My fave morning elixirs for that energy boost!
In University my go-to caffeinated drink was a half coffee / half hot-chocolate from Tim Hortons or a caramel macchiato from Starbucks. I had a sweet tooth, okay? I had a friend who loved to do half coffee / half french vanilla cappuccino. My Canadian friends know exactly what I am talking about.
Neither of these combos were doing us any good, but at the time all that sugar and caffeine just felt oh so right.
So what's your drink of choice? Are you a coffee drinker? Tea drinker? Or maybe you prefer to start the day off with an energy drink like Red Bull?
If you don't get your morning bevy, are you a cranky pants that doesn't want to talk to anyone? Maybe you just can't function without your cuppa joe?
If you answered yes to these questions, well you aren't alone! I used to be the exact same way and the majority of North America is in the same position. This is why there is a coffee shop on pretty well every corner of your city.
I am not writing this post to tell you NO MORE COFFEE!! If you are an every-so-often coffee drinker because you adore that flavour and aroma, we probably don't need to chat. However, there's some good info below and some really tasty alternative drink options that you may find intriguing.
What I want to do is give you some better options that you can work into your lifestyle, especially if you rely on these drinks to function.
You are probably wondering, what exactly is so naughty about needing that daily morning cuppa joe or energy drink to get the day started?
- You are relying on a substance which is actually a drug, to feel normal. This counts as an addiction.
- Your body must be tired for some reason - but you aren't listening to it, just masking the exhaustion with temporary, fake energy.
- A caffeine crash is just around the corner.
- Terrible headaches when you go into withdrawal.
- Caffeine impacts your adrenals and nervous system - mood swings, crankiness, anxiety, nervousness. When your adrenals are overrun, they produce the stress hormone cortisol!
- Coffee affects your digestive system greatly! We all know how many people are having mega digestive issues these days. Did you ever consider that maybe your morning coffee is affecting your gut?
- Coffee affects your ability to absorb nutrients due to its laxative effect (oh you know exactly what I am talking about!).
- Caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it makes you pee and dehydrates your body.
- Caffeine impacts sleep and can lead to insomnia.
- SO MUCH SUGAR and other terrible chemical additives if you are drinking energy drinks or a flavoured coffee creation from Starbucks every damn day (1).
So now that I have given you some pretty damn good reasons to start cutting back on your caffeine intake, let me give you some swaps to make this easier. Oh stay tuned coffee lovers, because this does include a coffee containing beverage. I repeat: coffee is still on the table.
OH AND BEFORE I continue, you might be thinking...
What about DECAF COFFEE?
Decaf still affects your body in many of the same ways as a regular coffee. Decaf still does contain some caffeine. You may not experience the same levels of nervousness or jitters as you would with a regular cup, but it's there. What I want to make note of when it comes to decaf is that in order for coffee to become decaffeinated, the process is done either with CHEMICAL solvents (most of the major brands out there choose this method) or with chemical-free options like the Swiss water or carbon dioxide process. I prefer the Swiss water process. You will find the least amount of caffeine in ones that use the Swiss water process (2).
So no, decaf isn't necessarily a better option due to its processing methods and how it still affects your body.
I figured I might lose some of you if coffee wasn't mentioned again, so first in the line up is:
I discovered this brand three years ago and fell in love quickly! I am proud to say that I have kicked the caffeine addiction and do not rely on a coffee to get my life started each and every day like I used to. I have always LOVED the taste and smell of coffee, so sometimes a good organic, fair-trade coffee is desired, and the mushroom coffees from Four Sigmatic are my absolute preference! They are made with fair-trade, organic coffee beans and contain (you guessed it) mushrooms!
Each coffee or elixir contains a different variety of medicinal mushroom that provides a boost of antioxidants and immune boosting benefits, as well as helping with things like memory and concentration, energy, inflammation, chill vibes, etc...
The coffees do NOT leave you jittery and do NOT impact your adrenals like a regular coffee. I also find that the acidity is much lower than regular coffee. When I drink this coffee over a regular coffee, I feel completely different. It's extremely noticeable. No crashes and complete mental clarity.
But does it taste like...MUSHROOMS MIYA?
There is an earthy note, but overall you can still taste and smell the delicious coffee. So this is a great healthier swap if you still like to enjoy a cuppa joe every now and then! Oh and btw, they just released a mocha version! OMG! Cacao and coffee, yes please!
If you are going completely caffeine free or you want something to enjoy later in the day, I highly recommend their mushroom elixirs and hot cacaos. I add the elixirs to smoothies, drink like a tea or make into a caffeine-free latte. I like to add ingredients such as an organic cacao butter for a white chocolate flavour! These do have a more shroomy, earthy flavour. They have added other superfood ingredients to help with that.
