Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Morning Coffee Alternative

Hi. My name is Lacey and I was a coffee addict.

My mornings started with a big cup of joe and some cereal. But when I decided to get healthy, caffeine had to go.   Coffee makes your heart race, causes shakiness, lack of concentration, irritability, anxiety, and the inevitable caffeine crash that comes just hours later, and the most important and dangerous part: it's extremely addictive.  Yes, caffeine is considered a drug.  And that "energy" you feel?  Well, here is what Lauren from Diary of a Nutritionist has to say:
Coffee makes us "feel" awake.  In other words, coffee acts like a fake source of energy.  I say fake, simply because it does not actually give us real energy, it only temporarily increases certain metabolic functions, like heart rate, that make us feel energized.  No amount of coffee (which has highly-acid forming effects on the body's pH) makes up for lack of sleep, which alkalizes and heals the body.
Drinking decaffeinated?...in order to make something decaffeinated, it has to be treated (and something that is 'treated' is not natural).  Unfortunately, many decaffeinated coffees are treated with chemicals. Diary of a Nutritionist

While there are some health benefits to drinking coffee, for me, any food that has an addictive property to it (like junk food), I want it gone.  And in the end, the risks outweigh the benefits by far.  Before I continue, I will say, if you like your coffee and don't want to get rid of it completely, I advise lowering the amount you drink and completely getting rid of the sugar & creamers you put in it.  Like I said, there are some health benefits to coffee so a cup every now & then is okay, but straight up black coffee is your best option if you're going to drink it at all.  Don't get me wrong, I'll have maybe 1 or 2 cups a month as a treat, but even then I avoid adding sugar and creamer like the plague.

Now, since I stopped drinking coffee I had to find a way to get my butt moving in the morning in a healthy way. Here are 3 steps I take each morning to get me ready for the day as an alternative to sitting at the table and drinking coffee:

Morning walk.
  1. Walk: Roll out of bed, put on shorts, a t-shirt, and your sneakers and walk around the block.  I'm not talking about a 3 mile run (this is not meant to be your only exercise for the day).  Simply get out of the house, take 5-10 minutes before you eat breakfast, and walk.  You'll stimulate your muscles, get your blood flowing, and the fresh, cool morning air is a nice way to wake up. Make this the first thing you do every morning.  Use it as an opportunity for some "me" time, to mentally prepare for the day, and a chance to enjoy the quiet early morning air before a busy day. 
  2. Energizing food: "The best energizing foods are those rich in complex carbohydrates, protein, antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals" (Eat to Boost Your Energy).  Turns out a lot of fruits have these crucial elements to waking your body up.  Most mornings for me include my walk, then a bowl of oatmeal with homemade strawberry jam mixed in, and/or a big bowl of fruit.  Some foods that are considered energizing: blueberries, cantaloups, strawberries, mango, citrus fruits, and oatmeal.  The energizing fruits & a bowl of oatmeal are what get me going.  Eating a pop-tart just won't cut it.  By eating energizing food, you will receive true energy, not the fake stuff coffee offers.
  3. The right amount of sleep: It took me a long time before I figured out the number of hours of sleep that rejuvenate me.  If I get less than 6, I'm tired. If I get more than 7 1/2, I'm tired.  Going to bed at 11 and waking up at 6 is the perfect schedule for me.  I'm rested, happy, and ready to go. The more sleep doesn't always mean more energy.  Take time to figure out how much you need and maintain a normal schedule.  Once your body becomes adjusted to the schedule, it will become more efficient in rejuvenating you.  By varying your schedule with a different amount of hours each night, your body will never be able adjust. Just like if you don't keep a schedule for the week, you're less efficient.  Same thing works for you body & sleep.
I'd say that's some good sleep.  My dear husband cuddling one of our dogs, Rita.

Find out what works for you.  And if you do decide to get rid of coffee, be aware that you may have some withdrawal symptoms like fatigue and headaches, but they should end after a couple days. In the long run, it was worth it for me as I now have true energy and therefore it is maintained throughout the day instead of just a couple hours.

Do you have a different morning routine sans coffee that works for energizing you? Comment below!!

Here's to caffeine-free mornings!

1 comment:

  1. I have a bowl of Total cereal with raisins (since my iron was getting too low for donating blood) and unsweetened coconut milk by So Delicious Yummmm