Giving Up Coffee



On Sunday morning I was mid way through my daily cup of coffee when I stood up, walked in to kitchen and threw it down the drain. It was like all of a sudden this urge to give up coffee hit me and there was little I could do about it.

I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that coffee has caused my acne to flare up – a few years ago I assumed it was the dairy (switched to almond milk and not had any dairy since 2012), and then I thought it may be the agave syrup I squeezed in which I dutifully stopped doing around four months ago. This year has seen me give up gluten as well as dairy and it isn’t all in the name of clear skin. I have had IBS since I was 19. I haven’t been to countless doctors about it – just my GP. She checked me for the serious stuff, and then she said I could continue on to specialists or just understand that I had IBS which isn’t so much as a diagnosis, it’s more like something that comes and goes and certain things cause it to flare up. I had a truly horrible first year with it, I would be in agony and embarrassment 80% of the time. I remember on one day trip to Paris my poor mum having to put up with me as we ran around in pure panic as I was trying to look for a loo (TMI but this was a big part of mid way 2010 until mid way 2012 for me). The one thing that made me feel calmer was that my then new-ish boyfriend (from October 2010) and now husband also suffered with it, he was severely lactose intolerant and he had been through the rigmarole of seeing countless specialists and having countless blood samples taken to see what his allergies were. By the time I met him he was sick of the whole thing and knew his body and knew what to avoid. I mirrored his eating habits (to an extent) and cut down on dairy. When I gave it up for good in 2012 my skin and tummy got a lot better but I would still have unexplained flare ups. Six years later I have a whole host of foods I know I should avoid, broths/soups, dairy, gluten, raw pressed juices (even the healthy stuff would make me react!) wheat, (some) sushi, over eating in general, chocolate and coffee. The two main groups I stay away from on that list are dairy and gluten. My tummy reacts quite strongly to gluten these days since I’ve reduced/cut it out and I end up with a painful bloated stomach which takes around sixteen hours to go down.

I’ve also picked up other tips and tricks, never drink water with a meal (especially not iced water), avoid drinks such as diet coke, if you’re going to eat a lot avoid wearing tight jeans, avoid gluten free substitutes as they’re mainly full of sugar and can upset your tummy and skin as well, if you’re going gluten free opt for rice, buckwheat etc. My diet is far from boring, I still enjoy food and enjoy flavours and tastes, I still eat my favourite food – Vietnamese Pho (even though I always have a 50/50 chance as to how my body will react as my body hastes soup/broth), I have the odd slice of cake, oh and I eat french fries like they’re going out of style – they are my one guilty pleasure that don’t upset my skin or stomach at all. I take offence when people roll their eyes at my diet, as though I’m doing it to be on trend or not enjoying life through a reduced number of foods. But having good skin and a stable stomach is worth two million margharita pizzas, lattes, bowls of pasta or red velvet cake. I don’t take enjoyment from the foods I know my body can’t handle anymore, instead I stress about the giant spot that will erupt or the tummy ache waiting for me later, if you’re interested in what I do eat – and trust me I eat a lot – then I’ll do a What I eat in A Day video on my YouTube.

But going back to coffee, I know that it played a part in increasing my anxiety in the past, I know that it has a detrimental effect on my skin and stomach, and with the stye that I’ve had for the last week (which today is finally healing – woohoo) I didn’t want anything more in my body that would inflame it and cause it more upset. So as of Sunday 16th October it’s out of my life – for good. I will report back in one month on how my skin is doing!

Do you suffer with IBS or skin issues that you think may be linked? I’d love to hear from you!

SIDENOTE: this is such a huge topic that obviously I ended up leaving certain parts out but something I would like to add is that if you are newly diagnosed with IBS or think you have it let me tell you that in your first one to two years the stress and anxiety from not knowing when your tummy will be set off is what is causing the majority of your stomach aches and making them ten times worse. Relaxing, being calm and collected is the best remedy when you feel a stomach ache coming on, if you have a calm attitude it will alleviate the pain and stress and ultimately help calm it quicker!



  1. Susan
    October 18, 2016 / 9:37 am

    I find fruit, especially apples, plays havoc with my IBS. Even fruit juices. Also grainy bread, pasta, corn. Rice , couscous and rice noodles are fine.
    Love your style and your column xx
    PS hope this helps. I think you are right about coffee but can’t quite quit as yet…..

  2. Twila
    October 19, 2016 / 3:19 am

    I currently given up on coffee too, and have been off for little over a week now. Hoping to see some kind of change after the month. If so, I will have to say good bye to my dear friend, coffee ???? But I totally understand when you say you would give up 2 million margaritas for good skin! ???? Wishing you amazing results too ????

  3. October 22, 2016 / 1:06 pm

    Loved this post! Would really be interested in seeing a What I Eat in a Day post/video too. I’ve suffered with IBS for the last few years. It’s usually under control but has flared up recently. I know I shouldn’t have caffeine at all but (for now) can’t bare to give it up so have been having the odd decaf one!

  4. Tracy
    October 24, 2016 / 1:47 am

    I went to college in a hippie dippie town where the organic locavore macrobiotic raw vegan etc etc trend was riding hard, so sometimes I am guilty of rolling my eyes when someone insists they can’t eat a list of food longer than J.Lo’s rider. Mea culpa. But I hope you best of health and new tasty food discoveries!

  5. Reeta
    December 22, 2016 / 6:32 pm

    Hi Tijan,
    I have been following your blog, youtube and instagram for a while. Sorry to hear that you have to go through the exhausting task of figuring out food sensitivities. Totally understand that having good skin and a stable stomach is worth more the food you will be missing out on. I actually struggled with the same issue a while back and have found that checking ingredient labels really helped. Many foods that have flavouring, which is usually listed as flavouring on the label, gave me stomach issues. An elimination diet or an allergy test could help figure out if you are sensitive to certain fruit and vegetable families. A lot of spices and condiment type foods also weirdly gave me a reaction. It also gets really hard to eat out because you realise you don’t actually know what is in the food they serve.
    As for coffee, you should check if it is flavoured or if the sweetener you are using has flavouring in it. I still drink coffee daily, after giving up many treats and eating out regularly, can’t imagine if I have to give up coffee as well.
    Love the videos you are posting on your youtube channel btw, especially vlogs!

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