How to Break the Caffeine Addiction

Yesterday I listed 50 reasons why you should quit caffeine. Hopefully today you are feeling really motivated and ready to give it up.

The first time I quit was horrible! I was in bed for 3 days with an awful headache and I was so tired I was sleeping 15 hours a day. I also had almost a constant craving for a cup of coffee. I felt really deprived and miserable and frustrated. So when I decided to quit for good, I did some research first. I did not want to go through that again! I started by researching amino acid therapy. Here’s what I found out in a nutshell.

Amino acids are the building blocks of neurotransmitters in the brain. The best amino acids for caffeine withrawal are Tyrosine and DLPA (phenylalanine). Caffeine gives us a temporary lift by sending norepinephrine into the blood stream.  Over time, healthy levels of norepinephrine are depleted by caffeine and other factors… if not replaced.   Phenylalanine does a great job replacing this major neurotransmitter, reducing or eliminating the desire for caffeine.

I tried Tyrosine first, and it made me sort of jittery and weird, so I switched to DLPA and the results were amazing! I took two 500 mg capsules first thing when I woke up. I felt full of energy and my brain fog cleared. I made a pot of coffee like ususal, and poured a cup. I started getting ready for work like I do every day, and I completely forgot about the coffee. It sat on the bathroom counter until I got home from work that night and poured it down the sink.

The next day the same thing happened. I made coffee, and just had no interest in it. It smelled great, and I poured a cup, but only drank a few sips before I just didn’t want it anymore.

At work about 2-3 o’clock I usually have another cup or two of coffee. So I started taking two more 500 mg capsules of DLPA at around 1pm. My office is right next to the coffee pot, and it smells delicious. So I poured a cup and took a few sips. But I didn’t really enjoy it, it didn’t taste particularly good, and I ended up letting it get cold and not finishing the cup.

That was 2 months ago. I never got a headache. I never felt fatigued or exhausted. I am sleeping so much better. I can think more clearly, and that “mental fog” I used to get are gone. I ended up using the DLPA for a week, and anytime after that when I felt a craving for coffee. And the best part? No PMS ladies! Let me repeat that because it is so totally cool. No PMS!

At home I purchased a large bag of herbal coffee. The brands I like are Dandy Blend (who knew roasted dandelions could taste so good) and Teecino. If you do buy Teecino, beware that the flavored varieties (vanilla, ameretto etc) are very strong! I also have a whole lot of herbal tea. It is winter here in Michigan and sometimes you just need a hot mug of something to hold onto 🙂

If for some reason you don’t want to try amino acids, or if they don’t work as well for you, there is another option that works very well.

Replace just one Tbsp of your coffee grounds with an herbal coffee substitute. Drink this for 3 days.

Replace 2 Tbsp of your coffee grounds with an herbal coffee substiture. Drink this for 3 days.

Gradually increase the amount of herbal coffee, until you are drinking zero caffeine. This will slowly get you “off the bean” and also allow you to get used to the slightly different taste of herbal coffee. I actually like the taste of Dandy Blend a lot (it contains roasted barley, rye, chicory, dandelion and beetroot) and you make it in the coffee pot just like you normally would. It has no bitterness or acidity and is delicious.

I know you’re thinking that you could just drink decaf right? I thought that too. I did the geeky research for you:

The decaffeination process uses either Methyl Chloride or Ethyl Acetate to remove 97% of the caffeine, while leaving the other chemicals at their original concentrations. Lets not forget about the herbicides, pesticides, fungicides that are sprayed liberally on these plants. The only coffee that is generally safe to consume is by companies that use the Swiss Water Bath method. This method uses long water soaking and carbon filters to remove 97% of the caffeine. I would also buy Certified Organic and Fair Trade coffee beans. Beware of the price! I have a 12 oz can of this coffee at home and it was $13.56!  Ouch!

For more information on amino acids check out Julia Ross online. Her books The Mood Cure, and The Diet Cure are really helpful for anyone with any kind of addiction, including sugar and alcohol. Amino acids are also very cheap. My bottle of DLPA was $11.00 for 100 capsules. Good luck! You CAN do this!

P.S My friend at work just quit her 4 a day Diet Coke habit with DLPA. She has replaced it with 4 bottles of homemade Kombucha a day! Much better choice 🙂

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12 Comments

  1. March 21, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    Awe, my “trick” is not a trick LOL you knew it already!! I love the Amino acid idea though, I have friends who say “I can’t do it.” But anyone can do anything they put their mind to. The first time I quit I used Teeccino (lowering my coffee intake day by day), I actually ADORE that stuff. It is super sweet (with some stevia) and tastes great hot or cold. I just bought some more yesterday, vanilla and Almond Amaretto are my favorites. I have heard some people say they didn’t like it, I was surprised. I read on a Amazon review that it was too bitter, and then the person said they just lowered the “suggested” amount and loved it. I haven’t tried the other one you mentioned.
    This time I’ve done it with my smoothies, I’ve been tired but no headaches or anything else. What a fantastic idea to use amino acids!! You amaze me!

