A Morning High

Author: Charlotte O'Shea

Out of all of the things I had to avoid whilst I was expecting caffeine was the most difficult. I didn’t cut it out altogether (so many conflicting reports on how much you are supposed to have) but I certainly reduced my intake substantially. Which in a way showed me exactly how much I was consuming in any given 24 hour period i.e. A LOT.

Blame it on the long days, lack of sleep and I guess general habit if you will but these last weeks my coffee intake is verging on the embarrassing. I used to be fairly dedicated to drinking lots of water but that’s gone out of the bloody proverbial window. And then I went and bought my husband a Nespresso machine for his birthday. Brilliant work Charlotte, now you have all of those tempting coloured pods to contend with every day. Evian has never seemed so unappealing.

Coffee isn’t good for you is it, for one it stains your teeth (I have a bleaching kit at the ready, just need to get around to using it, last time I did a fortnight stint my smile was so gleaming my Dad warned me I was beginning to look like Simon Cowell… but that’s a story for another day) yet I still seem unable to resist.

I have tried a few alternatives (green tea with honey has probably been the most successful) but nothing has really served as a replacement. I love the smell of it in the morning. I love stopping off at the services on a long journey and purchasing a large latte with a shot of vanilla to go (so much sugar!) and there’s nothing quite like a piping hot mug in bed on a weekend with a pastry.

Yes of course there are decaffeinated versions, it’s just not the same.

Oh dear.

Have you ever succeeded in going cold turkey on coffee? (or tea, I used to drink more but for some reason it has began to taste odd since I’ve had Mabel)

Do you drink “too much”?

Do you care?!

In the midst of hearing how seemingly everything is bad for you I’m accepting coffee is my one major vice.

Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.
Follow Charlotte on instagram @charlotte.oshea
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50 thoughts on “A Morning High

  1. I am totally pining for tea and coffee since the paleo started! I have read today you can have it occasionally but with almond or coconut milk as dairy is a no go. I have to live on water and green tea or herbal teas. I love a cup of tea and after the initial 30 day detox it’s one of the first things I’m having! The thing is because it’s a diuretic, the more you have it can actually end up being more dehydrating than hydrating but it is def addictive! I’m gonna re bleach as soon as I find my pesky teeth mould things, god knows where they are! But my teeth do look better just by having stopped having those teas and coffees! Agree that decaf is not quite the same…a bit like drinking non alcolhic cocktails..what’s the point? Xx

    1. Exactly! what is the point?! I have tried almond milk, it’s not too bad, I have it as part of my new healthy eating regime x

      1. I think it tasted cardboard like but not fond of coconut milk either, not tried either in hot drinks yet x

        1. Give cashew milk a whirl (if you can’t find any it’s super easy to make at home). I really don’t like almond milk, not a massive fan of coconut milk either. I use oat milk or soya (both v convenient and in most stores) but guessing they are out – cashew definitely seems more creamy to me and doesn’t have the weird smell/aftertaste I find almond milk does. Oh and NEVER try hemp milk. I did – big mistake. So gross!

          1. I haven’t seen oat milk Anna, will have a look at that. Almond is ok but it depends on the brand I find, some do have an odd after taste x

  2. I have to admit I always feel a pang of guilt when I have a big milky coffee with added syrup, sprinkles and everything else! As a result I have started to treat myself a little less frequently. Now, when I do, I get a sort of coffee hangover almost immediately! It still hasn’t put me off the odd indulgence though! Ha!
    As far as replacements go, I occasionally think I should start drinking decaf black coffee. Then I remember it’s horrible and pointless. A colleague let me try her Twinings Green Tea with Salted Caramel the other day, with a squeeze of honey it is truly lush!!

      1. It is! And you really get the flavour. Not like some of these fruit teas that smell amazing and taste of nothing!

  3. I’m a big tea drinker so to cut down on caffeine I alternate with Rooibos earl grey which is lovely. Decaff tea/coffee is apparently bad for you due to the chemicals they use to decaff. Rooibos is naturally caff-free.

