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Unusual Drinking & Eating Habits: Non-Alcohol, Decaf, Flexitarian

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It's been almost 3 months after moving to Canada. Overall, Vancouver is a too good place to live because of its coffee, craft beer, and food culture. There are so many breweries, cafes, and restaurants we can enjoy drinking and eating, and my alcohol and caffeine intake have clearly been increased since I came to the country.

That said, in the first two months, I have visited almost all of the "want to go" places where I can access by walk or public transport. Hence, to make a room for exploring something different, I experimentally changed my drinking and eating habit as follows.

Let's see what the new habits brought to me.

Stop drinking alcohol

  • Before — Regularly drink beers (1) as a hobby and (2) to refresh. About three days a week, mostly on weekends.
  • After — Explore different types of non-alcoholic beer and Kombucha.
  • Findings

As I realized there are enough alternative options to locally enjoy refreshing drinks, I probably keep the non-alcohol habit as much as possible, at least when I'm alone, unless a new brewery opens in an accessible area.

Drink decaf coffee only

I know less beer consumption causes more caffeine intake for me:

"bar & beer" has completely been replaced with "cafe & coffee" in my daily life

I Stopped Drinking Alone for 4 Months

That's why this time I tried non-alcohol and decaf exercise simultaneously.

  • Before — Drink 2-3 cups of coffee every day. I don't remember when was the last day I haven't drunk coffee.
  • After — Simply replace with decaf coffee beans.
  • Findings
    • Some of the local decaf coffees are as tasty as the normal ones.
    • Strong headache on the second day. It becomes better as time goes.
    • Lack of concentration continues for more than two weeks.
    • Feel lethargic and depressed all the time.
    • Become sleepy earlier than usual.
      • Note: I've never felt a negative impact of caffeine on my sleep quality; I can sleep without any problems even if I drink coffee a couple of hours before I go to bed.

Unexpectedly, it was too bad, seriously. I gave up after 3 weeks, and the issues have been immediately disappeared. There is indeed a lot of discussion about the negative impact of too much caffeine intake, but for me, stabilizing my mental condition and maximizing the focus is more important than any of them.

Practice flexitarian diet

Thanks to staying away from bars and coffee shops, I was able to explore many different foods in my local area, and I was particularly surprised by how tasty vegetarian/vegan food is. Therefore, it was not difficult for me to make some meat-free days.

  • Before — Eat animal-based protein almost every day.
  • After — Make a meat-free day; swap animal-based protein for plant-based one e.g., tofu. Consciously eat more vegetables than animal products, and replace whey protein powder with vegan protein powder.
  • Findings
    • Difficulty in finding out the source of protein and eating enough amount of them.
    • If failed, workout on the same/next day becomes very hard, and I feel exceptionally tired.
    • Vegetarian/vegan food is highly flavorful, and I feel it's more enjoyable to eat than meat-oriented dishes.

Currently, the negative environmental impact of excessive meat consumption I learned from A Journey of Sustainable Development and My First Impression After Reading Bill Gates's "How to Avoid a Climate Disaster" motivates me to continue the diet further. Plus, it's important to note that a plant-centric diet is recommended by Stanford Introduction to Food and Health to eat well and stay healthy:

Eat "food", Not too much, Mostly plants

Bottom line

During the pandemic, our life tends to be consistent and boring.

Here, I believe changing a usual habit and doing something new is the easiest but most effective way to remind the joy of life. Even though I sometimes feel it's meaningless (or even harmful, like the decaf experience), these experience gives me a great opportunity to rethink what the most important thing in my life is.

Consciously tweaking how I eat, drink, learn, work, and sleep—That's one of my biggest "hobbies" lately.



Life & Work

  See also

My 30-Day Food Tracking Challenge from Sustainable Diet Perspective
How I'm Working From Home
I Stopped Drinking Alone for 4 Months


Last updated: 2022-01-18

  Author: Takuya Kitazawa

Takuya Kitazawa is a freelance software developer, previously working at a Big Tech and Silicon Valley-based start-up company where he wore multiple hats as a full-stack software developer, machine learning engineer, data scientist, and product manager. At the intersection of technological and social aspects of data-driven applications, he is passionate about promoting the ethical use of information technologies through his mentoring, business consultation, and public engagement activities. See CV for more information, or contact at [email protected].

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