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Trading One Vice For Another, But In A Good Way…

February 7, 2011 · 51 comments

in Health & Fitness

If you have been reading my blog the last couple months, you may know that I gave up soft drinks as part of my goal setting for 2011.  (Well, reduce my intake by 90 percent.  I knew that I would have a hard time getting through the Super Bowl without a soft drink.)  However, I set my goal at 90 percent for that very reason:  I wanted to allow myself some slip-ups so that I wouldn’t be tempted to just throw away my goal at my first ‘failure’.  Therefore, my ingestion of a glass of Sprite during a football game wasn’t really a failure, it was allowed as part of my plan.  (After 43 years, I have finally learned something about goal setting!)

Anyway, since I gave up pop, I still crave the occasional caffeine boost.  The winter is long and cold here, and sometimes my energy level can just kind of plummet.  So, I have changed vices:  I now enjoy a cup of coffee every other day or so.

This is a big deal to me.  I have hated coffee my whole life.  However, did you know that if you add milk, sugar, flavored creamer, etc to coffee, it can actually taste pretty good?  It is even better if you start with a flavored coffee to begin with!  I had no idea.  I had just closed the door on coffee all these years, until now.  Of course, the thought of black coffee straight up makes me want to gag.  But sweet, smooth coffee is quite tasty.

What I love about coffee is that I feel great after drinking it, in a way I never felt after having pop.  I have an incredible burst of energy, especially if I drink it in the early afternoon.  (If I drank it after 3:00 pm, I would be up all night.)  I usually have an energy lull after lunch, but not if I plan my one cup of coffee for that time!  It is funny because I know many people need their morning coffee, but I get nothing out of it if I drink it in the morning.  Give it to me in the afternoon, and I am a whirlwind!  I don’t even crash! To think I have been missing out on so much productivity all these years.  If I used my energy for housecleaning instead of work, my house would look amazing.  Or, maybe I should exercise during this ‘energy high’ .

So, am I the only one that has ever given up one vice and ended up with another?  I have to say, I don’t even feel bad about my new love of coffee, as it is actually somewhat good for you.  That will be covered in another post though.

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{ 47 comments… read them below or add one }

Money Reasons February 7, 2011 at 6:41 am

I went with those flavored packets (I like the lipton white/green tea ones). I only use have a packet per glass of water (I keep the other half in it’s package in a plastic contrainger).

I do know where you are coming from though!

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Kris February 8, 2011 at 9:58 pm

I wish I liked tea!!!!

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Dianna February 7, 2011 at 7:02 am

I can’t believe it, after all these years. If you think flavored coffee is good, have you tried a latte? You can get it low fat and sugar free and it’s a bunch of milk(although the coffe is twice as strong). I should probably switch my coffee to after lunch too. I really run out of steam then.

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Kris February 8, 2011 at 9:59 pm

I don’t even understand all the different coffee drinks. I don’t know a flavored coffee from a latte from a cappucino (sp?)

Let’s meet for a post lunch latte!

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Henry February 7, 2011 at 7:12 am

I gave up milk and sugar in my coffee when I was a student and was too lazy/disorganised to ensure that there was always fresh milk and sugar in my apartment. Black coffee tastes disgusting for a week, but after that week you can’t drink it any other way. Black coffee FTW! Just try it black and unsweetened for a week, you’ll start enjoying it and appreciating the flavour of quality coffee – it’s much healthier too.

I suppose it’s similar to beer and wine when you’re a teenager (erm, I mean over 21 of course. Ahem). I remember my Dad letting me try some beer and I found it wretched. However, peer pressure and experience soon helped me genuinely appreciate it. High cocoa dark chocolate requires a similar appreciation learning curve. Now that I have adjusted my palate, cheap milk chocolate tastes oily and disgusting to me. Honestly. :o)

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Kris February 8, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Beer? Wretched? I gotta disagree with you there. Black coffee- wretched, yes! I don’t know if I could convert. 🙂

I do like high cocoa chocolate, but I must say, I prefer milk chocolate. (Even a Hershey Bar!)

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101 centavos February 7, 2011 at 7:26 am

Coffee is at least a real vice with some solid history behind it. Soda pop can’t hold a candle to it.
I’d recommend cuban Pilon or Bustelo coffee from Amazon for good value and cost per ounce. It’s ground fine enough that you can use for espresso, although not as good as real espresso like Lavazza, or for the real high-dollar, Illy caffe’ (which you can also get on Amazon).

