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I never thought I’d be the person who just gave up coffee. And I’d be lying if I said the idea wasn’t met with a hell of a lot of resistance, but here I am…coffee-less, and actually loving it.
I absolutely love coffee…
I love the smell. I love the taste. I love the ritual. I love the energy buzz. I love a long, slow morning sipping coffee on the patio.
What I don’t love, is what it does to our adrenal function and stress responses over time.
I was a “one cup” each morning type of woman, but then one cup turned into two and then those two cups didn’t wake me up at all and then all of the sudden I’m just craving caffeine all day. And this happens to so many of my clients and people who slide into my DM’s on social media… “I feel tired but wired”, “caffeine doesn’t have an effect on me anymore”, “I have severe stress and anxiety”.
I talk a lot about developing conscious behaviors, and one way to get more conscious is to eliminate caffeine. Caffeine has such profound effects on the nervous system, we’re never in tune with how we truly feel. By eliminating caffeine, you can tap into your nervous system and feel into your body instead of being hijacked.
Summer is coming to a close, and this is a time when a lot of individuals are seeking to develop new routines. Now is a great time to evaluate your current routines and behaviors and decide which ones are serving you and which ones are not.
The reality is that most of us abuse caffeine. I’m not going to tell you to give up your morning cup of Joe, however if you’re experiencing any of the following, you may want to consider at the very least a coffee detox for 7-21 days.
Symptoms of caffeine overuse:
- coffee/caffeine gives you the jitters, anxiety or makes you sweat
- you feel like you HAVE to have it or you can’t function
- if you don’t have it, you experience withdrawals and/or headaches
- no matter how much you drink, it doesn’t have an effect on you and you’re still tired AF
- You feel tired but wired
- You have trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep at night
Personally, I was experiencing these recently, so just like I do every 3-6 months I decided to do a 7 day caffeine detox. But what happened this time was interesting…
What does a caffeine detox look like?
I won’t sugarcoat it, the first 3 days (or more depending on how addicted you are) are absolute hell. You’ll likely feel exhausted, have brain fog, maybe a headache and just feel crappy. Your body is literally in the middle of a detox process, and the harder it hits you, the more you probably needed it.
**PRO TIP: instead of going cold turkey, start to slowly ween yourself off the caffeine. Reduce your intake by 1/2-1 cup per day until you’re no longer consuming it.
After the initial “hell hump”, you’ll actually start to notice that your energy levels increase, cognitive function boosts, you have energy longer throughout the day and you sleep way better at night. You may also notice decreased feelings of anxiety and stress.
Remember that you’re giving your body and adrenal glands a much needed “reset”. Caffeine has a half-life of about 7 hours, so after 7 hours only half of the total caffeine is eliminated from your system. What this means is that most of us are never really clearing all the caffeine from the bloodstream, which is why it has so many long-term effects on sleep and anxiety.
I do caffeine detoxes often, but this one in particular really made me realize how much better I function without it. What I discovered was that it wasn’t necessarily the coffee I missed, it was the ritual: something warm and frothy to sip on in the morning while I get ready for the day.
So instead of returning to my caffeine habit, I started experimenting with other things I could replace the ritual with, and I landed on my new favorite beverage: the Cacao Maca Latte.
The Ultimate Coffee Replacement: Cacao Maca Latte
I was trying a product called MUD/WTR, which is basically a blend of chai, cacao and a bunch of other spices. It was delicious, but the cost wasn’t justifiable, and I thought, “I can just make this at home.” I started experimenting and landed on this delicious Cacao Maca Latte. I can say I’ve happily replaced my morning coffee, and this latte adds tons of anti-inflammatory and immune boosting benefits. Keep reading for the ingredient breakdown and the recipe.
Breaking Down the Ingredients
Raw Cacao Powder
Cacao powder is a superfood indeed. It turns out the main ingredient in chocolate is actually amazing for you – minus all the added sugars and preservatives. Cacao contains fiber, healthy fats, potassium, magnesium and many other good-for-you nutrients. It can help support a healthy gut and contains compounds that can help reduce anxiety and lift your mood.
