It’s Week 4 of Less Coffee.

Today marks the fourth week of my plan to phase out coffee. I’m taking the slow and steady approach, rather than quitting cold turkey. Today I’m sharing my exact method for quitting, and my favorite alternative plant based energy-boosting beverages that are making the transition pretty simple and painless.

My plan for quitting coffee:

-Week 1: My baseline “normal” amount of coffee I consumed on a regular day before this experiment was about two liquid cups. This week I cut it back to 1.75 cups per day, and instead of drinking it out of my 20oz Yeti Tumbler, I drank it out of a regular coffee cup. This may seem irrelevant, but I find that my brain thinks that a ton more liquid fits in a Yeti even though the reality is that it fits about the same amount (or slightly less) as a medium-size coffee mug. Since a lot of this transition is mental, I decided that even though I was only drinking a quarter cup less coffee this week, if it looks like a full mug of coffee instead of a slightly less full tumbler, it couldn’t hurt. Hopefully that makes sense. The mind games are real.

Week 2: This week, after a very successful and painless first week, I cut my coffee intake down to 1.5 cups per day, and started experimenting with mushroom lattes here and there, just to find a recipe that I liked. We’ll get into that later, but mushroom teas and lattes can literally be delicious, and give me WAY more energy than I expected.

Week 3: Week three is when I was afraid things would begin to go downhill. Up until this point I was feeling great, and not much different. But now I cut my coffee intake down to one cup per day. At this point there was simply not enough delicious warm liquid to pair with my morning ritual. So I’d enjoy my one cup of coffee with my Nutpods creamer in my cute 14oz Yeti Rambler Mug (get yourself something cute to make this process fun), then make myself a mushroom latte to follow. All week, I felt amazing.

Week 4: Today marks the beginning of my week of only 1/2 cup of coffee per day. Now it feels silly to have two separate beverages, so I’m back to using my 20oz tumbler, but with my 1/2 cup of coffee blended into my mushroom latte. For a full two cups of delicious morning-routine goodness.

Week 5: My plan for next week is to continue to mix coffee into my mushroom latte, but cut it back to 1/4 cup per day.

Week 6: 1/4 cup of coffee mixed into my mushroom latte every other day.

Week 7: I’ll reevaluate how I’m feeling at this point and adjust accordingly, but I think at this point I will cut it back to two days this week.

Week 8: One day this week.

Week 9: Full mushroom latte, no coffee!

Obviously you can see it will take me about two months, or a little bit more, to fully quit coffee. I rarely consume any other caffeinated drinks, and am not concerned with the small amount of caffeine I consume through foods like cacao. So I’m taking it slow so my mood and energy can maintain, and hopefully improve, without many of the common withdrawal symptoms or irritability. I’ve been drinking coffee for about half of my life, so I want to quit it in a way that will be sustainable forever. So far, so good.

The Mushrooms:

I picked up Cordyceps, Chaga, and a 5:1 Maca concentrated extract from a brand called Moon Juice. I was already mixing Lion’s Mane Elixir from a brand called Four Sigmatic into my coffee on occasion so I also keep that in our cupboard regularly. I’ll link everything I purchased below, with a brief description of why I chose these ingredients. Just click on the photos for more information. I imagine that this list will be ever-evolving as I figure out what I like and try new things, but at this moment these are the energy-boosting ingredients I’m experimenting with. I also did a ton of outside research before landing on these, so I encourage you to do the same.

Cordyceps “Bioactive Supershroom”

From the brand: Moon Juice

For energy, recovery, balancing blood sugar.

Chaga “Protective Supershroom”

From the brand: Moon Juice

For energy, concentration, and immune-boosting.

Lion’s Mane Elixir

From the brand: Four Sigmatic

For mental clarity, focus, and endurance.

In addition to these “supershrooms,” I also ordered a 5:1 concentrated Maca powder.

From the brand: Moon Juice

For energy and mood.

Current Mushroom Latte Recipe:

1.5-2 Cups Plant Milk (I use unsweetened almond)

1 tsp Mushroom Powder (I choose one type per latte. Cordyceps seems to be my favorite so far.)

1 tsp Maca Powder

1 tsp Raw Cacao Powder

1 tsp Maple Syrup

(If applicable, you can add coffee to this recipe in any quantity you prefer, just reduce the amount of plant milk added.)

Directions: Put all the powders in the bottom of your mug. Heat up your coffee / plant milk separately then pour over the top. Mix thoroughly and enjoy. I use a Powerlix Milk Frother to mix it and it works great and even froths it as well.

