Caffeine: Friend Or Foe?
Energy Sans Caffeine: The Elusive Unicorn Of Modern Life
If you are alive in today’s urban society, you probably know someone who needs that morning coffee (or maybe 6?) to even be functional. Maybe a few more in the afternoon to get through that post-lunch lull. Caffeine also helps “get things moving” if you get my drift–sometimes a bit too fast for some people (*cough* me *cough*).
Perhaps this is you: caffeine doesn’t really affect you whether you have it or not. Maybe it’s just habit, maybe the bevvies you enjoy just happen to have caffeine in them. Maybe it’s present in your pre-workout supplement. Great. For you, caffeine = friend.
When Friend Becomes Foe
The point at which caffeine can become foe (in my opinion) is in the following scenarios:
•you’re burning out and you need it to be functional
•you get withdrawal symptoms when you don’t have it
•you rely on it to help you have a bowel movement- without it you’re constipated
•it gives you loose bowels or diarrhea
•consuming it leads to symptoms of anxiety, nervousness or low blood sugar
Which camp do you think you’re in? If you feel caffeine might be a foe disguised as a friend, read on for some alternatives to coffee that aren’t decaf.
Alternative To Coffee #1: Dandy Blend
I love this product. I recommend it to many of my my clients who are struggling with their weight and energy. Dandy Blend is a blend of roasted dandelion, chicory and beet roots as well as extracts of barley and rye. It’s gluten-free, so safe for Celiacs and people avoiding gluten. It’s quite tasty and not bitter at all. Bonus! It’s really affordable if you buy the big bag– less than 30 cents a cup.
Dandelion root is used as a herbal diuretic, so it’s effective at getting rid of excess water. It’s also great for supporting your liver, which is responsible for getting rid of excess hormones (hormone imbalance is related to weight gain, low energy and much more).
The University of Windsor has been conducting some promising animal studies on the use of dandelion root extract for certain types of cancer. Visit http://www.uwindsor.ca/dandelionrootproject/ to learn more.
Alternative To Coffee #2: Mushroom Tea
This might be a little out there for some of you, but medicinal mushrooms have some exciting research-backed health benefits as well as a history of traditional use in Eastern medicine. My favorite for boosting energy is Chaga, while Reishi is great for chronic stress and immune system support. I once had a customer who caught a cold every time he went to the field for work, so I recommended a combo of Reishi mushroom and probiotics. Lo and behold, he didn’t get sick again after taking them. Hardly scientific proof, but you could bet I’d fund several double-blind, crossover clinical trials if I had the means!
You can find medicinal mushrooms in several forms: instant drink packets, whole pieces that you boil yourself, capsules or powdered extracts. Support your local health food store and ask them what they carry.
Four Sigma has a great write-up about Chaga mushrooms, check it out here: http://foursigmatic.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Science-Chaga.pdf
Studies on Reishi extract:
Have you ever been off caffeine completely? Are you someone who avoids it at all times? Do you have some other ideas of caffeine alternatives? If so, leave a comment below. I’d love to hear your thoughts!