I love a good aul cup of tea!
Many a cup. You know what, just let me bathe in it.
An inevitable caffeine detox has been looming over me for the last year. Ignorance and denial about the subtle and very obvious side effects caffeine was having on my body meant I was putting it off for as long as possible. At the expense of my sanity.
Let me start by saying I definitely have an addiction to milky hot beverages. The comforting habitual ritual, the soothing moment that warm drink softens your soul. Tea was my fix. Like a baby to a breast or bottle, tea was my comforter.
Which made it so difficult to even think of my world without tea. The dread meant I clung to it even more, like a child to it’s favourite teddy. You may think this is dramatic, if you’re struggling with addiction of any form it’s probably familiar.
Heart palpitations, sweaty palms, racing thoughts, anxiety and insomnia, but how could it possibly be tea? Coffee? Coffee blew my brains out. Within twenty minutes of finishing the delicious liquid my head felt like it was going to explode, nauseous and trembling. The lust had me at, “it won’t happen this time!” but it always did.
The moment I knew I had to make a serious change (this sounds much more serious than a cup of coffee, but being physically consumed by a drink is no joke, unless it’s alcohol and you’re a little tipsy. I digress…) Having a panic attack, my body was in overdrive. Shaking, trying to keep my mental state level and my breathing slow but failing. It was a wake up call. A little Latte caught me and I finally put my brain cells before my taste buds.
The following day after sullenly drinking water after running out tea, I realised how dependant I was. The day does not begin before a sip of tea, surely? My grumpy ass stumbled through the day. It was that dreary evening I parted cash for oat milk and teabags, making my way back home to give in to my tea addiction.
Of course, within minutes, my heart was racing… with anxiety, not love. My palms were sweaty. My mind a wonderful vault of chaos.
I set out on my google exploration to find teas that tasted similar to breakfast tea – WITH milk (plant based milk though innit!) Herbal teas are fantastic for ailments but I needed comfort. After buying Rooibos tea, I skeptically made a cuppa. A hopeless tea addict, looking for a slightly healthier addiction. As much as I love to eat and drink for health, I’m not at the Matcha level yet!
Tasting Rooibos (aka Red bush) was like drinking milky liquid tobacco. As it went down a fruity note and floral aftertaste. My nostrils were offended but my taste buds were intrigued. In my opinion, much nicer than earl grey because it’s a subtle floral, if we’re really going to discuss the tea taste test. After 2 cups the tobacco smell was mellow and by my second day of drinking it, I was back to a relaxed state of mind. No caffeine, no anxiety. Lots of fatigue!
This is what it’s like to feel level headed and calm? Drinking tea since childhood was like blindfolding my body to what should have been my norm. It was like clouds parting overhead. A beautiful moment and a stark realisation, that had I not self soothed with caffeine all these years, maybe I wouldn’t have needed anxiety medication. While I still have anxiety (med free), it’s not overwhelming anymore. If I have one cup of tea or coffee, my nervous system goes into shock.
Caffeine with it’s stimulating, energising benefits is not a problem if you’re not having side effects. It can sharpen reaction time and improve performance. For long drives and athletes, caffeine has a role in staying alert. However consuming caffeine for long periods of time is counterproductive. Caffeine increases the excretion of calcium, magnesium and sodium from the body for nearly 3 hours after it has been drank. The body loses too many minerals and multiply that by the number of caffeinated beverages per day. That’s a lot of minerals going down the drain. Literally.
As caffeine leaches calcium from the body, the body’s supply becomes deficient resulting is calcium leaching from bones, a precursor for osteoporosis. If the body is too acidic, the body needs to alkalise itself by whatever means necessary.
For the average person with moderate intake of caffeine, with no caffeine sensitivity, having a morning coffee is no big deal. If like myself, you’re a little too fond of drinking multiple cups a day or if you rely on energy drinks and pre workouts with caffeine, it might be time to find healthier alternatives. B12 supplementation is a healthy energising non stimulant, there are many oral sprays in health stores and online for the purpose.
Caffeine, as a nervous system stimulant and phychoactive substance, should be enjoy in moderation so if you’re having triple shots in your coffee, think about the effect it has on your whole body, not just your energy levels.
What are your favourite caffeine free drinks? Leave a comment to help others who might be searching for alternatives! 🙂