I bought mine on Amazon

I’m Quitting Coffee, For the Reasons No One Told You About (Part 1)

So, here’s the thing. I’ve been drinking coffee since I was about fifteen years old. Back then, going to the coffee shop was a social event and the drinks were in blended form, covered in whipped cream and chocolate syrup, but they were still coffee. Today, seventeen years later, I drink coffee as I write this. I drink it every morning when I wake up at four or five AM to read, and meditate and start my day. Now it’s a delicious french roast from one of our favorite coffee makers, brewed at home, with some sugar-free, vegan Nutpods brand creamer added – Now it’s “healthier” coffee.

Sidebar:

Shout out to the Big Blue Bear Cafe in my home town of Kernville, CA. That place has been turning out delicious coffee under the same woman owner since before I was in high school. No Starbucks necessary. And they had soy milk before it was cool.

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My high school boyfriend was three years older than me and he loved “coffee.” I credit him for introducing me to fancy, sugary, blended concoctions that pass as coffee and that weren’t my parent’s Folgers. I remember my mom actively pushing against my new found addiction. Of course, at the time I thought she was unreasonable. I was a straight-A student with a history of nothing bad. Let me have my coffee. Only now do I realize how problematic it is to market caffeine to kids, by making it into a dessert you become addicted to for essentially your entire life. Oh, and it’s expensive. We’d take refuge from the triple-digit heat and visit whatever friend of ours was working that day while drinking the equivalent of venti Frapaccinos with two, four, and even six shots of espresso. I shudder to think of the amount of sugar in something like that (but that’s another discussion).

In college I finally lived in a town with a Starbucks, but went there rarely. My schedule didn’t allow for many trips outside of campus and work, so I would start my day with a sixteen ounce something (like a caramel or vanilla latte) from one of the coffee shops on campus. I’d have another sixteen ounce something with lunch, and then another sixteen or even twenty ounce regular coffee with half and half from the food court in the mall on my way into work. Some nights when I had to work past ten or eleven, I’d make sure to grab another gigantic coffee from the food court before they closed so I could microwave it around midnight. I drank coffee constantly throughout my day as a way to stay alert in class, to study in the middle of the night, and to work long hours.

Once I graduated and started working full time, coffee just became a ritual, social and otherwise. I worked with an amazing group of women and we’d get coffee every day before work or on a break at the local shop down the street. Our boss would constantly bring us Starbucks. It was the height of Starbucks becoming a cultural phenomenon in my world and I fully embraced it. At this point I was drinking sugar-free, dairy-free lattes, more out of concern for my weight than actual health. My dad bought me a coffee maker for my apartment. Like a very early, archaic version of what the Keurig would eventually end up being one day. So sometimes I would even make my own coffees at home. And that’s how it went during most of my early to mid twenties.

Then I met my husband. The first time I drank coffee at his apartment I think I almost had a heart attack. It was so strong. He ground his own whole-bean coffee and brewed it in a regular coffee pot like my parents had. I remember just wondering: Why? The first time we went through the Starbucks drive through together, I asked him what he wanted and he said: “Regular.” I’ve never forgotten that one.

He is five years older than me, but I would introduce him to his first peppermint mocha, pumpkin spice latte, and frapuccino. Mocha Frapuccinos are his favorite now.

Between being married to Kanan and being a business owner, my coffee habit has completely changed and evolved into what it is now. We brew coffee at home, in a regular twelve-cup coffee pot. We have three different places we prefer to purchase coffee from, and I only use sugar-free, dairy-free creamer. Also, I do want to clarify, when I say “sugar-free” that means no sugar, no sugar-substitute chemicals either. Simple and delicious. I drink exactly two cups per day, and make sure not to drink any after 9am. On a special or rare occasion we will go to Starbucks and Kanan will either get a tea with no sweetener added (which is what I get) or he’ll be in a mood and go all in with his venti mocha Frapuccino. Between cutting refined sugar and dairy and not wanting to spend the money when we have delicious coffee at home, I rarely drink coffee elsewhere. And I thought I was being pretty dang healthy about it.

Then I was taking an online webinar (not at all about coffee) and the woman hosting it mentioned in a passing comment that drinking coffee (or consuming large quantities of caffeine through any method) completely disrupts the female cycle and hormone levels.

FULL STOP.

