03/06/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Quitting Secrets From A Caffeine Fiend

Hi, my name is Karen and I am a caffeinaholic. I love the stuff: the smell, the taste, the color -- and of course the results.

I've credited caffeine for much of my creativity and productivity. I've even often felt caffeine was responsible for 93% of my personality. I worried if I never drank another cup of coffee again, I'd become a shy, humorless wallflower - a shut in. Hence, for years I've rationalized remaining a caffeinaholic -- and became delighted whenever I found research studies supporting the perks of my percolated buddy. For example this one:

Coffee has been demonstrated to reduce the risk of several common medical illnesses--the most important of these is Type 2 diabetes, but also suicide, some forms of cancer and neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease," says Dr. Peter Martin, director of the Vanderbilt Addiction Center and researcher for the Institute for Coffee Studies -- funded in part by the coffee industry.

Oooops. Did you see that last part? This study was funded by the coffee industry!

I guess it's not just the folks who drink coffee who feel more clever -- but simply working for the coffee industry can help you feel quite clever. I gotta say, I respect how those coffee industry "researchers" found a way to report that drinking coffee can literally save your life -- by preventing suicide. Personally I had always felt that if I didn't drink coffee, even for a day, I might die. After reading about their study, it seemed there might actually be some science behind my fear!

Seriously though, I've been wanting to quit caffeine for years, and I am happy to announce I finally did quit! YAY!

(NOTE: That was NOT a caffeine induced "YAY!"-- that was a naturally energetic "YAY!" -- which leads me to my secret for breaking my caffeine addiction: increasing my natural energy.)

My story is one of a minor miracle. I decided to quit coffee on a Monday. (NOTE: The Sunday New York Times without coffee seemed just too impossible to do!). By Wednesday I gotta say I was feeling incredibly sluggish -- and starting to believe the absence of caffeine might indeed lead to suicide.

Then I looked up and saw a sign which said "energy food." I considered this sign to be a sign -- an act of divine intervention -- as I was in major need of energy!

These words, "energy food", were the subtitle on a sign hailing the presence of a fabulous healthful restaurant called PUMP -- which offers many delicious and varied foods and beverages -- all of which merrily deliver on their promise of "energy food." Their main staples are a selection of "supercharged" whole-meal dining options, including combinations of steamed fresh vegetables, grilled chicken, turkey, baked tofu, brown rice, beans, and amazing protein shakes and fresh juices.

After eating at PUMP for a month I quickly discovered -- EUREKA! -- if you eat healthful foods which give you what PUMP calls "sustainable energy", you can stay pumped with energy throughout the day -- without the aid of caffeine.

(Note: That was NOT a caffeine induced "EUREKA" - that was a PUMP-energized EUREKA!)

If you're trying to quit caffeine and live in New York I suggest you fuel up at PUMP. (For locations visit their website. )

If you live outside of New York, you can still benefit from PUMP, by following the nutritional philosophies PUMP applies to their menu, which I've listed below.


1. Don't eat foods with butter, cream, mayo -- or any unhealthy fats.
2. Use salt sparingly and only from the sea.
3. There should be no Fryday in your week. Don't eat fried foods.
4. Focus in on supercharged meals - which have some healthful protein (chicken, turkey, beans) some healthful carb (brown rice), and some greens (salad or spinach).
5. Focus on whole, unprocessed, chemical-free ingredients.
6.. Eat wholewheat bread instead of white flour bread.
7. Eat brown rice instead of white rice.
8. Add protein powder to your morning shake to give you extra sustainable energy.
9. Hell, even muffins, pancakes, and desserts can have protein in them! And if you put in that protein, you can be pro-muffin, pro-pancake, pro-dessert
10. Recognize that not all calories are created equal. And it's not about counting calories - it's about eating foods which count best for nutritional nourishment -- which give you the most bang for your calorie buck.


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