The Reishi Hot Cacao, is the perfect just-before-bed drink as the Reishi mushroom is good for relaxation and chill vibes. This stuff always helps me sleep.
2. Matcha Latte
I have a good matcha latte a few times a week. It's hands-down one of my fave warm drinks to start the day. First off, yes matcha does have caffeine in it as you are consuming the whole green tea leaf. Now what differentiates this from just a regular ol' coffee or energy drink is it's health benefits. With matcha you are drinking up a cup of super-powered nutrients!
- Contains some of the most powerful antioxidants.
- Contains L-Theanine - an amino acid that helps balance the caffeine, which in turn creates a calming drink. You are calm but alert. This does not leave you with jitters or nervousness like other drinks might. Matcha is usually a safe choice for anxiety sufferers.
- Boosts your ENERGY without any crashes.
- Boosts your MOOD! For more mood boosting tips, check out my last blog post.
- Matcha helps to...BOOST your metabolism! It's a top fat-burning food. Remember: everything in moderation so don't start chugging ten of these a day.
- Helps to detoxify the body as it's a rich source of chlorophyll, which is why it has it's beautiful green colour. Chlorophyll helps to eliminate toxins like chemicals and heavy metals from the body.
...just to name a few!
How to choose your MATCHA!
First off, a Starbucks green tea latte is not matcha! This is a chemically laden cocktail of ingredients. I recommend avoiding pretty much everything from Starbucks. I was once a big Starbucks lover, so I know it's hard to accept this info.
Authentic matcha comes from Japan and can be used in the Japanese tea ceremony. The best matcha usually comes from Uji or Shizuoka in Japan. It's best to read up on the brand you are buying from and confirm these details. You also want to stay away from products that may be potentially grown near the sites where radiation is still present.
Most of the good brands also have third-party testing done to ensure that there are no contaminants.
A few brands that I love ♡
Genuine Tea - their new brand for matcha is called Kato Matcha.
Okay soooo they say that your ceremonial grade matcha is best served just with hot water, but sometimes I like to add more.
Here's my super-powered matcha latte recipe
Usually around 1 tsp matcha powder
1/2 - 1 cup hot water
1/2 - 1 cup warm dairy-free mylk, I love coconut
1 tsp hemp hearts
1 tsp coconut oil
smidgen of raw honey
Blend this baby up until its smooth and frothy!
3. dandy blend Lattes
Caffeine-free Dandy Blend is made with extracts of barley, rye, dandelion, chicory, and beet roots. IT IS GLUTEN-FREE! It has an almost cacao sort of smell. I prefer this over regular chicory root "coffees".
Dandelions are high in vitamins K, A and C. You'll also find calcium and some iron. Dandelions have a HUGE list of health benefits. Based on it's nutrient profile dandelions can helps to cleanse the liver, keep the digestive system flowing, reduce inflammation, fight skin infections and even help prevent UTIs to name a few (3)!
Mix Dandy Blend with warm dairy-free mylk, coconut oil, cacao butter, Four Sigmatic mushroom elixirs, raw cacao, coconut manna, hemp hearts, maca, ashwagandha, cinnamon and spices.
You can also create a PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE with this, I have done it before! So good!
Pumpkin Spice Latte with Dandy Blend
Real pumpkin puree
Warm dairy-free mylk
Pumpkin pie spices - cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger
Raw honey or natural sweetener of choice
*to superpower this, you could add one of the mushroom elixirs for adaptogenic (a substance that helps the body adapt to daily stressors) benefits OR maca or ashwagandha.
Just remember that having a coffee every now and then is okay, if that's your thing! It's when you rely on coffee or an energy drink to get your ass moving in the morning, and then one turns into three? That's when there is an issue. Oh and in terms of energy drinks, I would 100% stay far, far away from those.
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Affiliate programs that I am a part of include Mabrook & Co. and Four Sigmatic.
(1) Telpner, M. Five Tips to Help You Kick the Caffeine Habit (Once and For All!) Retrieved from https://www.meghantelpner.com/blog/five-tips-to-help-you-kick-the-caffeine-habit-once-and-for-all/. January 28, 2018.
(2) Emden, L. Decaffeination 101: Four Ways to Decaffeinate Coffee. Retrieved from https://coffeeconfidential.org/health/decaffeination/. January 30, 2018.
(3) Dr. Axe. Dandelion Tea for Liver Detox, Healthy Skin & Stomach. Retrieved from https://draxe.com/dandelion-tea/. January 30, 2018.