I gave up caffeine for a month- And this is what happened

Hi there!

Note: This post has been written in parts over time. Please ignore any incorrect tenses. Also, I was supposed to publish this last month but only managed to do so today as my finals just ended. Sorry!

My name is Nurfatma Perveen and I am slight caffeine freak. And there is nothing more I love than having a nice cup of coffee or tea to begin my day with and probably another cup again in the afternoon after lunch and on rare occasions, another cup in the evening

So, right now is the fasting month (Ramadan). During this month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from pre-dawn till sunset.

With the last couple of years, I always issue myself a challenge to not consume any caffeine during the fasting month but someway, somehow, I will once or twice sidetrack but not because of my will but because someone will force me to and it would be impolite to say ‘No’.

This year I have made up my mind to strictly stick to this challenge.

So, let’s get to the rules

The rules:

  • No coffee, no tea or any other beverages that consume caffeine. If I am going to be buying bottled drinks from outside, I will read the label to ensure there is no ‘Caffeine’
  • No food containing ‘Caffeine’. This one is easy since I mostly eat Malay or Indian dishes, no coffee or tea is used
  • Each time, someone offers me tea or coffee, I will refuse them.
  • I will not tell any of my family members about this challenge so that I will not be talked out of it because I have some really cray family members (sorry!)
  • Even on the days when I won’t be fasting due to other circumstances (cue “Period”), I will still not consume any coffee or tea or as such so that I can complete the 30-days caffeine-free challenge and also to maintain the run of not consuming any caffeine during this time.

Let’s get to it!

Day 1

I woke up and all I had for sahur (pre-dawn meal) was a date and a glass of water. I am not one to eat a lot this early in the morning so this sufficed for me. Right after, I went back to sleep for a little bit more before I would wake up and go to school for my exam.

I have no idea how I got through the day. I was yawning every 5 minutes and felt so sleepy. I ran into my friend on my way to the exam venue and she joked about how small and “tired” my eyes looked. Towards the evening, I was having a little headache and that warranted a massage from my mum. As without my caffeine, I was a lot more tired and went to bed at about 10pm when normally I would sleep at 11.30pm.

What a start!

Days 2-7 (day 4 was the start of holidays, btw)

Exams continued but I was still very tired and lacking that boost of energy and every night I would sleep earlier than I planned to. While each morning when I would wake up for sahur and my mum would ask me if I wanted tea, I would decline her.

I went out with my friend on day 4 but I decided not to tell her about this challenge as I wanted to enjoy being done with exams and just let loose.

Also, this week my favourite bakery, Fluff Bakery, was selling their Teh Tarik cupakes, which is a tea infused cupcake. Unfortunately, due to being caffeine-free, I might have to wait a couple more weeks till this flavour is available again on their menu before I get it to actually try it.

Days 8-12

I began attachment on day 8. The first day went by well because it was just mostly orientation and talks. The actual work began the next day on Tuesday but I was not fasting the next day due to a special phenomenon called period. Nonetheless, I still went for break with my work buddies when it was time to break fast.

The next day, I was working on morning shift so when I went for lunch break with my work buddies, I was the only one eating. To make matters worse, one of my buddies is a guy and I tried my darn best to get rid of him but he insisted it would be fine if I ate in front of him

. I was actually so embarrassed the entire time while eating in front of him, that my cheeks were flushing red and I was smiling awkwardly. While I was having all these emotions, I made the mistake to make eye contact and I smiled awkwardly at him and he gave me that weird face, so he probably assumes that I like him now (Arghh, honestly, I do not know how to handle myself)

After work ended, I went out with my best friend, Gracelyn and I had an eclair. It was nice to chat with her after a long day of work and just have a heart-to-heart talk where I spilled the beans about this challenge. So, she is the first person to know about this challenge.

On Thursday, I was having morning shift and I had not gotten enough sleep the night before because I was stupidly talking to my other best friend, Yi Jie. So due to this, my right eye was red. But nonetheless, I breezed through the day. My work buddies wanted to take a nap during lunch break so instead, I had lunch with my other non-Muslim friends.

