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Should You Put Down The Coffee?

On your second cup of coffee already? Yeah, it happens.

The jolt of energy you get from a foamy double cappuccino occurs when caffeine confuses your nerve cells by posing as the chemical adenosine, causing your dopamine levels to rise. At the same time, caffeine sneaks into your adrenals, which are the glands that release hormones to trigger the fight or flight response in times of stress. Caffeine stimulates that very response, putting your body and brain on high alert.

If you drink coffee every day, or even multiple times a day, eventually, you'll cause your adrenals to burn out. The symptoms of adrenal fatigue aren't much fun: tiredness, weakness and chronic pain. Caffeine also causes your levels of cortisol, a.k.a. the stress hormone, to spike. And when cortisol is running high, it can lead to increased body fat, decreased muscle mass, a sluggish metabolism, poor sleep and even premature skin aging. And speaking of skin, caffeine also saps your body of hydration, which can leave your complexion looking dull (not to mention your digestion feeling off).

So what's the solution to feeling full of bountiful energy without the body-taxing effects of caffeine? You guessed it...plant foods. Here are some of our favorites:

Wakame -- Seaweed is an excellent plant-based source of calcium, which is important for sound sleep. Better sleep = more energy during your waking hours. It also contains iodine to regulate your thyroid and keep your hormones balanced. Found in our NEW Mermaid's Dream Salad.

Bok Choy -- Cruciferous veggies provide essential sulfur, which aids protein synthesis and supports the mitochondria in converting food into energy. Found in our NEW Kimchi + Buckwheat Soba Bowl w/ Sweet Sesame Bok Choy.

Chicory -- With a flavor that's reminiscent of coffee, this fiber-rich root prevents blood sugar spikes and fuels your microbiome, which helps regulate energy balance. Found in our NEW Detoxifying Chicory Yogurt Bowl w/ Coconut-Cacao Crunch.

Chia Seeds -- Chock-full of B vitamins, which are essential energizers that put a pep in your step. Found in our NEW Chia Power Bowl w/ Sweet Seed Crumble.

Gotu Kola -- A superherb that's known in traditional medicine for stimulating the brain and improving memory. Found in our NEW Gotu Kola Carrot Risotto.

Ashwagandha -- This adaptogenic herb balances the thyroid, treats adrenal fatigue and increases stamina. Found in our Dark Chocolate Granola.

Cucumber --  Dehydration can quickly lead to fatigue. Eating your water (cukes are 96% H2O!) will help keep your energy up. Found in our Dill Crunch Salad w/ Sage Seed Toast.

Time to put down that mug and pick up a fork.

*We definitely don't shy away from a daily cup of coffee (or two) - and coffee does actually have some health benefits! - and we're not saying you should either. All we ask is that you listen to your body—if caffeine's ill effects are bringing you down, consider taking a break, and consider adding some additives to make your morning cup of coffee a bit healthier. And, above all else, remember that you can always rely on plants to keep your energy running high.

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