We Tried the Coffee Diet

Zoom
by Leandra Medine
April 29, 2014
READ NEXT

And spoiler: it was nothing like the tequila diet

My brother is convinced that he will outlive the rest of my family because he doesn’t drink coffee. I know I mentioned this last week but it’s worth reiterating. There is also substantial-though-unproven evidence floating around the Internet and brick and mortar juice bars citywide that suggest coffee is a poison our bodies have been conditioned to process. But for every naysayer, there is an advocate vetting in favor of the third-party stimulant.

Embarrassingly, for a minute back in January, I almost agreed with the former conjectures. So much so that I wrote a story about it. It was only a matter of two or three weeks before I was back on the hamster wheel that is caffeine addiction and I wondered why I ever went off coffee in the first place, which clearly, I forgot about because last week, I suggested something really stupid to Amelia. Something dumber than the time I suggested we shave each other’s heads and use our hair as reverse wigs.

A coffee cleanse.

I was half-kidding when I said it but when she looked at me like a pissed off rodent, I thought to myself, self, do it for the story. So, from Tuesday of last week until as recently as this morning, neither of us have consumed coffee. Well, that’s not entirely true, but we’ve tried not to consume coffee. We’ve also ruled out tea and have resorted to mornings of extensive hot water with lemon, chiefly to satisfy an oral fixation.

And here is probably where, one week in, you might imagine I fancy myself a natural energy evangelist but last Thursday around 3pm, a friend of mine, henceforth to be called Angel Grip, brought me an iced coffee with almond milk and I drank it. And it felt incredible.

I didn’t want to but I absolutely felt like it was my duty. After all, he came by! Holding an iced drink! Cut with almond milk! Well knowing I hate dairy milk! For me! So, I did, and you know what? I turned into a machine. A machine with capabilities that far exceeded the ones I had been demonstrating all week.

And not just that, I got happy. I know, I know, caffeine highs are a very real thing but if they work every time, why deprive yourself of the controversially false giggles?

I should note that not drinking coffee didn’t give me headaches or any of the withdrawal symptoms I’d read about. I couldn’t determine whether the bags under my eyes, which were supposed to go away actually did go away (I’m going with nahzzzz). I also wasn’t as hungry (one time I read that when you feel hungry after drinking a coffee what you’re actually experiencing is a withdrawal symptom) but what’s wrong with hunger?

And, fine, I did sleep better at night. My head hit the pillow and it was off to Snoozeville for me almost immediately. It’s just, the cons far outweighed the pros, which have left me to conclude that if ever you are feeling like coffee hasn’t been doing you well, go off of it for a week, if only to remind yourself that it is your sister — biological or not. It is your favorite cousin from Michigan. It is your mother, it is your baby nurse, and it needs you as much as you need it.

Also, though, drink a lot of water. This is non-negotiable.

-Leandra

Not drinking coffee for multiple consecutive days, on purpose, is probably one of the top three dumbest things Leandra has ever gotten us into. The first was the time we bought pet roosters. The second was the time she sat on my shoulders and we put an enormous trench coat over us and pretended to be a human totem pole. This was so much worse.

Without coffee I was basically a mildly-functioning baby slug with zero social or motor skills. Everything was hard. Hands suddenly made for terrible typing utensils. I’d forgot to bend my knees. Words seemed longer than they ever had before — even longer than the time we drank tequila all day instead of water. My head pounded. I had a non-alcohol induced, mid-day hangover for three days and it was absolute hell.

By Wednesday I turned a bit of a corner. I didn’t foam any Rabies from the mouth when Leandra suggested we get our thousandth hot water with lemon, and I was actually crossing things off the to-do list. I fell asleep pleasantly at 10:30 PM, whereas my normal bed time is typically a very awful 2 AM.

But on Thursday AM, the phantom hangover hit again. This is what withdrawal feels like, I thought.

Around my thousandth yawn a miracle happened. Leandra’s angel of a friend brought us iced coffees so I found a beer funnel and chugged it. From there, I turned into Jordan Belfort on coke. I mean I was getting everything done. And I had SO many ideas. I made phone calls, wrote five stories, went grocery shopping and learned a new language all in like, one hour. 

On Friday I vowed to be “good” again. No coffee; back to being Amelia the Dying Toad. But Saturday and Sunday brought a whole new set of challenges, aka: real hangovers, so I cheated. Twice.

Monday was my last chance to redeem myself. It was a little bit easier considering I wake up most Mondays with a violent case of anxiety, only instead of exasperating said anxiety with heart palpitations from coffee, I sort of grumpily eased into my day. Around noon I was able to form polite sentences! Then by 2 PM, I think I really did die. This is my ghost writing currently (using Siri to type since ghosts don’t have appendages), and my only conclusion from this awful experiment is that no coffee, whatever the health benefits, is just not for me.

