Nostalgia in a mug
I love coffee and everything about it – the scent of the beans, the comfort of a coffee shop, the ritual of my morning perk-in-a-cup. This morning ritual is a full sensory experience for me. It’s not about the caffeine; it’s about everything that comes along with this deeply sensual beverage. Wherever I am, it brings me back home.
My morning coffee ritual goes something like this: I carefully measure the grinds and adjust the water level to just the right ratio so the end result is just right – not too watery, not too strong. The rich, nutty aroma fills the kitchen and tickles my nose. Anticipation of that first sip mounts as I pour the dark liquid into my favorite mug. I stir in a dash of nut milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon and watch the dark chocolate brown transform into a hue of toasted hazelnut. I slowly lift the mug to my lips and sip, allowing my taste buds to absorb the boldness of the coffee, the creaminess of the milk and the sweetness of the cinnamon. I feel it warm my insides and soothe my soul. Simply put: it’s the perfect way to start the day.
Learning to let go
So, cutting out coffee is not something I came to easily. When I was in grad school, I easily drank as many as four large cups per day – absolutely an excessive amount for someone my size, but beyond the caffeine perks that kept me going during my marathon days at the library, it was an excuse for my friends and me to take a much-needed break. It was a comfort to us when we got overwhelmed. It was our sanity-saving ritual.
I gradually weaned myself from four cups to just three – two in the morning and one in the afternoon. Then I eventually nixed the afternoon pick-me-up when insomnia weaseled its way into my life. Finally, I tried to limit myself to one morning cup, albeit a generous one.
Breaking up with this one cup was a bigger challenge. The fact is, there are just as many benefits to moderate coffee consumption as there are drawbacks, so it’s not so easy to get a straightforward answer when it comes to the decision to quit or not.
The healing journey: Leaving coffee behind
However, after diving deep into the research on coffee, it became abundantly clear that while moderate coffee consumption has benefits for an individual in full health, anyone trying to heal from any kind of disease or imbalance in the body should absolutely steer clear of the coffee and caffeine.
So, what’s a coffee-lover to do in the face of a healing journey? Well, fortunately, there are options, and – if you can believe it – many people find they eventually don’t miss coffee at all.
Here are a few of my go-to coffee alternatives:
- Warm lemon water. I drink this first thing every morning, even when I intend to consume another morning cuppa something.
- Herbal Tea. Ginger. Chamomile. Hibiscus. Rosehip. Mint. Tulsi. Turmeric. Lemongrass. Peach… The options are limitless and will carry you from morning til night.
- Matcha. While anyone trying to avoid caffeine may want to avoid matcha as well, the benefits of this superfood are, well, pretty super.
- Superfood smoothie. I love smoothies, like this one, and it’s the perfect way to pack a nutritional punch first thing in the morning.
- Healthy hot cocoa. Yup. With all the benefits of cocoa (or raw cacao), there is a way to make a delicious mug of this ultimate winter comfort healthy.
- Golden milk. Liquid gold in a cup – need I say more. Turmeric, a powerful anti-inflammatory, lends this elixir its famed color, while a blend of spices and ‘milk’ make this creamy beverage sing with flavor.
- Dandelion Root Tea. Miracle of miracles. The flavor of this rich, bold herbal tea is a near approximation of coffee. Nothing will be a complete match to the velvety nuttiness of real coffee, but it’s pretty darn close.
As I write this with both my dandelion boost and and mug of herbal tea empty on my desk, I am eagerly awaiting my next mug of comfort! Ditching coffee has not been easy, and when my body is in balance I will indulge once in a while, but it has opened me up to a whole new world of soothing deliciousness.