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How to Quit Coffee. Plus: Low Caffeine + Caffeine-Free Options

What You Will Learn in This Article

  • How Coffee Impacts Your Hormones
  • How to Quit Coffee and Caffeine in 4 Weeks
  • Low- And Zero Caffeine Options
  • Recipes Tips for Caffeine-Free Lattes

There’s nothing like a cup of coffee to start your day out right. You stumble out of bed, head to the kitchen, and get your favorite brewing method going. You pour the coffee in your favorite mug, add your choice of accompaniments (milk, cream, sweetener) or not, and take that first sip. Ah! Now you can let the day begin. Until you coffee break.

You may find that once that first cup wears off, you’ve lost your focus. Maybe you start to feel tired. Maybe you even feel a bit irritable. You now also crave “something sweet” like a bar or donut.

Oh by the way, how are your hormones doing? Do you feel like you’re doing everything right, but you’re still struggling with estrogen dominance or thyroid issues? Or, perhaps you’re struggling to keep going as you struggle daily with overwhelming fatigue. Maybe your blood sugar levels are out of control, and you’re still struggling with those last few pounds. Could it be the coffee?

I hate to break it to you… but it certainly could be.

Coffee does not impact everyone the same way. Some can have it and be well. Others are far more sensitive to it and suffer a lot from it, without realizing it. 

Here are some signs that coffee might not agree with you. You get: 

  • Jitters and energy crashes
  • Inability to focus
  • Anxiety and irritability 
  • Mood swings and anger 
  • Insomnia and poor sleep quality
  • The “coffee runs”
  • Ongoing gut problems 
  • Thyroid isn’t improving in spite of making many changes (plus, your Hashimoto’s antibodies remain high) 
  • Bad body odor (and can’t imagine your day without a deodorant) 
  • Lumpy breasts that won’t improve in spite of doing Hormones Balance protocols 
  • PMS from hell

How Coffee Impacts Your Hormones

Many women declare that coffee is not a problem for them. You won’t know if coffee is causing health issues for you until you give it up for at least two weeks. Caffeine is a highly addictive substance and admitting a dependence on it isn’t what everyone is willing to do.

I have challenged the Hormones Balance community to give up coffee for two weeks to see how they felt. The results were revelational. Many reported less anxiety and/or anger, reduction of hot flashes and night sweats (this one was a huge one!), better sleep, no sugar cravings, less lumpy breasts and ironically… more energy throughout the day.

If you have implemented many health improvements and still struggle with hormonal issues, I highly recommend giving up coffee for at least two weeks.

Coffee, and particularly caffeine, is a stimulant. It increases blood sugar levels, stimulates the adrenal glands, reduces thyroid hormones, contributes to overproduction of “dirty” estrogens, and stimulates the inflammatory response. Not to mention, depending on the source of your coffee beans, you could be adding pesticides and/or mold into the mix. All these things wreak havoc with our hormones.

Here’s a list of coffee’s specific effects on hormones:

  • Spikes cortisol by increasing blood sugar. (1)
  • Exhausts adrenal glands as it stimulates them to produce more cortisol.
  • Contributes to Estrogen Dominance. (2)
  • Decreases availability of thyroid hormone. (3)
  • Inhibits thyroid hormone conversion (T4 to active T3) due to its promotion of estrogen dominance and thyroid binding globulin (TBG).(4)
  • Increases inflammation, which contributes to all types of hormone imbalance. (5)

To learn more about how coffee impacts your hormones, read this article.

If you have implemented many health improvements and still struggle with hormonal issues, I highly recommend giving up coffee for at least two weeks.

If you are willing to take up this challenge, the question is how exactly do you wean yourself off it?

For some women, it’s painless and for others it’s a 2-week detox process (I’m the latter) potentially accompanied by headaches, poor sleep, mood swings and foggy brain.

Give Up Coffee and All Caffeine, or Only Coffee?

