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  1. #1
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    I've been Decaffeinated For a Month...

    Background story:

    While training for Sea Otter, I noticed that some times my heart would flutter. I really wouldn't think anything of it, as I feel like I've always had this going on. Now, I've been a HEAVY coffee drinker for the past 20 years, and until recently would average 8-12 cups of coffee a day.

    When I used to body build in the 90's, I was stupid enough to drink coffee with aspirin and the formally-legal ephedrine - and work out on that. Talk about meth head.

    A few years ago I was drinking Rockstars and Redbulls like I owned stock in these companies. My entire family are HEAVY coffee drinkers, so it's also a cultural thing with me.

    While racing Sea Otter this year, I downed a cup before the race and I also took down two Gu's with caffeine, and about mid-way, I started to feel chest pains. I was concerned because I also have congenial hypertension. I finished the race, but my wife told me to call the doctor the next day to be sure I didn't have a minor heart attack.

    Well, I was sent to the emergency room and after x-rays, EKG, blood, etc. Everything came back normal - however, I didn't like what was happening to my body.

    The only thing I could think of was my extreme caffeine intake, so slowly I started to ween myself off. First with just a ONE weak cup in the morning, then half-caf's, and now ONE cup of decaf in the morning. The other day I got a stress test done and I was perfect.

    This is the least amount of caffeine intake I've ever had in 20 years - and I feel great. With my morning decaf, I'm taking in about 16mg of caffeine, and every once in awhile I'll have a "comfort" cup of decaf in the afternoon - FAR less than what I was drinking before. No more heart fluttering, heart palpitations, no irregular heart beats. Nothing - and I credit my progress to cutting out the caffeine.

    I'm curious to find out what we are going to see in the future from children of today who are living off Venti triple shot lattes and 40oz cans of Rockstars. When I was a teen, we didn't have these types of things, and with my history, I still had problems. I think we are going to see a huge influx of heart related issues because of the amount of stimulants children are ingesting.

    I think it's kind of a problem, but it seems like it's not really addressed. I think a lot of parents are also addicted to this stuff, as well.

  2. #2
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    Good for you Dion. Seems you're always making improvements in your life and I don't have to tell you it's not always easy.. Kudos to you.
    Remember reading this study on decaf coffee years ago, and I can't recall the numbers but was amazed at how much caffeine was in decaff, especially dunkin' donuts.
    Not that I think that's bad, and think a cup or 2 of joe a day is ok, but as much as you were drinking has to do damage.
    Have also heard that caffeine dehydrates.
    Round and round we go

  3. #3
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    I couldn't imagine 8-12 cups per day. holy smokes. I top out at two, and I often forget about my 2nd cup halfway through and come back to the office the next day to find half a cup of stale coffee in there.

    I avoid decaf coffee by rule. most decaf is decaffeinated with nasty chemicals. some higher end decafs are done so with water, but they will usually advertise that.

    also, on the caffeine scale: light, medium, dark - the darkness of the roast impacts caffeination. light roasts have high caffeine (why most "breakfast" blends are a light roast) whereas dark roasts have the least (it's essentially cooked off). I tend to stick to a medium roast.

    I'm curious to find out what we are going to see in the future from children of today who are living off Venti triple shot lattes and 40oz cans of Rockstars. When I was a teen, we didn't have these types of things, and with my history, I still had problems. I think we are going to see a huge influx of heart related issues because of the amount of stimulants children are ingesting.
    I think you're right. but don't forget all the soda most people inhale. so they're loading up on caffeine AND calories from most of this stuff. just because you get soymilk in your venti mocha latte whatever doesn't make it automatically healthy.

  4. #4
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    Jeez Dion, good on you for going cold turkey. But dude, that's a lot of go fast. I do 1 cup in the morning of some really strong coffee and I am fine for the day. Wish I could say the same thing for my beer habit.

  5. #5
    Formerly mtbnoobadam
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    That's great Dion! I was also a big time caffeine drinker until last march. Redbull was my crack and now that i think back I realize how overboard I was taking it. After giving my daughter one of my kidneys last march i completely changed my eating and drinking habits and I feel like a totally new person. No more caffeine, very little red meat, very little sodium and cut out most if not all processed foods. It was tough for the first month but now I know I never want to change back after feeling this good. With my metabolism I had it in my head that as long as I stayed active I could eat whatever I wanted. Hopefully I haven't done too much damage over the years.