    1. I always think Earl Grey is too perfumed, maybe I need to grow up a bit and re-try. Good point on the chemicals aspect of de-caff.

  4. The best decaf tea I’ve found is Yorkshire decaf tea. Can’t tell the difference! As for coffee…nothing but nothing beats the real thing. Managed to cut mine down to one morning cup a day. It’s a real treat & I savour every gulpful! Cold turkey *shudder* !

    1. That is my aim, just one morning cup a day….*sigh* Yorkshire regular tea is one of my favourites (or was) x

  5. Ha, we have that mug at work.

    Me and the girls in the office have been trying to cut down a little on caffiene, I’ve found Peppermint tea is the only ‘healthy’ hot drink I can cope with. I can happily do green tea with honey, but when you’re in work and keeping your drinking things in your desk it all gets a bit sticky. (this was when I created an invention in my head… at some point you’ll see me on Dragons Den flogging my ‘honey capsules’)

    It scares me to even think about facing a working day without a constant supply of caffeine but maybe one day that’ll change! x

    1. Honey capsules, hmmm, you might be onto something there peach. I have been using it much more instead of sugar these days. Lolly loves peppermint, I can only drink it when it’s super hot, I can also never get the right amount of mint….how long does one stew the bag for?!

      1. I keep the bag in just long enough for the bottom of the cup to be a tiny big visible, and yes – get it in you while its hot.

        In my head, the honey capsules are like little cod liver oil capsules – but filled with honey. Drop one into a hot brew and watch it melt. So convenient… it would totally work.

  6. I love that mug! I want it!

    I am also a coffee addict. But being someone with insomniac tendencies as well means I try very hard not to drink any coffee after midday. Which means I can have a lovely cup or two in the morning. I’m trying to adopt a sugar free lifestyle but whole fat dairy is encouraged so I opt for whole milk in my americano and it tastes amazing.

    At the weekends I get the gorgeous Dualit coffee machine my Mum got me for my 30th and treat myself to a massive mug or two of Lazy Sunday coffee. Whether it’s Sunday or not!

    1. It was from John Lewis, I bought it for James as an additional gift to his Nespresso machine πŸ™‚

      How are you finding the sugar free lifestyle?I must admit, cutting out sugar AND gluten AND dairy must be hard (I’m definitely cutting down on all as much as I can but giving up 100% seems nigh on impossible) x

      1. I actually find the sugar free lifestyle ok. I’m following the mantra of Sarah Wilson and her I Quit Sugar books and she raves about eating whole foods which means full fat dairy which helps me get on board with it. So I have a full fat yoghurt, berry and spinach smoothie for breakfast which is actually really nice. And I can have cheese and houmous and all sorts of lovely things. She also says wine and beer is allowed which also helps.

        However, at the weekends I do still sometimes have some dark chocolate or cake. You only live once and all that! But I follow it for more than 90% of the time. Surely she doesn’t expect more than that?! Xx

        1. I think Miranda recommended her book, thanks for the reminder! I couldn’t live without cake although I am going to try baking with a few sugar alternatives (wish me luck!) x

  7. I adore coffee. Its so warm and yummy and fills me with happiness…. Too much?! Haha!

    I tend to have a cup in the morning (my new aeropress is incredible – you should check it out!) and then if i fancy a snack mid afternoon ill curb my chocolate cravings with a cup of coffee. Strange I know, but it totally works.

    I suppose its the same as everything good in this world – moderation. *le sigh*


    1. I must admit I do the same – fancy a penguin and opt for coffee with sweetener instead. Not exactly a “good for you” substitute but way better for you than said penguin.

      Moderation is a word I keep telling myself, that still doesn’t prevent my constant desire to consume the ENTIRE pack of biscuits….

      What is an aeropress? sounds fancy!

