Guide to a Coffee Sabbatical: Reducing Caffeine Intake

I am a huge fan of coffee, and I don’t make that a secret. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I recently took a 2 week coffee sabbatical. I kept getting asked why I was embarking on this caffeine-reduction journey, and the simply answer was:
“I love coffee, but too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.”
With my current work situation, I am waking up earlier, having more meetings, and doing more after lunch runs to Starbucks. I have always had coffee every morning before noon. However, lately it has been a venti bold before 10:30am, a 12oz before lunch, and an Americano for the afternoon. Let’s just say that this adds up to a lot of caffeine and lot of bad habits. I’m an all-or-nothing personality, so when I need a reset, I need to do the whole cold turkey thing. So, I decided to give up coffee for 2 weeks. I almost cried, got over it, and decided it was going to make it a mission to find alternatives! I have been giving alternative suggestions to patients for years, but wondered if there were new options out there. I’m here to report the deets! Keep a couple things in mind, number one on this list is really the only alternative that feels and somewhat tastes like coffee, and the rest are just fun alternatives to try. The other thing to keep in mind is that some of these options are completely caffeine-free and others have a little, so if you are trying to give up all caffeine, no green teas.

List of Coffee Habit Alternatives: (that aren’t sugar bombs and would be enjoyed by the health-conscious)
1. Dandy Blend

  • This stuff is by far the closest taste and feel to coffee!  It’s bitter, rich, and somewhat frothy
  • Caffeine free
  • Good for liver function
  • Buy on Amazon or at a health food store
  • Powder that just dissolves in liquid: hot or cold
  • Make coffee-flavored stuff with it like my Dandy Blend Ice Cream recipe!

2. Rebbl Maca Mocha

  • This you can find at Whole Foods
  • This tastes like a treat, let’s be honest
  • Dark cocoa, chicory, and coconut milk
  • Superfood addition: maca; I love maca for hormone health
  • Somewhat expensive if you want to have it often.  Think around $3 for 12 oz

3. Rebbl Reishi Chocolate

  • Buy at Whole Foods
  • This is like chocolate milk
  • Dark cocoa, vanilla, and coconut milk
  • Superfood addition: Reishi; I love the idea of using beta-glucans to improve immune function and liver detoxification
  • Somewhat expensive but remember you get a 10% discount at Whole Foods if you buy a case at a time

4. Starbucks Shaken Iced Tea: Passion Fruit

  • This is sort of fruity with a hint of cinnamon?
  • It’s pink and refreshing
  • Order unsweetened
  • Great option if you’re with people at Starbucks
  • Similar cost to your coffee

5. Starbucks Shaken Iced Tea: Peach Green Tea

  • If you like peach tea, this is a subtle version with a little bitter hint of green tea
  • This is also refreshing
  • Order unsweetened
  • Green tea has many anti-aging benefits and plant chemicals that improve health
  • Has some caffeine because of the green tea

6. Green juice

  • If you have a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s nearby, you can buy these pre-juiced
  • If you have a juicery close to you, it can be a good “get out of the office” run
  • If you have a juicer at home, it can replace your morning habit of making coffee to making juice
  • FULL of nutrients and great for your health and beauty
  • Store-bought needs to be cold pressed and not pasteurized, which can be tough to find
  • Juicery prices can be steep
  • You’ll have to clean up if you do it at home

7. Herbal Tea

  • Experiment with all kinds of flavors. You may find one that you love more than coffee!
  • Mint tea is great for those with PCOS
  • Ginger and turmeric are great for inflammation
  • Chai is usually a black tea base so has some caffeine, but this is a great alternative

8. La Croix

  • This is a fizzy, store-bought drink that comes in a can like soda
  • Grapefruit is the only flavor I like
  • You can buy it by the case
  • May fill the afternoon drink necessity

9. Flavored water

  • Flat or carbonated water will do
  • Add herbs like sage or mint
  • Add citrus like lemon, lime, or grapefruit
  • Possibilities are endless and free

10. Dandy Blend Mocha Latte

  • Use dandy blend to make 10 oz hot water and 1 1/2 Tbsp
  • Add a splash of almond milk
  • Add a TBSP collagen
  • Add TBSP of cocoa powder
  • Blend until mixed and pour into travel coffee mug and feel like a starbucks treat has been served at home

Why would I take people off of caffeine or coffee?

