Caffeine is literally my language of love. (And tacos… definitely tacos.) The euphoric feeling I get when I walk into the drive-thru in my Starbucks neighborhood is simply inexplicable. Venti salted caramel iced mocha with coconut milk, replace the caramel sauce with caramel syrup, and keep the whisk, please! (Do they make IV caffeine drops? Ask a friend.)
On average, I drink two (okay, three) cups of coffee in the morning and a Red Bull at lunchtime. The flip side is that I have enough energy to fuel my work day. But I also have enough energy to spend the evening clean until the next morning. Basically I can’t sleep. And don’t even get me started on my caffeine-induced nervousness.
One night, after lying in bed – wide awake – until 4 a.m., I decided to see if I could go a few days caffeine-free (lololhelpme please). The next day, I put my plan into action. I lasted about three hours before finding myself brewing a batch of coffee. (I blame muscle memory.) We’re going to need reinforcements! After a quick chat with my Google friend, I found a variety of vegan coffee alternatives. But, how effective are they? Don’t worry, I decided to go a week caffeine free and gave them a try. More info on earned vegan caffeine substitutes, in a moment.
Is caffeine good for you? It is complicated.
Caffeine is good for helping you manage your 9am Zoom call and 84 work emails on Monday mornings. But how good is it for your health?
A natural stimulant, caffeine is a psychoactive substance derived from a variety of plant species, including coffee beans, cocoa beans and tea leaves. When consumed in moderation, caffeine can help increase alertness, focus, and energy. (According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a moderate amount of coffee is about 3 to 5 cups a day – I know, I was shocked, too – or 400 milligrams of caffeine.)
Your favorite morning pick-me-up is not without its health benefits. According to the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, the stimulant may help reduce the growth and spread of certain cancers and reduce inflammation. And while caffeine may raise blood sugar levels in the short term, when consumed for the long term, studies show that it may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
The health benefits don’t end there. Sip coffee. Regular coffee consumption can also reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. A 2009 Nursing Health Study found that regular coffee consumption in women reduced stroke risk by 20 percent compared to non-coffee drinkers.
But for people who are sensitive to caffeine or those who consume it in excess, the negative effects can range from anxiety and irritability to an upset stomach, restlessness and insomnia. (The dark circles under my eyes can certainly attest to this.)
5 vegan alternatives to caffeine to help you get through the day
So I decided to take a break from caffeine for a week. (It’s not you, the caffeine, it’s me.) After my initial blunder, I brewed Amazon in caffeine-free reinforcements: lion’s mane elixir, herbal tea, chai rooibos tea, and two herbal coffees.
It all started quite easily: the first day was a (semi) windy. But on the second day, I was struggling with fits of irritability, annoying headaches and a lack of concentration. By the fourth day, my caffeine withdrawals started to ease. And while none of my caffeine-free substitutes gave me the same shake as a caffeinated drink, they’ve certainly helped me control my mood swings and give me a much-needed boost. to spend my working day. They also allowed me to continue my morning ritual of sitting down with an iced or hot drink before starting my day.
If you have had enough of the nervousness, you can also opt for decaffeinated coffees and teas. Although no completely Caffeine-free, they’re a great option for those looking to cut down on their caffeine intake. I’m a huge fan of decaffeinated coffee from Laird Superfood. The brand’s decaffeination process removes 99.9% of caffeine. And if you’re looking to completely reduce your addiction to high-caffeine drinks, here are five vegan alternatives to caffeine (I’ve tried them!).
Four Sigmatic Lion’s Mane Elixir
Believe me: your mornings are improving. In addition to its anti-inflammatory and immune system boosting properties, lion’s mane is known for its ability to support overall brain function, including improving focus and memory, and improving mood, although others studies are needed. You can add this elixir to your coffee or tea for an extra boost of energy. Or, if you go for the caffeine-free, just add it to hot water. With an earthy taste similar to that of a herbal tea, this elixir is certainly effective in the department of concentration and energy. I mixed it right into my green smoothie because I was worried I wouldn’t like the taste. Once I swallowed this elixir, I was able to easily sift through a large load of Monday emails.
Tazo Organic Spicy Ginger Tea
For a helpful boost to get you through the morning, try Tazo’s Spicy Ginger Herbal Tea. Make it hot or cold to replace your morning cup of coffee (I chose to serve it over ice because of the #canicle). If you don’t like spices, you might want to skip this caffeine alternative, but the spicy ginger has helped me get my mental juices flowing. In addition to ginger, this herbal infusion contains organic orange peel, green rooibos and lemon verbena.
Original alternative to Rasa herb coffee
Say goodbye to caffeine jitters and hello to calm energy with this herbal coffee alternative. It contains 12 different herbs, seven adaptogens, and two types of mushrooms, including ashwagandha, roasted chicory, dandelion root, cinnamon, chaga, and reishi extract, respectively. Ashwagandha and chaga, in particular, are known for their stimulating properties. The herbal drink definitely gave me a boost of energy and helped temporarily suppress some of my caffeine withdrawals, including my most obnoxious face. The taste was not as bitter as I expected; it had earthy notes with a hint of cinnamon, yum! Serve it hot or cold and pour in your favorite non-dairy cream.
Yogi Tea Chai Rooibos
Yogi Tea produces potent teas known for their healing effects, including supporting overall digestive function and joint health. This caffeine-free herbal supplement contains rooibos and traditional Ayurvedic flavors of cinnamon, cardamom and cloves in compostable tea bags. The cinnamon gently energized me, while the aroma of the cloves was strong enough to wake me up. Both spicy and sweet, this rooibos chai will give you the boost you need to overcome your afternoon slump. (Goodbye energy drinks!)
Roasted Herb Coffee with Nuts and Dandelion Caramel from Teeccino
Okay, this alternative to coffee is like whoa. The brand offers a number of herbal coffees and teas that are naturally caffeine free. This medium roast herb coffee features a blend of creamy caramel with roasted dandelion, chicory roots, dates, almonds and figs for added sweetness. And this. is. whore. Well. (So good I made two cups!) It made me feel like a cup of coffee, more energy to get started! I was able to review several short stories, without crankiness and without trembling. You are definitely going to want to stock up.
And just like that, I survived a week without caffeine. I’m not going to lie: it was difficult. Why does caffeine have to be so addictive ?! The substitutes were a healthier alternative for my sugar-laden Red Bulls, and they helped alleviate my cravings and caffeine withdrawals quite well.
Sadly, the day after my experience ended, I plunged back into my caffeine coffees and coveted Red Bulls, full steam ahead. However, since then I have started cutting back and started trading a few morning cups of joe each week for Teeccino. (I can’t seem to stop my insatiable Red Bull addiction… lolsob.) But for those who want to cut down on caffeine, remember to listen to your body. Ultimately, you’ll find the perfect blend to ease your caffeine withdrawals while maintaining your sanity. May the force be with you.
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