Thursday, July 17, 2014

Caffeine

Caffeine must be a serious drug. Until you lack it you don't realize how much it impacts your body. 
Several years ago I was volunteering at a camp that was caffeine free and experienced an extreme headache with nausea the second day I was there. Someone offered me access to a Mountain Dew stash and I gladly took it without a thought to the real problem...withdrawals. I needed to function so I was thankful for the quick "fix".
Take a sip and avoid the symptoms 

We've all heard it...if you are having an issue sleeping the doctor will say stop the caffeine, it will dehydrate you, it will raise you blood pressure...blah, blah, blah.

Honestly, I try to eat pretty clean most days, take in lots of fruit and veggies, work out, run, and I am not going to give up every vice in life, so I never really listened.
I just wasn't tuned into the effect it has on my body. In reality, I believed it had very little effect on me. Wednesday my experience at least challenged that belief. 

Wednesday morning was crazy. I woke up to discover some *little critters invaded my kitchen so I was playing whack a mole for about 40 minutes trying to kill them off, then I threw on my running clothes and ran my mile since I am trying to stay committed to the run streak.

After I showered, I had to stop at the grocery store to pick up my lunch items for our weekly group luncheon. I didn't have time to eat or grab my usual cup of ice tea because I was rushing so much. I ran in Tropical Smoothie and got a liquid breakfast for my ride to work. All that before 7 a.m., but sometimes life happens. Anyway, I just drank water all day. Three o'clock rolls around and I can barely hold my head up. I was battling my eyes closing while I was sitting up. I realized that I had not had a drop of caffeine for a more than 24 hours, likely it was about 30 - 35 hours. I was very thankful the headache that usually happens didn't occur, but by four o'clock the listless, sluggish feeling was too much. My arms felt heavy, my eyelids, my neck...everything. I can only compare feeling that overwhelmingly tired to when I have been anesthesia induced. I couldn't focus or concentrate, all I could think was sleep. 

I wondered if I could seriously be feeling that tired from lack of caffeine in my system. I knew I couldn't sit at work another hour without caving, so I left and went to Burger King (because it's a mile away) and got a large diet coke. I sat in the parking lot (this felt like a science experiment) for just a few minutes and drank. Sure enough the listless, sluggishness just left my body. By the time I got back to my desk I felt almost "normal". Seriously, I wasn't even tired anymore. Truly, this is the first time I've ever given real thought to what a powerful substance caffeine is.

I started looking up medical articles about caffeine, and one thing that really stuck out to me, is that it inhibits your body from being able to absorb calcium. That is enough to make me pause and realize I at least have to consider making a change. I have shrunk an inch in the past year and half. Most of my life since high school I've measured 5'3" and now I only measure 5' 2".

My regular drink every day is ice tea with Truvia. I am not a coffee drinker. I just can't do straight water all the time and I don't really drink juice because I don't need the extra calories. So most days it's tea or water. When I go out I do LOVE to get a diet fountain drink. I do not like soda from a bottle or can, but a fountain drink   that's a treat ") I know diet stuff is bad for me so I try to limit it to when I go out, but it's one of those things I just don't want to give up.

When I was younger, I did stop using caffeine for a long time, being pregnant will motivate you, but I don't remember feeling anything but the jitters, which subsided soon after, when I finally started up on it again.

Just thinking about my overall health, I know I should consider switching to caffeine free tea and giving up the fountain drinks. I do wonder if the amount of caffeine in medicine or food will still cause the same withdrawal effect in my system?

What are your thoughts on caffeine? Do you love coffee or tea and feel you need it to wake up? Have you ever experienced withdrawal symptoms?

* the critters are already handled - house is treated and critter free, thank goodness :) 

15 comments:

  1. I'm a big coffee fan. Virtually useless in the morning without it. That said, I don't drink much if any caffeine for the rest of the day. I do get headaches without it. I figure it's my one vice, could be a lot worse.

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    1. That's how I've I've always felt about my tea and diet sodas. I haven't really decided if I can detox totally from it. Just mulling it over ")

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  2. Oh my goodness, I'm a certified coffee addict I swear. I do not think I could function without caffeine. Your details made me feel like I was the one experiencing withdrawl! I've never seen a mole!

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    1. I don't know if feeling crappy to get caffeine out of my system is worth it. I hate to endure the symptoms and just go back on it lol I meant whack a mole, like i was playing the game, I was actually killing ants!

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  3. If I don't have my cup of coffee in the morning it feels like the world is not right!! I usually quit all caffeine by noon, I keep thinking I should cut back to just the one cup a day I used to drink (when did it become 4 or 5 I wonder)

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    1. That's what I was thinking about today, just stick to one tea in the morning and give up diet the crap, I know it's crappy but I love it.

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  4. Oh my I was tired just reading that post, Karen. We drink iced coffee here. Paul makes a huge jug of it and it lasts never as long as we think it will. I feel like coffee does wake me up in the morning but it could be psychosomatic? We have run out before and I have never gotten a headache... I tend to get tired at work after lunch whether I have coffee or not. I've never considered giving up caffeine, but I honestly don't know much about the harmful side effects of it. And like you said, aren't we all entitled to one or two vices??? I mean, we can't live 100% of our life "clean" or else what is the use?

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    1. I just started reading about side effects so I am just learning. I may never give it up totally, because I agree I can't be 100% I just do the best I can but we do have to live :)

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  5. When my alarm goes off in the morning my only thought is, "get up and smell the coffee." Just the smell of it is so relaxing to me!

    I used to drink a second cup in the afternoon but have recently been trying to phase that out because all of the summer running is leaving me a bit dehydrated no matter how much water I seem to drink!

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    1. I've never felt to bad from drinking some tea with dehydration, but wine sure does it to me! Humidity makes me sweat like a dude lol

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  6. It looks like I am in the minority here! I sometimes have one cup in the morning, but I've gone through phases where I get tired of coffee (yes, I know), and I just do without it for a while. But, I have lots of friends who must have their coffee, so I can totally relate to what you've been experiencing!

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    1. I guess my ice tea drinking is like everyone else's coffee lol

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  7. Wow this really has me thinking. I have atleast one Pepsi/coke a day. Plus I usually have a Monster/Red Bull before my runs for an energy boost. But I don't want to start shrinking. I may have to reconsider my caffeine intake.

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  8. Oh... I do need my morning cup!
    I know when it's decaf - not good at all. I would give up the fountain drinks though. Carbonation + caffeine seems worse to me.

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    1. I knew you would love coffee, that's a given if you live in the north west right :) I have cut way back on my fountain drinks, I got to where I was stopping for one about four morning a week and every time I went out. I agree the diet crap I love is worse.

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