It seems so natural to wake up and go for the coffee pot. Most of us grew up around it. We watched our parents drinking coffee in the morning. We saw it in movies and on sitcoms, people barely functioning before the first cup. Many of us spent hours of our teenage years in coffee shops with frou-frou froths and sticky syrups. In the U.S., it’s almost as if coffee is a birthright.
But, in the midst of growing up and taking responsibility for our actions, the negative effects of coffee quickly become apparent. In excess, the caffeine can really twist up our cardiovascular system, causing increased irregular heartbeats, anxiety and various other unwanted ailments. As consumers, it takes a very careful eye and easy-flowing source of money to buy coffee responsibly, both from an environmental and human rights standpoint.
But, we love it, and that’s that. And, it’s not all bad. Coffee actually does have significant health benefits, too. Even so, in an ideal world, our general attitude and ability to wake up shouldn’t rely entirely on one beverage. So, what if there weren’t coffee at the ready? How, then, could we wake up?
1. Hot Chocolate
Well, in all honesty, a mug of hot chocolate is probably even better than a cup of coffee, but we’ve come to view it more as a treat than an everyday occurrence. However, with the right mindset and raw cacao powder, hot chocolate can actually be a superfood drink with interesting mixes of herbs and spices, heaps of antioxidants and the ability to kick-start the day.
Chai is an exciting drink, both for its ability to jolt our senses awake and the fact that it tastes really, really good. Cinnamon heightens our awareness, and ginger ignites the digestive system, in turn revving up our metabolic forces. What that spells is one alert chai drinker.
3. Dandelion Root Tea
Oddly enough, the root of dandelions, usually scoffed at as a weed, tastes really similar to coffee, which makes it perfect for those who really go in for the flavor of coffee. Either dig some up in the yard and use the fresh roots (Why not?), or official bags of dandelion root tea are available at health food shops. Then, check out this dandelion latte.
Moving away from hot drinks for a second, most of us have heard of kombucha by now, and in addition to offering all those great probiotic benefits fermentation provides, kombucha is also great for waking up. It’s often made with black tea, for some caffeine, and as we know, it aids us with digestion, something that gets our motors running in the morning.
5. Mint Tea
The scent of mint is enlivening and works wonders for activating our brains. It’s known to prevent fatigue and memory loss, amongst many other medicinal qualities. What’s more is that we can easily grow a load of our own mint right at home, so that morning pick-me-up will also brighten up the garden. And, yet again, mint helps out the stomach, so it’s for more than just fresh breath.
6. Yerba Mate
Yerba mate is a very popular choice in South American circles, often much more beloved than coffee. It’s rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and it also contains a caffeine kick but not so much that it will cause jitteriness. Plus, it helps with insulin spikes. Traditionally, it’s consumed from a hollowed out gourd—how cool is that.
7. Black Tea
Black tea shouldn’t be dismissed as viable wake-up juice, either. It’s has an assortment of help benefits — antioxidant, vitamins, and all that jazz again — but also provides a hit of caffeine. Tea also has four other stimulants that help get the brain active and alive, but it has been linked to stress relief as opposed to coffee’s causing anxiety.
8. Green Tea With Citrus
Green tea is just something we should all be drinking. It can help with our teeth, lungs, organs, and immune system. It prevents several types of cancer and cognitive diseases. It also has a little caffeine. With a squeeze of citrus, or vitamin C, some of its antioxidants are seriously strengthened, and the smell of citrus fruit inspires uplifting moods.
Of course, there are more. And, of course, this is no condemnation of coffee, but merely recognizing the many alternatives out there to try. Now, the trick will be stepping away from the coffee pot every now and again to give them a shot.
Lead image source: Creamy Chai Latte