I had never, until that very moment heard a truly compelling reason for me to quit drinking coffee. I actually did quit drinking coffee for about a six month period of time in college, just to see what would happen. I didn’t notice much of a difference in my health or quality of life, so I promptly added the habit back in. Looking back on it now, I’m sure all the college food, booze, and sugar I was consuming would have made it impossible to notice how much better I felt without the coffee in my diet, but at the time I thought it was pointless not to drink it, and it helped me maintain my lifestyle of not sleeping for four years.

The only reason for potentially quitting that had peaked my interest in recent years was the notion that caffeine was making my anxiety worse. However, I rarely feel anxious immediately after or during my coffee drinking time, so almost three years ago I quit drinking alcohol and about two years ago I quit refined sugars, two things that I absolutely knew were contributing to my anxiety. That helped with my energy levels and mood tremendously (and basically changed my entire life), and I will continue that lifestyle for what I assume will be forever. But lately, I’ve been tracking my mood and physical symptoms, in relation to my cycle all month long, every month, and there is still plenty of room for improvement.

I’ve written about it in the past, but just in case you’re not all caught up on my cycle and the ailments that befall me because of my hormones (haha), I still struggle with headaches, occasional (but very intense) cramping, tiredness, hot flashes, and irritability. And I know what you’re thinking if you’re an individual with a period: yeah, duh. But here’s the thing. I am convinced it does not have to be this way, we’ve just been taught and conditioned to believe our cycle is an unfortunate inconvenience at best, and at worst, a curse that woman-kind brought on ourselves from that little misstep in the Garden of Eden. Which is turn causes us to eternally suffer. But hey, either way we’re supposed to suck it up and deal, and do it silently and pleasantly in order to make those around us comfortable.

I’m so over that. After reading Alisa Vitti’s book In the Flo, listening to her on several podcasts, and using her app I started doing my own research and came to the conclusion that our cycle is an advantage if we make it so. However, because we’ve been conditioned to believe our pain is inevitable we rarely try to heal ourselves. And because controlling woman’s bodies and health is currently and has historically been politically valuable to those in power, helping women to understand our health in order to empower ourselves has almost become a niche or alternative movement. The research and information is simply scarce and hard to find. But it’s there, and it’s growing. And I’ve been going down the caffeine (as it pertains to the female body) rabbit hole.

*Note from the editor:

Shortly after this article was published we were informed by Mr. Kanan Wilson that his favorite Starbucks drink is in fact a caramel Frappuccino. In the original article we incorrectly stated that his favorite Starbucks drink was a mocha Frappuccino. We regret this error, and are correcting it for the official record.

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Mentioned:

Coffee Creamer: https://www.nutpods.com

Big Blue Bear Cafe: https://www.bigbluebearcafe.com

In the Flo, Alisa Vitti: https://intheflobook.com

What I Eat in a Week / 5 Year Vegan Anniversary!

Tuesday, March second marked my five year anniversary with veganism. Living a vegan lifestyle has been one of the most influential and important decisions of my life in so many ways, and yet, the most common question I still get is: “What do you eat?”

This post is for anyone who wants to incorporate more vegan meals into their life. It’s for the vegetarian/vegan curious, and simply for anyone wondering how I meal prep, or who may need new ideas and suggestions. I made sure to keep it real. I only made things in our regular rotation, and I included all snacks, drinks, takeout, and treats. I want to emphasize that I do not count calories or macros so this post is not about that. It’s about eating intuitively, and living an abundant vegan lifestyle.

Saturday, 2/28

I always start the day with one 20oz Yeti of coffee. I will not include my coffee of the day each day. You can just assume I had it. Note that currently we drink coffees from: https://cxffeeblack.com, https://ravensbrewcoffee.com, and https://jackiesjava.com. I always use plain or vanilla https://www.nutpods.com as my creamer – it’s delicious and sugar free.

Gujimane Cxffee / Nutpods French Vanilla Creamer

Breakfast:

Bagel Sandwich: Alvarado Street Organic Sprouted Wheat Bagels, Just Egg, Follow Your Heart Pepper jack Cheese, Beyond Meat Spicy Sausage Patties, dr. Praeger’s Southwest Hash Browns / Two Mandarins and a Banana

Lunch:

32oz Chocolate Smoothie: Unsweetened Almond Milk, Frozen Bananas, Cacao Powder, Hemp Seeds, and https://www.earthbalancenatural.com Coconut Peanut Butter

Dinner:

Potato Taquitos, Rice, Beans, Soyrizo Street Tacos, Fries and Chips, Salsa and Guacamole from: https://www.cocinamariposa.com

Dessert:

Cookies from: https://wholesomebakery.com and Coconut Bliss Mint Chip Galactica Ice Cream

I get all of our groceries from our local COOP. However, I did want to make sure all the direct links were here (if I did not already list them) for you to browse, or purchase if you do not have close access. Thrive Market is also a great option!

