I voluntarily entered (god knows why) into a 28 day detox. No wheat, dairy, alcohol or caffeine. The former three actually weren't too bad. I missed my glass(es) of wine and cheese + crack(ers) but I did it during a time where I really needed to focus on work, so I couldn't indulge that much anyway (if I had a life like a normal person the alcohol part would have been much harder for sure). Wheat's fairly easy to substitute (ie. quinoa, brown rice pasta, spelt bread etc. if necessary) so this one was the most painless. I got the flu for a bit but even that almost paled in comparison to...
NO CAFFEINE. I'm a self-proclaimed java junkie. Hell, you could hook me up to an IV drip (actually not really, I enjoy the whole process of grinding the beans, using my coffee press and holding the warm cup in my hands way too much to let a needle have all the fun).
I read somewhere that no one is caffeine deficient (makes sense). Almost all of us are H20 and vitamin A (through Z?) deficient, but our bodies don't require caffeine to function whatsoever. We might be sleep-poor and use it to compensate but that's a different story.
I knew it would be challenging but I also enjoy peppermint tea (caffeine-free) and hot water with lemon so I thought these would be easy alternatives to swap in. What's 28 days?!
Holy toledo, I thought I was dying on Day 1 and by Day 2, the withdrawal was so bad, I caved. Can you believe it?! How embarrassing! Yep, I had to start ALL OVER from scratch on Day 3. I considered giving up altogether but I was mad I'd succumbed to my vice so quickly that I was determined to prove to myself I could do it.
The withdrawal symptoms kicked in HARD (again) for a full week. Migraines (the mother-father-aunt-and-fat-uncle of all headaches), body shakes, dizziness etc. Pathetic, I know. I never realized how addicted to the stuff I was until I tried living without. Seeing my body react that way because I deprived it of my daily coffee fix(es) freaked me out.
Taking Advil felt like cheating so I suffered through (okay fine, maybe a cold wash cloth for my head one night) and by Day 8 I felt normal again. From then on I noticed my energy levels stabilize on their own and actually pick-up (that could also be due to the sunnier weather).
I completed all 28 days and felt great but I'm also very happy to have re-introduced my morning cuppa joe back into my life. I missed him! This time I'm conscious of not drinking the entire press (I never even did it for the effects, I just love the taste and having a hot cup of coffee in my hands when I'm working...or walking around...or in class...or doing anything in general...) Now I'll swap-in peppermint tea or hot lemon water more often as an alternative.
I mostly just wanted to see if I could live without for a little while and re-fresh my system. I never had any intention of giving it up for good...but it got me thinking about crack addicts (my mind is a weird and dangerous place). I just don't know how they do it! I can't even begin to imagine the withdrawal symptoms they must experience if they're locked up, or run out of money or go to rehab...I mean I'd probably be hooked for life too just to avoid that awful feeling.
So, I guess the moral of this story is: caffeine (in moderation) is okay and by george, stay off crack, kids!