There are many reasons but many people don’t realize that coffee is contributing to the following issues:

  • Headaches
  • Jittery feeling or racing heart
  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Allergies
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Hormone issues
  • Acne
  • Energy dips

If you decide to take a coffee sabbatical, set a time frame and just monitor how you feel.  If you feel great, then maybe you shouldn’t have it daily.  Sometimes I will then set limitations such as one day a week and one day on the weekend.  Many times these issues are due to exceeding a threshold.  Maybe it’s fine to have on occasion, but not so fine to have daily.  It’s your body, and you know it better than anyone.  Experiment on yourself!


Matcha Mint Lemonade (Cocktail optional)

I have this repeating issue at Starbucks.  I love coffee, but I don’t always want it during later times in the day, and sometimes I avoid that much caffeine.  So, what’s a girl to order?  Sometimes they have some tasty-sounding options like Matcha Lemonade!  However, you look up the ingredients and they are almost always sugar bombs.  So, I leave with a coffee.  That doesn’t stop me from adopting some of the flavor ideas and making them delicious and healthy!!!  I have matcha powder from Trader Joe’s and who doesn’t love lemonade in the summer?!
Matcha Mint Lemonade
3 leaves of mint
handful ice cubes
juice from 2 lemons
can of plain soda water
1 tsp matcha powder
optional: 2 oz clear alcohol (Gin, Vodka, Rum)
Blend together, serve with a decorative straw, and enjoy!

Paloma aka Mexican Grapefruit Goodness

I LOVE GRAPEFRUIT!!  I seriously love grapfruit cocktails and this one is no exception.  I eat a lot of Mexican flavored dishes because the spice combo just never gets old, and who doesn’t love a taco?!  Turns out, not only does Mexican cuisine steal my heart, so do their cocktails.  You know that drink that tastes like cinnamon toast crunch at Christmas time?  Mexican.  You know that Norcal margarita?  Mexican.  This amazing paloma?  Mexican.  Not only is this refreshing, but you could easily switch up the tequila for some Tito’s vodka, gin, or rum and have it be equally as amazing.
I use a little bit of light colored agave in this recipe to run with the agave notes, but you could omit the agave and have it be delicious if your tastes are use to less sweet.  Agave is mostly fructose, so it’s not the best sweetener to use on a regular basis, however, we are talking about a cocktail.  So, get over it.  Light colored agave will be sweet but not have a ton of flavor.  That is an issue if you try to sub honey, coconut, or maple syrup.  They will all have a hint of mollasses to their flavor or a high floral note depending on the flowers used for the honey.  This drink wants a little sweet without any added flavor.
juice of 1 grapefruit
1 shot clear tequila
tiny bit of light colored agave
pinch of real salt
small squeeze of a lime
soda water
mint to garnish
In a shaker, place a couple ice cubes along with the grapefruit juice, tequila, salt, and agave. Shake to combine. (you can skip this step if you omit the agave)  Pour into a glass over ice, top with soda water, squeeze a little splash of fresh lime, and garnish with mint!  These can be dangerous so drink responsibly!


I am not a huge fan of water all the time.  I’m human.  So, when the temperatures start to heat up around here, I could really go for some lemonade.  However, most lemonades at the store are full of sugar, stabilizers, and preservatives.  What’s a girl to do?  Make her own lemonade.  I had never made lemonade from scratch, but I will continue to make it for the occasional weekend treat after I fell in love with my first batch.  I wanted to share the recipe with you guys, because I know I can’t be the ONLY one that loves lemonade!



bag of lemons
raw, local honey

First you need to make the simple syrup.  Simple syrup is nothing more than sugar and water.  You can add different flavors to it, like mint, basil, ginger, etc.  However, for my first go around, I wanted to stay pure to standard lemonade.  I can always take a good foundation an throw twists on it!

