We’ve all heard it: caffeine in large doses is bad for you. But to those of us who have to wake up early to start the grind, this sounds like one of those cute but unrealistic facts that doesn’t really add anything practical to your life. I come from a coffee-obsessed home with parents who tossed back coffee like it was water. I started drinking café con leche every morning when I was 12. So I definitely understand the struggle.
But here is the thing: drinking coffee in the morning might sound like an efficient way to get some sugar in your blood and kick that morning drowsiness, but in the long run, the caffeine and sugar intake backfires immensely.
I’m not just talking about lifespan issues, such as potential adrenal and nervous system complications—I’m also talking about how coffee moves through your body throughout the day. The dose of caffeine in each cup of coffee can come with a pretty vicious spike and crash cycle.
“The first thing your body needs [to do] in the morning is to hydrate,” said Angel Rodríguez Vega, founder of Puerto Rico Vegano. “When you get enough potassium and protein in the morning, you really don’t need any caffeine.”
When I asked him about sugar intake in the morning, he agreed that the standard American diet has far too much of it. “Sugar is not a bad thing when it comes from fruit where it exists naturally. But when we look at refined sugar, it’s a completely different story,” Rodríguez Vega said. “There are enough studies that show us that sugar is directly linked to chronic illnesses like cancer and diabetes. We want to take care of our bodies from the inside out, because at the end of the day, illness is more expensive than eating healthy.”
Having gone through a radical change in my diet about two years ago, I can say that ditching coffee in the morning has done amazing things for me. The most unexpected effect has been that my energy levels are through the roof, and although I love sleeping in, I never feel like I’m dragging my feet when I have to wake up early.
I do, however, love a good morning drink to help me start my day feeling energized. Here is an original recipe that changed my life, and that gave coffee a serious run for its money without the caffeine, sugar or mid-afternoon crash. Call it my Green Warrior Water if you will.
You will need:
1 ½ cup water
1 tbsp spirulina
the juice of 1 lime (or ½ lemon)
agave to taste
Just stir these ingredients together, or if you want it warm, boil the water first and add the rest into your favorite mug or tumbler. If you set it down for a bit, make sure to shake it well before you enjoy!
Victoria Sagardía is pursuing a B.A. in writing, literature and publishing at Emerson College. She is also the editor and publisher of meditatingmango.com, a health and wellness blog that she recently re-launched. She writes in both English and Spanish and is also an active member of Danza Orgánica, a multi-disciplinary dance company centered on art for social justice. Follow her @meditatingmango.
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