I think my love for caffeine started sometime in middle school, when I would wake up to the aromatic scent of freshly brewed coffee from my older sister. At the time, she was in high school — an age my parents deemed old enough to drink coffee. Even though she was told not to, she would let me sneak sips of her coffee in the mornings as long as I kept it under wraps. I didn’t know it at the time but that slow introduction to coffee as well as caffeine set the stage for what I now refer to as my big fat caffeine addiction — and yes, that is totally a play off of the movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”
Much time has passed since those middle school days of sneaking coffee and now I am able to have it — along with any form of caffeine — freely. Caffeine means much more to me than just that original invigorating scent. It is very much a means of keeping myself functioning. For example, my morning cup of coffee is my lifeline and without it, I know I won’t feel awake enough during the day and thus will be in a not-so-great mood.
Now, I had never thought much about all of this until recently when I was standing in my kitchen after a trip to the grocery store. I was in the process of putting away the various food items I had bought for the upcoming week and I saw just how much caffeine I typically consume.
Not only do I use the Keurig in my apartment for my morning cup of coffee, I also keep a bottle of cold brew concentrate in my fridge at all times. Along with this, I am always stocked with Celsius, which is a type of health energy drink and Verb Energy Bars which are snack bars that have as much caffeine as a single espresso. Despite all of this, I often find myself purchasing some type of caffeinated drink such as matcha or a mocha latte a few times every week.
This realization was profound for me. I personally do not think I should consume as much caffeine as I do daily, nor do I think it is healthy for me to do so. I’ll actually get headaches during the day if I don’t have my typical amount of coffee. It’s almost like a withdrawal — and that feels horrible to admit. As a 21-year-old, I should not already be at a point where that happens — in fact, I don’t think I should let myself be at that point regardless of my age.
With all of that being said, I am trying to be intentional about when and how much caffeine I exactly consume. I am planning on starting out slowly by trying to include more natural means of caffeine such as drinking green tea instead of a black coffee in the afternoons. From there, I hope to wean myself off slowly by eliminating one form of caffeine from my usual routine. This will ideally mean that instead of consuming caffeine four times a day, I will only do so once or twice.
I am by no means a health expert — I am simply someone who has realized they are far too dependent on caffeine on a daily basis and wants to remedy that. I don’t think the journey will be perfect or easy, especially as the semester progresses, but I am willing to put the effort in to better an aspect of my life.
Furthermore, I envy those of you who don’t have an addiction or even an affinity for caffeine. I have a few friends who function fine without any caffeine and I genuinely wish that could be me. Even with these changes, I don’t think I’ll ever be at that point. However, part of me does not mind that because I will always treasure those first stolen sips of coffee that got me into this little mess.
Zoya Zahid is a Life Columnist for The Cavalier Daily. She can be reached at email@example.com.