  6. #6
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    coffee makes me pee a lot so i dont drink it too much. but i do consume a fair share of soda. cutting it out would be interesting.

  7. #7
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    how did you fare on the caffeine withdrawl? i started eating a lot healthier several months ago- organics when i can, no added salt (a tough one, life-long saltaholic) or sugar, easing way back on processed foods, and switching to decaf- and the lack of daily caffeine gave me some god-awful headaches for over a week. bordered on migraine quality for a few days, actually.

    i gave up on decaf when i read about the chemicals used, like nate said, but i am down to one or two 20 oz. cups (my travel mug) per day, from 5 or 6 of the same travel mug. and if i have shot bloks in the camelbak, those are caffeinated as well, but i dont use those too often. like the stingers actually.
    If you arent bleeding, you arent riding hard enough.
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  8. #8
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    I've been a s 2-3 cup a day drinker in the past but I'd notice a minor case of the shakes then. I'm down to one cup a day, occasionally two cups. I do get a withdrawal headache if I don't have a cup a day, though. Plus, I am a frequent minor migraine headache sufferer and caffeine is one of the fixes for that.

    Congrats on the quantum leap in the right direction!!!
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  9. #9
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    I live a very square life, guys! Vegetarian, no alcohol, no sodas, no smoking, decaf (the high end stuff that doesn't use chemicals), and I've cut out other extra "relaxing" stuff. Good for all of you who have made some dietary adjustments.

    The withdrawal was a little hard in the first week, but the idea was to ween slowly - and that's why I was doing half-caf for a week or so. Man, was I sleepy. No headaches, but I did expect them... however, I think it was due to really weening off slowly. It takes a good few weeks to come down properly:

    1. One 8oz. cup ONLY in the morning for 5 days, half-caf in the afternoon if needed
    2. Half-Caf for the next 10 days, decaf in the afternoon if needed
    3. Alternate decaf and half-caf every other day for another 10 days
    4. Decaf only

    8oz decaf has about 2-12mg of caffeine, and a regular 8oz coffee can have as much as 95-200 mg of caffeine.

    If I get a migraine, I go right for the coffee, but I haven't had one yet since getting off of it.

    I use this analogy: if you were given one car that you had to drive for the rest of your life, you would take serious care in the upkeep - best oil, frequent oil changes, check-ups, repairs, you'd keep it clean, etc. Well, we only get one body, so why do we abuse it? We only get one!

    I'm not perfect, but I sure am glad that my heart situation is improved. It wasn't the dying part I was concerned about - I was concerned I'd have to quit riding!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    I couldn't imagine 8-12 cups per day. holy smokes.
    LOL I work at a warehouse belonging to a local coffee manufacturer. That is, I spend my work day with a cup of coffee in my hand, pouring the next one right after the current cup has been finished. I never count, but it must be in excess of 20 cups per day. No decaf for me. Still alive (a human being can get used to any poison).
    Still, for those who are into decaf. Ever tried the "Russian coffee" - that is, chicory? Tastes the same (better, in my opinion), considered much healthier. No caffeine. Not much cheaper though, but may be worth trying.

  11. #11
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    I have not tried chicory, but living so close to Louisiana, it is available.

    I really only drink expensive coffee, though, so there is incentive to not drink multiple pots per day. That organic Kona that I get sometimes is $55/lb.

