Sunday, February 19, 2012

A World Without Coffee

When I committed to an alternative route, I committed to the process 100%. I'd receive all the treatments, I'd take the supplements, I'd explore the mind/body connection, and I'd follow a raw/vegan diet. When I committed to these things, I also committed to giving up coffee.

I was never one of those people who needed coffee in the morning to get me through the day. In fact, I didn't start drinking coffee until I received a Kerig one-cup coffee maker as a wedding gift. This was probably The Hubby's favorite (and most used) gift and turned me on to the joy of coffee. It is also because of this machine that I still don't really know how to make a real pot of coffee.

Once we received this wonder machine, coffee became a morning ritual between The Hubby and I. Before getting ready for the day, we'd top off our mugs, filling our loft with it's delicious aroma. Just like a Folgers commercial, I would literally wake up to the smell of The Hubby's brew. Coffee was our companion on our daily walks with Puppy. And we'd spend Sunday mornings sipping and sharing articles we'd read in the New York Times (okay, sometimes Vogue…). He drank his black, mine was creamy and sweet.

Coffee wasn't just about joint experiences with The Hubby. One of my favorite things to do in the afternoon when I needed a break from work would be to pour myself an extra hot cup of coffee (or a latte if I was feeling fancy) and catch up on my fashion blogs. In a day that was completely consumed by work, it felt indulgent and totally selfish. It was my own ritual where I would take time for two things I truly enjoyed: coffee and blogs.


For me, coffee has always been about the ritual and the experience that comes with drinking it. Some people go through withdrawal giving up coffee. They experience headaches and fatigue. My withdrawal was an emotional one - I hated the idea of losing a part of a routine I had grown to love. The process, the smell, the warmth. I knew if I was going to commit 100% to this new lifestyle, then I had to find a substitute.

I spent my first couple weeks in Arizona silently mourning the loss of my coffee routine (This was of course made harder by the lack of The Hubby and Puppy- two critical pieces). I bought enough flavors of tea to last a year, hopping to find one that would satisfy my desire. They all came up short. I tried homemade chai tea lattes with almond milk but they required too much work and I never seemed to be able to get the same outcome twice.

I actually like tea. Sometimes I even love tea. But for me, tea is a part of a different routine. It helps relax me at the end of the day. It's great in bed with a good book before I fall asleep. It's soothing. Actually, maybe it's wine that I'm thinking of…

To me, tea is not energizing. It lacks a boldness, as well as the rich creaminess, of a cup of coffee. I needed something stronger.

And then, finally, I found it. It wasn't easy. It required hours of research and trolling of internet forums. But I found my coffee substitute.

Teeccino Herbal Coffee.

Caffeine free and full of antioxidants, this non-acidic drink is made out of chicory root, carob, fruit, dates, and other natural ingredients. Honestly, it sounded pretty terrible and not like a worthy substitute. But after one cup (and weeks of searching), I knew I had a winner.

It comes in flavors like Almond Amaretto and French Roast and is packaged just like coffee. It can be made in a coffee pot, or my personal favorite, a french press. So fantastically fancy.

Does it taste exactly like coffee? Don't ask me, it's been 5 weeks since I've had any and I was never a purist with my cup of joe. But does it give me a similar experience? Yes. And just like I diluted my coffee with milk and sugar, I'll continue to dilute my teccinno with almond milk and honey, giving it the perfect sweet, creamy texture I crave. I even found a blog with latte and frapuccino recipes made out of Teeccino!

With Cancer, it's all about celebrating the small daily victories and this, my friends, is one of them.

Drinking a cup while writing this post actually made me feel as if I had a piece of my old routine back. Now if only I could get The Hubby and Puppy back too…

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