Sunday, March 20, 2011

My Starbucks Addiction

I don't drink coffee, I can't stand the taste. I don't drink pop, the bubbles hurt my mouth and throat (I know, I know... weird, but true). I can drink regular black tea, but I don't really enjoy it. I went through University and my early adulthood without drinking any source of caffeine.

Then one day, I discovered Chai Teas at Starbucks.

It was a slow growing addiction that took years to develop. In the end though I was buying a Venti Chai every day (sometimes 2) AND made my own at home as well.  I was probably drinking around 60 oz (~7.5 cups!) of tea a day.  That equals: 900 calories, 15 g of fat, and 360 mg of caffeine.

Thinking about Starbucks or driving by a Starbucks literally makes my mouth water.  I think about it ALL the time.  I don't just like the hit of caffeine, I love the taste as well.

A month ago I woke up and we had no Chai at home and I decided before I even got out of bed, I was going to start breaking this habit. Having Chai in the house just made things worse for me. I can't resist something when it is so easily available.  My only source was now actually going to a Starbucks. I dropped my consumption down to a Grande once a day (16 oz (2 cups), 240 calories, 4 g of fat, and100 mg of caffeine).

I was pretty tired and grumpy that first week.  It was hard.  It was especially hard on the weekends or the days I only worked an afternoon shift.  I was trying to drink my tea mid day so that I wouldn't NEED it first thing in the morning.  But drinking tea first thing was a habit I really missed.  When I finally got my tea for the day it was bliss.  I instantly felt better, more active and happier.

After 2 weeks of that, I cut myself down to one Tall per day (12 oz (1.5 cups), 180 calories, 3 g fat and 75 mg of caffeine).  I am now at the end of those 2 weeks.

In 4 weeks I only cheated twice - the day I drove to Cranbrook to go skiing I drank 2 Grandes (I told myself that I didn't want to fall asleep while driving) and yesterday I got a Grande instead of a tall (no reasonable excuse for this one, I think the thought of not drinking them regularly any more pushed me over the edge).

Today is the last day of daily teas and in fact, I just took my last sip. I will allow myself to get one on "special occasions" - i.e. when I meet a friend, or have a long drive or a particularly sleepless night.

But honestly, I don't want it to end and I find myself thinking of ways to prolong the inevitable (I can get a Short Chai, what about getting one every second day, what if I reduce the "shots" of chai mix (I've neglected to mention that for a few years, I've been getting an extra shot of chai in my orders), etc.).

I'm not sure if my addiction is to the caffeine, the habit, or the flavour.  When I look at how much caffeine is in coffee as a comparison, I'm drinking next to nothing. A Tall Pike Roast (i.e. regular coffee) at Starbucks has 260 mg of caffeine which is more than 3 times what I currently get. So you'd think that no longer drinking caffeine at this point would be a cake walk.  But it isn't.  I still feel a major difference after I drink a tea.

There are a few reasons that I wanted to stop drinking tea.

  1. The Expense - A Venti Chai is just under $5 a day and this does add up.  Although as I don't have any other frivolous spending habits, this reason is not a major motivator for me.  I don't buy shoes, I don't buy clothes, I don't eat out, I don't drink alcohol much... I just drink Tea!
  2. The Calories - 900 calories a day helps explain my expanding waist line!
  3. The Addiction - It really bothers me to NEED a tea to function properly.  
This last one is what really gets me.  If I had never starting drinking caffeine in the first place, I would feel as good when I woke up in the morning as I do now after drinking a tea. 

So here goes nothing!

My next 2 weeks will be completely caffeine free (and please don't tell me there is caffeine in chocolate - there is, but it is really, really minimal and you can't tell a caffeine craving girl to give up chocolate too - that would push me over the edge!).  After that, I'll allow myself to have up to 2 "talls" a week but only when I NEED them.

I'm hoping one day my mouth will stop watering at the sight of a Starbucks.


Stephanie V said...

Good for you to just DO IT! You will eventually find that you don't really NEED the Tall ones either :)

manymuddypaws said...

i hope you're not cranky at

onecollie said...

LOL Amanda !!!!
good job Wendy , you can do it !!
Glad it's not me though :))

Judy said...

Have you tried Green Tea? My Dr says most green teas don't have caffeine. I am quite addicted to Japanese Green Tea with honey in it.Its cheap and if you reheat it from the pot from the night before its never stale or bitter

Paws on the Run said...

I actually went out and bought a Roobois tea today which is also caffeine free. Hopefully it will help when I want a warm drink.

deb said...

Rita's big thing these days is a "Wymer Fog" like a London Fog but named after a local town here which has peppermint tea, steamed milk & a splash of maple syrup!
Good luck with changing your habits which is what it probably is more than a caffine dependence.

Blazingstar said...

My parents must drink about 8-10 cups of tea a day (yes, they are British) - they are in their 70's, super fit and I can barely keep up with them.... I think it's all the tea that they drink!! (regular tea, with milk). They fed our beagle tea on a daily basis and she lived to be 19 years.

So it's not all bad :-)

A Coffee Drinker (1 cup a day)

2Elkies said...

How did you like the roobois? I have one strong coffee in the morning and drink roobois or some other herbal tea during the day. I can't get excited about coffee at all now other than that one and only breakfast one. Don't be too hard on yourself. Life is too short. Enjoy yourself whatever that looks like. Chai or no chai.