i promised leather pants and a headband

Thank you for tuning in for today’s riveting conclusion.  In  yesterday’s post I reflected on what I have learned and gained from my 30 days without caffeine.  Today I will share what my future plans are with caffeine…

For the past week I have been giving a lot of thought as to what I’m going to do now that my 30 days are up…In my brain, I cannot get Axl’s voice out of my head screaming, “where do we go now…ooooaaaoooaaa.”  In Sweet Child O Mine (in case you didn’t get that reference), Axl is singing about his tumultuous relationship with a woman –  Likely a woman who is rough around the edges sporting red stilettos,  teased hair and 2 distinct tones of eyeshadow.    I can relate to Axl.  Coffee takes me away to that special place… reminding me of a time when everything was as fresh as the bright blue sky….and over the past 30 days I have found that if I stare to long, I will probably break down and cry.   Alas, now I need to make a decision – do I go back to my love affair with coffee or do I move forward with fond memories of our time together?

I have seen so many benefits from this experiment, but I need to be honest with you.  I REALLY MISS COFFEE!  THAT BEING SAID, I don’t miss the jolt.  I don’t miss having trouble sleeping or feeling like a zombie when I wake up.  I miss the taste.  Herbal tea is just not cutting it for me.  I need that rich, strong flavour that only coffee can deliver.  Fortunately, there is a happy median called Decaf. Yes, it has some caffeine in it – only 15mg vs 180mg in a comparable coffee.  I do not think this low level of caffeine will do anything for me, so it is a safe alternative.

I AM SO READY FOR THIS! Yesterday I bought Kicking Horse Decaf and a mini Bodum to brew my own coffee (because FPH is still drinking the real deal).  I have the beans ground and ready to be brewed.  I am counting down the hours until I get reunited with my favourite hot drink (T-minus 12 hours).  I am going to stick to decaf and see how things go.  I am going to pay extra attention to my sleep and how I feel in the morning to make sure I am not compromising the way I feel.  Can I promise that I will never go back to regular coffee?  No.  But I am definitely committing to never falling back into my excessive habits.  I am now well aware of my tendency to rely on caffeine for energy and I am going to avoid using it for this purpose.

Many people have told me that, “they could never give up coffee for 30 days.”  I was one of these people too.  When I attended the Whole9 seminar in August, Melissa and Dallas told me they were embarking on a Whole30 +no caffeine and I gave them the same response.  “You are crazy.  There is no way I could do go without caffeine.”    But I did it and I am so happy that I was able to stick with the program.  My advice for anyone looking to do their own 30 day challenge (whether it is food related or something different) is to share what you are doing with everyone around you.  Not only will they give you praise and support, but it also gives you some accountability.  Having this blog made me commit to finishing the 30 days….there is no way I would let my readers down and be defeated by failure.  Without this blog as my outlet I’m not sure I would’ve been motivated to stick with it.    Thank you to my readers and fellow Whole30’ers.  And a BIG thank you to my readers who also did 30 days without caffeine!  You guys rock!

How are my comrades?  What are you going to do now that 30 days is up?

paging... quintessential Dr Drew pouty face

Paging Dr. Drew…I have completed my 12 steps and  think it is time for our final session because IT IS DAY 29!!  1 more day until I have completed 30 days of Whole30 + no coffee.  It is time for me to reflect and share my thoughts and learnings from this process.

How do I feel?
I feel awesome.  Disclaimer: I am writing this on a good day so don’t think that everyday was awesome.  I finally feel ‘normal’ when I wake up in the morning and don’t notice the lack of caffeine.  I have realized that you are not supposed to feel like ‘night of the living dead’ when you wake up.  It is not normal.  Normal people (who have never been reliant on caffeine) feel energized and alert when they wake up.  I know… that seemed so wrong to me too.  Now I know what this feels like.  I am able to have a coherent conversation when I wake up and actually look forward to being out of my bed.  My productivity has gone back to what it was when I was jolted on coffee.  When I get up for the 6am class, I feel good (as good as one can feel at that hour). I also feel like I’ve been hitting my workouts with more intensity and drive which is making me very happy.  I feel like I am able to push myself to 100%, whereas before I just couldn’t do it because I felt sluggish.    Energy + drive = awesomeness.

I have had problems with sleep for as long as I can remember and I even have prescription sleeping pills that I occasionally used.  I did not use my sleeping pills AT ALL for the past 30 days.  This is HUGE.  I have never gone that long without having to take 1 to get to sleep….I don’t even think I ever went a week without taking 1.  OK, I realize that synthetic sleeping aids are the farthest thing from being Paleo and I might get patronized for admitting this  –  but I also knew that lack of sleep did awful things to my mood and mental functioning, so I took them when needed.  I saw it as the lesser of 2 evils.  The fact that I can sleep with no issues now is the biggest ‘wake-up call’ (no pun intended) that I had issues with caffeine.  I used to think that it was my mind keeping me awake, but now I realize it was the coffee.   AND, I never drank coffee past 9:30am.  This means it was metabolizing in my body for more than 12-13 hours.  That is not cool.  I hope to never use my sleeping aid again.

What have I learned?
My name is Summer and I’m a coffee-holic.  I knew I had a problem when I read the chapter on Stress and Cortisol in Robb Wolf’s Paleo Solution – he includes a checklist of questions that you need to ask yourself to determine whether you have potential issues with elevated cortisol.  I think I checked “Yes” to 8-10 out of the 12 questions.   I was shocked to realize that I (Mrs Perfectly Paleo, go to bed at 9:30pm and CF devotee) likely had issues with cortisol.  The bigger epiphany was that the reason why I checked “Yes” to these questions was because of my issues with sleep and caffeine.  Now when I read through the checklist, I answer “No” to all of these questions.  It is amazing what 30 days can do to transform you.