Miracle maca! Maca is a root vegetable and part of the cruciferous family. It has adaptogenic properties, can help the body cope with stress efficiently and does wonders for the endocrine system and balancing hormones. It’s also been shown to boost libido! There needs to be more research to pinpoint the exact benefits, but we know it’s powerful.
Coconut Milk Powder
Coconut contains lots of healthy fats and gives this latte a silky finish and a nice “body” (it almost acts like the perfect creamer). Coconut is high in manganese, copper, iron, selenium and also fiber. The coconut milk powder in this latte provides the healthy fat necessary to help increase fullness and stabilize blood sugars.
Cinnamon has powerful medicinal properties and is loaded with antioxidants. It can help reduce inflammation, lower blood sugars and has heart healthy properties as well.
Comes from the turmeric root with powerful properties. Turmeric is naturally anti-inflammatory, can reduce arthritis symptoms, provides support for a healthy immune system and can even help manage IBS. The curcumin in the turmeric is what provides such powerful benefits, and adds a nice flavor and health boost to this latte.
What Does it Taste Like, Honestly?
I’ll be honest, it’s earthy, but it’s delicious. I’m a fan of earthier tastes, so it doesn’t bother me one bit. It can be grainy if you don’t mix it properly. I highly suggest getting a handheld frother to mix it up (click here for the one I use), or blend it in a blender. If you have trouble with earthy tones, the addition of honey or coconut sugar helps balance it out a lot. As you begin to reduce the amount of sweetened caffeine beverages you’re drinking, your taste buds will adjust and you’ll start to notice the more subtle sweet and nutty flavors in this mixture. At first you may think it tastes bitter, but you’ll adjust as time goes.
It tastes like an earthy, chocolate latte with a slight nutty flavor. The strong flavors that come through are the cacao and coconut, and depending on the milk you use, it gives it a frothy and silky finish. I use almond milk, but you can also use coconut, oat, hemp or even regular milk.
*PRO TIP: Try adding unflavored collagen to the mix as well for an added protein boost and awesome benefits for gut health, skin, hair and nails.
Single Serve Cacao Maca Latte
- 1 tbsp. raw cacao powder
- 1 tbsp. maca powder
- 1 tbsp. coconut milk powder
- 1 tsp. ground ceylon cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
- Optional: 1 tsp. homemade chai spice (recipe below)
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1/2-3/4 cup milk of choice (I use almond or coconut)
- Honey or coconut sugar to sweeten if desired
Combine the cacao, maca, coconut milk powder, cinnamon, turmeric and chai spice if using. Place into a mug. Boil 1/2 cup of water (I usually just turn my tea kettle on). In a small saucepan, pour in 1/2-3/4 cup of milk of choice and heat on medium until it starts to get warm, do not overheat. Pour the water into the mug over the latte mix, then pour the milk in. Use a handheld frother to mix the latte and create the foam on the top. Add honey or coconut sugar as desired and stir. Sip and enjoy! **If you don’t have a frother, simply add all latte ingredients, water and milk into the blender and blend. Pour into the mug and enjoy.
Homemade Chai Spice
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 tsp. ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp. cardamom
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
Combine spices well and store in an airtight container for 3-6 months.
Making single serve is great for the first few times just to see if you like it, but if you’re anything like me, you want as little as possible to do in the morning…so I love to make up a huge batch of the latte mix so all I have to do is heat the liquid and pour over the mix. This actually takes less time than it took me to make my coffee in the French press.
**Big Batch Cacao Maca Latte Mix
(will last about 2 months depending on frequency of use)
- 1 cup raw cacao
- 1 cup maca powder
- 1 cup coconut milk powder
- 1/3 cup ceylon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup ground turmeric
If you want to add the chai spice flavor to the big batch, add in the following ingredients:
- 3 tbsp. ground cloves
- 3 tbsp. ground ginger
- 1 tbsp. cardamom
- 1/2 tbsp. nutmeg
Mix all the ingredients very well and store in an airtight container for up to 3-4 months. When you want to make a latte, add 2 tbsp. of the mixture to a mug, and pour about 1/2 cup of boiling water, 1/2-3/4 cup of milk of choice and honey if desired into the mug and use a frother or blender to mix and create the foam. It takes about 3-5 minutes to do in the morning (the same or less than coffee).