On my first visit to Flourish Naturopathy, Tracey Loughran told me straight. No more caffeine, chocolate or dairy for two weeks. Actually, I think it’s no dairy or chocolate for two weeks. Caffeine is probably something I’m giving up for good. Strangely I’d already been cutting back on my dairy intake before I even went to see her. I noticed how bloated I felt after a big milky coffee so I started having straight coffee instead. And yet straight coffee was making my tummy felt tight and burning. I guess the writing was on the wall for coffee.
The reason I run off and do these strange challenges is partly due to the fact that I’m naive. It’s something a lot of people used to tell me is a flaw. I’ve found actually that my naivety serves me well. It means I jump feet first towards challenges without getting caught up in worrying about whether it will work or if something might go wrong. On the other hand, there is a downside. Jumping without looking often means I experience steep learning curves as I find myself in over my head and thinking to myself “man, I really didn’t think this through” (putting on a conference without any clue how to market it is one example).
So sure, no coffee – why not? I honestly didn’t think that going off coffee would cause me any discomfort except maybe the odd craving. I wasn't drinking copious amounts of coffee, just one or two a day so it should be easy. WRONG, dead wrong. By the second day of being caffeine free the agonising leg pains started. Looking up caffeine withdrawal on Dr Google, I found out that apparently this was quite a common detox symptom and only lasts for about 7 DAYS! I was shocked. It was like I had just picked up the phone to hear a little girl whispering “on the 7th day you will be out of caffeine hell”.
Out came every natural remedy I could find from bathing in baking soda, taking magnesium supplements, stretching, oils, epsom salts – the lot. At the end of the day, nothing brought me relief except ibuprofen and though I like to keep things natural usually, on this occasion I was all about the drugs. I’m happy to say the pains did subside by the 7th day.
Not being able to buy a coffee at my local cafes has introduced me to the world of tea. Well, kind of. Tea has caffeine in it so I’m allowed to have fruit teas, chamomile and peppermint. With an iffy tummy, fruit teas are a little harsh so really it’s chamomile or peppermint. That was until a dear friend of mine sent me some samples of Teeccino – hallelujah!
Teeccino is a herbal coffee. It’s made from dandelion root and is considered a coffee alternative. I’ll just emphasise again that it’s a coffee alternative, not a replacement. Nothing replaces coffee in my opinion. As an alternative to coffee though, I think Teeccino is a pretty awesome option. It has a fuller, richer, roasted kind of flavour to it that you miss when you stop drinking coffee. It also comes in flavours that you cannot get in tea like hazelnut, vanilla and mocha (using carob).
And what about not having any dairy? I’ve learned lots of things since going off dairy. Like eggs are not dairy (hooray!), there isn’t anything I can order from my local Mexican restaurant (they put cheese in everything including the salad) and at most cafes, the only sweet thing I can order is a bliss ball (and only if it has no chocolate in it), an oat and granola power bar or a piece of banana loaf. This means that I’m going to have to get out of my comfort zone (again!) and start researching local cafes and restaurants that specialise in vegan food. I’m not vegan but when it comes to dairy free food, a vegan cafe is going to have more to offer me than a dry, crumbly bliss ball.
So far my digestive system has remained very calm through all the changes. Hooray! My legs had a bit to say (or scream) about the lack of caffeine but have now adjusted. I’m actually looking forward to seeing what’s next on my digestive journey after my next visit with Tracey.
I’ll check in with you then.
Bron (now available with no chocolate, no caffeine and no dairy)