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Tea/Caffeine issues- cycling caffeine. Help needed.

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  • Tea/Caffeine issues- cycling caffeine. Help needed.

    Hi All,

    I already briefly introduced myself in the "Meet and Greet" section, but let me again say Hi to everbody. I've been reading this forum for quite a while, and finally deciced to join it.

    Hopefully I might sometimes be helpful to others, but now it's time to ask for your help...

    I've been sort-of primal for the last 10 months or so and have been very strict about it- at least the diet part. Around 60lbs came off, making my weight "normal" and BF around 18%. So nothing really special for now, but I'm very happy about it, comparing to how I was before. I originally started with Davis' "Wheat Belly" and over the first month or two, read a lot more about Paleo in general- it made me look at the primal blueprint closer and adopt the rules. My carbs are usually around 100g/day, occasionally higher, never lower.

    Overall, I'm very happy with my results and lifestyle, if it wasn't for one "small thing"... I can't seem to make up my mind about tea/caffeine consumption. And it's not just my mind playing tricks on me, but my body- I'm absolutely sure. The point is:

    Over the last 2 years, I've been constantly switching from drinking 3-5 mugs of green/white tea to drinking nothing. The average "cycle" time takes a couple of days, up to 2 weeks. The first couple of days of tea drinking I feel "great", "wired" and all the caffeine buzz. After a few days, as I get used to it, I become more sleepy, lethargic, unmotivated and finally feel... not really well. Also, at lower level, every cup/mug of tea makes me wired but...too calm/sleepy at the same time. So this is when I decide I want to quit. And then- 3 days of mild withdrawal, but with headaches and overall fatigue, and after that I'm "fine"... not for long. Another couple of days and I want to feel the "buzz" again and be more energetic, so I brew my tea again...
    I know that sounds insane. But it's not just my mind, I swear I can feel my body either wanting caffeine or qutting it.
    Let me stress again- that happens every week or so, for the last 2 years. So... it's high time to say enough to it.
    I'm pretty sure that's "primal-independent" and also happened on the "standard" diet. It began when I indulged in real, high quality tea more. I used to drink a couple of tea bags infusions and never paid a lot of attention to it.

    Of course- there's a lot of thinking going on whenever I tend to switch. I read into varous research showing:
    - Bad influence of caffeine on insulin sensitivity
    - Green tea health benefits
    - Rooibos benefits (that's what I drink when not drinking green/white teas)

    As mentioned before, I only use high-quality organic green and white teas (comparably easy to obtain in Poland, as "real" tea is popular here).

    Being very sensitive to all the signals my body sends, I also tend to notice the following when doing switches:
    - Caffeine makes me really "wired"... tea is OK or more than OK, but with Espresso, it's just too much. I'm never going to handle coffee, so switching to it is not an option
    - Sleep: it's not bad, but- ironically- it's better when drinking tea. I definitely can feel L-Theanine action.
    - When getting OFF caffeine, 1-2 first days mean unusually huge appetite for me... any cellular-level changes related to energy going on? I swear, that happens every time...
    - With no caffeine, my mood is stable, I would say "too stable" so I crave more "happiness".
    - When drinking tea, I get very mild, but noticeable, GERD symptoms (diagnosed a couple of years back), without tea- they're non- existent.


    This issue has been probably the last serious lifestyle issue I need to take care of, before considering myself "primal", so any help is appreciated
    So now, long-story short: what's going on here? Should I play heads or tails and finally decide? Or maybe get a psychiatrist appointment? Now seriously: anyone have similar experience? Maybe 1-2 weeks off caffeine is not enough and I'm constantly addicted and that's why I always get back?

    Thanks!
    Michal

  • #2
    Trying to get off tea and coffee myself as well. I notice that its much more easy to do this if I am excersising regularly - so my body has the stimulant of excersise instead of the caffeine. Not easy though, I agree!
    Healthy is the new wealthy.

    http://www.facebook.com/groups/ances...handnutrition/

    Comment


    • #3
      I have the same experience, plus in addition, I notice sleep disturbances after a week or two of coffee/tea drinking. In the end, I am trying to avoid it all together now, with maybe a cup a week on a particular hard morning.

