The Temptation of an EX . . .

I love regular coffee.

I fell in love with it when I was little. My Dad was a teacher and a few times a year when he did his student reports he would ask me to make him a coffee.

It was a chore I loved. I heaped a spoon of instant coffee into a mug with three heaping spoons of sugar and lots of evaporated milk. (Our family is Trinidadian so all hot drinks were full of sugar and evaporated milk.) We don’t do that anymore – use that much sugar or evaporated milk – but you can imagine the allure of that drink to a little kid. Hot, sweet and creamy. I would sneak a little sip before I brought the mug to my Dad in his office.

What got me was the smell. Earthy and dark.

I lived in Montreal when I started to drink coffee as an adult. My favourite brand was Illy. I would drink any coffee but Illy coffee, freshly brewed, was a treat. I fell in love with the coffee machines in Little Italy  too. Dreaming of the day I could afford one – and figure out how to use it. 🙂

All my adult life I’ve enjoyed a cup of coffee a day. I’d usually bribe myself into getting my day started by planning a coffee run on the way to work or on a day where I had errands to do. To this day I feel calm and happy shopping with a coffee in my hand.

A few years ago I gave up coffee for lent. I’m not particularly religious but I wanted to see if I could live without it. I was also curious to see if I really enjoyed coffee (especially the taste) or if it had just become a habit.

A few days into my coffee-fast I started getting horrible headaches. I managed to get through the forty days without coffee but missed it badly.

The first cup of coffee – after not having it – was interesting. It tasted like earth. The taste reminded me of something primal and ancient. I didn’t love it (I found it interesting) but I am a creature of habit so I went back to it.

A few years ago I did an intensive yogic breathing course. In preparation for the training we were asked to give up caffeine, alcohol, nicotine and meat for a period of time. I fought the headaches but again gave up my treat. When the course was finished I slowly got back to all of my bad habits – coffee included.

More recently I did the Cardiac Rehabilitation Clinic after my cardiac crisis. Because they were monitoring my heart and vitals so closely – while I exercised – I was again asked to give up coffee.

That’s when I began my love affair with decaf.

Image

In place of my regular coffee I have a decaf almost every day. I don’t think I ever drank coffee for the caffeine, in my case it was for the taste. That and the smell that brought me back to my childhood; carefully carrying a steaming mug of “love” to my Dad. (Enjoying a small sip each time.)

So, for over a year and a half I’ve only drank decaf coffee. I get my fix without the caffeine dependence. I have made a few exceptions and drank regular coffee. A few times at conferences where I was up very early and looking forward to a long day of sometimes dry lectures. I notice how alert coffee makes me feel now that I’m not used to it in regular form.

This summer is where the temptation started.

I am a fan of the iced lattes and ice cap drinks (frozen or iced coffees) that are offered this time of year. On occasion I would have one – even though they are made with regular coffee.

Where the trouble started is the occasion that I had an iced latte on the way to the gym. You should have witnessed me in that particular Spin class. I went hard for the whole 45 minutes and could have continues another 45!! I felt so energized. I was able to workout at a level that I could not otherwise maintain. I could not believe how different I felt that day compared to my regular energy level.

So now in the back of my mind I think . . . spare yourself the extreme effort. (I don’t have a lot of energy and I push myself to work out even when I’m pretty tired and depleted.) Stop and get a coffee before EVERY WORKOUT.

The temptation is strong. I drive pass no less than 7 stops on the way to the gym where I could get myself a delicious (energizing) regular coffee. Tim Horton’s. Gas stations. Fast food spots. Starbuck’s.

As I pass each “temptation” I fight to keep it together. Many days I stop and get a decaf coffee just to appease the demons. And I do mean demons.

Not sure how or why I stay disciplined when it comes to regular coffee. I have a lot of restrictions with my kidney disease so when I am not bound to a diet-related rule I usually go buck wild. There are no kidney disease diet restrictions around coffee.

Some of my will-power comes from me not wanting to be addicted to something. Something having control over me. Regular coffee gave me withdrawal symptoms when I gave it up. Decaf coffee doesn’t have withdrawal symptoms?

On the other hand, I could be a machine in the gym . . . on caffeine.

Can you imagine what I could get accomplished with this extra (much needed) boost of energy??? Oh, life would be beautiful.

Looking at this post, I am almost ashamed that it’s so long . . . and on the topic of coffee??

Really???

I’ve written shorter post on deeper topics like my transplant. (There is obviously more to this picture than meets the eye.)

I REALLY, REALLY LOVE COFFEE.

I hope that in the afterlife we can enjoy all of our vices with no consequences. That would be amazing!! A place where I could drink as many cups of regular coffee a day as I’d like to.

One can dream.

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