Sparkly & Slimming….a Weight Loss Blog

Samantha's journey to slim down, while remaining sparkly!

Caffeine Free Epiphany….


About two months ago I started getting a really sharp pain in my pelvis – randomly coupled with some other really unpleasant side effects. On the pain scale I would say I’m pretty tough – and this sharp pain caused me to double over in agony in the ‘. middle of the hall at work. A few days later I got it again, twice. A trip to my doctor yielded not much until she mentioned how much water I was drinking. I instinctively replied ‘tons, I drink water like it’s my job!’….then I did a quick mental tally and realized I was drinking about 40 0z. of water and about 86 oz. in coffee. Yup. I was drinking 3-4 Venti iced coffees (cream + 1 sugar) and a doubleshot each day. I’ll throw up a quick visual image for those of you looking cross-eyed at your screen:

 

coffee

So I vowed to cut it out, cold turkey and focus on getting my 100 oz. of water every day then assess how I felt after 30 days.

This is what I looked like before I gave up coffee:

 

My first week without it was HORRIBLE. I have heard about caffeine withdrawal and everything I read was true – nausea, dizziness, headaches (dull, annoying headaches), chills, sleepiness and last but not least, EXTREME IRRITABILITY. Everything annoyed me – I was bitchy as hell and snapped at people for smiling. No lie! Luckily my family loves me and I work with a really supportive group of guys and gals who didn’t take it personally. After the first week the symptoms dulled but the headaches persisted. Oh and the cravings  – I would have bartered with the devil for a doubleshot. Gladly. 🙂

Around week 3 I noticed a shift – I was finally mellowing and I was sleeping better. I’m normally someone who takes forever to fall asleep then wakes up 10-15 times a night. Well, without coffee I only wake up once or twice. I also noticed this nervous energy I always assumed was “Samantha” was actually “Samantha on too much caffeine”. Of course it wasn’t good nervous energy like the kind you feel around your crush or when embarking on a new adventure … no this was the kind that always makes you feel uneasy and on edge. That feeling has left me and dare I say it…I’m actually sort of zen now!

The biggest change (aside from my wallet…all that Starbucks adds up BIG TIME!) was the pains went away. Gone. I did some Googling and chatted with my doctor and some nurse friends and I think I actually developed a caffeine intolerance. When I was in my early twenties I was obsessed with coconut and I used/ate so many products containing it that I developed an allergy. I’m fairly certain the same thing is true of coffee. I overdosed and developed an intolerance. Crazy!

August 30th marked my one-month milestone – and I decided to try a tall iced coffee just for kicks. Within an hour the pain returned. I have had the same reaction to caffeinated tea so I’m officially off caffeine for good. 🙂

I am no longer toting my gold card or chatting on a first name with my baristas. It’s funny how something can go from defining you to a distant memory in the blink of an eye!

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How Do You Take Your Coffee?


I am a coffee addict, and have been for a long time. I don’t mind Dunks, but I love Starbucks. Love! A few months ago I got off the “Venti Iced Mocha” train when I realized how much sugar I was mindlessly consuming (40 grams for a “bitter” drink is INSANE). I switched to drinking plain iced coffee, or iced “red eye’s” (coffee w/ one shot of espresso). I tried skim milk in my coffee, and found it undrinkable. I tried 1%, 2% and whole milks but didn’t like the taste of any of those either. I finally settled on half+half with one limit: it had to be organic. Have you ever looked to see what it’s the milk/cream you add to your coffee?

I have seen someone at work who uses powdered cream/packets like this:

That seems like a super convenient option right? It stays in your purse/desk and never needs to be refrigerated. Yeah, there’s a reason….it’s filled with chemical nonsense! Check out the ingredients:

SUGAR, HYDROGENATED VEGETABLE OIL (MAY CONTAIN COCONUT AND/OR PALM OIL), GLUCOSE SYRUP, SODIUM CASEINATE (A MILK DERIVATIVE), DIPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, FLAVOUR AND ARTIFICIAL FLAVOUR, MONOGLYCERIDES, SODIUM ALUMINUM SILICATE, SALT, ACETYLATED TARTARIC ACID ESTERS OF MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDE.

Not only is SUGAR the first ingredient (meaning it has the highest percentage), but why oh why is there VEGETABLE OIL in coffee creamer?!?! Yeck!! If you’re using this in your coffee, please stop now! 🙂

Next I checked out fat-free creams (I used to love the flavored ones years ago, but I don’t like the added corn syrup/sugar). I bought this one:

Low and behold, check out the ingredients:

FAT FREE MILK, CORN SYRUP, CREAM*, ARTIFICAL COLOR**, DISODIUM PHOSPHATE, CARRAGEENAN, GUAR GUM* AND VITAMIN A PALMITATE

WTF?! Why is there corn syrup in this cream too?!!? Sheesh!

Fast forward to last weekend where I found out Richardson’s dairy in Middleton sells bottles of half and half and milk! Amazing. This is from the cows, into a bottle.(Their ice cream and fro yo are amazing too and their slogan is “Cow to Cone!”). I was shocked to find out it was cheaper than half and half in the grocery store at $2.96 for a half-gallon. Since I’m sharing with a household it will last about 10 days. Good deal!

So, I am taking my coffee w/ organic half and half from Richardson’s and 2 sugars. Before you say it – let me justify my decision to have sugar in my coffee.

I have tried Truvia, the after taste is completely disgusting. It might come from a plant…but well, it still tastes like a plant! I’ve tried Stevia and even though I know it’s all-natural, there is something very “fake” tasting about it. I’ve also tried NutraSweet, Sweet & Low and Splenda. Out of the 3, Splenda has the best taste, but I still won’t use it. I have this thing (and I’m not doctor or expert as you guys know), but what is the long-term effect of using a chemical sweetener? Has there been any study done about how these sugar alcohols affect humans?

A quick Google search yielded the following:

Splenda is different from other sweeteners in that it claims to be ‘made from sugar,’ and ‘natural,’ because Splenda is the trade name for sucralose. Sucralose is a synthetic compound, which — without going into too much scientific detail –is basically sugar modified by adding chlorine atoms. Sucralose, incidentally, was discovered in the 1970s by researchers looking to create a new pesticide. Chlorine is added to many products – drinking water, for example – and does not necessarily render the product dangerous. On the other hand, you are ingesting chlorine, which is not advised in large amounts.

The results of the tests done by Splenda’s manufacturers, McNeil Nutritionals, are also quite worrisome. Their studies revealed that test rodents suffered from dangerous side effects such as shrunken thymus glands, and enlarged livers and kidneys … and there were only short-term studies. No long-term studies were performed before Splenda was approved by the FDA. One could say that the long-term study is being conducted in households and supermarkets across America, with consumers as the test rodents.

Now, call me crazy but I want caffeine not CHLORINE with my breakfast! So, I will continue using 2 sugars and maybe eventually I will be able to drink my coffee with just half + half. Until then, I’m perfectly OK with sugar in moderation.

Time for the coffee poll!

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