Coffee: The Good, The Bad, and Alternatives
Welcome to Thriving Thursdays with Amelia! If you'd prefer to watch the video version, scroll to the end of this post.
Today we're talking about coffee. Are you and coffee in a loving, supportive relationship or is this a clingy, lust-filled, too-afraid-to-be-on-your-own kind of deal?
Coffee can be an awesome option and part of a recipe for success. It's full of antioxidants, can help to boost mental and physical performance, and may even protect against Alzheimers, dementia, and Parkinson's. Awesome! As long as it makes you feel awesome...
Are you relying on coffee to get through the day?
I used to need coffee in the morning in order to feel motivated for the day. I loved the alert feeling it gave me. But that super anxious feeling it gave me and those GI signs? I chose to ignore them, because I wasn't willing to give up that boost of dopamine in my day.
I started relying on coffee for artificial happiness to feel more bubbly and energized throughout the day. It served as a crutch to compensate for areas in my life that I didn't think I could fix. I ignored the fact that it didn't even make me feel great.
Fast forward to now and I have a very different relationship with coffee. I adore the taste of coffee. And I still have a cup of black coffee in the morning, but I don't NEED it. I love starting my day with a drink that I love (after water!) and I appreciate the boost in energy it gives me at the start of the day. But now I don't need to continue drinking it throughout the day in order to survive or stay "happy".
I gradually worked to evaluate the aspects of my life that were contributing to me feeling drained and did a whole lot of mindset work so that I could be positive and energized even on stressful days. Getting to that point feels pretty darn amazing. It's totally possible for you, too.
If you know that you and coffee have a rocky relationship, but the thought of giving up all caffeine is terrifying these are a few options that I love.
My favorite alternatives for steady energy without the jitters:
Four Sigmatic Coffee is an awesome option if you're looking to decrease your caffeine consumption but aren't ready to give up that cup of coffee. Their coffee is made with organic, Arabica coffee beans and contains half the caffeine of a typical cup of coffee. You can purchase them in individual packets, which makes them awesome for traveling. My favorite part is that the coffee also contains mushrooms and adaptogens like Lions Mane, cordyceps, chaga, and ashwagandha to boost mental focus, your immune system, or decrease stress depending on your goals.
I love matcha as an alternative option because the caffeine is balanced with L-theanine. L-theanine helps to promote a more steady alertness from caffeine without the energy crash or anxiety it can cause. Matcha is made from ground green tea leaves, so it provides a higher amount of caffeine compared to green tea. It also provides a whopping dose of antioxidants, specifically catechins.
One important thing to note is that green tea leaves can accumulate lead. With green tea bags, the amount of lead is less of a concern but since matcha is a high concentration of the actual leaves it's important to look for sources that have third party testing for heavy metals.
My favorite source is Further Food's Superfood Matcha. The first thing that drew me to them was that they have thorough quality-control testing. A nice bonus is that they included a powerhouse of additional incredible ingredients including ashwagahndha, cordyceps, wheatgrass, and ginger. You can read about the benefits of those ingredients here. Also, it tastes good.
I was recently introduced to this caffeine alternative, and I was instantly smitten. It's packed with nourishing organic ingredients including cacao, Masala Chai, turmeric, and a lot of mushroom goodness. Mud promotes alertness without the crash and only contains 1/7th the caffeine of coffee. You can see the details here. Despite the low caffeine content I really do notice a significant boost in my energy levels after drinking it.
I enjoy the mild cacao chai flavor mixed with hot water or a splash of vanilla almond milk, but some may enjoy the earthy flavor with a little sweetness added. My top recommendation would be local, raw honey (Heritage Harvest Farm's wellness honey is my favorite) or monk fruit sweetener.
I'd love to hear from you! What's your favorite coffee alternative? What's your relationship with coffee?