We often get this question which is important to address as it’s a nuanced answer that depends on your body chemistry.
I’ve found that there are women who don’t do well on coffee but can have other caffeinated drinks (matcha, chai tea, etc.) and free themselves off the symptoms I covered above. I’m certainly one of them. When I drink coffee, I get smelly body odor, bouts of anger, poor sleep, lumpy breasts, sugar drops and cravings, and extreme fatigue by 2pm. But, I can have various caffeinated teas such as green tea and not have these symptoms.

Having said that, some women feel best when they are completely off anything caffeinated. So, the bottom line is that it depends on your body chemistry and you would need to try both; get 100% off anything caffeinated and then get only off coffee to determine what your body can accept.

Whatever way you plan to proceed, we’ve created a step-by-step guide to support you in this effort.
Weaning off is recommended to prevent developing debilitating detox symptoms.

How to Quit Coffee and Caffeine in 4 Weeks

If you’re needing a little guidance, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you wean yourself off coffee:

Step 1: Prepare. Stock up on organic decaf coffee as well as other coffee alternatives you’re interested in.

Step 2: Cut your caffeine by 50%. For 4 Days, drink 1/2 regular, 1/2 decaf.

Step 3: Cut back by 75%. On the 5th day, use only ¼ caffeine with ¾ decaf.

Step 4: Start drinking only decaf coffee. On days 6 and 7, it’s time to switch to all decaf coffee (which still has some caffeine).

Step 5: Add in other low caffeine options (listed below). Starting on day 8, add in other low caffeine coffee alternatives to switch it up. Do that for a week.

Step 6: Add zero caffeine beverages and find out what you like. On week 3, find some zero caffeine healthy beverages (find a list of zero caffeine drinks towards the end of this article here) and give them a try for a week.

Step 7: Make the switch (100%) to zero caffeine beverages. By week 4, you’re entirely off coffee and caffeine!

How to Mitigate the Detox Effects of Caffeine

I’m one of these people who gets pretty bad detox effects when giving up caffeine. Even though I don’t drink that much of it – one to two cups per day. Here is a list of things I’ve done in the past that helped a bunch.

Sea Salt – I started the day with 1/4 teaspoon sea salt in a glass of water (also added some apple cider vinegar) – this has helped my adrenals and the headaches haven’t been that bad. I repeated that in the afternoons on days I had headaches (first 4 days).

Tyrosine – I’ve been doing 1000 mg of tyrosine x2 (before breakfast and lunch) which is a dopamine precursor. Caffeine gives us a dopamine hit so quitting can result in mood and motivation challenges. It’s been helping because my mood has been good.

Essential Oils – I’ve been experiencing a dull headache (in the past it used to be horrendous) – rubbing a drop of peppermint and lavender oil on the temples, reduced it by 80%. (Be sure the peppermint doesn’t get in your eyes).

Sodium – Juiced a bunch of celery (with cucumber, ginger, and apple) which, same as sea salt, is a source of sodium – that seemed to help my adrenals. I drank 2 cups per day.

uiced a bunch of celery (with cucumber, ginger, and apple) which, same as sea salt, is a source of sodium – that seemed to help my adrenals. I drank 2 cups per day.

Magnesium – I upped my magnesium (I use Magnesium Replenish) to 800mg/day. I also took magnesium salt baths (I use Ancient Minerals, you can find them on Amazon) and that helped me to feel relaxed and reduced the headache. I also took Mag Energy (magnesium malate) to boost my energy levels and that helped a ton.

Vitamin B – I took our vitamin B Complex called B Maximus – it has certainly helped with energy levels and mental function. I felt like the headache subsided 20 minutes after taking it.

Napping – I quit over the weekend so I didn’t have to deal with the withdrawals during a working week. This allowed me to take a few naps during the day – it felt so good to do that!

