I don’t drink coffee anymore.
Not because I don’t want to - I love coffee! I love a hot latte on the go. And I love the smell of brewing coffee. Granted, I don’t love coffee as much as some people do...
But ultimately coffee and I just don’t get along. Several years ago, I started to notice that coffee was making me anxious. Within 30 minutes of drinking a cup of coffee, I could feel anxiety coursing through my body. As someone who already struggles with a fair amount of anxiety, I figured I didn’t need any extra help in that department.
So I quit coffee.
And I started drinking tea.
Tea seemed safe enough, mild enough. I had a steaming, hot cup of puerh tea every morning. But then I stopped drinking puerh tea for awhile and re-started drinking it a couple of weeks later, and there it was again - anxiety!
So I broke up with caffeine (well mostly...I’ll occasionally have a cup of caffeinated green tea if I’m really needing a jolt of energy in the morning, but never after lunch or I won’t be able to sleep that night. And chocolate - duh).
Did you know that you actually have a gene that determines how quickly you metabolize caffeine? It’s true. You are genetically predisposed to either metabolize caffeine quickly or slowly. You can do genetic testing to see which expression of the gene you have, or you can just listen to your body. Reading this, you probably already intuitively know. Like I know I don’t metabolize caffeine quickly. My husband, on the other hand, can drink a shot of espresso 30 minutes before bedtime and have no trouble falling asleep. (If you want to learn more, functional medicine Dr. Will Cole talks about the caffeine gene in this article.)
Now you can find lots of research on why coffee is good for you or why coffee is bad for you. I’m not here to say one way or the other. Instead, I recommend listening to your body. How do you feel when you drink coffee? Do you think you tolerate it well? Or does it make you feel yucky?
If you’re like me and don’t metabolize caffeine quickly, but you love having that morning cup...I’ve got your covered.
Here are my recommendations for replacing your morning cup of coffee:
- Hot water with lemon This one is my favorite and so easy to do in the morning. Lemon water in the morning helps flush the digestive system and rehydrates the body after a night of sleeping. You can add sliced ginger and honey for an even tastier drink.
- Golden latte This anti inflammatory turmeric based drink is more savory and has a whole host of health benefits. Here’s a great recipe.
- Herbal teas Open up my cabinet and you’ll find all different kinds of tea from skin clearing tea to sleepy time tea. I love the idea of supporting my health while drinking a warm drink in the morning. Check out any of Traditional Medicinals teas.
- Tea latte You can turn any tea into a latte using some frothed milk, a touch of honey and spices like cinnamon.
- Fruit infused water For the summer months, keep a pitcher of water in the fridge with sliced fruit like cucumbers, lemons and limes for a refreshing drink in the morning. You can even add sparkling water to give it some bubbles, but make sure to buy natural sparkling water that doesn’t have any added sugar.
- Invest in some fun mugs, to go cups and glass straws to make your morning drink even more enjoyable!
But what do I buy at the coffee shop?
Many coffee shops are tapping into the tea craze and creating fun tea drinks alongside their coffee regulars. My local coffee shop has a pumpkin spice latte made with tea and almond milk! Chai tea lattes are also a good option - just make sure to ask if the tea is caffeinated. And if you don’t see something you want, ask your barista if they’re willing to get creative.
Now if you’re someone who does tolerate caffeine well, make sure to pay attention to what you’re putting into your coffee. Lots of creamers have added sugar and high fructose corn syrup on top of sweetener you’re already putting into your coffee. Morning coffee is a quick and painful way to max out your dietary sugar for the day. Instead, try black coffee with honey. That used to be my go to, and I loved it!
Now I want to hear from you. What’s your favorite morning drink?
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