I loved coffee. Until I didn’t. I grew to like the taste, I liked that it woke me up, but more than anything, I loved the whole ritual in the morning. And I know there are health benefits to it. (If you want to reduce your cholesterol levels, though, new research shows that you should stay away from it). So if you are happy with it, please, be my guest. The thing about coffee, though, is that it was causing a “rebound fatigue” after a few hours. This is not regular tiredness but is similar to a sugar crash- you know, that sudden drop in energy levels after consuming large amounts of carbs? That caffeinated aftermath, the “caffeine crash”, was leaving me jittery, unfocused and exhausted. I know the caffeine crash gets worse in times of sleep deprivation and high stress. You think you need more coffee, but if you have more, your sleep gets disturbed even more and so this cycle would go on and on. So I stuck with one cup a day. But I was tired and jittery by 2pm.
I also hated (hated!) the fact that I was starting to be dependent on my morning coffee. Because coffee does have a habit-forming quality. The feeling that I had to have my morning coffee, otherwise the day would not go well- that feeling did not sit right with me.
They say, if you want to quit a habit, replace it with something else- preferably something that does not come with similar side effects, and ideally, with something that is actually much healthier for you! What do I recommend? Find below. Try them out, and let me know what you think! I promise you won’t regret it!
Technically, this is not a caffeine-free product, because cacao includes caffeine. In fact, some recommend cacao for a coffee-like stimulation without the crash. But the main stimulant in cacao is theobromine, a bitter alkaloid named after the genus of the cacao tree. So this delicious Pukka latte is a legitimate coffee alternative which tastes like a spicy cacao drink. I buy it from our local health food store but it is also available at Amazon for $9.99. I love love this drink, because, first of all, that chocolate taste is just yummy with a little almond milk and some sweetener. But second of all, it has ashwagandha, which is my favourite adaptogen. I write about how I have benefited from adaptogens here. And I have delicious and easy adaptogenic recipes (which will satisfy your cravings for sweets!) here, and some here. Ashwagandha helps me calm down, instead of getting jittery and anxious. Pukka latte also has shatavari in it, which is known for its antioxidant properties, and it is especially good for women. It has anti-inflammatory properties and may help boost your immune system. (Please do your own research, based on your unique conditions. Ashwagandha might not be the best option if you have tendencies for depression, for example. I am only talking about what has helped *me*, with my anxiety and sleep problems). I also think the spicy cacao taste helps curb any cravings for that somewhat bitter coffee taste. You might trick your body, after all! Oh, use a hand-held frother to dissolve the residue, and to make the drink foamier. You’re welcome!
Rasa Koffee is not coffee, but they DO have options for coffee lovers, such as “Dirty”. My favourites are the Original Blend, Dirty, and the Bold. BUT I am also getting intrigued by Spicy Rose and Cacao. Spicy rose probably is the most attractive name ever given for a coffee substitute. It has a blend of “aphrodisiacs”, such as maca, schisandra, rose, and cayenne; but also some of my favourite balancers like ashwagandha and Shatavari (which translates to something like “who possesses a hundred husbands”!).
“Cacao” has great ingredients, too. Besides the fair-trade cacao beans and ashwagandha, it has chicory, burdock root, dandelion root; eleuthero, shatavari, and he shou wu- another herb I use on a daily basis. He shou wu, or, Fo Ti, is known to be an anti-aging, longetivity herb.
All ingredients are organic, but equally importantly, they seem to care about sustainability. Based on what I have been reading/hearing from folks, they are serious about sourcing directly from traditional growing regions, and promoting quality herbal education and continuous testing their ingredients. You *might* want to consider purchasing their starter packs to see which ones you like the most. That’s what I had done, and ended up getting the ones with cacao beans for myself, and gifted the Original (the yellow one in the picture above) to a friend. I just cannot say no to cacao!
Edit: There’s a new blend- Rasa Calm. This one is an evening mix for relaxation and “deep restoration”. It has become my daily treat! SO good and calming.
It took me a while to try this mix. I LOVE it in smoothies, especially with blueberries! But it’s also amazing as a coffee alternative. The ingredients are incredible: l glutamine, gymnema sylvestre, piperine, horsetail- I mean, these are herbs we use in Ayurveda to improve digestion, eliminate bloat, control cravings, well, also skin and hair care;)
This is how I use it (besides smoothies): I blend the metabolism mix along with a cup of plant-based milk and some sweetener of choice (I like coconut sugar) in my hamilton blender. Then I warm this mix either in the microwave or on the stovetop. Adjust the sweetener to your taste, of course.
Use the code XOIVY for your discount! I know many people who have seen results in less than a month, that they ended up subscribing.
