How to Quit Coffee For Good

How to Quit Coffee For Good

I gave up coffee. There it is. I said it. (And still can’t believe it). For more than 10 years, coffee was more than just a drink for me. I used to run on 3-5 cups a day, during the most stressful months in New York, when I was starting my online business and juggling several jobs at a time.

My addiction and that’s what it is, is easy to understand, considering that there is a whole culture around it. Coffee is the glue that holds families and friends together. It’s a social thing. It’s kind of like alcohol. I am guilty of promoting coffee consumption for a very long time – simply because I didn’t know any better.

The background story to my coffee addiction

I started drinking coffee when I was 15 years old. My mom loved to start her day with a nice strong coffee and a splash of (cows) milk. She would also have a second, and maybe a third cup around 3 pm, accompanied by a slice of cake or a cookie. That was and still is her daily treat. And it became mine for many years. So I guess you could say I’ve inherited it.

When I left my parents house to study, and later on moved to New York, I counted up to 6 cups per day, depending on the level of stress I felt, how dangerously close a deadline was or simply because I needed a pick-me-up. I spent many hours and dollars in Brookyln’s nicest coffee shops, ignoring the fact, that the total of my monthly coffee consumption would allow me to indulge in a monthly spa treatment (the cup of cappuccino values at 5$, not including a tip).

Coffee was part of my everyday life. I never experienced any issues with it, unless of course, if I didn’t have it one day, then I’d get a withdrawal headache as my body began detoxing. I even drank it some nights before going out and had no issues finding sleep.

But when I turned 25, I was an anxious mess, stressed, an emotional eater and sometimes even depressed. I suffered from PCOS, a hormonal imbalance, and adrenal fatigue, as I would soon find out. And because coffee stimulates adrenals, my body was under too much stress 24/7. I was so damn irritable!


Coffee has been my drug of choice for 10 years.


What you need to know, to finally give up coffee

Coffee gets your adrenaline pumping and drives up your heart rate. It drains your adrenals by putting your body under a state of stress. Coffee seems to give you energy but it is not real energy. Instead, you are experiencing a chemical stimulation. What you perceive as ‘energy’ comes from the body’s struggle to adapt to increased blood levels of stress hormones.

Research suggests that cutting out caffeine can reduce and even eliminate chronic pain. Pain and tension in our bodies are related to the level of stress hormones in our bodies, which caffeine increases.

Coffee also has an immediate effect on insulin sensitivity and can make your body insulin resistant to consumption. 

What insulin is good for you may ask? Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use sugar from carbohydrates in the food that you eat for energy. If everything works fine, insulin keeps your blood sugar level from getting too high or too low.

Insulin resistance means that the cells fail to respond normally to the hormone insulin, which causes elevated blood sugar levels, weight gain, tiredness, brain fogginess and increased hunger. Doesn’t sound too appealing, does it?

Coffee also plays a role in malnutrition. Caffeine causes an increased loss of thiamin and other B vitamins, calcium, minerals, sodium, chloride, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Studies showed that a single cup of coffee can reduce iron absorption from a meal by as much as 75%.

Not to forget that it’s a drug after all and addictive as f*ck! I didn’t for too long how I was relying so heavily on a beverage to feel good and energized.

Gluten intolerant or celiac? – Don’t drink coffee

Alright, you might want to sit down for this one. What I am about to say has nothing to do with caffeine (that would be part of another discussion), so yes – it means scratching out the decaf, too. Which I always considered blasphemy anyways.

In a nutshell, research has revealed that 10% of coffee contains a protein that cross reacts with gluten antibodies. Now, what does that mean? Well, it means that the one cup of coffee in the morning can trigger the very same gluten-related health problems you are trying to avoid.

What happens when a gluten sensitive person eats gluten? 

"Folks with gluten antibodies react to any gluten in the diet by mounting an immune response.  This means that gluten is perceived by the body as an invader and the gluten antibodies attack the gluten itself trying to destroy it.   This gluten attack is an inflammatory response and inflammation issues can occur anywhere in the body in any tissue or organ." Click here for more

So even if you think you’re doing great on the gluten-free front, that one espresso after lunch can mess with your health and in heavy cases of intolerance, ruin your entire day.

Another reason to eliminate coffee from your diet.

Here is a helpful article on Coffee and Gluten!


I spend most of my days working from coffeeshops. How would I resist the tempation?

Quitting isn’t easy but possible (and worth it)

As with so many addictions, quitting takes a lot of work and time. Even though I already knew how coffee was messing with me and my health, I was in denial for a long time.

I want to say that I started to mentally prepared myself to quit drinking coffee about a year ago. I knew what damage I was doing to myself, but just couldn’t get myself to take the last step, for all the reasons mentioned above.

How did I manage to quit coffee? If I want to make a major change in my life, one thing has always been the key to breaking old habits: I would leave my old environment, go on a vacation or move to a new town or country (you know me and my nomadic lifestyle…). This would make it a lot easier to implement a lifestyle change, and in my case quitting coffee was just that. It completely changed my daily routine.

We are more reliant on environmental triggers than we’d like to think.

This is a great article on changing your habits by changing your environment. And no, it doesn’t mean you have to move to a new continent.

I also picked up yoga practice and meditation and focused on generally eating a very healthy diet, which was an immense help during the process.

Also, I had to avoid my beloved coffeeshops for a few weeks. Which was tough, as 50% of my work gets done sitting in busy little cafés.

But, to be 100% transparent, I still drink caffeine in the form of matcha, green tea, and cacao.

Creating new habits is the key to breaking your coffee adiction.

My tips on how to quit coffee

  • Replace coffee with healthier alternatives such as Chai, Matcha, Turmeric Lattes or tea.
  • Set a date and stick to it, and most important, tell your friends and family, that you are doing  this and explain to them why you’re doing this
  • Get support. Again tell people and find someone who wants to quit coffee as well or has already been through it!
  • Do Yoga. My first day of quitting coffee was also the first day of consistent yoga practice. 20 to 30 minutes daily already get the job done. Fill the void coffee leaves behind with new rituals. Yoga will help you feel better and detox your body!
  • Drink a ton of water to decrease headaches and make you feel fresh and more awake.
  • Avoid coffee shops and situations that could be a trigger! Stay clear of temptations for a while and meet your friends over dinner, a walk in the park or a gym class.

I had to realize, that giving up coffee is an important step in regaining my hormone balance, heal my PCOS, and reverse my adrenal fatigue. So I slowly started to reduce my coffee intake and replaced the daily cup with a healing Matcha Latte or Turmeric milk.

WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR #quittingcoffee?



Jen May

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