Two years ago, I found myself in the ER with agonizing stomach pains. They had been progressing for a few weeks, but I woke up one morning unable to stand because the pain was so bad.
After 24 hours in the ER getting every test known—MIR, ultrasound, blood work, you name it—the doctors found nothing. At that time, I was drinking a large cup of coffee a day (yes, just one) and my diet was not as clean as it could have been.
After meeting with my primary care doctor, and doing some of my own research, I decided to cut coffee from diet, cold turkey.
It wasn’t easy and I was pretty grouchy and exhausted for a few days, but I was determined. I didn’t want to have those terrible pains anymore. I knew I had to get healthier and kick my coffee habit.
Here are five things that I did, and continue to do, to keep myself energized without coffee each day. My stomach and digestive system cannot handle the acidity of coffee on a daily basis, which is why I was having such terrible discomfort. If you’re having similar problems, or if you just want to kick your coffee habit to the curb, try incorporating these 5 things into your daily routine:
1. Start each morning off with a cup of warm lemon water.
This is such a simple thing to do that results in huge benefits for your body. It helps alkalize the body, detox the liver, and helps your skin get that supermodel glow. Plus, if you’re used to having a warm cup of coffee when you first wake up, you’re tricking your mind by having a warm beverage. Tip: heat 8 to 12 ounces of filtered water and squeeze 1/4 of a lemon over the water, so the lemon juice falls into the glass. Stir. Drink. Smile.
2. Switch to green tea.
Unlike coffee, which is acidic and harsh on your body, green tea helps alkalize the body, while still giving you the caffeine fix that you crave. It’s more gentle on your stomach and body, plus it helps speed up your metabolism. If you don’t want to quit caffeine cold turkey, transitioning to green tea is a great way to go. Tip: look for whole leaf, organic, fair trade green tea. It contains more nutrients and is better for your body.
3. Get your greens.
Worried that ditching caffeine will leave you dragging throughout the day? Having a glass of fresh green juice in the morning, or as an afternoon snack, can do wonders for your energy levels while giving your body a huge nutrient boost. Tip: stick with mostly green vegetables in your morning juice, like dark leafy greens, cucumbers, and celery to help alkalize your body, and add just one fruit, like a small apple, so you don’t spike your blood sugar.
4. Move your body.
Whether it’s 5 mile run, a 20 minute walk, or gentle yoga stretches, moving your body when you rise helps wake your body up and get your blood flowing. Plus, it helps you stay focused throughout the day. I aim for 30 minutes of movement within the first hour I’m awake. On the days I don’t do this I can really tell a difference in my energy levels and my ability to focus, especially around the 3pm slump! Tip: if you’re new to working out in the morning, start slow by doing simple yoga stretches for 15 minutes.
5. Eat clean.
The cleaner you eat, the more energy you’ll have. Avoid processed foods, sugar and artificial sweeteners, and foods that weigh you down will increase your energy ten fold.