If you drink a lot of coffee, this is for you.
This week I detoxed from coffee. I wanted to see what changes would happen and whether it would be worth keeping up in the long run.
Making the decision to quit coffee was a big deal for me. I consider myself highly dependent on coffee, if not, addicted.
Even writing this post on coffee makes me want a coffee.
Coffee was one of the top items on my list of food/drinks I wanted to phase out of my diet in order to make room for a healthier substitution. It was not making me feel good anymore and my dependency on it to feel functional in the mornings became more of an inconvenience than anything else. I felt like my coffee habit was holding me back.
Having studied and lived nutrition, all the knowledge, theories, and wisdom out there point to coffee as containing toxins that your body does not benefit from. When people go on cleanses or detoxes for example, coffee is always one of the first to go.
How do you know if you’re addicted to or dependent on coffee?
One of the symptoms of caffeine addiction is headaches from withdrawal. Check. Another is fogginess or irritability if you miss a dose. Check.
Coffee contains a type of caffeine that gives you energy in one quick burst over 1–3 hours. That’s 3 hours if you’re lucky. At the height of my coffee addiction, one cup of coffee would only last me a little over an hour.
The vicious cycle with coffee is, the higher your tolerance, the quicker and shorter your energy boost. If you were to imagine this on a line graph, you’d see one tall, skinny, spike of energy that ends abruptly. This explains why coffee drinkers tend to get their caffeine fix over many cups of coffee in a day.
When I adopted a healthier, cleaner daily diet of higher quality, whole ingredients, one of my most noticeable changes was my caffeine tolerance. The cleaner I ate, the less coffee I needed to fuel me (because I was getting my energy from nutritious food), but also the more sensitive I became to caffeine. I began feeling jittery way sooner than usual, sometimes before I was finished my first cup of coffee.
I still couldn’t kick my habit though.
There is no denying that coffee comes with its downsides: dependency, headaches from withdrawal, dehydration, irritation from its acidity, caffeine crashes and spikes, anxious energy, and feeling jittery.
Matcha is made from 100% ground tencha leaves. It’s not green tea. Unlike other teas, which are steeped from tea leaves, the leaves of matcha are consumed as part of your drink.
Matcha has 10 times the amount of caffeine as a cup of green tea, so I opted to start experimenting with it first as what I could have in place of coffee. I wanted to find a healthier way to give me the same things I want from coffee: taste and energy boost. I love the bitter but sweet taste of matcha.
As a health coach specializing in weight loss and nutrition, I don’t believe in deprivation or rules when it comes to what you eat or drink. I’m all about focusing on what you can have.
So if ever you’re trying to substitute less healthy foods for healthier alternatives, make the kind of selections that make you actually want to focus on having the new foods. They have to be strong alternatives. Weaker substitutes will not withstand time and will make you want to revert back to the less healthy option.
My 7 Days of Detox: Matcha vs. Coffee
On days 1 and 2, I replaced my 2 cups of coffee per day with 2 cups of matcha. I could feel the caffeine from the matcha, but it felt totally different. It took some getting used to because it came in gradually, unlike with coffee where the caffeine shows up in hard-to-miss bursts. Despite this, I felt alert enough that I didn’t feel the need to drink more cups of matcha tea to make up for the reduced levels of caffeine intake.
As expected, I experienced a major caffeine headache on day 1. By day 2, the withdrawal headache kicked in a couple hours after I woke up, but it was milder and less noticeable. Toward the end of day 2 my caffeine headaches faded.
From days 3 to 4, I experienced zero headaches. I continued to drink two cups of matcha per day. In the mornings I still felt a little foggy but by late morning that fogginess feeling would go away.
On days 5 to 7, I started replacing my second cup of matcha with regular a steeped tea (black tea, green tea). Both have similar caffeine levels, but compared to matcha, much lower.
My concentration levels since day 5 have been exactly where I want them to be. The matcha and regular tea combo has given me just enough caffeine to get me through the day with steady doses of energy without crashes or spikes.
Here are the matcha benefits I discovered:
- steady energy lasting 5–6 hours
- no caffeine spikes
- symptoms of my body detoxing, including clearer skin. Studies cite matcha as having high levels of antioxidants.
- no nervous or jittery effects
- better concentration and focus
- Lack of feeling distracted when I wanted a cup of tea. With coffee, I would be mentally distracted from the point of craving until the craving was fixed.
- easy to prepare in the mornings with hot water or in smoothies
Call to Action
I’ve decided to stay with my new matcha tea habit for at least another 7 days to see if I can uncover anything else. I’ll keep you posted on any new findings.
In the meantime, if you’re interested in learning more, here’s a short vlog on my YouTube channel that shows you how I prepare this super drink!