My Break-Up with Starbucks

I broke up with Starbucks… Well, I broke up with my daily trip to Starbucks. It was one of my last vices that I wanted to crack. And now, for two weeks, my mornings have been absent of that mermaid’s face staring at me. My break-up with Starbucks was two-fold: Money & Caffeine intake.

The Details: 

My Order: Iced Grande Quad Skinny Hazelnut Latte ($6.07)
Caffeine Intake: 356 milligrams
Weekly Caffeine Intake:  2492 milligrams
Yearly Caffeine Intake (from Starbucks alone): 139552 milligrams
Weekly Cost: $42.00
Yearly Cost: $2379.44 (Yes… I spent this much at Starbucks last year and was on pace to do it again this year. Crazy, Right!?)

Studies suggest that it is safe to have up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day as an adult[1], but I still wanted to cut back. I didn’t want to be dependent on caffeine in order to wake up and stay focused.

I had given up soda 3 months ago, so the Starbucks drink became the only place I received a significant intake of caffeine. I cut it off, cold-turkey. Looking back, I really should have weened myself off of it. Caffeine is a very powerful drug. The withdrawal I received from caffeine was far worse than that of alcohol (and that was no walk in the park.) The withdrawals (for me) lasted around 10 days. During that time I faced the following symptoms: irritability (and LOTS of it! Sorry, everyone!), insomnia, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, flu-like symptoms, and headaches like you wouldn’t believe. It was no fun. I was absolutely miserable. But, as with alcohol, I am glad I went through it. I am now free from the dependence of caffeine.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not 100% off of caffeine. That wasn’t really the goal here. Caffeine is being placed in a myriad of different products these days. For instance, the Clif Bar that I eat (Cool Mint Chocolate) is infused with up to 49 milligrams of caffeine. The tea that I drink contains around 31-45 milligrams. Far less than what I had previously been ingesting.

If you are looking to cut your caffeine intake, here are some lessons learned from my experience:

1. Don’t go cold turkey. 

It’s miserable. And there’s really no need for it. Ween yourself off (or down) over an extended period of time. Detoxing is no laughing matter. Caffeine is a powerful drug that your body has come to rely on. Be careful.

2. Tell your friends that you’re doing this.

This one is two-fold. One, your friends can become a support system for you (if they truly are your friends). They can help you when / if things go bad. Two, they will better understand if you are irritable. They won’t take your jabs as personal if they know what you’re going through 😉

3. Choose a replacement beverage. 

You’ll need to find a substitute for all of those caffeine drinks you’ve been guzzling. For me, my latte was replaced by a low caffeine green tea.

4. Get your sleep.

Your body is going to need plenty of rest. Make sure you are getting the proper amount of sleep to combat the the groggy days.

5. Be ready for the symptoms of withdrawal.

Weening yourself off caffeine will not thwart all withdrawal symptoms. You will most likely still have them. Symptoms will just last shorter periods and be less severe.

6. Time it properly. 

This is not something to attempt when you have an important meeting or event coming up. You will not be yourself for a number of days. The ‘brain fog’ & irritability related to the caffeine withdrawal is real! Make sure you time the process properly. Allow for some days of rest / downtime.

Footnotes:

1. Mayo Clinic — Caffeine: How much is too much?

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