June 2014 Archives


Eight Months of Green Tea

Switching from coffee to green tea can significantly reduce the amount of caffeine that you consume every day. I made the change a while back, and here are my experiences.

My new year's resolution this year was to give up coffee. I had been a coffee addict for many years and I was worried about the deleterious side effects of the habit. The possible worries that most captured my attention were elevated blood pressure, headaches, and sleeplessness.

The strategy that I employed to remove temptation from my path was to begin the withdrawal process during the Christmas/New Year break from work. For the first time in many years the company that I worked for at the time decided to close up shop during the holiday period. So the temptation to drink coffee at work was removed by the fact that there was no work place available.

An additional ally in insuring that I made it through the fiercest withdrawal symptoms was the fact that I ceased to replenish my stock of ground coffee at the supermarket. I had been the habit of picking up one particular brand on a weekly basis. However, for the holiday period, I stopped doing this, and prior to the holiday the household reserves were depleted to zero.

Naturally, I needed some kind of alternative to migrate to during the transition, like the coffee drinker's equivalent of a nicotine patch. A rummage in the food cupboard located a well aged package of Bentley's Royal Pomegranate Green Tea. An initial cup was not particularly impressive to my coffee ravaged sense of taste. However, there was no alternative, and so, out of necessity, I gradually began to appreciate the flavor of this tea.

A variety of coffee-less benefits were immediately apparent. And many of these were unexpected. For example, tea making required less preparation and less clean up than dripping hot water through a filter filled with ground coffee. So there was an immediate small time saving to be realized. Tea is slightly cheaper than coffee, too, so there was a small but beneficial effect on weekly outgoings.

There were, of course, withdrawal symptoms. In particular, headaches were a problem. However, due to the lack of coffee within the household, and exhaustion and lethargy on my part, the trip to the store to replenish coffee supplies was never made. Within a matter of three days, awash with Bentley's tea, I seemed to be through the withdrawal headache stage.

Naturally, what had once been a coffee addiction turned into a green tea habit. However, the caffeine content of green tea is significantly less than that for coffee and so this seemed a reasonable trade off.

Now the transition from coffee is more than eight months behind me. In all that time, I think that I have had just two 'social' coffees, when they could not possibly be avoided, and I believe that the addiction has, this time, been thwarted. I say this time, because several times in the past I have given up coffee, only to re-engage quite rapidly, when I needed to restore my energy levels, for example, with late night work or time zone crossing travel. However, on this occasion, I have beaten both these temptations and not returned to the coffee habit. So, as one says on these occasions, I am not cured, but taking it one day at a time, and feeling relatively comfortable.

As far as I can tell, green tea has no power to markedly increase my metabolism. Additionally, whatever antioxidants it contains have done nothing, as far as I can tell, in either a positive or negative way. However, green tea's propensity to stain teeth, raise blood pressure, cause headaches, and keep you awake are lower than those of coffee, and it is on those grounds I am happy!

My preferred brand of green tea now is 'Trader Joe's Green Tea'. This seems to have one of the better flavors that one can encounter in green teas. I don't like the Tazo Zen, green tea that you find in Starbucks, I have to confess. I am also a little suspicious of the price that Starbucks charge for two tea bags and a large cup of hot water. However, this isn't really a problem as I don't have to go to Starbucks very often now!

I think that giving up coffee may have reduced my blood pressure slightly. If that is correct, then that would be positive. Please note that one person is not a statistically valid sample and my methods of judging reduce blood pressure are far from quantitative! I also think that the elimination of coffee from my diet has helped slightly with my headaches and I think that I am now able to sleep slightly better than I could eight months ago. So as experiments go, I believe that this one has been successful. It has also been nice to take on a tiny challenge and prevail. Next, I may pluck up courage to tidy up the garage!

Posted by ZFS | Permanent link