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Kris February 8, 2011 at 10:10 pm

Another vote for Cuban Coffee! I had no idea it was so popular and different. Add espresso to the list of coffees that I don’t know what makes it unique.

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brokeprofessionals.com February 7, 2011 at 7:47 am

Another great option is tea, which has a ton of health benefits that are underrated. Particularly its large amount of antioxidants. However, it is agreed that generally you will not get the same amount of a “buzz” from tea as from coffee, which may have a good deal of health benefits all its own.

When I quit smoking after college I traded it in for a healthy lifestyle of running, exercising, and focusing on losing weight. Growing up my mom would always say “it is just as easy to make good habits as bad ones.” Was I addicted with trying to live a healthier lifestyle, perhaps even borderline obsessed? Yes. But I needed that to get past my weaker minded college self, who struggled with smoking and weight issues. The funny thing for me is that I lost a ton of weight after I quit smoking and I put a lot of it on when I started to smoke (because I became very lethargic).

The fact is everyone needs to have a vice, for better or worse. If your “vice” (i.e. preoccupation) is something really healthy such as working out or paying down debt, then you are in a great position. And sometimes you can swap out, like you did, something unhealthy for a healthier option. On our site we are only eating food already in our house for a month, and I just had my last can of soda. I am a huge coke zero addict, so I may be joining you in trying to find a substitute as I try to get out of my “soda addiction.”

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Kris February 8, 2011 at 10:12 pm

I would love if I could switch out all my bad vices (chocolate) for exercise!

I still have not acquired a taste for tea, but I can’t say I have really tried super hard either.

Your mom has a great philosophy!

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The Biz of Life February 7, 2011 at 8:02 am

Tea is my drink of choice, less caffeine than coffee but better for you. I never really liked the taste of coffee.

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Kris February 8, 2011 at 9:29 am

Biz, what tea do you recommend? Tea just doesn’t seem to have much flavor. Or maybe it is just a flavor I don’t like??

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Nicole February 7, 2011 at 8:15 am

Hahahhaa. I laugh because my DH went through this too. And gradually cut the milk and sugar out. (Though currently he’s been experimenting with home-infused syrups and spices.) And yet, still does cycles in which he stops cold turkey because he’s been getting too much caffeine. Poor guy.

He’s also gone through several tea phases.

I had the same experience with dark chocolate as Henry. It’s good to be able to enjoy small amounts of the finer things in life (rather than large amounts of lower quality fare).

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Kris February 8, 2011 at 9:28 am

I love chocolate of all types, well except maybe not the scary chocolate they use in hollow Easter Bunnies.

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Moneycone February 7, 2011 at 8:52 am

I consider coffee a lesser vice than soda! At least I know there is sugar in it and not a synthesized form of sugar! Of course diabetes… everything in moderation!

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Kris February 8, 2011 at 9:27 am

I am with you Moneycone! I will say though that I miss a Coke when my stomach is upset…

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Molly On Money February 7, 2011 at 11:15 am

I replaced my bottle of Diet Coke every afternoon at 3pm with a glass of ice tea. I’m all for exchanging one worse habit for one that’s not so bad!

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Kris February 8, 2011 at 9:26 am

Do you prefer the taste of the tea over the diet coke? I am glad you found a good substitute!

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Squirrelers February 7, 2011 at 12:10 pm

I’ve dropped my Diet Coke habit this year, to this point. I haven’t wavered on it at all. In it’s place? Well, I’ve had a decaf coffee every few days, herbal caffeine-free tea many days, and flavored water. The decaf coffee might have some caffeine, but overall, I feel better without the caffeine. Oh, one more thing – water consumption has increased too.

Now, I have to say that I do get your preference of afternoon vs morning coffee. Afternoon is when the post-lunch drag occurs, so a jolt then can do wonders compared to a jolt in the morning. Now, without caffeine, I’m obvioulsy dealing with things differently. But that’s how I did it before:)

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Kris February 8, 2011 at 9:25 am

You are doing a great job Squirrel. I know caffeine would just be a tough one to quit entirely as there are so many nights I don’t get a lot of sleep. (I know, that is the real problem…)

Keep up the good work, but forgive yourself if you slip.

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Little House February 7, 2011 at 12:35 pm

I have always loved coffee. But, yes, it is really yummy with cream and sweetener. 😉 And I don’t think it’s bad to swap out soda for coffee. Coffee actually is low in calories (before any additions) and it can help you focus better. I think it is also full of antioxidants, so it’s good for you as long as you don’t OD on it.

