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Six Caffeine-Free Ways to Kickstart Your Morning

Posted by Nicole McLaughlin on

When coffee just isn’t cutting it or you’re bravely attacking the day sans caffeine, change up your morning routine with these brain-boosting alternatives.

Golden Milk

Even though it’s been around for over 4,000 years and considered one of the principal spices in Southeast Asia, turmeric has experienced a sudden resurgence in popularity for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Pair that with ginger and a healthy kick of black pepper and you’ve got a spicy way to wake up your morning routine. To start, heat 2 cups of your favorite dairy or nondairy milk and with 1 tsp grated ginger, 1 tablespoon peeled grated turmeric, a few cracks of pepper and a pinch of caradamom until steaming. Stir well and add honey to taste.


Think of kefir as kombucha’s sweet little sister. Same great probiotics, but no scary SCOBY mushroom. Like the ‘buch, kefir relies on “grains” of friendly bacteria and yeast to ferment flavored water or milk into a fizzy, gut-friendly beverage. While dairy milk is traditionally used, kefir can also be made from plant based or nut milks. Its unusual name is derived from the Turkish word “keif” which means “good feeling.”

Lemon water is one way to wake up without caffeine

Lemon, Honey and Vinegar Water

While you might have seen some trendy Drinking Vinegars popping up in your local grocery store, this homemade version is a little less acidic but just as delicious. Add a tablespoon of naturally fermented apple cider vinegar (one that contains a mother colony), a drizzle of honey and a slice of lemon to your morning water. ACV contains probiotics for healthy digestion, lemon for zing and honey for energy and antibacterial throat soothing powers.

Kava Kava

Sometimes the best way to wake up fresh is to get a good night’s sleep. If hitting the hay early just means you’re in for an extra hour restlessness, then a soothing cup of Kava Kava might be the ticket. Found in the South Pacific and Hawaii, Kava Kava induces the same effects as chamomile tea. It’s often used in cultural ceremonies and as a tool to calm anxiety naturally. Like most herbal supplements it can cause interactions with some prescription drugs, so do your research before you start to sip.

Yogi Porridge and Berries

As unsexy as it sounds, porridge is a great way to start your day when straight up liquids just won’t cut it. Porridge provides fiber, protein, and energy to sustain you throughout the morning. No post-coffee slump here. Choose a healthy whole grain like oats, barley, amaranth or millet or for the gluten avoidant a mix of chia, hemp, coconut and ground nuts. Prepare your grains, either by soaking overnight in your milk of choice or toasting in a pan with coconut oil and a splash of water until thickened. Top with brain boosting berries, dates, agave, and cinnamon.

Sun Salutations

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Sun Salutations, or Surya Namaskar, are one of the most popular and easy to learn yoga routines out there. But don’t let its simplicity fool you, it’s a great building block to start your day.

Breathe deeply and start in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) with feet together, spine straight, and standing tall. Drop your shoulders, arms down, palms facing forward. Inhale and raise your arms up into Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute) elongating your back and engaging your quads. Exhale and bend at the hips into Uttanasana (Forward Fold) hands to the mat, knees slightly bent. Inhale and rise up 90 degrees, with a flat back to Arhda Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) placing hands on shins and gazing forward. Exhale, then step or jump into Plank Pose.

Engage the core and sink into Chaturanga Dandasana (Four Limbed Staff Pose) keeping elbows tucked in. Keeping your back straight, inhale, flip toes onto the top of your feet, and press up into Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Upward Facing Dog Pose).

Exhale and press hips back into Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward Dog Pose) encouraging your heels toward the earth. With bent knees, exhale and step your feet forward to meet your hands. Move into ford fold and then on an inhale, back into Upward Salute. Find your center and return to Tadasana. Breathe and repeate.