      But, what I noticed, green juice or broth give me the same energy boost (if not the 'pump') without the negatives. Ideally, I wish I could start my days with a glass of green juice and have a cup of broth in the 2-4 pm window.
      My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
      When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi Leida,

        Good to know I'm not totally alone with "cycling" caffeine use, LOL
        For the energy- I don't think it's really about the need to add *energy*, but rather- extra happyiness/optimism, well, maybe some energy.
        Not that I'm grupy and lazy when I don't consume tea, it's just- when I re-start tea, I feel extra-great and I miss this feeling when I stop. I mean literally- my body is missing that feeling, it's deeper than just psychological reaction.

        For any non-caffeine food/beverage, I can't really observe any significant energy improvement or decline. I wish a juice or broth worked for me the similar way without the adaptation effect.

        So getting back to my point: what's your opinion on that? Is it worth pushing forward caffeine-free for longer period to see what happens?

        Comment


        • #5
          Oh, I am very much in favor of dropping caffeine & trying to get there eventually.

          Did you try freshly squeezed green juice or just boxed juice? Fruit juice from the box does nothing for me either, so I don't drink it. Even freshly squeezed lemon or lime is good.
          My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
          When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

          Comment


          • #6
            I hardly ever drink boxes fruit juice anyway.
            Vegetable boxed juice, with no sugar added, is my treat from time to time.
            Squeezed are good, but again- they're not going to give me any kind of buzz, and that's good.

            What would Ray Peat followers say to my issues? Can I be considered "caffeine-sensitive"?

            As the matter of fact, I envy the people- majority of the ones I know and spoke about it- who can say "I can't feel any green tea effect on me"... Coffee is a no-no for me, but I'd really like to green tea for health benefits, but with the beverage clearly getting me exhausted, I have this trouble...

            Michal

            Comment


            • #7
              Have yourself the 1 cup of Tea after your "Breakfast"
              Then, try to avoid Tea, until your next short break.
              Keep your mind occupied and it shouldn't be a problem.

              After a good Breakfast, focus on the day ahead with some Green Tea.
              Give yourself a afternoon break with some Black Tea, Milk and Honey.
              Turn it into a ritual, one that helps start, and carry on the rest of your day.

              Comment


              • #8
                As the matter of fact, I envy the people- majority of the ones I know and spoke about it- who can say "I can't feel any green tea effect on me"... Coffee is a no-no for me, but I'd really like to green tea for health benefits, but with the beverage clearly getting me exhausted, I have this trouble...
                Same here. I was actually surprised that I do better without, because of all the health benefits. But it does impact adrenals, so the delicate hormonal balance is probably upset. So individual....
                My Journal: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread57916.html
                When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Since I discovered my histamine intolerance and cut coffee completely, I also discovered just what a profound effect the caffeine was having on me. Before I cut it, I had been a 3-4-cups-per-day drinker for like ten straight years. The first few days coming off of it were hard, but now that I'm off, I have SO MUCH more energy, I never get slumps, and I'm sure my sleep is about a billion times better. So, I'm a big believer in caffeine taking a heavy toll on your body. I think some people can have it every day without problems, but not me. I'm like an alcoholic; I can't just have a cup of coffee, I have to have five cups. Now I do one decaf Americano a week as a treat and leave it at that.

                  I was never a big fan of tea, but I've gotten pretty into the concept of herbal tea because I needed hot beverage at my desk at work. I like energizing spice and herb blends, like ginger, licorice, clove, mint, etc. And I drink a lot of nettle tea, again because of the histamine thing, but it also seems to energize me quite a bit.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You could try yerba mate as well. It has more caffeine than tea does, but less than coffee. I'm not too sure why, but I definitely feel less jittery and wired on the mate than I do on either coffee OR tea. It's a smoother hit that doesn't leave me feeling uncomfortable or on edge for sure.

