Coffee is the go-to stimulant of choice, a reward for getting to work in the morning, and the only way some of us can get out of bed – and there’s a whole culture and industry that has sprung up around it.
Alongside with the health effects of drinking it in moderation, and as part of a healthy diet, coffee is acidifying and can tax your adrenals, especially if you’ve been under stress. And if you’re suffering from anxiety or sensitive to caffeine it can make you downright jittery!
The potential problems with coffee come in where you begin to rely on high energy low nutrient snacks and stimulants to get you going. Think the 3pm slump where you reach for sugary carbs like biscuits and pastries as well as caffeine. The body gets a short term boost followed by a crash.
Former ironman and triathelete Brendan Brazier calls the feeling of fatigue that follows our cravings for fast-acting on-the-go energy ‘biological debt’ – and like credit card debt it has to be repaid.
For long term health and vitality Brendan stresses the need to distinguish between two types of energy –one derived from stimulation and one derived from nourishment (for the full details check out his excellent vegan guide to optimal performance Thrive).
While a daily coffee isn’t going to do you harm, if you’re under ongoing stress it may not be doing you any favours either. Stress is associated with adrenal stimulation and elevated cortisol levels followed by fatigue. Reaching for a coffee to pep you up may be counterproductive as it stimulates adrenals even further eventually bringing about greater fatigue.
And so begins a vicious cycle- we get stressed out and fatigued, we reach for sugary coffee and carbs, and a further debit is enacted from our body. Left unpaid, over time this debt can lead to exhaustion and illness.
A better approach is to get your lift from high quality whole foods that give you a lasting source of energy. The body needs real nutrients – preferably from raw, fresh unprocessed foods which revitalise and provide a sustained energy supply.
If you’ve noticed a long term drain on your energy supply or you’d simply prefer to start your day with a beverage that nourishes your body and is a source of balanced fuel, there are a range of tasty options out there. From green smoothies to dandelion coffee and the surprising benefits of matcha green tea, you can easily incorporate nutritiously dense energising drinks into your day, without having to forego the occasional coffee date with friends.
For starters why not try this unique twist on hot chocolate that really packs a punch–one you won’t get using processed and heat-treated regular cocoa and sugar laden hot chocolate powders.
Indulge in the magnesium rich goodness of raw cacao, blended with high protein, mineral dense maca, and blood sugar regulating and brain-boosting cinnamon for a long-lasting lift. Delicious!
- 1 teaspoon maca powder
- 1 teaspoon raw cacao
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- pinch of cayenne
- 1 cup of your favourite milk (coconut, almond, soy or dairy)
- honey or maple to sweeten (optional)
Combine in a small saucepan, and warm over low heat. Whisk for a frothier version!