It’s 7am on a Monday morning. Your alarm goes off and you’d wish nothing more than to stay in bed indefinitely. You struggle to get on your feet after 5 snoozes and eventually make your way to the shower, knowing this is the only thing that stands between you and your workday.
As you get dressed, you can’t help but notice how tired you are and wonder how you’re going to power through the rest of the morning. We ALL know the feeling.
For most people, the obvious solution to this is caffeine. One cup of coffee and you think you’re getting the energy needed to hit your day head on.
At first, you feel great and are able to make it through your day unscathed. After a while, that morning coffee isn’t enough. You opt for a second dose of caffeine in the afternoon just so you can scrape through your inbox before it’s time to head home. Eventually, this afternoon caffeine fix turns into a double espresso to keep you functioning.
At this point you notice you’re not sleeping well and waking up more tired each day. After weeks of this escalating, you don’t feel so good when drinking caffeine anymore. You get the jitters, and anxiety starts to creep in with every sip.
Caffeine Gives Me Energy…Right? Not Quite
So why is this vicious cycle something we see play out constantly? Well, the “energy” you think you’re getting from caffeine isn’t really energy at all.
When you consume caffeine, your adrenal glands release stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones increase your heart rate and blood pressure, putting you in a state of alertness called “fight or flight” mode. This is a very useful mechanism if we are in an extreme situation where quick action is needed...like running from a bear.
The problem is most people aren’t consuming caffeine in life or death moments in the wild; they’re at their desks. So what’s the big deal?
Continuous caffeine consumption overworks the adrenal glands and puts your stress response system in disarray. In the morning, cortisol is supposed to be naturally high to wake yourself up. People who drink too much caffeine aren’t able to naturally produce enough cortisol in the morning so they are fatigued to start the day. Instead, these people tend to experience cortisol spikes with meals, which causes them to overeat.
This pattern causes an increase in body fat, decreased muscle mass, and slower metabolism. Uh oh.
Caffeine Free Diet for True Energy
As you can see, the temporary alertness you feel from caffeine isn’t true energy. For more sustained energy throughout the day you can’t rely on a quick fix.
Instead, you need to support your body with a caffeine free diet that will ultimately allow the mitochondria in your cells to produce more tangible energy for you to use for longer durations.
Abiding by a caffeine free diet is more than just removing coffee, tea, and energy drinks to keep you moving throughout the day. A caffeine free diet requires you to revamp your nutrition so that you can nourish your gut, support your detox pathways and assist your brain. By nourishing your system as a whole on a caffeine free diet, your mitochondria will be better suited to produce more ATP, our energy molecule.
What to Eat and What NOT to Eat on a Caffeine Free Diet
Before we can talk about what to eat on a caffeine free diet, it’s important to understand what you NEED to avoid.
- Steer clear of the processed junk you’re used to consuming when you reach for most packaged foods.
- Become an expert at reading labels. If you don’t know an ingredient on the list, chances are it isn’t good for you.
- Refined inflammatory oils are a no-go on the caffeine free diet. Oils, such as sunflower, safflower, canola, grape seed, rapeseed, etc. should be avoided at all costs.
- You should also limit dairy and gluten on a caffeine free diet. While some people can tolerate these, most struggle to digest them, which can drive leaky gut, contributing to fatigue.
- Lastly, you want to limit your sugar on a caffeine free diet. By avoiding added sugars and sticking to low sugar fruits, you can control your blood sugar spikes and avoid energy fluctuations.
What to Eat on a Caffeine Free Diet
Now that we know what negatively impacts our mitochondrial health, lets focus on the REAL foods you should be eating on a caffeine free diet.
These are choices derived from whole foods that provide substantial nutrients in relation to the calories. Everyone responds differently to various diets, but as a general rule of thumb, it’s best to stick to a low carb caffeine free diet, with a moderate protein intake, and plenty of healthy fats.
Your diet should consist of organic plants, organic fruits, grass-fed/pasture raised meats, nuts and seeds. Grains are ok in moderation for most people, but should not be eaten in excess.
Top 5 Energy Producing Foods on a Caffeine Free Diet
With the foundation of a caffeine free diet in place, there are certain ways to enhance your energy levels. Below are five foods you can include in your routine that are known to boost mitochondrial health so you can feel energized throughout the day.
#1 Egg Yolk
While you may have been told egg yolk is bad for you due to the cholesterol content, it’s since been proven this is not the case. In fact, egg yolk is quite the contrary and is a vital part of your caffeine free diet. They are rich in essential fatty acids, nutrients, and protein. They include plenty of CoQ10, which is an enzyme that protects your cells from damage caused by oxidative stress.
#3 Olive Oil
Olive oil is by far the healthiest and most researched oil on the planet. Olive oil is made up of mostly monounsaturated fats (the good kind!), and includes oleic acid, which is known to be heart-healthy and capable of fighting free radical damage. Add this to your caffeine free diet and your mitochondria will certainly thank you.
Cacao is another delicious component of an effective caffeine free diet. It contains an amazing compound, theobromine, which promotes energy in the body without stressing the central nervous system. Move over coffee!
Another superfood you must include on a caffeine free diet is maca. This root has antioxidant properties that boost levels of glutathione in the body. Clinical trials have shown that maca can positively impact your energy, along with your mood without spurring the “jitters” you get when over consuming caffeine. Sign me up!
Practice Makes Perfect
If you incorporate these 5 superfoods into your caffeine free diet you’ll surely notice an improvement in energy. Remember, these foods are not a quick fix. In order to reap the maximum benefits you need to consistently eat within the guidelines of the optimal energy caffeine free diet.
If you’re struggling to find ways to use these five foods, try sipping on a SUTRA Gold Turmeric Latte or Black Cacao Latte. The SUTRA Gold tastes and looks better than coffee, has zero caffeine, and contains both turmeric and maca! SUTRA Black contains ample amounts of cacao to give you that natural energy without the negative impacts on your adrenals. Sip these daily and you’ll be forgetting you even needed coffee in the first place!