I used to love coffee. Don’t get me wrong, I still do, but I mean, I really loved it. I savored the flavor, and the ritual of it.
Like many people, I discovered coffee in college while writing papers the night before they were due—and ever since then, I was basically hooked. I needed it to wake up, go to work, write, and think.
Without it, I would feel sluggish and tired and irritable—even though it eventually started making me feel sick.
Earlier this year, I discovered coffee just wasn’t jiving well with my stomach. I’d drink it on my 40-minute New York City subway commute every day, but by the time I got to work it was like someone had punched me in the gut.
Tea has inadvertently caused me to pause more, and take in more of my surroundings in a deeper, more engaging way.
My coffee-drinking days were numbered. But I needed a worthy replacement if I was truly gonna kick it. So, I began to experiment by drinking way less coffee—and replacing it with tea most of the time.
I’ll be honest: Kicking iced coffee was hard, since that is my Achilles heel (and I definitely still have it from time to time). But aside from that, the transition wasn’t totally brutal. And I had no choice but to make the switch work for me. Because why should I go on drinking something that continually makes my body feel gross and dependent?
Most mornings (and to this day), I sipped a cup of green tea, which didn’t give me quite the same kick as coffee, but I don’t think I necessarily wanted the same noticeable kick. Because then there’s the fall: feeling that jittery anxiousness.
But there were plenty of holistic benefits, too. With tea, I learned to relax a lot more, because I slowed down my day to simply enjoy the taste of the different types of teas I chose (chai, anyone?), as opposed to rushing around slurping down a coffee to find a boost.
Why should I go on drinking something that continually makes my body feel gross and dependent?
I have a hard time relaxing because I often want to be as busy and productive as possible. So getting in the habit of making tea and letting it cool—and meeting friends for tea instead of coffee or drinks—helps to slow me down.
Related: Shop teas, from matcha to Earl Grey.
In this way, tea has inadvertently caused me to pause more, and take in more of my surroundings in a deeper, more engaging way. And because I live in New York City, slowing down is definitely a necessity to stay sane.
Like many people, I also have the bad habit of not drinking enough water. Tea helps me drink loads of water because I go for a couple of cups throughout my day.
On top of that, tea helps me cut calories, since I’m not using milk or sweeteners. (But because I love amazing flavors, I invested in a tea pot with an infuser, for instance, so I could brew herbal teas.)
And then there are the benefits of the different types of tea:
- Green teas are awesome because they still have caffeine, but not tons of it (so you won’t feel jittery). And, green tea is great for lots of other reasons, like its ability to improve insulin sensitivity while providing immune-supporting antioxidants.
- Chamomile tea, which has no caffeine, has been shown to promote the reduction of things like stomach cramps, stress, and headaches. It’s generally used as a tea for relaxation.
- I also love oolong tea, which has a strong flavor and kick. Plus, it may boost metabolism to help fight against weight gain, according to the Journal of Medical Investigation.
In the end, switching made me feel lighter and calmer, and, most importantly, less anxious, which shows that what we ingest has a real emotional effect on our wellbeing—not just physical.