On the 30 day cleanse which I am currently running I invite participants to choose one thing they are going to give it up and consider a healthier alternative to substitute with it.
The one habit that I have chosen to change across the 30 days is coffee.
Although I love coffee I have now gone 1 week without it and have been pleasantly surprised how easy I have found it. I think the key to this is having had alternatives which I enjoy as much.
It's not that I think drinking coffee is necessarily unhealthy, in fact, there are some health associated benefits to drinking coffee such as it can: improve focus, help make exercise more effective, speed up metabolism and it's high in antioxidants. But I think it's wise to assess habits that have become automatic. To take time out to see if they are truly serving you. One of the downsides of coffee is that it is highly addictive, so it can be easy to think 'oh I just love the taste of it' when, without realizing it, you may in fact 'need' it. Other downsides to coffee is that it can leave you feeling jittery, adversely affect your sleep and jack up blood sugar levels.
So if, like me, you would like to experiment with a little time out from your daily cup of joe, here are some of my favorite coffee alternatives:
- jasmine green tea/green tea
- matcha latte
- raw cocoa
(these alternatives do contain some caffeine, see below for my favorite caffeine-free alternatives.)
1 Jasmine green tea: green tea contains less caffeine but more of the benefits (antioxidants/polyphenols) than coffee.
Alongside the caffeine, green tea contains L-Theanine, which is very calming to the nervous system, so you don’t get that jittery energy you can sometimes get from coffee.
I find that I can not drink green tea on an empty stomach so I enjoy a large cup of it with my morning smoothie.
I love jasmine green tea for the light and delicate floral flavor it brings.
2 Matcha latte: Matcha is the finely ground powder of specially grown green tea leaves, it is an even more potent blend of polyphenols/antioxidants. Not all Matcha is good quality, so try and find Japanese matcha (over Chinese matcha, as the latter has more heavy metals in the soil).
How to make a green tea latte:
1. Boil the kettle
2. Warm up a cup of rice or almond milk on the hob (I like rude health)
3. Put a teaspoon of matcha in a mug
4. Make a paste with a little boiling water and stir well
5. Add warm milk and stir
6. Optional extras: 1 drop of doTERRA cinnamon oil (delicious!), a sprinkle of cinnamon powder, or some grated nutmeg.
You can buy organic matcha powder (available online and in health food stores and some supermarkets).
3 Raw hot cocoa: High quality cocoa or cacao, is another way to make a gently stimulating alternative to coffee.
All the bad things commonly connected to consuming chocolate, really only apply to commercial chocolate that has a very low % of the actual cocoa (from the plant) and is full of dairy, refined sugar and other synthetic preservatives and flavorings.
Good quality cocoa powder (and I don’t mean Cadbury’s cocoa drink, or even Green & Black’s as it still contains refined sugar and dairy) is also known as cacao powder.
If you buy raw cacao powder, this is made from fermented, dried, unroasted cacao beans, with no sugar added. In this state it contains powerful antioxidants, it is gently stimulating because of the caffeine and theobromine content and it contains valeric acid, which acts as a stress reducer. Aside from this, it contains minerals like zinc, copper, and magnesium.
How to make an upgraded hot chocolate drink:
1. Boil the kettle
2. Warm up half a mug of plant milk on the hob - I use rice milk so that I don't need to add any other sweetner, but if you are using almond, oat or hemp milk you may choose to add a little brown rice syrup or coconut sugar.
3 Mix the raw cocoa and hot water and then either stir your warm milk in or if you have a hand held frother, you can add the cacao powder and hot water to the warmed milk in the saucepan, and froth.
4 Nice extras to add are a sprinkle of cinnamon powder, ¼ tsp of turmeric powder. You can also add a drop of essential oil too: On Guard is wonderful, as is cardamom, or wild orange.
You can buy organic raw cacao powder (available online and in health food stores and some supermarkets).
My favorite non-caffeinated teas:
1 I love teapigs peppermint and liquorice root for a sweet drink. I promise that it doesn't taste like liquorice. Although this tea contains no sugar at all the liquroice root makes these tea super sweet. It's absolutely delicious.
2 Rooibos or redbush tea is great too as it feels more like drinking a black tea as you can add milk to it. I love dragonfly roobious with vanilla with a splash of rice milk.
3 I also really enjoy yogi teas - the decaffeinated chai tea which you can also drink with milk is warming and tastes delicious.
I hope you find this useful. I'd love to know if you experiment with at least reducing your coffee intake and what your favourite alternative is.