Monday, March 07, 2011

Pump and Lift, Episode 21: Guess What I'm Giving Up For Lent This Year?

Taken on June 2008, at a diner inside Cleveland's Westside Market.

I never thought I'd say this - not in a million years - but I think it's about time I gave up stimulants for Lent.

Oh, sure, I could've given up any of the other things that usually drive me nuts, like TV or Facebook. The fact remains, however, that I'm helpless when it comes to coffee, tea, and chocolate.

I know they're bad for me, but I just can't help it.

The low point came last weekend, when I was at a church function on a rainy morning and the only hot drinks available were 3-in-1 instant coffee. (Note to coffee stans: Don't knock it till you've tried it.) I tried to resist, but the smell drove me nuts to the point where I had to, had to, make a cup for myself... even though I had already downed a glass of highly-diluted iced tea with my lunch.

Minutes later, I was (figuratively) climbing walls like a gecko.

I finally put two and two together: Caffeine and I don't get along as well as we used to back in the day. Not even decaffeination can save the day for me; even products that are labeled "decaf" still have a tiny amount of caffeine, which explains why I end up grumpy and sleepless when I drink the stuff at any time.

And it doesn't stop with coffee and tea. Chocolate leaves me short-tempered. (Yes, even cake and cookies made with chocolate.) Cola drinks make me miserable. (There goes my Diet Coke endorsement!) Ginseng makes me weepy... and don't even get me started on "diet" "supplements", either. Even drugstore vitamins leave me sleepless.

(At this point, I dread to think of what might happen if I were to break down and start smoking again.)

I understand that caffeine does not excuse any of the Grade A jerk behavior that I've displayed in the past, but it does seem to me that all those pots of full-strength coffee and the other stimulants that I've absorbed in my body may hold a key as to why my problems with my general health are what they are now. The only way I could test that hypothesis is to put myself in detox mode for the next 40 days.

It's going to be hard, sucking down water and Sprite Zero while everyone else enjoys delicious cups of coffee and nice cold glasses of iced tea, but I'll get through this. Hopefully.

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