                    Also, if you like the effect of the l-theanine, you could try a suntheanine supplement without the caffeine in it.
                    "The cling and a clang is the metal in my head when I walk. I hear a sort of, this tinging noise - cling clang. The cling clang. So many things happen while walking. The metal in my head clangs and clings as I walk - freaks my balance out. So the natural thought is just clogged up. Totally clogged up. So we need to unplug these dams, and make the the natural flow... It sort of freaks me out. We need to unplug the dams. You cannot stop the natural flow of thought with a cling and a clang..."

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Guys,

                      Thanks for all the suggestions... Well, just as I thought, there's no miracle advice on caffeine and I'll probably need to find my way, eventually. Also glad to know some other people have similar issues and I'm not crazy (probably, you never know ).

                      I hate the way Yerba Mate tastes so it's not every day option for me, although I tolerate its "body effects" well. Cetrainly better than coffee.

                      Other question that I may have is for former caffeine users who successfully and completely managed to quit. How precisely did you experience overall mood/energy improvement after quitting and when? What I mean is... after, say, 7 days off caffeine, can I expect further improvements after much later, like 20-60 days?
                      It's just that my motivation is totally down by day 7... seeking some more motivation to stick to caffeine-free phase at least for a couple of months to have better observations.

                      Extra stuff, for health-obsessed freaks: did anyone try to measure their blood sugars prior/after coffee/tea? I came across one thread on diabetic forum saying that drinking coffee elevated FBG. I also have a theory that my unusual feeling after consuming tea (which can be described as mild drowsiness) comes from BS moving not the way it should... I don't have any BS issues officially recognized by medicine, though.
                      Medical research seems to be quite confusing about it as well- there is a number of studies suggesting both improved insulin sensitivity and reduced, both hypoglycemic and hyperglycemic caffeine action... not to mention population studies, each showing something different.

                      Finally- bottom line question and something I really don't have idea on... What would Grok do? And would Grok really be able to brew tea-leaves ( tea was first brewed/discovered by coincidence), or, better yet, roast and ground the coffee beans?

                      Michal

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Other question that I may have is for former caffeine users who successfully and completely managed to quit. How precisely did you experience overall mood/energy improvement after quitting and when? What I mean is... after, say, 7 days off caffeine, can I expect further improvements after much later, like 20-60 days?
                        It's been about three weeks for me, and I experienced mood/energy improvement after a week. I've had crazy energy the past two weeks--I bounce out of bed and I never hit the mid-morning and mid-afternoon slumps I used to have.

                        What would Grok do? And would Grok really be able to brew tea-leaves ( tea was first brewed/discovered by coincidence), or, better yet, roast and ground the coffee beans?
                        I don't think it would have taken Grok all that long to figure out that if he stuck those certain beans in the fire for a little while and then crunched on them, he had more energy. I doubt Grok would have ground/brewed coffee, but chewing on coffee beans or tea leaves (like how we chew on those chocolate-covered espresso beans) is something I can totally see him figuring out. Same as chewing on willow bark to relieve a headache.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mikekola View Post
                          Finally- bottom line question and something I really don't have idea on... What would Grok do? And would Grok really be able to brew tea-leaves ( tea was first brewed/discovered by coincidence), or, better yet, roast and ground the coffee beans?

                          Michal
                          There's evidence that ancient ancestors of the Chinese were, over 20,000 years ago (before agriculture, therefore), taking the leaves of the tea tree and eating them straight as leafy green vegetables. This was a distinct advantage to them because especially those who were on night watch (to protect the tribe from dangerous predators etc.) could not only stay awake to do so, but had better reaction times when dealing with anything that threatened the sleeping members of the tribe.

