Coffee is kind of my thing.
My obsession began at a young age in my grandmother’s kitchen. She was the most loving, delightful, beautiful, magical woman on the planet (in my eyes), and she made and drank an entire pot of coffee every morning—so naturally, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a cup of that hot, bitter bean juice as soon as I was deemed old enough.
Now that I’m reached the appropriate age, I’m an equal-opportunity coffee drinker. Hot, cold, black, topped with foam, Bulletproof-style—whatever. Get it in my mouth. As a nutritionist, I have no problem with the stuff. In fact, I recently read a study that found that drinking six small cups of coffee a day can increase life expectancy by ten percent. Truly, it’s the elixir of life.
So when I found out that I was on the verge of full-blown adrenal fatigue (blame marathon training, moving, generalized life stress, and late-night Netflix binges), it wasn’t the diagnosis that made me anxious … It was the fact that I’d have to break up with my favorite beverage for an indeterminate period of time.
You see, dumping excessive amounts of caffeine into your body will do a real number on the endocrine system. The endocrine system is directly responsible for the body’s production of hormones when it gets overtaxed by things like stress, fatigue, and stimulants like caffeine it can seriously mess with hormonal levels. And we’re not just talking imbalances in sex hormones (although that really puts a damper on your love life); when your hormonal levels are off, it can cause weight gain, fatigue, mood swings, sugar cravings, and poor athletic performance. Boo!
Obvi, coffee was off the table for a while, and it was time to find a replacement. I rebounded from my breakup with coffee with a million different energy-boosting healthy drinks—here’s what made it to a second (morning) date.
1. Matcha tea
OK, so yes, matcha has a bit of caffeine. If you’re trying to completely ditch the stimulant, you’ll want to skip this first option. But for those of us who are slowly eliminating coffee, it’s a solid downstep. Plus, matcha is so full of antioxidants (it has three times more than a regular cup of green tea) and healthy compounds, it almost negates the possibly deleterious effects of a little caffeine.
Matcha has been proven to increase metabolic rate, fight bacterial and fungal growth, reduce LDL cholesterol levels (the bad kind), and improve brain function. But perhaps most enticing to people like me, matcha contains an amino acid called L-theanine that increases alpha waves in the brain. Alpha waves protect your brain from stress signals—so you can stay calm, cool, and collected.
I’m obsessed with PANATEA’s instant matcha green tea packets because all you need to do is dump the fine green powder into hot water and you’re good to go. No fancy tea ceremony required.
I mean, what kind of wellness professional would I be if I didn’t like kombucha? No doubt, I treasure my near-daily glass of booch—so much so that I started brewing my own at home. It was an eye-opening (and sort of disgusting) experience to activate the SCOBY, aka the Mother, a slimy colony of symbiotic bacteria and yeast that produces probiotics.
Kombucha has some haters because the SCOBY initially feeds on sugar to kickstart the fermentation process, and obviously, sugar isn’t a great for you. However, by the time a batch of booch has completely fermented, there’s little sugar left in the drink. Unfortunately, the grams of sugar in a bottle of probiotic-rich tea varies from batch to batch—as do the extent of its health benefits.
That being said, green tea-derived kombucha that’s low in sugar is a solid morning pick-me-up that’ll likely improve gut health and your mental acuity.
3. Torii Awake
Fulvic acid is having a serious moment in the wellness world—and it’s about time, because it’s basically the MVP of the supplement world. Basically, the presence of fulvic acid makes it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients in the food you eat. It’s also a powerful detoxifier, drawing out impurities while encouraging the absorption of good compounds. The geniuses at Torii Labs crafted an adaptogen-filled drink with ingredients like eleuthero, Rhodiola, Schisandra berries, and goji berries, and topped it off with a hefty dose of fulvic acid.
The result is earthy drink that leaves you feeling charged—really, you feel like you’re revved and ready to go. Personally, it leaves me feeling better than coffee, which sometimes makes me jittery. Torii Awake gives you a much smoother boost of energy, so you never feel like you’re about to crash. Plus, the adaptogens in the recipe are excellent for those dealing with stress and fatigue, so by drinking it you can kill two birds with one stone.
4. Mushroom coffee
I’ve tried Four Sigma’s mushroom coffee, but honestly, I didn’t care for it. It didn’t taste anything like the real deal to me, so I never ended up drinking an entire cup. That being said, medicinal mushrooms are incredibly well-researched for their health benefits—including their ability to improve energy levels, immunity, and mood.
So when I decided to give the fungi another go by trying the Shroom Shake at Lifehouse Tonics, truthfully I wasn’t expecting much … And it blew me away. Not only did it taste amazing (if you like mocha frappuccinos, you’ll be into it), but I truly felt like a different person after I finished my shake. For the entire day, I felt calm, focused, and efficient—it was like nature’s Adderal. Wanna feel like that? Check out the recipe here, or stop by Lifehouse Tonics for a taste.