For years, I had maintained a strict coffee regime that was as consistent as the changing of the guards. My alarm would go off at 5:30 AM, I’d launch out of bed, stretch, land some shadowboxing jabs and mechanically make my way to my Mr. Coffee for my caffeine-booster before hitting the gym.
I enjoyed the routine of preparing the brew. I developed a fondness for the rich smell of Columbian roast filling my apartment. I loved the taste of pleasant bitterness flowing over my palate with that first sip. I had read about the various health benefits from numerous sources, including weight loss, increased concentration along with physical drive to help fuel workouts and reduced risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
I continued this one cup a day habit and thought little of it. Sure, on the rare occasion that I missed my morning cup of joe, I felt the inevitable headache approach along with my 5 o’clock shadow but I would simply assure myself that I would be more careful not to go without in the future. Never once did I question the physical addiction to caffeine that was apparent at those moments.
As life began to get more hectic, my days began to extend and my 5:30 rise and shine was becoming less cheery as my 10:30 PM bedtime began to creep towards midnight. To combat fatigue, I started slipping in a second, late afternoon cup of coffee in the event I was preparing for a long night. This second fix became a routine. With a late afternoon cup on the schedule, I didn’t see the harm in having a cup in the late morning as well.
My long standing, one cup a day habit had rapidly became a three, four or even who’s counting lifestyle. Self-denial came to a halt when I decided it was time to test myself. I made the determination that I would restrict myself, for one day, to only my morning brew.
As the sun reached the zenith, the signs of my coffee addiction began to rear its ugly head. My hands began to tremble, a wave of fatigue washed over me like a tsunami and all-encompassing headache wrapped itself around my brain with a hulkish grip. It took every ounce of my resolve to slouch through that afternoon, resisting the urge to pour my liquid heroin. The next day, I was back off of the wagon and kept my cup in hand!
Over the next few months, I failed at numerous attempts to scale back my caffeine consumption but the headache was always too much to bear.
My final effort was to do so coincided with the birth of a new habit that I began. I, like most had heard touts about the amazing benefits of consuming wheatgrass daily. Friends and colleagues attested to a variety of astonishing claims from thicker hair and smoother skin to increased energy and its ability to strengthen your immune system. At this point I had already been drinking, organic green juice for quite some time, and having felt the increased vigor for life that kale and spinach juice maintained in my body, I was willing to explore wheatgrass as well.
I began drinking a one ounce shot of wheatgrass every morning before my cup of joe. I am certainly not a physician and always skeptical of any miracle remedy, but I am in tune with my mind and body and could not deny that while I was drinking wheatgrass, my dependence on caffeine began to evaporate.
A week into my relationship with the sweet, savory (my palate is not consistence with most) chlorophyll-packed grass, I attempted to go a day without even one cup of coffee. Noon came and I still felt energized. My scruffy 5 o’clock shadow poked through my checks but still no headache. Upon laying down in bed that evening, I felt a calmness and purity that I hadn’t realized I had lost while wrapped in the clutches of caffeine addiction. I slept soundly and woke up to another day of freedom.