Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Bentley's Royal Pomegranate Green Tea

Given the ubiquity of caffeine in the modern world I thought I would write a short article on how I reduced my dependence on caffeine in general and coffee in particular. In the past I have occasionally given up coffee for a while - only to have to restart its use when I have traveled across time zones for work and found it very difficult to get moving in the mornings - or at other times which work obliged. When I returned from these trips I was again addicted and still out of synchronization with the local time zone and so the addiction remained. However, this holiday season I found myself too idle to fuel the addiction with trips to the coffee shop or grocery store and rapidly depleted the supply of aging coffee beans available in our cupboards. Soon I was obliged to fall back on the Bentley's Royal Pomegranate Green tea bags which have managed to exist for a while in the kitchen without noticeable depletion. Although this tea (and the others I found lurking at the back of the cupboard) tasted terrible - and did not provide the expected caffeine jolt - I managed to last out a few days and continued to avoid the trip to the store. After a week - I had unintentionally given up coffee! This was a surprising result of laziness - and I naturally then thought that I would then consider taking this on as a New Year's resolution. I also thought that it might be worthwhile considering why one might want to give up coffee intentionally - and based on my experience what works in doing this and what to expect while giving up.

As everyone knows coffee does not taste particularly pleasant when your first encounter it. It is bitter, an acquired taste, not something that children typically look forward to. The primary reason for this is that coffee contains a great deal of caffeine. Caffeine is an active compound as far as your brain is concerned - it changes the way that brain responds to natural neurotransmitters and gives rise to a variety of effects which are familiar to coffee drinkers: Increased your alertness, increased energy, reduced sleepiness, and most important when you are addicted, avoidance of the nagging feeling that you 'just need a coffee'. This last effect is the one to watch out for - it indicates that you are habituated to the effects of caffeine and are slavishly seeking the compound rather than the flavor of the coffee. There are a variety of potential benefits of reduced caffeine consumption:

  • Improved sleep
  • Improved digestion
  • Reduced teeth staining
  • Removal of a potential headache trigger
  • Reduction in daily expense
  • Saved time – time not spent in lines waiting for another cup
  • ...and if that isn't enough this link gives many additional motivations
There are also potential deficits in abstinence:

  • Reduced social interaction, on those long lines for example
  • Reduced exposure to possible health benefits caused by the possibly beneficial changes which caffeine (like nicotine) induces

In my case I abruptly gave up coffee substituting tea to ease with the caffeine withdrawal. The caffeine withdrawal did not seem as bad as I might have expected. I had some headaches, some irritability, laziness - but over the holiday period - who doesn't?! I am not sure that these symptoms were worse than might have been expected from normal holiday lethargy and over eating. As I mentioned above, I didn't set out specifically to give up coffee, but once I had started giving up through laziness, I decided to stick it out. And this seems to have worked. The step by step process was:

  • Pick a time when your routine is changed (e.g. a holiday period)
  • Don't replenish your coffee stocks - so that you have no coffee in the cupboard)
  • Arrange to have a small assortment of old and flavored tea bags in the cupboard
  • Resolutely stick to the laziness of not replenishing your coffee supply
  • Get used to the flavored tea
These are the steps that I have followed for the last 10 days - and so far - I appear to be cured of the coffee addiction. A critical danger is no doubt becoming addicted to other things in the place of caffeine - flavored teas, for example. And so far I have managed to avoid this. Today I even became aware of a strange and unexpected benefit - I was able to appreciate (and enjoy) the flavor of the Bentley's Royal Pomegranate Green Tea that accompanied my breakfast. I am excited at the prospect of having broken an addiction! Bentley's Royal Pomegranate Green Tea – it is good stuff – I give it 3 out of 5.
More FictionFobic Reviews.


Blogger DulwichDivorcee said...

Hi Fiction Fobic, I do enjoy your blog. I sympathise with your struggles with caffeine. I managed to give it up entirely ten years ago - by getting pregnant. This is a radical method and I don't recommend it to everybody, but I have found that children can be a useful substitute for coffee. They get you up in the morning and keep you running around during the day, though they can cause the odd blinding headache. I hope you don't mind but I have added a link to your blog on mine.

3:17 AM  
Blogger DulwichDivorcee said...

Dear Fiction Fobic, I do enjoy your blog. Well done beating caffeine! I managed to give it up completely ten years ago by the simple expedient of getting pregnant. While I don't recommend this radical approach to everyone, I have found that children are a good caffeine substitute in general. They get you up in the morning, keep you on the go all day but do, of course, cause the occasional blinding headache. I hope you don't mind but I have added a link to your blog on mine. A bientot!

3:19 AM  
Blogger Sonali said...

The Bentley's Pomegranate Green Tea is one of my faves - it tastes great hot ot cold and makes a fabulous iced tea! It's how I get through the summer:)

9:41 AM  
Blogger Lea Marie said...

Hi Fiction Fobic,
I too have struggled with caffeine addiction. I usually succeed by accident, such as getting sick for a week or two and inadvertently going cold turkey at the same time. I always feel better when I kick caffeine, but I always seem to come crawling back to it.

This time I reduced my caffeine in part by drinking tea instead of soda. At first, I found I was drinking tea, particularly both the Bentley's Pomegranate and the Bentley's Raspberry in large quantities. Then I realized that I was still getting just as much caffeine as before. It was just in a "healthier" format because it didn't have all the high fructose corn syrup or sugar that my soda and occasional coffee did and it did have all the lovely antioxidents that green tea comes with naturally.

My next step was to cut the tea back by drinking more de-caf tea and more water. That has so far worked.

I actually found this blog because I was running a search for the amount of caffeine in the Bentley's Pomegranate tea. I know that there is some, I am just not sure how much.

I too may be linking this page in your blog to mine.

11:09 AM  
Blogger ZZ said...

Hi Lea:
Many thanks for your comments - I wish you luck in giving up caffeine entirely. I am currently stuck on a green tea plateau. However, the holiday season is coming and it will be time to try a new level of reduction. Caffeine just doesn't seem to do anything for you - except create an unnecessary addiction.

9:32 AM  

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