Back in my not-so-healthy days, I drank a lot of artificially sweetened drinks, such as Diet Coke and Crystal Light, throughout the day making me nearly immune to caffeine, having a Diet Coke with dinner never seemed to affect my sleeping habits. But, through the raw/healthier eating transition, I’ve really cut back on caffeine and artificially flavored drinks having just coffee in the morning and cutting off my caffeine intake for the rest of the day sticking to mainly water with meals and herbal tea. I was pleasantly surprised by the money I was saving too, Crystal Light and soda is not cheap and sipping water from a Kleen Canteen in my purse is much cheaper than buying a soda or bottled water when shopping, traveling, etc.
I’ve been heavily sticking to this schedule for nearly a year now. Every once in awhile, typically during holidays and weekends, I have a bad night of sleep where is takes hours of trying to shut my brain off and off-and-on sleep before I finally hit a deep sleep. Sadly, it finally dawned on me why after another bad sleep episode this weekend. I went to the mall with my sisters and we indulged on late afternoon coffees while chatting. That night, I could not get to sleep, my mind was racing and I kept waking up at insane hours. The next day, I felt like I had a hangover.
I thought nothing of drinking the afternoon coffee at the time because both my sisters had no problem with it. Being parents of toddlers and working full-time, they’re very immune to caffeine and I just assumed I was too. In my groggy misery the next day, I realized that it’s been a long time since I’ve had caffeine that late and that coffee was probably an insanely strong form of it that … gasp … actually affected me as caffeine should, making my brain race for the next few hours and jittery. On one hand, this is great news because it means I’m getting a good boast from my morning coffee again. On the other, I need to be very careful on avoiding caffeine throughout the day now, behave an stick to water and herbal teas. This realization was comforting because it can also explain a lot of the ups and downs I experienced over the holidays and casually sipping coffee and an occasional soda at family gatherings.
I started looking into some other side effects of caffeine addiction and one that hit home for me was emotional fatigue, something I used to deal with a lot during PMS and generally stressful times. Not so much anymore, one of my goals for switching to a cleaner, whole foods based diet. As well as having more energy, which I’ve been noticing as well. Lately, I have not needed to set my alarm clock … which I do anyway. But, I always wake up 5 minutes before it and end up shutting it off before it goes off. Also, I rarely sleep past 7:30 AM on the weekends, even when I stay up later, I always wake up pretty energized. My exercise schedule probably plays a large role in that too.
Anyway, I tried the I Am Divine Fiery Carrot Avocado Soup from the Cafe Gratitude book with dinner tonight and it was, uh, interesting. It’s a tricky soup requiring fresh jalapeno, mint, garlic and basil and mine came out a bit spicier than I think intended presumably from the larger variety peppers I used and maybe added too much garlic. I can’t recommend it yet, but will try again at some point :-)