Lion’s Mane – The biggest issue in the first few days was the foggy brain. It felt as if my brain was struggling to make neurological connections. Lion’s Mane is a medicinal mushroom (the fresh version is often sold at farmers’ markets or health stores; it looks like a white sponge) that helps with alertness and focus. It helped a bunch. I interchangeably did a combo of Lion’s Mane from Four Sigmatic and a tincture from Host Defense (found on Amazon). This was key to get me through my herbal program.

Cordyceps – These medicinal mushrooms have an incredible ability to boost energy levels. Giving up caffeine creates a temporary energy drop, this is a great way to mitigate it. I’m using Host Defense Cordyceps (Amazon). This was key to get me through my herbal program classes and not fall asleep!

Water – The obvious. Drink at least 100 ounces (3 liters) of filtered water every day.

Electrolyte Drink – I’ve found that my mind gets sharper and I get a lot more energy when I drink this mixture of salt, lemon juice and cream of tartar (a great source of potassium). Recipe for the Lemon Spritzer I make here.

Better Caffeine Options

If you are going off coffee but still want to maintain some caffeinated options, here are a few options (with some links on where to find my recommendations) we put together for you:

  • Decaf Organic Coffee (Swiss Water Process or Mountain Water Process)
  • Dirty Rasa (coffee combined with herbs, about 35 mg caffeine per 8 oz cup. 1/5 a regular cup of coffee)
  • Black tea
  • Pu’er tea
  • Chai
  • Green tea
  • White tea
  • Matcha (this is the one I drink daily)

Note: tea is a better caffeinated option than coffee. With coffee, you might feel the “hit” of caffeine right away, but the effect quickly wears off. It’s unfortunately a “rush and crush” situation. That’s when you reach for your second cup, crave sugar or get tired. Since that happens with each cup you drink, it’s easy to keep reaching for another. This up and down wave that happens throughout the morning (or day) can leave you exhausted.

On the other hand, tea provides a calm rise of energy that lasts. In particular, the L-theanine found in green and black teas is an amino acid that works with caffeine to provide that balanced energy that helps you to focus, accomplish things, and exercise without the jitters and without the crash.

When it comes to green teas that are USDA organic, taste fantastic and are high in polyphenols, I recommend Pique Tea. I’ve used their teas for over 2 years now and regularly travel with them.

Many teas in the market have had issues. So I’m very careful in selecting them – Pique Tea is triple toxin-screened for pesticides, mold, and heavy metals such as lead and mercury. They have been shown to surpass organic standards.

These are the products my team and I recommend from Pique:

Sun Goddess Matcha

Their matcha is a beautiful, vibrant, powdered green tea that you whisk into hot water. Unfortunately, most matcha is sub quality. Having lived in Shanghai and traveled to Japan many times, I’ve learned what good match tea looks, feels and tastes like. Also, many matcha teas in the market can be contaminated with toxic pesticides, molds, and radioactive isotopes, sweetened with sugar or artificial sweeteners, or blended with additives. Pique tea’s Sun Goddess Matcha is the first matcha EVER to be quadruple screened for heavy metals, pesticides, toxic molds, and radioactive isotopes. Not only that, but it’s shaded 35% longer than standard matcha to increase its L-theanine. Sun Goddess Matcha is only that: 100% matcha with no additives. Plus, it’s delicious, too.

Find it here.

Pu’er Tea: Fermented Green Tea and Fermented Black Tea

Pu’er tea is a fermented tea that comes from a different variety of the common tea plant, Camellia sinensis assamica. The fermentation process goes on for one to two months or longer and includes the addition of specific beneficial bacteria, fungi, and yeasts. These serve as a rich source of probiotics.

Pique has two types of Pu’er: Pu’er Green tea, rich is fully raw, and Pu’er Black tea, which is considered “ripe.” The Black Pu’er is lower in tannins which means it’s easier on the stomach. Pique’s Pu’er teas are incredibly unique, as the leaves come from 250 year old trees in a pristine forest near the Himalayas. These trees draw rare minerals in through their roots, which eventually make it into the tea leaves.
They are triple toxin screened for heavy metals, pesticides, toxic molds, and radioactive isotopes.

