This past year I cut my coffee habit. Why? Because I didn’t like the way it made me feel. Despite reducing my coffee intake I was still experiencing a severe drop in energy every day, which I attributed to a caffeine crash. Each afternoon after lunch I would start yawning and feeling overall like my mind was in slow motion. On top of all that the acidity in the coffee was causing upset with my gut.
I was not sure what I would do to replace my beloved coffee habit. I loved the bitter taste of a nice black cup of coffee freshly brewed. I loved the aroma and the warmth of embracing a coffee mug and sipping slowly. With this year being the year of health I knew that whatever I replaced it with needed to to boost my mind and body, energize me (naturally), and have less acidity.
After much research online I made several trips to the local green grocer and purchased a few products from Amazon. I now have most of these products in my cabinet and ready to go so that each day I can pick and choose what I would like.
Crio Bru – I use this daily. This is the most cost effective and closest to actual coffee. Basically, this is roasted cacao beans that you use in a French Press which leaves you with a dark roasted aromatic flavorful beverage. The company makes a multitude of roast options. Thus far my favorites have been Uber Dark Spanish Roast and Ghana French Roast. They even have a Double Chocolate blend and a Sampler pack to dry different varieties. If you go down this path, I would strongly recommend a French Press tumbler, like this one from Presse. At $15 for a bag it’s similar to the price of coffee and will not be too much of a hit on your wallet. 1 bag has 23 servings, so depending on your habit you might be buying two bags a month.
Pure Cacao – Cacao is the raw, unprocessed version of cocoa. There are a lot of cacao options out there, many of which are blends with spices, supplements and super foods. For me, I would rather save some money and add my own spices and supplements so I go with Navitas Organic Cacao Powder. It has a bitter smooth flavor and is amazing in hot water, warmed nut milk, or even in smoothies. With 0% sugar and naturally occurring fiber, magnesium and antioxidants—amongst a whole bunch of other health-supportive nutrients – you can’t go wrong. And as a additive to the cacao I will typically add in cinnamon, turmeric, chili powder, or MCT oil. Yum! At $14 a bag on Amazon it has about 30 servings so it will last you one month. We frequently find this at local discount stores like Marshalls, T.J. Maxx or Homegoods though for about $4.99 a bag and we stock up!
Four Sigmatic Mushroom Blends – Four Sigmatic has a wide variety of offerings including caffeine based drinks, K-Cup options, and mushroom blends. I have enjoyed trying their mushroom blends of which they have three varieties – one for immune support, one for focus, and one for balance. Thus far my favorite has been the immune support blend, which is aptly labeled as Defend, but all the varieties have been good. Defend tends to be a smoother texture which I like and it has adaptogenic mushrooms (balance), vitamin C (immune support) and Cordyceps (sustained energy). The powder can be added directly to hot water, warmed nut milk or smoothies. It’s caffeine free and is 100% organic. At $26 for a 30 servings it’s a bit pricey, but is wholesome and delicious.
Tea – An obvious alternative! This one was a little less obvious to me because I was not familiar with making a good cup of tea. Because I like to drink my coffee black I would tend to just brew tea and drink it directly, but the result was typically a watered down semi-flavorful experience, which left a lot to be desired. However, one day at a local coffee shop I tried their red chai, which they made into a latte with nut milk and honey or maple syrup as sweetener. It was delicious. Within a few days I found this Republic Red Chai at a local general store and it’s been quite amazing. It has 50 servings for $15.
Handheld Frother – As a side note to the above coffee alternatives I have to make mention that having a handheld frother and some nut milk on hand will change your life. You can find a decent handheld frother for $10-$15 and if you take your nut milk (or even nut milk creamer) and froth it you can add it directly on top of your Crio Bru, cacao, mushroom blends, and tea. Blend in some cinnamon with the milk for a touch of amazing and you have really got yourself quite the powerful and delicious beverage.
Overall, my experience with swapping out coffee has been a good one. I have increased my health benefits, diversified what I drink, and found new ways to curb my appetite without a lot of calories or sugar.