Good news: Unless you are the 1 out of the 4 American adults that need to read the fine print disclaimer below… Drink coffee!
In fact, much research has revealed there are loads of health benefits to drinking coffee! It helps lower inflammation (study) and can help prevent type 2 diabetes (source). These stats are for “moderate” daily intake, which equals 3-5 cups. Yay!!
If you are drinking coffee throughout the day or it is loaded with calories from cream, sugar, or flavorings, then the health benefits of coffee are definitely negated. Any time you find yourself relying on something to “get through the day,” you should stop to consider the “why” behind it.
Sometimes, its good to make small adjustments to our faves in order to help our body (and mind) reach a weight or health goal. Here are 3 considerations to help you decide if coffee is friend or foe at this point in your journey because too much coffee creates hormonal imbalance.
Read more about how weight struggles are directly related to these 3 root causes, one of which is hormonal imbalance.
Caffeine + Cortisol
Find yourself drinking coffee all day long? Perhaps you feel like you even “crave” a cup, hearing it call to you like a fuzzy blanket and warm bed?
You are more than likely relying on the caffeine to energize your body for the long haul. Instead of the hormone cortisol regulating your sleep-wake natural cycle, caffeine is running the show and creating an overall hormonal imbalance:
“Normal levels are critical for maintaining steady energy throughout the day. And cortisol orchestrates the performance of other key hormones, like estrogen, testosterone, and thyroid.
“Functional-medicine practitioner Sara Gottfried, MD, author of The Hormone Reset Diet, calls cortisol the “control system” for hormones. High cortisol levels wreak havoc over time, deplete your happy brain chemicals like serotonin, rob your sleep, and make you store fat, especially in your belly,” says Gottfried. “High cortisol is likewise linked to depression and food addiction.” Imbalances can also lead to inflammation and thyroid issues.” — The Cortisol Curve, Elizabeth Millard
Starting your day early with a few cups of coffee instead of a little bit more sleep or a bite of breakfast is like putting the cart before the horse. Here’s how a slight tweak will help restore natural energy and balance:
“When you wake up, your body is producing elevated amounts of cortisol, the stress hormone that makes you feel anywhere from alert to anxious. If you add caffeine, which increases levels of cortisol in people who are either mentally stressed or are simply resting, you could have an influx of cortisol at one time.
“Some nutritionists say the combination could make you feel more tired later on, when both the caffeine and the cortisol wear off. The easiest way to feel more awake in the morning is to get more sleep the night before. In addition, however, you might want to try drinking your first cup of coffee slightly later than you normally would.” (source)
If you are really struggling with sugar cravings and poor sleep, the key imbalance behind that is an insensitivity to insulin. Insulin is the body’s response to elevated blood sugar and it must be kept in balance if you want to enjoy a healthy life and weight.
Want to effortlessly lose weight by burning stored fat? Be more alert all day? Actually feel full so you stop eating? Even eat less sugar? Help your body become sensitive to insulin.
But, wait! I thought we were talking about that beloved cup of coffee? What’s the connection between coffee- especially before breakfast, and insulin sensitivity?
“Caffeine causes your body to release sugar into your bloodstream which in turn causes the pancreas to release insulin (another good reason to get sugar out!). On an empty stomach this can cause a sharp drop in blood sugar which can then set up more sugar cravings. Guess what will help spike that sugar besides sugar? Caffeine.” –Fearless Eating
Check out his post for 6 Tips for Healthier Coffee Drinking.
Here’s that fine print disclaimer for some of you coffee lovers: “Caffeine has been shown in the short term to increase both glucose and insulin levels. Because of this, people with diabetes should be cautious when consuming coffee” (Healthline). The CDC’s most recent report found that “More than 100 million U.S. adults are now living with diabetes or prediabetes.”
Please don’t become a part of this statistic because you don’t know how to restore the balance! Go to sleep a bit earlier at night or rest a little longer in the morning, have a few bites of food (like these) before your coffee, and try these 10 suggestions instead of reaching for another cup of coffee in the afternoon.
10 Drinks to Enjoy That Are Not Coffee
Most people do not have a good or even a successful experience when they reduce their coffee consumption. You can count on those health and weight loss goals going down the drain instead of the coffee!
More good news: you can restore balance to your hormones, use a healthy source of energy, and meet that craving for relaxation with these drinks that are not coffee.
