Almost a year ago, I wouldn’t touch anything with caffeine or sugar in it, except on very special occasions or when I was desperate. I would have some pie after Christmas dinner, the occasional soda in a restaurant if I felt tired, and a cup of tea in the morning to give me a healthy little boost.
Some days, though, were harder than others. With two kids, sometimes just getting out of bed with my eyes open in the morning is a challenge, especially when said children are sick all night and keep me up. Caffeine is the only hope for staying awake and taking care of business that day.
The tea wasn’t cutting it, and I had been off of sodas for a very very long time (aside from the occasional soda in the restaurant, like I said, and that was rare). I tried the energy Vitamin Water, but that became expensive and didn’t seem to work so well after awhile.
I had always hated coffee. My father has been a coffee drinker since before I was born. He never put anything in it. He always drank it black, and drank lots of it. I woke up to the smell of coffee brewing almost every morning, and thoroughly enjoyed the aroma. The taste, however, was another story. I didn’t even like those cold coffee drinks at Dunkin Donuts that were more sugar than coffee. The coffee aftertaste was more than I could tolerate.
About a year ago, I decided to give coffee another try. I bought some instant coffee (you know, the ones that are coffee in tea bags) and brewed some, adding a little stevia (natural, non sugar sweetener) to sweeten the deal. It felt as if my body physically rejected it. It tasted awful, and my throat felt like it tightened up on me.
Thankfully, it wasn’t an allergic reaction to the coffee. I’m not sure what it was. Perhaps it was a gag reflex. I don’t know.
I was determined to find a way to like coffee. A magazine article showed that coffee, in moderation, was quite healthy and could help boost mood and energy while giving the drinker healthy antioxidants. I figured that if I could find a low-sugar way to get a little coffee on those rough mornings that I needed a boost, that would be great.
I purchased some low calorie chocolate soy milk and some low calorie, low sugar hot chocolate powder. With a little experimentation, I found my perfect coffee blend. I drank it most mornings, only a single cup or two. On those harder days, maybe more. Some days, I went without it entirely.
The warmer weather came around, and brewing a hot cup of coffee just wasn’t in the cards. Icing it the first time did not work, and the beverage gave me reflux. In an act of desperation on a particularly hard day, I grabbed a small mocha frappe from McDonalds…and I was hooked. Starbucks and McDonalds became my saviors, and I was no longer a low-sugar, low-calorie coffee drinker, but a Frappuccino-aholic, requiring two or more per day just to maintain.
In my defense, I always asked for it without whipped cream. Okay, that’s a lousy defense.
The sugar highs and lows have followed, and I can’t shake the habit. This is a serious problem, and I must find the strength to overcome this and go back to healthy coffee consumption. Now that the weather is cooling off, perhaps I can do it…I hope.
Have you ever had an unhealthy coffee or sugar addiction? How did you kick the habit?
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