I have a complicated relationship with coffee. The aroma is intoxicating to me, but drinking it is toxic for my skin and stomach. I used to sip multiple cups a day until a few years ago when my naturopath told me it was most likely one of the causes of my skin and stomach issues; he said I wasn’t able to metabolize it properly. I had struggled with my skin for years, and when it came down to it, vanity > coffee. Coffee was just not worth it.
It was a difficult sacrifice at the time. Going out for coffee with friends and ordering…tea? Waking up in the morning and pouring a…water? While it wasn’t easy, I don’t miss it all that much anymore and now have clear skin and no regrets.
I used a lot of different strategies to kick the coffee addiction, some worked better than others. By far the most effective was finding alternatives to coffee. I tried tons of different beverages that I was genuinely excited about, which made it easier to forget about the old java. I wanted to share my favorite coffee alternatives, and the different needs they meet – whether you are looking for a morning wake up, afternoon pick me up, or just something delicious. These options will help you put coffee behind you, and something (possibly?!) even better in front of you.
For a Morning Boost
First, a promise: waking up without coffee will get easier!
Lemon Water, and B12 Vitamin
While it may not sound as exciting as a warm cup of joe, it will give you the same burst of energy and set you on your day. Ice water kick starts your metabolism, especially first thing in the morning when you are dehydrated. Think about it, you haven’t had a drop to drink in 5-8 hours, nourish your body!
For those who don’t love ice cold drinks (like me) you can go the opposite way. A cup of hot water with lemon is also a great morning start. Lemon is said to wake up your senses and make you more alert. It’s also delicious. The smell of lemon in hot water gives me a similar feeling to the smell of coffee now, it signals the start of the day. Plus, this combo has been known to get the body’s plumbing system moving. Hey, I’ll take that!
Don’t forget the B12. B12 Vitamin has the potential to do a world of good. B12 is a very important vitamin for circulation and nerve health, and what do they say is the most common side affect of B12 deficiency? Fatigue! So you may be able to counteract that fatigue with a vitamin first thing in the morning. Other fatigue issues could be caused by an iron deficiency, too. Speak to your doctor before starting any vitamins or supplements, and if you’re curious you can get a blood test to check for these deficiencies.
Honestly I could do a whole separate post about herbal teas (and maybe I will!). There are countless varieties of herbal teas and be warned, quality varies, too. Tea is an ancient beverage that has been crafted over time; it has nuances and vibrant flavors. What I’m saying is – it’s worth getting the good stuff. I recommend buying loose leaf tea from somewhere other than your supermarket. I also know the importance of following the brewing instructions for your tea to get the best flavor out of it. Don’t pour in water that is too hot and burn your leaves and try to avoid over steeping.
For a Mid-Afternoon Pick Me Up
Maybe the time you reach for a coffee is at your 3pm slump. The day is not quite over, but your blood sugar has dropped and you need something to push you through. Here are a few things to reach for other than coffee.
An Apple and a Few Good Stretches
When you hit that mid afternoon slump the core issue is often blood sugar. Lunch is long gone, you have been sitting for a few hours, and so you feel tired.
Instead of a coffee (which will wear off in an hour or two) grab an apple. The natural sugars in an apple will boost your blood sugar and give you energy (don’t believe me? Just try!). Doing a couple good stretches (check out my article on how to do this!) Doing a couple good stretches (check out my article on how to do this!) along with it will loosen up your joints and wake your body up.
Miso is a paste made from soy that when mixed with hot water becomes a delicious, comforting, salty treat. I have raved about miso in the past, because it is not only delicious, but also good for you. It’s supposed to aid with digestion because of the fermented cultures (more on that heremore on that here). If I’m craving something hot to pick me up, I whip up a quick bowl of miso. So savoury, and so delicious.
Bone Broth, Veggie Broth
On the same note of wanting something warm, delicious and comforting, I sometimes go for a cup of broth. Broth is nutrient dense as well as being rich in flavor. The collagen in bone broth is good for you stomach lining as well as your bones, joints, nails and hair, so you just might enjoy broth and its many benefits!
This is an incredibly convenient option because you can get broth cubes (or freeze your own cubes of broth) and mix it with boiling water on demand. It’s a little cup of comfort whenever you need.
For Those Who Just Really Love Coffee
We’ve been over this, coffee is delicious, and it smells great, I can’t pretend otherwise. I can however suggest some other delicious options that remind me the most of coffee, to try and help you curb the habit.
Gojiccinno is a concentrate made from goji berries! It comes in a bottle (found in the refrigerated section of health food stores) is a dense syrup, the color and viscosity of espresso and you can use it in a similar fashion. Use it to make a ton of coffee-like beverages: Gojiccinno Lattes, Gojiccinno Frappe, Iced Gojiccinno… the list goes on and on. I’ll mix mine with some heated and frothed almond milk for a delicious goji latte.
Chicory is another option that is a lot like coffee, because that is what it was made to replace. Caf-Lib products are made with roasted chicory root, and were invented as a coffee substitute when coffee rations were low during WWI. A huge benefit of the drink is that it tastes somewhat like coffee, especially if you add a sweetener (and haven’t had a coffee in a while). It’s a little bitter, very creamy, and it’s quicker to make than a regular cup! The brand I’ve found readily available is Teeccino and they make the product in a bunch of delicious coffeehouse flavours.
I know that none of these options are a perfect replacement for coffee, and there is going to be an adjustment period for anyone trying to kick the habit, just like there was for me. I miss it, but my body feels better for making the transition. Based on my own experience, it’s worth it. Soon you’ll find yourself kicking back, sipping a tea, or a Caf-Lib, or Gojiccinno frappe, and feeling great.
Let me know how your coffee-kicking is going, and what you use as a substitute!