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FOOD

Waking Up Without Coffee

Mable Yiu

Photo via Instagram @lexiscaduto

Photo via Instagram @lexiscaduto

According to TIME Magazine, experts say that the average adult should be sleeping between seven and nine hours per night. This may seem intimidating, simply because that much sleep can be tough to fit into a busy schedule. In the city that never sleeps, it’s not uncommon for New Yorkers to wake up for work at 6 A.M. or possibly attend parties that stretches into the wee hours of the night.

Running on so little sleep can be daunting, slow, and cumbersome. The obvious solution to avoid such a slump would be a rich cup of coffee. Coffee contains caffeine which helps temporarily lift our energy levels, allowing us to accomplish more and eliminate sleepiness.

The beverage, which can be purchased on virtually any street corner in New York, has negative side effects as well. Drinking coffee frequently, especially without food to go with it, can cause an upset stomach, heartburn, and headaches. Most coffee drinkers can attest to having the occasional jitters due to the high levels of caffeine in the drink. If coffee doesn’t cooperate with your body, you need not worry. Here are a few gentler alternatives to help you wake up in the morning without harsh side effects.

  1. Matcha (about $5 at Matchabar or Cha Cha Matcha) - If you’ve stepped into Soho this summer, chances are you’ve seen the rapidly spreading Matcha trend. The concept is simple: matcha is an aggressive twist on green tea. The flavorful beverage differs from typical green tea because the tea leaves are powdered and dissolved in water, whereas they are traditionally steeped for flavor and then discarded. Because matcha contains actual tea leaves, it is highly potent in flavor. One cup of matcha contains roughly the same amount of caffeine as coffee, however, the drink is known to provide a subtler, more relaxed feeling of energy.

  2. Starbucks Refreshers (16 oz. for $3.95) - A personal favorite on a hot summer day, Starbucks Refreshers are a light way to add a bit of caffeine to your morning. Starbucks offers the classic Very Berry Hibiscus as well as the recent addition Strawberry Acai, both priced significantly cheaper than other “trendier” options around the city. The icy drinks are fruity and lightweight, making them more palatable than other caffeinated drinks. However, they contain considerably less caffeine than a standard espresso drink. A 16 oz. Refresher contains 45-55 mg of caffeine, while a 16 oz. Starbucks cappuccino holds 150 mg of caffeine by comparison.

  3. Cucumber Water (homemade) - While not a caffeinated drink, cucumber infused water is an often underestimated but nonetheless effective beverage to take along with you on a busy day. A key to maintaining a healthy, energetic day-to-day diet is drinking lots of water -- in fact, average adults are supposed to drink two liters of water each day. Infusing cucumber into bottled or filtered tap water can stimulate the senses without overwhelming them. Cucumber water has a variety of other benefits as well; it is rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and promotes healthy skin.

By Matt Bernstein