Java Joe checks in

Hi, my name is Joe.  Chances are, we’ve already hung out today.  Why?  Because you tell yourself you can’t get through the day without me.  When someone dares suggest that you stop drinking me every day, you get a little irked.  You certainly don’t consider the possibility of actually quitting me; in fact, you’re just a little bit proud that we’re so close.

You know you love me.

No, you won’t stop drinking me.  You pay careful attention to what you eat and you’re sure to get your exercise.  But when someone tells you I’m not good for you, well, that’s going too far.  Even if it’s true, it doesn’t matter.  I’m the one part of your diet that’s nonnegotiable.  Funny, when someone feels that way about any other substance, we call it an addiction.  We get them help.

Everyone loves Joe!

But nobody worries about a good-old addiction to Joe.  I get a pass, because everyone drinks me.  I’m legal.  And I’ve got a lot of money behind me to make sure nobody catches on that I’m sort of harmful.  That I make you age faster.  That I aggravate all kinds of other conditions, and just might be the cause of lots of your little health problems.  Heart disease, bowel problems, ulcers, anxiety, depression, even reproductive issues.  But don’t worry about those.  And let’s not harp on that whole “quietly sucking away your energy under the guise of an innocent pick-me-up” thing.

You feel good for a little while after you drink me because I play a nifty trick on your body.  I make you think you’re under stress, so that your system speeds up.  You start thinking faster — not in a relaxed, creative way, but in a way that might help you in a fight.  If you’ve got anything going on that’s bothering you, I help you forget about that for a while.  No time for moping, you’re in a fight!

Oh that’s right, you’re not.  You’re sitting in your car, surfing the web, or listening to the radio.  So all this excess stimulation serves to make you feel happy and alert.

Joe’s dark secret

So, we’re friends, right?  Then you won’t mind my sharing a horrible secret with you.  Ready?  Here it is: I don’t really have anything in me you can burn for energy, so that boost you get is all you.  You’ll have to pay it back later.  Lucky for me though, by then you’ve moved on.  You’re thinking about work, or the grocery store, the bills, or your secretary.  When the crash comes — and it MUST come — you’ve forgotten that maybe I’m to blame.  Must be that big lunch or all the stress of your job that made you so tired.  Certainly not a little drink like me you had six hours ago, right?

When you wake up the next day, you might feel like you didn’t sleep all that well.  My bad on that one too.  But remember how good I can make you feel?  So rather than cutting ties, letting this be the end, you come back for more.  A booty call, of sorts.

And so it goes.  You drink more and more of me.  You always get tired now.  Your body has gotten used to me, so you need to drink even more, just to feel yourself.  You forget how much energy you had before I came along.  Sometimes it seems strange to think you lived for years before you even tried me.

But the antioxidants!

But I’m here to stay now.  If you try to stop, you get a headache.  Lest you get any heroic ideas of putting up with a few miserable days to free yourself from my grasp, keep this in mind: I have antioxidants! Can’t get those anywhere else, right?  Oh, that’s right, since you’re an NMA reader you probably eat pretty well and get lots of those from fruits and veggies.  And they don’t have any poison in them!  Well..err… forget that and focus on the headache.

Please don’t stop drinking me.  I hardly know Matt anymore.  Sure, we still hang out a few times a week, but when we do, I feel like only a third or a quarter or some other random percentage of my former self.  We just don’t jive anymore.  He goes on and on about how he’s beginning to realize he doesn’t need me.  That when he unknowingly drinks my lame-ass sister Deanna Kathleen (we call her Dee Kath), he feels just as good, without the anxiety afterward.  I’m all in his head, he says.  Well Matt, you smell bad.

Look, you and I have known each other for a while now, and we both know how much you depend on me.  How I help you get out of bed in the morning, and how the day doesn’t start until we hang out.  You need me.  I’m your friend.

I can trust you not to quit your old pal Joe, right? 😉



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  1. I never thought it would happen, but I actually did quit drinking coffee. The only time I have it now is when I stir a little instant coffee into my cereal before a long run.

  2. I ran out of coffee this weekend so have been having herbal tea mornings. No biggie but I don’t drink a lot of coffee to start with.

