Coffee Alternatives That Actually Boost Your Productivity
Updated: Jan 15
Okay all you coffee lovers out there, I know what you're thinking... But before you move on to a different article or a new internet search, just hear me out for a second. As you may already know, I work with my clients to help them achieve a sense of balance through micro and macro life changes. Adjusting your coffee consumption may be the micro change you need to promote lasting wellness on a macro level.
Coming from a high-pressure corporate background, I know all about the coffee craze. While I never drank coffee, most of my former colleagues, and many of my clients today, cannot start their day without their morning cup. During that time in my life, my colleagues and I worked at minimum, 50 to 60, and at maximum, 70-90 hours per week. Crazy, right? I rarely slept enough and mostly ate takeout.
Needless to say, I understand why you might feel as though you need caffeine to get through your busy week. But my high-stress lifestyle was incredibly hard on my body and as a result, I experienced the effects of burnout. The bitter and acidic qualities of coffee only exacerbate these issues. This is why today, I'd like to give you some helpful coffee alternatives to add to your morning routine.
Is Coffee Killing Your Productivity?
Believe it or not, drinking coffee in excess actually leads to a decrease in productivity. Yes, when you drink coffee, you experience a quick jolt of energy, but at what cost? The acidity of coffee, especially when you drink it before there's any food in your stomach, emaciates the body's tissue. Additionally, that energy burst quickly fades and by the middle of the day you feel as though you need to drink more coffee.
I know that some people love the taste of coffee as well as the ritual of making it each morning. I get that. I don't want to take away those sacred parts of your life. I just want to help you either adjust your coffee consumption or give you a caffeine alternative to start your day. So, let's unpack the properties of coffee.
The Properties of Coffee
According to Ayurveda, our bodies do not need exposure to a lot of foods with bitter qualities. The primary qualities of coffee are bitterness, acidity and heat. For those of us who experience Vata or Pitta imbalances, a cup of coffee may be too much for our bodies. A person with many Kapha qualities may benefit from that jolt of acidity, but even so, in excess, it can be detrimental.
Coffee and Your Adrenal Glands
Coffee is a stimulant and essentially prompts your adrenal glands to produce stress hormones, including cortisol. This stress hormone can makes us feel agitated and nervous. Over time too much cortisol prompts the female body to produce more estrogen which can cause acne and heavy menstrual flow. An excess of cortisol can also prevent the thyroid from working properly, leading to weight gain and/or symptoms of depression.
An overexertion of the adrenal glands can lead to a syndrome known as Adrenal Fatigue. If you're interested in learning more, the Acheloa Wellness whitepaper on corporate burnout unpacks the causes and treatment of this issue.
While it may feel great to drink coffee and push your adrenal glands to produce their stress hormones, keep in mind that maintaining low cortisol levels is a beneficial goal for your health.
Coffee and Your Body's Tissues
Another issue with coffee to consider is its high levels of acidity. This quality emaciates the body’s tissues (muscle, fat, bone, etc.). Too much acid can agitate your stomach and digestive tract. People who activate their stress hormones consistently and continue to drink coffee may experience heart burn, acid reflux and IBS.
Coffee and Your Liver
The final health issue I invite you to examine is the effects of coffee on your liver. The acidity in coffee heats the liver. According to Ayurveda, the liver is already a hot organ as it contains five digestive fires. The organ heats before the menstrual cycle, giving many women symptoms of PMS such as excessive anger or irritability. So, suffice it to say, it’s best not to provoke the liver further with acidic coffee everyday.
Coffee Ayurveda: Alternatives To Satisfy Your Craving
If you love coffee and you're still reading this, thank you! We've gotten to the best part: Coffee and caffeine alternatives. I have many clients that who tell me, "Lauren, I can't let go of coffee." I understand and I want to help you in the most realistic way that I can. Here are some options that suit anyone from the casual coffee drinker to the caffeine enthusiasts.
Limit Your Coffee Consumption - If you can't let go of coffee entirely, cut the amount you drink in half. If you drink four cups each day, try drinking two.
Try Dandy Blend- I often recommend a dandelion "coffee" to clients, is a coffee alternative made from dandelion root. It is very dark tea that tastes like coffee but contains less caffeine.
Drink Warm Spiced Milk - A cup of warm milk has the opposite effect of coffee. When you boil milk, it forms tryptophan, which ultimately transforms into serotonin, leading you to feel calm and happy. Additionally, you can add warm, non-homogenized milk to decaf chai tea for extra flavor.
Kapalabhati Breathing - Kapalabhati is an Ayurvedic breathing technique that promotes energy. It is said that breathing in this way is equivalent to one cup of coffee. Start with one big inhale and then sharply exhale 30 times. Try it! You’d be surprised at how energizing this technique can be.
Try a Combo of The Four Suggestions Above! Perhaps you don't want to kick coffee just yet. But can swap your second cup for dandelion coffee? Making little adjustments like this will help ease your body's addictive cravings for coffee.
Stay Alkaline, Stay Energized
My final offering to you is to keep your body alkaline to promote greater health and wellness. In order to do so, you need to limit your consumption of acidic foods and beverages. Many health problems develop because of an excess of acidity in the body. We can neutralize the acid with a cup of warm milk as well as by drinking spring water throughout the day.
If after reading this you're still resistant to making some adjustments to your coffee consumption, I invite you to consider an important question: Would you rather start your day by agitating your nervous system or infusing your body’s cellular system with a nurturing, alkalizing cup of warm milk? I know that morning jolt is enticing but the energy is temporary and the lasting effects of coffee hurt your body more than they help it. I invite you to continue finding ways to prioritize your body's long term wellbeing over short term pleasures.
Are you on the fence about reducing your coffee intake? Do you have more questions about the benefits of drinking warm milk in the morning? Schedule your free breakthrough session and we can devise a morning routine that will benefit your body.