Early morning coffee alternatives

They say moving is in the top three life stresses, just under death of a loved one and divorce. I’m feeling it. As a creature of habit, it’s hard being some place new. I say this is the reason I started drinking coffee again. Earlier this year, I gave up caffeine as an experiment to see if I would, in fact, feel better for it (I did). I’m now finding it’s become a habit again. With the fall season approaching (pumpkin spice latte or chai tea, anyone?), I want to make sure I scale back enough that a coffee is an indulgence, something to savor, rather than a necessity or a lifeline. I don’t think coffee is bad for you – it’s not (it all boils down to individuality). But if you are looking to cut caffeine, reduce acidity or just try something new, here are three coffee alternatives that have worked for me before:

To initially wean myself from coffee, I tried this: Teeccino Caramel Dandilion Herbal Coffee Tee Bags.  It’s sweetened with dates, this smells and tastes really good. For a stronger brew, use two tea bags. This coffee-like tea contains dandelion and chicory root, carob, dates, almonds and figs (75 percent organic). It smells amazing (very much like caramel!) and tastes pretty good, too. If you like a big cup, make sure you use two bags so you aren’t left with a weaker brew. You still get antioxidants plus potassium and soluble fiber, without the acidity of regular coffee.

Dandy Blend is more like an instant coffee—it’s a powder that dissolves in water and you can drink it hot or cold. It’s more cost effective than the Teeccino and you can easily control how strong you want it and feels and tastes more like regular cup of coffee. It tastes better than it smells. This semi-sweet herbal blend is made from the extracts of dandelion, chicory and beet root plus barely and rye. It’s gluten free and non-gmo.

With immune-boosting, digestive-soothing properties, my current favorite early morning wake up is ginger lemon “tea.” I’ve tried it three ways: Simmering ginger in a pot and adding fresh squeezed lemon juice (a more traditional method of making ginger tea); Blending the ginger and lemon in a VitaMix (or other high-powered blender) with water and strain with a cheese cloth; Juicing the ginger and lemon into a concentrate to which boiling water is added (my preferred method).

Interested in reasons why you might want to consider cutting coffee? Check out this article from Mark Hyman, MD. Mark Hyman is a physician, educator, Founder and Director of the UltraWellness Center, Leader in Functional Medicine—and a guest lecturer for the Institute for Integrative Nutrition!

What’s your favorite non-coffee morning drink?


Photo Credit


Cabbage, kohlrabi and choi…oh my!

My hope in participating in a CSA program this year was to try vegetables I normally wouldn’t buy from the grocery store and farmer’s market. Mission accomplished. Case in point, my latest delivery: choi, romaine lettuce, Napa cabbage, sugar snap peas and kohlrabi. Peas and romaine lettuce, I know what to do with. Swiss chard sometimes appears in a green smoothie. But choi? Kohlrabi? What the heck do you do with those?

Here are two recipes—one raw, one cooked— that we tweaked to get the most out of these glorious greens. I say “we” because my husband is the chef of the household. If he ever reads these posts, I want to make sure I’m not passing off his culinary skills as my own!

Thai Crunch Salad – I love Danielle Walker and her recipes (she makes amazing deserts) so I had to give this one a try. This salad calls for Napa cabbage, peas, jicama, carrot and mango. We added the kohlrabi which tastes very similarly to a radish. Don’t skip the dressing.

Pak Choi with Smoked Bacon – Mix bacon with any green and you have it made. Instead of just choi, we added the swiss chard. This was delicious alone but would have been equally yummy on a bed of romaine.

Why eat greens?

  • Green veggies are alkaline. Meaning, they help to neutralize acidic conditions in the body brought on by emotional stress, the Standard American Diet and environmental toxins (having an excess acidity in the body may result in health problems such as cancer, chronic fatigue, depression, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, arthritis, osteoporosis, viruses, weight gain, skin conditions and more).
  • Greens, especially the leafy kind, support the respiratory system.
  • In ancient Indian teachings, green vegetables feed the heart chakra which is home to love, joy and inner peace.
  • In traditional Chinese medicine, greens promote liver health plus emotional stability and creativity.
  • Greens also aid in blood purification, cancer prevention, circulation, immune function, and gut health.
CSA Greens
An example of my weekly crop share haul from the week before! I was in too much of a hurry last week to wash and store all the greens to snap a photo.

What’s your favorite green and way to prepare it? Leave me a comment!