Alvarado Street Bakery: https://www.alvaradostreetbakery.com/index

Just Egg: https://www.ju.st

Follow Your Heart: https://followyourheart.com

Beyond Meat: https://www.beyondmeat.com

dr. Praeger’s: https://drpraegers.com

Coconut Bliss: https://coconutbliss.com

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Sunday, 3/1

Breakfast:

Oatmeal, Unsweetened Almond Milk, Flax Seed Meal, Cinnamon, topped with Granola from https://www.cascadianfarm.com

Snack:

https://www.larabar.com Protein Bar, Apple Cobbler

Lunch / Dinner:

Pizza from https://www.mountainmikespizza.com and Peach Green Tea Lemonade from Starbucks

Dessert: Cookies listed above from Wholesome Bakery.

CBD Sparkling Water:

Beauty Bubbles from https://www.dramapothecary.com with Lemon

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Monday, 3/2

Breakfast:

Chocolate Smoothie My Recipe:

1.5 C Coconut Water

3 Frozen Bananas

2 Tbsp Flax Seed Meal

1/4 Cup Oats

1 Tbsp Cacao Powder

2 Tbsp Hemp Seeds

Snack:

Bagel and https://miyokos.com Plain Cream Cheese

Lunch:

Jasmine Rice and Yellow Curry with Vegetables and Tofu from https://siamorchidthaicuisine.getrestaurantops.com

Dinner:

Vegan Ramen from https://rightfoods.com

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Tuesday, 3/3

Breakfast:

32oz Green Smoothie

My Recipe:

1.5 C Coconut Water

1 C Frozen Mango and/or Pineapple

1/2 Lemon Squeezed

1 C Spinach

2 Bananas

2 Tbsp Flax Seed Meal

2 Tbsp Hemp Seeds

1/4 C Oats

Lunch:

Beans and Rice with chips from: https://www.fronterafoods.com and salsa from Oaxaca Mama

Dinner:

Pan Fried Extra Firm Tofu, Grilled Onions, and Chili Garlic Sauce over White Rice

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Wednesday 3/4

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday I work in the shop taking client appointments. I prep breakfast, lunch, and snacks for those days, so they will all be the same. Dinners will vary. I also got some special desserts I will share with you!

Meal Prep

Breakfast: Green Smoothie (Same recipe as above but not pictured since I make them the morning of.)

Snack: 2 Apples and 1 Mandarin.

Lunch: Green Salad with Romaine, Bell Pepper, Cucumber, and Tomatoes topped with Baked Popcorn Tofu from our local COOP tossed in Frank’s Wing Sauce. With Follow Your Heart Ranch Dressing.

Snack: https://www.kite-hill.com Greek Yogurt topped with Cascadian Farm Cinnamon Apple Granola.

Dinner:

Pesto Pasta and Garlic Bread

Pesto Recipe: https://bakerbynature.com/super-healthy-spinach-basil-pesto-vegan-dairy-free-gluten-free/

Garlic Bread: 1 Loaf https://www.cafebrioarcata.com French Bread, Garlic, Olive Oil, and https://www.earthbalancenatural.com Soy Free Buttery Sticks

Dessert: Almond Tea Cake, Brownies, Seven Layer Bars, and Almond Tea Cake from Wholesome Bakery! I put in a huge order from their website after discovering the cookies at our local COOP. Obviously these will last a while!

https://wholesomebakery.com
https://wholesomebakery.com

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Thursday, 3/5

Meal Prep listed above, desserts listed above.

Dinner:

https://www.gardein.com Pan Fried and lightly seasoned Chick’n Scallopini, Broiled Brussel Sprouts tossed in Olive Oil and Salt / Pepper and Baked Potatoes

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Friday, 3/6

Meal Prep listed above, desserts listed above.

Dinner:

Kale Salad with Home Made Croutons

Kale Salad Recipe: https://www.veggiesdontbite.com/5-day-raw-food-reset-with-shopping-list/

Croutons: I chop Brio bread into medium-sized squares and pan fry them in olive oil with salt and garlic powder.

Drinks:

Polar Brand Seltzer Water, Lime