Saturday, March 10, 2007

Off Coffee

Something happened last Sunday that had me go off coffee. I've been drinking coffee my entire life it seems. At least since I was a teenager in Toronto. I probably started drinking coffee at Fran's Restaurant on Yonge St. when I was in high school. Or it could have been at Fran's on St. Clair when I was in Grade 8. But I did start drinking coffee way back when.

When I was 15 I started working at a deli on Mt. Pleasant that made cappuccinos before anybody knew what they were. We had espresso (long, short), cappuccinos and brewed coffee. That was it. No half caf, no soy milk, occasionally some extra froth and chocolate instead of cinnamon on the top, but that was about it.

I remember visiting my American relatives during the summer out in Washington State and people would be surprised that I was drinking coffee as a teenager. Coffee was for grown ups.

On exchange in Germany in high school I was exposed to more coffee and it was good. Stronger than I was used to. In France I learned to drink my coffee black because it cost extra if you added milk. Sugar was free. In Italy I learned to drink coffee standing up because it cost more to sit at a table.

I didn't drink coffee everyday until University I suppose. Then it was a habit and I was still smoking cigarettes so it seemed to be a good thing to do. Plus in Montreal they had lots of good coffee. In Montreal I switched to black coffee for a while because I was on the yeast free diet for a few years and wasn't supposed to eat dairy or sugar (or caffeine for that matter but I had to have something). When I got back into dairy in the coffee I was into milk. It was still strange at the time and I'd have to ask for milk as usually only cream was offered.

After university I travelled in Asia. In Thailand good coffee was Nescafe (instant coffee), so I was pretty much off coffee for a few months. India had tea, which was almost as good as coffee, so I got into that.

Then I moved into a yoga ashram in the States (Kripalu) where coffee was frowned upon. I didn't start drinking coffee there until I'd been living there for some time, when it became apparent that many residents were drinking coffee, just not out in the open. We'd stink up the halls with our coffee hidden behind closed doors. People would occasionally comment about how strong it smelled, but we were moderate and usually only did it in the morning and just a cup or two.

I went back to India, back on to tea, chai especially, but the fun drink where I was was warm buffalo milk or mixed with Ovaltine. That was good, but we usually drank that in the evening. Tea in the morning, buffalo milk in the evening.

Back in the States I spent a few years working at a new age summer camp for grown ups (Omega) and the coffee was not usually very good. During the winter months especially, we'd brew our own in a pot in the kitchen there and it would pass. I was drinking it on work days. Around that time I saw a doctor or chiropractor in Woodstock and he told me not to drink coffee everyday because the coffee does something that your body does naturally and if you're drinking it everyday, your body doesn't have a chance to kick in. So I was moderate in my coffee drinking.

While I was pregnant I drank some coffee in South Africa, but not that much. I was pregnant after all.

Once I was back in North America I was back on coffee for good. When my daughter was about 2 I was for sure drinking coffee everyday. That continued until Sunday I believe and she's 8 now. Occasionally I'd miss a day and have a headache and it was okay but then I was back on as soon as it was convenient.

I've been thinking about addictions lately and acknowledging to myself that coffee has been a crutch and I wonder what it would be like to be coffee-free again. That wondering about going off coffee, coupled with discussions in yoga classes of letting go of attachments coincided with running out of Ethiopian beans on Saturday. I thought about running out and buying more. But I thought I'd let the coffee run out and I'd be teaching all day Sunday anyways, so if I didn't feel great it would be okay.

And that was on Sunday. Nothing happened. I was waiting for a mild headache that never came. I thought maybe I'd not feel as perky during the day without it. That didn't happen either. I have felt fine, normal, my usual caffeinated self the whole week. I admit I am surprised.

But this morning's breakfast of pancakes with an egg on top made me long for a coffee. So I'll probably have one and it will be tasty and good. A friend is dropping by and I put in a coffee request. (After writing this I cancelled the coffee order. I feel good without it...)

It was just interesting for me that something fell away that I thought I was attached to. Sometimes letting go is that easy...

No comments: