Every year I do some physical activity and something with food or drink to stretch myself. Starting in January, I began six months with no alcohol. It wasn't as difficult as you might think.
In May, I ran a marathon; that was super challenging.
For June, July, and August, I gave up coffee. This was the most difficult because it tapped into something I didn’t expect—a straight-up drug addiction.
Plus, I really like the taste of a good cup of hot coffee in the morning. It’s part of my routine, and I didn’t want to disrupt that routine.
The most frequent question I get asked about the 3-month coffee fast is, “why would you do that to yourself?”
In the words of Michael Pollan, "if you want to understand your relationship with caffeine, get rid of it for a time." So that’s what I did. June, July, and August, the most caffeine I had on a given day was 15mg. That’s roughly 1/7th a cup of coffee.
A quick breakdown:
1 cup of coffee has between 85-110mg of caffeine.
I was drinking 400+ mg of caffeine/day
1 cup of coffee doesn’t equal your giant Yeti, 1 cup is 8oz.
If you have 3-4 coffee drinks/day, it’s safe to say you’re consuming between 3-400mg/day.
According to the Mayo Clinc, 400mg/day is OK but be careful-side effects can be rough.
Coffee’s not evil. It’s delicious. But like fried chicken, too much of a delicious thing can be bad news.
Let’s get to it, the coffee fast.
Day one, I’m in a fog by 1:30 pm. It feels kind of like when you have a head cold. I want to move faster, but it’s difficult to concentrate. Headache, neck ache, and squinting but not realizing it. It’s awful.
I start taking Mud Wtr on day 3. This helps. The hot, dark beverage in the morning feels like I’m making coffee. I’m tired and ready for bed at like 8:15 pm.
Day 11, I’m in a much better place, enjoying the new morning beverage and trying different recipes.
On day 16 or 17, I start to not dip as hard in the afternoon.
Day 29, I forgot how long I’d been doing it and started to think this is easy.
Day 34, I want to drink some of my wife’s coffee. Bad. It smells better than my drink, and I know it’s the nectar of the gods. (I’ve been making her coffee every morning)
On day 41, we get a puppy. Oh boy.
Day 45 I want to get rid of the puppy, and am tired. The Mud Wtr isn’t helping when I want to sleep mid-day.
Day 50ish, I realize my sleep is much better than the first 6 months of the year.
Day 53, getting into a decent routine with the doggy.
Day 60 I can’t believe it’s been two months.
Day 64, I struggle not to judge people who are hammering coffee. Just like I did.
On day 78 or something, I get a NASTY sinus infection and am always tired.
Day 83 I just want coffee to help me push through the sleepiness.
Day 88ish, I’m doing better with the sinus stuff.
Day 92 “oh yeah, I’m done. That’s crazy.”
And that’s how anticlimactic the ending was.
Everyone at this point asks, “so are you back to drinking coffee?” And the answer is yes. But only decaf during the week and one cup on the weekends that full throttle.
I’ll draw out what I learned in a different blog. Suffice it to say—I learned a lot. And one scary thing is that the me that people know is caffeinated. So, do they know me?? That and all other philosophical questions came up during the 90+ days of no coffee.
I end with what it was like to have a cup of coffee after not for so long.
By about day 100, I made a cup of Guatemalan from Isley Coffee with my aero press. It was strange, I didn’t know if I wanted to break the streak.
For some reason, I felt guilty before taking the first sip.
Once I tasted it, I had no regrets. It was hot and bright, and 4 minutes later, my head started to feel like it was detached. I had tingles on my face and arms. It was great.
Optimism was coursing through my veins, and it seemed like everything was going to work out. Everything. Why wouldn’t it?
About an hour later, I needed to do something-workout or clean something. I couldn’t sit. Didn’t feel as good anymore by about hour 2.5.
And I had a thought..."I need to make a little more coffee."
Check out the IOL Community Groups to connect with like-minded leaders!
We’ve got over 100 podcasts to aid in your growth as a leader!