All I Want Is A Cup of Coffee

Because it’s the only thing I cannot have. I did it to myself: decided to quit. Damn the road to health! I’ve quit before, just never for good. “For good.” Sounds so final. Now I need a cup of coffee to deal with my finality issues. Hey, I know: I’ll quit just for today. I’m good at that shell game.

If you’ve never quit coffee, or are not really human so never took it up, the downside is the withdrawal headache. A blinding, vise-grip-on-your-entire- head, seasick, just shoot me now — really, pull the trigger, please — headache. Puts any hangover to shame. Ten extra strength ibuprofen will knock it out, been there, done that. But since almost killing myself with acetaminophen, my new pain relief motto is no more than three aspirin. A coffee headache points and laughs at three aspirin.

Caffeine, via coffee and tea, is a global cultural and physical addiction. Four o’clock tea, meeting for coffee, coffee-breaks, coffee liqueurs, coffee candies, coffee ice cream, coffee candles, coffee enemas. (I did not make that up.) People the world over imbibe and wax poetic over flavor, bouquet, richness, organic, shade grown, Central American vs. Southeast Asian. Not me. I drink it for the effect. I’ll bet the Dalai Lama drinks coffee. Or really strong black tea. Ok, I just made that up. I can feel the headache coming on. Desperate for a reason to take a hit, I lie. It’s what addicts do.

Why am I engaging in such a painful endeavor? Because I must. I got issues from The Illness, specifically thyroid and adrenal issues. Caffeine is particularly hard on the adrenals: it forces them to pump out adrenaline even though you aren’t fighting or flighting.

Remember waaaaay back, when I said I felt like I was stuck in perpetual flight or flight? I think I literally was, and my adrenals burned out as a result. It might even have contributed to my getting so sick so fast.

This fact — getting so sick so fast — is still a mystery to me. I like solving mysteries. This one is at the top of my hit parade.

Adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism are also still mysteries. Complicated little devils, see the reading list below. Oy vey. I’m only putting this together because of the hair loss and the fact that my temperature is still low, average around 97.5. Not horribly low, and better than it was, but an indication that adrenals/thyroid are not quite up to par. According to the literature, adrenals get fixed first, then thyroid.

And the first thing one does when intent on repairing adrenals is to quit caffeine. I am intent.

Some of my real food blogger buddies quit coffee successfully. They all used DLPA (DL-Phenylalanine) 500mg caps. Cheeseslave took two in the morning, two at noon, and never had a craving or withdrawal symptom. Cara at Health, Home & Happiness took it as well and was able to quit coffee with no withdrawal symptoms. In the comments of both articles, other people shared their success using DLPA.

So I got some. Day 1, I woke up at 5:30am with a sinus headache. Took three aspirin and one 500mg DLPA. About 9:30, I took three more aspirin and another DLPA. At 11, I took 3 more aspirin and had a small cup of coffee. I wasn’t having withdrawal symptoms, but definitely wanted coffee and definitely wanted that annoying headache to go away. Coffee happens to be a cure for sinus headache. I immediately felt 100% better.

Day 2. Woke at 5:30, took one DLPA. Really missed coffee. At 11:30, Mo made coffee… and I had a tiny cup. Tiny. “How could something so good be bad for you?” I whined.

Day 3. Woke at 6, took one DLPA. At 9, I took another. The day looked bleak with no coffee in it. At around 11, I had the tiniest cup. Teensy wheensy. The sun came out.

Day 4 (today). I’m really trying, honest. Got up at 6, took one DLPA. Hal made green tea and I had half a cup of that. The day went very well. I honestly felt great today, plenty of energy. I know drinking less coffee played a part, I’ve been down this road. Whenever I’ve quit before, the energy boost has been amazing. Plus my skin looks better, I look better. In fact, I always feel so good, I think, “I can have just one cup of coffee.” The road to ruin starts there.

Anyway, around 4pm, I was meeting a couple interested in Key West real estate (yeah, I met them in KY… small world) and I could feel that headache peeking in thru the shutters. So I had a small cup of coffee. I can’t have a headache and do business, can I? No. I’m just being sensible.