See, I love coffee so I have nothing bad to say about it. 😉

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Kris February 8, 2011 at 9:23 am

I always love your comments Little House!!! 🙂

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DoNotWait February 7, 2011 at 12:43 pm

I love cappuccinos and lattes! But I don’t drink them too often. I guess your switch is not bad since you replaced a lot of (I’m guessing it was a lot) for a couple of coffees per week. Be careful though to not add too much sugar or sweet tastes, because then the advantages of coffee are just ruined by all the sugar added. It is like anything else: moderation is always a better choice!

Still, your trade is quite good. My dad trade cigarettes for cigars… saying it is more “natural”… That is like changing 4 corners for a buck.

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Kris February 8, 2011 at 9:22 am

I didn’t have a ton of pop before, maybe 1.3 per day or so. (If you have to average.)

I just add a little flavored cream to the coffee. I really do feel much better after drinking coffee than pop.

Smoking is a tough one to beat. I don’t get why people start in the first place though…

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DoNotWait February 8, 2011 at 11:49 am

Well then, enjoy your coffee my friend! My dad started smoking in the years everybody did and when they did not know all the negative impacts on health. So I guess that 10-20-30 years after, it is really hard to stop. I still have my child wish he would though…

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Kris February 8, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Yeah, I do understand how people in our parent’s generation started smoking. But I don’t get how people who were born in the mid 60s and later started in the first place.

I wish everyone would quit, including your dad!

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krantcents February 7, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I gave up soda (pop) a long time ago. My drink of choice is a capuccino (mocha)! Cold (blended too) or hot! I find it relaxes me and certainly warms me up when I am cold. I am trying to reduce the number of capucccinos I drink because it has nearly 60 calories each.

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Kris February 8, 2011 at 9:17 am

Krant- 60 calories really isn’t that much, unless you are having a lot of capuccinos! Do you have trouble sleeping at all?

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First Gen American February 7, 2011 at 2:03 pm

I had to give up all caffeine because it gives me stomach aches, so the best I can do now is decaf black tea. I have now replaced it with sugary foods. I’ve never consumed as many cookies as I have since I’ve given up caffeine. I really really miss coffee. I would go back in a heartbeat if I could. Good coffee is heavenly.

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Kris February 8, 2011 at 9:14 am

That must be hard to have such a sensitive stomach! Have you tried half caffeinated/half decaf to see if you could handle it? It is funny how we trade one thing for another. I am sure you would prefer the coffee over sugar. I guess we need something!

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Deidre @ TransFormX February 7, 2011 at 2:12 pm

yes, I too fell victim to the coffe lure. 🙂

In 2004 I was working & living in FL during the worst hurricane season on record to date – with 5 major hurricanes making landfall in Florida alone.

If you have not been to Florida – specifically South Florida / Miami, you may not know but instead of water guests are usually offered coffee…but not just any ordinary coffee…..

Cuban Coffee is offered to each and every guest no matter who you are and…its heavenly! And did I mention highly addictive ??? LOL

Cuban coffee is a strong sweet espresso made fresh and put into tiny cups that pack a wallop! Cuban Coffee makes Starbucks seem like spring water.

Anyway…if I had 5 appointments that day I had 5 cuban coffees. Needless to say my productivity shot through the roof LOL. It took me years to wean myself off and still to this day, regular coffee does not have any affect on me.

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Kris February 8, 2011 at 9:13 am

Deidre – I want some Cuban Coffee now. Actually I could really use it today.

I wonder how expensive it is since they offer it so much.

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Deidre @ TransFormX February 8, 2011 at 11:22 am

Kris…yes, me too LOL
Cafe Bustelo is the most popular. Comes in cans and a vacumme packed form that you open and pour the grounds into another container. Yerba Mate is ‘ok’. If you have an espresso machine, you too can make Cuban Coffee 🙂

I will send you a link via email so you can check out coffees around the world 🙂

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retirebyforty February 7, 2011 at 3:47 pm

I hope you at least are having good coffee. 🙂
I have a cup every morning to get me going. I put in a spoon of hot coco powder and I’m good to go.

My drink of choice is tea. I drink all kind of tea and it’s even good for health.

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Kris February 8, 2011 at 9:12 am

RB40 – I was wondering if cocoa would taste good in coffee! I should try it.

I have not been able to find a tea I like yet. I shouldn’t give up though, because I never thought I would like coffee either.

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Nicole February 8, 2011 at 9:03 pm

I had half cocoa half coffee this morning (stolen from the leftovers of a work breakfast I was not invited to).

