How Giving Up Coffee became the Domino Diet

coffee-freeIt happened on November 7, 2008.  Two days after I started waking up at 4am for my Early Rising 30 day Trial.  Maybe that had something to do with it – I might have been more suggestible or something.  Who knows.

Coffee has been a necessity for me a long time now – too many years to remember.  Every now and then I’d go without for a few weeks when the addiction got too intense.  I was planning on doing it again, because my mornings were starting to feel empty until I’d made the trip to the local cafe and had something hot, steaming and caffeinated in front of me.  But while I was training myself to wake up early, I thought it was better to leave it in place for the times I’d need it, and look at detoxing afterwards.

Then I read that post, by Steve Pavlina.  The one where he talks about coffee being a plant form of self-defence, interfering with the nervous systems of any bugs that ate it.  Initially I thought nothing of it, but I found myself joking around about my coffee being a cup of pesticide.  Within a day, I wanted nothing to do with drinking it.  That was over 6 weeks ago.  I’ve not wanted it since.

The really funny thing, though, is that giving it up has started some kind of chain reaction.  It feels like an avenue of communication has opened up between me and my body; some kind of lynchpin has been pulled out that was jamming the signals, so I’m finally hearing what it has to say.  As a result, my tastes are changing almost effortlessly – when I eat something that has zero nutrition and lots of sugar/fat/whatever in it, I can feel that it’s like a lead weight to the system.  Tuck into a bowl of salad, on the other hand, and it’s almost a physical rush of pleasure.  You should have seen me savouring a slice of avocado on top of a take out salad the other day – think “When Harry Met Sally”.

I’m no longer craving the heavy, intense foods that I was absolutely addicted to (dairy, cheese, sugary stuff etc).  It just feels wrong and almost like forcing myself to eat something toxic.  Instead, I keep emptying the mixed salad leaves box at the local market.  I bought a kilo and a half of mixed leaves two days ago – that’s almost two filled supermarket bags, packed down – today I’m 1/3 of the way through it, and that’s with having eaten out twice as well!  I just can’t get enough of the fresh stuff…

The other day, I had my first real chocolate binge since I made the change.  Admittedly, I’ve still been eating the occasional bit of junk, but this was white chocolate, an absolute favourite of mine.  Sugar is one of the most insidious addictions out there, I’m sure. Anyway, I had my nose in a book, so I was eating almost on autopilot (as I tend to do).  I enjoyed the taste, but it left me with a feeling of craving something, almost a sensation of emptiness.  I’ve never experienced that before.  It was like my body was saying “What the h*** was that, and what am I supposed to do with it?  Give me some REAL food. I want NUTRIENTS – NOW!”

By contrast, a few days ago after an instant type lunch in a rush at work, when I got home I mixed up a huge salad.  As I tucked in, I could almost feel/hear the sighs of relief: “at last, some nutrition”.

Now, I’m the first to admit that those lines of communication have been shut down for a long time, and for very powerful reasons.  Abuse does that to you.  But after many years of working hard on developing a positive relationship with myself and my body, seeing results slowly if at all, the ease with which this happened has me absolutely stunned.  As the messages get clearer in letting me know what I do and don’t want to eat, I’m noticing my habits changing with just about zero effort, and I’m feeling no resistance to it either.  The changes just feel right and natural.  This afternoon, I’m sitting in Gloria Jeans writing this, but when I thought of ordering my usual treat – Cookies and Christmas – I just didn’t feel like it at all, so I ordered myself a banana & berry fruit smoothie instead.  I think it might even be dairy free!

It feels as though coffee was the first domino, and tipping it over has started a chain reaction that has a momentum all it’s own.  Being such a positive one, I’m loving the direction it’s taking me (even if it is likely to make my social life a lot harder), but I’m fascinated to watch it progressing.  Coffee’s definitely gone, although I’m currently using green or white tea to fill that spot.  Dairy seems to be the next thing my body’s rejecting (I’m noticing I get sniffles & feel clogged up almost instantly when I have some) and my preferences seem to be shifting away from anything cooked (especially fried) or processed.  Interestingly, the last few days I’ve also found I’m not wanting spicy stuff nearly as much anymore either – and I was mad about mexican, hot curries and jalopenos on just about everything – including breakfast egg & cheese muffins!  It’s feeling like they have the same ‘communication-deadening’ effect and my body’s just not willing to put up with it anymore.

This is probably going to be a bit of an ongoing saga, so I’ve nicknamed it “The Domino Diet”.  That’s certainly what it feels like!  Stay tuned and I’ll keep you posted…

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