Coffee Replacement: 3 Simple Steps & 5 Healthier Alternatives
Legal or not, coffee is an addictive drug that affects both your body and brain chemistry.
Anyone who drinks coffee regularly and cannot go a day or two without ‘really feeling like’ (needing) a cup is very likely addicted to it.
I was. I drank at least two cups a day most days of the week for many years.
In researching all the different negative effects drinking coffee can have on your health, I simply came up with too many reasons to no longer drink it.
There were two things that particularly surprised me with coffee replacement.
The first was how much calmer I felt, even only a couple of days after my last cup. The tension I’d often felt in my shoulders in the past, and would usually take breaks for, quickly diminished.
The second was how easy it was. I don’t mean to lessen how difficult it can be for some people, particularly heavier users of coffee, to give up coffee.
Medical literature has a long list of reported caffeine withdrawal symptoms. These include fatigue and low energy, irritability, difficulty concentrating, decreased alertness, tension and muscle stiffness, and caffeine withdrawal headaches.
This page, and the following posts it links to, are about how to diminish and even avoid as many of the symptoms of coffee withdrawal as possible with a specific plan.
If you’re ready to find your own alternative to coffee, I’d suggest there are 3 things that can help to make it happen with a minimum of stress or withdrawal symptoms.
3 Steps to Coffee Replacement
Step 1: Understanding Caffeine Addiction
Start by admitting that you are addicted to a drug called caffeine. That this drug is legal and socially acceptable isn’t really relevant if it’s so addictive you can’t stop using it if you choose to.
If a person chooses not to use a substance like caffeine, and yet they feel compelled to use it again in a short time regardless, then they are, by definition, addicted to it.
I don’t know about you but I don’t like any substance having that much control over me.
If you don’t believe you’re addicted to coffee then why not try this plan to give up coffee for a week or two and see if it improves your ability to relax and sense of wellbeing.
If you choose you can always go back. At least you will have proven to yourself that you actually have a choice in the matter.
As for being a legal and socially acceptable drug, this really doesn’t change the nature of the substance and the effects it may be having on you, particularly on your digestive system.
We are fortunate that more and more people are demanding healthy coffee substitutes to drink and the caffeine-free options at restaurants and cafes are extensive.
Additionally, most of the coffee alternatives I’ll suggest ahead are easy to take to work and when traveling.
Step 2: Momentum and Motivation
Get some momentum on yourself and motivation as to why you want to replace coffee. This was key for me. Having a strong enough reason why.
At some level I probably knew that coffee wasn’t that good for me. But when I really looked deeply into just how damaging it can be, I found I just didn’t want to drink it anymore.
If you haven’t read the previous post on the digestive problems with coffee it’s worth taking a few minutes now for some extra motivation.
Coffee also elevates the stress hormone cortisol, depletes minerals in your body, and raises triglycerides and homocysteine. All of these are markers for an increased risk of circulatory issues.
Step 3: Set a Start Time and Follow a Plan to Give Up Coffee
Plan a time to start and have your coffee replacements and the upcoming withdrawal remedies ready.
The physiological effects of the caffeine in coffee are well-documented, but in any addiction it’s also worth remembering the psychological power of habit and ritual.
If you know that you drink coffee at a certain time and in certain situations it’s very important to have your replacements ready.
Starting on a weekend or other time away from work is a good idea too, as many of us are on autopilot at the start of the working day. Given this, you may find a cup of coffee in your hand at the same time as usual without even realizing what you’ve done.
On the other hand, if you start on a Saturday when you’re less busy, you’ll have two days of retraining the habit and any withdrawal symptoms will be greatly diminished by Monday.
Teeccino Java Alternative
For people who want a healthy alternative to coffee but really enjoy drinking it, this rich tasting Teeccino has been a godsend. There have been java substitutes in the past but it seems that the flavor has never really been up to scratch.
Teeccino is a rare thing — a direct, tastes like coffee replacement that most people seem to really like the flavor of. Even better, its ingredients, like organic carob and chicory root with inulin, are beneficial for gut health.
Drinking Teeccino can have an alkalizing effect on your body as well. That’s very different to the acidity of coffee.
My favorites are the French Roast and Maca Chocolate. There are many different Teeccino flavors here on iHerb though. Some of the new ones, like hazelnut, raspberry mocha and vanilla nut, sound well worth trying too.
The best value is in the 3 packs. Keep the bags in the fridge and make them up as you would regular coffee grounds in a coffee machine, filter or French press.
The 4 Best Teas to Replace Coffee
1. Peppermint Tea
One of my personal favorite coffee replacements is a strong peppermint tea. It has no caffeine but still has a refreshing and invigorating energy to it.
A warm cup of peppermint tea can be a great coffee alternative for people who need something to get them going in the morning. There is much more on the potent digestive benefits of peppermint tea here.
My favorite brand is Heather’s tummy tea in these extra strong organic teabags. It’s very hard to go back to weaker teas after trying these.
2. Ginger Tea
Like peppermint tea, ginger tea is both energizing and great for improving digestion. It makes an excellent coffee alternative as a strong ginger tea can really wake you up if you’re tired and improve your mood if the day isn’t going that well.
3. Organic Green Tea
Green tea does have some caffeine in it, but it’s much less than in coffee and various compounds in green tea can be very beneficial.
For many people, switching to organic green tea, like this one I drink, can be a real help in replacing coffee without negative side effects.
Once you’ve made the switch to green tea and have got through the initial caffeine withdrawal symptoms, there are healthy decaffeinated green tea options.
Unfortunately, decaffeinated coffee can’t be recommended. Studies show decaf coffee is just as acidic in the stomach as regular coffee. More on this in a previous post on coffee and digestion.
4. Chamomile Tea
For anyone feeling a little tense as coffee lets go of its grip on them, chamomile tea can be a relaxing and soothing drink. Caffeine-free chamomile tea has been shown to help relaxation, reduce tension and improve sleep.
This tea is not good for getting going first thing in the morning. But should you find yourself a bit stressed out later in the day, organic chamomile like this is a good tea to go for.
Making the Switch
Finding a replacement for coffee that you like is much more effective than trying to stop cold turkey.
These are my favorite healthy coffee alternatives and I firmly believe switching to one of them or something similar is an important part of coffee replacement.