I just completed my own version of Dry July - but with coffee! I was still having caffeine in the form of my natural pre-workout most mornings, I just wasn’t following it up with 2-3 extra coffees afterwards (I honestly don’t know how I even got to that amount!).
I personally really needed this break and a chance to rest and break some bad habits and my clear addiction to coffee. Don’t get me wrong - I adore coffee. I love the taste, the whole experience, the routine, the pick-me-up. But I didn’t like that I started to feel permanently jittery, on-edge, nauseous and agitated because of how much I was having. It was kind of like a coping mechanism for me - and somehow I’d fallen into the very illogical logic of “let’s combat this stress with something that will cause me more stress”.
I’m not here to turn you off coffee (like I said, I still love it), I just really do think a lot of us could benefit from reigning in our caffeine intakes - and honestly, it’s not that hard when you’ve got so many other alternatives to drink instead!
Moving forward I’ll still be having a few coffees a week (certainly not each day), and making sure that I do some strict caffeine-free weeks every now and then just to give my adrenals some TLC.
If you think you need to do the same, here’s some benefit I noticed within the first week of dropping coffee and halving my caffeine intake, as well as my favourite Not Coffee drinks that I genuinely enjoyed just as much as my usual coffees.
BENEFITS I NOTICED:
1. My digestion improved - cover your eyes if you can’t handle TMI, but because of my anxiety and nervousness, I am prone to diarrhoea and have just become used to having looser stools. I honestly didn’t expect cutting back on caffeine to have such a big impact on this side of things. Whether it’s the acidity of coffee or it’s impact on my anxiety, I did notice less bloating, less stomach gurgling, and I felt like my bowels were less irritated after meals ( I wasn’t constantly feeling the urge to empty them!) without my daily coffee.
2. More restful sleep - this one is obvious, but I don’t think I realised JUST how much of a difference I was going to notice. I’d become really used to having a light, often restless sleep - but within a week of cutting back of my caffeine intake, I was sleeping more solidly through the night, my time spent in deep sleep almost doubled and I felt so much more rested the next day. Now that I’ve dabbled in a few coffees again - I’m definitely noticing how it disrupts my sleep. My rule moving forward will be no coffee past 11am!
3. Improved body composition - this is something I noticed quite quickly, probably because my body is prone to holding onto water and gets inflamed really easily from stress. This month I managed to drop the most amount of water and I definitely felt less ‘puffy’ or swollen from inflammation.
4. More sustained energy - Not going to lie, the first week I felt flat and irritable, but then I noticed a huge shift in my energy levels as I kept going. I felt like I was waking up WITH energy - not needing it from a coffee - and I was working through the afternoons without a 3pm slump or crash.
I hope that was helpful and gave you some ideas! Of course, you could also try things like Dandelion, Chai and other herbal tea alternatives.
At the end of the day - coffee is delicious & so, so enjoyable, but it's not worth overdoing it if it's at the expense of your overall wellbeing. So if you do feel like you need a bit of a break - be rest assured that there's so many ways you can still get energy, have a pick-me-up and enjoy the ritual of a flavoursome hot drink.
If I can cut back, so you can you - I promise!