I Replaced Coffee With Natural Energy Boosters for a Week
Source: MSN Health
Once I realized that my coffee habit was amounting to at least five cups a day, it was time for a caffeine overhaul—but rather than go cold turkey, I decided to see if some natural energy boosters.
I use this Peruvian superfood powder to treat cramps and irregularity during my period, but "it may have a very indirect effect on restoring the adrenals, so it may support your energy levels," says nutritionist Dana James, MS, CNS, CDN, who adds that that this effect is likely to be minimal. I found that latter part to be true—while I was able to experience my first day sans coffee without the typical headaches of withdrawal, I was still exhausted and very cranky throughout the day.Try: Sunfood Raw Organic Red Maca Powder, $26; vitacost.com
2. Dandelion Tea
"This is an 'old school' coffee replacement," James says. "It looks like coffee and sort of taste like it, but for an avid coffee drinker, these are nothing like the real thing." Right again—these vague similarities to my regular almond milk latte were just about the only things going for the dandelion tea, and today, I did experience those withdrawal headaches. I also had trouble accessing the creative part of my brain—which is kind of essential for my job—and instead could only really focus on menial tasks. The silver lining? My desk has never been this organized.Try: Traditional Medicinals Organic Roasted Dandelion Root Tea, $19; amazon.com
I purposely saved this green tea powder for a day that I was on deadline and had a big brainstorming meeting...because it has caffeine. I know, kind of cheating. But the amount is less than coffee and matcha touts an array of other benefits, which is why it's James' number one recommendation for those weaning themselves from the black stuff. "Matcha contains 10 times more antioxidants than regular green tea, and has 30mg of caffeine per serving. An espresso has 100mg," she says. "And all green tea, including, matcha, contains catechins which help to soften the jittery effect of caffeine in the green tea." I sailed through the day and met all my work requirements without feeling overly buzzed, and it also seemed to put my metabolism back in check—for the first time since giving up coffee, my bloat went away. Plus, I loved the ritual of preparing the drink in the morning, which involves crushing and stirring the powder with a bamboo whisk.Try: Panatea 2.0 Ceremonial Grade Matcha Green Tea Set, $69; panatea.com
I was nervous about a potential crash after having my minimal dose of caffeine the day before, but I still dropped a teaspoon of this liquid plant energy into a water bottle and chugged the whole thing before heading to the office. Surprisingly, I felt amazing: focused, energized, and quick. "Chlorophyll oxygenates the blood and boosts hemoglobin levels," James says. Try: World Organic Liquid Chlorophyll, $7; vitacost.com
"Both wheatgrass and chlorophyll work in a similar way except chlorophyll is 100 percent chlorophyll (the active component) while wheatgrass is 70 percent chlorophyll, with vitamin C and magnesium," James says. With this in mind, I took a shot of the stuff and figured the effect would be fairly the same, especially since magnesium is key for high energy levels on its own. In the end, however, I definitely prefer the chlorophyll—maybe it was the late night before, but I was craving a fix by the afternoon.Try: Amazing Grass Organic Wheat Grass, $15; amazon.com
FOR THE BEST BOOST
I won't give up coffee forever, but this combination works well enough to make me reconsider my afternoon latte. "One cup of coffee in the morning, a shot of chlorophyll in the afternoon, and matcha whenever you need it. That's my prescription," James says. Throw in a morning jog, and I'm ready for anything.