Saturday, August 2, 2008

It's all about the caffeine...

Imagine someone told you that you could no longer have something you love. Imagine it is something you look forward too everyday that gives you great pleasure.
For me there is nothing like my morning cup of coffee. I love the smell of it, I love the taste of it and I love how it wakes me up, jump starting my day. I love how I can either go out the door & have it expertly made for me or that I could brew my own cup at home. I love how I can put it into my pretty mug and sit it beside me as I write, while simultaneously sensing its wonderful aroma, as I wait for my next sip.
If I think of the health benefits of not having coffee, there are lots of them. Depending on how you like it, coffee is basically empty calories that, like one of my old bosses would say, " the water out of your cells." I could be wrong, but I believe he was referring to its dehydration qualities. Also, there are many other beverages that I could be consuming that will actually benefit my body without becoming addicted to it. Unfortunately this is not about finding a replacement for my morning cup of Joe, this is about mourning the loss of it. Sometimes there is just no way around it other than just going through it.
So before you judge me thinking, Is she kidding me? Now she's mourning her coffee? Please, I have mourned greater losses and yes this coffee abstinence is due to a serious though resolved health issue that is just too recent to write about. So maybe this is how I am coping with it all. Maybe this is merely a side effect of greater things that we all must face at one time or another. I don't really know.
Whatever it is, I found out yesterday my doctor confirmed that yes, I can no longer drink coffee. It's not just the coffee either, it's anything with caffeine in it. Actually though she did say I could have caffeine, but it can only be 1 mg. This morning I did a quick search and as far as I can tell there is no decaff coffee that has just 1 mg.
What irks me is that it wasn't like I abused caffeine either. I only had one cup a day! Yes, I had a very large cup, but I made sure it was 2/3rds decaff and one third regular. Maybe once a week I would have a second cup of coffee in the afternoon and that would be either entirely decaff or 1/3rd regular with 2/3rds decaff.
When I was younger I used to drink a lot more coffee, but I realized after a time that I was doing so more out of habit than enjoyment. I also became concerned that my body wasn't getting enough healthy liquids to sustain it so I started drinking decaffeinated green tea and lemon water and pomegranate juice, all of which I like very much as well.
When my cardiologist told me 2 cups of decaffeinated Starbucks is equivalent to one cup of regular coffee I quickly realized I was consuming almost 2 cups a day. Unless it says caffeine free, it has caffeine in it!
Had I just had all decaff that would have been sufficient. This little factoid isn't just exclusive to Starbucks either, that just happens to be my beloved brand.
When I was telling my mother-in-law this, she said, "I never trusted that decaff, that's why I never have it at night after dinner, I want to be able to sleep."

It has been 9 days 4 hours and 53 minutes since my last cup of coffee. I wish I had known it was going to be my last cup when I was having it. Maybe I would have appreciated it more, remembered it more. I doubt it though, it would have been just like all the other cups...loved and savored.
This morning I was trying to distract my son with my tale of woe. He woke up with a backache from sleeping in bad position. As I explained how much I missed my morning coffee, he said, "You really enjoyed a good cup of coffee Mom, didn't you?" His words were like magic to my ears. It was all I needed to hear. Isn't it weird when someone validates your feelings? Somehow it made me feel better inspiring me to let go and move forward even if just a little bit. I may not be entirely there yet...but at the least, I feel like I'm on my way.
Go here for a list of caffeine amounts in popular drinks.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful ode to your love of coffee.

Double Hawk said...

Can I suggest a mild breakfast tea? I love english breakfast, though I have it at night. (keeps me up) It may contain too much caffeine though.

Arnold Layne said...

Very interesting post, an enjoyable read. Chamomile tea is tasty after you get used to it, and I believe it does not contain much caffeine.

Lily Hydrangea said...

Thanks Quasi!

DH, unfortunately English Breakfast Tea does have caffeine in it, even decaff tea has some. Thanks for the suggestion though.

& Arnold, yes I can have cammomile, it doesn't have any.

Anonymous said...

Fresh peppermint in hot water, a little honey, think that would give you a jump start? :0) PG'Gma

Lily Hydrangea said...

Not unless it tastes like coffee...

Unicorns Never Fly... said...

Alternatives to Coffee, Ideas for Lily:

-COLD shower, BAM, your awake
-Let 'Cilla lick your face, I know my girl can be relentless with this
-Go for a run, nothing like that exercise high to get you moving in the morning
-Sit on the floor and do a 10 minute morning stretch session

Or try to create your own new ritual. That is what it is really. Us caffeine addicts like the buzz, but we also, as you mentioned in your post, love the ritual. Transfer the old ritual to a new and healthier one. I know, easier said than done...but worth a try.