Let me start this post with a disclaimer…
I LOVE coffee.
In my previous, coffee-induced life, I was somewhat of an addict. You could even put me in the same category with Lorelai and Rory Gilmore (shout out to all of my fellow Gilmore Girls fans… still so disappointed in the revival though, to be honest).
Actually, maybe I wasn’t THAT bad. Compared to everyday, working Americans, my coffee-drinking habits were somewhat typical. I was devoted to my lovely Keurig and averaged about two 12 oz. cups a day. But, you didn’t hear me complain when I stumbled by a coffeeshop for a third cup, or brewed another “just because I needed it,” or “I felt super tired.” Those were just excuses for my caffeine-craze.
There’s something about coffee that’s simply warm and inviting… like freshly baked apple pie or an aromatic candle. I treated coffee as my morning comfort blanket to help me wake up, feel rejuvenated, and frankly… keep me regular. (TMI? So sorry). A cozy turtleneck, a winter morning, and a perfectly brewed cup of coffee is my personal version of Heaven. No joke.
Plus, the health benefits of coffee have been backed by countless scientific studies, and many companies have been built around its worth. Dave Asprey – I’m looking at you. For someone who is fascinated by health, this only further fueled my obsession. I was riding the coffee train all the way home, and nothing could stop me.
Until… one day it did. Insomnia.
This past mid-winter, I had my first EVER encounter with insomnia. One night, I just laid awake in bed, 100% alert, my mind racing. The next day, I shrugged it off as being a one time thing.
But then it happened again.
And every night after that.
These horrific, attentive yet hazy nights lasted much longer than I could have ever imagined. For 5 months, I averaged about 3 hours of sleep per night. My reality became late-night snacking, rolling around in bed, and staring at my ceiling as if I was in an insane-asylum. WebMD couldn’t solve my problems, and neither could I.
I tried everything. I stayed awake late into the night, hoping to tire myself out. I got out of bed to do yoga. Sometimes I turned the lights on and slaved away at chores until I felt exhausted… but still, nothing. No sleep for me. I even resorted to hard-core drugs to knock me out – I know, such a paradox for someone who claims to be “healthy,” but what else could I do? I saw no end in sight. Most nights, a pill that could put a horse to sleep had absolutely no effect on my body. My obsessive personalitydidn’t help, either. As I tossed and turned, I counted the hours, minutes, and seconds of sleep I would get that night. I stressed about how horrible the next day would be and how exhausted I would feel. I wondered if I could power through my workout. It seemed like a never-ending cycle.
If any of you have ever dealt with insomnia before, then you know how horrible it is. Insomnia makes it SO difficult to function during the day; then at night, you’re wired again – as if the previous nights never happened. Insomnia hits people for different reasons. If you are struggling right now, I urge you to consider the underlying cause, instead of just putting a band-aid on the problem by resorting to a pill, as I occasionally did. Insomnia is a chronic issue, and requires professional help.
So, I did some soul-searching. What the heck was up with my body? Was coffee the culprit of this madness? When could I finally get a break?
Eventually, I learned my insomnia was linked to a wide array of issues that I will tackle more specifically another time, in another post. However, in short, my insomnia was a combination of stress, over-exercising, lack of vitamin D, and most notably: adrenal fatigue. My body was out of whack and out of sync – and reaching for that morning cup of coffee to get through the day was only further perpetuating the problem.
I did some research about my condition. I read Womancode by Alisa Vitti. I began to incorporate vitamins and adaptogens into my daily habit. I started a yoga routine. I turned off electronics two hours before bed. But the most helpful tool in aiding me to finally sleep again was quitting my cup of joe.
Heart-breaking? One would think so.
But… I found a new love, and his name was matcha.
Oh, delicious matcha! I never thought anything could take the place of coffee, but you have filled my void. For those of you who don’t know much about matcha, it’s a special Japanese form of green tea, that literally means “powdered tea.” Matcha leaves are finely powdered and shaded from the sun for the last few weeks of their growth, which increases their chlorophyll content and creates its bright green color. The leaves are then carefully ground with stone grinding wheels to produce a fine powder. The powder can be used for baking, smoothies, cooking or for delicious, frothy tea!
Unlike other types of teas, the green tea powder is not strained out before consuming, so you are consuming the entire leaf, making it more potent than other teas. In fact, only 1/2 tsp is needed to brew a traditional cup of Matcha. Matcha contains roughly 25mg of caffeine, which is approximately one-third the caffeine of a cup of brewed coffee.
The effects of matcha versus coffee are immediately apparent. While coffee has the tendency to leave you feeling hyped and jittery, matcha provides a steady wakefulness, almost completely upon drinking it. Matcha also tastes delicious: it’s still warm and inviting as its counterpart, but has a slight sweetness to it, which normal green teas don’t possess. (I’m not a huge green tea fan, anyway).
Matcha also hosts a long list of other health benefits, including:
- Metabolism boost
- Calms and relaxes the body
- Enhances mood
- Lowers blood sugar
- Provides vitamin C, selenium, chromium, zinc and magnesium
- Is rich in fiber, chlorophyll and vitamins
Matcha has been a game-changer for me. I found it much less harsh on my stomach and my IBS symptoms faded away. I now only rely on one cup a day, which I enjoy in a beautiful ceremonial bowl. The practice of drinking matcha feels like an act of self-care and self-love. And most notably, my sleeping has improved exponentially. I’m hooked.And if you’re wondering how I quit coffee so quickly and switched to matcha, I did it the way I do most things in life: by just doing it. I knew it would be hard. I also knew my health was more important than anything else. And guess what? It worked out great.Should you consider trying matcha? If any part of this post resonated with you, consider giving it a try! Most coffee-shops now sell matcha (check Yelp! first); and you can buy ceremonial-grade, organic matcha on Amazon at an affordable price. If you’re interested in learning more about my matcha recipe, or the brands I love, I would be happy to share.Finally, have you dealt with any of these issues? Adrenal fatigue, insomnia, coffee addiction? Do you love matcha as much as I do?
Comment below your experiences. I would love to hear from you!