Daylight savings time is torturing me today, and there is nothing I would like more right now than coffee. No coffee for me, though, because I am on a self-imposed coffee strike. Instead, I'm sipping green tea (and water, of course). Green tea is tolerable, but not quite the same. I want espresso.
So, what is the big deal? Why shun coffee? Sadly, I am pretty convinced that coffee is right up there with sugar on the "things I need to stay away from" list. I've learned the hard way (over and over again) that it makes me feel terrible. When I am drinking coffee everyday, I experience terrible joint inflammation. Particularly in the morning. I wake up and my knuckles are visibly swollen. Sometimes I feel like I can't even open my hands all the way, and some of my rings don't fit. I always blamed sugar for this (and before paleo I thought I had arthritis), and while I am sure sugar plays a role the coffee is most definitely a co-conspirator. Coffee also gives me dry, dull skin. I feel like I look older when I'm drinking it too much. Older and tired! When I'm not drinking coffee, these symptoms are non-existent.
I am not thrilled with this discovery. Coffee is a big part of my life. Carl and I love going to coffee shops together. We collect coffee-brewing systems. We sometimes have long conversations with baristas about bean origins and roasting techniques. We consider it a culinary art form and we like participating in the culture that surrounds it. For these reasons, it would be really easy ignore the truth. But I just cannot do that to myself. I've worked really hard to get where I am today in terms of health and fitness, and I don't want coffee to spoil it.
If you've been reading this blog for a while, you might remember this post in which I questioned the paleo-ness of coffee and wrote a little bit how I felt (great!) after 10 coffee-free days. At that time, however, I wasn't really all that interested in reigning in my coffee consumption. I wanted coffee more than I wanted the benefits of life without coffee. Now, I've flip-flopped. Or, more accurately, I am in the process of flip-flopping (some days are easier than others). To be perfectly honest, I've come to the realization that coffee is somewhat of an addiction for me. The more coffee I drink, the more coffee I want. I'm trying really hard to get a handle on this, but I fear it might be an all-or-nothing thing for me. I do OK if we don't keep coffee in the house, but if we do it is all over. I cannot resist my French press.
So anyway, this is where I am at now: I recently went another 10 days without coffee. On Saturday, though, I made the (very mindful) decision to order a small, decaf Americano. I made sure to savor it. I felt fine Sunday morning, but only because it was a one-time thing. The only issue was the desire to drink more coffee. I didn't, but I wanted to. Just like I want to right now. I would like to make coffee a weekends-only ritual ... I'm not sure if it is possible, but that is my goal. I'm also considering experimenting with organic coffee to see if that makes a difference. I've certainly tried organic coffee before, I have never made sure my coffee is organic. Conventional coffee has a lot of pesticides/chemicals, so maybe that is contributing to the problem?
I would really love to hear feedback from others about this topic! Is there anyone else out there who experiences similar issues when you drink too much coffee? Do you think it is caffeine, or the coffee itself (for me, it is the coffee itself). Thoughts? Opinions? Please leave a comment so I know I'm not alone in this.