By Lauren Denos: 1/12/2015 (Nutrition)

It is the life blood that makes the morning seem not so bleak. The magical serum that makes life worth living. I know, a little over dramatic, but that is how many people feel. Many of us rely on the morning cup of Joe. So much so that really nothing may ever completely replace it. But if you are one of the many people who are working towards getting rid of your coffee habit there may be some things you can do to help yourself.

First of all, is coffee good or bad for you? This is a loaded question. Like so many other things in life, there are good and bad points to coffee. Coffee has antioxidants, but so do tea, vegetables, fruit, etc. Coffee itself is said to actually not be bad for us in moderation, but this does not mean the cream and the sugar in it is good for you. If you are a cream and sugar user and you want to eat healthier, then you can either start learning to drink your coffee black or start reducing the amount of cream and sugar you use in it until you are using none at all.

There are many different opinions when it comes to the pros and cons of coffee. One of the risks of coffee is the increased risk of osteoporosis. But, then again, this risk is for anything with caffeine in it. Caffeine leaches calcium from our bones. So when you are ingesting caffeine, make sure you are eating foods that are rich in calcium (like spinach) and/or taking a supplement to help replace the calcium lost.

I am not going to tell you whether coffee is right for you or not. That is a personal choice. It depends on your body and how you feel after you drink it. If you feel great with your one cup a day and do not have the horrible crash later in the day, then you probably do not have a serious problem with it. If you drink it all throughout the day then it is probably taking its toll on you. But this article is more for the person wanting to get rid of the coffee habit, so let's dive into that.

To get rid of an unwanted habit, replace it with a healthier habit! There are a few different things we need to look at when replacing a habit, especially one as intense and seemingly necessary as coffee. First off, is what do we get from the coffee? For most people, this habit forms because of the need for an energy boost. What else can you do for an energy boost?

If you are fine with caffeine but just want a different alternative maybe due to the acidity of the coffee, then green tea can give you a pick me up and with great dose of antioxidants as well. If the goal is to not ingest caffeine at all, then there are some supplements that may help with this. Some supplements work faster and can be a quicker energy boost such as B 12, Ginseng and Bee Pollen. There are many more supplements that can help with energy, but they are more long term products that will help over time. Another very useful thing to do is get more vegetables in your diet. Vegetables offer a ton of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals that will help you entire system work better and fill you full of energy.

The second part of getting rid of your coffee addiction is to replace the coffee with something else. When you are used to drinking a hot cup of coffee every morning, that ritual is part of the habit as well. What you may want to do is start a tea habit instead. There are a ton of teas out there and many herbal teas that can be very beneficial to your health.

If the flavor of coffee is something that you love there are a few alternatives. They do not taste exactly like coffee but they are worth testing out to see if it will satisfy that coffee craving.

  1. Teechino is an herbal coffee replacement that has no caffeine. It comes in a variety of strengths as well as flavors such as hazelnut, vanilla nut, and chocolate to name a few.
  2. Cafix and Pero are naturally caffeine free beverages that come in a normal brewing style drink and also instant for those who need the quick fix.
  3. Dandelion tea comes all natural by itself or you can get a brand like Dandy tea. Many people believe it tastes like coffee.
  4. Chicory root tea is a very taste alternative. It has a very full flavor like coffee and can be brewed strong for a very rich coffee flavor. Chicory root has some great health benefits as well including detoxifying the liver.

Now these are only a couple of the options out there. There are quite a few coffee alternatives available; you may like some and hate others. It varies from person to person.

If you are one of the many who drink coffee all day long then you may want to ease out of the coffee habit slowly. This will help lessen the craving and the side effects, such as headaches. Remember caffeine is a drug to your body, so weaning off of it may be a good call so you do not make your life miserable. If you normally drink 8 cups of coffee a day, then maybe cut that in half and add a coffee substitute in between your normal coffee.

If your energy is low it can be from many other issues including adrenal burnout. Sometimes we can rely on that caffeine pick me up too much, and if we are not getting enough sleep, eating the right nutritious foods, and are too stressed out, then we can suffer from adrenal burn out. At that point, caffeine is adding to the problem. Both Ginseng and B12 can help give you that energy boost while helping to support your system instead of continuing to tear it down.

Other Things to Keep in Mind When Kicking the Coffee Habit:

  1. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. This helps flush your system.
  2. Give yourself more sleep time if needed. When we give up a stimulant it can take some time for our bodies to get back to a healthy balanced state. Get the rest you need to help get you back to a good healthy place.
  3. Give yourself a break. When you give up something like caffeine you may have some irritability issues. Close your eyes and do a mini meditation or virtual vacation whenever you need it. It may be that imagining yourself on a calm beach helps. You may want to have your favorite songs or comedy on hand to listen to whenever you get to irritable.
  4. Tell your friends, family, or people you work closely with that you are giving up coffee and that you may be a little more irritable and that they need to be patient with you. It can help when you have people on your team.
  5. Get your exercise. Exercise helps get the blood moving and the insulin sensitivity up, which means it can help with energy. This is a very important component one can do for their energy levels. If you have time do 30-60 minutes of cardio, if not then 10 minutes is better than nothing!
  6. Eat. Many people skip meals either because they are just too busy or they think it will help them lose weight, but eating regular meals is what keeps your blood sugar regulated and your energy levels where they should be. Eat your three good meals a day, at minimum. If you can get some snacks in between your big meals, or instead of 3 big meals have 4-6 mini meals throughout the day. Also, make sure your meals have good vegetables and protein in them. This will give your body the nutrients it needs and it will stick with you longer.

You got this! Enjoy playing with the alternatives available!





 

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-Lauren