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Lauren Alford is the food blogger behind MuchAdoAboutSomethin.com, who enjoys putting together creative and healthy recipes that anyone can make at home. She's excited to share healthy, quick, and delicious recipes with the Diet.com community!

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Much Ado About Healthy Recipes

 
by Lauren Alford, Food Blogger, MuchAdoAboutSomethin.com

 
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I've seen a few Diet.com members ask for some advice on how to give up caffeine. I've talked about this on my blog, Much Ado About Somethin, but thought I'd share with you here some of my tips on giving it up. Let me tell you a little story about myself.

Giving up caffeine and soda

Six months ago, I woke up every morning and reached for a 20 ounce Diet Mountain Dew. Often I'd have another at night with dinner. On a long day at work, I'd down another 20 ounce. If I went out to dinner, the Diet Pepsi flowed all evening long. I didn't think it was a problem... it was zero calories, after all. I've been like this for almost 20 years. The only downside I saw was that if I slept late one Saturday, I'd have a headache. No biggie, I thought... take an Advil and down a soda ASAP.

Five months ago, I got to work and went to the CVS below my office to get my soda. I noticed they were out of Diet Mountain Dew. They were also out of Diet Sunkist (my second favorite)... and Diet Cherry Pepsi. "That's fine," I thought. "I'll go across the street to Walgreens!" When I saw that Walgreens was also out of all three, I was miffed. All hope wasn't lost, though " there's another huge CVS a block away... they HAD to have some. As you can probably guess, my third stop was also fruitless " no Diet Mountain Dew anywhere near my office! It was then and there, realizing I had gone to three different stores in an attempt to get my "fix," that I decided to give up soda. I hadn't liked being so reliant on caffeine, and especially disliked all the Aspartame I was consuming, so I was excited to rid myself of it.

I won't lie " the first few days were pretty terrible.

Day 1 = headache by 11am
Day 2 = headache so bad that I went home and slept or sat in the dark all evening
Day 3 = exhausted + another headache
Day 4 = exhausted and a milder headache
Days 5 " 7 = headache mostly gone... just tired
Day 8 = I was FINE!

Did you see that? In one week, I was over the withdrawal symptoms and was caffeine free. If you're a constant coffee drinker, or consume more soda than I did, it may take you longer. It will still be worth it.

Here are a few tips for how to get through the first week caffeine free. (These are things that I found helpful " you should evaluate these tactics for yourself before following my lead.)

1) Drink lots of water. Water is good for you, and if you make sure you stay hydrated, you won't be dealing with dehydration headaches too!

2) Spice up your water. Part of the reason I wanted a soda in the morning (or afternoon... or evening) was because it tasted good to me. I was worried water would be too boring, so I made some flavored ice cubes that would flavor my water. Check out the Diet.com video (How to Make Fancy Ice Cubes) to see how to make them.

3) Taper. If you drink a LOT of caffeine, you may want to taper yourself, rather than going cold turkey. If you usually have 6 cups of coffee a day, cut back to 4 for a week, then 2... then zero.
drink hot tea
4) Drink hot tea. Again, if you're used to huge amounts of caffeine, this would be a good way to get a tiny amount of caffeine to take the edge off, without going overboard. (Especially if you have an important meeting at work!)

5) Treat your headaches with food. Google different "food aids" that might help your headaches go away. There's research out there that shows foods rich in magnesium, calcium, complex carbohydrates, and fiber have been used to cure migraines. Here's a helpful article: A Natural Approach to Migraines

6) Talk to your doctor. Any time you make a huge lifestyle change like this, it's a good idea to speak with the person who knows you (or at least your medical history) best! They may have even more tips to help... and I'm sure you'll get an enthusiastic high five for the effort.

I've been caffeine and artificial sweetener free for 5 months now, and I feel fantastic. I used to have the worst sweet tooth (seriously... the worst) and thought I just loved sweets. Now I understand that the rumors are ...    Continue



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@ 10:54am ET on September 4, 2013
Lauren,
What in the diet soda makes you crave sweets? Is it just diet soda or the aspartame? I am a sweet nut, seriously and drink alot of sugar free crystal light and soda.
Help!


@ 6:26pm ET on November 13, 2014
Very interesting. Thanks for the information

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