How do you jump-start your day? The typical American wakes up with a large cup of joe…or two or three…
Interesting enough, Americans drink 400 million cups of coffee each day, making the US the world’s largest coffee consumer.
Now, we’ve all heard how coffee is supposed to enhance alertness, mental and physical performance and concentration, however, did you know that it inhibits the absorption of essential nutrients such as zinc, magnesium, iron and B Vitamins.
Coffee is simply a drug in a mug…it’s an adrenaline delivery system that jolts the body’s central nervous system. This jolting action wakes us up and gets us going, however in the long term, the unnatural and constant stimulation of our nerves creates stress levels that damage the resilience of the immune system (which protects against disease). So, the question is, “Why would a healthy, normal person not be able to get through the day without this cup of joe (read: injection of adrenaline)?
Well, coffee is part of a stress cycle; we need it to keep up with the pace of modern life. However, did you know that drinking water and snacking on healthy foods throughout the day can help you to decrease/eliminate your coffee consumption? Caffeine withdrawal is not a fun process; many people report mood swings and headaches. Try switching to green, black or white tea in the morning. I personally have 2 cups of green tea each morning and it gives me a healthy dose of antioxidants and caffeine. Green and white teas have much lower caffeine levels than coffee and are a great way to relieve your ‘withdrawal headaches’. Also, try pouring yourself a cup of 1/2 decaff, 1/2 regular coffee.
Go, ahead…you’ve got nothing to loose (except for a lotta caffeine)…Give my suggestions a whirl…Start by trying to decrease your coffee consumption.
For more information on caffeine, take a look at my Caffeine…Friend or Foe? post.
Here are a few alternatives to coffee for you to try:
- Black Tea
Black tea is made from the dried leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, a perennial evergreen shrub. The leaves of black tea are oxidized and heavily fermented before drying, which gives this tea a strong flavor. Black tea varieties are named for their growing regions, such as Ceylon or Darjeeling. Black tea has approximately 50 mg of caffeine per 8 ounce cup, compared to coffee which can have anywhere from about 100-190 mg per 8 ounce cup. The amount of caffeine depends on how long the tea is brewed and the quality.
- Green Tea
Green tea is known for its popularity in Japan and powerful antioxidant qualities. Green tea has been shown to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer and lower LDL cholesterol. Both black and green teas come from the leaves of the same plant, however, what sets green tea apart from black tea is the way it is processed. The leaves are steamed, rather than fermented as in black teas. This steaming process is said to enhance its disease-fighting qualities. Green tea has about 30 mg of caffeine per 8 ounce cup. Many people describe its taste as a grassy or earthy flavor–this is my favorite type of tea by far!!!
- White Tea
White tea comes from the same plant as green and black teas however the difference is in the leaves. These leaves are picked earlier in the season when the leaves are young and buds are covered with white hairs, giving tea its name. White tea has gone through a minimal amount of processing and is not fermented. It has a light sweet taste and has a small amount of caffeine, approximately 15 mg per serving.
- Dandy Blend
This instant beverage is an herbal coffee substitute made from chicory, sugar beet and dandelion (known for its detoxifying properties). Dandy Blend is rich in minerals and provides extra energy without caffeine.
This caffeine-free, instant coffee substitute is from Switzerland and is made from chicory, rye and malted barley.
A blend of roasted grains, fruits, nuts and herbs make up this caffeine-free coffee alternative. It brews similarly to coffee, can be used in a coffee machine and has a similar aroma and taste to coffee! Teechino has high levels of potassium, which helps to balance acidity in the body. Moreover, it offers a natural energy boost from the nutrients, not from the stimulants
- Yerba Mate
Yerba Mate is a species of holly, native to South America. It is prepared by steeping dried leaves in hot water, rather than boiling hot water as you would coffee or tea. The flavor is bitter, herbal, grassy and some say similar to green tea. The stimulant in yerba mate is called Xanthines, which is similar to caffeine, although many people report fewer side effects. Yerba Mate contains potassium, magnesium and manganese.
Have you tried any of these coffee alternatives? Give them a try and let me know how this ‘non-coffee’ experiment works for you…how do you feel?