Okay, it's early in the AM here and I'm half asleep. Ordinarily the first thing I head for the morning is a cup of tea. . . or coffee if I don't have time for steeping and savoring. But time and nature have caught up with me and. . . I have been told to cut out the caffeine. This is not a lifestyle choice, it's a necessity. Health is involved. And "cutting back" is no longer sufficient.
So I am officially decaffeinated. And friends, it's ugly. I'm up waaaaay before the crack of dawn most mornings to write before I head off to work. I'm having to prop open the eyelids with toothpicks. . . and most mornings even industrial-strength toothpicks aren't enough. After half an hour, I'm sagging toward the keyboard and propping my head up. And I'm wondering if there is some kind of intravenous caffeine I could use. . . a patch perhaps or something sub-lingual. . . maybe a nice nasal spray. Alas, a quick check online reveals nada. In the world of caffeine, we're still in the bean-and-leaf age. Boiling, steeping, and drinking are still the key processes. And then, of course, you ingest.
Of course, I could try chocolate. . . but waking up to a nice Hershey bar does not have the same appeal. Not to mention the calories, the fat, and the fact that in such quantities, my stomach would still rebel. sigh. CocaCola products-- same problems. Caffeine is caffeine. . . whether hot or cold. Off limits.
So, I've gone herbal. It's taking some adjustment. When you have coffee or tea, there are a limited number of decisions to make. Add milk, yes or no. Add sweetening, yes or no. And for you Starbucks fans: Add flavoring, yes or no. (Iced vs hot-frothed is not a decision at five in the morning.) But when you go to the "herbal tea" section, you're in a whole different universe.
You've got your "herby" teas like lemongrass, dandelion root, chicory, rose hip, and mint of various persuasions. Then you've got your "fruity teas," like peach, lemon, apple, pomegranate, and the ever-popular raspberry. Then you've got your flowery teas. . . like hisibcus and rose petals and orange blossoms. Add together in any combination you can imagine and then add your spices: cinnamon, ginger, licorice root, etc. You get the idea. There are a million combinations-- every one of which seems to be for sale at my local Publix Market. It's bewildering.
Then there are the "specialty" teas that are supposed to promote health or continence or weight loss or disease immunity. Rooibos? Yeah, it's a plant from Africa. . . but what IS it? And Olive leaf tea. . . which is supposed to be stuffed with antioxidants. And then there is the wheatgrass tea, which just looks like. . . dried grass. Why am I drinking stuff that looks like it came out of somebody's lawn mower???
Thus far, I've thrown out two boxes of tea and three more are on probation on my pantry shelf. If they can make me change my mind about them, I'll let them stay. But I've found several styles and brands I truly enjoy. (I am not being paid to endorse any of these products. Believe me.)
I love the Good Earth teas. . . the Original and the Sweet&Spicy Red teas have a natural sweetness to them that is very satisfying. Not, however, especially enervating. And maybe too sweet for some drinking occasions, like with food. (I never thought I'd ever write that line in my life! "Maybe too sweet!")
TAZO Wild Sweet Orange is very good. . . I don't even mind the hint of licorice, which I usually hate. Of course they have a number of teas I've yet to try
Celestial Seasoning's Cinnamon Apple Spice, Red Zinger, and Sleepytime teas are tasty.
Bigelow's Mint Medley, Orange& Spice, Pomegranate Pizzazz, and I Love Lemon teas are all good for me.
So, I've been stretching my usual taste boundaries and trying a whole range of new tastes. . . telling myself it's good for me and that I'll be healthier. . . once I wake up. I still miss the leaves. And the beans. Sniff. And the smell. Maybe if I just go sit in my local Starbucks. . .
Any helpful tips on dealing with life after caffeine? Got any herbal tea suggestions? What's your favorite morning brew-- or steep? Should I be changing more than just my beverage? Should I take a cold shower to wake up every morning or do twenty jumping jacks? HELP!