-Amelia

REPLIES
  • http://www.alexiskletjian.com ALEXIS KLETJIAN

    I agree that you need to do a coffee cleanse once and awhile. I think it is a go-to more out of habit most mornings. We are creatures of comfort after all.
    http://www.alexiskletjian.com

  • Ticking32

    Leandra, who makes your top and pants?

    • Leandra Medine

      HEY TICKLING! The t-shirt is from Zara and the pants are Giulietta

      • Nikija

        I love your pants. The whole outfit looks just great!

  • Katie

    How about bulletproof coffee?

    • Amelia Diamond

      Oh I’ve heard of that. Have you tried it?

      • Rebeka Osborne

        Isn’t that coffee with butter and coconut oil in it?

        • Rococo

          It is and Laird Hamilton drinks it that way. So I therefore do too, although I don’t surf, and drink too much coffee. 1 teaspoon of coconut oil + 1 teaspoon of grassed (salt free obviously) butter and blend with a double espresso = foamy heaven. Also I call them Tibetan Surfer latte’s because that sounds better than butter coffee

          • Rococo

            Grassfed. Haha. Not stoned cows. Good lord. I’m going to go get more coffee, because obviously I need it.

  • Kirsten

    Tell your brother that moderate (less than 6 cups a day) coffee drinkers have a lower all cause mortality and morbidity risk than non-coffee drinkers. I can link you to the literature if you need proof. Happy drinking!

    • j. antoine

      I was going to write this as well… There is substantial evidence that coffee has significant health benefits. There is evidence that it can be negative for people with stomach, anxiety, and sleep issues, but if you are clear of these, drink up, it’s good for you!

  • http://Mysmallwardrobe.com/ Carelia

    Hi, my name is Carelia and I am a coffeeholic!!!!

    Mysmallwardrobe.com

  • sp1315

    That’s why you were so freaked out when I approached you at Zara in Soho to tell you I love your blog…. I thought I had scared you to death!!!!

  • http://alksne.blogspot.com Laura Alksne

    Oh I’ve tried this so many times that I should get a badge with a “Good luck next time” before I even start.
    I don’t know what kind of coffee do you drink, but once I stop drinking mine – let’s say no coffee in the morning – at around 1/3PM I’ll get a migraine that makes me want to smash my head against the wall. Plus, the only “cure” then seems to be a white pill that numbs the pain.

  • Androbel

    hahahaha coffee rocks my world. when I start drnking 3 cups a day, I tel myself : ok, stop. so for 1 day I go off caffeine and everything goes back to normal :)

    Xo, Belen

    Androbel Insider

  • http://alcessa.wordpress.com/ alcessa

    Day 1 of our 10-day paddling tour in a Swedish lake area:

    Husband: Oh no! We need to get back! I forgot something in the car!
    Me: Are you sure? What was it?
    Husband: Well, coffee …
    Me (über-friendly): Hm, maybe we can do without for a few days?
    Husband (angst-ridden): NO! You will turn into a vampire if you don’t get your coffee! Just turn the damn boat around, will you!?! We’re going back!

    So we did.

  • Manon B

    I think it’s all in your head !
    And isn’t iced coffee mostly sugar ?? !

    • sarah

      Not necessarily! Sugar comes from adding flavor syrups or sugar…most places ice coffee is just regular coffee served cold and over ice

    • Amelia Diamond

      Nope. I drink mine black with nothing in it at all!

      • CafeorNay (seewhatididthere)

        damn thats gangster. i’m always impressed when people drink it black.
        i need mine milky with a hint of sugar

      • Charlotte Fassler

        you badass

        • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

          I just gonna say….
          So OG NY of you, Amelia.

  • leonorjr

    “Not drinking coffee for multiple consecutive days, on purpose, is probably one of the top three dumbest things Leandra has ever gotten us into. The first was the time we bought pet roosters. The second was the time she sat on my shoulders and we put an enormous trench coat over us and pretended to be a human totem pole. This was so much worse.”

    this is my favorite lede to anything ever.

  • Liz

    As a champion of leisure activities (e.g. strolling, browsing, brunching, and certainly coffee sipping), I’m not sure why you would want to eliminate such a pleasant activity from your life. What’s next? No more eating, just soylent?!

  • Jules

    Recent study showed that if you have 2-3 cups of coffee, it reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes. However if you decrease your coffee amount by even one cup or have more than 3, it is said to have adverse effects. I say whatever works for you is what you should do.

  • Hereshoping Themayanswereright

    Kratom is better than coffee..mellows you out but gives energy boost, focus and mood enhancement at the same time. Doesn’t taste too good but the feeling is awesome.Similar to kava in the mellowing aspect but with more energy enhancing effects.There’s some negative hype about it in the news, but those who actually use it know it’s not the least bit addictive.

