Guest Post: Maddie Starkey

When I was in college, I got to a point at which every morning, virtually without fail, I would march my fatigued self to the nearest Starbucks and order a venti iced coffee. And I gulped it down, savoring the bitterness of the black coffee, as though it were my life force. Because it was my life force.

I’ve had quite a torrid affair with caffeine, and I semi-ashamedly admit that I’ve fallen back in love with this paramour I thought I had entirely gotten over. Like any good ex-lover, coffee enticed me back for another tryst that I simply could not resist.

I stopped drinking those venti iced coffees in the summer of 2007, after I finished reading Skinny Bitch. The book was what catapulted me into my current state of health interest and awareness as they relate to issues of toxicity and animal products. And, coffee was one of the first things I actively nixed from my diet, in an effort to purify my life.

I substituted iced green tea for those iced coffees. And I love iced green tea. It is lighter in flavor and feel, and you can drink it throughout the day instead of having to restrain yourself from another coffee, lest you get a case of the shakes.

I was good about the no-coffee rule for quite some time. Occasionally, on a whim, I would indulge in cappuccino, but only as a treat.

But something happened recently. Out of nowhere, I am again a coffee drinker. I am back with a vengeance. And, as with any situation in which you return to a former flame, I’ve dived in head first despite knowing that this liaison will end poorly. I know I cannot continue to drink coffee so regularly because I know the effect it has on my body in both the short and long term.

In the short term, it messes with my digestion and my blood sugar. I am already slightly anemic, so coffee is doing nothing to help those bouts of temporary dizziness or blurred vision if I stand up too quickly. In the long term, I feel it aging me as it speeds up my heart rate and gets me to a point of near delirium. And yet I keep coming back for more.

As I write this post, I’m getting ready to head to my neighborhood coffee house for what will prove to be a sinfully delightful soy cappuccino. And get this: the name of the coffee house, the den on iniquity to which I head most morning: Tryst. If that’s not a sign this relationship is headed for failure, just like it did the first time around, I don’t know what is.