5 Ways to Kick-Start Your Day Without Coffee
Did you wake up this morning feeling a bit groggy and in desperate need of that caffeine fix? That energy jolt to push you forward and enable you to start your day?
Well, it seems that for a lot of us, it’s an automatic reaction upon getting out of bed. It is just simply part of our daily routine. It’s natural – like breathing.
Believe or not, but about 1.7 billion – yes, billion – cups of coffee are sold each year in the UK. Five years ago, one in nine of us went to a coffee shop every day. Now, it’s more like one in five.
Last year, the coffee sector in Britain was estimated to be worth £7.2 billion, according to Allegra Strategies, a market research firm.
That may sound like we’re properly addicted to the buzz. After all, the coffee shop market continued to expand throughout the recession, and the London Coffee Festival recently took place, bringing together over 22,000 bean lovers, independent shops and roasters to celebrate this growing trend.
It’s fair to say that socialising with friends over a cappuccino, or an expresso at our local café, has now become part of the fabric of society. So, does this mean that the UK is turning from a nation of tea drinkers into coffee shop revelers?
Well, we might be on our way, but we’re not true coffee fiends yet, if we compare ourselves to the rest of Europe. In fact, people here drink just a fraction of what is consumed in Finland, Germany, Sweden and France. Just to give you an idea, our Scandinavian friends consume 12,2kg of coffee per head, while we in Britain only consume 2.8kg.
Recent studies have shown that this dark stimulant is probably not as bad for us, or as generally harmful as it was once thought. Some have even argued that it can protect against heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and diabetes. So, that’s good news in a way, but coffee is still far from being a healthy drink.
First of all, coffee is very acidic for the body, resting at 4 on the pH scale, which places it dangerously close to Coca Cola, and other soft drinks. As a result, it is associated with digestive discomfort and imbalances in the our gut flora.
Coffee can also accelerate anxiety, and our stress hormones, by stimulating our nervous system, thereby releasing cortisol and increasing insulin, which in turn, hypes up inflammation in the body.
As we all know, studies have revealed that it can disrupt sleep patterns, even when taken in the afternoon, and according to American Dr. Mark Hyman, it is a “diuretic, meaning that it purges water from the body,” thereby robbing us of “important minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium.”
Coffee can also tax our adrenal glands and “interfere” with normal “detoxification of the liver, making it difficult to regulate the normal detoxification in the liver,” argued the New York Times bestselling author and physician on his blog.
So, why not try to break the habit, avoid dehydration, and beat our fatigue with some great tasting natural alternatives?
Here are five options for you to try:
1. Barley coffee
This can represent ultimately luxury for those among us who love coffee but want to avoid its caffeine-induced craziness. This healthy drink is a 100% naturally decaffeinated Italian coffee substitute made from roasting “orzo” – barley. The taste is light and not unlike the normal hit, so go ahead and have an espresso!
This is a herbal coffee made from roasted herbs, grains, fruits and nuts. It’s a caffeine free alternative, so a great choice if you like the bitter sweet taste of coffee. It’s not acidic, and helps to restore alkalinity in the body. It’s also high in potassium, and the chicory root can help improve digestive issues. Why not give it a go if you want to transition, and reduce your caffeine intake!
It’s now the new “It” drink. You can now easily find this green tea powder sold as a latte in high street cafes. Traditionally drunk in Japan, it is rich in antioxidants (more than in green tea), vitamins A and C, but contains less caffeine than coffee. Why not try this energy booster to rev up your metabolism and stay alert and focused all day?
4. Ginger & turmeric tea
This is an amazing combination, a real powerhouse actually. It’s packed with nutrients, and antioxidants, that will give you that morning spring in your step, without the effects of caffeine. Not only is ginger good for the digestive system and in combatting inflammation, but turmeric is also a superhero ingredient that is detoxifying, with strong anti-inflammatory properties. You can’t go wrong here!
5. Yerba mate
It is an ancient tea from South America made from leaves of a holly tree. It’s wonderful as an energising pick me up, that can help with weight loss, as it fires up your metabolism. This herbal tea offers lots of health benefits like vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It does contain caffeine, but the good news is that it won’t leave feeling jittery or anxious. Drink it first thing in the morning to get you going. It’s great hot or cold!
By Chantal Ouimet – Honestly Healthy online editor