Features

Don’t be a slave to your café. Try these alternatives and drop the dependency.

Photo by KayCie Gravelle

It’s warm, delicious, and gives you an excuse to buy that cool, expensive mug from chapters you feel classy drinking from. That’s awesome, and the coffee you pour into it is awesome—until it’s not.

Caffeine, often considered the best part of a cup of Joe, can actually mess with your insides and you probably don’t even know it. While caffeine only makes up one or two per cent of the coffee bean, it can still increase your stress hormones, decrease your insulin sensitivity (which can lead to cardiovascular disease) and it can become an addiction that’s as difficult to kick as other, harder drugs.

“Even on days when I wake up rested and I don’t feel like I need the caffeine, if I skip my morning cup my whole day feels thrown off until I get the opportunity to have a coffee,” says second year U of O public relations student Pina Capuano.

What if there was an alternative to your medium drip?

Capuano notes how much she likes the taste of coffee. She would be hard-pressed to find an alternative.

“It would have to be one heck of a product,” she says.

Well, it’s not one heck of a product; there are tons of things you can do to boost your energy without being a slave to café culture.

Vitamin B12
Wondering how you can be alert throughout the day without compromising your sleep schedule? Ditch the energy drinks and constant Starbucks runs and get yourself on a B12 routine instead. B12 plays a key role in brain function, the nervous system, and blood formation. Not only does it help provide mental clarity, but it also has energy-enhancing properties and it plays an important role in the production of melatonin (a hormone that helps to regulate a healthy sleep schedule).

Be sure to check in with your doctor before you start a B12 regime. Your doc will give you the appropriate dose and will talk to you about other options for kicking caffeine as well.

Exercise
Quit caffeine as part of your workout routine. Exercise promotes the release of serotonin and dopamine, which are natural chemicals that your body manufactures to make you feel great. Simple exercises like walking, doing jumping jacks, or mowing the lawn will give you an energy boost similar to the one you get with caffeine, minus the post-java crash.

Herbal coffees
Herbal coffees are a pretty new alternative to regular coffee but they’re quickly gaining popularity. Teeccino and Cafix, two options, are primarily made from grains, figs, chicory, and sometimes beetroot. These products don’t have the same effects as coffee as far as stimulation goes, but they have a similar taste without the caffeine and acidity.

Cool it with your coffee addiction and try switching to a healthier alternative. Not only will your friends thank you for your fresher breath, but your body will thank you too.