Week One: Kickin’ Caffeine

I’ve made it through week one of the Rosa Transformational Health Wellness Program and I’m happy to say I’m still alive! In week one caffeine and artificial sweeteners are eliminated. Normally the caffeine would have been difficult as I’m usually a 1-2 cup of coffee a day kinda guy but due to extenuating circumstances in January I had already quit coffee. In the beginning of January I ended up getting sick, and at the same time threw my neck out with end result being bedridden for almost a week. With my neck and back muscles in spasm, every time I drank coffee I noticed them get even tighter. That was my sign to quit the morning’s sacred elixir. Any symptoms of withdrawal were muted by the pain of my pre-existing condition. Thank God!

 

What I did notice, or really what my coworkers noticed, was after a week without coffee I had difficulty to finishing sentences. This became the source of some great laughter at the office, and if you’ve been in our clinic you know there is no shortage of laughter there. After a couple of weeks without coffee I took up Yerba mate, an herb from South America that contains caffeine. The only other source of caffeine for me at this time was chocolate. When it came time to start the program I knew those would have to let go of them both.

 

It should be known that I enjoy really good chocolate. I lived with a chocolatier for some time in North Carolina who made some of the best chocolate I’ve ever had and it became a regular part of my life. Out here in Oregon, I fell in love with the Honey Mama bars. If you’ve never had them you have no idea what you’re missing! I also enjoyed the Endangered Species 88% dark chocolate bars, the perfect blend of bitter and sweet.

 

It should also be known that 70% or greater dark chocolate does have legitimate health benefits. Just 30 grams of this delightful treat can stimulate the release of nitric oxide, a substance that causes the blood vessels to relax and dilate. This action of vasodilation increases circulation and allows for greater blood flow to critical organs like the brain. Dark chocolate can also stimulate the production of endorphins, which are secreted during exercise and laughter, two activities known for making us feel good.

 

Knowing these benefits of chocolate, I still let it go. It hasn’t been easy, in fact it’s been the toughest food to eliminate so far. As I look ahead to week two I’ll be eliminating sugar and fruit juice. It just so happens that almost all chocolate bars also have sugar as one of their ingredients. So, chocolate will now be gone not only due to caffeine, but also to the added sugar.

 

The easiest part of week one has been eliminating artificial sweeteners. I have never really consumed these substances. As a child, I remember the first time I tasted a diet soda with aspartame/NutraSweet in it. It tasted like a chemical. The artificiality of it turned me off and I’ve never touched the stuff again.

 

I can honestly say week one has been a success. I’m glad I’m off coffee and caffeine in general. I no longer experience the muscle tightness, the inner jittery feeling, or the sensation of being cold to my core that coffee would leave me with. I’ve noticed chronically tight muscles have begun to loosen, my brain can function just fine without the caffeine, and I’ve broken a dependence that had developed over time. Now if I can have the same kind of success next week with sugar I’ll be feeling really good about my progress.

 

How was your week one experience? Share your thoughts and experiences with us and leave a comment below!

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