Healthy Coffee Alternatives: When to Quit Coffee & What to Drink Instead

Key Points:

  • Does the idea of quitting coffee make you feel all sorts of (terrible) things? It’s common. But sometimes cutting back on coffee can help you take back your health — and there are tons of coffee substitute options you might just fall in love with.
  • Although coffee is considered pretty healthy, there are certain health reasons why you might want to stop drinking it. Think hormone imbalance, high cortisol, high blood pressure, mineral deficiencies, and trouble sleeping.
  • If you’re relying on coffee for energy all day long, you’re not doing your cellular health any favors. It may be time to re-evaluate your relationship with coffee and find natural ways to stabilize and increase energy production in your cells.

Ugh, coffee substitutes. Let’s just say it takes a dire situation for most people to give up their morning cup of joe (doctor-prying-it-out-of-your-hands type stuff).

Seriously, coffee has a lot of fantastic health benefits — and it’s a cultural habit that’s single-handedly responsible for (most) happy mornings.

That said, caffeine is classified as a stimulant. Not only is it important to drink responsibly, but certain people may struggle with caffeine-related side effects, or be recommended to take a break for certain health reasons.

Let’s explore the best coffee alternatives that will help you maintain a morning ritual without sacrificing taste and that extra energy boost.

Table of Contents:

When Should You Stop Drinking Coffee?

There are several reasons why coffee drinking may need to take a back seat while you prioritize other parts of your health. Don’t feel defeated if you need to give up your morning coffee — most people can return to drinking a healthy 1-2 cups of coffee a day after their body has healed.

  • You’re having trouble sleeping. Is your morning cup of coffee behind your sleeping issues? Maybe. Experiment by lowering your dose or removing coffee altogether to see if your sleep improves.
  • You have high blood pressure. High blood pressure and coffee just don’t mix. Get your blood pressure under control before enjoying caffeine.
  • You’re deficient in minerals. Sadly, coffee can deplete minerals in the body (especially magnesium). If you know of or suspect mineral deficiencies, it might be best to remove coffee while you take care of this.
  • You’re stressed out. High cortisol and adrenaline can cause all sorts of problems in your body. If you’re in a constant fight-or-flight state and trying to manage stress, removing coffee temporarily is a good solution.
  • Your hormones are imbalanced. Hormone imbalances (especially in women) are a good reason to cut the caffeine. You particularly don’t want to spike your cortisol or adrenaline, especially first thing in the morning day after day. Since mineral deficiency is also common with hormone issues (and regular coffee consumption can further deplete minerals), taking a step back helps ensure much-needed nutrients stay in your body.
  • You’re on an elimination diet. If you’re struggling with gut dysbiosis, you may be recommended an elimination diet. You’ll temporarily remove different foods to see if your symptoms improve — and this may include coffee.
  • You have heartburn/GERD. Since coffee is acidic, it’s not recommended for heartburn patients, and can often make symptoms worse. Try adding whole milk to balance the acidity. However, most people see the best results when removing coffee altogether.

      Coffee Substitutes with Caffeine

      In some cases, substituting coffee doesn’t mean you have to eliminate caffeine entirely. Many coffee alternatives contain less caffeine and could reduce the jittery feeling that often comes with coffee. 

      Matcha

      A green tea with powerful health benefits, matcha offers a slow-release caffeine boost, which means it’s less likely to cause jitters. You’ll enjoy steadier energy, a boost of fiber, and plenty of antioxidants. Matcha can be difficult to get used to for people who don’t drink green tea. We recommend trying a high-quality matcha blend and adding regular milk or coconut milk for a creamy latte. 

      Black Tea

      Not only do you get the advantage of multiple flavors (English breakfast, Earl Grey, etc.), black tea has several health benefits, too. Most coffee people are coffee purists and struggle with the idea of drinking black tea. But don’t underestimate it. You can enjoy a London fog latte, a homemade chai, bubble tea, or even iced tea with fresh fruit.

      Mineral-Based Energy Drinks

      We’re not jumping on the bandwagon of sugary energy drinks and pre-workout beverages. However, it is possible to choose one that’s healthy. Find a drink without added sugar, chemicals, or dyes. We recommend a pre-workout drink with a little bit of caffeine and a whole lot of minerals. This is more likely to benefit you long-term, naturally increasing your energy so you don’t have to rely on stimulants.

      Mushroom Coffee

      If you’re struggling to stomach coffee, you may just need to change the method of consumption. A healthy mushroom coffee may be easier to digest, plus it comes with additional mushroom health benefits. Most mushroom coffee combines coffee with adaptogenic mushroom powder, so it’s not just mushrooms on their own. Like matcha, the mushrooms provide a little extra fiber and more sustained caffeine release too. 

      Caffeine-Free Coffee Substitutes

      Completely eliminating caffeine isn’t fun, but it’s often necessary. Since caffeine is considered a drug and a stimulant, there are many situations where you may need to take a break. This doesn’t mean you have to let go of your favorite morning ritual, though! These caffeine-free coffee substitutes can help you enjoy a warm drink without the side effects.

      Herbal Tea

      If you don’t like herbal tea… maybe you just need to experiment with more flavors. Honestly, there are dozens of herbal tea flavors to choose from — not to mention healthy add-ins, like honey, raw milk, and spices. Varieties like rooibos and raspberry leaf tea offer a surprisingly full-bodied, black tea-like flavor, without the caffeine. 