  8. The decaf versions of the Nespresso capsules are pretty good- I managed to successfully fool my decaf loathing family, who didn’t notice the difference! I have a Brita water bottle on my desk which encourages me to drink water throughout the day rather than coffee/soft drinks- have to say they are rather good! x

    1. Good idea Dani, I do find if I keep a small bottle of water near by it does get drunk. I didn’t even consider decaf capsules, I wonder if James would notice?!

  9. I hate coffee. Always have and always will. To me it tastes horrible! BUT. I LOVE the smell of it!! I actually want to like drinking it! But I can’t. It’ll never happen. I’ll just keep smelling my husbands πŸ˜‰

  10. I have IBS and discovered that tea was making me much worse, so I cut it out completely and overnight I was A LOT better! It was hard going cold turkey and I tried all sorts of teas but nothing seemed to hit the spot. Now though, I think my palate has totally changed, I like peppermint, red fruit teas, and cammomile and spiced apple; there are a lot of good herbal teas out there. I sometimes have decaff with soya milk (dairy isn’t too good for me either) which kinda makes up for not having a nice strong brew like I used to enjoy. However, the health benefits far outweigh my desire for caffeine. I do miss the morning pick me up though.

    1. M-J that is really interesting, I have a few friends who suffer with IBS, I’ll pass on your tips. x

  11. Thanks for this, it’s so hard to quit when it’s absolutely everywhere isn’t it?!

    A bit of lemon and ginger tea during the 9 month stint as been my only relief when the kettle is on and I’m fannying about wondering what to put along side my husband’s ‘big gulp’ sized tea mug. The spicy heat from the ginger replaces the slight buzz from the caffeine in an ‘addicted to spice/heat/chilli’ kind of way, and I love all things lemony personally as it always feels cleansing. Too fragrant again perhaps?

    The best thing to make me step back from delicious, lovely, yummy coffee that makes me sing at my desk, is a bit of info about toxins from James Duigan’s Clean and Lean book, it doesn’t say to quit it but to choose organic, less pesticides, and better quality.

    This is quite a nice guide –

    With 5 months to go my mind is firmly on a glass of fizz, rather than a large coffee come November, maybe a few sleepless nights will spin that around.


    1. Thanks for the link Lizzie, I’ve read a few things by James Duigan (There was an interesting interview/article in the Sunday Times magazine a while ago) and they always seem to make perfect sense.

      I didn’t miss alcohol really, I was a bit jealous of everybody’s festive blur state at Christmas but that’s about it. After a disastrous wedding anniversary celebration last night (Mabel has been a bit unwell) we are definitely popping open a bottle of proscecco this evening!

  12. I can’t get enough tea. Tea, tea, tea, I love it. But I have to admit I have a couple of cups of normal breakfast/builders tea in the morning then switch to redbush to try and not go too OTT on caffeine. I’m a bit odd (possibly) as I have milk in my redbush tea (and I’m not sure if you’re supposed to!) but hey, I love it so what the hell!

    1. Yeah – what the hell! James’s friend Will is a big advocate of Redbush (he is big on healthy eating etc) so maybe I should get around to giving it a go x

  13. As a substitute for regular breakfast tea (I’m deffo not a coffee drinker!) I tend to opt for either chai tea (or chai latte’s if you prefer) or fresh mint tea. Both seem to hit the spot for me πŸ™‚

    1. Miranda loves a Chai tea, I actually had a chai latte the other day made with almond milk and sweetener, it was delicious!

