Coffee is great. Let's just put that out there right now. But sometimes even I - the coffee, caffeine addict that I am - would rather drink something other. If not that, then maybe its just too late in the day or maybe I have already had too much coffee, which is when I would choose to drink something else other than coffee.
Nowadays, I am passed sugary drinks and only want to drink more of the simple things that will truly better my body rather than just increase the amount of empty calories I consume. But this has taken some personal experimenting and time. I used to be a sweet beverage drinker only. To be quite honest, a white chocolate americano with almond milk is one of my favorite things to this day, and I used to drink one every single day. Yes - every. single. day. Believe it or not, I was legit named the “most caffeinated student” my senior year of high school because about 90% of the time you could find me walking around school with a Dutch Bros blended kicker in my hand (blended kicker = sugar plus sugar plus chocolate milk plus little coffee). Yep. Not my proudest moment… But after learning more about nutrition and health, why the way we fuel our bodies really matters, and also of how addicting sugar truly is (I would have such a bad morning if I didn’t get the sugar kick right away) then I started to ween myself off of it and I have never felt better. I found that my need for sugary coffee in the morning was more of a mind game than anything and that my mind, and the sugar I was addicted to, was telling me that I needed it, when I really did/do not.
To be honest, it did take me a while to want to change this highly addictive habit, but I slowly found that after a while I actually began to like the way that I felt after drinking a cup of black coffee in the morning instead of my sugary, processed beverage. I felt cleaner on the inside, and was proud that I was no longer starting my days off on an unhealthy foot.
Soon enough, after telling myself that I liked black coffee and drinking enough of it, I actually did begin to like the taste of it more than anything else in the morning. A warm, bitter cup of joe is now what I prefer to drink. I am very thankful that I made the change because it has also decreased the amount of sugar cravings I have and has enhanced my taste buds towards enjoying more bitter, savory foods.
So now I basically only drink beverages that fuel my body the best way possible. No mind games here - when your mind gets over itself and allows you to actually begin to listen to what your body truly needs, you will begin to crave cleaner beverages, other than water. Water is great, so if you can drink water all day, props to you! I want to be like you someday! But that’s a habit I am trying to get into.
These days there are so many prepackaged drinks and drink mixes out there that it can be hard to pick and choose the right ones. Rule of thumb: always read the ingredients. Stay clear of drinks with unnecessary, added sugar or other additives that may be listed. Thankfully, there are a ton of other, better brands out there that strive to put actually healthy and beneficial drinks and drink mixes in stores for our convenience. And thank goodness, because sometimes I don't know how I would be able to get through a day without them.
Through much experimenting, I have officially found some amazing companies that do just that and put the best quality drink mixes out there for our leisure and our health. So next time you feel like you need another coffee but don't need more caffeine, or just want something to sip on while you are at work or even just curled by a nice fire, check out some of these suggestions.
Sutra has got to be one of my favorite drink brands because it is just great . Filled with herbs, mushrooms, and spices, these drink mixes give you an organic energy boost without the caffeine. When I was in school, their alkalizing black hot cocoa mix was one of my go-to study drinks for late nights studying, especially since my gut is super sensitive to eating and drinking late at night. The golden chai mix is also really good iced and, in my preference, with honey due to its little spice kick. SO GOOD though.
Suggestion: Try the Sutra Black. Hot cocoa on steroids! (Not literally.. but I love it.)
My gut can be pretty sensitive, so whenever it is feeling a bit off, or I am feeling bloated, or when I just want a really refreshing drink, this is my favorite - cold or hot. Drinking this every day is such a good way to stay hydrated, increase vitality, decrease inflammation, and get some vitamin C in your system.
My happy gut drink: Mix into 16oz of water - 1 scoop of collagen powder, 1 teaspoon of a raw lemon/ginger tonic OR the juice of 1/2 fresh lemon with a small slice of ginger root, then add 1/2 Tablespoon raw honey (optional) - and enjoy.
My 'happy gut' drink
Good quality bone broth can do your body so much good (wow, imagine this!). Not only is it homey and warm, it is filled with natural collagen and other healing components, is rich in minerals, boosts your immune system, is great for your skin and also helps gut health. Make sure to get low or no sodium broth, as lots of store bought broths can be very high in salt if you don’t watch out! Also, double check to see if “bones” are in the ingredients listed. This means you will be getting all of these great nutrients.
