Sunday, January 11, 2015

Update on Kicking Joe to the Curb

Saturday was day 10 of my Whole30. Apparently, this is the 'hardest' of the 30 day paleo elimination diet which I (and scads of other people) started on new year's day.

Was it hard for me? Not really. In the evening I met up with some church friends for dinner, and there were indeed some yummy off-plan things: a scrumptious beef stew simmering on the stove (which contained wheat flour and beer), bread, cookies and much wine and song. And by 'song' I mean shrieking children. Chief among them, my own.

These foods looked good, but I was able to abstain without too much difficulty. I had brought a salad and some butternut squash soup to share and just had that. The hardest part was telling my hostess I wasn't going to have her yummy stew. I actually didn't even know I had successfully navigated the 'hardest day' until I checked Facebook this morning:

For me, the first three days were the hardest, and that's because of coffee. Or the lack thereof. I stopped drinking coffee. I instagrammed my swan song:
A photo posted by Stephanie Hsiang (@momsatthebarre) on

 When I announced my intention a couple of weeks ago, I said,
"Honestly, I don't even think it's the caffeine. I couldn't leave DS2's room the morning after Christmas, at least not without a veil of tears, so I didn't have my coffee until a good three hours after I woke up. I had a mild headache, but it wasn't really that bad. It's more the comfortable ritual of my warm, creamy cup."
Wow, apparently I don't know myself AT ALL. Here I was thinking I was just psychologically addicted, but whoa... withdrawl was *intense.* I was grumpy. I was tired. My head throbbed. My muscles ached. And pain killers didn't even touch it. I just had to gut it out.

Actually, the experience gave me great compassion for people addicted to more nefarious substances. I remember thinking, numerous times, 'I could just got brew a pot and this would all go away...' But I didn't. I stuck it out, and it is quite nice to be on the other side.

So if anyone's considering giving up coffee (and I don't blame you one little bit if you're not), here's my little pearl of wisdom:

Don't Go Cold Turkey

That's what I tried and it was a bad idea. I decided to switch to black tea with almond milk, which has 1/4 the caffeine of coffee. I'm drinking one cup in the mornings (which I often don't finish), so while I'm still technically consuming caffeine, it's WAY less than before. I'll work on getting off it completely at some point, but for now, this is working so I'm not going to rock the boat.

That one cup of tea takes the edge off. And it's warm, which is pretty key when it's 1 degree out. By day 4, I was back to my smiling, pleasant self. (Don't laugh.) But whoa... those first three? Not pretty. I actually feel a little badly about how negative I was about the Whole30 in my first post. My brother tweeted the following after reading it:

I used to joke that coffee made me a better mother... maybe a better sister, too?

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