                          Of course, they didn't know it was caffeine in the leaf that was doing this to them, but they ate the leaf anyway because they liked the effects.
                          "The cling and a clang is the metal in my head when I walk. I hear a sort of, this tinging noise - cling clang. The cling clang. So many things happen while walking. The metal in my head clangs and clings as I walk - freaks my balance out. So the natural thought is just clogged up. Totally clogged up. So we need to unplug these dams, and make the the natural flow... It sort of freaks me out. We need to unplug the dams. You cannot stop the natural flow of thought with a cling and a clang..."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by heatseeker View Post
                            Since I discovered my histamine intolerance and cut coffee completely, I also discovered just what a profound effect the caffeine was having on me. Before I cut it, I had been a 3-4-cups-per-day drinker for like ten straight years. The first few days coming off of it were hard, but now that I'm off, I have SO MUCH more energy, I never get slumps, and I'm sure my sleep is about a billion times better. So, I'm a big believer in caffeine taking a heavy toll on your body. I think some people can have it every day without problems, but not me. I'm like an alcoholic; I can't just have a cup of coffee, I have to have five cups. Now I do one decaf Americano a week as a treat and leave it at that.

                            I was never a big fan of tea, but I've gotten pretty into the concept of herbal tea because I needed hot beverage at my desk at work. I like energizing spice and herb blends, like ginger, licorice, clove, mint, etc. And I drink a lot of nettle tea, again because of the histamine thing, but it also seems to energize me quite a bit.
                            When I first started a paleo style diet years ago I ditched caffeine completely. The first two weeks were miserable. My mood was lousy, I was lethargic and the headaches were almost unbearable. I slept a lot and was very unproductive with work. After about a month or so I noticed my energy levels get more stable and after even more time my energy was great. After over a year completely abstaining from caffeine I reintroduced decaf coffee (Swiss water technique) and herbal teas. They just didn't do it for me. I eventually went back to having 1 cup of coffee per day. The 1 cup per day sometimes turned into 2 cups and you all know the rest of the story. Now I try to quit coffee/tea for weeks at a time but always revert back to it. I can truly say its a drug and it is something that is hard for me to kick.

                            The main reasons I love coffee is :
                            1 - It's delicious!
                            2 - Gives me a huge energy and mental boost
                            3 - It's a good way to socialize with friends and family

                            The reasons I want to stop drinking coffee:
                            1 - It destroys my digestion.
                            2 - Sometimes I will end up with GERD
                            3 - Stains my teeth and can also give bad breath
                            4 - It makes me feel like a crack head and I crave it more and more

                            I don't get the same negatives with tea. Tea actually works better with my digestion. Breath is better with tea and I don't feel like I have to have tea like I do with coffee. I still get GERD with tea though. Coffee just tastes way better to me than tea. In summary, I love coffee, I continue to drink it because the pleasure and energy high outweighs the negatives even though those negatives are pretty bad for me. I will probably continue to cycle it on and off unfortunately. After reading what I just wrote it really does seem like I am a drug addict and my drug of choice is coffee
                            "If man made it, don't eat it" - Jack Lallane

                            People say I am on a "crazy" diet. What is so crazy about eating veggies, fruits, seafood and organ meats? Just because I don't eat whole wheat and processed food doesn't make my diet "crazy". Maybe everyone else with a SAD are the "crazy" ones for putting that junk in their system.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I like to take breaks from drinking coffee -- anywhere from two weeks to two months at a time. I just recently went a month without drinking it, and started to drink it again a few weeks ago. Try going at least two weeks without -- trust me, at that point, it becomes MUCH easier to go a month without, and then progress from there.

                              As far as getting the energy/feeling that caffeine provides, there are a few other things you can try:

                              -An intense 20 - 30 minute strength workout. You should be out of breath and sweating heavily. If you do it right, the high you get afterwards can be on par with a cup of coffee.

                              -Intermittent fasting. Try having one big meal at the end of the day. It might be difficult the first few hours, but after a certain point, it can give you heaps of energy. A glass of raw green juice or lemon water would be fine, just keep it less than or around 100 calories.

                              -Maca. If your hormonal levels are unbalanced, maca can help with this, and thus give you a sensation of more energy. Gelatinized maca is best. This may or may not work for you.

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