My beloved Francis Francis espresso machine.
The trendy Skinny Bitch books advocate a dependence-free diet. They make the point that if you are cranky and unpleasant before taking a substance (morning coffee anyone?), you shouldn't be taking the substance. That's an excellent point.
The key to caffeine is moderation (as is the key to nearly everything in MindfulEats). If you get a headache without it, then you are addicted and you should give it up (at least for a while). If you aren't addicted and you like your cuppa, then enjoy it in moderation, and do so mindfully.
What to do
- Figure out if you're addicted or not. Go a day without drinking it, and see if you are irritable or get a headache. If so, do not have any caffeine until you finish withdrawal and have a couple of happy, caffeine-free weeks. You might want to stop drinking it completely at this point, or go back to it mindfully with step #2. Though I have caffeine regularly, it has little impact on me - I have gone weeks without it and not even noticed.
- Be mindful, and notice its impact. When do you have it, and how does it make you feel? Does it keep you from falling asleep at night if you have it after a certain time? Keep track of it in your Mindful Log. I have a very high tolerance to caffeine - I can have a cup of coffee and fall asleep 10 minutes later, but my friend Murtada won't have it after 4pm or he'll suffer a sleepless night.
- Using the parameters that you put in place in step two, enjoy your caffeine mindfully. I used to mindlessly down six cups of coffee a day - I just liked to get up and go to the pantry while I was working. That is ridiculous. I halved that, and now enjoy each cup that I have.
- Caffeine fact: a cup of tea has less caffeine than a cup of coffee. Pound for pound tea has more caffeine than coffee, but much less tea is used in a cup than in coffee. 8 oz. drip coffee has 104-192 mg of caffeine, 1 espresso has 100 mg, 8 oz. brewed tea has 20-90mg.