There can be something quite magical in the ritual, the taste, the smell, and the experience in a deliciously brewed cup of coffee. But, having a cup everyday, especially if its more than one time a day, is not not the best way to support your body in feeling and working at its best and most efficient. Although it depends on the individual and your specific constitution, experimenting with other steamy + satisfying beverages rather than coffee in the a.m. can support your health and help to start your day more clear and balanced.
For people who have a tendency to be become anxious, coffee is definitely not your best bet. Coffee increases anxiety, elevates blood sugar, and is un-grounding for many people… especially first thing in the morning. It is also dehydrating, and with most people in the United States suffering from chronic dehydration, it is a great choice to sub out some of your coffee intake for alternative warming and more nutrient dense beverages. For myself, I have noticed that if I have coffee, the early afternoon is a better time to enjoy it, instead of first thing in the morning. It gives me an excuse to take a break during my day and offers a little energy boost; plus in the early afternoon it doesn’t make me ungrounded or anxious like in the morning. Plus I spend the first part of my day intensely hydrating my body with warm water so I don’t get dehydrated, even if I do choose to have a cup of coffee. Another great reason to cut down on your coffee intake is because coffee depletes the mineral reserves in your body. You want to be nourishing and building your vitamin and mineral stores in order to feel your best instead of depleting them which can lead to thinner hair + nails, lower metabolism, brittle bones, and the sensation of feeling hungrier. Coffee is also acidic which helps promote an atmosphere in your body where disease can more easily thrive.
But I’m not going to tell you you should give up on coffee cold turkey, unless that is, you want to. If you thoroughly enjoy the ritual and taste of coffee, just think about reducing your consumption and incorporating some of the following comforting + nutritious beverages into your routine where you would sometimes have a cup of coffee. Take note of how you feel; I would bet the change makes a positive impact on how you feel, think, and operate.
5 Delicious + Healthy Coffee Alternatives
- Golden Milk. Golden milk is a blend of milk with turmeric, other spices, and a wholesome sweetener. You can make it from scratch (this is a wonderful recipe) or you can buy organic mixes that have the spices and sweeteners already blended and ready to mix with milk. I just tried this brand and it is so good! Sweetened with low- glycemic coconut sugar and blended with organic spices makes this pick a wonderful choice. I heat up some whole, organic milk (but you could use almond or coconut if dairy is a problem for you) and whisk in a heaping teaspoon. Turmeric is powerful anti-inflammatory + antioxidant and is very useful in decreasing pain in your body. Studies now also support that turmeric may helps with brain function, blood sugar balance, kidney function, and arthritis. Boom!
- Green Tea. Full of antioxidants to protect your body, green tea has a host of other health supportive elements. And even though it contains caffeine, green tea does not give you that jittery, wiggly jolt that coffee does. It gives you a steady pick me up that feels better in the body than a latte or espresso and does not aggravate anxiety to the level coffee does. Green tea is made from unfermented leaves and reportedly contains the highest concentration of powerful antioxidants of all tea. Antioxidants are substances that fight free radicals, damaging compounds in the body that change cells, damage DNA, and even cause cell death. Many scientists believe that free radicals contribute to the aging process, as well as the development of a number of health problems, including cancer and heart disease. Antioxidants, such as the ones found in green tea, can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause. My favorite green tea actually has adaptogenic herbs in the blend which helps support your body to manage stress and keep even keeled.
- Hot Cocoa, Elevated. Raw cacao is an amazing superfood that also has a host of antioxidants and protective power for your body. Different from dutch cocoa that you utilize to make brownies and cakes, raw cacao can be found online and in most health food stores and packs a nutritional punch. I like to heat up a teaspoon with a dash of maple syrup in milk (possibly adding some spices like cinnamon or even turmeric) and enjoy instead of the sugar laden, standard hot cocoa version. And so perfect for the winter and holidays. Yummy, decadent, and nutrient dense.
- Tulsi Tea a.k.a. Holy Basil. This herb has been utilized in India for thousands of years as a non-caffeinated, health promoting tea making it perfect for any time of day. It has been shown to help naturally relieve stress and anxiety as well as energize the body and mind. According to ayurvedic medicine, holy basil promotes purity and lightness in the body, cleansing the respiratory tract of toxins, and relieving digestive gas and bloating. This brand is inexpensive, organic, easy to brew, and comes in a variety of flavors.
- Fresh herbs, lemon, and maybe even a dash of honey. The healing power of herbs are incredible! Use mint for an upset tummy, rosemary to helps relieve allergies and congestion, and thyme to help heal respiratory problems including coughs, bronchitis, and chest congestion. I love using rosemary, lavender, and fresh mint in tea; but really there are endless opportunities. I drop a small handful in a mug and cover with water and let steep for several minutes before drinking. I don’t remove the herbs as it doesn’t bother me while I am enjoying my beverage. But if you don’t like it this way, try using a french press and steeping your herbal tea this way… you will need to up the use of it after you cut back on coffee anyway. ;)
What are your thoughts on cutting back your coffee consumption in favor of feeling more balanced, hydrated, and grounded?