I love coffee. I mean, I LOVE coffee. I drink it every morning. I earn rewards through Starbucks. I used to be a gold member in high school. In fact, it's one of the first things I think about when I wake up in the morning. Now if that isn't a coffee addiction, I don't know what is.
That being said, as a student working two jobs, I don't have the finances to support my coffee habits. Recently, I've been looking into coffee-alternatives. One of the most interesting things I discovered in this brief research is that not all alternatives have to be ingested. In fact, sometimes its as easy as just adjusting your morning routine or going to bed earlier.
So, while I will not be completely cutting my coffee habits, here are some suggestions for those of you (myself included) looking to cut back on coffee.
I know it doesn't sound as glorious as coffee, but the health benefits are obvious. Water itself can be a replacement for coffee. A lot of times, sluggishness and exhaustion can be a result of dehydration. According to the Food and Nutrition Board, humans should be drinking between 91 - 125 ounces of water a day MINIMUM. Now I don't know about you, but I definitely don't drink this much water daily. Drinking a lot of water can be tough because sometimes you just want something with a little flavor. That's where lemon water comes in! Also, you don't have to limit the fruits in your water to lemons. Limes, oranges, and berries work just as well! Don't forget to add a splash of fresh mint for that refreshing taste.
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Now, I know pomegranate juice isn't for everyone. It's sweet yet tangy taste is not always satisfying. But, pomegranate juice is packed with antioxidants. In fact, it has three times more antioxidants than green tea. Like most fruits, pomegranates are rich with fructose and glucose and when digested, they provide bursts of energy.
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Now, when I first read about the benefits of morning workouts, I have to say I was skeptical. As someone who has tried the morning workout routine a few times, I found it made me even more exhausted throughout the day. However, I know at the time I also wasn't getting enough sleep so who's to say who the real culprit was.
The idea that working out can be a source of energy is nothing new. Endorphins released during work-outs provide a natural energy boost. So if this is true, is there a way to maximize this benefit? While working out in the morning won't keep you energized all day long, most studies have shown that the results of morning work-outs last at least until early afternoon. Plus, if you pair this work out routine with good hydration, you should be wide awake.
Eat More Fiber
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Fiber is a great source of energy. Naturally, most of us don't eat enough fiber -- especially for breakfast. Adding fiber to your breakfast or morning snack can greatly improve your energy levels. And because fiber is a complex carbohydrate, it breaks down and slowly supplies energy over a longer period of time. Some fiber-rich breakfast foods include Greek yogurt, oatmeal, avocado toast and much more.
Take A Cold Shower
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I know it sounds silly, but a cold shower can help shake the drowsiness that comes with leaving your nice, warm bed. You can always start with a warm shower and slowly decrease the temperature. Even if you can only stand in the cold water for 30 seconds, this time is still effective! It increases alertness while activating growth hormones and androgens. This way, you have all the energy you need to start your day off right.
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If you're someone who loves smoothies, you should try green smoothies. A combination of fruits and green veggies, these smoothies provide lasting, natural energy. While these smoothies can be made according to individual preference, the two ingredients that give them their energy boosts are kale and spinach. Try combining kale, bananas, greek yogurt, and flaxseed for a yummy, invigorating morning treat.
Crank Up The Tunes
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Now, I understand that this one sounds silly. I mean, you're not even eating or drinking anything. The truth is, by listening to invigorating music in the morning, you get yourself motivated for the day. In some ways, it's all about tricking your body into thinking it is ready for the day. My recommendation is to create a couple playlists that you can rotate through week to week. Then, when getting ready in the morning or commuting to work or school, you can crank those tunes.
Of course, not all of these suggestions will work for everyone. As I said before, morning workouts never quite energized me personally, but who knows what it'll do to you! So I just encourage you to take this leap with me and try to cut coffee before summer's over.