    How are you doing coffee-less – at least of the caffeinated variety, Matt?
    .-= Nicki´s last blog ..The Kitschen Sink and Dee Sprague’s Opening =-.

    • Nicki, it’s going really well. I’ve found the random thing worked really well until I got down to where I am now, which is consuming 1/5 caffeinated coffee, 4/5 decaf coffee in a blend. The problem is getting off it completely, because the random thing depends on the small chance that I’ll get caffeine! I guess I need to convince myself that I truly don’t need it.

  3. I’m desperately trying to cut back on my coffee intake, since when I get started in the morning, sometimes it’s really the only thing I drink throughout the day, which is BAD!

    I’ve found it usually results in those nasty cramps that make it nearly impossible to keep going during my runs.

    So between now and my half marathon in April, it’s water water water!

  4. Love the pic of the crazy coffee woman;) I’ve never been a coffee drinker, I could never understand how something that smells so good could taste so bad! I sometimes drink herbal teas, but mainly I drink water.
    .-= meatlessmama´s last blog ..Homemade Vegetable Broth =-.

  5. Interesting post.

    I have not had a cup of coffee since Christmas. I used to drink a lot of tea but now I only drink Rooibus as I understand it has no caffeine.

    I do sometimes get concerned when I read that coffee is good before running? Much truth in this or?
    .-= Shane´s last blog ..Everything is hard, until it is easy =-.

    • Shane, congrats on giving it up and switching to herbal tea. Rooibos is so good for you, and the taste is great, too.

      It’s true that caffeine can help you run faster. But if you drink it every day, or even just on workout days, that effect will get erased as your body gets used to it. I’d say save it for your hardest workouts or races, if at all. Also, if you’re going to do that on race day, test it a few times to see how your system handles it. You might find that tea or yerba mate is a better source of caffeine that coffee for your body.

  6. From not so long ago:

    Kudos to all those who’re giving up but I keep it for special occasions like before a race.
    .-= What The Run´s last blog ..Saturday: Harbor run =-.

  7. wahhhh! as much as I love coffee…I agree with this post 100%!!! I enjoy my mugfull every morning, but have stopped all caffeine consumption after 11am…and just chug a lot of water during the afternoon, I do feel a lot better and have noticed many benefits to my skin, mood, and energy levels! But that morning time with my coffee pre-workout is what I look forward to before falling asleep at night! 🙂 blog reading and coffee=perfect!
    .-= Lizzy´s last blog ..Grrraaaanola Giveaway…. =-.

  8. I gave up coffee a few years ago and then started back up. During the time off I didn’t miss it. About a month ago, I cut out coffee because I am training really hard and didn’t like the idea of borrowing energy to get in my peak miles. It is nice to not need or want a cup in the morning. And it makes me feel better too.
    .-= Devon´s last blog ..The Weekly Muffin: Gluten-Free Apple Cinnamon Granola Muffins =-.

  9. Java Joe has a pretty firm hold on me at the moment. It’s bad but a lot of the time I pour a cup just because I’m bored and I really do like the taste. That said, I’ve been cutting back the amount I pour and will give decaf a shot.
    .-= Billy Broas´s last blog ..The Jack Bauer Guide for Beer Noobs =-.

  10. sob sob sob….
    I know it’s all true!! Your no good for me coffee. Try and try as I may, I can’t give you up!! You seduce me daily, the taste of you on my lips.

    Ok, let’s keep this clean… I tried giving it up when you first started your experiment, even switched to DeeKath but then learned of the horrible chemicals that are used to strip the caffeine so I went back. I know I need to give it up but I am WEAK. I may need an intervention.


    • Berni, the chemicals in the decaf process are definitely a concern. Apparently there are clean ways to do it, but it’s rare and you often don’t know what the method was.

      I don’t have an intention of drinking decaf long-term. It’s a tool to get me off of caffeinated coffee, and I will eventually switch to tea, I think.

  11. Hmm, I’m sitting here reading about Joe, while I sip him up. 🙂 I don’t really feel the need for Joe, I’ve become used to the warm cozy feeling I have when I settle down in the morning to sip and read my emails and blogs. It almost reminds me of sitting in front of a hot fire sittping something hot in a mug. Sad really. Maybe more camping trips are in order this summer.

