Survivify: Health

How to Survivify: Going Off Caffeine

So you've decided to eliminate caffeine -- or more likely you were forced to by your doctor. This is definitely no small feat, but it will be worth it in the end. You will feel better, and there are many health benefits. So good for you.

But there are some challenges as well. From now on, you'll have to scrutinize food and drink and even drug labels to ensure you avoid caffeine. The first few weeks are pretty tricky - it's basically like going through detox or drug withdrawal minus the humiliation of celebrity rehab. Expect to feel worse before you feel better. But stick with it and soon you'll come to appreciate decaf coffee, root beer (which is almost always caffeine-free), most clear sodas, and herbal tea.

Look on the bright side:

  • Without that after-dinner coffee, it should be easier to get to sleep.
  • When you start drinking decaf, you will often find your coffee is fresher (many places make it to order since fewer people drink it).
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Tips from the trenches:

  • You may get a headache if you mistakenly have caffeine after you've quit. One of life's big ironies is that caffeine is often used to treat headaches (avoid Excedrin).
  • Green tea is yummy and comes in a ton of varieties.
  • Avoid chocolate for as long as possible. You can eventually try some milk chocolate (avoid dark) in very small quantities.
  • It could take 3 weeks to a month before you are over the withdrawal. Drink lots of water.
  • Cold turkey is definitely the way to go. It hurts more, but like ripping off a band-aid, it's ultimately easier.
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Words of Wisdom

I'll have a half double decaffeinated half-caf, with a twist of lemon. -Steve Martin in L.A. Story