A lot of us need coffee to get through the day. We need coffee like cars need gasoline or like crack addicts need their crack. The idea of a world without coffee is too blasphemous to consider—because all chaos would break loose. We would crash our cars into our neighbors’ mailboxes from sleep deprivation. We would accidentally forward lolcats to our bosses and send important Excel documents to our friends. We would fall dead asleep in the middle of an important presentation. Because life without black coffee, frothy cappuccinos, soy lattes, and espresso shots is simply not possible.
But lo and behold! Word on the street is that too much caffeine is not good for you, and it will do your mind and body a whole lot of good if we make the effort to cut back on our caffeine intake. What gives?
Yes, a strong cup of coffee wakes you up. But it is a jittery kind of energy that can make your thoughts go at warp speed, decrease your concentration, make you anxious, give you heartburn, make you dehydrated, and crash your energy level when you are coming down fast from your caffeine high, making you more tired than before. Coffee later in the day also disrupts our sleep cycles, which continues the vicious cycle of waking up feeling unrested and needing that cup of joe to wake yourself up.
Let’s not also forget the processed sugar and fatty cream that many of us add to our coffee. Not good.
You don’t have to go all Spartan and give up coffee forever for the rest of your life. Having coffee as an occasional treat in moderation, though, is much healthier for you than having it every day like you do your daily vitamins and water. Here are seven tips to loosen the death grip of caffeine addiction to feel energized au naturale.
1. Read up on the health benefits of decreasing your caffeine addiction. It’s easier to decrease your dependence on an enjoyable activity when you know why you are doing it and how it will benefit you. Check out this article on the dangers of caffeine addiction and excess caffeine consumption.
2. Consume only freshly squeezed fruit juice, freshly cut fruit, and glasses of water in the morning. Want to really give your body a shot of energy the natural way that won’t crash your energy level hours later? Drink freshly squeezed oranges or grapefruits and eat freshly cut fruit. The natural enzymes from fresh foods will really jolt you to alertness, and you won’t be weighed down by heavier foods like bagels with cream cheese or omelets.
3. You can still have coffee—just don’t have it every single day of the week. Or if you must, order decaf.
4. Get your caffeine fix with green tea instead. Freshly brewed green tea will still give you some caffeine and a more gradual energy build-up, but it won’t be as extreme as a strong cup of black coffee that completely jolts your nerves into a jittery mess.
5. Drink lots of water when you are feeling a little bit tired or mentally fuzzy. If you feel fatigued or your mind feels foggy, it is highly likely that you are dehydrated. Drink up some tall glasses of H2O with freshly squeezed lemon juice instead.
6. Cut processed food out of your diet as much as possible. Junky, artificial foods loaded with toxic chemicals and processed sugars mess up your body. Eat whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables as much as possible to keep your mind and body sharp.
7. Exercise regularly and get your eight to nine hours of sleep. You will probably get work done more efficiently if you really get your full night’s rest, exercise regularly, and eat healthy than if you are working on five hours of sleep with three cups of coffee.