Friday, January 17, 2014

The Un-Resolution

Midway through January and resolutions are falling away like petals off a full-blown rose. Stretching — I do that about half as much as I should. The perennial "don't worry so much" — there's a reason it's a perennial.

But one resolution snuck up on me — giving up caffeine. I didn't make it official on New Year's Day because I didn't think I could. Give up the cups of strong black tea that wake me every morning, the Diet Coke that revives me in the afternoon or the iced tea that refreshes at dinner? Water, sparkling water, juice — what are those? For me, for years, it's been caffeinated beverages from morning till night.

But on January 2 I woke up with yet another headache. I perused the dietary chapters of Heal Your Headache, by Dr. David Buchholz, which I'd read in the fall but hadn't the nerve to try. I saw the list of triggers, including some of my favorite foods — yogurt, nuts, chocolate, even sugar snap peas! But one culprit stood out above the rest. If you can banish anything, Buchholz wrote, make it caffeine.

And so I did. Quit cold turkey. Haven't had a cup of "real tea" in more than two weeks. I limp by with two cups of de-caf black in the morning and a mug of herbal brew in the afternoon. In between I drink water — more than I used to.

And ... so far so good. After four or five days of feeling jittery and headachey, a worse withdrawal than I'd expected, I emerged relatively headache-free. The verdict is still out, but I like the way I feel, which I can best describe as "clean."

I sit now with my second cup of de-caf. It tastes far more like cardboard than I'd like it to, but that doesn't bother me anymore. It's what comes next that matters.


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