In college I worked at a bakery, and 6:30 AM opening shifts + a 40 minute commute + a no-lateness EVER policy = a life of sleep deprivation. So obviously, drinking copious liters of coffee and espresso was neccessary. I never really drank caffeine before, so the buzz was new to me. At first it was great -- I was talkative and friendly and busted out coffee drinks and sandwiches at the speed of light.
After about a year or so of this, I started to get some bad caffeine side effects. I never really built up a crazy tolerance for coffee, so quantity wasn't the issue - I was still only drinking about 1 shot of espresso per morning....maybe some iced coffee later on if I felt my eyes drooping. Regardless, I started getting anxious every time I had caffeine. I felt frantic, and god bless you if you got in my way - when wired, it feels totally normal and acceptable to push 90 year old woman down in order to get somewhere faster. GOTTA GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111111
Needless to say I stopped drinking coffee after awhile, when I realized it was not only making me insane but also totally dehydrated (and i already drink literally 1 gallon of water a day). I tried black tea, still bad. Tried green tea...still bad. I just do not mesh well with caffeine, apparently.
Luckily, I discovered yerba mate! It's just like coffee but without the side effects. A lot of people hate the taste (it's very earthy, almost grassy) but that's nothing a litle honey and milk can't fix. It makes me focused and motivated but with no jitters or nausea or anything bad that I've experienced with coffee. Also, mate doesn't make you stay up at night! It's great to be able to get a 6pm caffeine kick without worrying about lying in bed past midnight and feeling your eyelids twitch or something.
Mate (by definition) is a South American tradition intended to brewed in an hollow gourd and enjoyed communally by passing the gourd around with a silver spoon. BUT this is North America, and sometimes traditions come here to die, so you can get Mate in teabag form from a store like Whole Foods. I prefer to buy it in bulk-loose-leaf form and brew it in a tea pot. Just remember! - mate is intended to be brewed in hot water, NOT boiling water like other teas. It makes it bitter!
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