An Inch of Black Coffee

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In a dream a few weeks ago, I was shown through a diagram, how the blood vessels, and optic nerves in our eyes are impacted by our intake of caffeine.  There was a large drawing of a human face with arrows and circles pointing out   how the caffeine increases the pressure behind the eyes’ optic nerves.  

I have glaucoma and so, this dream was a gift to me, but not one I felt elated about receiving. I love caffeine.  But given that glaucoma is a condition whereby the eyes are stressed and weakened by increases in pressure in our optic nerves, I couldn’t  deny the importance of the dream.

I drank my first cup of coffee at 17, in college. A friend and I walked to school and we passed a hole in the wall coffee shop. He told me he needed a cup. Curious, I had never tasted coffee, let alone, needed it, I ordered one. Unimpressed with the taste, I added sugar and milk as he did, and it was okay. A few days later, I decided to push through and make some coffee of my own.  I bought a jar of instant granulated coffee and a can of sweetened evaporated milk. I developed a ritual of boiling the water, putting a small amount in a cup, adding coffee granules, and evaporated milk   Slowly stirring the mixture into a paste, I gradually added the rest of the hot water and drank. Thus began my love affair with  hot caffeinated beverages.

Ten years ago, in my attempt to become physically healthier, I gave up coffee and, I switched to caffeinated teas.  My shelves were gradually crowded with Oolong, Ceylon, Yerba Mate, Macha, Earl Grey  Chai and many others.

But, in response to my recent dream two days after the Trump inauguration, I stopped drinking caffeine.  I did not plan to quit on that day.  I was relieved there were no immediate headaches but was miserable about the election. What a time to give up something I love!  Headaches hit me hard the following day and lasted three full days followed by an onset of grouchiness, then emptiness, cravings, and lower energy. …Sound nice?

At the moment, I am now about 30 days caffeine free, well, almost entirely. I discovered Teechino, a tasty herbal coffee substitute that I add warm goat milk and honey to. Although the taste is rich and satisfying, there is no accompanying energy boost, no elation of mood, or sense of empowerment. I have on a few occasions, added a small amount of ground coffee to the Teechino. After not using caffeine for a while,  those drinks boosted me awake and left me speeding for about four hours followed by a hard crash. At a lunch a week ago, in a   very cold room, I sat at a table, and upon it was one pitcher of ice-cold water and nearby, a hot pitcher of black coffee.  I drank the water and noticed the woman opposite me   sipping on warm herbal tea she brought in a thermos. I should have done that. Irritated, half awake, and very cold, the black coffee began calling me. I abstained for about 30 minutes but the urge over powered me. I poured myself about an inch of hot black coffee and sipped it. Immediately I was warmed, perky, and happier to be there. Yes, caffeine is a strong drug that elevates my moods.   

I am not an advocate for people giving up coffee, tea and other caffeinated beverages.  My goal is not a life totally abstinent from caffeine but I’d like to experiment with this habit. So far, it has not been easy.  I may keep you posted!


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8 Replies to “An Inch of Black Coffee”

  1. I have given up coffee- more than once! The problem for me is not the energy boost, but the flavor. I love the flavor of coffee. Even as a kid my favorite ice cream was coffee! I give it up, then I go back and drink only decaf and I know that coffee, reguKar or decaf, is very acidic and not very.healthful. And I do not add sugar to my coffee, only a touch of cream for the richness. If there is only regular milk, I’ll take mine black, thank you. I will probably continue to quit on and off forever because, as I said before, I LOVE coffee!

  2. Thanks for your reply Freda. I know what you mean. I am drinking Teechino, it’s delicious, close to coffee, try the hazel nut one… all organic, herbal and non acid….I woke up thinking i need a cup of earl grey tea this morning because I am doing my taxes!!! i rode it out……made a smoothy and teechino instead! much love

  3. It’s not easy AND you’re making conscious effort to try to be healthier. At times, I find the concept of giving up delicious goodness for “betterment of health” quit annoying. Why are these yummy things available if they aren’t good for us? What’s that about? but instead of trying to find reason and logic to my existential questions- I ultimately know what I need to do, to simply feel better- and as you said Deborah- it’s not easy. Right now- I’m trying to be mostly gluten and dairy free (and it took me a VERY long time to try this)- b/c I KNOW it actually helps me feel better in my body and with my mood. And when I make that decision to eat that slice of pizza- I also try my damn best to just enjoy it, appreciate it and know, no matter what- I don’t have to eat things that aren’t good for me on a regular basis to be satisfied in life.

  4. Thanks for your comment Genna. Yeah, giving up stuff we love is harder than we know!! This one feels like a long standing friendship is ending or maybe just shifting into something else…..i hope..better d.

  5. I gave up caffeine due to migraines several years ago. It was really hard.. I was very depressed and it took several weeks to get the craving out of my system. The strange thing was, after finally clearing it out of my body, I lost all desire for soda drinks. I used to love them my whole life and now I have no desire to drink them at all. However, I still enjoy drinking decaf coffee. Sometimes I miss the lift I used to get from caffeine but if I accidentally get served regular instead of decaf I feel jittery and wired for hours and hours. Not pleasant at all.

    • HI Jennine, thanks for your comment, It inspires me to stay with it. It is hard. I’m glad it helped you in the long run, worth the temporary discomfort. Deborah

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