      Decaf Coffee

      Yes, decaf coffee has a certain… reputation. Maybe it’s not “real” coffee, or maybe you can taste the difference. But at the end of the day, it’s still coffee — and maybe that will have to do. Always make sure your decaf coffee is tested for contaminants like mycotoxins and heavy metals. We recommend you only purchase water-processed decaf coffee — because the alternative requires a toxic chemical process (not great for your cells or your tastebuds!).

      Raw Milk Hot Chocolate

      A glass of raw milk for the minerals, healthy fats, and vitamins — and a bit of cocoa and honey for taste. Honestly, we’ve just tipped the iceberg on all the health benefits that come from responsibly sourced raw milk. This food alone can help to naturally increase your energy without the use of any stimulants. Of course, if you’re truly lactose intolerant, skip this one. 

      Electrolytes

      You may be shocked by how much energy you gain from simply hydrating your cells. Electrolytes are much-needed minerals and “electric” communicators (they carry a positive or negative charge). When choosing an electrolyte supplement, your main goal is to find something that’s science-backed and not packed with sugar. That’s why we created E-Lyte — pure, salty electrolytes that dive straight into your cells for a healthy energy boost you’ll start to crave in no time.

      Healthier Coffee Alternatives

      If you ask us, coffee is pretty healthy. Coinciding with our worldwide obsession, there are numerous studies about the benefits of coffee for the brain and cells. However, not every type of coffee beverage may be good for you.

      For example, if you only drink your coffee when it’s loaded up on sugar and oat milk, it may be worth exploring healthier alternatives especially if you also struggle with mineral imbalance, hormone issues, and high blood sugar.

      These healthy coffee alternatives can help you get a natural dose of energy without all the extra caffeine and processed sugar.

      Adrenal Cocktails

      An adrenal cocktail combines potassium, vitamin C, and mineral-rich salt for an all-natural boost of energy. Seriously, it’s so powerful you might forget that coffee even exists. If you’re quitting coffee, you may find drinking one or two of these a day (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) really helps boost your energy levels without caffeine. Over time, the cocktails will flood your body with natural minerals, which your body learns to rely on for energy rather than coffee.

      Kombucha

      This fermented tea drink is popular all over the world. Its unique flavor has some similarities to soda but typically includes more natural and healthy ingredients (like fruit or juice). Of course, you’ll want to either make it at home or check store brands for sugar content and sneaky added chemicals.

      Kombucha contains a hint of caffeine. Not enough to really boost your energy, but it’s important to note if you’re sensitive or looking to completely eliminate caffeine from your diet. 

      Adaptogens

      These are herbs and mushrooms that help your body adapt to stress and increase neurotransmitters. Adaptogens can also boost energy and focus — naturally. You can consume adaptogens as whole foods (by adding mushrooms or herbs to a salad), in supplement form, or purchase a minimally processed adaptogen drink mix.

      A Turmeric Latte with Raw Milk

      Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits and potent antioxidants. Although it doesn’t contain caffeine, the nutrients it provides can help to increase energy levels. Whisk turmeric into raw milk over the stove to make a healthy latte if you want to keep the ambiance of a hot morning beverage.

      Liquid Minerals

      If you’re chronically exhausted, coffee is a band-aid solution. You may need a more intensive treatment option — like minerals. Most of us are depleted in minerals, and the problem is only growing worse. Fast food, depleted soil, and purified drinking water are making minerals a luxury — and our bodies aren’t happy about it. Try adding liquid minerals to your daily routine to increase energy naturally.

      The Solution to Coffee Addiction Is Always to Boost Energy Naturally

      If your version of “giving up coffee” includes sleeping in, dozing off at your desk, and settling into seasonal depression — it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship with coffee.

      Yes, it is considered normal in our society to rely on coffee for energy (and even happiness). But it shouldn’t be — and your health deserves better.

      While you’re exploring coffee alternatives, you may want to take a deep dive into your true feelings about coffee, and any hesitations you have about giving it up. 

      This is a great time to focus on nourishing your cells, consuming natural minerals and vitamins, and creating an environment where your body produces stable energy on its own.

      One way you can do this is with B vitamins. These vitamins are often depleted, especially in patients who are chronically ill or chronically stressed. But they’re needed to convert glucose into energy. Without them? You guessed it — stable energy is nearly impossible, no matter how many cups of coffee you down.

      References

      Bergman, E. A., Massey, L. K., Wise, K. J., & Sherrard, D. J. (1990). Effects of dietary caffeine on renal handling of minerals in adult women. Life sciences, 47(6), 557–564. https://doi.org/10.1016/0024-3205(90)90616-y

      Poole, R., Kennedy, O. J., Roderick, P., Fallowfield, J. A., Hayes, P. C., & Parkes, J. (2017). Coffee consumption and health: umbrella review of meta-analyses of multiple health outcomes. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 359, j5024. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j5024

      Gonzaga, L. A., Vanderlei, L. C. M., Gomes, R. L., & Valenti, V. E. (2017). Caffeine affects autonomic control of heart rate and blood pressure recovery after aerobic exercise in young adults: a crossover study. Scientific reports, 7(1), 14091. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-14540-4

      Kennedy D. O. (2016). B Vitamins and the Brain: Mechanisms, Dose and Efficacy--A Review. Nutrients, 8(2), 68. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8020068

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