We all respond differently to coffee and caffeine. Some people metabolize it better than others, some of us are addicted to it, some people replace eating food with it, for some of us it is destroying our blood sugar balance for the day causing huge ups and then downs, there are some health benefits, but most of us overuse it. When you are ready to kick the habit here are some steps to making it a bit easier. I even included ways to work with coffee if you can’t give it up. Remember, we are all unique so what works for one person might not work for you. Find what works for YOU and what your body needs to function its best.
Possible Benefits of cutting the coffee
Again, since we are all genetically unique coffee affects us all differently. However, taking a break from coffee may help with sleep, digestion, appropriate hormone production, liver detoxification, blood sugar regulation, as well as a host of symptoms. Heres the thing, when you drink a cup of coffee your body responds by increasing cortisol and epinephrine, our stress hormones. This starts a cascade of events that cause a spike in blood sugar, which is the king of the endocrine system and affects all of our hormones. If you find yourself needing more than up cup a day, or getting headaches if you don’t have it, having a hard time sleeping, feeling fatigued, experiencing highs/lows throughout the day, it might be a good idea to try a break or reduce your dependence. Reducing caffeine gradually will help reduce any withdrawal symptoms, if you have any.
First off consider why you drink coffee, spend some time here first. I think this is the most important part and often overlooked.
Some people drink it for the caffeine, some people enjoy the morning ritual, or the flavor, or some people feel comforted by the warm morning wake up drink, some people love going into the coffee shop for social reasons, or perhaps your cup of joe helps you poop, or ….. fill in the dots for you. Is there a story around your coffee habit that you are telling yourself every day? From there you can consider your exit strategy with the help of a proper replacement for YOU.
Experiment with different replacements. Be playful and open minded!
- If caffeine is your reason for drinking coffee you can slowly start cutting back on fully caffeinated coffee by adding in organic decaf or try reducing the number of cups each day. Either way working gradually usually prevents headaches. From there you can transition to a healthier option or even green tea which has many health benefits if you can tolerate some caffeine.
- If it’s the morning ritual of making a cup of coffee you might want to start trying different kinds of teas. Loose leaf tea is fun as you still get to pour, brew, smell, and enjoy. Most health food stores sell good quality loose leaf tea or it can be ordered online through Mountain Rose Herbs, for example. Some bitter favorites for replacing coffee are roasted dandelion root, roasted chicory root, reishi mushroom powder, or a pre-made herbal coffee replacements. A couple of examples I like are Ayurvedic Roast organic herbal coffee substitute and Rasa Koffee organic herbal coffee substitute. Each of these offer many additional health benefits and hit the spot.
- If it is the flavor you love you can either try organic high quality decaf right away, go through the gradual decaf transition (start with a 1/4 decaf and move to full decaf), or try one of the herbal coffee replacements that are still super bitter mentioned above.
- If it’s the coffee shop you love, you are in luck. Most coffee shops today sell many other great options. Most offer peppermint tea or even cinnamon or rooibos which are naturally sweet, rich, and satisfying. Just steer clear from the “latte” teas (even Matcha).
- If you are just looking for a hot drink in the morning there are endless tea options. Some of my favorite morning tea options are raspberry leaf, nettles, rooibos, and peppermint. They even have great health benefits but again quality of tea matters. Make sure it is organic to reduce toxins and increase flavor. Even a good quality loose leaf green tea or matcha tea have amazing health benefits if you can tolerate some caffeine. Golden Milk is another fabulous alternative. You can find my recipe here. Here you will find my recipe for a rich warming and spicy tea that my family loves, especially in the colder months.
If you still want your coffee…….. If you still want your 1 cup of coffee a day, there are a few ways to help make it work better for your body.
- First and foremost make sure you always drink organic coffee. The pesticides on coffee can be hugely detrimental to your health.
- Another way to keep coffee as an ally is to make sure you have some fat or protein before having your cup of coffee in the morning. Never drink coffee on an empty stomach or use it instead of food. This will reduce the cortisol spike from drinking the coffee and the eventual blood sugar dysregulation that follows (highs and crashes).
- Another option is turning your coffee into Bulletproof coffee. This technique adds healthy fat maximizing the benefits of coffee and again helps with blood sugar regulation. My favorite recipe is here but there are a ton online now.
- And of course, consider what you are putting in your coffee. Skip or reduce the sugar and choose a milk that works for your body (cashew, coconut, etc). And no matter what, do not use artificial sweeteners as these can throw many systems and organs off balance as most are toxic.
Alternative ways to get an energy boost
There are lots of great ways to get a healthy energy boost during the day. You may feel more energized just by reducing or eliminating caffeine alone, as your hormonal system will come back into balance. However, adding booster foods can give you additional sustained energy without the highs and lows of caffeine. Booster foods include greens powders, ground flax and chia seeds, nutritional yeast, and more. See my favorites here.
Starting your day off right!
Try starting each day with a glass of lemon water or apple cider vinegar water first thing. Adding a calming morning ritual such as deep breathing, meditation, or guided imagery can have deeply restorative and grounding affects. This does not have to be complicated or long: 10 mindful breaths, 5 minutes meditating, focusing on 3 things you are grateful for, setting an intention for your day, or simply lighting a candle. Sometimes just taking the time in the morning to slow down may be all we need to feel more awake and ready to face our day!
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