*Amazon affiliate links included
1. Collagen or Bone Broth
Collagen can be enjoyed in literally any drink, from water to tea to smoothies. Add this gut healing powder to warmed (nut) milk before bed for a better night’s sleep. It has all the essential amino acids, and is a good source of protein that is exceptional for a healthy gut, sustained weight loss, and is better than Botox 😉
My top brands are Vital Proteins, Ancient Nutrition, Further Foods, Aspen Naturals, and Bulletproof Collagen Protein.
2. Yerba Mate
Paleo Hacks says, “Yerba mate is sometimes preferred over coffee because it has amino acids, antioxidants, and vitamins and minerals. It even contains more antioxidants than the much-publicized “super-drink” green tea!
If you’re looking for a similar buzz to coffee, but with more focus, fewer jitters and a less intense crash, yerba mate is probably what you will want to try first.”
3. Kombucha (Fermented Tea)
Exploring all the different flavors that are available is just as energizing as this fermented tea drink! Loaded with B vitamins that help you “feel good” and beneficial bacteria (and yeasts), kombucha also helps with bloating and other digestive issues. But go slow! It’s also a powerful detoxifier and an integral part of establishing a healthy gut.
Top brews: GT’s Kombucha, Brew Dr., Health-Ade, Live Kombucha.
Read this post about choosing a kombucha (always watch for added sugars!) by Healthy Eater.
4. Matcha Green Tea and Maca
This drink will fix your hormone levels and give you an energy boost! It’s a tiny scoop of green powder that is high in antioxidants that detoxify and energize and is great for an afternoon pick me up.
I’ve used Jade Leaf Matcha‘s powder pack- half teaspoon once daily for a month won’t break the bank!
When you’re done reading this post by Dr. Axe about Maca, you’ll be adding this into your shopping cart ASAP!
5. Golden Milk (Turmeric Latte)
Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, contains medicinal compounds, neutralizing antioxidants, and improves memory!
The traditional Golden Milk recipe is a nut milk + turmeric + dash pepper + other spices. Check out this vegan recipe by Minimalist Baker.
This is another mid day and evening drink in my house!
I fall in love all over again every time I remember this gem. Smells like coffee. Tastes like coffee. Comes in so many amazing flavors! Best yet? It helps you reach your RDA of 35 g of fiber each day for weight loss and health:
Paleo Hacks says, “One of the other benefits of Teeccino is that it is loaded with a prebiotic known as inulin. This natural soluble fiber is a component of chicory root, and helps to support a good population of gut flora. Inulin passes through your large intestine and is then eaten by your “good” bacteria (like bifidus and lactobacillus).”
7. Dandelion Herbal Coffee blend
Epicurious tells us, “looks like instant coffee, smells like instant coffee, but is made of…roasted barley, rye, chicory, and dandelion root. (Dandelions, besides being a pesky weed, are surprisingly really good for you.) While the serving suggestion yields a weak cup, the taste is a little burnt-caramel-y and not bad at all, especially with a slash of milk or cream.”
Try Dandy Tea Blend to get those bitters in to stimulate your digestive system 🙂
Mushrooms are powerful foods that can fight cancer (and help during treatment), immunity boosters, loaded with antioxidants, and give you the much needed mental clarity to finish the day.
Better yet: drink this Organic Reishi Cocoa SuperHerb Tea by The Republic of Tea!
This quick to make combination of apple cider vinegar, fresh ginger, maple syrup or raw honey and filtered water is extremely beneficial for gut health. It fights inflammation, is high in potassium for an electrolyte boost, improves immunity, and balances your pH levels (Dr. Axe).
Make this recipe from the Healthy Home Economist and keep some in your fridge for tomorrow afternoon!
10. Hot or Cold Brewed Tea
Read about the 8 different types of tea, each with their own unique flavors and benefits, by The Tea Spot.
Green tea is great for energy, weight loss, and is a great source of healthy greens (chlorophyll).
Chamomile tea is soothing and relieves stress. Ginger tea helps digestion, and an occasional licorice tea will curb the sweet tooth.
Time’s post reminds us that”Scientists have found that the catechins (antioxidants) in green tea extract increase the body’s ability to burn fat as fuel, which accounts for improved muscle endurance.”
Reset Your Weight
Coffee lovers, what will you do to bring your hormones back into balance instead of relying on more cups of coffee to get you through each day?
Not only will you be building a stronger, more diversified gut microbiome with these 10 drinks that are not coffee, you’ll still get your much needed energy. Relax and enjoy your weight loss journey!