How2Quit : Caffeine

Use the following guidelines alongside our How to Quit Action Plan in Part 4 of the How to Quit book

Please note all page and chapter references in this article are from How to Quit.

  1. A week before you start to reduce or quit caffeine follow our How to Quit Diet in Chapter 28, paying special attention to the three low-GL rules: eat low-GL foods, protein with carbohydrates, and graze rather than gorge (eat little and often) – it’s also important to start your day with a low-GL breakfast.
  2. A week before you quit, start taking the Basic Supplements.
  3. On the day before you quit, also start taking the Stimulant Prescription (see pg 403) This includes extra dosages of the amino acid tyrosine to support your own ability to make dopamine and adrenalin, as well as extra chromium to help increase your sensitivity to insulin, plus adaptogens such as ginseng and Siberian ginseng, which help with fatigue.
  4. Give caffeine up slowly. Set yourself the target of getting down to one regular coffee (100mg), one cup of black tea, one high-strength caffeinated drink (80mg), or two regular caffeinated drinks (for example 40mg x 2), before quitting completely. Do this by cutting your daily intake by a third each day until you reach a daily intake of no more than the equivalent of 100mg. For example, if you have three coffees a day, have two tomorrow, and one the next day, then quit completely.
  5. For the first week after quitting have two cups of green tea a day.
  6. You may feel sleepy for the first few days. Let yourself sleep. There’s a good chance that you’re an adrenalin addict and are simply in sleep deficit . Let yourself recover. That’s why it’s best to quit when you don’t have too much going on, or during a holiday. Let yourself unwind.
  7. If you do get a terrible headache, take 3g vitamin C and drink lots of water.
  8. If you feel really edgy or irritable take chromium 200mcg up to a maximum of three a day.
  9. If you feel really depressed take SAM 400mg, or alternatively 1,000mg of tyrosine. Break open the capsule and swill it around your mouth and under your tongue before swallowing to help it to be absorbed quickly.
  10. Drink at least 1 litre, preferably 2 litres, of water a day for the first week after quitting.

The most important keys from Part 2 for you to follow are:

  • Rebalance Your Brain with Amino Acids (Chapter 7) – this is because specific amino acids, especially tyrosine, help stimulate the brain naturally once you’ve removed your daily fix of caffeine.
  • Raise Your Methyl IQ with Vitamins and Minerals (Chapter 9) – this is because caffeine messes up methylation, and specific B vitamins help improve your concentration without the need for caffeine.
  • Balance Your Blood Sugar to Gain Energy and Reduce Cravings (Chapter 11) – caffeine messes up your blood sugar balance and this chapter explains how to restore it.
  • Get a Good Night’s Sleep (Chapter 13), if you don’t sleep well – learning how to get a good night’s sleep is going to stop you craving caffeine.
  • Find New Pleasure in Life by Raising Endorphins (Chapter 16) – by exercising regularly your energy level will go up, reducing your ‘need’ for stimulants.
  • Generate Vital Energy: The Chi Factor (Chapter 17) – by learning how to do this you’ll find a natural, clean energy that is much nicer than the effects of caffeine.

What to expect 30 days later

It takes, on average, about 30 days to recover and normalise your brain’s chemistry and blood sugar balance. Of course, this depends greatly on whether caffeine is your only vice. If you’ve been using a variety of addictive substances for years, our advice would be to stick to this kind of recovery programme for at least 90 days.

Otherwise, provided your Scale of Abstinence Symptoms Severity score has dropped by two-thirds (see Chart Your Progress on page 26), stop the Stimulant Prescription (pg 403), but keep taking the Basic Supplements.

For more information read How to Quit Without Feeling S**T.

The advice given here is not a substitute for the advice of your doctor or other suitably qualified person. For any serious addiction it is vital that you do have professional support. The recommendations given here help to ensure you are optimally nourished after stopping an addictive substance which may have had a negative influence on your nutritional status.