Skip the Coffee and Reach for One of These Three Alternatives

If you feel sluggish in the morning without your coffee and crash after lunch, it might be time to consider an alternative to a “cup of joe”. Sugary energy drinks are also ladened with caffeine, and will cause much of the same problems. This article covers three options to help you wake up the right way, feeling bright and refreshed, that will help you avoid the crash later on.

While some think that cup of coffee in the morning is what keeps them going – Dunkin’ Donuts even spouted the claim “America Runs on Dunkin’” – it may be doing more harm than good. Millions of people are developing caffeine addictions and having difficulty waking up and functioning without their morning beans. A cup of drip coffee has between 115-175 mg of caffeine, according to this website, which also states that, “Among coffee drinkers the average coffee consumption in the United States is 3.1 cups of coffee per day”. I find that a little disturbing; that amount of caffeine will have a big impact on sleep and ability to function in the morning. There are healthier and less habit forming ways of getting you going in the morning.

Sometimes that morning “cup of joe” can cost you upwards of 400 calories – most of which are from sugar and fat, causing you to crash and feel lethargic later on.

Energy drinks can be just as bad, overloaded with sugars, caffeine, and chemicals. They will cause you to crash just like coffee, and can be just as habit forming.


Here are a few alternatives to help you break out of your normal caffeine routine.


Having a cup of tea can give you a boost in the morning with a fraction of the caffeine of coffee. An 8 oz cup of green tea usually contains between 30-50 mg of caffeine. Other options are white and black tea, if you want less or more caffeine than green tea, respectively. Tea can be a good way to wean your self from higher caffeine content products such as coffee or energy drinks, and can be a healthier substitute for the energy boost found in Caffeinated soft drinks.

Yerba Maté

This South American beverage has been enjoyed by the people that reside there for thousands of years, but is just now getting exposure in North America and the rest of the world. Maté does contain caffeine, but it is in lesser quantities than coffee, and in a form that produces less jitters and less of a propensity for crashing than caffeine from coffee. Maté contains 24 vitamins and minerals, including potassium, magnesium, manganese, and B vitamins. For these reasons, along with its energy boosting caffeine, Maté is a popular choice with bodybuilders and people looking to lose weight. You can likely find some form of Maté in your local grocery store, however, most health food stores would be sure to have it. Enjoy it either loose or in a tea bag – perhaps even get your own gourd and straw, the choice way to drink it in South America.

Order your own gourd at Yerba Matetea Gourd.


This staple of Chinese medicine has gained a foothold in America as an energy booster, and can be found in teas, energy drinks, and tonics. The scientific name for ginseng is Panax, which comes from a greek route which means “all-healing”. The word Panax comes the Greek word meaning “all-healing”. Ginseng is touted as having energy boosting properties by stimulating the nervous system, as well as being revitalizing, improving memory and cognition, helping to curb stress, and boosting the immune system. Instant ginseng tea packets can be found in health food shops, apothecaries, and many places selling herbs. Another option for taking ginseng is in tablet, capsule, or softgel form. If you are getting your ginseng from a bottled or canned tea or tonic, check the nutrition facts and make sure its not loaded with high fructose corn syrup. If you really want to go all out, you can even buy whole ginseng root, which can be brewed in teas or consumed.

A great resource for more information about ginseng.

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  1. I gave up coffee altogether in February except for 1 espresso on March 17 2008 when I was in Turin, the home of coffee. I feel great and I’m told I no longer fidget in bed. Earl Grey tea is what I drink although in a cafe recently they had none and asked if Lady Grey would do instead. She’s ok too!

  2. What a croc. I mean, people have been safely consuming coffee in moderation for over 500 years, and it’s only until now that we suddenly are worried about possible health effects?

    Fact is that coffee is pretty much irrelevant to your health — good or bad. But to get readership, this myth perpetuates.

  3. another great article Paul!

  4. oh yeahhh, that yerba mate looks so much more satisfying than my morning starbucks! sorry, but that just isn’t going to replace it! I may try it once in awhile, but seriously… nooooooo

  5. Mate is actually quite good despite its looks. I have been drinking it for years.

  6. I’m over 50 and have never tasted coffee (except in ice cream). As with most things, moderation is key. Latest studies show that consumption of caffeine during the day increase alertness. It’s side effect of a diuretic is quickly worn off and only happens if taken in new higher doses, or if the person hadn’t been consuming caffeine earlier.
    Energy drinks can be problematic due the extreme use of caffeine introduced into the drink by several different names.
    Life is short, if a cup o’ joe keeps you going, go for it!

  7. Mate makes you happy as well as caffinated..has antioxidants and you don’t crash. But yea, your starbucks sugar load sounds much better. To each his own I suppose.

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