How I Quit Caffeine & Didn't Lose My Sanity

In August this year I embarked on a bit of a detox. Well, that was my intention, instead I caught a tummy virus and had an enforced detox, which I can assure you is even less fun than a regular detox.

The idea behind my detox was to eliminate caffeine, as I'm pretty addicted to the stuff, and try to survive without it. I quit caffeine a few years ago for about 4 months and found it really easy, surely I could do that again, right? Right?!

Just another manic Monday ...

Let me clarify; I don't drink a lot of caffeine, I drink one large coffee every morning. I'm a sensitive creature and if I have caffeine after midday it affects my sleep that night (yes, really). It took me a long time to realise this  - odd, as I bloody love my sleep - and upon realising I switched to decaf tea for the rest of the day. How hard could it be to leave out that one coffee? Just one. Easy right?


Caffeine withdrawal gives me the worst headaches ever. EVER. They're on par with the start of a migraine and the fact that I know I could fix this pain by having a coffee means I have been known to give in on several occasions. This time I started with a new strategy - reduction.

It wasn't an intentional strategy, when I was in the US I had coffee a few mornings in my apartment, that was until a certain symptom flared up and I reread the label of my coffee creamer, realised lactose-free isn't casein-free and estsblished I'd kicked off my dairy allergy. That meant no more caffeine anyway until my insides calmed down, so I switched to drinking decaf tea on mornings as well.

decaf tea love life lexi
Wow America, you cannot make decaf tea

I had one more coffee the following week, which was iced, mostly to get rid of my headache and allow me to get emotional at the Impressionists work in the Art Institute.

Art Institute of Chicago Cafe Love Life Lexi
Cherry oatmeal cookies and arty stuff for the win

After that I had decaf at IHop which was delicious! America, decaf coffee is definitely one of your strong points.

IHop Chicago Love Life Lexi
I can't even begin to explain how sexy this breakfast was

When I came back home I decided to continue my good work. This was easier said than done, but having found a good decaf coffee, I figured it wouldn't be too hard to find one at home, right? Right?!


You see, the other problem here is that I'm a coffee snob. I like good, fresh, filter coffee. No syrups, a splash of almond milk at a push, nothing fancy doing to it. I like the taste of coffee and don't want it pratted about with (this is why Starbucks and I will never be friends, I just use it for the free wifi). Finding a good, flavoursome decaf coffee in this country is near impossible. I had to resort to instant. 

Carte Noire Decaf Coffee Love Life Lexi

This stuff is delicious! Hands down, best decaf coffee on the market. I have jars of it everywhere. 

If you're a bit more of a heavier user than I am, you may want to throw in some additional drinks along the way; I've already discussed the wonder of Twinings Salted Caramel Green Tea on many occasions but there are a few other ones that I like to go back to:

Twinings Decaf Tea Love Life Lexi
My beloved Twinings. Next time it will come to the US with me

Twinings Tea Pigs Matcha Green Tea Love Life Lexi
Other favourite flavours of green tea and mighty matcha

It may sound obvious but drinking lots of water also helps and green smoothies are a great morning caffeine replacement, one morning I was so 'up' from one that my boss asked me if I was still drunk from the night before (nope, no idea how he could have such an impression of me).

I'm not saying that I won't have regular coffee ever again, the idea is that I lose my dependency on it. For example; one morning last week I went into the office kitchen on autopilot, accidently made a regular coffee and was halfway through it at my desk before I'd realised what I'd done. Last weekend there was a cup left in the machine jug at home so I had that, but the difference now is that I'm not getting headaches when I don't have it and I feel less tied into the 'have no coffee, cannot function like a human' mentality. 

I can't write caffeine off entirely (as otherwise all holidays to Italy would be soooo screwed) but I'm no longer its bitch and that's good enough for me. 

Love Life Lexi Alex Marshall
Caffeine 0 - Lexi 1
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  1. i love this! i'm also sensitive to caffiene, I can't have more than one cup of coffee a day - but I've been reading a lot about how caffiene burns out your adrenal glands and ramps up your stress hormones (something I really dont want or need more of!) I've been trying to figure out what i could replace it with (im a coffee snob too and pride myself on collecting great ground beans!) so thank you for the tips on the alternatives - deffo gonna try that carte noire decaff I've never tried it!

    1. Thank you. If you happen to find a good ground decaf do let me know, I've had no such luck yet but I'm very keen for other people to help with the research!

  2. I, too can't tolerate even moderate intakes of caffeine(it is a drug after all) without it effecting me physically and thus have learned to steer clear of all RAW chocolate(conventional dark choc is fine thought:)!

    1. You never think of it as a drug, until you're banging your head on your desk in withdrawal agony and realise you don't want to keep doing this every couple of months!