Coffee is pretty tough to give up

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 5, 2003

If I'm a little crankier in the next 40-some days, I can only blame myself.

Today is the first day of Lent. I'll be attending Ash Wednesday Mass, fasting and refraining from eating meat.

It is also be the first day I won't enjoying my morning cup of coffee.

Email newsletter signup

I've decided to give up coffee for Lent.

Since I began working here, I have made coffee-drinking a habit. It wakes and warms me up on my early mornings.

But it's not exactly a good habit. Caffeine is dehydrating and coffee stains teeth.

I've become more dependent on it than I would like and decided it would be quite a sacrifice this year.

We'll see how it goes.

In the past I have given up gum, candy, chocolate and donuts. None of them were easy to refrain from.

During high school, I worked at the HyVee bakery in Owatonna. At the end of the night, all of the leftover donuts were thrown away. Sometimes, rather than throwing them out, my co-workers and I would take some home.

Pretty soon I was eating donuts on a regular basis.

Feeling disgusting because of it, I decided giving them up for Lent would curb my addiction.

It wasn't easy -- especially when my co-workers would mock me by deliberating enjoying one in front of me.

I had to remind myself that it was so much healthier to avoid the sweet, sugary, doughy confection. Really, it was better …

Donuts aren't the only temptation in a bakery, however, and I ended up replacing donuts with cookies and muffins.

I'm glad I only worked there for a year.

During freshman year at college, my roommates and I each gave up something we enjoyed and kept track of each other to make sure we weren't breaking our promises.

Two of my roommates gave up pop and I gave up chocolate.

One of my soda-denied roommates broke her resolution on a trip to Chicago. She said she was getting motion sickness and the only thing that calmed her stomach down was 7Up.

But later on in the trip she ordered pop everywhere we went. So much for the motion-sickness excuse.

Then I ended up cheating on my promise to give up chocolate during that same Chicago trip by accident. I needed a snack and someone offered me a granola bar. I ate it and took a nap. Later I woke up in a panic. That granola bar had chocolate in it!

The only roommate to keep her Lenten resolution was convinced I had eaten it on purpose.

We'll see how the no coffee thing goes.

One of the strangest parts about giving things up for Lent is that you don't go to excess when you are able to eat, drink and do whatever you gave up.

One of my roommates gave me a huge Hershey's bar when we got back from Easter break freshman year. It sat on my desk for months until I decided to open it. It had turned white and tasted awful.

Throughout Lent, you crave whatever you decide to abstain from. You think you'll spend Easter indulging in it, but when that day actually comes, you only eat as much as you would eat on a normal day.

It makes you realize what you think you absolutely couldn't live without is only a small part of your life.

Perhaps giving up something as trivial as coffee will help me come to that realization again this year.

Cari Quam can be reached at 434-2235 or by e-mail at