Coffee was ruining my life.
Dramatic, but that’s how it felt as I slogged through groggy morning after groggy morning, reaching for coffee in hopes that this time it would save me. “This time,” I’d say to myself as I poured another cup, “I’ll feel insanely productive and energized all day, and I will not – I repeat, will NOT – crash.”
But instead of “insanely productive,” I generally just felt insane. A brief, glorious high – almost manic – would precede a deep energy drop, profound levels of brain fog, and a jaw that ached from clenching it for hours on end. And of course, my sleep was seriously screwy. Why was I locked into this vicious, repetitive caffeine cycle? Why are any of us still stuck on coffee? Well:
I knew I deserved to feel better, but I just could not kick my dependency. Then, one random Tuesday, my coworker mentioned he had a new favorite coffee alternative: an adaptogenic beverage called “:rise” by MUD\WTR. He swore his energy levels, sleep, and overall well-being had improved since drinking this blend of functional adaptogenic mushrooms.
I was, let’s just say, trepidatious about replacing coffee (the devil I knew) with something that had the word “mud” in it. But I decided to roll the dice, ordered the Morning Ritual Starter Kit – did I mention I love a ritual? – and ventured into a world of sustained, mellow, jitter-free energy.
As I waited for my MUD kit to arrive (not long – shipping was surprisingly fast), I educated myself on the ingredients. “What is in the evocatively titled :rise blend?” you ask. Here are some highlights, with notes:
I’d intentionally chosen the Starter Kit over a straight-up tin of :rise (30-day or 90-day supply) mainly because I wanted to dip my toe in and get a lay of the land (hello, mixed metaphors). I was a bit worried about the low caffeine dose (a serving of :rise contains ~35 mg, compared to 90-100 mg in a cup of coffee). Wouldn’t I experience withdrawals? Would I even stay awake?
I decided to push through my uncertainties in the name of Bravery, telling myself that everything worth doing is a little uncomfortable and that I could handle it.
Ding-dong! My package from MUD was here – time to welcome my new morning ritual.
7:30am. My body was tired, craving that familiar hit of sweet, sweet coffee – but I resisted. I was a New Woman now, embracing change. With my starter kit open and ready, I followed the instructions: scooping a tablespoon of the brown powder into a mug, adding hot water, and finishing with oat milk and stevia – my standard morning coffee with a twist.
I took a sip. “Funky” is the first word that came to mind. I’d been expecting a more traditional chai taste – sweeter, more notes of vanilla maybe? – so this was an adjustment. It wasn’t bad, though, and as I continued to drink it, I appreciated the layered earthiness. It was interesting.
I finished the cup and went about my workday. And then something weird happened. Or, rather, didn’t happen.
Around 11am, when I usually reach for my second cup of coffee, I found that I wasn’t craving caffeine – surprising, considering I’d only consumed about ⅓ of my normal morning caffeine. My energy levels were actually solid. I figured this was a fluke, but committed to waking up the next day and trying it all over again.
Spoiler: it wasn’t a fluke. On Day 2, I drank my little cup of MUD – this time enjoying the flavor more, finding it reminiscent of Mexican hot chocolate. It was growing on me. And the knowledge that I was doing something nice for my body and brain motivated me to keep going.
Everything clicked in on Day 3. The night before – for the first time in years (???) – I’d gotten a good night’s sleep. My thoughts weren’t racing anxiously as I laid my head on my pillow. I hadn’t tossed and turned. I woke up genuinely well-rested.
This was… jarring. I was so used to feeling exhausted, then hopped up on coffee, then completely depleted, then sleepless, then exhausted – lather, rise, repeat. MUD had somehow broken a years-long cycle.
I also always identified heavily as an anxious person – but it turned out my caffeine intake was a key contributor. :rise gave me a nice boost while keeping my heart rate at a manageable pace. Prior to MUD, I was not only dependent on coffee, but also on the stress and adrenaline that came with it. I couldn’t imagine the absence of this constant “fight or flight” mode.
But I had to admit, I was starting to actually feel… good. My stress levels were down, my mood had improved, and I was able to be productive at work for long stretches without serious spikes and dips in my energy. And my jaw muscles? Relaxed as heck, thank you very much.
A few days before finishing my tin of :rise, I went ahead and ordered the 90-day pack. Suffice it to say, I was hooked – and not in a dangerous, chemically-dependent way, a la coffee. I had made the switch to a better morning ritual and was feeling justifiably proud of myself. And that? Is a substance you can’t French-press :)
To my fellow coffee addicts curious about another way of life, I would highly recommend taking the MUD journey. You’ll be getting more sustained, stable energy, along with a host of adaptogenic benefits that coffee simply can’t provide. MUD will have you feeling like the best version of yourself – or, as the product page promises – you, but superhuman.