Now back to a topic I had mentioned in a prior post on the mushroom Lion’s Mane…..COFFEE. Yup, I love my coffee. But I’ve read mixed reviews on the effects of consuming high amounts of caffeine and in my personal experience with consuming the stuff, much can sometimes crave more, and with that – too much. I was finding myself having my first cup between 430 and 5 am every morning before my gym workout. Followed my another cup around 10 or 11 am then early afternoon around 2….I wasn’t liking this 3 cup a day regime as I was really starting to feel like my energy was directly tied to my coffee drinking. Especially when 5 or 6 pm rolled around and new the thought of having a 4th cup was simply a HORRIBLE idea.
A colleague recommended that I try MUD WTR, a mushroom based coffee alternative. She gave me a sample, I tried it, and it appeared to have worked (part of me felt it may have been a placebo effect). Not a HUGE fan of the taste to be honest (although I did grow accustomed to it after a while) – after consuming I didn’t have a craving for my afternoon coffee and my energy levels were still up. It was kinda pricey, but I bought some anyhow to give it a shot. In the meantime, I visited the local health shop here in St. John’s I frequent and asked if they had something equivalent to MUD WTR but for a fraction of the cost. And they did – Kickstart by Harmonic Arts. Hearing it had more of a chocolate/licorice taste to it, I figured I throw a dose of it into my morning shake which was chocolate flavored – since I consume my shake at around 10 or 11 am daily. Sure enough, the Kickstart did the trick. And by 2 pm? I wasn’t craving another coffee. Happy to say now that I’ve kicked my habitual afternoon coffee habit for almost 6 months. I usually take the Kickstart in my a.m. shake but on occasion I’ll have a MUD WTR with almond milk. One exception to that rule is when I fast…but I’ll save a blog on fasting for another day!
What is in MUD WTR and Kickstart? Here’s the lowdown:
MUD WTR: Cacao, Masala chai, Turmeric, Sea salt, Cinnamon, Chaga, Cordyceps, Reishi, Lions Mane.
Kickstart: Cacao, Ramon Nut, Maca, Chaga Mushroom Extract, Roasted Yerba Mate, Indian Sarsaparilla, Roasted Dandelion Root, Guarana
- Cacao (not cocoa!) – known as a superfood due to it’s high amount of antioxidants (substances that seem to reduce oxidative stress, which is thought to contribute to aging and certain diseases like cancer), vitamins and minerals. Many cultures have been using cacao for it’s medicinal purposes for centuries. Benefits include: lower blood pressure, reduced diabetes risk, reduced inflammation, less stress, improved cognitive function. Provides iron, protein, magnesium, potassium, fiber. Oh yes, and contains caffeine. Read here for more information.
- Maca – aka Peruvian Ginseng – a cruciferous vegetable related to broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and kale. It’s been used in Peru for thousands of years as a natural medicine in particular for infertility and libido. It’s also been used to hep relieve menopausal symptoms in women and may improve mood and energy.
- Chaga – this mushroom is known for it’s immune boosting potential, possibly helping to reduce inflammation and even prevent cancer.
- Yerba Mate – made from leaves/twigs of the mate plant and like coffee/other teas, stimulates the nervous system and most commonly consumed for an energy boost. Also known to be a natural remedy for fatigue, depression, weight management and chronic headaches. Good source of antioxidant, magnesium, vitamin C, zinc.
- Indian Sarsaparilla – chemicals contained might help decrease pain and swelling. In Ayurveda, the plant is used in the treatment of bone-loss, low body weight, fever, stress, topical wound and psoriasis. It is also depicted in Ayurvedic literature its use as anti-atherogenic, anti-spasmodic, memory enhancing, immunopotentiating and anti-inflammatory agents (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32007632/).
- Dandelion Root – contains chemicals that might decrease swelling, increase urine production, and help prevent kidney and urinary tract infections.
- Guarana is derived from seeds of a South American tree. It contains chemicals similar to caffeine. Often consumed for obesity, athletic performance, mental performance and to increase energy. It contains among the highest concentrations of caffeine in any plan. Interesting fact: It may contain up to 3.6% to 5.8% caffeine by weight. Coffee only has up to 2% (https://www.webmd.com/diet/supplement-guide-guarana).
- Masala Chai is cooked by combining various spices and ingredients together, including black tea, ginger, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and others. Chai literally means tea and is referred to as masala chai in it’s original version. Considered to be an excellent antioxidant helping to reduce inflammation, increase energy, improve digestion, boost immunity, defend colds, prevent diabetes and prevent cancer.
- Turmeric comes from the root of Curcuma longa. Contains the chemical curcumin which might reduce swelling. Often used in curry, it is often used to treat conditions that involve pain and swelling.
- Lion’s Mane mushroom – see my previous post for more info on this fantastic fungi and it’s health benefits.
- Cinnamon is a spice and comes from the cinnamon tree. It’s known to lower blood sugar, boost metabolism, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation and more.
- Cordyceps is a fungus that lives on certain caterpillars in areas of China. Most supplements that use cordyceps are made in a lab. It may improve immunity and help fight cancer.
- Reishi mushroom is used in many Asian countries to increase energy, boost the immune system and for general health. It is believed to promote long term health and longevity.
I feel like MUD WTR offers many additional health benefits (Cacao, Masala Chai, Turmeric, Reishi, Lions Mane) beyond an energy boost, while Kickstart is focused primarily on energy. I think I’ll do another blog post sometime just on medicinal mushrooms, as I have yet to talk about the 5 mushroom blend I consume in my daily coffee. I’ll come back and link that back in here when I do….
For over 6 months now, I can say that I no longer experience my afternoon coffee addiction on a daily basis, THANKS TO MUSHROOMS! Do I have the occasional second cup? Sure, especially if I’m on an extended fast. But even then I will not drink an entire cup; usually only half. Or I’ll opt for a black or green tea.
Thanks for reading! Reach out if you’d like to know more about my experiences!