DISCLAIMER! Huge one. This post is in no way, shape, or form trying to convince you to stop drinking caffeine. It also isn’t trying to argue for or against the health benefits of the substance. It is in no way inferring correlation between this lifestyle choice and the effects that I perceived. This is strictly what happened to me in the year since I gave up drinking caffeine. With that out of the way, let’s get started.
Every great story has backstory so let me lay mine on you. In high school I got 3-4 hours of sleep. This was sheer teenage irresponsibility. It had nothing to do with a medical condition. Every day I would drink one or two Monster Energy drinks to get spikes of energy (before readers who know me jump down my throat, they do make low carb monsters, so blood sugar wise I wasn’t committing diabetic suicide). The rest of the time I was tired and moody, which could be entirely hormonal but I’d like to at least partially accredit this to my caffeine intake.
In college the habit continued. This is a picture of me at the end of my first semester of college. I thought it was ironic, but it’s not.
The following semester I decided to cease this habit. The issue became, I was using my unlimited meal plan at the dining hall to fill jugs of diet coke and drink that instead. I’m talking close to a gallon of diet coke a day. Over the next few years I continued to drink soft drinks, energy drinks, and coffee at slightly less alarming rate, but still daily.
The Original Thought Process
My original intentions for this little project were simple. If I replace all my caffeinated drinks with water I’m sure it would help my blood sugars, and my wallet, get a little healthier. I didn’t expect it to last a year and I don’t really know when it will end. I don’t have an agenda, and I’m not trying to condemn caffeine. I just blinked and a year went by. So here’s what happened.
The First Couple of Weeks
The rumors are true. If you give up something in your nutritional routine that your body is used to, it’s going to throw a fit. I have never had a migraine so bad in my entire life. It lasted two looooong weeks, and I’m happy to say that I rarely, if ever, gets headaches any more. Those two weeks were brutal though, so if you’re thinking about giving up caffeine, keep that in mind.
Everyone asks about my sleep when they hear I don’t drink caffeine. For the first few months, my sleep was significantly better. I have always fallen asleep pretty quickly, but in the beginning of the year without caffeine (I’ll just refer to this as “the year”) the quality of my sleep throughout the night became better. I still sleep pretty deeply, but it now takes me a little longer to fall asleep. I think this is just because my life hasn’t been very active recently and I don’t burn much of my natural energy throughout the day. And speaking of energy…
I guess the best way to sum it up is my energy level is more natural and regular. I have plenty of it because I’m a very animated person, and it doesn’t fluctuate much. I wake up over the span of about 10 minutes somewhere between 7 and 8:30 am then I feel like I am generally alert until about 7 pm. After that, I am often caught yawning, but I think my body just begins to wind down after dinner. I don’t need caffeine to feel focused, and I don’t need it to get through mornings like I did in high school. This can probably be partially attributed to regular sleep though.
My Blood Sugars
Some of my readers with diabetes or the ones that are familiar with my life with diabetes may ask how this change affected my T1D. Well, I have to say this was the biggest change in my life. It’s not that caffeine is bad for diabetics, it’s the fact that I replaced the energy drinks and coffees with water. Plain Jane water. Hydration for diabetics, and I assume anyone, makes such a huge difference in your health. My sugars were far more regular because they had become far less prone to extreme changes. Even if you don’t think you have a caffeine problem like I originally did, I recommend trying to replace the second cup of coffee with water for a few weeks to see how it makes you feel.
So in the past I have liked to blog about budgeting. I may resume that soon, but I am getting back in to writing after a brief hiatus. I can say however, that giving up caffeine really helped my budget. Substances with caffeine tend to cost a pretty penny and I’m happy to say that I’ve mostly been pocketing that little bit here and there. Sometimes I’ll pick up a vitamin water (the kind with B vitamins, no caffeine) or some beer to replace having something tasty to drink, but I definitely think there was a net positive shift when I was no longer spending 5-10 dollars a day on drinks.
Finally…What Would Happen If…
People ask me this a lot too. What if I had a drink with caffeine today? Would I go crazy? I have no idea. But there are things with caffeine in it that I have had in trace amounts. For example, one night I had a fiber one bar before bed to raise my blood sugar. The chocolate the bar was frosted with obviously had caffeine. I stared at my ceiling from 11pm until about 1:30 am before I finally fell asleep. So yeah, I’d like to think that having some caffeine now would bring quite the kick.
I’m keeping this short because these were just some brief observations I made, and like I mentioned before, I haven’t been blogging much so I have to stop typing now before I decide I hate it all and delete it. If you liked this post, or didn’t like it, feel free to let me know in the comments section below or on whatever social media forum I posted this on. If you have questions or comments, feel free to shoot those my way too. As always, thank you so much for reading.