I love to see people’s reactions when I have to explain that I don’t drink coffee. First comes the look of shock, judgment and confusion, followed by a variation of questions like, “Why? How? Are you human? What’s wrong with you? I don’t understand.” The truth is, I’ve never actually tried coffee, but if around it too long I get a headache from the smell and it's just never been too appealing to me. This year I did challenge myself to order a mocha from Starbucks, which to me tasted like a ruined cup of hot chocolate, so I here I am back to my non-coffee drinking ways. For anyone trying to drink less coffee, or give it up completely, I thought I’d share some of my tips for getting through the day without it.
Heat It Up
I read somewhere years ago that having a hot beverage in the morning helps with productivity. Holding something hot in your hands and feeling the steam hit you when you take a sip aids with alertness. Especially here in Seattle, when the mornings are cold and often wet, it just feels right to drink something warm. I used to hate tea, but after a summer working in London, my coworkers converted me. I love black tea with a little milk and sugar, or my recent go-to: any of the Yogi Teas. My personal favorites are Detox and Green Tea Ginger. The Yogi Teas are great because they taste awesome on their own, plus each bag has a cute fortune on the tag!
Water is your best friend. We all know that we should be drinking eight glasses a day, but if you’re like me, sometimes it’s easier said than done. I do better using a smaller glass because I finish it faster and have to refill more, versus using a big daunting mug and eyeing it on my desk all day. Bonus, more refills means more trips to the water supply also helping you get up and walk around a bit.
Juice and Smoothies
I love starting my morning with a fresh juice. I try to use my juicer at home or make a smoothie before I leave, but when I’m crunched for time, I usually hit up the trusty Starbucks across the street. I love the Evolution Fresh juices. If you’re a picky juice consumer, I recommend Super Greens or Defense Up – they’re much sweeter and don’t taste like the Earth, like the Essential Greens does. Another favorite from Starbucks is their smoothie. I get the orange mango smoothie and ask them to add Green Tea Matcha powder. This makes the smoothie green, but doesn't affect the taste at all. Sometimes I even add Chia Seeds when I’m back in the office for extra energy. If you’re unfamiliar with the Chia Seed craze, it’s a super food that you can mix in things like yogurt, smoothies, or anything wet because they turn gelatinous, and helps with hydration and energy.
It’s been reported that having snacks throughout the day helps with productivity and can give you the boost you need to finish the day as strong as you started. Eating something citrusy, like an orange will help with that afternoon crash. Smelling it alone will perk you up a bit. Other great snacks for a little energy boost are apples (ask Paul how he eats an apple, it will blow your mind!), dried fruits and nuts, popcorn, hummus, more juice or a smoothie, yogurt and dark chocolate. For more healthy snack ideas, check out this great list. And if you love something sweet in the afternoon, I am obsessed with the Brookside dark chocolate covered berries. My favorites are Açai and Goji Berry.
Take a Lap
It may be surprising, but sitting all day is a total energy suck. I never noticed how sedentary my days could be until I really started tracking my daily movement with our awesome Jawbone UP bands. I’ve set mine to buzz me if I haven’t taken any steps in over an hour. This is a super helpful reminder and gets me to be more conscious of my activity during the day. Even if it’s to go outside for a few minutes for some fresh air, the act of taking a physical break helps tremendously. This is also something I learned while in London, because I was forced to take a lunch and to go take a break and walk around outside. At first it felt weird because I was so used to the days of putting my head down, working through lunch and never really noticing that hours would pass before I ever left my desk. It’s easy to fall into this habit, we all do, so whether you have something to monitor your physical activity, or you set a little calendar reminder, I strongly suggest finding a way to remind yourself to get up, move around and get that blood flowing for that natural energy. Your body will thank you.
I’d love to hear any suggestions you have for coffee substitutes, or ways to get through the day without that dreaded afternoon crash! Find me on Twitter @c_allodi and let me know your best tip!