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By Lauren Bowen
Ahhhh, coffee … Java, go juice, liquid energy or rocket fuel. Whatever you choose to call it, coffee is America's go-to drink of choice. In fact, Americans drink an average of 3.1 cups of coffee each day. That's $40 billion spent by the U.S. alone on coffee each year.
The Good News
The good news? Some recent scientific studies suggest that consumption of caffeinated coffee in moderation may help to reduce some risks of diseases such as onset type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver cancer, Parkinson's and event gallstones.
The Not-So-Good News
However, not every aspect of regular coffee consumption is positive. Coffee has a tendency to carry with it a laundry list of unwanted extras (heavy creams, processed sugar, flavored syrups of all sorts) and is highly addictive, often forcing regular coffee drinkers into a habit that is difficult to break. No one likes those caffeine withdrawals …
Coffee also has a tendency to do a number on our mood. The “don't talk to me until I've had my coffee" trope isn't an overstatement.
Maybe you're thinking, “Coffee is my fuel. Without it I'm a zombie!" or “I'm always more productive when I have a little coffee kick" or possibly, “It just tastes good. There's nothing like a mocha frappuccino on a hot day."
Those are all fair statements. Many of us lead incredibly busy lives; we're always on our toes, working hard and running on coffee to make things happen at home and at work.
But what if there was another way?
Part of holistic health is understanding that life requires balance: that we keep ourselves free from restraints that hold us back or habits that keep us tied down when we don't want to be.
If you feel like you're ready to try some other options, check out the healthier coffee alternatives below.
1. Green Tea: Green tea is one of those drinks that is super-packed with nutrients, antioxidants and digestive benefits. It's just the right sort of drink to give you a boost without the unwanted coffee jitters.
2. Yerba Mate: For those who can't get their wheels turning without a cup of caffeine, yerba mate is a great choice. Made from the naturally caffeinated leaves from the South American holly tree, it's known for its “pump up" abilities. Bonus: Tastes great hot or cold.
3. Pomegranate Juice: Not kidding; this juice is full of energy boosters and antioxidants. Tastes great on its own or mixed with others.
4. Shizandra Tea: If you've never tried shizandra, you're in for a treat. Considered an easy swap for your daily java fix, shizandra is a berry tea that comes from East Asia. It also has some incredible health benefits: shizandra balances blood sugar, takes care of your liver and may even increase your memory.
5. Wheatgrass Juice: There's a reason wheatgrass makes its way into smoothies of all sorts. It's packed with a laundry list of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that aid digestion and boosts energy.
Well, there you have it. You're all set. No go on your non-coffee-addicted way.
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As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.
Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.
AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.
"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."
Big Oil is now using its political power to try and criminalize protests of oil & gas infrastructure.— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) August 19, 2019
"This legislation has potential to punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment."https://t.co/bmiHjONEhy
The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.
"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.
As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."
"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."
Many of the state bills restricting the right to protest have been "drafted by companies and passed through groups like ALEC, the secretive group of corporate lobbyists trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people." @greenpeaceusa https://t.co/ZxpTjWdrwT— Stand Up To ALEC (@StandUpToALEC) May 6, 2019
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.