    I can't stomach crap coffee.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by norton55 View Post
    Jeez Dion, good on you for going cold turkey. But dude, that's a lot of go fast. I do 1 cup in the morning of some really strong coffee and I am fine for the day. Wish I could say the same thing for my beer habit.
    It's all because of the heart problems I had while riding, otherwise I'd be drinking a lot of it still. There are perfectly "healthy" guys my age who kill over on the trail from a heart attack or stroke. I'm not afraid to die, but afraid of winding up a human vegetable because half my body doesn't work due to a stroke.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    The withdrawal was a little hard in the first week, but the idea was to ween slowly...It takes a good few weeks to come down properly:
    I think this is one of the most important factors in making a lifestyle change successfully. I'm sure we have all seen people get the health bug and totally transform their lives in an instant. One day it is cheeseburgers and TV, the next it is tofu and spandex-clad gym sessions. And then a week later the inevitable "screw this, I want a burger" hits and that is that. There are some people who can manage cold turkey type changes, but this is hard mentally and physically. Gradual change gives the body needed time to adjust and allows the mind to not mind it so much.

    I haven't touched caffine, and a lot of other things, in over a decade. It used to be a soda in every hand, then only during meals, then only for dinner, and then only when eating out. I don't eat out much, so one time I was about to order a soda and realized that I hadn't had any in several months nor had I missed it. And this type of change can obviously be done with just about any habit.

    Congrats to all you guys for working on a better life.

  14. #14
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    I top out at four cups a day (breakfast, morning tea, lunch and after dinner). Any more than that and I need to go to the toilet a lot - coffee is a diuretic after all.

  15. #15
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  16. #16
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    I've never liked coffee, so none of that for me, however I've been heavily into Coca Cola. Quitting that habit left me with headaches and zero energy for two weeks, then the symptoms cleared away and I've been fine ever since. I was pretty amazed that a seemingly harmless beverage like that could have such a huge impact when quitting, so I haven't touched the stuff since.

    People sometimes ask me how I get up in the morning with no caffeine, telling me how they would never get out of bed without a shot or two of hot coffee. Thing is, our bodies produce "caffeine" on it's own, I don't feel tired or bombed out because I don't pour caffeine down my throat. Back when I got my fair share of caffeine from cola, my body didn't produce any "wake up chemicals" as they weren't needed, my body knew that I would chug down 2-3 cans of coke before lunch anyway. Once I stopped doing that, it took a couple of weeks for my body to adapt and start producing the needed "chemicals" again, but since that I've been fine.

    Drinking caffeine drinks only work for a short period. Yes, it may give you an initial boost the first couple of weeks, but pretty soon you body just balances it out by no longer producing energy boosters of it's own, and then you NEED coffee just to bring your energy level back to what it used to be.

  17. #17
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    Alright people, let's not put on the blinders here. I'm all for someone making improvements in lifestyle and 8-12 cups a day, IMO, can't be good, but let's not forget coffee has some benefits also, health and otherwise.
    Plus you only live once, so if you enjoy coffee, why deny yourself that simple pleasure. Let's use the only one car thing again, which I enjoyed btw. Do you never put gas in it?, Do you never drive it? , Never turn on the radio?, and if so , what's the sense?
    Last edited by theMeat; 06-10-2012 at 06:57 AM.
    Round and round we go

  18. #18
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    Holy hell. Congratulations. I honestly think I would die If I quit drinking coffee. At least for the first week. I dont know how I would go to class, or work, or ride my bike.

    I should probably quit though since I have been doing it for about 6 years and occasionally experience palpitations.

    Honestly, I dont think any stimulant is a healthy way to start your day.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat View Post
    Alright people, let's not put on the blinders here. I'm all for someone making improvements in lifestyle and 8-12 cups a day, IMO, can't be good, but let's not forget coffee has some benefits also, health and otherwise.
    Plus you only live once, so if you enjoy coffee, why deny yourself that simple pleasure. Let's use the only one car thing again, which I enjoyed btw. Do you never put gas in it?, Do you never drive it? , Never turn on the radio?, and if so , what's the sense?
    Yeah, don't get me wrong - if caffeine doesn't hurt you, go sick. When you're experiencing heart palpitations - not good.

    I think that people really overdo caffeine, coming from somebody who relied heavily on it. And probably, for most, a cup in the morning won't kill you. Racing Sea Otter - I felt like I was about kill over, and that wasn't my legs giving out.

    Like I said, I'm curious to see how some of these teens today who live off Redbull, Rockstar and Starbucks will be affected. If my heart has problems, I can only imagine what we will be seeing in 15 years.