  • http://mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr/ Mafalda

    I love your faces on the pictures, it’s hilarious. Coffee diet? NO WAY!!!

    Mafalda ❤
    http://mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr

  • http://adeliberateimagination.wordpress.com/ CJKEYS2

    I wish I could drink caffeinated coffee without turning into the incredible anxious hulk. Amelia, why do you go to bed so late?!

    • Amelia Diamond

      Because I am the incredible anxious hulk!

      • http://adeliberateimagination.wordpress.com/ CJKEYS2

        I’ve written to Marvel Comics several times, they still have not picked up the idea of the Hulk ordering decaf espresso martinis on dates.

  • Kihm

    I love you two. Thank you.

    • Amelia Diamond

      And we you!

  • http://www.fancyalterego.wordpress.com/ Heather P.

    I think each person is different when it comes to caffeine consumption. Some people don’t and never will, some people are worthless without it, and the rest of us fall somewhere in between.

    I discovered recently that I was drinking my coffee at the wrong time of the day for me, and it has helped me immensely! In the past, I would drink only one cup of coffee first thing in the morning (after a glass of water, of course). However, I found that I started craving it again in the afternoon, which for a once-a-day drinker is very bad (aka I couldn’t fall asleep later that night). So I tweaked my routine to keep the glass of water in the morning, but wait until around 10am for the coffee. I’m less jittery, less tempted to imbibe again later in the day, and still can get to sleep just fine.

    So for those of you looking to kick the habit, or merely cut back, try writing down WHEN you drink it, and see if you can cut one of those out without the dreaded non-booze hangover…and go from there. :-)

  • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

    Is drinking hot water with lemon more cost-friendly? I could see places trying to categorize it as a tea or something, as to charge the same price.

    • Leandra Medine

      It’s actually really awkward because they don’t charge you for hot water so after a little while you turn into the resident free loader

      • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

        Score! My father’s always said there are more free things to do in NY than what money requires in other cities, and I guess this is one them.

        (Bonus if they have WiFi.)

        • Charlotte Fassler

          Yeah for the most part they don’t have the heard to charge you actually money for a cup of hot water, tea however people get away charging upwards of $3 for which seems plain wrong….

          • http://madamecouture.blogspot.com/ Emma Hager

            Yeah because putting a cheap tea bag in a cup of hard-mineral-heavy tap water has a service charge of $2.50.

  • lavieenliz

    coffee is awesome!! I’m allergic to it but it’s still awesome!! lol cute pics

    http://hashtagliz.com

  • bumblejeaniepie

    When I hear “coffee cleanse,” I think “coffee enema.” Anybody try one of those???

  • Alexandra

    While a week is a nice attempt, any real effect is going to take a lot longer! I’m coffee free and proud of it. I get incredibly jittery when I have it, with headaches and a quick crash and bad moods in the afternoon, because my body’s never become accustomed to it. No thanks!

  • Giselle

    It’s done more good than damage for me. Drinking coffee. But that is drinking quality coffee. Not Starbucks (overroasted low quality beans with tons and tons of pesticides) And quality coffee is not so difficult to find nowadays with the whole new coffee culture.
    Here’s an article that might be useful:
    http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/18/health/coffee-health-benefits/index.html

  • http://thenouvelliste.com kate

    as someone who consistently blames bad days on a lack of caffeine intake, i am so happy that the take away from this post isn’t one of coffee being the root of all evil. long live my $4 dollar a day habit!

  • tayloraube

    This is why I don’t drink coffee! I can’t – it makes me go CRAZY. I’m already hyperactive enough hahaha. Loved this <3 StopDropAndVogue.com

  • Margaret Ely

    thanks for finally explaining why I either want to pass out or eat my hand about 30 mins after I finish my coffee.

  • CarlotaLMorais

    SOO FUNNY, as always. Love you both! I spent today with no coffee also, its 6:30 and I need to study AND go out for a late dinner: Coffee my friend, here I go for a late afternoon snack!! Coffee and cake!! YUM

  • CarlotaLMorais

    And AMELIA tell me more about those bracelets! I LOVE them!!!

  • Maureen Krezel French

    i carry around my coffee cup like a kid carries around a sippie cup….I literally cannot drive (or be driven -permit time) my son to school with out it by my side….cant live without it….whatcha gonna try next…these diet reports are funneeee!

  • Gillian

    Sigh, we need more places in London serving almond milk coffees!

  • Alessandra

    I’d rather die than give up coffee for any amount of time.

    No, no.. That’s too dramatic.

    Gun to head, “Give up coffee or die,” I’d probably put down the cup.

