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I Quit Coffee for a Week

By: Wei Qing Lim

If you know me, you know that I’m really into coffee. Quarantine may have driven me to do this, but I thought it was a good idea to go on a coffee cleanse and write about how it went.

By coffee drinker standards, I don’t drink too much coffee. I started drinking it purely because I enjoyed the taste-- given, I started with sweet vanilla lattes (they’re still SO good) but have since settled with a good oat milk latte. Before quarantine, I never made coffee at home. This changed when I stumbled upon a simple coffee recipe on Tik Tok. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it tasted delicious! I started making it every morning to start the day. Sometimes, I would make another to beat the afternoon slump.

Maybe it was the caffeine talking, but I started wondering, what would happen if I went coffee-less for a week? Will I still be whole without it? I went to sleep on Sunday night with eager anticipation for the week. If I was going to be at home all day every day, I wouldn’t need coffee, right?

I could not be more wrong. My friends tell me that I never see things coming, but I didn’t believe them

until Monday. Monday was quite possibly the hardest day of the entire week, even with coffee. Without it, the day was unbearable. The second I woke up, I felt lethargic (this was with nine hours of sleep!). For me, Mondays are always HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout days, and while they are challenging, my adrenaline usually helps charge me through it. This did not happen on that Monday. I struggled immensely with a workout that I had done a week earlier, and could barely pull myself to the kitchen after to make myself some breakfast. By the time I whipped together an avocado toast, I realized that I was not even hungry. Instead, I wanted to lie down and find a way to ease my throbbing headache. I checked the time and realized that it was only 10:30 am. I had no idea how I was going to get through the day without a nap, or maybe two.

It’s crazy how time almost suspends itself when you’re uncomfortable. As I tried to focus on the details on my laptop screen, my mind raced with thoughts like, “I’m exhausted. Is it time to take another nap?” Or, my most recurring thought: Should I just DoorDash some coffee? It’s difficult to focus on simple tasks when you have an incessant headache. I went from being cautiously optimistic about my cleanse on Sunday night to being miserable just a mere 9 hours later. I decided to push on, at least for another day. I might feel better tomorrow!

Unfortunately, that was not the case. Tuesday was very much the same, except I resorted to glugging Hydro flasks full of water and cups of hot tea. Wednesday and Thursday were somewhat of an improvement-- I was less sluggish, even with fewer naps. After 5 gruesome days of saying no to coffee, Friday rolled around, and I felt suspiciously normal. I woke up to find that my nine hours of sleep energized me. I went into my workout with heavier weights and didn’t crash and burn. Instead, I felt ready to take on more! My appetite was also starting to return-- I had two slices of avocado toast and fruit for breakfast, followed by a quinoa bowl for lunch and salmon and veggies for dinner. I was finally starting to feel like myself again (minus the caffeine)!

Overall, I learned a lot during my caffeine-less week. I expected little to no withdrawal symptoms and was surprised that I experienced many, if not all of the symptoms for most of the week. This might apply to you, too. It may take a while for your body to adjust to not having caffeine in your system, and although it feels terrible at first, I’m here to say that it does get better!

I would recommend trying this cleanse if you feel jittery and uncomfortable after your daily cup of coffee. For me, this cleanse was purely out of curiosity. Although I’m really glad that I went on this caffeine-less adventure, 5 days is where it stops for me. I can’t wait to drink some coffee and put a little pep in my step again!

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