Will you be back for Season 2 of Celebrity Rehab?
I honestly think that coffee addiction is just like any other addiction…smoking, bread, sugar, crack.   It does not go away and you will always have that devil on your shoulder urging you to ‘just have 1 sip.’  This does not mean that I’m going to abstain from coffee…No, No,  let’s not get crazy here…I am no mormon.  But I am going to have a greater awareness of my reliance on coffee and make sure that I never fall back into my bad habits.

In the classic lyrics of Axl Rose, I have been asking myself “Where do we go now??”  Stay tuned for the riveting continuation tomorrow…leather pants and headband not optional.

The finished product

I’m going to give you a Day 4 update, but first I wanted to post this recipe.  I’ve been meaning to post this for months, but haven’t gotten around to it.  I recently gave it to one of my clients, so I figured it was time I posted it.  This is my go-to snack.  I got so sick of snacking on avocado so I needed a new fat-snack.  These are toasted Coconut Shavings with Vanilla and Cinnamon.   If you live in Toronto you can find these at Ethnic grocers or Domino Bulk Foods in the St. Lawrence Market has them for $1.99 / lb.  You can also find organic brands that are pre-packaged, but they are quite expensive ($8 for 1/2 a lb).  Here you go:

– A bag of shaved coconut  
– 1-2 Tbsp of melted coconut oil
– 1 Tbsp cinnamon
– 1 Tbsp 100% pure vanilla extract or ground vanilla beans (no sugar added!)
1. Pre-heat oven to 375
2. Spread the coconut over a baking sheet lined with foil
3. Drizzle the coconut with the coconut oil, cinnamon and vanilla
4. Mix around to spread evenly
5. Bake for 5 minutes.  Remove, toss around.
6. Bake for another 5 minutes or until they are browned and crispy.  Watch carefully because they burn fast.
7. Try not to eat massive quantities at once!

Now onto more important matters….How is everyone doing?  Today is day 4 and I have to say that I woke up (at 5:30) this morning and felt….GREAT!  I think the zombie has been exorcised from my body and I have finally come back to life.  I was seriously fearing for my work productivity after the first two days because I would find myself staring at the wall and drooling for significant chunks of time.  The last 2 days have been totally different….I felt awake and was able to be more productive.  Today I am feeling almost as alert as I was on coffee, so it’s a huge improvement from the past 2 days.  I am shocked by how quickly I am reaping the benefits of this detox.  I am also shocked that I did not experience any physical withdrawal symptoms.  I was convinced I would be a disaster for at least the first two weeks…so I apologize if you were tuning in to hear me have a meltdown.  I guess my body can re-adjust fairly quick.  Maybe it’s my diet that made this easier or maybe I am really lucky.

One thing that is crystal clear is that my sleep has improved dramatically.  I have always had a hard time falling asleep.  Even upon transitioning to 100% paleo/primal, I still had a horrible time falling asleep and it usually takes me anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.  The odd night I would toss and turn until 3-4am.  I assumed this was because I had many things on my plate and my inner thoughts were keeping me awake.  I am realizing now that it may have been the coffee.  Usually after I have class on Monday nights I’m unable to turn my brain off and I toss and turn for a couple hours.  This Monday I fell asleep right away and slept solid the entire night.  The last 2 nights I did not have class, but I fell asleep right away and slept until my alarm went off.  I even woke up a bit before my alarm today which is unheard of at 5:30am!  What is frightening about this is that I never drank coffee after 9:30am (because I would chug it down like Brittany Spears with a Big Gulp between 6am-9:30am), so this tells me that it was still metabolizing in my body over 12 hours later.  That cannot be good.  Seriously, that is messed up, right?

From a science-y perspective, my sleep might be improved because perhaps my Magnesium supplement is actually being absorbed now!  Too much caffeine blocks the absorption of Magnesium….which is not good because your metabolism needs it to burn fat and Mg acts as a natural muscle relaxant (hence I take it at night).    Super-nerdy cool!

I don’t want to get too excited yet, because these past 3 days may have been a fluke.  I will keep you posted.  How are YOU doing?  Are you hitting the Whole30 and loving it?   

I found this picture and thought it was funny because it could pass for a Paleo Food Pyramid

Today marks my first day of Whole30 + no coffee.  How are you doing?  I know there are a few crazy coffee-kickers doing this with me….I want to hear how you’re feeling!

I am a zombie.  I think my brain looks like Mary Kate Olsen….wilted, frail and heavily covered.   I have a test later tonight and I’m having a hard time recalling the material, so I’m hoping for a brain miracle.   It didn’t help that I had to be at the 6am Crossfit class this morning, where I would normally sip a freshly brewed coffee whilst doing my lift.  Not today.

But it’s not all doom and gloom…..I have had NO withdrawal symptoms.  I was warned that I may experience a bad mood and bad headaches.  Neither of these have happened (yet)!  I am hoping I’m immune to these effects.

Thanks to a suggestion from a couple friends, I also had a major shopping spree at David’s Tea – conveniently located a block from my house.  I had no idea Tea could be so awesome!  I got some Malibu Coconut tea, Nutty Tea (which tastes like fresh roasted almonds and apples with cinnamon) and some Turkish Delight because it’s the closest thing I’m going to get to a real Turkish Delight.  What about the caffeine you ask?  Here are my rules:

– I’m allowed 1 black/white or green tea per day.  They have <40g of caffeine.  That is about 80% less than what I was consuming with coffee.  Trust me, it did not help to ‘wake’ me up.
– I can have unlimited herbal and caffeine free teas.
Do you think that’s cheating?

I have to keep this update short because I’ve got class, but I wanted y’all to have an update.  I’m still alive and I haven’t crawled out of my skin yet.  1 day (almost down).