It’s true – the love of my life is gone. (No, not Chris. He’s still here.) I’m referring to coffee – that darling golden-hued warmth that comforts me every morning and gives me magic powers.
Yes, a few weeks ago, coffee and I broke up. I said, “It’s not you, it’s me.” And it was true. I love the ritual of making slow coffee (we love our chemex and our fancy grinder and our organic, fair-trade coffee) and the comfort and the taste. Unfortunately, though, my body does not currently appreciate coffee in all its glory.
My adrenal fatigue and gut health issues have been getting progressively worse this year, despite my efforts otherwise. I knew it was time to step it up. Time to go all in. I’ve known for years that coffee wreaks havoc on adrenals and cortisol levels, moods, sleep quality, and more.
I tried to ditch it last year by ever-so-gradually reducing the amount, but had a killer migraine for a week straight, so that whole idea ended in a hurry. (Believe me – it freaked me out when I realized just how dependent on it my body had become. I wasn’t a huge fan of that idea.)
However, I knew that if I wanted my best chance at feeling strong and healthy again, I had to leave coffee behind.
So fast forward to now, and it’s Take Two. This time, however, I tried a different angle. Chris had come home with some matcha green tea powder one day after hearing about its health benefits and wanting to give it a try in our smoothies. It has some caffeine (roughly a third of the caffeine in a cup of coffee) but your body processes it differently, so you don’t get the spike and crash that coffee brings, and it doesn’t wreck your cortisol levels. Plus, there are a ton of antioxidants and incredible health properties in matcha.
Matcha Protein Smoothies to the Rescue
So we dove in! The first day we had a protein smoothie with matcha, I drank half my normal amount of coffee. (Last time I tried going down by like 1/5 at a time, and my brain still revolted!)
That day – I DIDN’T GET A HEADACHE. Not at all. It was the most jarring, bizarre feeling to look at the clock in mid-afternoon, and realize that I didn’t have a headache at all. Nada. Zilch. My head felt a bit tight, but I had also been using my computer all day, and recently got a glasses prescription for computer eye strain that I haven’t gotten filled yet. (Oops.)
So bottom line: there’s a good chance that the bit of tightness (not quite a headache, but not an awesome feeling either) wasn’t even related to the coffee in the first place. Either way – it was mild.
“Huh,” I thought, “there really is something to this matcha thing.”
So, I’ve had a matcha protein smoothie every day since then (minus one day when we were out of smoothie ingredients, and I had a small black tea instead) and it has been glorious. (I did have a migraine one day last week, but it was at the height of my nasty head cold, which was the obvious cause.)
I’ve had no withdrawal symptoms – in fact, my mornings are starting to feel slightly more awake than before. I don’t wake up in a fog and stay that way until I drink my coffee. I get up and actually wake up. I’m not dependent on coffee for that anymore. (I honestly thought I’d struggle majorly with this part, but it has been a non-issue.)
It’s been a few weeks now, and I think I can safely say that I’m in the clear, as far as detoxing from coffee goes. I’m officially not a coffee drinker anymore.
So what am I drinking?
Well, matcha is currently part of my daily routine. Beyond that, I’m taking this excellent opportunity to do a big upgrade on my beverages altogether. I don’t drink milk or pop, and I rarely drink alcohol. But lemon water and matcha smoothies will get boring after a while, I think.
I do brew my own kombucha, but I’ve struggled to get into a good rhythm with it, and haven’t found many flavours that my whole family loves. I also love herbal tea, but have been drinking the same types for years, and would love to branch out. I’d love to learn to make my own herbal teas with higher-quality herbs in order to reap the therapeutic and medicinal benefits.
(UPDATE: This post was *exactly* what I needed to make it happen! 10 Best Herbs for Tea with Incredible Health Benefits. Yum.)
I’ll keep experimenting with different variations of smoothie, and I think I’ll branch out to infused waters next.
I drink chai every morning. I feel like I’m addicted to it, like I need it every morning. I drink green tea with matcha once a month, so I need to drink that more!
If you get tired of the smoothies, try a bulletproof matcha. Same idea as the coffee but with matcha. Ends ups kinda like a green tea latte for us 🙂
That’s a genius idea! Love it!! I’m definitely trying that. 🙂
I kinda depend on my buttered coffee to stay regular… And buttered tea just isn’t that yum. But I do only drink very dark roasts…
I hear you! Constipation has been a constant struggle for my whole life, and I totally get it. The coffee did help with that. I find that 16oz of lemon water and a hot herbal tea in the morning really helps keep my regular now. And I’m currently eating a homemade flax granola for breakfast that really helps in that department too.
That being said – if you enjoy the coffee and it doesn’t have negative effects on you, well, awesome! 🙂
HI Beth! Do you think the matcha would help with sugar withdrawals too? Or do you have any other suggestions for getting through sugar withdrawals? I knwo that I need to give up sugar, but my body is soooo addicted to it that when I give it up and other processed foods, I have horrible withdrawal symptoms and headaches for weeks. It ends up getting to me and I give up every time. Any suggestions for pushing past that or helping those not be as severe or long lasting?
Beth probably has some great tips for you on that… I haven’t experienced the headaches part, but to help with the ‘need’ for sugar – if you haven’t tried it already – I find that a high dose of omega 3’s makes a big difference in my sugar “needs”, as well as taking the usual (or upping) probiotics and doing a greens drink in the afternoon when the usual sugar craving hits. I do a tsp of high dose omega 3 oil in the morning and chase it with one of the yummy ‘smoothie’ omega oils. It makes a difference in my kids’ asking for sugary treats too, when they have had enough omegas. Best of luck with it! Not an easy one!
Hi Sarah, sorry I didn’t respond to this earlier. I swear I had, but I think my computer ate my reply!
Tara has some great advice to try. I’d also add: for sugar cravings – a detox period is necessary. I’ve found the most success when I’ve cut sugar out completely for at least a month, and this includes most fruit, and even natural sweeteners. You need to reset your tastebuds, and your brain’s pathways that expect sweet.
If the headaches are actually from the sugar withdrawals, then they should abate in a few days. Alternately, you could try weaning off with a specific plan. (Maybe first switch to all natural sweeteners: honey, maple syrup, coconut palm sugar… then reduce those and just have a piece of fruit per day. No dried fruit, etc.)
I’ve been wanting to write more about this topic – I have lots more to say. I’ll put it on the calendar to write ASAP! 🙂
Thank you for your reply. The cravings are a separate issue, but I’m just talking about the physical detox/withdrawal symptoms. I have heard that some people do have their headaches and physical symptoms end in a few days, but others like me have them last much longer, which makes it even harder to fight through cravings. My research has showed that the length of these symptoms can vary a lot based on a person’s overall health, the extent of the sugar addiction and poor diet beforehand, etc. I have a lot of issues working against me. I know that some is to be expected, just wondering if you might have tips for making them less severe.
The weaning off thing does help with the physical side of it, but then I can’t mentally make it because addiction is really hard to “wean” from…it’s all or nothing for a lot of people with an addictive personality, which I have. I only recently discovered the true addictive power of sugar, but after doing research and learning about it, it definitely all makes sense when looking at the way my body responds to it and the lack of it.
Researchers just found out recently that glucose isn’t passively transported into the brain- your brain actually decides how much sugar it wants from your bloodstream. I think this is part of why so many people (myself included) crave sugar.