The UK Government have imposed a ban on energy drinks to children under 18 and sugar taxes have ramped up energy drink costs. What can we do to boost our morning energy, without risking our health?
Whether you’re a strong proponent of the Snooze button or take to the treadmill at 6am, there is something we can all agree on: waking up isn’t easy.
Pissed off that the warm comfort of bed, a perfectly warm duvet once wrapped around you like a cocoon, is now a mere sew-line pressed into your cheek, it’s no wonder many of us wake up feeling groggy and far from ready to take on the day.
So, how do we tackle our daily brain fog? Well, if you’re like 68 per cent of adolescents, or 30 per cent of adults, chances are you’ll grab an energy drink.
And why wouldn’t you? The instant energy hit you receive is unmistakable. Glucose courses through your veins and, by all accounts, you’re instantly awake.
However, a few hours later, you start to feel groggy again. Maybe you’ll blame the empty-calorie blueberry muffin you scoffed for breakfast, or the lack of sleep you had the night before. You wouldn’t dream of blaming the sugar-laden beverage that you praise so vehemently for making you feel at least somewhat functional in the first place.
The trouble, of course, is that your 11am slump is largely due to your energy drink intake.
A standard 16 oz. can of Red Bull contains 52 grams of sugar – that’s the same as 11 Oreo cookies and around 13 lollipops. Frightening, eh? And’s that’s all within the first hour or so of your waking day!
Similarly, energy drinks have been known to cause caffeine addiction (which, to under 18s, is a major problem) and, in turn, high blood pressure and some neurological problems. The high sugar content is also related to a rise in type 2 diabetes, along with poor dental health and obesity.
It is frightening facts such as this which have caused the UK government to step it and forcibly take back control of our children’s future. Their imposed ban, which looks to stop the sale of energy drinks to those under 18, comes as a result of increased obesity in UK children due to high sugar drinks.
Of course, in our age of entitlement, we know that when something is taken from us, we do not simply throw our hands up and resign ourselves to, in this case, a reduced energy life. No no no, we find a replacement which tastes just as good (but makes us feel twice as virtuous … Oreo Thins, I’m looking at you).
Don’t know how to get yourself ready for the day without the help of an energy drink? Take a look at these 5 alternatives to energy drinks, below, and see how much better you feel for it.
You may have not heard of kvass, but those in Eastern Europe have used it to wake themselves up for centuries. A fermented drink, made with wheat, rye or barley, has a similar taste to beer when served plain – although kvass first thing in the morning often tastes best when mixed with fruits and/or vegetables. Not only is this drink great for the gut, it’s also essential for boosting metabolism which, ahem, keeps you regular.
Related: Top 8 Fermented Foods for Healthy Guts
2. Coconut Water
Deeply nourishing and tasty, too, coconut water is a natural energy booster thanks to its high levels of minerals and potassium. It’s also great for hydrating the body which, after a night of sleep, is vital for getting your body and brain ready for the day (80 per cent of the brain is made up of water alone, for example). Some studies even say coconut water is better at hydrating the body more than water. For a great tasting coconut water, try Vitacoco.
A fermented probiotic tea which combines brewed tea with a variety of bacterium and yeast. The result is a natural caffeine kick which simultaneously detoxifies and balances the gut’s microbes. More like sparkling vinegar in its raw form, kombucha is often nicest when flavoured with berries or with a darjeeling floral palette. For a light kombucha with a kick, try Equinox Kombucha.
Related: The Benefits of Kombucha | Health Trends 2018
4. Green Juice
While many sweet juices strip out vital nutrients during blending, vegetable, and more specifically “green” juices, are essential for both nourishing the body and giving it a natural energy boost.
Try the below green juice if you want to feel healthy and super alert:
- 3 handfuls organic spinach
- 8 leaves kale
- 1 green apple, chopped into small pieces
- ½ cucumber, sliced finely
- ½ of a lemon, seeds removed and juiced
- 4 stalks of celery, chopped into small pieces
- 1-2 teaspoons ULTIMATE BLEND Green Super Food Powder
Blitz all the above ingredients in a juice press or blender until you’ve got a liquid with a runny, lump-free texture. If your juice is too thick, add a touch of apple juice.
This might not seem the most exciting energy drink alternative, but water is not to be forgotten about. Every metabolic reaction which happens in the body happens in water. 60 per cent of our bodies are made up of water; 80 per cent of our brain functions happen because of water boosting the circulation of oxygen; and, if you’re a morning bowel mover, 75 per cent of the faeces you’ll pass are made up of water. Long story short – you need water to get the body going, from head to rump.