Why I Sought Out A Nutritionist + My Caffeine Free Life (Part Two)

Before I get into THE AFTERMATH (and yes, it deserves all caps) or talk about some of the good coffee replacements I’ve found, I just wanted to make a quick disclaimer about yesterday’s post: I don’t thinking giving up caffeine is necessary for everyone. Coffee lovers out there, fret not :) I wasn’t trying to be alarmist and I don’t think drinking it makes you inherently unhealthier, but like most things — it all depends on what’s going on with YOUR body. Mine was not at all happy with it, so I stopped, and this is only my experience. Your mileage may vary.

So quitting coffee: I want to tell you it was no big deal, that I just swapped in some good herbal teas and all was well, but honestly the only way I can explain it is to say it was A DARK TIME. I have literally never felt so exhausted and depressed and I completely doubted why I was doing this. I remember having a conversation with my nutritionist fairly early on, totally pissed off and accusatory, and telling her that I didn’t think things were going to work — I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to make this change or if subjecting myself to such a shitty quality of life was worth it. I was DRAMATIC, y’all, and really not myself. And I felt a little freaked out. Like, life would forever be awful and exhausting and WAAAAAAH LIFE IS NOT WORTH LIVING WITHOUT COFFEE.

She reminded me that the body is always sending us signals and my test results (which I oversimplified in yesterday’s post) were clearly showing that my adrenals were taxed which was causing all sorts of other downstream problems. What I felt in those first couple of days was just how bad my caffeine habit was masking the signals my body was sending. Shortly after I started my adrenal protocol it felt like I was coming out of the dark. Little by little I am feeling better and I am feeling more clued into my body’s signals but I don’t think I would have kicked the habit if I didn’t have the encouragement and guidance of a “coach.” Those first few days were rough and I’m not sure I would have persisted without her promises that things would get better. Sounds crazy, but it’s true.

In the meantime though, I needed a stand in. While I enjoyed the stimulant effects, I wasn’t only drinking coffee for the caffeine. Anyone who drinks it knows that it’s a comforting ritual and you can’t just substitute any old hot drink in a cup. I’ve done a lot of experimenting with herbal teas (Not all are not created equal!) and most of them don’t have the same robustness as coffee so you have to make sure you find ones that have a flavor that you like or give you an experience that replicates the comfort and decadence of that morning cup. Here are a couple I have really come to enjoy:

1) Yogi Tea Decaf Green Tea Kombucha

Decaf Green Tea Kombucha
This is a mild green tea that is not at all grassy and it as a really delicious! There is a lemongrass and plum-like flavor that is just so freaking tasty I can drink it all day. DELISH!

2)Teecino Dandelion Caramel Nut Coffee Alternative “Tee Bag”

This is a fun substitute if you like a latte or a flavored coffee drink. While it’s great on it’s own, I’ve also found it to be a good base for a fun frou frou drink. Here’s a great recipe I’ve made, but you could easily just add a little cream and a few drops of stevia and it tastes SUPAH FANCY!

3)Trader Joe’s Harvest Blend Herbal Tea

Seriously run, DO NOT WALK, and pick up as many boxes of this as you can fit in your cart! Cinnamon, ginger, hibiscus, chamomile, chicory, orange peel and apple. It is autumn in a cup and it is AH-MAY-ZING!

4)Teavana Caramel Chai Rooibos

caramel chai
This is more of a dessert tea in my opinion, but it is so sweet, spicy and indulgent it had to make the list!

5)David’s Tea Earl Grey Rooibos with Bergamot Oil

earl grey rooibos
Strong, citrusy and with a little kick. This really tastes like TEA and not watered down herbs. LOVE!


Honestly, this is just the tip of the iceberg. My herbal tea collection has grown and I don’t feel like my days lack a fun or comforting cup. I hope some day I can go back to enjoying coffee here and there in a more responsible way when my body is more in balance but right now it’s not in the cards so I’m doing what I can to make the best of my beverages. And it turns out, they’re still pretty tasty!

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8 comments to Why I Sought Out A Nutritionist + My Caffeine Free Life (Part Two)

  • Chelsea
    November 4, 2014 at 9:56 pm

    How did you go about finding your nutritionist? I’m for sure in adrenal fatigue (#cubefarm) – but want to try and find a nutritionist who can provide similar tests/feedback as yours.

  • Traci
    November 4, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    I always see that harvest blend tea at Trader Joe’s and think the fox design is so cute! As far as giving up coffee, I have no advice since I’ve never been a coffee drinker, but WELCOME to the WONDERFUL world of tea! It’s the best, and there are so many different kinds for you to get to know!

  • Tara @ Streets Ahead Living
    November 5, 2014 at 6:56 am

    I love the brewable Teecino, but I only stopped getting it just because of the expense. I want to drink more tea but I’ve started to realize my body can’t do certain drinks depending on the season–no red wine or hot tea in summer (if it’s too hot, no hot coffee either), minimal chilled beverages or white wine in winter. Weird I know… but I just don’t have a hankering for either.

    Also, are you a fan of club soda? I really got into club soda the past year and it’s definitely given me the soda-feeling I love without the chemicals or sugar. Now that I have a soda stream, I go crazy.

  • KellyBrown
    November 5, 2014 at 9:19 am

    For a great herbal tea, try Harney & Sons African Autumn. It’s a roobios red tea and it is my absolute favorite and it is available at your local Barnes & Noble (I get it there for my employment discount).

    Also, agree on the soda stream. I’ve learned tht for me, my love of pop wasn’t a love of pop, but a love of bubbles. Soda Stream has changed my water and flavored beverage drinking life.

  • Reid
    November 5, 2014 at 9:51 am

    I’m glad to hear you are starting to feel better! I know what you mean about that Trader Joe’s Harvest tea – wow so good.

  • Jillian
    November 5, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    Congratulations! I had a migraine for two weeks straight when I quit caffeine, and I didn’t even go cold turkey. I really enjoy Trader Joe’s herbal chai with a little coconut creamer (not totally Paleo) and Teavana’s Spice of Life.

  • Rachel @ Pain-Free Kitchen
    November 6, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    Well guess I’m going to TJs tomorrow. Your description sold it. Good thing I pass one on my way home from work :)





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