Operation Decaffeination

It took weeks. No, it took months. But I did it. I switched to decaf.

Those who know me well can appreciate what a Herculean feat this was. I LOVE coffee. I love its taste and smell. I love to linger over a cup of Joe while reading the paper. I love meeting friends and business associates at coffee shops. I not only love coffee, I needed it to get going in the morning. Why would I do such a ghastly thing as switch to decaf?

A few weeks ago I was listening to one of those call-in radio shows. The topic was caffeine. The doctor said, “and those of you who think you’re ok because you drink all of your caffeine in the morning, I’ve got news for you. At bed time you still have the amount of caffeine in your system that’s equal to an energy drink.” At the time I heard this I’d already switched to a “half the caffeine blend.” Even that process took several months to accomplish. But I’ve dealt with bouts of insomnia since I was in the fourth grade. Thankfully the episodes only occur a few times a year, but they last for several weeks. I’m told that insomnia can be one of the symptoms of menopause. I don’t know when I’ll reach that milestone, but I decided to get ahead of the curve and make the switch.

My little coffee maker takes five tablespoons of coffee. I began my switch by using four tablespoons of half-caf and one of decaf. Over a two or three-week period I slowly changed the ratio until I was at 100% decaf.

Today is Day 5 of total decaf. I won’t pretend that I wake up in the morning all happy and chirpy. That will never happen. But I no longer wake up groggy. And I can still go to a coffee shop and enjoy the vibe. Take yesterday for example. I had a meeting with one of my organization’s board members. She wanted to meet at a coffee shop. I had a sugar-free, fat-free decaf latte. It was a great meeting and I didn’t feel deprived.

The barista made my coffee extra pretty. Check it out.

Don’t you just love the foam heart?

One day at a time, I hope I’ll continue to have the willingness to drink decaffeinated coffee. I like how I feel when I wake up in the morning. I like the fact that I no longer need a stimulant before I work out…or drive a car…or form complete sentences. Yes, I know decaf contains a small amount of caffeine, but I skipped drinking it one morning and had no headache.

I remember years ago telling someone, “I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I don’t eat sugar. But you can’t have my caffeine.”

Never say “never”.


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