What I Have Learned from Not Drinking Coffee

Now, let’s be honest from the start: I did not willingly choose to stop drinking coffee nor was this some type of hip health plan I decided to join in on. So, why did I stop drinking coffee?

Last week on Election Day, I went to the doctor after a weekend filled with the Badger Game, rainy weather and feeling miserable after every time I ate. I have never experienced acid reflux or heartburn, but suddenly I felt like a 50-year-old man whenever I would eat anything, and my stomach felt like it had a lead ball in it. If you frequently suffer from any of these symptoms when you eat, I sympathize with you; it’s awful.


After a visit to the doctor, I found out I had esophagitis: inflammation of the esophagus. No big deal, right? Wrong! On top of the meds my doctor prescribed me, I was instructed to stay away from chocolate, tomatoes, acidic food, citrus and worst of all — coffee — until my esophagus healed.

I am used to drinking coffee at least once a day — sometimes up to three times depending on my week. However, doctor’s orders are doctor’s orders, and honestly, I was willing to try anything to stop myself from laying on the couch in pain post every meal. 


So, what did I learn from not drinking coffee?


1. Coffee is an addiction

I’m not kidding when I say coffee is an addiction. I craved the caffeine when I couldn’t have it for the first couple of days. I actually had caffeine headaches where I knew the only thing that would cure it would be to pour myself a cup of joe. However, if not drinking coffee would make me feel better, I was going to stick to my plan.


2.  You save a lot of money by not drinking it

Let’s say the average price of your morning latte at Starbucks is $5. Now, multiply that by five for every day of the school week. That’s $25 you are possibly spending every week if you have to have that specialty latte you can’t make on your own at home. Now, $25 might not seem like a lot, but it is:

•    Five, $5 Tuesday movie nights

•    Almost 17 rail mixers from the Nitty Gritty during Power Hour

•    Or just $25 in your pocket you can save for a rainy day


3. I feel less anxious

Now, anxiousness can mean something different to everyone so I won’t dwell in my experience, but I felt less anxious about classes and my personal life.


4. I sleep better

College kids NEED sleep, and I am a notorious friend that drinks coffee at 11 p.m. and can be asleep by 11:10 p.m. However, after those nights, in the morning I always felt groggy no matter if I woke up at 8 a.m. or 10 a.m. and felt like I had barely slept at all. Now, I wake up ready to take on the day — even at 7:30 a.m.


5. You save time by not going to get coffee

Not only are you saving money, but you are saving yourself from walking out of your way to go to Starbucks and stand in the long line. Time saved = more time you can sleep in. 


6. I have fewer headaches

I have always suffered from headaches, often ones that I blame on the weather. However, since I quit drinking coffee, I have actually had fewer headaches. Granted, the skies have also been pretty clear here in Madison, Wisconsin lately but not having as many headaches is still something to be excited about.


7. Internally, I feel better

Whether it be from all the sugar or milk in a latte, I didn’t always feel the greatest after a skinny French vanilla latte. Now, I have had a lot fewer indigestion issues that I previously experienced, and my stomach is no longer so vocal during a lecture. 


So, will I stay on the no-coffee train forever? Probably not. I miss my sweet white mochas with skim milk and no whip. Full disclosure: after a couple of days of being on this diet, I did try coffee, and my chest instantly regretted it. As for right now, this is what my body needs, and I will continue going coffee-less for at least another week to make sure I am fully healed. In the meantime, I will keep reaping all of these great benefits.