Saturday, July 16, 2011

Caffeine journeys

As I've taken stock of some of the things that have happened over the past year or so since I've started my new job, it's hit me that I drink a lot of coffee. Let me break a general day down for you: I get up. I usually get one to two 12 ounce cups of coffee out of the pot my husband makes every morning. Once I arrived at work, I would often make a 8-cup pot of coffee and drink it all by myself. At least once a week, I would also stop on my way to work and buy a triple venti soy caramel macchiato (please don't judge me). So what does this all break down to? On especially thirsty days I would drink 11 eight-ounce cups plus 3 two-ounce shots. That all adds up to 94 ounces of coffee! I think that deserves the exclamation point.
Me drinking my morning cup of joe during our honeymoon.
We brought our own pot just in case there wasn't one at the cabin.
How's that for obsession?

Not to mention some raised eyebrows.

Here's the kicker. I did a little research. It turns out, if you are a healthy adult, the Mayo Clinic says you can safely consume 2-4 cups (16-32 ounces) of coffee a day. I've spent most of the last year drinking almost triple that amount. Here's what they say about drinking too much:
"Although moderate caffeine intake isn't likely to cause harm, too much can lead to some unpleasant effects. Heavy daily caffeine use — more than 500 to 600 mg [between 40 and 64 ounces of brewed coffee] a day — may cause insomnia, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, upset stomach, fast heartbeat and muscle tremors."
Uhhh... That's sounding a little familiar. I have sort of been feeling like a gremlin lately.

So, I decided it was time to do something about it. I admit, I wasn't ready to drop caffeine altogether (And I'm still not!). I used to do that every year, but the headaches got to be too much. So my plan is to get my habit back down to a healthy level. That means 16-32 ounces of brewed coffee a day (that's 1 to 3 cups to me, depending on the size of my mug) and supplement that with mate teas (lower caffeine content but similar sharpening-of-the-senses effects). It's now been about three weeks into this endeavor, and it's actually going swimmingly. Most days I'm definitely in the moderate zone, and I've also used this experience as a challenge to drink more tea. I've been feeling better and more energetic as result.

Who knew one could drink that much coffee and not make time seem to slow down, a la the squirrel in Over the Hedge?
Caffeine makes this squirrel move so fast that everyone looks like they
are in slow motion. Best scene in the whole movie!


  1. That is definitely too much coffee and I'm glad you've been making the adjustment. I also think that you giving up coffee all together would have been a terrible mistake, esp cold turkey like I did!

    Tea has so much more flavor and variety anyway ;-)

  2. Try Tassimo - covers both Tea and Coffee, but most excellent coffee.

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