It’s been a long day, and at 5 o’clock in the evening you are finding yourself reaching for yet another cup of coffee, you don’t necessarily need the caffeine but need to continue to focus throughout the rest of the evening. Or you have decided to get rid of a particularly nasty caffeine habit, you notice that if you don’t have enough caffeine you get headaches, maybe even your hands shake or you find yourself incredibly irritable. Even if you are giving up caffeine for a pregnancy, and have found yourself giving up your favorite phrase: death before decaf, and picking up a vitamin enriched non-caffeinated beverage. Going caffeine free in all beverages or just cutting back on caffeine doesn’t have to feel like a jail sentence, there are plenty of delicious alternatives that will keep you reaching for another cup of caffeine free. Regardless, stop in your tracks of taking yet another cup of coffee and look at some of these tasty caffeine substitutes that will allow you to keep a clear head without all the jitters.
It’s not just about the caffeine, it’s about that delicious coffee taste that you get every morning from your favorite coffee shop, the smell and taste are hard to kick. As a coffee lover myself, I understand, and suggest that you try roasted chicory root, which is a great substitute for both coffees and teas. Its taste is going to be the closest you get to a cup of coffee unless you decide to go the decaf root. A quick side note about decaf, there is still minimal levels of caffeine in decaf coffees, so if you are going caffeine free for health reasons, make sure to talk to your health professional before swigging down decaf coffees. Back to chicory, to sell you even harder on this coffee alternative, chicory naturally has a prebiotic in it. So what does this mean? Your stomach will be very happy with you, the prebiotic helps the good bacteria in your stomach, making it stronger and healthier.
We can now talk teas, when you are looking to buy tea, to still have a warm fix with your morning or evening meals, try loose leaf caffeine-free herbal tea. My personal favorite is Rooibos. This tea not only is naturally caffeine-free it is delicious to drink and can have milk, sugar, and honey added without losing too much of its flavor. Rooibos is naturally high in Vitamin C and antioxidants; this means that you will have a delicious cup of tea that will keep you alert and healthy. In addition, if you are trying to go caffeine free and experiencing nagging headaches or even if you are finding bouts of insomnia from going cold turkey on caffeine, rooibos can help ease these symptoms.
If you are looking to just substitute the caffeine, not the coffee, consider adding B vitamins to your water. B-12 speeds up your metabolism on the food that you eat, this means you are creating energy faster and boosting up your concentration. Without getting too “sciency” on you, Vitamin B12 helps your red blood cells move oxygen throughout your body, this also equates to higher levels of energy that you would normally be getting from your teas, coffees, and sodas. If you don’t want to drop vitamins in your water, try introducing more nuts, seeds, eggs and lean meats to your diet, all tasty alternatives that will help you have higher levels of energy.
Speaking of nuts and tasty alternatives, let’s talk delicious smoothies in the morning or afternoon that keeps blood sugar elevated and your taste buds happy. Other than tastiness, nuts and protein powder will give you a boost of energy throughout your day. Sold? Here is how you make them high in protein and fiber. Instead of putting nuts directly into your smoothies which will make them chalky and chunky, and not in a good way, substitute regular milk with cashew milk or almond milk. To give you another boost and keep your smoothie creamy and delicious, try to add different types of nut butter to your smoothies. Even adding in coconut butter, will sweeten the smoothie and keep your energy levels up.
Do you have an upset stomach from kicking caffeine and are looking for an energy boost and something to soothe your stomach? Go ahead and try out this awesome fatigue fighting root, ginseng. Some people wrinkle their noses at the idea of downing a cup of ginseng as it is often associated with its sharp and spicy flavor. Adding some honey and milk will make this tea smoother, sweeter, and easier to drink. Ginseng can be brewed from the shavings of the ginseng root or can be easily purchased as a powder to brew the tea. It is known for soothing stomachs, for calming down sore throats, and for perking up energies in a long afternoon slump.
My last, and potentially the “healthiest” alternative for you, is an acquired taste – wheatgrass juice! This juice is a natural energizer that has heaps of vitamins, minerals, and plenty of nutrients and energy enhancers. Much like Vitamin B’s, wheatgrass speeds up metabolism and therefore gives you a punch of energy. It is also incredibly good for stomach digestion and will help get you back on track for your health goals. That being said, try this drink before you commit to it, as the taste is rather strong and some people prefer to take it as a shot to get it down quickly.
So you are ready to quit your caffeine addiction and have alternatives now at hand that are all healthy for your body and will keep your head clear throughout the day? Caffeine consumed at too high of a rate can be very dangerous for your health, so substitute your fourth cup of coffee for something else. You’ll feel the difference!