Dialing down Caffeine

Caffeine_small

Nearly a year ago I wrote this:

Growing up, I remember when fast food was a treat we were bought every other week or so and I remember when I wasn’t allowed to drink any soda with caffeine in it, not to mention energy drinks. If I was allowed soda at all, it had to be something caffeine free.

As I grew up I was given more allowances and I was allowed to start making my own decisions. I was introduced to caffeinated soda and still maintained a healthy distance.

As an adult I’ve started an office job that is relatively stressful, but not painfully so. I started buying caffeinated sodas and eventually graduated to energy drinks to “treat” or “reward” myself during the work day, but it’s become too frequent. I can feel the negative effects of the sugar and caffeine in these drinks on my mind and body, but I still crave them anyway! As we plan on starting a family I think it’s time to find some healthier “treat”  or “reward” options and get back to my healthier habits. As of last Friday, I’ve stopped drinking sodas and energy drinks. It’s definitely rough while my body is figuring out how to cope without all the sugar and caffeine, but it’ll pass!

This didn’t last long, and before I knew it I was up to consuming one sugar filled energy drink or soda every day. I’m not kidding, every day. I knew they were bad for me, I’ve known it for a long time (hence my writing of the post above), but I wouldn’t break the habit; I needed my sweet treat.

The 10 day smoothie cleanse I imposed on myself last month really helped snap me out of those bad habits and carried me through the withdrawal period. I won’t say I will never have an energy drink or soda again, that would be a bald-faced lie, but I feel like I have a better handle on my willpower than I ever did before.

Lesson learned: There is no magic trick to make you stop drinking or eating the things that are bad for you. You need to decide when enough is enough and have the willpower to steer yourself away from that vice. If you need to use a 10 day cleanse to get you started, then use it, but you are the ultimate factor.

While there is tea, there is hope

Sodas can have some serious negative effects on your body when consumed regularly and I really want to take steps to a healthier lifestyle. So far I’m succeeding at weaning soda out of my diet and I’ll tell you why…

I treat myself to tea.

I think we all like to be treated to something special. When I would bring a soda or an energy drink to work I felt like it was a special treat to myself; a pick-me-up for the long work day. When I realized how much sugar was in these products (in addition to the caffeine) and I saw the affect this had on my health, I made the conscious decision to reduce my intake.

Now, instead of bringing sodas or energy drinks to work I brew myself my own cup of green tea every morning with a spoonful of local honey or light agave nectar. It’s healthier, cheaper and with enough caffeine (you can also get decaffeinated) to brighten your day. If it’s too hot for hot tea, brew the tea the night before, add the honey or nectar and let it chill overnight in the refrigerator. Add ice and voila! Iced green tea!

Plain tea can be a healthful, calorie-free beverage, but be careful how much cream, sugar, and flavorings you add into your cup, add too many and your once-healthful drink becomes a rich dessert. I favor natural honey because unlike processed sugar and artificial sweeteners, honey is antioxidant rich and used sparingly, can take the edge off your tea.

Studies suggest green tea has many potential benefits, including but not limited to improving mental function, weightloss, and lowering the risk of cancer, heart disease and inflammation. I’ve included a helpful infographic below that illustrates the different varieties of tea and their many benefits.

There are many varieties of tea out there, and each one is delicious and beneficial in it’s own way. I haven’t been able to try them all yet, but I’m looking forward to it!

teasandtisanes

Giving up energy drinks and sodas

Growing up, I remember when fast food was a treat we were bought every other week or so and I remember when I wasn’t allowed to drink any soda with caffeine in it, not to mention energy drinks. If I was allowed soda at all, it had to be something caffeine free.

As I grew up I was given more allowances and I was allowed to start making my own decisions. I was introduced to caffeinated soda and still maintained a healthy distance.

As an adult I’ve started an office job that is relatively stressful, but not painfully so. I started buying caffeinated sodas and eventually graduated to energy drinks to “treat” or “reward” myself during the work day, but it’s become too frequent. I can feel the negative effects of the sugar and caffeine in these drinks on my mind and body, but I still crave them anyway! As we plan on starting a family I think it’s time to find some healthier “treat”  or “reward” options and get back to my healthier habits. As of last Friday, I’ve stopped drinking sodas and energy drinks. It’s definitely rough while my body is figuring out how to cope without all the sugar and caffeine, but it’ll pass!