Take one cup of water and 3/4 cup honey and put them in a saucepan on the stovetop.  Heat them gently until the honey is completely dissolved in the water.  Do not boil!  It shouldn’t take long.  When they are combined, take the pan off of the heat.

While the simple syrup is heating up, begin to half and squeeze lemons until you have 1 cup of fresh lemon juice.  It took me almost an entire bag of lemons, so be prepared!

Combine the lemon juice and the simple syrup in a pitcher, add 4 cups of water.  Done!

Refrigerate and serve over ice!

Cranberry Sage Cocktail

This recipe is for all those craft cocktail drinkers out there. I have been researching shrubs for about 6 months now, so I was super excited to see this inspiration in the Costco magazine.  I get inspiration all over the place…and this one just happened to come from Costco! First things first, you need to make a shrub.  What is a shrub? It is a vinegar syrup.  Weird, I know.  However, they’ve been used forever as soda.  You can use them with club soda as a virgin cocktail or use it with club soda and alcohol for a cocktail!  This has a vinegar bite that you will appreciate if you like kombucha.  If you have never had kombucha, you may want to try a cranberry kombucha prior to putting the effort for this shrub!
Cranberry Sage Cocktail
1 pound cranberries
1 cup honey
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 fresh sage leaves
club soda
Preheat oven to 350F. Place the cranberries on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for about 20 minutes.  Transfer the roasted cranberries to a quart sized mason jar.  Add the honey and cover and seal the mason jar.  Shake it so the cranberries are covered with honey.  Let it stand in the dark, cool place for 5 hours.
Add 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to the cranberries and shake the mixture to dissolve as much of the honey as possible.  Add the fresh sage leaves and shake so they are soaking in the vinegar.  Let the mixture stand for 24 hours in a dark, cool place, shaking regularly.
Strain the mixture through a seive and store in a clean mason jar.
Serve 2 oz of cranberry sage shrub, 2 oz vodka, with some club soda.  Garnish with a couple cranberries.

Hot Chocolate

I love a good cup of hot chocolate, but ever since I quit consuming dairy, there really hasn’t been a good substitute for the milk.  Until now….
I have seen cashew milk in the stores, but since I don’t eat cereal, drink glasses of milk, and use coconut milk for everything, I’ve never seen the need to buy it.  I decided to try it out one day and made some amazing things including hot chocolate!  It is creamy and sort of nutty.  Kind of like hazelnut creamer if I had to describe it?
Hot Chocolate
8 oz cashew milk, heated up
2 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 Tbsp coconut sugar
Sitr until combined and enjoy!


Whenever holidays roll around, I think of all the things that I want to put special effort into.  It’s the one time of year to go the extra mile to make everything special.  Thoughtful gifts, foods that take a little extra effort, and cocktails that aren’t your everyday drink.  I decided to make limoncello this year because I love lemon everything these days!  This is fairly simple, but you have to think about it the day before.  It will stay in the fridge just fine for 3 months if you decide to make it now for your festivities. The recipe for a small batch.  If you want a big one, triple or quadruple it! Also, since we aren’t peeling the lemon, make sure it’s organic to avoid waxes and pesticides that sit on the outside of regular lemons. You can sip on this drink, take shots, or pour over ice and top with some soda water.  Cheers!
1 lemon, sliced 1/4″ thick
5 oz vodka (Tito’s is gluten free)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup water
Over a low heat on the the stovetop, dissolve the honey in the water.  This gives you your simple syrup.  From that syrup, use 5oz to add to the vodka and lemon slices in a mason jar.  Shake to combine.  Let sit at room temp for 12 hours and then strain out the lemon slices. You can use the leftover simple syrup for any other cocktails that call for it!

Paleo White Russian

Want a refreshing “adult” after dinner drink? I bought this Vodka when I saw that it was organic and it was on sale. When choosing something made from corn, it’s important to have it be organic to avoid GMO varieties. It’s no secret that I love coffee, and coconut milk is an awesome substitute for full fat milk products like cream.

Paleo White Russian


  • 2 parts coffee (I used cold brewed)
  • 1 part coconut milk
  • 1 part vodka
  • ice

Blend all the ingredients together until slushy and serve with a straw!