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My little coffee problem

Posted on | October 30, 2007 | 6 Comments

I drink way too much coffee. From years of traveling I’ve gotten rather used to microwaving a cup of water and dumping in some coffee-like powder whenever the urge hit me.

Since 2002, my schedule has been chaos. My days and nights are often reversed without warning (due to work or travel). In my industry, your phone is likely to ring at all hours of the day because something on a network broke. Odd sleeping patterns combined with normal work load stress can’t be good for you. My band aid for this problem has been a steady stream of coffee.

There’s now a graph on the left-hand sidebar of this blog that is charting my coffee intake. I did not realize how much coffee I was consuming until I began logging each cup. I was alarmed to realize that I was consuming 8, 10, sometimes up to 15 cups of coffee per day. I should say “mug” instead of cup, so those numbers could be multiplied by 1.5 to get the actual cup count.

I immediately slowed down, then I began feeling horrible!

Caffeine is (undoubtedly) addictive. Any soda junkie will tell you that. If you suddenly decrease your caffeine intake, almost immediately you begin suffering from:

  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia (go figure!)
  • Sluggishness

And many more things, depending on the drinker. My attempts to slow down on the Java began two months ago and its really been a battle. I must remain productive, I need to produce a certain amount of lines of code bi-weekly in order to pay the bills.

I’m allowing myself 2 – 3 cups in the morning, one cup after lunch and one cup after dinner. That’s 5 cups a day, still a little heavy, but much better than what I was consuming. 3 cups (mugs, rather) is my ideal goal, one mug in the morning, one after lunch, one after dinner.

I’m hoping that keeping this little graph will keep me mindful of my intake so that I can continue to concentrate on reducing my consumption.

Amazing how quickly bad habits can get way out of hand though a simple lack of paying attention to them.


6 Responses to “My little coffee problem”

  1. Sheila
    October 30th, 2007 @ 5:45 pm

    Coffee puts the system under the strain of metabolizing a deadly acid-forming drug, depositing its insoluble cellulose, which cements the wall of the liver, causing this vital organ to swell to twice its proper size. In addition, coffee is heavily sprayed. (Ninety-two pesticides are applied to its leaves.) Diuretic properties of caffeine cause potassium and other minerals to be flushed from the body.

    All this fear went away when I quit, and it was a book that inspired me to do it called The Truth About Caffeine by Marina Kushner. There are five things I liked about this book:

    1) It details–thoroughly–the ways in which caffeine may damage your health.

    2) It reveals the damage that coffee does to the environment. Specifically, coffee was once grown in the shade, so that trees were left in place. Then sun coffee was introduced, allowing greater yields but contributing to the destruction of rain forests. I haven’t seen this mentioned anywhere else.

    3) It explains how best to go off coffee. This is important. If you try cold turkey, as most people probably do, the withdrawal symptoms will likely drive you right back to coffee.

    4) Helped me find a great resource for the latest studies at

    5) Also, if you drink decaf you won’t want to miss this special free report on the dangers of decaf available at

  2. tinkertim
    October 30th, 2007 @ 8:11 pm

    WOW, Sheila, thanks for so much information! I knew that coffee is probably not very good for me, however I had no idea how bad, indeed, it is for my body and over-all ‘good’ feeling.

    The caffeine debate reminds me of the stuff that I heard about beer and red wine. One week, you watch the news and they say a cup of black coffee every day might prevent certain kinds of cancer.

    Watch the same news program the following week and you’ll learn that coffee might take years off of your life.

    Fortunately, I quit watching the news, it was too confusing. I’ll pick up a copy of the book that you recommended and start circulating facts. Many people that I know (working in IT) consume 2 – 3 pots of coffee per day, then swing by Starbucks on the way home.

    I think the golden rule is, if you must go a day or two without it and doing so results in you feeling like crud, its probably bad for you.

    I really like hot drinks, tea is good .. maybe I’ll switch to some herbal stuff without caffeine gradually and phase out the Java. Just the smell of the stuff makes me want a 20 oz. cup, its almost like having some kind of a drug addiction.

    Kicking coffee might make the cessation of my other vice (cigarettes) easier, as one tends to trigger the other.

    Thanks again!

  3. paul
    November 12th, 2007 @ 3:23 am

    Is the big spike in your graph related to this?

  4. tinkertim
    November 12th, 2007 @ 3:59 pm

    That had QUITE a bit to do with it :) Maybe MySQL is in cahoots with coffee makers.

  5. Markus
    November 27th, 2007 @ 3:41 am

    This is interesting ;) It’s somehow curious how coffee makes you addicted. I drink no alcohol and don’t smoke so what else is there? ;) Everyone is allowed to have at least one bad habit :)

    But I still hope you’ll reach your goal. Phone calls at night? OMG!

  6. JustinD
    December 2nd, 2007 @ 6:24 am

    Hey, I’m not quite as big of an addict as that but I usually average around 6 to 8 mugs a day. Every couple of months I put myself through a 2 week detox to break the physical addiction and give my body a break from it. Admittedly I am bit less productive during these times, but the best trick I ever found for cold turkey detox is massive water intake for the first few days. Constantly keep a water bottle (if you can keep it cold its much better too) with you and just keep drinking. During the first few days I’d go through about 10 to 12 bottles of water and it really helps with the aggravation / headache symptoms. That and constantly having to urinate will force you to stay awake too :-)

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