Kicking the Coffee Habit

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Coffee and I have a long history together, including my years as a Barista for one of Seattle’s oldest coffee shops. When I started working in coffee I consumed only a cup a day, by the end I was drinking more like 4-6. I was obsessed with the art of making coffee and the culture that surrounds it. I even considered opening my own coffee shop instead of pursuing my dream of cooking. I had to give it up, however, when I had a health crisis that I now attribute to adrenal fatigue. One day I woke up and I could not tolerate caffeine anymore. If I had any more than ½ shot of espresso, I would start sweating, shaking, and feel nauseous. This was the first thing that brought me to the doctor suspecting a thyroid problem.

Needless to say, it was easy to stop drinking coffee since it was affecting me so negatively. In the beginning, I just switched to decaf. A few months later after finally getting my Hashimoto and Celiac diagnosis, I began to change my diet and became more in tune with my body. I began to notice that even if I had one decaf coffee in the morning, I would have a hard time sleeping at night. I then went through a phase of occasional use, like on the weekends or vacation. Finding the autoimmune protocol was the final nail in the coffin for my coffee habit. Once I eliminated and then reintroduced it, I found that I didn’t enjoy it as much any more.

In this article I am going to present some information on why you should consider eliminating coffee for a little while as well as some alternative beverages you can use instead.

Coffee and the autoimmune protocol

Coffee is technically a seed and is not recommended for the elimination phase of the autoimmune protocol. According to this article at The Paleo Mom, nuts and seeds tend to be the least problematic and the easiest to reintroduce back into the diet. If you are doing a strict autoimmune protocol, I think it would be wise to give up coffee for the duration of the elimination.

Coffee and cross-reactivity to gluten

If you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, you should definitely explore the possibility that coffee may be harmful to you. Coffee is one of the most common cross-reactive foods to gluten, meaning some people’s bodies may recognize them as the same or very similar.

Coffee and adrenal fatigue

The short story of caffeine and the adrenal glands is that it over-stimulates them, which leads to further fatigue. A person can get into the habit of continually using caffeine to keep their energy stable, which may work temporarily but results in long-term setback. This can lead to adrenal symptoms such as difficulty waking up in the morning, fatigue not relieved by sleep, lethargy, decreased ability to handle stress, increased recovery time from illness, depression, energy fluctuations, and insomnia, among other things. Having an autoimmune disease is already a huge stressor on the body, and I believe that it is easier for those of us that have one to go down the path of adrenal fatigue more quickly. Removing coffee (and all caffeine, for that matter) from the equation helps our body manage stress more easily.

What about Decaf?

Decaffeinating coffee is a process that uses solvents to extract the caffeine – not exactly something that I would recommend consuming for anyone. That being said, I have been interested in swiss-water process decaf coffee, because it is not processed with any chemicals. The process uses water to extract the caffeine from the beans without the loss of other water-soluble ingredients. The only downside to swiss-water process is that it does not completely remove the caffeine.

Coffee Alternatives

Although it is hard to replace the flavor of coffee, there are a few warm beverages I have learned to love instead of it.

  • Bone Broth: I have replaced my cup of morning coffee in the morning with a mug of bone broth. I love the ritual of having a hot beverage with my breakfast. I like to have at least one mug of broth a day, and having it with breakfast ensures that I don’t forget.
  • Ginger Infusion: You can make a ginger infusion simply by slicing up some ginger and adding hot water. I like drinking it as-is, but it can be sweetened if you like. I enjoy this in the afternoons when I get a little energy slump – it keeps me hydrated while waking me up with a mild ginger flavor.
  • Herbal Tea: Chamomile and peppermint are my go-to herbal teas. Chamomile has relaxing properties while peppermint soothes the stomach. I like to drink these after dinner, before I go to bed.
  • Rooibos Tea: Of all of the options above, this is the most coffee-like replacement. It is a red, earthy-flavored tea made out of the leaves of a bush grown in South Africa. I like enjoying it plain, but I have tried blends with both vanilla and lavender. If I go out for a cup of tea with someone I will almost always order some sort of rooibos tea.

Have you managed to break up with coffee, either for an elimination diet or permanently? I’d love to hear your experiences and any beverages you have learned to enjoy instead!

About Mickey Trescott

Mickey Trescott is a co-founder here at Autoimmune Wellness and a co-teacher of AIP Certified Coach. After recovering from her own struggle with both Celiac and Hashimoto’s disease, adrenal fatigue, and multiple vitamin deficiencies, Mickey started to write about her experience to share with others and help them realize they are not alone in their struggles. She has a Master's degree in Human Nutrition and Functional Nutrition, and is the author of three best-selling books--The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook, The Autoimmune Wellness Handbook, and The Nutrient-Dense Kitchen. You can watch her AIP cooking demos by following her on Instagram.


