Kickin’ it without caffeine

Covering some of the top alternatives to coffee

By Pauline DiGiorgio

Pauline DiGiorgio
Pauline DiGiorgio

I could live in a coffee shop.

I’m actually sitting at a coffee shop this very moment writing this piece.

It’s a decaf steamed almond milk latte, and never did I see the day that order would be coming out of my mouth.

I love the smell of coffee, the mug it’s served in, and the opportunity for quality conversation or a place for solitude the environment it creates. But I realized I was becoming slowly but surely dependent on this popular beverage.

I was making excuses to consume a cup at any point of the day. I then noticed that I was using coffee as a crutch.

I was not making the right food choices and eating foods without nutrients, which resulted in my ability to store energy to drop.

I was turning to coffee to turn off my hunger cues and provide fake pep in my step.

I certainly did not enjoy the irritability it was causing or the anxiety. Dehydration was also an issue along with headaches if I didn’t get the java fix.

What the heck, this is a drink that is now running my life.

But thankfully, I had been mindfully aware of these shifts, so I decided to make a change. Here’s what helped me and will hopefully help you:

• Mushroom coffee: Now hear me out before you think I’ve lost my mind and gone to hippy-dippy heaven.

I was introduced to mushroom coffee from a friend who lives in California (figures!) The energizing effects of the mushroom coffee are stabilized with powerful ingredients such as lion’s mane that helps to support daily immune functions.

The first time I tried it, I felt instantly “tapped in,” very hyper-focused with a sense of pure zen.

The biggest plus was that it resembles coffee; the dark, hot beverage could very well confuse even the most avid coffee drinker.

Give it a try. I love the brand Four Sigmatic®, which can be found on Amazon.

• Matcha Tea: This is a lovely beverage that carries antioxidants and boosts metabolism, burning calories while giving you the effects of coffee. Matcha is also rich in fiber, chlorophyll and vitamins. My preferred way to have it is whipped into steamed almond or cashew milk.

• Kombucha: This trendy, bubbly treat is one of my favorites. It is a fermented tea sweetened with cane sugar and natural fruits.

It also is considered to be a probiotic food. It contains gut-friendly ingredients to tame the tummy while energizing you for the day.

• Pauline DiGiorgio is a fitness ambassador and Group X instructor at Retro Fitness gyms. Questions? Email her at