A Life Less Caffeinated

About 5 years ago I starting having some health problems due to a complete lifestyle change.I was consuming fried foods multiple times per week and drinking caffeine daily. Now, for some people this might be normal and fine, but it wasn’t for me.I blame my Mom.

A Foundation of Healthy Living

Growing up my Mom always insisted that I should not drink sugary drinks with chemicals or other unhealthy items. Thanks to her I don’t crave foods like that today. My waistline thanks you, Mom!During that transitional time, however, I gave up some core healthy living values. I moved to a new city (completely foreign to where I had grown up) and started a new job and life in a place where I only knew one person. The healthy food I was accustomed to was not ubiquitous as it once was and I stopped being proactive.Normally when I was at a restaurant, I would order my food in a healthful way, which meant sometimes making special requests.As I was still getting acquainted with new colleagues and making friends, I quickly realized that my healthy habits made me stick out and I did not want to be perceived as different.I starting giving into local fare, like french fries on sandwiches and salads.Then I’d wash it down with a flavored soda.

My Health Struck Back

Between the fried foods and caffeine, I developed very painful heartburn, acid reflux, and heart palpitations. At one point, I thought I was having a heart attack. The doctor prescribed medicine and my body started to heal.I researched what I should be doing to better manage my health and asked the doctor what could be causing my discomfort. It came down to caffeine as a major issue; especially considering the heart palpitations.

Immediately I Decided to Take Action and Improve My Life

I knew I would miss my lattes, cappuccinos, and diet vanilla cola, but my wellness was the priority. After exactly one week of headaches from caffeine withdraw, the fog lifted and I felt like a new person.I felt the type of clarity you feel after an awesome run.And no I didn’t stop eating chocolate or go to major extremes, I simply stopped drinking coffee, tea, sodas, and eating desserts or foods with high levels of caffeine in it.  Equally important, I went back to limiting my consumption of fried foods. I started feeling better on the inside and looking healthier on the outside.Since I went off of caffeine, I’ve spent a lot of time searching for caffeine free drinks or decaffeinated options so that, I too, could enjoy the variety that others enjoy.I quickly learned what I could order from Starbucks that would be in line with my new health rules. I started ordering the Tazo Passion Tea “iced with a splash of lemonade,” or the Tazo Vanilla Rooibos Tea with a splash of soy milk (I prefer almond milk, but Starbucks hasn’t started carrying it yet).

Bonus: Tea is Ridiculously Good for You and a Great Source of Antioxidants

WebMD reported that green and black teas “have 10 times the amount of antioxidants found in fruits and veggies.” While Best Health Magazine published a list of positive affects you can enjoy as an herbal tea drinker, including “significant changes to your mood, your skin, your sense of well-being and energy.”I grew up drinking homemade iced tea and hot herbal tea. My Mom would make (and still makes) a fresh pitcher of lemon tea weekly. There’s something special about the moments you experience when enjoying a refreshing glass of iced tea, or the comforting affects of a peaceful moment with hot tea.As a child, if I was sick my Mom would thoughtfully make me a hot cup of tea with honey and a piece of toast cut up into eight small pieces. It was her ritual and something I do for myself today. There’s something sweet and dainty about the warm mug in my hand and the tiny squares of toast.And after arriving home from school or the gym, that glass of fresh brewed iced tea was always so satisfying. No sugar added meant it was thirst quenching and zero calories. Sometimes we would blend multiple tea bags together in the same pot to create new flavors. Always using herbal caffeine free or decaffeinated teas.

Back to My Roots: Brewing My Own Tea

Recommitted to wellness, I started making my own fresh tea again at home as well as searching for it at restaurants and traditional coffee shops. I would frequently check the back of prepackaged iced tea labels and ask restaurant servers if they had any caffeine free iced teas. The answer was always no and if they had anything at all it was absolutely packed with sugar.So much sugar, it seemed, that eating a funnel cake could be a healthier alternative. So I would abstain and just have water with lemon or sparking water.

The Tazo-volution

After five years, I'm truly thrilled and excited to share that Tazo has expanded into making caffeine free, zero calorie iced tea.The Tazo Passion tea that I loved so much was the first one I tried and in its latest incarnation, it’s my new favorite. It’s sweetened with Stevia which is a natural zero calorie sweetener. I’m so glad that Tazo knows its clients well enough to understand that we prefer natural sweeteners.If the tea had been sweetened with anything else, it would not have been an option for me.The new Tazos that I--and anyone else who limits caffeine consumption--can enjoy are Passion and Refresh. And as a next step, if Tazo could make the Zen (green tea infused) in a decaf version, that would be awesome.If you haven’t checked it out yet, Starbucks, the home of Tazo is doing a very cool Valentine’s Day campaign called everylove. Through augmented reality, everylove allows you to send and receive virtual Valentine messages. Pretty sweet.Excuse me, I'm going to grab a Tazo and send a Vday message.Disclosure: We do receive free product samples from time to time, but all of the opinions are our own.Image source: Shutterstock.com Raspberry Tea

20 Accessories To Amp Up Your Glam

40 Sexy Foods from Savory to Sweet