After year’s of relying on coffee to get through the day, do you wish you could cut down to 1 cup at most (or none?) If you want to feel the benefit of cutting down on caffeine then read on to see some top tips on drinking less coffee day-to-day and the most delicious alternatives.
Why drink less coffee?
Does your typically caffeinated day would look something like this; wake up feeling groggy and have a huge mug of coffee, then another cup as soon as you get into work, and maybe another before that mid-morning meeting and probably one more at around 3pm when you need a little pick-me-up. That’s already 4 cups of coffee and we’re only half way through the day! If you have evening plans you might grab at least 1 or 2 more cups, just to make sure you don’t fall asleep mid catch up with a friend, But here’s the thing – this much coffee causes awful so-called ‘caffeine jitters’, which basically means the body is an anxious mess. And all that coffee means getting a good night’s sleep near impossible, meaning coffee is ‘needed’ to wake you up in the mornings and thus the caffeine circle continues on in a never-ending loop.
Too much coffee can really upset gut health and cause all sorts of digestive issues and even blood pressure problems. It also amplifies any anxiety you experience, as the caffeine in coffee increases your stress hormones. The stress response elicits cortisol and increases insulin, which increases inflammation, which makes you feel even worse.
But I’m addicted!
Coffee should be savored and enjoyed. But coffee can be addictive, and going cold turkey can leave you with a pounding headache, irritability and exhaustion. This is why it’s best to gradually cut down on caffeine over a prolonged period of time, or allow yourself one cup of high quality delicious coffee you can savor and enjoy.
Here are some tips that can help when experiencing caffeine withdrawal:
- Drink plenty of water! Keep hydrated and the headaches as bay with at least 6 – 8 glasses of (ideally filtered) water.
- Refresh your sleeping pattern by going to bed before 11pm and getting up the same time each day.
- Try and do a bit of exercise every day to fight the fatigue caused by caffeine withdrawal. If you suffer with chronic pain then still try to go for a short walk each day or do 30 minutes of daily yoga / stretches.
- Check your medicines. Some over-the-counter pain relievers contain as much as 130 mg of caffeine in one dose. Look for caffeine-free pain relievers instead.
- When you’re hungry make sure to eat and do not let your blood sugar get low. Have some protein in the afternoon such as a handful of nuts or seeds like almonds, pecans, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds or cooked beans.
- Keep a diary and track your symptoms. Note any difference in quality of energy you experience after reducing coffee and what activities help you to feel better.
What’s a healthy alternative?
After a few weeks you may miss an afternoon coffee more out of habit than anything else and that’s where the substitutes come in! Of course having a decaff is a nice easy option (and decaff is a great substitute when you first begin cutting down), but below are some wonderful alternatives that have an added health benefit to provide a natural boost in energy.
Some delicious teas include mint, green or turmeric – read here for the benefits of herbal teas.
The ‘Drink Me Chai’ latte now comes in a ‘Free From’ vegan option while still harnessing the exotic and warming flavours of the chai spices. It is also low in caffeine and sugar.
Pukka is well known for their herbal teas, but very recently they have launched some exciting new products . Their new Organic Lattes are a delicious blend of flavour to whip up with some warm milk (almond milk works well here). They are dairy, soya and gluten free as well as no added sugar.
The flavours available are:
- Cacao Macca Magic
- Majestic Matcha Chai
- Ginger Joy
- Turmeric Gold
All four creamy plant-based lattes have been expertly blended using medicinal-grade herbs and spices, with no added sugar or artificial sweeteners. As a natural alternative to sugar, Pukka has used inulin, a sweet but calorie-free ingredient that is also a pre-biotic.
Available from Tesco’s, £4.99 for 90g.