  14. I’m a bit of a weirdo in that I never drink coffee or tea. I’ve just never wanted to try it and now I’m glad I didn’t. My mum told me when I first went to uni that I should get into tea and coffee so I could make friends (?!?) – apparently offering someone a ‘nice cup of tea’ was the way to go about it. I offered them wine instead, which seemed to work well.
    I don’t think I’ll ever drink coffee or tea now. I’ve never really had the urge. I’m a big sugar free squash fan, which is my main alternative to when people do a coffee / tea round in the office. x

    1. I realise I sound quite virtuous here. To clarify, I am currently drinking squash….and eating a chocolate digestive…

      1. Sian I didn’t for one minute think you sounded virtuous, I could well imagine you dunking those biscuits right into that squash…. πŸ™‚

  15. I drink a lot of normal tea at home but try to offset it by drinking roobios with vanilla at work. It’s from m&s and it’s quite sweet, you need to leave the bag in a good 3-4 mins for the vanilla taste to take but it’s really lovely and for a sugar hit a tiny pinch of brown sugar works.

    1. I love M&S everything is so beautifully packaged, I have their own brand green tea. Will give this one a whirl!

  16. I’ve never been a coffee drinker, can’t stand the stuff. My husband was the same but strangely a few years ago he turned in to a full on coffee fiend and despite attempting to go cold turkey he hasn’t survived more than 2 days. I equally never used to drink tea then slowly increased to a cup or 2 a day. Since having the little ones I often find myself on 5 cups a day which although not a lot it is for me. I found the easiest time to give it up was when I going dairy free as tea with soya milk or, worse, rice milk tastes horrible. I have since moved on to almond milk which so long as you have a pretty good glug of (I’d say at least a quarter of the mug) actually tastes ok. I can’t stomach many of the herbal teas but peppermint is a big weakness and love the stuff. Great for after meals. As healthy alternatives try hot water with lemon and ginger first thing which is great to get your metabolism going. Also, did you know an apple contains as much natural caffeine as a coffee (or so I read) so you could always tuck in to one of those. x

    1. Really an apple?! I love apples!! Gosh I ate loads of those whilst pregnant, I wonder if that was wise. My husband has also become coffee mad these last few years, hence the machine, he likes the really strong stuff though where as I prefer more mellow coffee. Tea for me just tastes strange since having Mabel, no idea why!

      1. It’s just a rumour about apples containing caffeine! Munch away! (Am qualified nutritionist, albeit one with a tea and cake habit…)

  17. I love tea!! My family are heavy tea drinkers, so I grew up with it. My husband jokes that he knows my family have been round because of the amount of mugs in the sink.
    I know it’s probably not good for me, but I can chain drink mugs, and on a bad day I do probably get through at least half a dozen. But I don’t have any other vices, I rarely drink, hate coffee and have never smoked. So if my only addiction is to tea I think I’ll be ok.
    I’ve tried herbal teas, but I thought they were awful. It’s just not the same as that first sip of Earl Grey.

    1. Ha ha ha Alex it’s like that when my family has been over to see Mabel, a sink full of mugs and plates covered in biscuit crumbs!!!

  18. I’m going to suggest kind of the opposite of all the healthy options – which is to say, have your coffee, but have proper coffee – a lot of what we buy in the supermarket is old and dried out and you end up with that horrible after tang – why not treat yourself and James and buy it direct from the roaster – someone like http://www.hasbean.co.uk/ – then it will be something to really savour and perhaps you can just enjoy one delicious cup in the morning?
    Anne xx

    1. Oh Anne thanks! I’m thinking this would be a lovely fathers day gift for James from Mabel….(and not at all because I quite fancy some myself…..) x

  19. I’ve managed to go completely decaff now for 6 months as I had your problem, Charlotte, but with tea. Like, 6 or 7 cups of it a day. Migraines, dehydration, the whole lot. Being in the family way gave me a good excuse to just kick the habit.
    In all honesty, decaff doesn’t taste *as* good but I’d rather that than none at all. I have one cup of coffee a week, on a Saturday morning (with sweetener now, instead of my usual 2 sugars because I’m trying to cut down on the sugars too… hurry up, Baby!) but, boy, do I enjoy it. It’s a completely psychological thing, but it doesn’t feel like the weekend without it!

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