Let’s face it, it is just way too easy to indulge in all things caffeine. It dilates your blood vessels, gives you energy, makes you chatty and happy… but like all other drugs and substances it can become too easy to go overboard. If you find yourself getting headaches in the morning if you haven’t had your regular americano or double double, or if you just can’t exist in a day without a little help from caffeine than you know it’s about time to take a little break from it.
One of the major problems with coffee and other stimulants we drink is our adrenal function. Our adrenals are endocrine glands that sit on our kidneys and are responsible for our “flight or fight” biological reaction. When we ingest caffeine our adrenals get highly stimulated and eventually after years of constant over stimulation (not only from coffee, but alcohol, blood sugar imbalances and stress) they get exhausted. At this point not even a coffee will be able to get you out of bed.
That’s not to say that caffeine is terrible for you; it just becomes a problem when your body starts becoming addicted to it. If you experience headaches, exceptional brain fog, depression, lethargy, and fatigue that is easily overcome with caffeine than you may be addicted and could potentially benefit from a month or so of cutting out coffee.
Here are some simple substitutes you can try to help you get off that old drug coffee.
1. Green tea/ matcha
This is a simple substitute because it still contains caffeine, although not as much. So it’s a great step one. Green tea is high in catechins which are antioxidants that fight cancer, and decrease free radical damage in the body. Furthermore, green tea has been used to help weight loss for many years and has anti-inflammatory effects. Green tea is also high in the amino acid l-theanine; which increase theta brain waves, calming the central nervous system and increasing memory function(1).
2. B vitamins
Generally, B vitamins are beneficial for brain function, energy, and mood, but the list goes on. B vitamins are responsible for numerous neurological pathways in the brain and our body can’t make all of them it’s self! Taking a B vitamin complex everyday can help with caffeine detoxification by increasing energy and helping your brain work more effectively. B3 specifically has been found to help blood sugar stabilization, increase energy and have neuroprotecting abilities (2).
3. Greens powder
Greens powders are very useful for increasing energy, increasing clearer thinking and detoxifying the body. This is a great substitute for your much needed morning coffee and it will perk you up while you are on your way out! My favourite product is Green’s First, found at Naturmend because it is actually incredible delicious and doesn’t taste like you are drinking vegetables.
4. Dandy blend coffee substitute
This is a coffee substitute with ingredients such as dandelion, chicory and roasted barley. It tastes similar to coffee, minus the bitter taste but instead will help your body instead of depleting it. It does not contain any caffeine, and actually helps to clean the liver rather than over working it. This product is found at Naturmend in bags and single servings.
5. Water with electrolytes
Often when we feel tired or sore our bodies just need some hydration. I do not need to go into the details about why water is important and how keeping hydrated helps the body. However, adding electrolytes to your water in the form of good quality sea salt or an electrolyte powder can be beneficial for nerve conduction and cell communication. This can help with energy, muscle movement and perking up your brain.
Caffeine addiction is a slippery slope. Detoxification can be difficult the first few days with the potential for headaches, depression and extreme fatigue but it’s worth it! In the long run you will experience uplifting moods and energy without the 2 shots of straight adrenaline mixed with water, sugar and cream.
I am a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, CHN™ and have a transcript in Iridology from the Canadian Institute of Iridology. I achieved my diploma with honors in holistic nutrition at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition in Calgary, Alberta. My vast knowledge of supplementation has been acquired from working in naturopathic clinics, health food stores and ongoing education through webinars, books and podcasts. It is important to me to have up to date information on the newest nutritional research and popular diets. I have also completed my 200hr yoga teacher training in Brazil in 2013 with Define Yoga.