There is something that MOST of us do everyday that adds stress to our lives.
It’s something that we consume — drink, actually.
And while most of us drink it for energy and to make us feel better, the reality is it actually makes us WORSE.
It increases our stress hormones. And when we are already under pressure, it makes us actually feel (and function) worse.
What is this daily stressor?
Your morning cup of coffee.
Please don’t stop reading! I can see eyes rolling already and hear you thinking there is no way you are ever giving up your coffee.
But give me a chance to explain.
I’m not entirely anti-coffee. But I do think there are coffee realities you need to know.
HOW COFFEE INCREASES YOUR STRESS LEVELS
Coffee is known to increase levels of stress hormones. When you are already under pressure, increased stress levels can leave you feeling even worse.
Bottom line — coffee can increase stress levels in someone who is already stressed.
I see coffee as a special treat — something you indulge in occasionally and truly savor and enjoy when you have it. Not an everyday routine.
Not willing or ready to forgo your morning cup of jo?
That’s okay. Just start by considering other options. Or limiting your coffee mornings to a few a week and making better substitutions on the other days. Trust me, it’s worth stepping out of your habit/comfort zone for this. You may even surprise yourself and find you prefer my Healthier Morning Coffee Swaps.
HEALTHIER MORNING COFFEE SWAPS
There are a plethora of beverage swaps for morning coffee. Swaps that will leave you satisfied while supporting your wellness and stress levels.
Some of my switches have caffeine and others don’t. Some can be served warm or cold, sweetened or unsweetened. Whatever it is about your morning coffee you love, you should be able to find a reasonable (and even better) substitute.
HEALTHIER COFFE SWITCHES: CAFFEINE FREE
TULSI (HOLY BASIL) TEA
If you want something warm and caffeine isn’t a necessity, consider Tulsi tea. Tulsi (also known as Holy Basil) has been shown to decrease stress symptoms such as:
- recent sexual problems,
- recent sleep problems.
Tulsi tea is herbal (remember no caffeine) and can be found at many grocery stores and almost all natural food stores.
If you like warm beverages, serve your Tulsi tea hot. If cold is your thing, you can also serve it over ice.
Another option is a turmeric latte. This antioxidant powerhouse tastes delicious, is simple to make, and will leave you feeling calmer and more controlled. My simple turmeric latte recipe (called the Sunshine Latte) can be found here.
I personally find turmeric lattes taste best warm. So if you prefer cold beverages, this one may not be for you.
HEALTHIER COFFEE SWITCH WITH CAFFEINE
If you MUST have caffeine in the morning (and I know many of us feel like we really do), consider matcha.
Matcha is a green tea powder originally from Japan. It's rich in antioxidants, fiber, and chlorophyll. Matcha contains L-theanine, an amino acid known for relaxation. Historically, monks drank matcha to offer a sustained calm alertness to support meditation.
Healthy, tasty, with science to back it up — what more could you ask for? I’m pretty much obsessed with matcha. One of my favorite ways to enjoy matcha is through a homemade matcha tea latte. And because I seriously love sharing, I’m giving you my easiest matcha tea latte recipe.
With three ingredients and less than three minutes of effort, you can be enjoying a matcha tea latte.
My recipe is for a hot matcha tea latte. However, if you prefer iced, it tastes great this way as well. Use cold milk instead of steamed and serve over ice.
TAKE THE COFFEE FREE CHALLENGE
If you are a daily coffee drinker, try to challenge yourself this week. Pick a day (or two or three) and commit to going coffee-free. Instead, prepare one of my Healthier Coffee Swaps.
Really pay attention to how you feel — your energy level, your mood, your hydration status. You may be very surprised to find your energy level is good, your mood improved, and your hydration status better.
It’s safe to say we all want to have less stress in our lives. And now that you know a way you can reduce your stress hormones, it’s worth a try. What do you have to lose?.
(Are you just tuning in this week? If so, feel welcome to pursue parts I and II of the Stress Less Series. Part I shares all the basics of stress and Part II gives you healthy tips to eat your way to calmness.)
Lots of love and calmness,