Moodbeli is a company I respect a lot. Their socio-political stance, their presence on social media, their sourcing of the ingredients they use. It is on the pricey side but you only use 1-2 scoops in which case it should go for around 50 days. The ceremony tonic has matcha (to wake you up!), maca (to balance those hormones), and cacao (do you need a reason for cacao?!). I make it with a little plant-based milk and coconut sugar, and it is delicious. My other favourite from the same company is the “mushroom adaptogen” probably because I can taste the cacao more. Check out my colourful protein bars which include the mushroom adaptogen.
If you’ve been following me on Instagram you probably know by now how much I love Your Super. I know the “superfoods” business has become just that: A business, a money-making machine, a part of the greedy side of the wellness sector. But just like any other sector, there are some good names in the wellness sector as well. We, as consumers, need to be more vigilant, more educated, and aware to be able to find these good names. I say this because, many brands and products deemed “healthy” include horrible ingredients, and/or they don’t conduct regular tests, and/or their testing process is suspicious, or their sourcing is not transparent and so on and so forth. The least bad products have those infamous “natural ingredients”, and nobody knows what these are!
But Your Super mixes have pure ingredients. They show where they source these ingredients from, they visit the farms often, conduct frequent tests and make adaptations. The products don’t taste artificial, they don’t taste sweetened, because they don’t have anything artificial in them. Not even stevia. Their Forever Beautiful, Power Matcha, Chocolate Lover, and Energy Bomb are staples in our kitchen. These mixes are so pure and so good for us that I add Forever Beautiful and sometimes the Super Green Mix to my little one’s food. He LOVES his cereal with a little cashew butter and super greens.
Since I quit my daily coffee, the Energy Bomb has been boosting my energy for hours and without the caffeine crash. The ingredients are acai, guarana, maca, lucuma, and banana powder. All of them are organic certified. My only problem (!) with this product is that I love the taste and I eat it with the spoon. No balance, no mindful eating! (I don’t even want to get into how I eat their Chocolate Lover!) But I highly recommend mixing the Energy Bomb with one frozen banana, a handful of frozen berries, and half a cup of plant-based milk. Yum.
Matcha is an acquired taste. If you like it, you will like Your Super Power Matcha mix, too. I actually like the matcha in general but I like this one even more. Power Matcha is less bitter to me than most others I have had so far. The matcha is from Japan, but it also includes moringa, maca, wheatgrass, and barley grass powder. Again, all of these ingredients are organic certified. How I make it is I pour hot (but not boiling) water in my matcha to make a paste. Then add warm plant-based milk and some coconut sugar. At this point, I use a hand-held frother to make it foamier and also to dissolve the matcha residue. It tastes like a store-bought matcha latte without all the nasty ingredients.
I also LOVE Your Super packaging. The mixes don’t come in pouches, so it is much more convenient to get the powders out of the container. And, it is much more environmentally friendly.
The West has finally discovered the numerous benefits of mushrooms. So now there are numerous companies which are adding mushrooms to their products. But again, the sourcing is important. No, I take it back. It is crucial. Because depending on where the company is getting their raw material, we are either harming the environment and our own bodies or doing good. For example (and I am crudely simplifying the problem, but you’ll get the gist) the soil might be toxic, and you end up consuming toxins while trying to improve your wellbeing. Anima Mundi mushrooms are sustainably sourced from a small farm in Washington. They use the whole mushroom, so unlike many other companies, they don’t end up wasting benefits. They use zero fillers or GMOs. The company also honors fair trading. I mean, see how much detail can be involved in picking a product? It is a shame that we have to be so vigilant, and you probably don’t want to drive yourself mad by all the inquisition, but it is important that we know what we put in our bodies. It is also important that we do not contribute to the exploitation of farmers by choosing certain products instead of others. So I’m happy I have a handful of brands I can trust! Again, this mocha milk is so pure and delicious that I sometimes mix in the little one’s snacks. He loves the taste!
Unfortunately this, too, is a bit pricey, but one package goes a long way. I usually use two tablespoons, and sometimes add a teaspoon of sweetener or coconut sugar. Nothing else needed, but you might get fancy and add some MTC oil. I can imagine that would be delightful. You can purchase this mocha milk here.
This separation anxiety thing, and why I need my energy bomb!
Okay, I need all the adaptogens and all the superfoods in the world to deal with this new beast which is called separation anxiety. My little one is not letting me out of his sight for two seconds! Just when I think I cannot handle this anymore, right before I start to scream, I have a sip from my ashwagandha and realize that sooner than later, he won’t want me as much. He will be too cool for his mama. So I hug him. And I hug him more. And he puts his tiny head on my neck. The world stops turning.
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Editor’s note: The information in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health programme.