Caffeine Doesn’t Always Love Me

I love a good cup of coffee. Besides the taste, I really enjoy the ritual of making a cup of coffee in the morning. It also gives me a really good excuse to not hurry into my morning. The only problem is, coffee doesn’t really love me back.Growing up, I didn’t really drink soda. And the occasional soda that I did have was almost always caffeine free. I liked Sprite, 7up, and ginger ale. Basically flavored sugar water, but no caffeine.

It wasn’t until about 8 years ago that I started drinking coffee. In fact, I couldn’t stand the taste up until that point. I used to get nauseous just smelling a pot brewing. This made my short time working the mess decks in the Navy, where I was responsible for getting the morning pot going, lots of fun.

After deciding to change my diet in a major way around 8 years ago, suddenly all I wanted to drink was black coffee. I went from hating the smell to having two or three cups a day.

What I’ve noticed about how coffee, and caffeine in general, is that my reaction has become much more intense over the years. In fact, a single cup of coffee these days will make me about as jittery as a crackhead. I know this because I ran into more than a couple when I was stationed in Chicago.

Just a single cup of coffee makes it impossible for me to relax. The muscles in my back tighten and I notice that I hold a lot more tension throughout my body. This makes sense considering that caffeine affects the adrenal system and is a central nervous stimulant.

As further indication of this is that on the very few occasions I’ve had a cup of coffee before rock climbing, I found it incredibly challenging to maintain balance on small holds with both my feet and my hands. Both my fine motor control and my balance were too inconsistent. I also ended up scrambling up the wall so fast you’d think something was chasing me!

So as a result I now drink mostly decaf coffee and only treat myself to a real cup of coffee once or twice a week. It’s been tremendously beneficial to my mood and now I don’t spend an hour pacing the house every morning too wound up to get anything accomplished. But I can still enjoy my morning coffee routine!

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