  2. April 27, 2012 at 5:11 AM

    I just went cold turkey- it was pretty bad, but I don’t think I drink as much coffee as you did because the intense headaches only lasted 1 1/2 days (thank goodness! I’m curious, what do you think of green tea?

    Love Dandy Blend as well! I’m drinking a mug as I type this 🙂

    • April 27, 2012 at 9:38 AM

      Good job Gabby! I’m so glad your headache was quick. That part sucks. The green tea question would require a really long answer…I don’t like it much for one thing, so for me it’s not an issue. Green Tea does contain 25 mg of caffeine, so if you are trying to completely eliminate caffeine it would have to go. A healthier choice is green tea where the caffeine has been removed through a process using carbon dioxide (CO2) and water.
      Then there are the benefits of green tea to consider (antioxidant, boosts the metabolism etc). I say, just about anything is ok in moderation. Just don’t get hooked on it or you’re back to the drawing board. Maybe a cup 2-3 times a week….?

  3. April 27, 2012 at 8:11 PM

    Thanks for such a great answer 🙂 That’s a good idea. I just love green tea so much, I think I would have a hard time giving it up, especially since some of my favourite brnads and companies don’t make it decaf! I will keep my eyes peeled though.

    I have NOOO intention of getting hooked on it again! I feel really good where I’m at right now- getting energy from the foods I eat instead of from caffeine, so this is definitel a change I’ll be sticking with. And with great coffee alternatives, who needs it?

  4. May 6, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    […] in the finished batch of Kombucha. Does anyone have any insight on this question? I finally broke my caffeine addiction and I don’t want to drink Kombucha until I’m certain that it caffeine-free. If you […]

  5. May 7, 2012 at 1:04 AM

    […] Coffee (We quit caffeine and we feel great!) […]

  6. hsproudfit said,

    February 10, 2013 at 10:48 AM

    Thank you for the research and sharing. Ive kicked myself off the coffee while having this horrible cold and waking each day with a headache. I finally decided to google the effects this morning with it being day 4! wondering when this will end. I am hoping to get out of the house today and find your DLPA suggestion, and praying for a similar result!!
    I also have to comment that Im pleasantly surprised that your a fellow Michigander. 😉

  7. Marcie Coriell said,

    March 24, 2013 at 11:30 AM

    The body changes phenylalanine into tyrosine, another amino acid that’s needed to make proteins, brain chemicals, including L-dopa, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, and thyroid hormones. Because norepinephrine affects mood, different forms of phenylalanine have been proposed to treat depression. Symptoms of phenylalanine deficiency include confusion, lack of energy, depression, decreased alertness, memory problems, and lack of appetite.”

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  8. hughweilun said,

    December 13, 2013 at 11:11 PM

    Very interesting article. I substitute green tea or hot water for coffee, as well as the Buddhist practice of insight meditation. After an intensive course, I have a clearer perception of the craving each morning: “hey self, you need a coffee to start the day!” Actually i don’t, that’s just the craving talking. When we observe the craving this way, and also non-judgementally observe the process of waking up in the morning, the coffee withdrawal symptoms are greatly reduced.

  9. Anthony said,

    July 4, 2015 at 12:18 AM

    I’ve loved your two articles depicting the shift from caffeine crazy to nothing. however, a few questions, basically pertaining to this article in particular. you said caffeine is essentially the devil, but here, you recommended organic, decaf (through the proper methods) coffee/tea? is it the caffeine in traditional coffee and tea that gets you? which is roughly 90mg, if not more. and have you caved since writing this article? like, having coffee on a very special occasion? I miss it so much and I do commend your efforts for showing those of us who came to your website how bad it truly is, but I’m a lover of stimulants. most notably and formerly, coffee and cigarettes. I know this article is old, and I apologize, but a response would be great!

    • August 19, 2015 at 12:42 PM

      Anthony, I am a big fan of stimulants too, that’s why i have to work so hard to break all of these addictions (sugar, caffeine, cigarettes etc) I have had coffee a few times in the last year, and felt very jittery and nauseous and wired afterward. I find that a cup of Chai Spice tea with milk gives me the same mouth feel and sense of satisfaction as coffee did. I think we are addicted more to holding that nice warm cup than anything. 🙂

  10. Anthony said,

    July 4, 2015 at 12:20 AM

    and did the studies in the caffeine blues book distinguish organic from non organic coffee? I’m reaching, yes, but there’s a few variables left out. not to mention, that most filters leech chlorine in the coffee the person subsequently drinks.


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