5 Healthy Alternatives to Coffee from Dr. Zen
Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs in the world but also one of the most rewarding. Unfortunately, you often don’t get the credit you deserve for all that you do.
From countless sleepless nights to noticing that by 1pm you still haven’t showered let alone feed yourself. The journey through motherhood can be rough, especially if you are running on fumes.
As a naturopathic doctor working with moms throughout their postpartum journey, I wanted to share a few tips on how to get energy naturally without having to rely on yet another cup of coffee.
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How Your Body Makes Energy.
The body is one of the most complex yet, extremely organized systems science has ever seen. Which is why I believe it’s important that we work WITH the body rather than against the body.
We want to help optimize our own body’s ability to make energy so that we don’t have to rely on outside sources like caffeine, sugar or medications. It’s time we listen to what our body is telling us and provide it the support it is so desperately asking for.
The body uses three specific types of molecules (protein, carbohydrates and fat) to make energy and to drive ATP synthesis. Think of ATP as the energy source for every cell in the body.
Most of the ATP made in cells is created in the mitochondria. Think of the mitochondria as the factory in which energy is made. We not only need to provide cells with the right molecules to drive this process but, we also need to support the factory in which this energy is made.
It is also the reason that science has become particularly interested in mitochondrial function in terms of anti-aging and regenerative medicine arenas.
5 Natural Energy Boosters for Tired Moms.
I couldn’t talk about ways to boost your energy without mentioning my favorite secret weapon, Matcha!
Matcha, which is similar to green tea, can contain the same amount of caffeine as a cup of brewed coffee (aka making it a perfect alternative to coffee) and about half the amount of caffeine as as an espresso.
It not only can boost your energy after a long sleepless night, but it actually helps maintain your energy levels for longer periods of time than coffee.
Thanks to L-theanine, Matcha can help stabilize your energy levels for longer while also improving your mood. L-theanine is an important amino acid that works by reducing the excitatory neurotransmitters in your brain to help encourage a sense of calm, so much so that it has been shown to reduce stress-related high blood pressure.
Matcha also contains EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) which has been found to reduce inflammation, aid in weight loss, and even help prevent heart disease. EGCG is also a great way to help with brain fog so commonly experienced by moms. And if that wasn’t enough, EGCG has also been shown to suppress the growth, migration and invasion of human breast cancer cells.
Majka Replenishing Powder
The Replenishing Powder makes it easy to get your daily vitamins, digestive support and protein in one easy powder. It also contains powerful adaptogenic herbs to keep you feeling your best. Not to mention, it's caffeine free!
Adaptogenic herbs are especially good at helping the body deal with the physiology of stress. They don’t simply work on the adrenal glands (those cute little organs that sit above your kidneys) but instead they work on all aspects of the HPA axis, otherwise known as the hypothalamic/pituitary/adrenal axis.
Translation? Taking a load off the HPA axis can improve your stress response AND significantly impact your energy.
By supporting your HPA axis, you will be able to boost your energy naturally. Supporting your adrenal function is also extremely important if you are thinking about having another baby.
High levels of cortisol over time can lead to a hormonal imbalance, especially a progesterone deficiency. Deficiencies in progesterone can not only lead to irregular cycles, and difficulty conceiving, but can also increase your risk of a miscarriage.
Supporting your adrenal with Majka’s Replenishing can improve your energy while balancing your hormones.
For all my coffee lovers out there that are looking for an alternative to their perfectly brewed coffee, I would like to introduce to you dandelion root. Dandelion root has a slightly bitter taste, similar to coffee, and is an excellent source of potassium.
Potassium is an important key mineral and electrolyte that can help your kidneys filter more toxins and improve even prevent urinary tract infections.
Dandelion root has also been shown to improve liver function, an important powerhouse for hormone production. It has also been shown when paired with another herb, uva ursi, it may help prevent urinary tract infections.
When making dandelion root tea, it is very important to use high quality sources! You want to make sure the plants have not been treated or sprayed with any harmful chemicals before harvest.
One of my favorite brands of high quality dandelion root is Mountain Rose Herbs, or enjoy it in your Majka Replenishing Bites for one less step.
Majka Replenishing Bites
Majka’s Replenishing Bites are the easiest way I have found for moms to never have a food emergency and to always have a healthy, action packed snack they can rely on.
With over 14 organic superfoods, whole food proteins and adaptogens, this guilt-free snack is a great alternative to many of the highly processed “healthy” protein bars or snacks (added sugars, anyone?) on the market today.
These bites contain a perfect mix of healthy omega-3 fats, fibers, and antioxidants to help fuel you with energy, satisfying your hunger, and curbing those sugar cravings.
They also contain spirulina, a powerful antioxidant that supports your cells and mitochondria to boost energy, while also having anti-inflammatory properties that helps support our body from daily stressors.
I also love that it contains Chlorella, which is not only nutrient-dense, but can support your body’s natural detoxification pathways. These help your body naturally eliminate unwanted toxins, metabolized medications and even support natural estrogen metabolism. This quick snack is a great addition to any moms energy boosting arsenal.
Originally from Geneva, Switzerland, I might be a little partial but there is no way I could live without a little bit of chocolate!
