Coffee Substitutes

One of the toughest parts of my job as a nutrition coach is helping people to quit coffee. This recommendation is never well received! It’s harder than giving up sugar or alcohol for most people.  Trust me, I can relate. I clung fiercely to my morning cup of coffee for a long time, even though I didn’t like feeling so addicted, I was uneasy about the chemicals and pesticides in coffee, and I wanted to create my own energy throughout the day instead of relying on my morning fix.

What’s the problem with coffee?

Coffee is very acidic and dehydrating. Coffee taxes your adrenal glands, as well as your liver and kidneys. And caffeine seriously disrupts your sleep. Coffee has a half-life of 7 hours, so it stays in your system for a long time, which means even a cup of coffee in the morning can effect your sleep.

What happens when you ditch coffee?

What I’ve seen over and over again by working with patients and people going through the Cleanse program is that when they stop drinking coffee they surprisingly have MORE energy, feel calmer, are better able to handle stress and they sleep better. I’ll never forget one woman who went from having 6 cups a day to none, and she couldn’t believe the change. She went from dragging to energized, and her eyes sparkled!

In my personal experience, I’ve gotten rid of an afternoon “fuzziness” – I now feel sharp and awake, instead of a foggy feeling that my head was in the clouds. I have steadier energy from morning till night.

How to quit

In order to get off coffee, it’s helpful to recognize that you’re addicted and have a game plan. It’s best to taper off slowly to minimize headaches and withdrawal symptoms. Be gentle with yourself and try to get some extra rest. And I feel that it’s essential to find a coffee substitute to make the transition go smoothly.  Here are some suggestions – some of these replicate the emotional experience of coffee, and others give a smaller dose of caffeine to get you going.

1. Teeccino is an herbal coffee substitute that I’ve tried and like. It’s made with barley, but they say there are no detectable levels of gluten. The Teeccino Tee-bags are convenient and perfect for gluten-sensitive customers because the Teeccino grounds are enclosed completely in the tea bag filter paper. They have good flavors like Vanilla Nut and Maya Chocolate, and you can add some almond milk or hemp milk and some stevia to sweeten.

2. Dandy Blend is another herbal coffee substitute, made with dandelion root. I’ve tried this one too and I’m a fan. It’s gluten-free and tastes good with almond milk and stevia. They will even mail you a free sample if you call and

3. Matcha green tea is my favorite. It still has a little caffeine, but feels much cleaner and greener than coffee. I stir a half teaspoon of matcha with a bit of almond milk and then add boiling water and some stevia to sweeten. I use the Teavana brand.

4. Vanilla “Latte”: If you want something warm and comforting in the morning, you can heat up a mug of unsweetened vanilla almond milk (on the stove or in the microwave) with a dash of cinnamon and stevia to taste. It’s delicious! You could also add a teaspoon of cacao powder for a chocolate-y treat.

5. Water with Lemon: If you use coffee to help go to the bathroom in the morning, another option is to have a glass of water (hot or cold) with half of a lemon squeezed into it. This will alkalize your body, re-hydrate you, and it helps with elimination.  It also helps the liver to get rid of toxins, so this is a great way to start the day.

Good luck with your coffee crusade and let me know how it goes! Feel free to email [email protected] with any questions.

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