Posts Tagged ‘ coffee ’

Nashville Dad Attempts To Give Up Caffeine For Life

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

2 years, 9 months.

Dear Jack,

I should start off this letter to you with what I have as my current status on Facebook:

“In the past 5 years, I have completely and successfully given up pork, shellfish, processed sugars, then meat altogether, then dairy, eggs, and honey; more recently, all alcohol and carbonated drinks (which I only had in moderation anyway)… and all of that, was NOTHING… compared to my newest current challenge: Caffeine (and therefore, coffee). I have officially survived Day #1. I heard the first 5 are the worst. This is misery; suffering both physically and psychologically. Caffeine is a highly addictive, easily accessible, completely legal and unregulated drug that has got me in a powerful state of withdrawal right now. I shall overcome…”.

Yeah, that about covers it.

Our family drove home from buying groceries at Whole Foods today and all I could do was collapse on the floor once I walked in the door. You started to run over to me as if to tackle me. I had to say, “I’m sorry, Son. I can’t wrestle with you tonight. Daddy isn’t feeling well.”

You kept asking me why I wasn’t feeling well. How do I explain to a nearly 3 year-old that, without realizing it, Daddy has been addicted to coffee (in the form of one to two cups a day at work, then at least one Starbucks over the weekend)?

I was familiar with this sort of urban legend that Starbucks’ coffee has more caffeine than “normal coffee” you would make at work or at home. Mommy and I spent some time this week researching that claim. The best evidence was this recent article on The Huffington Post, called “How Much Caffeine Is Actually In Your Coffee, From Dunkin’ to Starbucks?

The story included this pictogram which pretty much clears it up for me.

Part of the difficulty that comes with removing certain food and drink staples from my life, being that I could now be labelled as a caffeine-free, alcohol-free, soda-free, kosher vegan, is the nostalgia I have to let go of. And that definitely is the case here with caffeine.

After all, the friendship between Mommy and me, that eventually led to us dating, was first nourished in a weekly Sunday night meet at Starbucks; which didn’t simply include coffee, but more importantly, caffeine.

I’m not banning Starbucks as a company or a brand. I admire their cleverness. They have found a way to capitalize on one of the most addictive and unregulated drugs in the world and get people to pay at least 4 dollars a pop for it. I respect that, as a Libertarian capitalist.

But as for me, I plan for that half a cup of coffee I drank at work Friday morning to be my last ounce of caffeine for the rest of my life.

I just hate the thought of being at the mercy of a food, drink, and/or drug. Instead, I’d rather discipline my body and bring it into subjection (Biblical reference); especially knowing that the process of detoxing from caffeine makes me feel like a drug addict.

That is how I feel, by the way. I am a drug addict going through a baptism-by-fire withdrawal period. It is brutal.

I can feel my nervous system under attack right now. I’m a little freaked out by it, to be honest.

While I am so happy to have you and Mommy here with me now, I have to admit it feels like the Smoke Monster from Lost is trying to win this battle with me this weekend. That is how I am portraying my withdrawals from caffeine addiction.

I wish I could be fully present with you this weekend in mind, body, and spirit, but I know I’m not me right now.

From what I learned thanks to the girl in the tea aisle at Whole Foods today, who is now caffeine-free, having been through this herself, it takes a solid 10 days to recover from a caffeine addiction, but the first 5 are the worst.

I can do this. Cold turkey, to be exact.





Top photo: Coffee Addict Concept, via Shutterstock.

Note: This is an opinion piece of the author and does not reflect Parents magazine or the medical establishment.

Add a Comment

The Health-Conscious Road Trip: An Oxymoron?

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

2 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack,

I can barely remember it, but for the first five months of our marriage, Mommy and I didn’t have any dietary restrictions.

Whenever we took a road trip, we didn’t have to consider where or what we could eat; just where and what we didn’t want to eat.

Then we went kosher in November 2008, and vegetarian in December 2011, then I went vegan in March 2013; as you and Mommy are pretty much there with me too by now.

With that being said, gone are the days of not having to carefully plan out in advance every single meal and snack over the course of a road trip.

As you know, this past weekend for our 5 year wedding anniversary, Mommy and I decided to take you along for a mini-road trip; a 2 and a half hour drive to Louisville, Kentucky.

Using hotel points we had earned last year, we made it an overnight trip and visited the magnificent Louisville Zoo.

Just as we had to plan out in advance which hotel we’d be staying in, making sure we could not only redeem our points there but also that it was closest to the zoo, we additionally had to find out its proximity to the nearest Whole Foods Market.

Basically, we packed half the food we would need, including plenty of water and snacks; then bought the other half of the food at Whole Foods the next morning.

We dined on veggie wraps, fruit snacks, and bottled water in the parking lot. It was like a picnic in our car; fortunately, it was the perfect weather for it… not too hot or wet.

