The Inevitable (yes, inevitable) Coffee-Withdrawal Headache, and then The Good News
As of December 1st of this year I have been AIP-compliant, bringing our grand total of coffee-free days to: 20 big ones.
And only the first two days sans-cafe were the painful ones. The headaches, my friends, oh my…this cavewoman was not expecting to deal with such a throbbing head.
In November, I prepped myself for the Autoimmune Protocol by reducing my coffee intake from my normal 3 to 4 cups a day down to only 1 cup in the morning. The remaining cups I replaced with black and green teas. (St. Dalfour Irish Breakfast Tea has those lovely chemical-free bags, and Rishi has a good, moderately-bold organic loose-leaf green tea).
I am fortunate to say that in November I suffered ZERO caffeine-related headaches. Headaches related to stress or undereating due to bee-ing a distractable busy-bee this month: ONE.
Transitioning from the excessive cups of coffee to tea during November was, in my opinion, a wise choice. I say this because those two head-throbbin’ days could have been a lot worse without easing my body into “tea-totaler” mode…
You could imagine my disappointment on Dec 1st when I swapped my morning coffee for tea, and a couple of hours later that first headache started creeping in (and THEN stuck for pretty much the rest of the day). I had set myself up for this disappointment, though…foolishly assuming that there would be no detox from the coffee caffeine since I had eased my body into the coffee-withdrawal process. Silly, silly gal, I am.
According to my long-term-partner in life-living: “Coffee’s caffeine and tea’s caffeine, albeit similar to each other, bind to different molecules when brewed. This difference affects the way the body responds to the caffeine; either in jitters (coffee) or calm alertness (tea).” And, he should know…he’s a Master Herbalist. So when he talks to me about the way plants affect the human body/psyche/soul, I listen.
(And learn some!) What I learned from him in this lesson is that regardless, my body was going to detox from the coffee no matter WHAT I substituted it with. Yes, I used a caffeinated substance, but to my body it may as well have been…a…banana or, a rubber tire. Body says, “THIS NOT COFFEE! RAWRRRRRRRRRRRRRR,” and there we have our withdrawal symptoms.
Looking beyond those two days, here I am at day 20 of the AIP, and I truly believe that giving up coffee is going to be a PERMANENT life choice for me. I will outline the reasons (The Good News) below:
- My adrenals feel less overworked (I will soon write a post on a product for healing your adrenals before starting AIP that worked wonders for me).
- My anxiety is MANAGEABLE now. I have had two bad anxiety-days out of the last 20, whereas before quitting coffee those numbers would be two good days out of 20.
- I am sleeping better.
- Even when I don’t get a fabulous night’s sleep, I don’t feel extremely exhausted all day.
- I feel a natural, steady flow of energy even into the evening, whereas before I would lose energy way before my work day was finished. I feel myself tackling an extra task or two when I get home from work, versus just plopping on the couch and breathing heavily. In smelly work clothes at that.
- I have a lighter, happier, more pleasant outtake on my days now, whereas before I had agoraphobia virtually every day.
- The inflammation in my stomach has reduced significantly!! Only a couple of bad tummy days, and I believe they were due to reintroducing black pepper into my diet after I read a blog stating that black pepper could be kept on the AIP intro phase. (Black pepper is now OUT of my diet and shall remain out until the reintroduction phase.)
Attributing these drastic improvements solely to coffee cessation would be irresponsible…I believe they are due to the overall diet, but I also believe quitting coffee has played a major role in all of these lovely health benefits.
And I wish to keep these improvements, so for my next post I will share with you the yummy teas and herbs I use for replacing my coffee and keeping the caffeine kick *gently* going! Stay tuned, my friends.