a coffee to celebrate completing my 30-day challenge. I dreamt of having coffee more than once and did some online window shopping to determine which expresso machine I would treat myself to on day 31. Everything was looking brighter and colour had returned to my face, my eyes bright – only with the thought that coffee was on its way.
Make that a triple shot
I celebrated day 31 with a night out in London with a shot of Coffee Patrón. It was vile. It was followed by an expresso martini – that was better but it was the early morning coffee I was looking forward too.
Despite my sore head it was a early start the next day. My wife promised to buy me my first coffee and she did – a triple shot bucket of coffee from Starbucks. I was so excited to get the coffee cup in my hands and take my first slip. The smell was subtle, smooth and missed. I will never forget my first sip it will always be remembered as the day coffee died.
Why? I love coffee, right? I didn’t like the taste. Maybe I needed a standard one, I tried my wife’s and it didn’t taste like I remembered. I couldn’t understand why and it bugged me. I tried another coffee that afternoon and it was the same – I no longer desired coffee. It was the idea of me needing it that made me yearn the taste. I was no longer a Starbucks suit, a Nero nimrod or Prét pretender.
Now I sweat less, am more active and have no desire to grab a coffee first thing. I save over £20 a week and eat healthier foods, no longer missing out on breakfast. I feel amazing and motivated – my 30-day challenge was more successful than I thought it would be. I had achieved more then I expected. With this knowledge of what was possible I knew this would only be the start….