    I’d rather have a complicated knee surgery than give up coffee for any amount of time.

    “It’s gonna be painful, you’re gonna be off your feet for a while — weeks, months maybe. Physical therapy is in your future. You will be in extreme pain.” Worth it.

    • Brain Essence

      i laso wnat to give up that bad habbit

  • http://weareatlove.com/ Wear Eat Love

    I can’t live without my italian coffee, but I should do the coffee cleanse from time to time. Sometimes I drink decaffeinate.

    http://weareatlove.com
    WEAR EAT LOVE

  • Katie Pastrana

    What an awful thing to do to yourselves… congratulations for surviving!

    NOW – Leandra, who makes that watch?? CLASSIC

  • Roxy Menhaji

    love love love Giulietta

  • Melissa

    I love coffee but it is the warmth and sipping not the caffeine as much. I do drink it black but I can take days off and feel no affects one way or the other, sometimes in my office they make half caff and sometimes the real deal and I can’t ever tell the difference. What I don’t do is have only one cup. It’s either a lot or nothing, that is why the whole Keurig craze seems so strange to me.

  • Rosaly

    Oh my goodness Amelia I just pissed my pants. You just inspired me to get some coffee. Finals week is approaching and I am already barely alive!

    • Amelia Diamond

      I hope you didn’t pee in the library! Coffee will save you though!

  • Dani Philipson

    <3

  • http://www.fullbellywornsoles.com/ Michelle Panting

    Haha, loved this post. I use coffee a few times a week to help me with work, so I’m glad I’m not tooooo dependent on it. But at the same time, it’s such a lovely, addictive little addition to my day.

    http://www.fullbellywornsoles.com

  • Cattifer

    I’d rather go on the only coffee diet. I could live happily on that for the rest of my life, with maybe the addition of a bit of protein and fiber.

  • carolinecarol9

    The picture of the pissed off rodent kills me.

  • Claire Catherine Wyatt

    I’ve tried a “coffee cleanse” a couple of times. In the past, it’s always felt like a more effective form of torture then anything they’re coming up with at Guantanamo – perhaps the worst thing you would willingly do to yourself. Especially since my coffee consumption was bordering on having it administered to me constantly via IV. Then I read something on the internet (which is never wrong) that said caffeine is one of the worst things you can do for your skin. Behind people who don’t use their blinker, my own terrible skin is probably my next biggest pet-peeve (Oh hey pimple, thanks for showing up right before that interview that I was so excited about, of course you can join! Welcome.) So, being fully aware of the consequences, I decided to give it a try. Usually I only last a week, this time I’ve gone almost a month and I don’t really miss it anymore. (Except for when it’s being freshly brewed in my office break room and that delicious smell wafts into my office at 7:30 in the morning as I’m checking my email and wondering why I didn’t take a sick day …) Anyway – the first two weeks were terrible. Everyone in my office knew that I was giving it up (I’m pretty sure they were making two less pots of coffee a day, and finally someone pulled a Sherlock and did some deducing) I snapped at everyone, was generally just a terrible person, and finally when someone asked why, I believe my response was, “who the hell knows.” A month later though, I’m FINALLY starting to experience the benefits without the withdrawal symptoms. And to reiterate drink lots of water.

  • http://coolerthancake.com Todd

    I feel like coffee is like playing spin the bottle, only instead of landing on people, it lands on all the shit you have to get done that day. I think coffee makes me brilliant in the same way alcohol makes me fall out of cabs.

  • Costume De Rigueur

    I was about to start the lemon juice cleanse, so I had to stop drinking coffee. I tried it for a couple of days. I was so bad-tempered, feeling miserable and without a reason to go on living Then my cousin took me out for coffee, I felt alive again!

    P.S. and I am not a coffee freak!

  • http://www.lezu.com/ L’ezu

    We agree Leandra, coffee is a necessity! We can feel our mood improve in the morning after consuming it! Caffeine addition theories be damned, we love our coffee, and we are sticking to it! http://www.LEZU.com

  • pamb

    I thought a coffee diet would be all coffee, all the time! And maybe even a coffee enema (sorry, I think they do have those) to boot. Add a cigarette or two and you’d be cleaned OUT!

  • Roma

    oh my goodness I lol-ed at the part where you claim you chugged iced coffee with a beer funnel god bless you all

  • Isabelle

    How many lemon juice did you gave in one cup of hot water? Bc I wanna try it too ;))

  • Alejandra

    I need to do this to restart my body’s caffeine tolerance. Last week I fell asleep right after 20 oz of black iced coffee… (i said 20oz and not a venti iced coffee because I dont want your readers to know that I dont live in New York)

  • Lelano

    Two cups a day is totally healthy with countless benefits including getting extra antioxidans for pretty skin:)) Thank you coffee !!