I completed my 5 Day Reset last week, and I feel like in that short amount of time I learned so much about my body and my mindset towards different things. To recap what I did, I basically removed caffeine, refined white sugar, gluten, alcohol and dairy from my diet and instead focused on more liver and gut friendly foods and drinks. (My recaps on what I ate are HERE and HERE if you’d like read up on those).
The thing I missed the most of everything I cut out was the caffeine. Both in my morning coffee and my nightly dark chocolate/cacao hot chocolate fix. It wasn’t the “buzz” I missed though, which is surprising. I thought I’d struggle to get out of bed and feel “alive” without my morning brew, but I was fine! I had my dandelion and chicory tea or a carob hot chocolate and just the act of having a warm drink to sip on in bed was a really nice and comforting way to wake up. Then I’d have breakfast and head to work just like usual. My energy came from my food and also just waiting for my body to just naturally wake up in it’s own time (which surprisingly – doesn’t take as long as you’d think!). I thought it was the caffeine doing that each morning, but last week showed me that it was’t!
I did however, get caffeine withdrawal headaches for 4 out of the 5 days. Each day it came on a little later and lasted a little less longer each time, and by day 5 I didn’t have one at all. A stark reminder of how much my body missed my daily caffeine fix. Even though I was only having 1-2 coffees a day, it still has made an impact over time.
I also found myself thinking about coffee a fair bit during the day, particularly in times of stress or when I felt like something comforting. I had herbal tea or a turmeric latte when I got these cravings, which helped a lot. But I actually really love the taste of coffee, and something in me relates this taste to a sense of comfort, so even though I had a warm drink to replace it, a part of me still craved that taste and it was almost like that drink wasn’t completely satisfying EMOTIONALLY because it didn’t taste like coffee, which was really interesting to observe about myself.
When I reintroduced it on Saturday morning, Jared made me my usual – long black brewed from organic, fair trade arabica beans, with a little honey and coconut oil mixed in. While it tasted amazing, I didn’t feel great after it. My stomach felt unsettled, and I even felt a bit nauseous for a little while. I also got a headache shortly after and the “buzz” was really noticeable and frankly, a little uncomfortable. I put it down to having not had it all week and my body readjusting to it.
I had another one later that evening when I visited my parents. It’s tradition for my dad to make us all coffee after dinner and we sit and talk and it’s one of my favourite pastimes with my family. But again, my stomach didn’t enjoy it one bit. I felt a bit crampy, gassy and uncomfortable. I’d also had a couple of glasses of red wine with dinner. So the combination of reintroducing the two that day wasn’t great.
On Sunday, I attempted the coffee thing a couple more times and I felt better than I did on Saturday. And today I had one and once again, it was a little better but not great. I never had any issues prior to cutting it out, but now it’s taking a but longer for my body to adjust to consuming it again.
Which led me to think.. Do I really want to force my body readjust to daily intake of coffee? Or should I just enjoy this whole not depending on it daily thing and thus reaping the health benefits of not consuming it as often? I applied this thought process about everything else that I cut out too – gluten, dairy, alcohol and refined sugar.
Last week, aside from the caffeine withdrawal headaches, I felt great. My energy levels were stable, my mood was fairly stable (except when I got the headaches), my quality of sleep was so good and my digestion was great with little to no cramping and bloating and a bowel movement 1-2 times a day. Even the breakouts on my face had started to slow and heal, with no new breakouts all week.
(Some background info: My breakouts were mostly caused by hormones being out so out of whack from coming off the OCP, and without the coffee, sugar, alcohol and processed foods, my liver was happier, my hormones happier, and body overall was happier).
What happens now?
Will I continue to go without those 5 things now? Not every day, no. But will I rely on all of them daily? Again, no. I simply don’t feel like I really need them all the time now. The caffeine was the hardest to cut out, and I feel like that’s now an easy thing for me to reduce. So the thought of reducing the others has become even easier in my mind (especially things like alcohol and refined white sugar, both of which I usually only have 1-2 times a week anyway).
However, if I really want a slice of sourdough topped with salted organic butter though, I will have it. If I really feel like a good cup of coffee, I will have it. If I really want a few pieces of dark chocolate, I will have it. And if I really want a glass of red with dinner, I will have it. It’s just a matter of tuning in to my cravings and establishing what will be good for my body and my soul.
This whole experience has forced me to be pretty honest with myself and learning to listen to my body and what it really wants, rather than what I think it wants on a daily basis.
Because while it’s great to enjoy everything in moderation, it’s also important to listen to cues from your body on when to reduce intake of some things and increase intake of others.
Even as a nutritionist, I’m still learning from my own body and rather than fight it, I’m just going to keep being open minded and enjoy the journey. So if you’re still finding your own feet in your journey, know that you’re not alone!
And if you’d like some help or guidance in finding what’s best for your body, you can always book in a session with me. For more info, you can click HERE or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions! (Face to face consult option if are in Manly, but I also offer Skype consults if you’re not in the area).