I have a bit of an obsession with beverages. Those same magical powers that I expect from coffee every morning (and it always delivers), I’m also looking for in pretty much everything else I drink, even, sometimes, water (which is kind of ridiculous).
It seems I’m not alone, as the market for beverages that allow us to “chill out, boost immunity, or perk up” is growing fast, as is the snackification of so much of what we eat, including our meals. Where some of these beverages fall on the fluff-o-meter of what they’re actually doing for us remains to be seen (as that last link discusses), so I’d love to hear your experiences with them in the comments.
The massive healthy beverage market is not short on options: with drinks like kombucha, green juices, vegetable-based protein drinks and adaptogen-seasoned tonics flooding the market, now has never been a better time to quit coffee, nurse your alcohol-free lifestyle, indulge your oral fixation, and potentially feel the effects these drinks promise.
ANYWAY, I thought I’d share the drinks that are currently part of my daily routine, in roughly chronological order, and why. Some are newer to my world than others, and some are cheaper than others. Where possible, I’m linking to resources that can help you indulge in some of them cheaply, because who wants to spend $6 on 10 ounces of liquid? Talk about a sunk cost.
Water. Not tap water, alkaline water, or bottled water, but filtered water from a Berkey Water Filter that I bought last year after saving up for a few months. Its two filters purport to remove hundreds of toxins from the tap water and they last for years; just wash them with soap and water every six months. I start the morning with a glass of water because the body needs it after a night of sleeping. The effects: I wake up faster.
Espresso.* Usually nothing too fancy here, just an americano from the place next door to my house. I try to make this the only caffeine I have all day. I add a tiny amount of half & half, or a tablespoon of grass-fed butter, ghee, or organic extra virgin coconut oil (the layperson’s bulletproof coffee), if I’m feeling like I want to use the sustained energy of the fat and caffeine as my first bit of sustenance for the day. The effects: Alertness that lasts hours, and sometimes all day.
*A note about coffee prep: I have found that the more recently the beans were roasted and ground, the stronger the effects of the caffeine. If I’m making espresso at home, I aim for beans that were roasted within two weeks, and ground by me at the grocery store.
Turmeric tea. This is a quick and dirty daily habit I’ve been preparing at the office for about five years, using two teaspoons of organic turmeric, half a teaspoon of ground black pepper, hot water, and a little bit of half & half (turmeric’s bioavailability increases when consumed with black pepper and fat). I first heard about turmeric’s amazing properties from the ultrarunner Scott Jurek’s book Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness. The effects: Energizing. Turmeric appears to have a subtle stimulating effect for me, something like drinking a cup of black tea, and that’s probably owing to nutrients like iron and manganese.
The Special Guests
These drinks are a little more expensive and therefore don’t make it into my daily routine. They’re more like a once- or twice-a-week thing.
Kombucha. This hot, hot, hot (but actually cold) carbonated probiotic beverage has been a part of my life for about a decade thanks to GT’s, the category pioneer, but the cost of kombucha these days (anywhere from $4 to $7) is a bit prohibitive. Look for brands like GT’s that are cheaper and low in sugar. The effects: gives me a giddy feeling in the gut. A great substitute for an afternoon caffeine craving.
Rebbl elixirs and protein drinks. I was so intrigued when I came across Rebbl in a grocery store in NYC’s FiDi last year. And I love them so much that this is going to sound like an ad, but I promise it isn’t. If I were to make a line of drinks, Rebbl would come closest to what I would want to offer the world. Organic, non-dairy drinks seasoned with super herbs like maca, reishi, matcha and turmeric…it’s almost too good to be true. This great Emeryville, CA-based company also boasts colorful, portable packaging that stands out in the aisle (as a marketer, I appreciate this), and the ingredient list on each of their drinks is brief and totally pronounceable. My favorite is the Ashwagandha Chai. I’ll drink it after dinner. You can buy Rebbl drinks for a decent price from Jet. The effects (of the Ashwagandha Chai): a great comedown from a busy day, it calms me and helps me sleep, even though it’s cold!
Matcha. Similar to my feelings about coffee quality, when it comes to matcha I like to use Japanese ceremonial-grade organic matcha, which is not cheap (but good old Amazon has some wallet-friendlyish options). So in reality I probably drink matcha about once or twice a month. Matcha is ground tea leaves, so it’s both a caffeine kick and a nutrient kick (chlorophyll, fiber, and many antioxidants). The effects: 1 tsp of matcha powder in tea gives me a huge energy boost that tends to last all day. I don’t get that 3PM slump that I sometimes get from coffee.
Chaga. This mushroom, which can be purchased as chunks you simmer in water for an hour, or as a powder you stir into hot water, is an antioxidant-rich adaptogenic ‘shroom, thought to help our body respond and adapt to stress, whether it’s illness, inflammation or possibly even mental stress. Chaga is a bit pricey and also, to be real, lessens the number of times I poop, so I only drink it about once a week (currently, 1 teaspoon of Moon Juice’s chaga in a cup of water). The effects: I have no idea. I think chaga is a slight stimulant for me, but it’s possible this is just a placebo effect of “I just drank so many antioxidants!”
Reishi. Another mushroom favorite of mine, reishi has far more of a calming effect for me than chaga, and none of the digestive side effects. And it tends to be a bit more affordable than chaga. Currently I’m using Terrasoul Superfoods’ Red Reishi Mushroom Powder, which is organic and super potent; I only use 1 teaspoon when I prepare it in tea. The effects: When I have reishi in hot water at night, it makes me sleepy, and I go out like a light until 6AM. Love that.
What are your favorite beverages? Are you going to try any of these? Share in the comments!
GIF: Giphy via the American Film Institute