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Car Negotiation Coach February 8, 2011 at 8:34 am

Kris, welcome to my world! I can’t operate anymore until I’ve had at least 3 cups in the morning….it’s a downhill spiral :). Usually when I pick up a new vice I just add it to the list (nothing get replaced).

The bright side is that it is much much better for you that a soda….that stuff not only has caffeine but a lot of other stuff that will eat right through you.

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Kris February 8, 2011 at 10:16 pm

CNC- I find this new world quite fascinating! I have no trouble getting through the morning, assuming I was not up all night. If I had 3 cups in the afternoon, oh my gosh, it would be crazy!!

Pop has so many unhealthy things in it for you, you are right. However, it tastes so darn good!

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Lindy Mint February 8, 2011 at 2:56 pm

Coffee IS good for you! I have one cup every morning. In the afternoon I go for the tea. I like Tazo Zen tea, or Black tea mixed with honey. If you can get your hands on Good Earth Cocoa Chai tea, it is the perfect afternoon treat because it mixes your caffeine fix and your chocolate fix all in one.

As for switching one vice for the other, it makes me think of the stories you hear of people who have gotten the lap band surgery, and find that they fill their need to “indulge” by becoming shopaholics.

Only one question: what have you been drinking at Starbucks all this time?

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Nicole February 8, 2011 at 9:06 pm

Hey! Yeah! Inquiring minds want to know!

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Kris February 8, 2011 at 10:17 pm

My previous Starbucks drink has been…..

….

Hot chocolate!

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Roshawn @ Watson Inc February 8, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Kris, I am so with you on this one. I gave up non-diet soda years ago and no longer have to have soda. However, I do like my coffee. Interestingly, I drink decaff though, so I don’t know what keeps me really coming back 🙂 I guess I just like having something that is warm to drink. It’s relaxing and smells so good!

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Kris February 8, 2011 at 10:18 pm

Shawn, it does smell awfully good. (I love the smell of bacon too, but don’t like the taste.)

Decaf? Well, enjoy it for the antioxidants!

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DoNotWait February 9, 2011 at 8:53 am

Okay, Kris, I feel I have to make your education towards kinds of coffee!!
An espresso is a little amount of strong coffee. Some add a little sugar and little milk to it, but some take it black. A little espresso can be as hard as 3-4-5 regular coffees.
A cappuccino is an espresso with a bunch of froth milk on top. You can add a little sugar to it as well and you mix coffee and milk with a spoon.
A latte, is still an espresso, but “allongé” (with more water) and a lot of froth milk on top. A lot of lattes come with added flavor, like vanilla, caramel, etc.
As for your flavored coffee, it is simply a regular coffee with a tasty cream in it.
I am not a real specialist, so pardon me if I made little mistakes, but this is how someone explained it to me so I understand them all now!

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Kris February 9, 2011 at 2:30 pm

DNW – Thank you for that little course in coffee! I didn’t know lattes were related to espessos. One little espresso is that strong? I would probably go insane if I had one.

I just had my afternoon coffee, and I am feeling great!

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Finanzas Personales February 9, 2011 at 3:07 pm

My biggest vice is chocolate and it seems there’s nothing I can do to beat it.
I´ve been changing my habits looking for healthier alternatives during the last few years. I don’t drink sodas any more, changed whole dairy products for lighter options, changes white sugar for brown and lowered my intake by half, started drinking water and replaced my daily dessert for ocassional sweets.
I think the key is to train your body… take the baby step approach and make significant long term changes along the way.

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Jenny February 13, 2011 at 12:35 pm

I’m a little late chiming in on this, but I have a couple of suggestions to make your coffee experience tastier and healthier.

The first is to look at the ingredients of your flavored creamer. Many of them are so terribly bad for you, tons of trans fats, hfcs, and no natural ingredients at all, just crap and chemicals. Some of them have as much as 1 gram of trans fat per tbsp, and I would often put 1.5 – 2 tbsp in a cup of coffee (yikes). You’d probably be better off with a soda than this. A much better alternative is the flavored milk-to-gos (2% milk). The vanilla flavor is my favorite in coffee, and the chocolate is pretty good too, and if you appreciate irony in your coffee, they have a coffee flavored one 🙂 They are good by themselves, but even better mixed halfway with coffee cream. Just be sure to add a little less sugar, as these milks have quite a bit.

My other tip is to make your own flavored coffees rather than buying the expensive ones. Just add a few sprinkles of cinnamon, nutmeg, or whatever other spice sounds good to the coffee grounds before you brew it (in the filter basket assuming you have a regular drip coffee maker). I find this makes regular grocery store coffee taste gourmet.

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