(I know, I know you’re never going to give up coffee, right? I hear ya. That is totally fine. You can just bookmark this for later–or um, never.)
I’m intimately acquainted with a deep, longtime love of caffeine. I used to regularly drink 20 ounces of black coffee every morning, and maybe a latte for a treat in the afternoon. Unfortunately our love affair was a doomed one…
Caffeine causes adrenal fatigue, messes with blood sugar and acid/alkaline balance, and it can deplete your body of all those hard-earned micronutrients you’re drinking in your smoothie every morning. Your body may handle these things just fine, or it may not.
I don’t say this as a way of convincing anyone of anything. I am not one to argue or push people around, and I think every day we each make the choice that’s best for us.
I say it because my thing is–while I think it’s totally okay when I don’t make the healthiest choices for my body, I don’t like fooling myself.
So, there was a long time at the beginning of my healthy eating journey where I could not conceive of giving up coffee. But to try to convince myself that it was okay or good for me would have been like lying to myself, or being purposefully ignorant. Instead I said:
This is not the best choice I could be making for my body, but it is the best choice I can make today.
And that was true…until one day it just wasn’t true.
I was ready.
Filling up my body with micronutrients helped me get ready. Finding substitutes helped even more.
I tried quite a few: Kristen of the Green Mommy Blog has a great roundup of coffee alternatives here. I love Teeccino. And I still enjoy a decaf (soy) latte every now and then when I’m out at a coffeeshop.
But for everyday at home?
Both for ease-of-making, health, and flavor, my favorite coffee substitute is a mix of powdered barley drink and raw cacao. I know, it sounds complicated and weird—but I swear it is delicious, and faster than brewing coffee!
Spoon about a tablespoon of barley drink powder and a tablespoon of raw cacao into a 16 oz. cup. Add almost (but not quite!*) boiling water. That’s it. Adjust the quantities to your taste, and depending on how big a cup you want. You don’t even need to stir.
(*) When the water is too hot the cacao gets clumpy.
Cacao is actually beneficial for you in small doses (if you’re interested, read more about that here.) It is a phenomenal source of magnesium, as well as antioxidant flavinoids.
(Just don’t let any spill near your dog or let him get his nose in your unattended cup, this is the purest version of ”chocolate is bad for dogs.”)
Make sure it is pure raw cacao, and not a cocoa powder with added sugar. I like Navitas Naturals brand quite a bit, although I have not tried many others.
Barley drink powder
There are two main brands: Pero and Inka. Both are just a mixture of powdered barley and other grains and herbs. Pero is my favorite of the two, but Inka is quite nice too. I like that they foam up a bit on top so I feel like I’m drinking a latte.
Bonus for nursing moms: barley is a galactagogue.
(Anti-bonus for the gluten-free: alas, barley does have gluten in it.)
If you try it, let me know what you think!
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