Top positive review
I gave up caffeine because of this book
Reviewed in the United States on April 16, 2020
While on a road trip with my husband to bring home our new baby puppy, I gave up (almost all) caffeine, all at once, because of listening to this book in the car. That was not the plan, but that's what happened.
A "I must have my coffee first!" drinker, I wanted to know how I would feel without a heavy daily dose of caffeine, having lived with coffee and tea every day of my life for 45 years--since early high school.
The terrific book describes caffeine's effects on sleep cycles, and that's the information I found troubling enough to want to kick the habit, to see what happens. There is also evidence that coffee and caffeine have positive effects on the body, and so I do drink one cup of green tea powdered (matcha) most days in hopes of compensating.
Withdrawal was surprisingly dramatic. I was irritable and impatient the first week or two, and felt I had lost some of my cognitive powers. Sometimes I stumbled a bit to come up with a coherent sentence, for example, and I felt dull while driving on our road trip. I couldn't multi-task well. I felt slower than normal, and foggy. By week three all these effects were much milder, but I still did not feel like myself. It took me almost four weeks to feel as if I were back to normal.
I've been described as a high energy person and I now know, for sure, caffeine is not the reason. I'm just that way. I sleep wonderfully and wake up refreshed, often with pleasant and interesting dreams. I rarely remembered by dreams while on coffee.
Now I have almost an aversion to coffee and caffeine. I do not want to go into Starbucks. To my surprise, I do not miss coffee shops or coffee culture or coffee's ritual. I do not crave chocolate the way I used to. I do not want to drink caffeinated tea. I do not want that hyper alert, jittery feeling that caffeine used to give me, especially in the morning. I have shed a couple of pounds without much effort. I no longer become as hungry as often; I can wait to eat.
Pollan's short book is full of history and science and written in a way that will hold your attention. He never advocates giving up caffeine and he himself does not, except for a short while. Maybe in my unconscious mind I was looking for a reason to quit coffee. Or, maybe, in the end this book will lead more readers to do the same.