For years I lived under the notion that sliding into my mornings with a steamy cup of joe was the only way to get the creative juices flowing. After all, what do chic French painters, brooding British poets, and their muses all have in common (apart from their drool-worthy studio apartments)? Since the beginning of time, a cup of black coffee has done more to set the scene than any moody jazz soundtrack ever could. Channeling my inner Carrie Bradshaw, I’d grab the biggest mug I could find and fill it to the brim, praying for the brew to jolt me into a state of inspiration.
However, time and time again I was left feeling shaky, unfocused, and frazzled after finishing said coffee. On my never-ending quest to look and feel my best, it became impossible to ignore the fact that my beloved drink was no longer my friend. In fact, upon closer examination, I realized that coffee had never really been that good to me.
As it turns out, whether you can or cannot handle the venti Americano all comes down to your DNA. Yep, researchers have found a gene (PDSS2) that plays a major role in how our bodies metabolize coffee. If you’re blessed with a stronger expression of this gene, your body processes java at a slower rate, allowing you to feel calm, cool, and collected after downing your latte. However, those of us with weaker PDSS2’s metabolize caffeine too quickly, resulting in dangerous energy dips that prompt symptoms like nausea, headaches, and the shakes.
Sick and tired of feeling sick and wired, I gave up coffee exactly one year ago and haven’t looked back since. Not only did quitting coffee improve my mental and physical health, but it also led me to my latest love—matcha. Clinging to the ritualistic nature of enjoying a morning coffee, I originally drank matcha to fill a void. However, it didn’t take long for this antioxidant-packed tea to steal my heart, truly changing my world for the better.
From espresso fiend to matcha queen, here are the biggest shifts, both mental and physical, that I’ve experienced in my year without coffee: