Monday Motivation Hack: Coffee Alternatives
You’re jittery, sweaty, and unable to focus. What had seemed like the perfect dose of java to power all your feats of Monday superheroism has betrayed you.
In the throes of a caffeine come-down, as you blearily attempt to finish drafting your project update, you swear:
“I’m going to quit coffee.”
Though there are good reasons for healthy people to consume coffee in moderation, some individuals may find themselves overdoing it or may be simply too sensitive to the acidity or caffeine. If this sounds familiar, here is how you can quit coffee.
How to Quit Coffee
Assuming you really do want to quit drinking coffee—or at least limit your consumption—you are going to need another way to boost your energy and keep yourself at the top of your game. The number-one way to quit caffeine and boost your energy is to get your circadian rhythm on a regular, well-rested schedule. To do this, you need to:
- Stay hydrated. The Institute of Medicine recommends men drink thirteen cups and women drink nine cups of beverages daily. Aim for mostly hydrating drinks like water, lemon water, and coconut water.
- Eat Your Vitamins. Eating a balanced, colorful diet composed of whole foods, mostly vegetables, will ensure that you are getting the necessary amounts of vitamins and minerals to fuel your productive genius. Magnesium is a particularly vital mineral for energy. Eat plenty of nuts and fish to boost your levels naturally.
- Avoid sugar. Sugars, whether in the form of sweeteners or the carbohydrates in processed foods, cause blood sugar spikes that might make you feel better in the short-term, but pack a nasty crash a couple of hours later. Blood sugar and insulin swings make it difficult for you to concentrate and weaken your willpower. Opt for healthy snacks with a balance of fat and protein that will keep you going strong.
- Move more. Research shows that a ten-minute walk at a nice clip boosts energy more effectively than a candy bar and that regular walks improve overall energy levels.
- Sleep. Insufficient sleep and sleep disorders are all too common in the U.S. Despite recommendations to get seven to eight hours of sleep nightly, 30 percent of adults get six or fewer hours. While the jury is still out on whether more sleep guarantees success, if you’re nodding off at your desk, it’s time to get some more regular shut-eye.
However, if your rebel heart simply refuses to abide by guidelines . . .
There are some non–Red Bull alternatives you can try.
Most people are simply looking for a replacement for their daily mug(s) of joe—something satisfying to fill the void during the morning routine. Luckily, there are many satisfying alternatives to coffee.
If you are looking to cut back on caffeine or the “crash” associated with coffee. . .
Make your life easy and switch to decaffeinated coffee. Voila, problem solved.
If you can’t tolerate the acidity of coffee. . .
Reach for some yerba mate or green tea. Both have caffeine, but yerba mate has a smoother come-down while green tea has a 75 percent lower dose of caffeine than coffee. Shorter brew times for both teas will weaken the stimulant concentration further.
If you want to get away from caffeine but still want some chemical energy. . .
Try ginkgo tea to boost circulation and energy levels. Siberian ginseng, not to be confused with American ginseng, contains compounds that may improve mental performance, not to mention boost your immune system.
If you want to try a whole new kick. . .
Spicy tea varieties pack an energizing punch. For no-caf, my go-to when I go sans coffee is lemon and ginger tea, fresh or in sachets. Personally, I love this as strong as I can make it with a cinnamon stick, honey, and coconut oil. If you’re comfortable with a bit of caffeine, try chai. This aromatic mix of black tea with warming spices and frothy milk contains between 25 and 50 percent the amount of caffeine found in coffee.
If you’re looking for zero-caf invigoration. . . Just can’t do caffeine? A number of herbal teas can be quite revitalizing. Lemongrass and citrus teas have a bite that perks you up, while mint teas are calming but refreshing. Stay away from lavender and camomile blends, which are soothing to the point of being downright restful.
If you’re looking for pure coziness in a cup. . . Carob powder drinks are your new go-to. This chocolate substitute gives you all the indulgence of hot cocoa and blends very well with all kinds of milk without any of the stimulant effects of coffee or chocolate.
Which drink will you try? Do you have any coffee alternatives that you swear by?