I was interested in Rachel Held Evan’s reasons for breaking her coffee addiction (and that she believes she has done it in three days!!).
I had a dreadful coffee addiction as an undergraduate and graduate student. I pretty much had a cup on my desk through the day. One day, I decided to count how many cups I had—and it was 17. And so I tried to reduce it to 16, then, 15, 14, etc. Didn’t work. For me, like Rachel, cold turkey is the way to go.
Drinking coffee to help you concentrate when your concentration is flagging because you need fresh air, a nap, exercise, is like flogging a dying horse. You will get some more action out of the horse, but it will die sooner.
And so it was with me. I think my coffee-fuelled overwork—I could sit and read for 14 hours at a stretch, with breaks only for meals in my twenties—seriously affected my powers of concentration. It set me up for adrenal fatigue which I am only now beginning to shed. It also set me up for crash and bust cycles of work—definitely not sustainable.
In my second year of marriage, I was disgusted with the weight I was gaining with a suddenly sedentary life of reading and reading! So I naively thought I would stop eating till I lost weight. So I tried to fast, and just had water with a twist of lemon, and tried to read Scripture.
I survived for 3 days—and felt ill for most of it as the residual toxins from years of poor eating habits were burned.
And when I gave up—prematurely!!—I found I couldn’t stand the thought of drinking something so toxic as coffee. I hadn’t gone on the fast to kick the coffee addiction—it was a side benefit!! That was 20 years ago, and I haven’t had more than the occasional cup of coffee, generally in coffee shops with friends, since then.
A couple of years ago, though, I grew dependent on green tea to help me stay awake and concentrate. Not sure if I should break that habit too and substitute something with nutritional value which might help me concentrate. Am trying blueberry smoothies, which are meant to enhance memory and concentration.
I haven’t tried a long fast since then, and don’t believe I will. Fasting seriously lowers one’s metabolism—and I desperately want to increase mine. On the other hand, a Daniel fast (eschewing particular “pleasant” food for a season, as described in the Book of Daniel), can only bring physical and spiritual benefits, and I think I will try one this week—avoiding chocolate and white carbs (bread, pasta, rice, potato.)
Chocolate is my last dependency. Not a physical addiction, in that I can go for a couple of weeks without it, but it is my comfort and stress-reduction food of choice. Can someone invent calorie-free chocolate, please?