One of Kim's intentions for 2015 is to cut down on her caffeine intake. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it!) Amy has long been intolerant to caffeine. That means no coffee, no black tea, and no green tea either. The upside is that Amy has had a lot of practice coming up with tasty coffee alternatives to start the morning and give a perk to that mid-afternoon slump. Some of these can even be brewed like coffee and the first two (in Amy's opinion) come pretty darn close to replicating the taste.
The following are five of our favourite coffee alternatives. And, because Red Tent Sisters is all about the hormones, we've included a note about how each of these can help boost your health, too.
- Roasted dandelion root coffee. This is the closest you'll get to an actual experience of making coffee. While living in the UK this fall, Amy discovered dried, roasted dandelion root in her local health food shop. It requires fresh grounding and then you brew it in a Bodum just like coffee. While back in Toronto for the holidays we were unable to track down any whole roasted dandelion root, but we were able to pick up some DandyBlend, a pre-ground mixture of dandelion, chicory root, barley and rye (despite the barley and rye it is gluten-free - read how here). Dandelion is known to support the liver, an important organ in the metabolism and elimination of hormones (particularly those nasty xenoestrogens that come from the pill or the environment).
- Gojiccino. This is exactly what it sounds like. A cappucino-style drink made of goji berries. Dried goji berries are quite bitter, which can make them unappealing as an addition to your breakfast cereal, but makes them perfect as a coffee substitute. We're not sure if it's the similarity in taste to Ovaltine (a drink Amy used to have while curled up on the couch reading a book at our grandparent's cottage) that gives this drink such appeal, but Amy literally moans every time she drinks it. She feels the same about gojiccino that everyone else seems to feel about coffee. While we're proud that this is a fairly recent Toronto-based product, unfortunately it means there is fairly limited distribution. It's served in a growing number of cafes in the greater Toronto area (and they recently expanded to New York and Pennsylvania so our US friends can get it too!), and can be purchased as a concentrate from The Big Carrot if you want to make it at home. We probably don't have to tell you - goji berries are considered a superfood and have incredible antioxidant properties.
- Hot Chocolate. No list of health-promoting drinks would be complete without hot chocolate. Unfortunately most commercial chocolate products have loads of sugar added to them to compensate for the natural bitter flavour of cacao. To make a healthful version of hot chocolate, use raw cacao powder and add your own sweetener (such as agave nectar or raw honey) as needed. Four Sigma Foods makes a tasty immune boosting chocolate mushroom shot. Or, for a special treat, try this spiked hot chocolate recipe (using one of the only natural liqueurs in the world) from our friend Samantha Gladish. Chocolate is a natural mood enhancer and has high levels of magnesium in it that help with sleep and PMS. Watch for our interview next month with the author of Naked Chocolate to learn more about the wonders of the cacao bean!
- Turmeric Tea. Turmeric probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind when you think of tea, but it turns out it makes a delicious (and nutritious!) beverage. Turmeric has all kinds of health benefits - it's an antioxidant, helps with inflammation, supports the liver, improves brain function... the list goes on. Kim just tried Meghan Telpner's "tonic" version (which includes some additional anti-inflammatory ingredients like goji berries and hemp seeds) and she's definitely been won over. Two non-health related selling features - it gives off a lovely aroma while it's boiling on the stove and it looks super pretty in a teacup :) One thing to keep in mind is that turmeric is used to dye clothing which is great when you're intentionally attempting a DIY project, but as Kim learned, it's less awesome when you accidentally spill it on your favourite pair of jeans! We also recommend being careful if you've got white countertops.
- Medicinal Mushrooms.
While feeling extreme fatigue in the afternoon is typically a sign of adrenal fatigue and should be addressed with your holistic health provider (if you don't have one already, we'd recommend checking out our Hormonal Tune-Up program), most people naturally feel a bit of a dip in energy in the early afternoon. Rather than reaching for the coffee, try an energy boosting Instant Cordyceps drink. By laying off the caffeine in the afternoon you'll help reduce further stress on the adrenal glands and improve the likelihood of being able to get a good night's sleep... that is, after you get some action in the bedroom (cordyceps are good for the libido too!).
What's your favourite caffeine-free drink to sip through the cold winter months? We'd love if you shared it with us!