Someone needs to smack this girlfriend. Quitting coffee is a good thing, and I’m going to get on that first thing tomorrow.

Day 5 (tomorrow). I’m going to take two DLPA when I get up. I might have a little green tea, but just a little. With honey — I got honey with the comb in it. Oh man, is that good!!!!! I’m never giving up honey. But coffee, she has to go. At least until I get my temperature up and figure out the adrenal/thyroid thing. I don’t have to quit forever. Forever is a really long time. I hope.


There is tons more — I have a huge bookmarked folder, but this is a good start if you are interested in the topic. I sure am!

9 comments to All I Want Is A Cup of Coffee

  • Chuck

    I don’t think I’ve ever been truly addicted to coffee but I really do want that single cup in the morning, so it is a habit. However, I keep two jars of coffee–one decaf and one full strength. Then I mix as needed, always aiming for minimal caffeine. Each spoonful of full strength is another 20% of caffeine (because I always use 5 spoonfuls total, since I like strong flavor). Getting plenty of sleep? One spoonful of full strength and four of decaf = 20% caffeine. Didn’t sleep at all last night? Then I mix it somewhere between 60% and 100% full strength. Most of the time I’m at 20-40% caffeine. At times in the past when I wasn’t using this system I’d have regular coffee and then if one day I’d have only decaf, I’d often get a headache.

    So if close-to-cold-turkey+DLPA isn’t doing the trick, you might try this system.


  • I was a couple of espresso’s a day, straight up, drinker. I quit this spring, cold turkey. A walk or 15 minutes of stretching and exercise every time I got the urge to have a cup (so like once every two hours) really helped force down the craving and keep the headache at bay. It sounds extreme, but it picks you up enough to get you over the hump for a few hours. Oh, and I got some really good decaf that helped for a few weeks. Then I gave that up too, because it was turning into gateway coffee.

    I tried to quit in the Winter, but failed, because I was homebound in the snow and get out and walk.

  • My son-in-law,Jeo, has been coffee free for almost a month now. He uses green tea, lots of it. He did not ever have a headache or anything. He drank about 6 cups a day also. He was also raised on the stuff, coming from Hondurus it was in his dang baby bottle.
    He seems to be calmer and have more energy. He actually ran a 10k when we did our marathon!
    Good luck and try green tea or matte! You can get a matte latte at the coffee shops now and they will give you plenty of caffeine. We have one every afternoon.
    Also just a side note, man I love my drier!!!!!!!!!!!!
    pura vida!

  • Thanks, Chuck. That is now plan B!!!

    Sarah: “gateway coffee” — that’s funny

    Roblynn, chica, hello to that gang. He ran a 10k? Wow. I’m thinking of training soon. Why not???? Will I need coffee to run, ya think?

  • I think the DLPA isn’t working for you- you might want to try another amino acid, like GABA or 5HTP. I don’t know a ton about amino acids, but I know it wasn’t nearly this hard for me to quit coffee (it was more like, oh my goodness I can’t believe I have no desire for coffee at all!), so I’m guessing the DLPA just isn’t the ‘missing factor’ :)
    Cara recently posted..Sprouted Lentil Burgers

  • Oh good luck!! You can get through it. I love the smell of coffee but never could drink the stuff, and now I’m glad. I did give up coke {drink not powder} and that was hard but not as difficult as I hear coffee is.
    On another note I just went to a meeting where I learned to make Kefir, Komboocha AND cultured foods! Yay me! Got the kefir going right now since she gave us grains {I’m calling them Sea Monkeys}, and Scoby. :) I’m excited. {yeh, I don’t get out much}
    Keep trying – you can do it! Don’t let coffee have that power over you!
    robin recently posted..Flu season – will you or wont you

  • Kevin Huey

    Not sure why you are avoiding green tea. I did a ten day silent meditation retreat and there was no coffee. Green tea appeared on the fifth day and a double dose of that cured what ailed me. Also, L-theanine is in green tea and is a treatment for adrenal fatigue.

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