Every morning with my tea, I drop in a grain-sized portion of sticky, black tar that emits a rather pungent smell. It melts, darkening the green tea a shade browner and giving it a slightly bitter aftertaste. This strange substance, shilajit, has now totally replaced my caffeine habit—and has single-handedly given me far more energy and focus than I’ve ever had before.
Let me back up. I never used to be a coffee drinker, but about a year ago, I started to indulge in almond lattes on breaks to the local barista with my coworkers. When I first started drinking coffee, I felt wired in the worst way: a bit sweaty, jittery and at night, unable to fall asleep easily. But soon, the regular injection of caffeine into my system made the more jarring effects subside and my body dependent. I became a habitual coffee drinker, and started feeling adverse effects in the afternoons if I didn’t have my 2 p.m. latte. It was an expensive addiction and I wanted to quit.
Enter this gooey black substance into my life. Recommended by my naturopathic doctor, Dr. Christine Surrago, as a coffee placement, shilajit is a resin formed by the decomposition of nutrient-dense plants that’s reputed to boost energy levels.