Find both Fermented Green Tea and Fermented Black Teas here.

Zero Caffeine Options

If you’re ready to cut the caffeine, here are some health-promoting hot beverages (with links on where to find my recommendations) to sip on:

  • Lion’s Mane
  • Rasa Bold
  • Dandelion root tea like Dandy Blend (some people report being sensitive to the barley even though it’s gluten free)
  • Brewed Cacao like Criobru or Choffy
  • Rooibos (red bush tea)
  • Bone Broth
  • Golden Milk
  • Herbal teas

If you’re going for more of a coffee taste, you can try the zero caffeine Rasa Bold here. Read more below about how Rasa can help you adapt to stress while giving you an energetic boost.

It’s amazing how many zero caffeine options are out there now. What’s really great is that not only are these beverages free of stimulating caffeine, they’re actually health-promoting.

Rasa Bold helps your body adapt to stress and become more resilient. It gives you a balanced energy that doesn’t make you feel overstimulated or jittery. Its 12 adaptogenic herbs (including ashwagandha, reishi, and chaga) help balance cortisol levels and promote restful sleep at night. You can wake up in the morning fully rejuvenated and ready to face the joys and challenges of the day.

If you want to kick the caffeine, yet still clear the brain fog each morning, give Rasa Bold a try.

Recipe Tips for Caffeine Free Lattes

Go Dairy-Free

We’ve long recommended going dairy-free on this site. That’s for several reasons. Dairy can be “dirty” estrogen-promoting, which we don’t want if we’re already addressing estrogen dominance. Most people with compromised digestion are going to have a problem with either the lactose (milk sugar) or the casein (milk protein). Additionally, it’s difficult to find truly natural milk that is grass-fed, unhomogenized, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, A2 beta casein, and raw. Some people may simply find that dairy gives them sinus congestion or promotes inflammation.
In any case, you can try going dairy-free. There are so many options these days: almond milk, oat milk, cashew milk, rice milk, macadamia nut milk, hemp milk, and more. It’s best to make it yourself, so that you avoid additives, preservatives, and synthetic vitamins and minerals that may be added. These milks can lend a wonderful, nutty flavor to your caffeine free lattes.

Use Your NutriBullet or High Speed Blender

A high speed blender works wonderfully well for adding froth! Go beyond your Bulletproof Coffee and try other versions of caffeine free lattes (get some ideas here).

The blender adds a beautiful froth to your hot cup of (Low- or No-) Joe.

Add Collagen Powder

Collagen powder is another way to add froth to your drink. The proteins in the collagen allow the beverage to capture air, which creates froth. Adding some collagen also adds some protein to your beverage. Try Wellena Collagen in your next healthy cafe concoction.

Add Cacao

Add cacao to your caffeine-free latte for a deep, complex flavor. Get the coffee flavor from Rasa or Chaga and then add cacao for just a touch of caffeine and a whole lot of flavor. It’s like drinking a delicious mocha.

Or, you can always try freshly brewed cacao, like in this Coconut Mushroom Ginger Coffee recipe here.

Resources

1. Ain KB, Refetoff S, Sarne DH, Murata Y. Effect of estrogen on the synthesis and secretion of thyroxine-binding globulin by a human hepatoma cell line, Hep G2. Molecular Endocrinology. April 1988.

2. Lam, M. Coffee and estrogen dominance. Dr. Lam Coaching Website.

3. Lipman, F. A Doctor-Approved One Week Plan To Quit Caffeine. Mind Body Green website. May 2013.

4. Pizziol A, Tikhonoff V, Paleari CD, Russo E, Mazza A, Ginocchio G, Onesto C, Pavan L, Casiglia E, Pessina AC. Effects of caffeine on glucose tolerance: a placebo-controlled study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1998.

5. Spindel E, Arnold M, Cusack B, Wurtman RJ. Effects of caffeine on anterior pituitary and thyroid function in the rat. Journal of Pharmacological Experimental Therapies. July 1980.