Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Habits and Change

I haven't abandoned the cleanse process, in fact I have started with a pretty significant change to my diet the past week. I wanted to jump in here though to talk a bit about my coffee habit.

I had a pretty substantial coffee habit, drinking about 1 quart each day, usually either sitting in Starbucks reading, or working at my desk, black from a french press. As I started to look more closely at what I put in my mouth, I had to be honest and come to the conclusion that this was ALOT of coffee, and there was no real reason to be taking it in.

I wasn't sure how it would work, but last Wednesday I went a bought a box of Yerba Mate tea. This is an herbal tea which is supposed to contain a small amount of caffeine, should be a good substitute to bridge me off the juice. I drank two cups of that, and i have to say i didn't find it to be a very good substitute for my daily dose of the mother bean. I had a nice headache going, was kind of cranky and really foggy in the head. I felt like crap.

The next day I woke up feeling better, but still missing the usual morning routine. The top of the Yerba Mate box had a recipe for a 'Mate Latte'. I made a cup with hot soy milk heated with some grated nutmeg and ground clove. This was really good! More substantial than the weak tea version. This week I've instituted a new morning and evening routine, brewing up a mate latte with my oats in the morning and before bed at night.

The obvious benefit is I have greatly reduced my caffeine intake. But more than this, I've radically altered my daily routine. The warm spiced drink has enhanced my digestion, curbed my nighttime appetite and improved my nightly sleep.

I've noticed the last few days that my rosacea has flaired up in the morning. I am not sure if this is connected to the Yerba, the withdrawal of caffeine, the change in diet, or perhaps a symptom of the auto immune stuff i am dealing with. This week I am going to eliminate the Yerba Mate, replacing it with a cup of spiced soy milk morning and night.

Beyond what I am learning about the coffee/caffeine habit, I think I might have hit on some valuable lessons about dealing with habits and change.

I don't think I had much of a caffeine addiction, rather I was hooked on this comfortable daily routine that revolved around coffee. Looking at it honesty, i could see it was not in the best interest of my health and was not the best use of my time. I didnt just quit that routine cold turkey, instead i replaced it with a new routine. The new routine is healthier and less time consuming than the old one.

There's something else here about dealing with change, which i am not sure i have quite put my finger on. We all deal with changes in our lives, sometimes minor speedbumps, sometimes mountains rising to block our planned life path. The loss of control when we encounter change is I think what makes dealing so hard. I wonder if taking control and instituting our own changes elsewhere might make dealing with all change easier to handle. Can we train our minds to embrace, rather than resist change?

Anyway, no coffee for me all week, and hardly a drop of caffeine except some sports beans during the century ride last week. Super energy level, my mind is sharp. I am doing something right.


HolisticGuru said...

Great post. Congrats on stepping away from the coffee and really recognizing your relationship with it as a habit that was unnecessary.

Also, I've had similar thoughts about change. A book that I enjoyed, because I think the fear involved with change is related to uncertainty, is called "Comfortable With Uncertainty" by Pema Chodron. You've probably heard of it.

Good luck with the coffee. I'm sending you strength vibes for all your change.

Jen said...

Selective reinforcement of substitute behaviors. Institute a behavior that substitutes for another behavior and reinforce that behavior selectively. More effective is selective reinforcement of incompatible behavior. Select a behavior that is non compatible with your old behavior and reinforce that behavior. Did you all know my degree is in behavioral science?