There are many among us who can’t quite function in the morning until we’ve had that first cup of coffee. Or second. Or third… But we all know that high caffeine intakes can be bad news bears, wreaking havoc on our bodies and pouring acid on our organs. For those who are looking to draw down their coffee addiction, or just to find a healthier alternative, here are a few tips to get you on your way.
Simple, yet effective. Many teas still contain caffeine, and some black teas offer nearly as much as a cup of coffee, but they’ll still get you on right path. Tea offers the same benefits of coffee in increasing alertness and focus, but eliminates the crash when the effects wear off. It’s worth taking a few minutes to see how much caffeine various teas offer to make the best selection for your needs!
Squeeze out some fresh orange juice
Another option is to go the seriously au naturel and squeeze some fresh orange juice. You’ll get an energy kick from the raw sugar, which will also help you avoid the crash of stimulated caffeine energy. Plus, it’s delicious.
Try a wheatgrass shot
Gulping down a glass (albeit a small one) of chunky looking green juice may be a bit intimidating, but it packs a powerful punch. Filled with nutrients, wheatgrass offers vitamins A, C, E, iron, magnesium, and chlorophyll – which can act as a detoxifier (meaning those dozen tequila shots you took the night before can also be minimized). The nutrients will help perk you up, and they’ll also help reduce cravings for coffee and other caffeine sources.
Unfortunately the Hershey kind won’t cut it, but a drink or snack with raw chocolate powder packs a small amount of caffeine, along with theobromine (which gives a stimulating effect). The natural buzz is great, and you’ll also get some serious antioxidants along the way.
Give half-caf or decaf a shot
Like I mentioned before, just reducing the amount of caffeine you’re consuming each day will have a beneficial effect. Sometimes, just the taste of coffee can give similar effects, and even decaf coffee still has some caffeine in it, just in much lower degrees. Even switching to cold press coffee can make a difference – while it offers the same amount of caffeine, it is less acidic so it’s easier on your stomach.
Water, water, everywhere!
Staying hydrated is huge in drawing down your caffeine intake. Water can replace the empty space you normally filled with coffee or other caffeinated beverages, and keeping your body hydrated keeps it running. Even drinking hot water can trick your brain into thinking it’s getting a cup of joe or tea (and is great for soothing sore throats). Add some honey or lemon for flavor.
Hit the gym
Endorphins, endorphins, endorphins! Just 20 to 25 minutes of exercise can give you the endorphin kick that coffee would normally provide. It’ll help curb caffeine headaches and will give you the same energy as your morning cup. This trick is a bit more difficult if you’re sitting at your desk in the office, but working out in the morning can set you up for the rest of the day.
Pop in a hot pepper
This one’s a bit strange, but it has been explored by scientists for a while now. Eating a hot pepper or other extremely spicy food can give your body a similar endorphin kick that you’d get from exercise. Not to mention that they’ll also crowd out any incoming caffeine headaches and dull the pain (as you fight to keep all your sinuses from exploding). Maybe work your way up to the habaneros, but even milder peppers can do the trick.
Give herbal coffee a shot
Herbal coffees are not acidic and offer nutrients such as potassium and chicory root to help improve digestion. They’re brewed similar to coffee and have a similar(ish) taste, meaning you won’t even miss your morning routine. They still offer a small amount of caffeine, but in much lower quantities than regular or even decaf coffee. They’re even safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Kind of a no brainer, but worth mentioning. If you get enough z’s, you won’t need all that caffeine. It’s not always possible, but if you can try to strive for a good night’s sleep as often as possible, when you do have to reach for that caffeine, the kick will be even better. So hit the sheets, folks.