When it comes to addictive substances, coffee still has a relatively positive image.
No one ever had too much coffee and disgraced themselves in front of their colleagues. No one ever came back from holiday half a stone heavier because they overdosed on coffee. No one ever ended up in prison because they had too much coffee.
In the grand scheme of vices, coffee is not a terrible evil, but cutting down on coffee can certainly have its benefits.
Too much of the black stuff can cause weight gain, yellow teeth, lack of sleep and uneven energy levels. It’s also important to remember that some people are a lot more sensitive to caffeine than others, and can lead to increased levels of anxiety and even panic attacks in some people.
Cutting anything out can be hard, and the first step isn’t to simply cut but to replace. Here are five alternatives for coffee
#1 Morning exercise
This one will most probably get you rolling your eyes. I know, getting out of bed before you absolutely have to for work can be difficult, especially in winter. However, research shows that exercising in the morning can improve alertness and concentration throughout the day. In some studies, it has also been shown to be even more effective than coffee in waking up the brain.
It doesn’t have to be anything too extreme either, just waking up and doing a few press ups can be enough to wake up the brain and stay alert.
#2 Decaffeinated hot drinks
This may seem obvious but it will satisfy the craving if all you are after is a walk and some human conversation.
Half the time I get up for a tea or coffee I don’t actually feel like one, I just feel like having a break from my desk. Boiling the kettle and chatting to someone you don’t usually speak to can be a great way to break up the working day, and replacing your cup of coffee with another hot drink means you still get to enjoy these benefits.
There’s a whole host of fruit teas on offer these days, so go ahead and try something slightly different. There’s also plenty of great coffee alternatives such as teeccino.
#3 A banana/other fruit
Often, we crave caffeine when we are hungry and in need of a boost, and reaching for a cup of black can seem like the lesser of evils when we are concerned we might opt for something that will tip the scales instead.
Ultimately this option won’t leave you feeling great, and anyone who has tried to substitute proper nutrition with coffee and chewing gum will know that it just doesn’t work out in the long run.
Snacking throughout the day is another good natural way to maintain energy levels. A banana can be a great alternative to coffee in managing the 4 pm slump as bananas are filled with nutrients that give you an energy boost.
The most delicious way to start the day according to Mind Body Green, is to add a couple of tablespoons of maca blended in a cup of warm almond milk, with a splash of raw honey and ground cinnamon!
One Green Plant says the biggest reason to give up your caffeine fix is that maca gives you energy and endurance. It reduces fatigue, balances the body to help cope with stress and it energizes the body naturally without the effects of caffeine, in other words, “no crashing.” Another good benefit, it increases the libido in both women and men, helps to relieve menstrual symptoms and also increase fertility.
#5 Chia Seeds
In Mayan, “chia” means “strength,” which explains the huge boost of energy you can get from a tablespoon of these seeds. These can be taken with overnight oats, blended in smoothies and much more. They tend to be used by athletes but also used to be eaten by ancient warriors to improve their stamina.
We all need a good energy boost but that doesn’t have to mean a sacrifice on our health. Do you have any other alternatives?