As I embark on a coffee-free week, I swap out the dark and thick petrol-like jet fuel my brain relies on in the morning, for a cup filled with fresh brewed tea. It’s a Darjeeling variety with medium body, but it’s so light and refreshing. True, it’s only been three days since quitting yet the differences are noticeable and already palpable. Waking up with a cup of tea my mornings feel soft and gentle in comparison with the harsher pick-me up characteristics coffee has to offer.
I am not a smoker, but after drinking a cup of coffee I sometimes have the feeling of a used ashtray full of cigarette butts. I’m not sure as to why, but I it’s probably a byproduct of the caffeine holding your nervous system hostage and afterwards the crash of letting it go; like a hollowed-out addiction.
To be honest, I miss coffee in a big way. I feel like it helps keep my productivity levels high and is a boost in the day. But I admit that I’m also really liking the Zen side of me that tea brings out. The nice thing about tea is that you can sip it all day long, which is especially good in colder climates. Or you can drink it iced in hotter climates. However, with tea consumption there are no peaks and valleys of energy, at least not on the level that you experience with coffee. Tea creates a sensation that keeps you incredibly even-keeled throughout the day – and calm. More calmness equals less stress – which is good for your heart and mind. You actually feel like Master Yoda at the end of the day, as if nothing could rock your stable world.
The calmness of tea contrasts markedly with the jolt of java juice. It is hydrating, and counts towards your total required water intake for the day – keeping your organs and body functioning smoothly with antioxidants, and reduced inflammation. Also, coffee can aggravate the skin. Drinking just two cups a day causes the skin on my face to become red and flush with a pimple appearing every now and then. But with tea consumption, the redness and irritation on my face all but disappears: my skin becomes even-toned, soft, and the hint of a dark circle under my eye vanishes – along with the caffeine-induced breakouts.
Then there’s the sleeping aspect of drinking tea versus coffee. Everybody reacts differently in this department, but when drinking coffee I must be careful not to drink it past noon, lest I will not be able to sleep come nighttime. And forget about taking any naps, just can’t nap if coffee is in the system. Even though tea has high levels of caffeine too, my body reacts totally differently. With tea, I’ve been feeling a little bit sleepy in the afternoon, and if it’s possible to do so, I’ll take a nap – which I love. There’s no issue getting to sleep at night and most importantly, staying asleep and waking up feeling refreshed.
Coffee is definitely a superstar. But it can also be like a rough younger brother that knocks tea out of the spotlight. Tea has been around for ages – a lot longer than coffee – and it is worth learning about its history, heritage and myriad of health benefits. Tea after all, is only second to water as the most widely consumed beverage in the world.
I’m not going to be giving up coffee for good – at least not yet – but stopping is easier than I thought it would be. Sure, there are the pangs of missing something so dear to you, but withdrawal headaches was surprisingly small and short-lived. If you’re a coffee drinker, it might be a challenge, but I invite you to delve into the world of tea and try a few coffee-free days. Meet your Zen side and see what you think. And try to purchase quality loose teas – stay away from tea bags.