Every year, my husband gives up coffee for Lent. Needless to say, it can be a nightmare for all of us. He feels miserable for the first week, from the caffeine withdraw, tempers are heightened, and at the end of the day, he’s dragging some serious tail. This year, I decided to be proactive and check out some energy-boosting alternatives to ease his (everyone’s) suffering.
First up, a personal favorite, black tea. True, most tea still contains caffeine, but, according to my husband, it’s not caffeine he’s specifically “sacrificing” just the general indulgence of coffee. So, tea is an acceptable alternative. Black tea is the simplest and most seamless switch for diehard coffee drinkers. If you take your cup of joe regular, you can do the same with black tea, which nicely lends itself to cream and sugar. Or, you can get a bit fancier by adding some honey, maple syrup, or a hint of cinnamon.
Next up, green tea. There are several different types of green tea. The most common are jasmine and mint. Though most bagged green teas are nothing to write home about, the “loose leaf” versions tend to be more flavorful and aromatic. For this coffee-free Lent, we’re trying matcha green tea, which still boasts caffeine and purports to help fight cancer and heart disease. Pure Leaf has matcha ginger sachets, and the directions recommend using a whisk, instead of a spoon, to stir up this brew.
If you’re looking to try something more far afield, consider dandelion coffee. (Did you catch my pun there? Afield and dandelion… get it?!) Dandelion coffee is actually an herbal tea used as a coffee substitute that is made from the root of the dandelion plant. Roasted dandelion root has a satisfying coffee-like taste and acts like a diuretic which helps to cleanse the liver, reduce bloating, and inflammation. Additionally, it provides an energy boost without the crash that can come from the dehydrating effects of coffee. I found two brands of dandelion coffee: Dandy Blend on Amazon and Teeccino on iHerb.com.
Another healthy alternative to coffee that’s been trendy lately is celery juice. Yeah, I just threw up a little bit in my mouth, too. But, apparently, celery juice enthusiasts claim that a glass a day of this concoction removes toxins from your liver, boosts the immune system, restores the central nervous system, and can break down fat. However, you can’t really buy plain celery juice, most over the counter jars of juice are a mix that includes celery. For pure, straight celery juice you’ll need a juicer, or food processor and roughly one large bunch of celery to make the recommended sixteen ounces of juice a day. My husband is a fan of celery, and we have a food processor, so while I may join him in a cup of dandelion root coffee or green matcha tea, he’s all on his own for this one: happy juicing there, sweetie.
The last alternative for coffee I have found avoids the mess of drinking all together. Rhodiola supplements, which is an adaptogen that can increase energy, help you adapt to stress and improve your memory. You can find this supplement on Amazon at a variety of price points. What I like about replacing coffee with a supplement is that it’s way easier to swallow a pill than brew a tea or juice a bunch of vegetables.
My hope this Lent/spring is that both my husband and I find healthier ways to kickstart our mornings. Coffee isn’t necessarily the bad guy, but it’s nice to have alternatives when trying to avoid the caffeine crash when we’re in the mood for something less bitter, or if we wake up with a sensitive stomach.