    Back to the car analogy - if you found out that a gas additive was harming your car, you wouldn't put it in. My analogy was to say that if you only got one, you'd really baby that thing. I have friends that have very old, rare, vintage BMX bikes. They will ride them once in awhile, but they baby the hell out of them. It's what you do when you care for something. I would argue that people pay more attention to caring for material items than their own body.

  20. #20
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    Agreed, if it's causing problems good for you for having the strength and wisdom to do something about it.
    One of my favorite quotes that's kinda relevant here....

    "Man.
    Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
    Then he sacrifices his money in order to recuperate his health.
    And then he is so anxious about the future that he doesn't enjoy the present;
    the result being that he doesn't live in the present or the future, he lives as if he's never going to die, and then dies having never really lived." Dalai Lama
    Round and round we go

  21. #21
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    Good for you Dion. Treat the machine well. I go back and forth with the caffeine. Right now Im between 2-3 cups a day. One day Ill just stop. Headache for a day or 2 then life goes on. Cant imagine 10+ a day. Havent had a soda in years.
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  22. #22
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    Caffeine is one angle. And yes people are FOCKING ADDICTED, your children included.

    Far worse than the naturally occurring caffeine though, is this government approved and doctor prescribed ADHD meth. That's the real problem, because when you have a justification its medicine, and when you don't its an addiction.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by abeckstead View Post
    I'm bipolar and caffeine is actually a big mood trigger for me. Give me two rockstars, some mtn dews and I turn into a raging lunatic. I used to scare myself!

    I gave up the liquid crack and alcohol. It was tough at first but I'm so much happier now. It still whacks me outta my skull how a diagnosis and some meds changed my life and for the better.
    good job taking charge of your illness and getting better. I have a family member with a serious mental illness who absolutely will not/cannot get it under control. Other family members are part of the problem, unfortunately. My wife and I try hard to advocate for her when we can, but we can't do much when NONE of the rest of the family feels that the mental illness is not such a big deal.

  24. #24
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    We put our daughter on ADD medicine this year. Went through three different types and they all had bad side effects. Not sure how we're going to handle it because she seriously can't focus on much for very long, but everything we tried she either became suicidal, would hear voices or feel "boxed in".

    Me personally, I am lowering my coffee from a constant intake, like eight cups or so, to about three cups now. Not sure I'd ever give it up completely, but my intake is lower now and my desire to drink more has gone away. I think it's a good thing.

  25. #25
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    I've been addicted to caffeinated sodas for years. To a tune of probably 8 to 12 a day. The last few weeks I've managed to cut that around half and drinking some flavored and plain waters to mix it up a little.

    Interestingly enough I read some headline the other day that said that 8 cups of water a day that has been recommended for years it not needed.

    There was another headline about a former coca cola executive and his glee that coke outsold milk. LOL..I can believe that; I hate the taste of milk.

    Likely the bit about water is the cola industry at play protecting its profits.

  26. #26
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    Good job, Dion. Caffeine does that to people, especially lightweight caffeine consumers like you.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArmySlowRdr View Post
    I've been addicted to caffeinated sodas for years. To a tune of probably 8 to 12 a day. The last few weeks I've managed to cut that around half and drinking some flavored and plain waters to mix it up a little.

    Interestingly enough I read some headline the other day that said that 8 cups of water a day that has been recommended for years it not needed.

    There was another headline about a former coca cola executive and his glee that coke outsold milk. LOL..I can believe that; I hate the taste of milk.

    Likely the bit about water is the cola industry at play protecting its profits.
    Yeah, think it's pretty safe to say that if coca cola owns it, it's not too good for ya. Just look what they did to gaterade. They also own Vitamin water, and althou it might not have any, or as much caffeine, the sugar or corn whatever is way up there.

    You may be right that 8 cups of water for some isn't needed, but for people that have caffeine or do exercise like mtbing it most likely is because both those things dehydrate, and aside from an extra trip to the toilet, there's no down side so drink up.
    Last edited by theMeat; 06-11-2012 at 04:55 AM.
    Round and round we go

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    Background story:

    While training for Sea Otter, I noticed that some times my heart would flutter. I really wouldn't think anything of it, as I feel like I've always had this going on. Now, I've been a HEAVY coffee drinker for the past 20 years, and until recently would average 8-12 cups of coffee a day.

