Drinking only water for a month. (And eating normally.)
How to reset your taste-buds and make it easier to quit some unhealthy habits.
Sometime around mid-April, I have decided to go “water-only” in May.
You can also tl;dr this post and watch my thoughts on YouTube ^
The idea was simple:
I would eat the way I used to — Quite healthy. But I’d drop all drinks that have any calories or flavor to them.
The only acceptable choices were:
- Still water (tap water)
- Organic lemon and a pinch of salt added to still water
- Hop water (this is a 0 calorie hop-infused water, slightly carbonated)
The no-no list.
But to get to the results, we must first outline what I was giving up on.
I stopped drinking alcohol about a year ago, but I still like a non-alcoholic craft-IPA now and then. These were, of course, off the table in May.
Coffee and other caffeinated drinks were the obvious next choice. I drank about 1 cup of coffee per day, nearly every day. On some days, I also had some no-sugar yerba-mate drinks. So they had to go too.
I don’t drink tea, so that was an easy one to pass on.
All kinds of juices, both traditional and vegetable cold-pressed ones, were also forbidden.
I don’t drink any energy drinks or anything else than the above, so this closes up the list.
Liquid detox — May 1st → May 31st.
I started the week with about three liters of still water per day. The first day went very well, and I started thinking this is going to be easy.
Then on day two, I got pretty big headaches that lasted for most of the first week. This effect was caffeine leaving my system, and I was expecting it. But it also was unpleasant, so if you’re thinking about doing a similar flavor-detox, make it at least two weeks. Otherwise, you will conclude that it’s a terrible idea.
The second week was when the headaches stopped, and I came back to running on the beach every other day. After each run, I hydrated with tap water. At this point, I started to miss my coffee, yerba-mate drinks, and non-alcoholic beers. The hop water was a massive help with the latter, as it “kind of” tasted a little bit like a beer, but without any of the carbs.
During the third week, my energy levels increased drastically. I realized that cold showers (something I do pretty regularly) were having a powerful effect that completely replaced the need for caffeine. I was alert and focused from the early morning without a coffee boost.
I still missed the taste a little bit, but it was fading away.
At some point near the end of week 3, I realized I couldn’t remember the taste of those yerba-mate drinks anymore. And I only vaguely remembered how the coffee tasted.
On week four, I went with my wife to our friend’s cabin in the woods. They had beers and wines in the evenings. I had water, but at this point, I didn’t mind it completely. Being that close to nature and running through the woods every day made a lot of sense. The water felt right after each run.
I felt more connected to my surroundings and had enough energy to do a daily 5–8k run each morning.
I also realized I lost about 2kg (4.4 pounds) of weight during that month, even though I was eating a very similar number of calories. But my goal for this experiment wasn’t about weight loss.
Conclusion and taste-test
After the time was up, I was reluctant to go back to drinking “normally” again, but I was also curious about what I’d think about the flavors I loved so much before.
I tried two non-alcoholic beers that I knew I liked, and they were OK, but nothing special. After that, I had one of those yerba-mate drinks, and the caffeine gave me a small headache almost instantly.
The taste wasn’t as great as I’d remembered.
I didn’t have any cravings towards juices or coffee, and given my reaction to caffeine, I decided to quit coffee cold-turkey. I may go for decaf now and then.
After that first month, I decided that I will continue to drink mostly water. The main takeaway is quitting caffeine for good. I will allow myself for a non-alcoholic IPA once a week when going out and some cold-press veggie juices a couple of times a month.
Other than that, I will stick to water, as the energy levels and a clear head that I got from these experiments are something I want to be my new normal.