  • Hayley says

    I used to drink a lot of coffee too, and also gave it up due to Celiac, Hashimoto’s, and adrenal fatigue. At first I replaced it with tea, but then found that black/green/white teas are not good for me either. I love your list of replacements! I haven’t tried making bone broth yet, but I bought some grass fed beef shanks today so I’m going to make my first broth tomorrow. I do use fresh mint and ginger to make tea between meals and I really find that it helps settle my stomach and digestive system. I haven’t had coffee in so long that I usually don’t crave the taste, unless I’m in a coffee shop and that aroma of fresh ground coffee takes over me. I just love the smell.

    • Hayley,
      I too started going for tea, but the caffeine was too much for me. The bone broth takes some getting used to, but I really find myself craving the salty, savory taste in the morning. 🙂


  • Martin says

    Coffee can cause leaky gut syndrome, anyone who is serious about improving his autoimmune condition should quit for a month and observe changes.

  • Coffee was making me nauseous but I still couldn’t give it up. My coffee habit was broken when I switched to decaf. I started by replacing a little regular ground coffee with decaf, at around 50%-50% it became a more difficult and I stayed on that for a while. Then I continued to replace the regular coffee until I was on decaf only. And then I lost my appetite for coffee… apparently the reason I enjoyed coffee was the cafeine, and luckily for me I hardly feel like having coffee nowadays. I picked up drinking cereal coffee instead, but have to give that up as well going paleo. The substitutes you mention sound very good to me. I like fennel tea and rose tea (from yogi tea) as well.

    • Yep, decaf is a great way to wean off of coffee. I like the sound of fennel tea, I’ll have to try it sometime!

    • Daniel says

      You’re replacing coffee NOT because of caffeine! Caffeine in larger amounts activates cortisol, but the main reason why coffee is not legal on the AIP is the fact that coffee beans have one of the most dense concentration of lectins.

  • Amy says

    Good article. Something I was needing to hear. I have Hashis, Celiac, and adrenal fatigue. I gave up coffee after The Paleo Mom wrote about her experiences with it and why it’s cross reactive with gluten. But I replaced it with black tea. I found I was brewing the tea longer and longer to get that same bitter flavor I craved. But then I read an article about black tea being bad for Hashis, especially when brewed for long periods. I got frustrated and returned to coffee out of spite, even though I know it’s a clear cross reactor. However, I’m having a wired sensation now that keeps me awake at night even though I drank the coffee in the morning. So, I guess I must give up both coffee and tea. I know this sounds like whining, but I do feel like absolutely everything I like, my body hates. This journey is psychologically challenging and hard to remain positive sometimes. On the AIP, would a faux-coffe made from chicory, dandelion root, and milk thistle be okay? Now that I write that, I realize milk thistle is a seed, not sure about the chicory. How do you continue forward when you feel there are so many road blocks, so many sacrifices, and very few improvements?

    • Branchofthevine says

      I’m glad you asked, Amy. I have been reading and reading on the AIP for months now, and it seems my body won’t let me eat anything any more. It does get discouraging, and I just want to eat cake and bagels. The irony is, my reactions calm down for a while when I do. But long term, I get sicker and sicker. Its a tough battle. I would love to hear how you all are able to “stick with it.” I want to believe better is possible, but its been years of disease for me now.

    • Heather says

      I have struggled with many of the same issues you mention. I react to teas and decaf. For me, dandelion root (bought in bulk dried form and home roasted) and chicory root (bought in bulk roasted form) have been the way to go. I use about 1 teaspoon of each with a cinnamon stick for 1 large mug of near-boiling water. I noticed that both chicory and dandelion are on the FODMAP list, but I am hoping they will be ok for AIP. At first, I mixed it with some ground coffee (careful if you use an espresso machine as it can clog the filter), then gradually decreased the amount of coffee. Experiment with proportions until it tastes right for you, and I think it depends on if you like coconut milk/cream in your coffee or drink it black.

      • Mickey says

        Heather, thank you for sharing your recipe, that sounds delicious! I am sure someone going through the transition will find it helpful 🙂


      • Karen says

        Dandelion root “coffee” is great – lovely bitter flavour, no caffeine, and it’s a liver tonic as well (I avoid any that isn’t pure dandelion).

