I quit caffeine on September 27, 2011.
That may not sound impressive to most of you, but I am extremely proud of that accomplishment.
Since the age of 12 I have guzzled diet sodas like they were the only thing keeping me alive. I drank more than a 2-liter of diet soda per day. My addiction to caffeine coincided with my diabetes diagnosis, because as a diabetic so many dietary restrictions are placed on you that you glam on to anything that won’t negatively affect blood sugars.
I didn’t quit caffeine for any particular reason, other than to see how it would affect my body. I easily noticed the positive effects. I fell asleep easier and I lost some water weight. There was only one negative effect, which was that at around 2:30pm everyday I felt lethargic. I wasn’t getting my daily energy boost. That feeling eventually wore off though.
Despite my prior addiction to caffeine, I never once in my life had a cup of coffee. Hot drinks don’t appeal to me, and I was already drinking plenty of cold beverages loaded with caffeine.
I’ve had plenty of opportunities to indulge in coffee, but never did. When I was younger, before my Mom dropped me off at school we stopped at Starbucks so she could get a morning coffee. My younger sister picked up the habit, as did everyone else in my family, but just like with the menudo, I was the odd one out. Maybe I’m adopted.
This past Christmas I received a Starbucks gift card from someone who clearly doesn’t know my tastes. I’ve been using it to buy an occasional $2 dollar water and $3 dollar muffin.
I could have gone the rest of my life without ever tasting coffee, but Last Tuesday I gave up my 26 years of coffee sobriety and bought a tall, iced, vanilla latte.
I was really low on energy because I had been putting in long hours on multiple projects. I needed a pick-me-up. I know nothing about coffee drinks, however, so I enlisted the help of regular coffee drinkers to see what they order.
I first asked my Mom. She told me she gets a Venti, Decaf, Soy Latte, no foam, with cinnamon. I then asked my buddy Trevor, who said he gets a Tall, iced coffee, half sweetened, soy milk with a little extra ice. Finally, I asked my friend Samia, who said she gets a Tall, soy, extra hot, sugar free, hazelnut latte or if it’s red cup season then she gets a Tall, soy, extra hot, peppermint mocha. But if it’s hot outside she gets a Tall, soy, twice-blended, mocha light, frappuccino, add coconut syrup if available, with whip.
With such specifics I think all three of them, especially Samia, thought I was going to bring them a drink. Instead of going with one of their suggestions, I checked out the Starbucks website and noticed their selections under 200 calories. One particular item on the list stuck out: Tall, iced, vanilla latte.
With my order set to go, I visited the closest Starbucks to my house, which is in a Vons. I feel bad for the employees who work there, because the Starbucks in grocery stores are kind of like the minor leagues for baristas. There are two sad little tables, and the smell of Panda Express taunts them all day long. The only positive is they don’t have to deal with hipsters writing screenplays on their Macbook Pro’s, since Vons isn’t conducive for loitering.
I walked up to the barista behind the register, and ordered like I had been ordering coffee my whole life. She then relayed my order to the lady behind the coffee machines. The lady behind the machines asked her to repeat my order twice, as if she looked at me, looked at my order, looked at me, looked at my order, and she couldn’t believe I was ordering a Tall, iced, vanilla latte. I couldn’t help but feel a little self-conscious that I ordered something not befitting of what a man should order.
I waited two minutes, received my drink, looked it up and down, and proceeded to my car. Once in my car, I took my first ever drink of coffee…and magic ensued.
I was oblivious to everything else around me. I had never tasted anything so delicious. It could have been because I hadn’t had caffeine in nearly four months or it could have been that coffee is the best thing ever invented. I partially hated myself for waiting 26 years to indulge in the magical beans.
Once I slurped up every last ounce, I then disclosed to various people my experience with my first ever cup of coffee. To my dismay, many were adamant that iced coffee doesn’t count as coffee, and that I needed to try hot coffee. I was surprised to find out that such hard lines were drawn in the coffee world. I wonder if the bean pickers in Colombia are aware that their efforts aren’t fully appreciated if the beans they picked end up on ice.
About two hours after my last sip of coffee my stomach started churning, and gas tried to push out my bottom. I didn’t know why my insides were being ripped apart, and then I recalled that coffee is a laxative. It was quite the nightmare ending to what started out as a fairytale experience.
I don’t foresee indulging in a daily coffee, because I am enjoying remaining caffeine free. Plus, the deliciousness that I experienced was not worth the pain I suffered, which proves that anything that tastes good is bad for you.