    When I used to body build in the 90's, I was stupid enough to drink coffee with aspirin and the formally-legal ephedrine - and work out on that. Talk about meth head.

    A few years ago I was drinking Rockstars and Redbulls like I owned stock in these companies. My entire family are HEAVY coffee drinkers, so it's also a cultural thing with me.

    While racing Sea Otter this year, I downed a cup before the race and I also took down two Gu's with caffeine, and about mid-way, I started to feel chest pains. I was concerned because I also have congenial hypertension. I finished the race, but my wife told me to call the doctor the next day to be sure I didn't have a minor heart attack.

    Well, I was sent to the emergency room and after x-rays, EKG, blood, etc. Everything came back normal - however, I didn't like what was happening to my body.

    The only thing I could think of was my extreme caffeine intake, so slowly I started to ween myself off. First with just a ONE weak cup in the morning, then half-caf's, and now ONE cup of decaf in the morning. The other day I got a stress test done and I was perfect.

    This is the least amount of caffeine intake I've ever had in 20 years - and I feel great. With my morning decaf, I'm taking in about 16mg of caffeine, and every once in awhile I'll have a "comfort" cup of decaf in the afternoon - FAR less than what I was drinking before. No more heart fluttering, heart palpitations, no irregular heart beats. Nothing - and I credit my progress to cutting out the caffeine.
    Almost the exact thing happened to me 6-7 years ago. Ended up in the ER thinking I was having a heart attack. I checked out normal, and the only thing docs could attribute it to was too much caffeine. I didn't cut caffeinated coffee cold turkey, but I cut WAY back, and haven't had any issues since.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    Yeah, don't get me wrong - if caffeine doesn't hurt you, go sick. When you're experiencing heart palpitations - not good.

    I think that people really overdo caffeine, coming from somebody who relied heavily on it. And probably, for most, a cup in the morning won't kill you. Racing Sea Otter - I felt like I was about kill over, and that wasn't my legs giving out.

    Like I said, I'm curious to see how some of these teens today who live off Redbull, Rockstar and Starbucks will be affected. If my heart has problems, I can only imagine what we will be seeing in 15 years.

    Back to the car analogy - if you found out that a gas additive was harming your car, you wouldn't put it in. My analogy was to say that if you only got one, you'd really baby that thing. I have friends that have very old, rare, vintage BMX bikes. They will ride them once in awhile, but they baby the hell out of them. It's what you do when you care for something. I would argue that people pay more attention to caring for material items than their own body.
    A car left in the garage, unused would last forever, but what's the point of having it?

    Would you want to be able to ride if you could only elevate your heartrate 10%? Or be denied your most favorite food to live an additional year? No one will finish this race alive, hopefully all live it before it's over.
    Everyone is entitled to my opinion.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghoti View Post
    A car left in the garage, unused would last forever, but what's the point of having it?

    Would you want to be able to ride if you could only elevate your heartrate 10%? Or be denied your most favorite food to live an additional year? No one will finish this race alive, hopefully all live it before it's over.
    I didn't say don't drive the car - I said baby it. If you only got one, wouldn't you take care of it? Or would you thrash it? I know a lot of people that thrash their bodies - they hit their 50's and are on 20 different medications and had a half dozen surgeries. No thanks!

    I'm not afraid of dying - I'm afraid of being a vegetable from a stroke and staring at mylar balloons while drooling. A lot of people survive strokes and heart attacks - it ain't pretty after that. People tend to think that they will live fast and die quickly. Tell that to all the people being spoon fed and their diaper changed by a 56 yr. old Filipino woman named Rina because one side of their body doesn't function.

    I want to prevent that from happening. Dying - that's a guarantee.