    • Chelse says

      Amy I know how you feel with coffee. I grew up thinking that’s just what grown ups drink. Most of my role models as a child worshipped coffee and I wanted to be just like them. Struggling with the need to quit coffe I started to look at the reasons why I felt I was compelled to keep drinking it. One of the reasons that surprised me was that I felt coffee was just one of the things that made me, me. It brought me comfort and made me happy. And I love the culture associated with it.
      But quiting coffee doesn’t change any of those things. And when I struggle with it, cause I still do, I remind myself of the strides in health I have made, no matter how small, and the healthy person I want to be in the future vs. the terrible, sick, miserable person I could be if I don’t stop caffeine.
      The struggle is worth the vibrant, beautiful, health person you’ll be in the future. Don’t give up!

      • Mickey Trescott says

        Thanks for this supportive comment Chelse, I am sure Amy appreciates it!

  • Linda says

    I usually drink a cup of Organic Fairtrade Swiss Water Decaf coffee on the weekends and really enjoy it. Is swiss water decaf also cross reactive to gluten? I have been gluten free since April and on the AIP for a month but would love to treat myself to one cup of coffee a week. I don’t want to undo all the good work of the AIP though.

    • Mickey says

      I would hold the coffee while doing the elimination diet – it is a seed, decaf or not. You can reintroduce when you get to that phase if you want 🙂

  • Beth says

    I went from coffee with raw milk to plain green tea… I do miss that creamy dark drink each morning!

  • Karen says

    This is such a tricky one for many people, including myself. Thank you for writing the article to remind me to keep it out of my life. I have found green tea, jasmine green tea, and mint green tea to be the best substitutes, but I am trying to change my attitude and make them just a new way of life as opposed to thinking of them as a substitute. I have Hashimoto’s anti-bodies but at the moment my TSH/T4/T3/etc levels are okay. So, to keep it this way, I plan on keeping coffee out for the long term.

    • Kitty says

      I have quit coffee a few times. I use an organic drip. This is the last frontier for me. Everything else is safely out of the diet. If I slip and add something back in, I have sweats, trouble sleeping, and swelling. It’s an obvious turnoff. However, I am not having any obvious reaction to coffee this time. I do react badly to tea and many other things! Many, Many other things. My antibodies are below 60, so relatively low. The naturopath says to give the AI protocol 6 months before testing again.
      I am waiting to see what happens.

  • […] Coffee is a seed, and seeds are eliminated from the autoimmune protocol. Consuming excess caffeine is also hard on your adrenal glands, the organs responsible for coordinating the stress response. Coffee has also been shown to be cross-reactive to gluten in some individuals. I have written a post about giving up coffee here. […]

  • Jess says

    I gave it up a few months ago because I just felt awful when I drank it. Two weeks ago I found out my thyroid is hyperactive (What a shock that was since it has always been on the sluggish side!) and I most likely have Graces Disease. Since I have had unexplained health issues for years I was not surprised to hear I most likely have an autoimmune disease. I am waiting to get into an endocrinologist right now, and researching all I can. Back to the coffee… I enjoy tea so I have simply been drinking that instead. The caffeine in it doesn’t seem to effect me the same way. Green teas are my favorites. And I also enjoy herbal teas like mint and chamomile.

    • Mickey says

      Thanks for sharing your story Jess! I also found out I was reacting to caffeine when I was in a hyperthyroid state.

      Best of luck to you!

  • Heather says

    Hi Mickey!

    Back in May I did strict AIP for the month, but after a month without coffee I couldn’t take it any longer and beta to drink decaf. It was the first thing I brought back in and didn’t notice any ill effects of it’s reintroduction. I am going to start the elimination process again very soon and I find teas do not cut it for me (It actually made me angry that month!). I am not a fan of rooibos teas, any other suggestions?

    • Mickey says

      Coffee isn’t really known as much for causing autoimmune flares as exacerbating adrenal fatigue. I consume a cup of decaf every once in awhile and have never noticed anything. I do have serious problems with caffeine though. I love fruity herbal teas – I have a tea store near me that sells blends with apple, currant, berries, and cinnamon that are just divine.


    • Carolyn Yost says

      I used Crio Bru to get off coffee. It is different blends of cacao beans ground. Some are French Roast. I adore chocolate and it has a chocolate mouth feel and like a chocolate tea. It worked for me. I use a French Press to make it.

