I like coffee. Probably just as much as you do. I enjoy the alertness it brings, and the conversation it can fuel with my friends.
The downside is that coffee also makes me nervous. It’s a fine line, but once I cross my threshold, I start to get jittery and a little tight in the chest. Low-level anxiety looms on the horizon.
I can easily get lost down the rabbit hole of multiple cups a day, I think my record is 7 - I had so much caffeine running through me I started to taste colours.
I’m not alone in my attraction to this magic drink. Last time I checked, coffee was the second highest traded commodity on the planet, right behind market-traded barrels of oil. As a global culture, we operate every day, caffeinated. And that makes sense, because it works.
It's a push-pull relationship, though. I love the mild rush a cup brings to the morning, but at the same time, I don't care for the way it singes and agitates my nervous system. The way it can light my adrenal glands on fire when I have too much. I start to feel like I'm made of sun-bleached cardboard.
But this is not a hopeless situtation. There are alternatives out there, I’ve learned. I’ve tried a number of them, and I’ve landed on a couple I really like.
My two favourite are maca root supplements and various formulas of mushroom coffees.
By all accounts I’ve dug up, they are safe to consume in regular fashion for the majority of people on the planet. I’ll leave it to you to do your own research to see if they are appropriate for you, but in my own self experiments I’ve found them both to be winners.
I really prefer maca root as an energy-lifter before I do any high endurance exercise, like a long run or a session at the gym.
And the mushroom coffees are a great morning option in place of conventional coffee. They provide a nice and stable lift, and bring added mental clarity without the baggage of jitters, bloodshot eyes, shaky fingers or shallow breathing. The mushroom content of the coffee is generally one of four well-recognized adaptogenic mushrooms - reishii, chaga, lion’s mane, or cordyceps. I cannot even begin to showcase the details of these mushrooms here and now, but suffice to say there is good evidence that they can produce positive effects on your physiology, hormonal, and immune systems. They have a lot value baked right into them.
So if you’ve been thinking about reformatting your coffee habit, or just want to try a different dance during your morning routine, consider maca root (powder or supplement) or mushroom coffee (my favourite, commercially available brand is Four Sigmatic). Both are really great, comparably priced alternatives to coffee. I tend to spot them at nearly every health food store I visit.
Coffee is great, that is of no doubt. I'm not swearing it off anytime soon. But in the last few years, I have diversified my toolkit to include maca root and mushrooms in the mix. And the results speak for themselves.