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Coffee is a world-changing product that wakes people up and gets them prepared for the long day ahead of them.
Many people love coffee. To the point where they don't feel human until after they have their first cup.
For these people coffee is a part of their lives. Wake up, cup a coffee, drive to work, drink ANOTHER cup of coffee, Lunch time, usually people stop drinking coffee around this time, but who knows, maybe you have a ton of work left, so you drink the third cup of coffee. (or even more, if you are really addicted)
Three cups of coffee a day? That's a lot! and that is where the problem with coffee comes in.
The problem with drinking coffee.
Coffee in small amounts has proven to be healthy in studies. But that word “small” is the key. While coffee can taste great and give you a “pick me up” with its caffeine. The levels are high enough that it becomes an addiction. You begin to NEED the caffeine and cannot function without your fix of caffeine in the morning. Drinking your coffee, at that point, just gets you back to normal.
That much caffeine intake every day is awful for you, and while it may wake you up, there are many other ways to do just that! Personally, when I started working the job I'm at now I couldn't even get started without a cup of black coffee.
Within an hour, I'd be finishing my second one, then, and only then, I was prepared for the day.
It was fine, at first, I never thought anything of it, until I went to the dentist, and they told me I needed to cut out the coffee, my teeth were more stained than at any other point in my life.
So, I caved, figured the dentists know what they're talking about, and declared to myself that I'm going to quit coffee!
This change from coffee took me WAY too long to figure out how to do.
At first, I tried cold turkey, which I quickly realized was a difficult thing to do when you work a full-time job. You can't be cranky at work because using the excuse “I'm giving up coffee” doesn't fly.
This led me to try some different tactics to change my habits. Ultimately learning that slowly decreasing coffee consumption while having an alternative (tea) was my best hope.
The following are some steps I used to give up coffee
Have an alternative to coffee in mind
When you start to give up anything, having a vision of what you're going to use instead of coffee. Even if it's something simple, like water, having something locked in your mind as your next route gives you a better chance at quitting.
After all, say you try to go cold turkey, you make it a week, then you come in Monday morning, exhausted and kind of upset that it IS Monday, so you just grab a cup of coffee. Boom, streak broken, and then it's twice as hard getting back on track. So, if you have another route, then you can just easily supplement your day with more of your new habit.
Picking an alternative to coffee is the key to success. It is far easier to end a bad habit when another habit (hopefully a good one) takes its place. That is a simple fact.
So let's look at some of the best coffee alternatives available
Okay, for me, this was an easy choice, because I have always liked tea.
But it is not just me. Many people choose tea as a nice, healthy, and plentiful alternative to coffee. While tea has caffeine in it, what sets teas apart from the group is it's two qualities. One, all teas are less caffeinated than coffee, and all true teas have L-Theanine!
L-Theanine calms the body, so you don't get those jitters that come from drinking massive amounts of teas, it keeps you calm, and releases the caffeine into your body at a more controlled rate so that you just burn through all of it quickly.
Of course, tea does have caffeine, so you can get some of this if you need a pick me up. You can even brew a nice strong black tea to get as much of a caffeine kick as possible. There is no need to brew a weak ass tea if you want some pep.
Okay, green tea is still tea. It just goes through a different process when it is made. However, this process makes this tea a bit healthier and lower in caffeine. Green tea has more health benefits than other teas.
So if you are health conscious this may be a better fit for you than regular tea. But if you really want as much of a “caffeine replacement” as possible then this is really not the choice for you.
A bit of a tangent here. Herbal teas are not technically teas. They are other plants (not tea leaves) that undergo a brewing process similar to tea. They may taste similar to teas, but herbal teas have their own unique benefits and they do not contain ANY caffeine.
If you are looking for a smaller amount of caffeine in your diet to replace the coffee, this is not the choice for you. But if you want to quit caffeine completely or are looking for the healthiest tea option available then one of the many herbal tea options might be the best choice for you.
Did you know that apples actually give you more energy than coffee?
Caffeine is really stimulating, which means that you get all of the energy in one large burst! That is where those occasional jitters and excess energy comes from.
Apples, on the other hand, have natural sugars in them and give off lasting energy.
This means that not only will you need less to get you going, but it also tastes much better, and you can honestly have as much as you want to keep you going (after all, when was the last time you ever heard of someone getting over-weight on apples?).
The only word of warning comes in the form of apple juice. Many apple juice brands are simply vehicles to give you sugary water. They are not made from real apples. So be a bit cautious about this if you want to lose weight and drink a lot of apple juice as a coffee replacement.
I admit water can seem a bit bland and unfulfilling. But from a health perspective, it is probably you very best coffee replacement.
Most people spend most of their lives underhydrated. Ask anyone if they drink enough water they will probably say yes. But when you actually measure the average hydration levels an amazing 87% of people do not drink enough water on a regular basis.