    I take my HBP medication, eat a very clean diet, stay away from certain things and just live pretty clean. Personally, I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. I need to take care of myself - my wife depends on me. Oh yeah, I have a ton of life insurance

  31. #31
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    8-12 cups a day, thats nothing, I used to drink 4-5 pots a day, it got to the point where the coffee didnt work anymore and all I ever had were headaches. Thats was 5-10 years ago. I still drink coffee once in a while. But, the coffee has since been replaced with beer.
    DJ, "Because I'm sure the world need's more dudes stalking the woods stoned out of their mind carrying a deadly weapon."

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dion View Post
    I didn't say don't drive the car - I said baby it. If you only got one, wouldn't you take care of it? Or would you thrash it? I know a lot of people that thrash their bodies - they hit their 50's and are on 20 different medications and had a half dozen surgeries. No thanks!

    I'm not afraid of dying - I'm afraid of being a vegetable from a stroke and staring at mylar balloons while drooling. A lot of people survive strokes and heart attacks - it ain't pretty after that. People tend to think that they will live fast and die quickly. Tell that to all the people being spoon fed and their diaper changed by a 56 yr. old Filipino woman named Rina because one side of their body doesn't function.

    I want to prevent that from happening. Dying - that's a guarantee.

    I take my HBP medication, eat a very clean diet, stay away from certain things and just live pretty clean. Personally, I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything. I need to take care of myself - my wife depends on me. Oh yeah, I have a ton of life insurance
    Totally agree, but there's no guarantees on how we'll end up. I would hate to be an invalid of any kind, but I would also hate to have avoiding life to arrive at the finish with a full tank. I guess I'm more in the keep the car as well maintained as possible and drive it as it was meant to be driven.

    Are you a Subaru Justy or a WRX STi?
    Everyone is entitled to my opinion.

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    I used to drink probably 7-8 cans of Coke every day. In the past few months ive been working out alot more (when im not riding im at the gym or playing soccer on the weekend and helping my wifes softball team practice) and ive limited myself to 1 or at the most two Cokes a day. In replacement ive been drinking Herbalife's herbal tea concentrate since it has caffiene in it to ween myself off the caffiene. Also drinking alot more pure water. Ive found if I keep a water bottle (sports type) with me at all times full of some kind of liquid I dont have the urge to grab a Coke. Ive felt so much better the past few weeks its unreal.


    Congrats Dion on quitting cold turkey, I tried it and failed miserably.
    2010 Giant Yukon FX
    Pure XCR Wheelset/Geax Saguaro Tires/Tubeless
    Bike Weight Lost: 2.48lbs (1124g)

  34. #34
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    I would think you guys drinking so many sodas are more influenced by the sugar. 10 cans of coke is 400 grams!
    Everyone is entitled to my opinion.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-kul View Post
    coffee makes me pee a lot so i dont drink it too much. but i do consume a fair share of soda. cutting it out would be interesting.
    Just cutting soda from 1-2 cans a day to 1-2 a week I dropped about 6 pounds in 3 weeks with no other changes over the winter. I've also cut coffee to maybe 3 times a week with just one cup in the morning and have stopped having caffeine headaches on the days I don't have coffee. The strange thing is since cutting the soda/sugar/caffeine back in my diet I've been having a hard time going to sleep and have more energy late at night even with riding 10-13 miles a day.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghoti View Post
    I would think you guys drinking so many sodas are more influenced by the sugar. 10 cans of coke is 400 grams!
    Serious increase in the potential for diabetes.

    Quote Originally Posted by bmwjnky View Post
    Just cutting soda from 1-2 cans a day to 1-2 a week I dropped about 6 pounds in 3 weeks with no other changes over the winter. I've also cut coffee to maybe 3 times a week with just one cup in the morning and have stopped having caffeine headaches on the days I don't have coffee. The strange thing is since cutting the soda/sugar/caffeine back in my diet I've been having a hard time going to sleep and have more energy late at night even with riding 10-13 miles a day.
    Since cutting out all the caffeine, I too, feel like my sleep/wake patterns are "normal". I ride about 20 miles a day, burn 1500-2000 calories on my daily ride and climb a couple thousand feet 4-5 days a week and I also feel great. Didn't feel that way when I was hitting the coffee every afternoon.

    Like I said, I have a cup of decaf in the afternoon, just for that 10mg of caffeine to pick me up a little. Nothing like before, though.

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