Herbal Coffee Substitute that isn't Gross

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

Sometimes I give up coffee. And I write about it. And I feel good about myself.

And then I start drinking it again. Just a little, here and there. I'll add a half of a cup to a half of a cup of chai tea. And I'll add a little more. And I will throw in an alchemist's brew of weird things to my coffee that make it Better For Me. Mmmm, things like chaga mushrooms. And D-Ribose. And collagen powder. And cinnamon.

And I won't notice that I start talking faster, and getting more irritable, and needing an afternoon nap.

Dang it. How does that happen?

Listen. I don't care if you drink coffee. The more I meet with women in my practice, the more I realize that very few of us are capable of having even close to a perfect diet. If coffee makes you feel happy and warm and nourished, drink it. If you go to bed at night thinking about waking up to the reward that is coffee, good on ya!

I'm intrigued by the way I see functional health slowly, slowly turning toward more of a practical mindset- less tests, less cost, less stress, more looking at the symptoms of the client, and not just at the lab results. The person is what is important, and how one is feeling can be one of the best clues.

Everyone is different and there is no box to crawl into and hide and stay. While the diet may be tightened for a few months when one is going through a healing process, the whole point of healing is getting to enjoy more robust health- eating a more varied diet, relying less on supplements, stressing less about things that are perceived as Not Healthy or Not Clean.

Well, that was a tangent.

The objective of this post is to give you a yummy alternative to coffee, should you desire one.

I have tried matcha tea. I don't like it. I have tried mushroom coffee. It tastes like mushrooms. I have tried dandelion tea on its own. It doesn't come close to the satisfying smell and taste of a delicious cup of real coffee.

But this blend? It comes pretty close. And you can drink it at night. Or in the afternoon. Or in the morning if you want.

You already know that caffeine is a stimulant. And that it taxes your poor adrenals. And this can lead to all sorts of sad things, like insomnia and PMS and depression and the like. It also can lead to nothing at all. You may be safe.

But if you are of the experimental, N=1 ilk, you may want to try this yummy brew. I shared it with 5 of my friends last night and it (honestly) had mixed reviews.

"What is this supposed to be?"

"Wow. This is great! You could sell it!"

"This isn't very strong coffee, is it?"

I was quietly happy that all of the talk revolved around coffee because it is not coffee.

Or as my 12-year-old, would say, " 'Tis not coffee". He says things like "shall" and "tis". And I love it.

You have read this far. Thank you. Here is the recipe:

1 TBSP organic chicory root

1 TBSP roasted dandelion root

1 tsp cinnamon

1/3 dropperful liquid vanilla stevia

1 french press

Oh man. This is yummy. I am of the belief that if you are going to eat ice cream, eat the freaking ice cream. My mom raised me on sugar-free fat-free taste-free crap (she is wonderful, bless her heart!). So if you would rather sweeten with can sugar or maple syrup, you just go on ahead.

Step 1: Toast your dandelion. I use a cast iron skillet but you can do it in a toaster oven or other pan. I have used the dandelion as is, but the flavor is way better when you toast the dandelion.

Step 2: put the cinnamon, toasted dandelion, and also the chicory in your french press. Pour 32 oz boiling water in the french press and let sit for 5 minutes.

Step 3: Add a bit of stevia and a bit of coconut milk or organic heavy cream to your favorite mug. Current faves: Cafe Du Monde from New Orleans and also Hola Bonita from a dear friend.

You can drink this morning, noon, and evening. I often wish I could have coffee at night. I cannot, alas. My sleep is too important. (Listen, if your sleep sucks, we should talk. You need to sleep.) This is something I can drink at night. Yay! And bonus points for you- if you cannot sleep, you actually should drink this. The two main ingredients work to support phase 1 and phase 2 liver detoxification, which is an important part of nocturnal bodily processes. If you add a bit of collagen, you have a protein-rich, glycine-rich bedtime drink that supports sleep and detoxification.

If you are already on a health journey, you will probably dig this. If you are not, it may not taste great to you. Either way is ok. Amazon will give you your money back if you return stuff. Or you can drop your extra ingredients at my house. I will use them.

There is no perfect diet. No perfect routine. No perfect person. Just keep playing around and testing and observing until you feel pretty good. I can help you on this journey if you want. I do it for a living and I love it.

This drink is a reasonable place to start. Let me know what you think!

To your (adrenal, hormonal, and mental) health,

Jennifer Woodward, FDN-P


jennifer woodward

Soothe your Gut

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Stabilize your Hormones


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Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® health coaches do not diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition.  Nothing we share with our clients is intended to substitute for the advice, treatment or diagnosis of a qualified licensed physician.  Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® (FDN) Practitioners may not make any medical diagnoses or claim, nor substitute for your personal physician’s care.  It is the role of a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner to partner with their clients to provide ongoing support and accountability in an opt-in model of self-care and should be done under the supervision of a licensed physician.

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