Raw cacao powder is a great way to boost your mood while energizing your cells. Raw cacao is not only a tasty treat but it has gained quite the reputation as a superfood for its high amount of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.
Cacao contains antioxidants known as flavanols. Flavanols have a variety of health benefits, including:
reducing diabetes, improving cognition, and has even been shown to lower blood pressure and improve blood vessel wall function, while lowering your risk of heart disease.
Lifestyle Changes for Moms to Increase Energy.
Okay, let’s be honest. We are feeling tired! As a mom your sleep patterns are often dedicated by a tiny human and it can be hard to get a solid 8 hours of sleep. That being said, it’s really important to make sleep a priority in your life, as much as “motherly” possible.
Setting your alarm and keeping a regular bedtime and wake time can be one of the most effective ways to boost mitochondrial function. Although there will be nights when your sleep pattern goes a little crazy, it’s important to stay setting a cycle your body can rely on as much as possible.
We all know that babies do better on a schedule and the truth is, so do we as adults.
Keeping your bedroom as a sleep sanctuary is also an important way to signal to your body that it’s time to rest. This will not only help you lower cortisol (stress) hormones but it will also maximize the quality of sleep you get, even if you are only able to sleep for a few short hours.
One of the hacks my patients have found most helpful is to use technology to improve their sleep.
Here are their favorite tactics to fall asleep:
- Set timers on your phone to avoid mindless social media scrolls
- Consider setting up your “Alexa” to create a bedtime routine that helps dim the lights
- Start a meditation with an app
These are simple tools most of us have access to these days that we don’t take full advantage of.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate! One of the most common causes of brain fog, mood swings and low energy is dehydration. Making sure you are drinking enough water is one of the best ways to boost your energy naturally.
To supercharge your hydration, I love adding Majka’s Replenishing Powder, which provides natural energy with wholesome ingredients by rebalancing your electrolyte status. It also contains high quality digestive support, including digestive enzymes and probiotics, that help your body breakdown and assimilate nutrients.
It’s like having 7 supplements in one and is the perfect solution for a busy mom.
Electrolytes are also a key factor in optimizing those mitochondrial factories to boost your energy production naturally. Being a mom, it can be hard to remember to drink even a few glasses of water per day. That's why I highly recommend investing in a 40-60oz stainless steel or glass tumbler.
Make sure to add a metal straw! Maybe it’s just me, but by having easy access to a metal straw, I always am able to drink way more water!
I also recommend filling your tumblr the night before so no matter how crazy your mornings get with the little ones, you can quickly grab it as you dash out the door. I would also recommend drinking 16-18oz extra for every cup of coffee you consume.
Coffee is a natural diuretic and can cause brain fog, dehydration and even constipation, so make sure to fight back by adding in more water. Consider adding a slice of lemon, or mint to your tumblr, or using coconut water. This can give you a little slice of paradise as your kids have a full on tantrum in the back of the car.
More Than Calories In and Calories Out
As a naturopathic doctor, food isn’t simply calories in and calories out. In fact, what we eat provides information to our body to create hormones, turn on and off genes, and to boost mitochondrial function.
Being a busy mom can sometimes make it really hard to get in a healthy meal which is why, I always recommend my patients prepare themselves with healthy nutrient dense snacks whenever possible.
Just like you never leave the house with a snack for the little, you should never leave the house without a nutrient dense snack for mama. One of my favorite snacks for busy moms is Majka’s Replenishing Bites.
Not only do these bites taste so good, they contain high quality sources of protein, complex carbs, and fats. These help stabilize your blood sugar and provide your mitochondria with the food sources it can easily assimilate into energy.
These amazing bites are the perfect on-the-go energy support snack with 14+ whole foods in a nutrient dense bite. Having Majka’s Replenishing Bites can quickly boost your energy before that 2’oclock crash comes rolling in.
Why Are New Moms Tired All The Time?.
During pregnancy, you likely remember the countless doctor’s appointments, needle sticks, and ultrasounds routinely completed to monitor you and your baby. Unfortunately, for most women, the minute you deliver, those appointments drastically decrease.
In fact, most moms will have one single appointment, at 6-8 weeks postpartum, throughout their entire postpartum experience. One appointment! This is far too few and is a major reason why I encourage new mamas to see me in the clinic throughout the 1st year of postpartum.
We all know that motherhood can change in an instant. One minute you feel fine, while the next minute you feel completely overwhelmed, which can really take a negative toll on your mental health.
Having frequent postpartum appointments can help us identify any medical conditions associated with your fatigue including thyroid disease, postpartum depression, anemia, malnutrition, adrenal dysfunction, and heart disease to name a few.
Making sure your fatigue isn’t the symptom of an underlying medical condition is one of the best ways you can support your body during postpartum.
Still feeling tired, and even exhausted? Try these resources to find the answers and actionable next steps:
- Postnatal Depletion: What It Is & How To Recover
- Ultimate Guide to Caffeine While Breastfeeding
- 3 Super Lattes To Enjoy With Your Lactation Bites
- Postpartum Fatigue
5 Natural Energy Boosters for Tired Moms Infographic.