How to Give Up Coffee in 10 Simple Steps
When I decided to give up coffee recently, I believe I was able to stop drinking it quite easily because I had the three things from my previous post on how to replace coffee with healthier alternatives in place.
Firstly, I knew I’d been addicted to coffee for many years and admitted that to myself. To my mind any addiction is a problem because you don’t have control of it – it has control of you. Once you understand how caffeine addiction works you can start to do something positive about it.
Finally and fortunately, I already had the red ginseng tinctures that I’d recently bought and the magnesium oil I was already using. These are discussed in detail in the post on the best remedies for caffeine withdrawal (and I’d really recommend reading that page and the one above on how to replace coffee to get the most out of this coffee replacement plan).
With those three things in place, I was able to begin to give up coffee that morning with minimal caffeine withdrawal symptoms (I remember not feeling so great that afternoon, after the effects of the ginseng were diminishing. But it was nothing compared to what some people report).
If you are low-level coffee drinker, say one every second or third day but not every day at the same time, you may be able to replace coffee ‘cold turkey’ with peppermint tea, teeccino or another coffee alternative you enjoy.
For most people though, this coffee replacement plan ahead, using the recommended caffeine withdrawal remedies, will make things much easier, help greatly minimize withdrawal symptoms and give you the best possible chance at giving up coffee with a minimum of fuss.
Giving Up Coffee in 10 Steps
Here’s the 10 steps I used when giving up coffee that seemed to really minimize caffeine withdrawal symptoms and make the whole process quite easy to follow. The most important principles are to preempt the desire for coffee and replace it with your healthy alternative while supporting your body as it’s coming off caffeine.
Step 1: Choose in advance when you are going to stop drinking coffee and stick to it.
Ideally start on the weekend or another time when you have two days away from work or other situations where you may be under more stress or on automatic pilot. More important than this though is setting a date and making a firm decision that it’s definitely the day to start coffee replacement.
Step 2: Early in the morning, before you shower and definitely before you usually have a coffee, have one of the red ginseng tinctures. The one I used and found good was this extra strength version.
Step 3: Directly after showering, spray and rub in some magnesium oil.
It may sting a little at first (avoid sensitive areas) but it’s well worth it to get in your relaxing magnesium. This sensation diminishes as you use it over time. I rarely get any stinging these days.
Step 4: If you previously drank coffee with your breakfast, try having an energizing ginger tea, or something that tastes like coffee but is actually good for you instead at the same time. There are several other healthier coffee alternatives here.
Step 5: Have an extra healthy breakfast, especially for the first few days.
Fruit can be a great start the day. Apples in particular are both energizing and filling. Berries like organic blueberries, strawberries and raspberries taste amazing and are full of health enhancing antioxidants. Avocados are another great breakfast food that will really fill you up and with their healthy thermogenic fats can actually help you lose weight.
Step 6: Have another red ginseng tincture before lunch.
Most people find ginseng energizing and this can help replace the usual jolt of caffeine. But if you are feeling a little rough remember to take it easy on yourself today.
Step 7: Match where you’d usually drink coffee with your replacement teeccino, herbal tea or green tea. Try and preempt it by having one a little before you would normally ‘feel like it’.
Importantly though, don’t start creating a new habit of drinking excessively more than you normally would. This is particularly relevant with teeccino since it’s so similar to the taste of coffee, and green tea since it still has some caffeine, even if at significantly lower levels.
Eight cups of green tea when you used to drink two cups of coffee is not helpful. Think in advance where and when you previously drank coffee during the day and plan to have a cup of your alternative a little before if possible.
If you started with teeccino or green tea, perhaps your second cup could be a good time to try refreshing peppermint or another herbal tea. The first day might be a bit early for this for previously heavy coffee drinkers, but try to work towards it after a couple of days.
8. Have plenty of water between and especially just before meals.
Water is really important for flushing out toxins and preventing brain fog and caffeine withdrawal headaches. Get a big glass and keep it beside you, filling it up regularly.
Step 9: Eat as healthy as you can for today and the next few days of giving up coffee and caffeine withdrawal.
Coffee and the caffeine in it may have inhibited the absorption of a lot of health nutrients, minerals in particular, and your body will probably be crying out for them. Lots of vegetables, fruits, leafy greens, high-quality protein and healthy fats are the order of the day. Eating like this has an energy all of its own and you’ll feel much better for it.
Step 10: Over the next few days, reduce any coffee substitutes with caffeine, such as green tea or the teeccino/coffee mix (described in 4 Extra Tips for Coffee Substitution), down further each day.
The aim is to have no caffeine in your replacement drinks or in anything else you’re drinking or eating. Importantly, this includes colas loaded with caffeine, acids and an incredible amount of flatulence causing sugar; those horribly jittery ‘energy drinks’ (anxiety drinks would be a better term); coffee flavored foods (check the labels for caffeine); and surprisingly, caffeine containing headache and pain relief tablets (many have caffeine as an ingredient so once again check the label).
You need a week minimum of freedom from caffeine in all its forms to start breaking the addiction. If you use green tea as your coffee replacement initially, reduce it down after a day or two and replace it with peppermint or ginger tea for at least a week. Alternatively, use a decaffeinated green tea.
For the teeccino and coffee mix explained ahead, set a date and reduce it down to no coffee, only teeccino in the cup. At the end of that day, throw out or give away any remaining coffee in your house. This is an important step whatever coffee replacement you’re using.
If you’re using the teeccino and coffee this coffee removal may be a few days or a week later. However, if you’re using herbal or green teas for replacement it’s best to get any coffee out of the house as soon as possible to avoid temptation. You’ve gone through this once, achieved what you set out to do, now it’s best to throw out the coffee and not look back.
The Slow Reduction Method of Replacing Coffee
For heavy coffee drinkers who might need a little extra help giving up caffeine here’s an extra step to make quitting coffee as simple as possible and minimize caffeine withdrawal symptoms. It’s a special slow reduction trick you can do with teeccino that makes it especially good for previously heavy coffee drinkers to use as their replacement drink. Here’s how it works.
For the first day of coffee replacement you make up your teeccino with half regular coffee. So however many scoops of coffee you to used to use, make half of that teeccino (you can use it just the same as normal coffee grounds). On the following day reduce the amount further, say two fifths coffee and three fifths teeccino and so on, reducing a bit more each day.
This may take a couple of days for light to moderate coffee users, or a week or more for heavy users. Regardless of how many days it takes, the end result is making up your cup of teeccino caffeine free, with no coffee in it at all.
This slow reduction method can really help minimize caffeine withdrawal symptoms while you replace coffee. It also accustomizes you to the taste of whichever teeccino flavor you’re using while maintaining the same drinking ritual.
The day you reach your no caffeine cup with this method is a good day to celebrate by throwing out or giving away the last of the coffee in your house.
The Benefits of Caffeine Free
Once you’ve given up coffee and replaced it with something better, you’ll be likely to find your health and sense of wellbeing improving and your day to day energy becoming calmer and more stable. Feeling like this, most people would be unlikely to want to go back to the constant tension of a caffeine addiction ever again. I personally have no intention of doing so.
Next is a look at another big source of caffeine in many people’s diets and an even more destructive one in terms of their health and wellbeing – caffeinated sodas like cola and how it damages your digestive system.
Photo 1 credit: Andy Langager / Photo 2 credit: Molly Sabourin / Photo 3 credit: annosvixit