    I probably enjoy the coffee for the sugar I add…so bad I know. Maybe I need to give tea a shot for a week and see how it goes. I always wake up with an edge of tired that I can’t seem to hurdle unless I have coffee. Maybe the coffee is causing it….or the Pepsi I drank last night…doh.

  12. Very creatively written, good job! I am not addicted, I have caffine coffee or tea about 2-3 times a week in either the afternoon or morning, and decaf 4-5 times a week. My husband on the other hand, goes through 2-3 POTS of caf coffee a day. Major headaches for him!
    .-= LindsayRuns´s last blog ..Happy Saturday! =-.

  13. How did joe know i use his antioxidants as an excuse?
    .-= Evan Thomas´s last blog ..Candy, The Oscars, And Other Lies Your Mother Told You =-.

  14. Jason D. says:

    “And so it goes. You drink more and more of me. You always get tired now. Your body has gotten used to me, so you need to drink even more, just to feel yourself.”

    Definitely want to fight addiction, but I feel obligated to say that moderation *is* possible. Even with good old Java Joe. 🙂

    • Jason, yes, moderation is certainly possible. That’s the goal for me. In the past though, I’ve found after giving up coffee for a while that if I introduce even one full-caff cup a week, I slowly slip back into every day consumption. It seems I’m an all-or-nothing type.

      Interestingly, I gave up soda a long time ago, not having a sip of it for an entire year. And now I don’t have the taste for it anymore, so I am able to moderate and have it maybe once a month with no desire to have more. I really hope I can get there with coffee, because I don’t want to cut it out completely; I really enjoy it.

  15. Coffee and I don’t get along if I drink it regularly. I actually get headaches at 4 or 5 am if I haven’t had my coffee yet! I switched to green tea, and then recently switched to plain old water (need to keep this pre-natal body healthy!)
    .-= Alison @ finnyfinds´s last blog ..Blazing a Vegan Food Trail Through Our Kitchen =-.

    • Alison, wow that’s a really strong withdrawal response! My wife Erin has something similar; she cut out caffeine (and eventually all coffee, even decaf) a few years ago. I wish it were that easy for me! But it’s nice to know our baby is not getting any caffeine in the womb.

  16. Hilarious!
    .-= Michelle´s last blog ..Fabulous Food Fridays =-.

  17. Christina says:

    *sigh* I’d really love to kick Joe to the curb. I work full time and attend grad school part-time (75% time,actually). Joe and I have become very close once I started school. Yesterday was my first half assed attempt at dumping Joe. I went cold turkey and failed miserably. I ended up with a headache and having to get things done at work, I gave in. Maybe I should start off at half caff instead of going cold turkey.

    I’m a pharmacology student and have a good understanding of the negative effects of coffee (the acidity) and caffeine. Too bad I don’t put that info to good use!

  18. jerry O'Donnell says:

    great and funny post about coffee- yeah it depletes your adrenals – also coffee and sorry to say even de-cafe are acidic and promote an acidic environment in your body – which is terrible for athletes- better to switch to green tea – yerba matte for caffeine or when I have a coffee itch – I brew up a pot of Teeccino – does the trick and caffeine free ! give up the Joe and in about 2 weeks you’ll have more energy than ever! I love coffee and had a french press of Peets french roast every day- no mas- I do miss it but like how I feel much better

  19. Bravo! LOVE this post! And it gets me thinking… I only started drinking coffee in the mornings because I suddenly had the time. But I hate the taste… why they heck am I drinking it? I have a lovely shelf of tea though… Thanks for the inspiration!
    .-= Caroline´s last blog ..New shoes, new race! =-.

  20. I totally had an ah-ha moment about coffee this morning. Erica from Itzy’s Kitchen told me about your coffee Post and I’m so glad I checked it out! Love your blog!
    .-= Lindsay´s last blog ..In Need of an Intervention =-.

  21. If this wasnt so sad, it would be funny to me. Cause its true. *sad violin*

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