Enjoying a cup of good quality, organic coffee isn’t a problem for most people, but if you find yourself overdoing it on caffeine it can come with some pretty frustrating side effects. If you’re experiencing anxiety, trouble sleeping, digestive woes, restlessness or dehydration, you may be consuming too much. Drinking coffee as part of a healthy lifestyle is one of those tricky habits to master—you really have to find your sweet spot with it, so you don’t begin to rely on it for energy. Once you hit the point where you’re exhausted throughout the day unless you reach for another cup…it might be time to take a break.
If you’ve decided it’s time to kick the coffee habit for now, have no fear! For many people who want to experiment with quitting their beloved coffee, it’s more about the ritual of drinking the coffee rather than the coffee itself. The good news is, there are some truly great substitutes out there so you won’t miss your daily hot (or cold) beverage. Here are 6 that I personally love, along with the other Be Well Health Coaches. Although I go through on-and-off periods of coffee drinking depending on how I feel, these are my go-tos whenever I need a break from the joe.
Some of them contain caffeine and some don’t, so experiment and see what makes you feel the best!
1. Yerba Mate
Yerba mate is, by far, my favorite coffee substitute. In fact, this is the beverage that originally made me decide to quit coffee the first time I ever did it! This wonderful South American tea is traditionally consumed from a yerba mate gourd with a metal straw, and it’s passed around and shared in community and celebration. You don’t have to drink it this way, though. I buy loose-leaf organic yerba mate and I make it in my French press, just like you would with coffee! It does contain caffeine, so it’ll give you that morning boost, but without the jitters and crash that often come with drinking coffee. It’s also high in antioxidants – give it a try!
2. Matcha Tea
Matcha is a powdered green tea that’s incredibly concentrated in nutrients and antioxidants—some say drinking a cup of matcha is like getting the benefits of 10 cups of green tea! That’s right. The best part about matcha is you can just stir a little bit of the powder into water and it will dissolve. Because matcha tea contains L-Theanine, a relaxing amino acid, it calms you while simultaneously giving you a boost with the mild caffeine content. It makes a really great iced tea, too! If you like green tea, give matcha a try. It’s an antioxidant powerhouse!
3. A Green Juice or Smoothie
Did you know that leafy greens are naturally energizing? If you grab a green juice (get one that’s low in fruit, ideally with cucumber for extra hydration) or make a green smoothie next time you need an energy boost, you’ll find the energizing effects lasting longer than the coffee — without the crash and grogginess that may come with coffee drinking. The best part about making a green smoothie is that you can add superfoods that will give you an extra energizing kick – try adding a little maca powder or cacao powder!
4. Dandelion-Based Herbal Coffee
If it’s the flavor and taste of coffee you’re after, but without the caffeine, there are some dandelion herbal coffees on the market that come pretty close to tasting like actual coffee. Teecino, in particular, is one brand that carries gluten-free, organic coffee alternatives made from herbs, fruit and nuts. With flavors like vanilla nut, dark roast, chocolate and chai, kicking the java may be easier than you think.
5. Cacao Tea
This is one that some of my fellow Be Well Health Coaches figured out in the office one day, and now it’s my winter go-to! Just boil some water, add a spoonful of cacao (raw chocolate) powder, and sweeten if you’d like (a drop of liquid stevia or a tiny bit of raw honey goes a long way)! You can even make it creamy by adding a bit of unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk. The cacao will give you a nice hit of energy. Heavenly!
6. Fresh, Cold Water
Ok, you may not intuitively think of water as a coffee substitute – but next time you think you need that large coffee or you’re having that 3-4pm slump at work, try drinking a big glass of ice-cold water. It will perk you right up, the hydration will give you natural energy, and your body will thank you!
Now that you’re adequately armed with some fantastic coffee-kicking alternatives, go out and experiment! And if you do choose to drink coffee, make sure to choose organic, single origin, low toxin coffee beans to prevent unwanted side effects. (I prefer bulletproof coffee!)