Five weeks ago, I’ve started on a “no-caffine month“, well, it wasn’t a month indeed after all. Yesterday was the end of my target, thus let’s see how things worked out!

I’m glad I have managed go all five weeks without caffeine – no coffee, no tea, no dark chocolate to be on the “safe” side… That’s all nice, but looking at the purpose of the decaf period, did it make any material difference? And was it any different compared to the previous two times when I did this? The result is not totally clear cut to me, it definitely was much clearer in previous times. No experiment running for five long weeks in real life can really just change one parameter (me with/without caffeine in this case), while keeping everything else the same. Thus changes or lack of change is harder to interpret.

One main target was reducing “jumpiness”, as it seemed to be pretty well correlated to coffee consumption. This didn’t seem to happen this time very much, or rather it feels like the “jumpiness-cycle” is more connected to: a) I’m like that by nature, b) how stressful work was at any given point, c) how much I’ve meditated. Thus points at just being more aware of being jumpy in the future, and deploy a variety of coping mechanisms, instead of a substantial tool like this.

Another target was improving on my sleep. That did happen, definitely crashing by 23:00-23:30 these days, instead of staying up later. Also waking up better in the morning, though not much earlier, if at all, compared to my benchmark 8 hours of sleep. I guess there’s a lot to improve on my sleep quality, but there was some positive effect at least.

This time the substitutes I had were different. The main one was switching to infusions (fruit teas), and those seemed to have worked out well, I think I keep some of that up later. The other substitute was decaf coffee. That felt a bit stranger, drinking decaf knowingly made me feel a bit empty inside (why would someone actively choose a “faux” version of something like this?), but had the right effect of me being able to use the caf├ęs’ social aspect while not breaking the fast. Definitely good choice when getting a “coffee” late in the afternoon and in the evening, and not want to be influenced. The taboo is gone, so I might use this again, but likely not without shaking my head at myself inwardly. Still learned some new things, such as when getting a drink one day, I’ve thought why not go one step further and try replacing the normal milk with something else. Even if asking “decaf cappuccino with almond milk” made me almost laugh out loud because this is one of the most hipster things I’ve done, the result was pretty good, I’m a fan of almond otherwise and now I know that it is indeed good with a hot drink. Also an affirmation to keep experimenting.

I was surprised also, that when I had any cravings, it was for a good strong English breakfast tea, instead of a coffee. Since cravings point at weaknesses, now I’m more wary of the breakfast tea…

There are other health effects that I can’t really measure myself, but would have been nice to know, such as my iron levels. I get some good feedback on that when I go donating blood (and the last few times my level was lower than I’m used to), but there’s still a few weeks till next time, not sure how clear it will be any difference from these weeks.

All in all, I’m glad I went ahead with this decaf period, more mindful than last times. While the results are mild at best, that’s a signal too. Now let’s see how the old habits will come back or some things have changed more permanently.

Published by Gergely Imreh

Physicist, hacker. Enjoys avant-guarde literature probably a bit too much. Open source advocate and contributor, both for software and hardware.

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