Plus, I knew from previous visits to Loiusville that the city is laced with 14 different Heine Brothers’ Coffee shops. Not only is their coffee perfect, which Mommy and I could definitely appreciate as a fun way to start the day, but they also have plenty of vegan options for snacks.

So was it difficult to make our road trip a health-conscious one? No, because we carefully planned for it.

But was the actual driving part of the road trip difficult because it threw off your sleep schedule? Absolutely!

(That’s a whole different story and I plan to tell it in the near future.)

Our mini-road trip served as necessary practice for the big one up ahead in a few weeks, when we will be taking our annual family vacation in Sacramento to see Mommy’s family.

It’s one thing to avoid eating at restaurants for 23 hours, but another thing when we’re staying at someone else’s house for over a week and trying not to become a burden because of our alternative lifestyle.





Add a Comment

Feeling Like I Should Tip My Child’s Diaper Changer

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

2 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

Last Friday as I was just about to walk you out the front door of your daycare to take you to the park during my lunch break, you gave me a courteous announcement:

“I pooped.”

That’s good, because I don’t keep a separate diaper bag for you in my car. So I walked you back to your teacher, Ms. Heather, to have her change your diaper before we left on our excursion.

She gladly did, as she always seems so happy to do her job. But I admit, I felt like I wanted to tip her.

I never carry any cash on me anyway, but it just made me think:

Of all the annoying things I’ve ever felt pressured or obligated to tip…

like the bathroom attendant at fancy places I never go to anymore…

or the barista who I no longer buy coffee from because it seems even more insane to pay an extra 70 cents to get soy in my already nearly 5 dollar drink now that I’m a vegan…

it just seems that if anyone really deserves a tip, it would be anyone other than a family member who changes your diaper.

As I signed the bill as we left the ER earlier this week, I had to stop myself from doing the math to figure out what the tip was supposed to be. It’s just that the people in the emergency room who helped ensure your life was not in danger did a deed worth tipping for.

Changing your diaper and saving your life: Those are things that wouldn’t make me feel awkward, annoyed, or obligated to tip.

As for the bellhop… meh.





Add a Comment

Imagine A Barista Who Bathes In The Coffee They Serve You

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

23 months.

I say that because it’s exactly what my son Jack has been pretending to do during bath time this week while on vacation in Sacramento.

The first night here at my mother-in-law’s house, Jack wasn’t so keen on the huge jacuzzi I had just dropped him down into.

It sort of freaked him out.

But then my wife handed him three little white plastic cups designed for rinsing after brushing your teeth.

“Coffee,” Jack announced as he ducked down into the sudsy bath water he stood in.

He sprouted back up and handed my wife and me our very own Bubblecinos.

Jack has been our baby barista each night since then.

Imagine in real life a barista who bathes in the coffee they serve you… so absurd.

But not for an almost 2 year-old little boy who uses his imagination to glaze through situations he doesn’t want to be in at first.

It’s funny to me also how instantly he comes up with his imaginary surroundings.

He saw what reminded him of a bar at Starbucks, the bath water made him think of coffee, and the plastic cups became the Starbucks cups.

I’m actually halfway convinced he thought it was real when I pretended to drink his bath water.

Hey, if he can have an imagination like that, so can I.

In fact, I need to if I have any intentions of keeping up with him.


Add a Comment

Taking My Toddler Out For Coffee… I Mean, “Fluffy”

Friday, October 5th, 2012

22 months.

When you’re a vegetarian, with a toddler, it’s beyond pointless to “go out to eat.”

Can I pay $12 for pasta with veggies while my antsy toddler battles a meltdown because he’s strapped into a chair in a crowded, public place?

Ah, thanks, but no thanks.

So instead, we go out for coffee. Yes, four dollar coffee.

And no, we’re not impressed that McDonald’s won the blind taste test for its coffee or whatever.

We actually own an espresso maker, but part of the fun in fancy coffee is having someone else make it for you.

By now, it’s pretty much our tradition on Saturday mornings to start out the day right at a new place in Nashville called The Well.

(It’s actually a non-profit joint that buys clean water for people in the world who don’t have access to it.)

As you can see in the picture above, we get our son Jack a serving of whipped cream.

He calls it his “fluffy.”

Of course, we also tend to make an appearance at that other place you may have heard of, Starbucks. In fact, anytime we drive by one, Jack recognizes the green and white logo and says, “I want fluffy!”

Usually, he gets his fluffy. Because that means we get our coffee.

Part of the allure of coffee shops is the laid back, jazz-infused, sophisticated atmosphere. It puts us the parents, as well as, our toddler son at ease.

Getting coffee (and fluffy) helps us to remember it’s the weekend, amongst all the catching up we have to do during those two days.

Jack can get away with exploring the inside of a lazy coffee shop much more easily than he could a busy restaurant.

Plus, he loves it because it’s the only time we ever let him eat anything with sugar in it.

So needless to say, he quietly enjoys his fluffy; no discipline required while we’re there.

He’s pretty Joe Cool about it.


Add a Comment