Giving up caffeine, Part 2
How to give up caffeine, and what you can drink instead
In last week’s Part 1, I shared why I gave up caffeine for good in 2010, and the major benefits I’ve seen in my health, stress levels, energy, and anxiety. Today, I’ll share what my relationship with caffeine looks like long-term, other ways I add productivity and focus into my day, and how you can take on your own “caffeine holiday” to examine your relationship with coffee and other caffeinated beverages.
Me + caffeine today
I can’t claim to be 100% caffeine-free, but the amounts I consume are tiny. I drink a coffee alternative called MUD/WTR, which is a cacao, chai, and functional mushroom blend. It has around 15 mg per cup (compared to 95 mg in an 8-ounce cup of coffee, or 330 mg in a Starbucks grande). The MUD gives me a noticeable burst of productivity and focus from the Lion’s Mane mushroom, but I don’t notice any jittery or anxious effects. I stick to just one cup a day, usually around 9 AM (immediately post-workout) to be safe.
I often order decaf Americanos in my travels, either iced or hot depending on the climate, but sometimes there’s too much caffeine in those for me. (Decaf coffee does contain some caffeine—usually between 2 and 15 mg, but it’s highly variable. I can tell after a third of a cup if I need to stop drinking it, because I start to get jittery.) If I want to make decaf at home, I use water-processed decaf beans from a local roaster and brew it in a French press.
I don’t do any pre-workout supplement, and I don’t do any caffeinated coffee, ever. Not even if I’m super-tired. Especially not if I’m doing media or anything where I need my brain to be functioning at its peak. Now that I’m off it, I perform much better without it.
I also don’t drink other caffeinated beverages like soda or energy drinks, obviously—and I read labels carefully as they’re adding caffeine to all kinds of things these days, including water. I’ve never found caffeine in cacao to be an issue, but I’m also not a big chocolate person. And the only teas I drink are herbal, because black or green teas also contain too much caffeine for me.
Boosting focus, productivity, and energy
I still have plenty of energy, focus, and productivity without caffeine, but I’ve found a few things really help me along the way.