my non-caffeinated life

25 October 2011

One of the things that has sucked a lot about the whole endometriosis thing is that I’m not supposed to have caffeine. I know what you’re thinking, how can a designer/web developer function without caffeine!?!?!

It’s not been easy. But well, it hasn’t been hell either.

I’m not a coffee addict. I swapped my 12-cup coffee maker for a french press when I moved to Chicago over 4 years ago. I didn’t drink soda often, only if I went out somewhere. But that’s not to say I didn’t like coffee when I had it, especially lattes (yay flavored, sugar caffeine!)… or that I would turn down any Dr Peppers. Plus, drink of choice? Rum and coke.

I haven’t completely eliminated caffeine from my diet. But yes, it’s been reduced severely. Luckily, I’ve found some good alternatives—some of which I like better.

Bye bye coffee. No (pumpkin spiced) lattes for me.
Now? I tend to go for hot chocolate—typically Swiss Miss because I know for a fact that brand only has 3-8mg of caffeine. I can drink 3 of these no problem. My other new option: Vanilla Rooibus tea steeped in milk. It’s a tea latte, and since it’s Rooibus, it’s caffeine free. The steeped in milk thing was something I had in South Africa and just loved. Perfect in the mornings. (And yes, you can get this for barely over $2 at Starbucks.)

I also drink milk teas (something I was introduced to and loved in China), however, generally no more than one a day and never for an extended period of time. The caffeine levels in this aren’t that low, and they do seem to add up in my system. Now, some may ask why I just don’t drink decaf coffee. Well, it’s not completely decaf… and I’ve yet to have coffee/latte withdraw strong enough to want to do that. In a pinch, I will. But a hot tea will generally be my first choice.

Dr Pepper, I miss you most of all…
It’s true. There’s nothing like a Pepper. I know there’s caffeine free Dr Pepper, but it’s hard to find in stores. So what are the other choices? Well, Spirite and 7-Up are the two most easily found. I take the former over the latter. But honestly, I’d take Sierra Mist Natural over both of them. (Heck, even just regular Sierra Mist.) They use cane sugar rather than corn syrup—and you can taste the difference. The Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash is great… and mixes perfectly with vodka. (Of course, no bar I know serves this.)

My other fallback drinks are Gatorade or Vitamin Water. Fanta is another soda that doesn’t have caffeine, so it’s an option. A good number of rootbeers are caffeine free, but not all. And not all have it marked. So unless it’s clearly marked, I won’t even go near it.

I still eat chocolate, but of course, I can’t go crazy with it. Like with all caffeine it’s about moderation as well as quantity. If you’re curious as to what happens? Well. Intense pain so bad that I can’t move and it has sent me to the hospital in the past.

So. I’m always looking for more caffeine-free/low-caffeine options… What do you have to suggest? Also, how long do you think you could go without caffeine?

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