Friday arrived in the best way possible, with lots of laughter. As I was working the afternoon shift, I broke my fast with my Muslim friends and we had a fun time just joking around and telling funny stories. My friend over-ate and as a result, she offered me her  iced tea as she could not finish it and did not want to waste it. I was so badly craving caffeine by this point and it broke my heart to do so but I declined her and suggested to her to give it our other friends.

Day 13-14

The weekends were a little more relaxed as I wasn’t working but I was busy chilling around (Is that even a thing?) and enjoying a few moments away from the hectic work environment. I also went back to fasting during this weekend after taking a short break away.

Day 15-19

It was the start of another work week. On most days of the week, I would break my fast with my work buddies and to compensate for the lack of caffeine in my life (Honestly, I’m so dramatic), I would dessert after breaking my fast. A lil’ eclair never hurt no one.

I noticed particularly that I was a whole lot more anxious this week, something that may have been resolved with a nice cup of ginger tea to calm down my nerves. I made many blunders during my shift and that resulted in me getting called up for a “talk” with my facilitator. I wanted to prove myself of being capable at my job yet still being able to do tougher tasks with less effort and time so I could cover more ground.

I also noticed that on a couple of nights, I was unable to sleep well because I would bring work stuff into my personal space and this intruded with my sleep. Can’t say for sure that caffeine would have put me to sleep but if anything I am familiar with, caffeine is reliable in calming down my nerves.

On the last day, I was so happy to be done with work and welcome my holidays, so my friends and I broke our fast at McDonalds (Wheehue!) where I had a McChicken and a Sprite which I only drank half off because I could not tolerate the fizzyness of the drinks. (What’s wrong with me?)

But well, I sucked it up and I am already planning how many cups of tea/coffee I will drink once this challenge ends.

During this timeline, I noticed that I would have slight headaches on the back of my head. I can’t say if this was due to the lack of caffeine or if it was because my hair was tied up in a bun and resting on my occipital lobe for 8 hours straight. Well, only time can tell.

Day 20- 21 ( the first weekend to mark the start of my holidays, again)

On Saturday, I had a pretty chill day and didn’t do anything much besides listen to music from artists that I used to listen to before but somehow unintentionally discovered new music and forgot about them. I’m speaking about the music of Sara Bareilles and older Taylor Swift songs from the “Fearless” era.

Then on Sunday, I didn’t eat much during sahur because I woke up late and after eating what I thought would carry me through the day, I vomited that as well. So, in the end, all I had was 1 single piece of potato chip 😦

Later on in the day, I went out to help out at my mum’s restaurant. And because, the restaurant does actually sell tea/coffee on its menu, I would got a lil’ emotional everytime I would serve a customer tea/coffee because I SO FREAKING WANTED IT FOR MYSELF!!!

I noticed that the headaches I mentioned earlier on still made an appearance during this weekend, so I conclude that it is caffeine related.

As I was writing this part of the article, I was FaceTime-ing my friend, Yi Jie and was feeling anxious about writing this article and just told him about the challenge (so, he is the second one to know) *shrugs shoulders*

 Day 22-26

I woke up for sahur and I realised for the first time that my mum drinks her tea from a bowl (How silly of me, for not noticing it earlier!). Well, whatever.

Monday was a long day for me where I spent time doing a lot of household chores and stuff. So, whatever.

Tuesday was again another long day filled with household chores and just me running errands. I went home and begged my mum to take to the Geylang Bazaar.

Then on Wednesday, I cooped up at home and did household chores. And again did the same thing on Thursday. And on Friday, I ran errands and after begging my mum for 4 days straight, I was finally allowed to go to the bazaar.

It was a super good bazaar (I went for the food, duh!). I bought pizza, chicken kebabs, yogurt parfait and deep fried prawn batters AKA prawn vadai that were all finished up by my family members before I could even have some 😦

Day 27-30

The last few days were busy as hell as the end of the fasting month would be ending soon and we needed to do a lot of preparations. Nonetheless, I powered through the day and would crash early at night because I was so tired. Thank god!


Final thoughts:

I survived the entire month without caffeine and would love to try this challenge every year by sticking to the same rules as I mentioned above.

It was a first for me to make it through the entire month without going off track. And right now, I’m gonna go drink my cup of Joe cause Eid (Muslim holiday) is here!!