Favorite brands: Kettle & Fire, Bonafide, Epic, Bare Bones
Suggestion: Increase the flavor and health benefits by adding some fun things to your broth drink, such as turmeric, mct oil/ghee, black pepper, scallions, parsley, cilantro, chili, etc.
I really think Four Sigmatic's mushroom instant coffee is great (actually, for instant coffee it really is), but honestly, I put this brand on here because I also LOVE their hot cocoa mixes (see a trend here?). All of their drink mixes contain mushrooms, but the crazy thing is that you do not taste them yet you receive their powerful medicinal benefits. It won't give you the big boost that a cup of coffee will, but it will give you a little more pep in your step mid-day and a ton of other benefits that coffee cannot give.
Suggestion: Try their Revive mushroom hot cocoa with cordyceps - my fav!
One of my favorite fruity pick me ups is a glass of cold water with HUM Nutrition’s tahitian vanilla and berry infusion raw beauty green superfood powder. Filled with probiotics, fiber, antioxidants, enzymes, adaptogens and other beauty foods, this fruity drink is a great afternoon sipper- especially during summer. Plus, it is really good for our digestive system! Pour the mix into a glass of iced water and top with a lemon slice and its the perfect, fresh, sweet treat.
Suggestion: Try their raw beauty green superfood drink mix in vanilla berry - YUM.
Coconut water is a great drink to sip on to combat dehydration. Naturally low in fat and sugar, it is a sweet, refreshing drink that also contains calcium, magnesium, sodium, B and C vitamins, natural electrolytes and up to 14% of your daily potassium needs. I always drink coconut water after a good sweat or as a thirst quencher in the summer.
Favorite brands: Suja, Harmless Harvest, Vital Juice, Tumeric Alive ( I recommend these brands because they are the few that do not make their coconut water out of powder or kill all of the good things using heat.)
Suggestion: When buying coconut water, make sure to read the ingredients as some brands do try to sneak in added sugars. Also, buying coconut water from a young versus a mature coconut is vital for getting the most nutrients out of the drink.
Kombucha is fermented tea that overflows with different health benefits that differ from your everyday seeped tea. Because of the fermentation process used to make tea into kombucha, natural, good bacteria is created as a bi-product. This bacteria has been said to promote a healthy gut when consuming it. Some kombuchas that are made from green/black teas have a tad bit of caffeine in them. So when I want something refreshing, kombucha is typically what I reach for as I almost always have some in my fridge.
Favorite brands: Brew Dr. Kombucha
Suggestion: Some sugar and alcohol are necessary parts and bi-products of the kombucha brewing process, so check out the ingredients to know for sure before consuming. The important thing to look for when buying kombucha at the store is to see if there is anything added after the brewing process, as some brands tend to add flavors, sugar, juices, and even added probiotics to their final product.
Matcha tea is simply whole green tea leaves that are finely ground up. So instead of consuming tea leaf infused water, when you drink a matcha, you are drinking the actual tea leaves themselves. Green tea is filled with so many antioxidants that you really cannot beat it.
Favorite brands: Mizuba Tea Co., Pure Matcha, Midori Matcha, Grace Matcha, Encha
Suggestion: Make this with your favorite alternative milk (I like hemp or oat with this the best!). Blend it with some collagen powder and get a warm, frothy tea. Oooo.
Matcha Green Tea
Tumeric lattes are probably one of my all-time favorite healthy drinks because they are just so warm and homey to me. I drink a lot of them during the wintertime. They are not really energizing, but they are seriously packed with anti inflammatory goodness. Check out the ingredients below as the combination is vital for you to reap of its benefits. Make one right before bed to help put you to sleep. Mmmm.
My mix: Warm about 12 oz of oat/ almond/ coconut/ hazelnut milk in a cup. Add 1 teaspoon tumeric powder, 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, a few dashes of cinnamon, a small dash of ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, a few cracks of black pepper (you don’t need much), and a spoonfiul of honey. Add collagen powder to give it that extra boost, but then blend it all together in a blender to make it nice and frothy and enjoy!
*As a balanced living enthusiast, I like to be real about life and like to suggest healthy alternatives to things I see people already consuming on a regular basis. Ultimately, water is the best thing to drink. So as I am recommending these drinks, I also think it is important to make recommend making sure you are drinking an adequate amount of water on a daily basis as well. Also, those who are pregnant or who are thinking of becoming pregnant soon, please speak with your doctor before making any of these a part of your daily intake.