People are attached to beverages – glass of wine, the wake-up cups of coffee, the mid-afternoon pick-me-up soda … here are some solid suggestions for paving the way for an easier transition away from these entrenched habits:
For some, a polyphenol-rich ritual. For others, a “crutch” beverage. People use coffee for comfort, for energy, as part of an ingrained habit (daily Starbucks run, anyone?), to perk up, and – yes – as a daily laxative. Some studies have shown benefits from moderate coffee intake, especially for those who are fast caffeine metabolizers. But for many, the daily multi-cup coffee habit is disturbing sleep, dysregulating cortisol, and promoting a hypervigilant nervous system. Explore why you drink coffee, and
consider one of the modifications below.
“But first, lemon water.” (Instead of the all popular “but first, coffee”). I recommend you start the day with 20oz (or whatever you can do) of warm or room temperature lemon water before anything else. We are most dehydrated first thing in the morning! They can set it out the night before on the kitchen counter – or even keep it on their nightstand. This habit provides much-needed hydration after an overnight fast and helps flush the system from metabolic waste. A simple, easy-to-remember addition to the daily routine. Without taking anything away.
Organic Matcha or green tea. Still caffeinated (although less so) but full of phytonutrient antioxidants and cancer-fighting phenols. You may love a matcha latte with non-dairy milk (find recipes online; some favorite add-ins include flavored stevia, date syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt). A green tea with honey can be a great afternoon pick-me-up – a small amount of caffeine along with l-theanine (which increases GABA) in tea can increase focus while calming the nervous system.
Dandyblend – an organic herbal concoction featuring dandelion root – great for the hepatic biliary system. Resembles coffee in look and still has a rich, bitter taste. Great for those who drink coffee all day long – start with replacing all but the first 1-2 cups of coffee with Dandyblend and go from there. Dandelion root tea is a less expensive version with a lighter flavor.
Elixirs – tasty, convenient beverages featuring mushrooms, medicinal herbs and superfoods. Come in many flavors and provide a variety of therapeutic benefits. https://harmonicarts.ca/collections/elixirs is a great example of what’s available.
Better coffee – if you just need to upgrade your coffee, three better options are Bulletproof, Lifeboost and Purity. Coffee is a high-pesticide crop and is often moldy. FourSigmatic or Mud Water are a good option for a healthy coffee infused with medicinal mushroom extracts.
Creamer replacement – for those with dairy elimination who still want to have cream in their coffee or tea, choose from a variety of non-dairy options including coconut, oat or macadamia based varieties which are (to many!) surprisingly creamy and rich. MCT oil or full fat coconut milk can be used for quick-absorbing and filling fats that add richness and creaminess.
Often one of the first things that is promoting dis-ease, soda can be a hard habit to break! We look for alternatives that keep the fizzy refreshment but drop the chemicals and sugar load. Offer these “good, better, best” replacements to break this bad habit progressively. It typically takes ~2 months for our taste buds to withdraw from highly sweetened beverages and appreciate rich, natural flavors. Be patient.
Zevia – a canned stevia sweetened beverage that can be a great first step to wean off commercial soda. Comes in a variety of flavors, including a cola. Over time, begin to dilute this with plain or sparkling mineral water to “reprogram” the taste buds to need less sweetness.
Flavored or unflavored stevia with mineral water – use something like Pellegrino or Gerolsteiner as a base. Add some stevia drops and you get a fizzy soda-like drink!
“Hollywood” spritzer – drop the stevia and flavor the sparkling mineral water with a splash (1-2 Tbsp) of fruit juice (especially citrus) or a couple chunks of real fruit (common favorites: pineapple or watermelon) that you lightly macerate with a spoon in the bottom of the glass. Stir and enjoy.
Switchel or Kombucha – probiotic-rich beverages which can be mixed with plain or sparkling water for a great soda replacement. Great for the microbiome too. Be careful if you have histamine-related symptoms.
People use alcoholic beverages to de-stress, to wind down before sleep, as a comforting daily ritual, or for more relaxed socialization. For many people, light-to-moderate alcohol intake can be an ongoing part of a healthy lifestyle. But if you are wrestling with chronic dis-ease, you will benefit from substantially reducing or taking a break from alcohol. It may help reduce alcohol intake while keeping the meaningful rituals that matter most to you (e.g. the glass, the setting, the relaxation, the sunset, the companionship). The key is not to make it about deprivation; spice it up with fun, alternative Mocktail options:
Antiox Powerhouse – Lemon juice, water, a splash or pomegranate juice, and blueberries – blend together (with ice if it’s summer) and top with minced mint leaves. Delish!
Nongarita – juice of 1 lemon, 1 lime, chilled water and a few drops of stevia. Serve over ice and serve in a glass with Himalayan sea salt around the rim. Great for extra vitamin C and electrolytes!
A Modern Digestif – fill an ice-cold shaker with 1 1/2 cups sparkling mineral water, 1 to 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 5-10 drops liquid stevia and 3-5 drops of one or two Essential Oils based on preference (some good ones are lemon, ginger, lime and grapefruit). Shake and serve over ice or “up” in a sexy glass with a cocktail umbrella. Garnish with a citrus slice or fresh mint. Especially great before dinner – the vinegar and the bitter oils stimulate digestive secretions.
The New “Virgin” – non-alcoholic spirits distilled from botanicals – https://wildertonfree.com/ is a great source for a clean, delicious option that features many interesting recipes on their website.
Research mocktail recipes online to find ones that appeals to you. I encourage you to serve beverages in a wine goblet or a Margarita glass to enhance the experience and perhaps increase their sense of belonging or comfort in social settings.
Meal replacement shakes
It shocks me when I hear that healthcare providers and nutritionists are still recommending chemical-laden drinks such as Boost, Slimfast, and Carnation Instant Breakfast shakes, especially post-bariatric surgery and to the elderly, cancer patients, and athletes. There are options with nutrients without chemicals.
Whole food shake – try some simple recipes using seeds, nut butters, vegetables, fruits and non-dairy milks e.g. Dr. Hyman’s whole food detox shake. You can customize based on your taste and thickness preferences and for convenience. When in doubt (and a hurry), a couple scoops of collagen powder, a cup of oat milk, a cup of frozen fruit, and 2 Tbsp of nut butter blended ‘til smooth is a great place to begin!
Medical food smoothie – choose a fortified medical food from one of the high-quality supplement manufacturers. These powdered products are made with a purpose in mind – blood glucose management, detox nutrition, lowering inflammation, or basic nutritional support. It’s also a way to incorporate several, specific supplement needs without a lot of separate pills. Use this within a whole food shake for a meal or on its own in between meals as a low-stress option for therapeutic supplementation.
Greens powders – organic, whole food based products can be added to smoothies or shakes to up the daily nutrient quotient. An easy way to increase phytonutrient consumption.
Feeding tube formula or oral meal replacement-In the event you need nutrition after surgery through an IV port, I highly recommend Liquid Hope. This is an organic, low allergenic meal replacement you can feel good about as you recover.
In your search for a healthier lifestyle, there are many easy adjustments you can make that will keep you feeling satisfied while maintaining wellness.
If you would like to learn more about wellness, I am happy to help!