The last cup of coffee I drank was on the 21st December 2015. I remember it well as it was my most craved after cup of coffee after enduring the hospital version of the beverage for the previous few days. Little did I know at the time that I was going to make it my last. My coffee craving was going to set me on the road to going caffeine free.
Now for some folks going caffeine free means still drinking tea and coffee, but opting for decaf versions. I decided that as I was giving up caffeine then I’d not just switch to decaf. I’d give up tea and coffee full stop!
Why Give Up Caffeine?
The case for giving up various foods and drinks due to Crohn’s is subjective. In fact everything food and drink wise is! Just Google “Crohn’s and food item” and you’ll get conflicting arguments regarding whether it’s good or bad. Coffee however is often seen as something to avoid!
However, the decision to give up coffee wasn’t completely based on my Crohn’s diagnosis. To be honest it was more to do with having chundered up that much of that much craved coffee after escaping from hospital. Some people can’t go near certain alcoholic drinks after chucking up – for me it was coffee! I just couldn’t face it! The smell, the thought of drinking it, yuck!
Goodbye Costa & Starbucks
The off putting smell made giving up coffee a lot easier. Before the operation I used to frequent Starbucks and Costa a few times a week and my mornings just wouldn’t start without a coffee. Had I just decided to “give it up” I doubt I’d have lasted more than a week.
Another factor that helped giving up was that I was housebound for a few weeks. That meant I got out the habit of going out for coffee. By the time I was fit enough to get out and about again I was a fruit tea addict!!
Switching To Fruit Tea
Now if you’re thinking of giving up tea, coffee and caffeine I don’t advise a bowel resection as a starting point! I’d suggest phasing it out slowly and replace your regular drinks with caffeine free ones over time.
Replacing tea and coffee for me though was also relatively easy. Fruit teas from the likes of Twinings, Suki Tea and Teapigs are great caffeine free hot beverages. If you’re thinking of switching to fruit tea then my advice is to start with a red fruity one! They can be an acquired taste but stick with it!
Real Men Drink Super Fruit
The toughest challenge now is finding places that offer caffeine fruit tea! Starbucks and Costa are pretty much no go areas. Some places think that Green Tea is caffeine free – it isn’t! Thankfully a lot of cafes now offer fruit tea but some have limited choice – camomile or lemon and ginger aren’t for me. I may have dropped coffee but not for flowery drinks!
Rooibos tea is another option and frequently is offered in cafes as its naturally caffeine free – but it tastes grim to me and I avoid it. I suggest you do too! In fact camomile is a better option over rooibos!
As an aside, it’s interesting to note that men are not regarded as fruit tea drinkers. If myself and Jude go out to somewhere new and order a coffee and fruit tea, 9/10 the fruit tea is placed with her!
Do I Miss Coffee
Surprisingly no – in fact I’ve only fancied one once in nearly 14 months now. very briefly I caught the smell of a brew from a coffee truck but it was a very brief moment. The hardest thing is not having tiramisu – I love that dessert but don’t want the taste of coffee.
Tea hasn’t been missed at all. In the lead up to my operation and diagnosis we went through multiple varieties of teabags. None of them tasted right – perhaps it was my body’s way of telling me that it wasn’t doing me any good.
Other caffeine filled beverages like Coke don’t feature either. In fact all fizzy drinks are out as carbonation can aggravate the stomach. I never used to drink them much anyway so it’s not a loss.
Is It Worth It?
It’d be hard to say I feel better just because I no longer have caffeine. It’s a factor but it’s part of a whole lifestyle change. That said, I don’t need coffee to jump start my mornings, I feel a lot more clear headed, I drink more water and my general well being is much better.
Another factor worth mentioning is it has saved money! Consider how much you could save by giving up going to Starbucks and Costa (or another popular coffee outlet). There’s an incentive to cut down or cut out caffeine right there!
It seems strange to think I may never drink coffee again, but by the same token it’d be odd to get back on the old java juice. I’d have preferred a better reason to give up caffeine but every cloud has a silver lining.