We are supposed to drink 64 ounces of water a day. Which is a lot. And that is the number without exercise or heat. If it is hot outside. or if you are working out that number only goes up.
My point here is not just to lecture you about increasing daily water intake but to point out that water is always a good substitute, and though it is boring it is always worthwhile from a healthy living perspective.
And if it really bored you you can try carbonated water, lemon water, or mix in a tasty flavoring like crystal light is necessary
Like herbal teas are to tea, Chicory Coffee is to regular coffee.
The brewing process is similar. It is just made with chicory root rather than beans. Chicory coffee is 100% caffeine-free. So think of it as coffee's healthy little brother.
It is also a wonderful source of inulin. A soluble fiber that aids in digestion and supports gut health.
Okay, I will admit it, perhaps too many of my coffee alternatives revolve around teas. But I like tea. SO forgive me.
Kombucha is made by fermenting black tea with bacteria, yeast, and sugar.
This tasty type of tea is a bit different to make from other types of teas, which all undergo a simple brewing process. In Kombucha there is a fermentation process that creates a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast.
Various types of tea can be used as a base tea in Kombucha. All that is added is honey/sugar and SCOBY. SCOBY stands for the “symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast.”
Use Tapering rather than “cold turkey” to end your coffee habit.
Habits take about a minimum of 21 days to form or break, which means that trying wean yourself off the drink in 3 days is ludicrous and unnecessary.
Ending your coffee habit isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. Over time, your goal here is to slowly get your body used to use your new method rather then slamming coffee.
Personally, each day, I would drink less and less coffee, I used the same cup (it took about 40 days for me to get over it) I made 50 little marks on my with a sharpie on the outside of the cup, and each day, I would fill it up to the marker just under the one I filled it up to yesterday.
After the coffee, I would wash the cup, and refill it with my first personal choice, vanilla chai tea. So to make sense of this, you slowly associate your brain with the one thing, and de-associate it with the second! After a long time (sometimes as short as 66 days), you will be able to stop that last bit of coffee!
Don't fall back into old habits
The dangerous part of your new habit is how easy it can be to slip back into your old one. Your goal here is to maintain your new habit, don't break, not even once! You busted your tail trying to make sure that you don't drink coffee, whatever your coping mechanism, make sure you use as much of that as necessary to make sure that you don't revert to coffee even that one time. After all, you aren't truly kicking a habit if you just drink coffee less then a week after you finally clean your system of it right?
So What Else Wakes You Up?
People use coffee as a “pick-me-up” in the morning. But the use of coffee makes you begin to need the coffee to even function in the morning.
Early Morning Workouts
If you have the courage to take this route each morning, I give you major props.
Wake up in the morning, roll out of bed and do a set of pushups, it snaps your brain out of its slumber, and kicks your body awake! Not only does it wake you up quicker, but morning workouts are also often the best, because your body usually isn't prepared for the energy expenditure, and then it burns the energy a little more trying to keep up with the sudden change of pace.
After a few days of being busy in the morning, you can keep changing up the workout, or adding to it, to keep your body unprepared. Studies show that keeping your body confused is one of the easiest ways to keep burning fat and building muscle, because your body can't anticipate what your doing! Shrugging off coffee and getting fit?
If you shower in the morning you know a nice warm shower feels great. But it doesn't give you a quick wake up. As you finish your shower turn the knob to the coldest setting for 30 seconds. It sucks. But it will wake you up like 3 cups of morning coffee.
Get a Good Night's Sleep
When it comes to having energy in the morning, never underestimate the power of a good sleep routine. The old adage, “early to bed early to rise, makes a [person] healthy wealthy and wise” has a lot of truth to it.
Going to bed at a reasonable time and getting up early is a great way to start your day. Earlier sleep times and earlier times to wake up maybe a bit rough at first but worth it in the long run. I used to be a “night” person, rarely waking before 9 am. Now I am up before the sun on most days and I feel far more energized and productive. I highly recommend a good sleep routine if you are able to fit one into your lifestyle. It is far better than coffee.
Sign me up!
It's easy enough to talk about quitting, taking action and doing it, that's the key to getting anything done. It sounds hard, after all, kicking a habit that you might have had for many years? It's probably easier to just keep doing what you’re doing right?
Nothing good comes easily though, and if you want to change something, like giving up the coffee, you have to commit to it! Making the change sooner, and with conviction pays off in the end, and I can guarantee that you'll feel so much better because of it!
I hope this post has helped you with your quest to learn how to give up coffee. No matter how addicted you feel to your daily cup of coffee. YOU can do it. Just remember that the real key is ultimately in finding something you like to replace your coffee addiction. Hopefully something semi-healthy.
Finally, for some inspiration, here's a list of our favorite songs about recovery from addition.
Best of luck to you!