  • […] This article has moved to a location on my new website (, click here to read it! […]

  • Nathalie says

    Hi! I really apreciatte your wesite and all the information you provided. I have been enyoing your book so much that I can’t wait to have the paper copy!
    I have a really long story, complicated as many of us with autoimmune disease (more than one in my case) .I have been following the autoimmune protocol for a few months with the exception of “coffee”. Here in the Nothwest you can find a coffee shop pretty much in every conner; it became easy to make coffee my comfort blanket :). Now… reading and reading and researching and having the whole understanding of it I made the decision to take it out of my life and see if that would improved my symtoms; because regardless to all I have done with food ( NO dairy, grains, gluten, sugar etc) I still have many symptoms and my energy is very low. One question I have.. I have been told not to do it “cold turkey” .. What’s your input on this?
    Thank you again for this article, it made me even more aware that if I take this step I will see better results in this healing process 🙂

    • Mickey says

      Hi Nathalie,
      I also live in the NW, and I know how pervasive the coffee culture is here – its crazy! Going cold turkey depends on how addicted you are – I would not recommend it if you are a serious caffeine drinker. If so, I would gradually decrease as well as switch to caffeinated tea, to avoid the negative reaction. Be careful though, because tea can also have a lot of caffeine, and although it is allowable on AIP, I think it is best to not be addicted to it for optimum health. Hope it helps!

  • Teresa says

    I attempted to start the AIP last weekend, but after a three plus day migraine from caffeine withdrawal went back to coffee (plus a lot of other junk just out of spite). Now I’m trying to taper down my caffeine intake before I attempt the AIP again. I just have to figure out the mental thing – how to commit to doing this without feeling resentful about all the things my body apparently can’t tolerate anymore.

    • Mickey says

      I’m so sorry to hear! Caffeine withdrawal can be really intense. Have you thought of replacing your coffee with tea? That may help you wean off enough to try AIP.


  • Joey says

    I’m having a hard time getting my kombucha to brew well with decaf herbal teas, and regular black tea makes me jittery. Any suggestions?

    • Mickey says

      I have had the same experience, and I think the kombucha culture needs caffeine in the tea in order to grow properly. I use a blend of white and green tea, and it doesn’t have enough caffeine at the end to affect me. Have you tried that?


    • Jessica Jackson says

      Have just been starting to suspect my home brew kombucha for my sleep issues. Forgot about all the green and black tea I put into it.

  • Nathalie says

    Mickey thank you so much for your advice! I will follow what you suggested it 🙂 staring now soon!
    Thanks again for such a good information and the newsletters!

  • Keira says

    is “dandy blend” allowed on AIP?
    Thank you!!

  • Becky says

    Love the info!!! I have had Type II Diabetes for years, which I believe IS an autoimmune disease.

    I shared with my Dr from the past, that even just one cup of black coffee spiked my sugar and she said that was impossible and as a matter of fact coffee was good for me. She had me on insulin, which kept being increased. She said once you are on insulin, you can never get off it. Didn’t go back to her.

    I found an MD that works with conventional medicine, as well as homeopathic. He provided a Muscle Testing and told me that I should stay away from flours, sugar, night shade, etc. My daughter in-love is a Chiropractor who also specializes in Homeopathic.

    I’m now off insulin (taking oral meds), taking high quality food supplements and doing the Auto Immune/ Paleo lifestyle. I’ve replaced the coffee with all kinds of teas … and will give up the caffeinated ones, as they don’t have a good effect … but, really all is well with the world.

    However, I STILL want coffee! 🙂 Thank goodness I have a strong will power & will stay away from it.

    I LOVE the idea of having the Bone Broth in the morning. Just happen to have made a batch of Ox Tail Bone Broth, which is frozen in small zip lock freezer bags. Can’t wait for breakfast.

    Thank you!!

    • Mickey says

      It sounds like you did a good job firing that doc… it is well known that caffeine spikes insulin by stimulating cortisol (the stress response).

      Congrats on your progress! I think you will be pleasantly surprised how nourishing drinking the broth in the morning can be.

      Good luck!


  • Erika Mørup says

    I’ve eliminated coffee, but did it along with so many other things that I have no idea what’s giving the positive effects I’ve seen. I plan to try reintroducing coffee when the time is right, to see if I can tolerate it as an occasional treat.

    I’ve been reading a lot about “upgraded coffee” (from the Bulletproof brand). Apparently many people’s bad reactions to coffee are actually reactions to the often very high mycotoxin levels in coffee which result durring processing. High altitude South American coffee tends to have lower mycotoxins, and upgraded coffee is guaranteed to have extremely low levels. When I reintroduce, I will do so with upgraded coffee first, so I know if it’s the coffee itself I’m reacting to.

    Bulletproof brand also just released a ‘cacao leaf tea’ which could also be an alternative hot drink for folks to enjoy. Not sure if it might also gluten cross react for some like chocolate does??

  • Decaf is really bad for you! I have had stomach issues with coffee also and found a new coffee that is infused with health. It is coffee that’s healthy for you! It counteracts all of the negative aspects of caffeine and has numerous other benefits. Email me if you want to know more about it! [email protected]

  • Jody says

    I quit coffee cold turkey the day I started following the autoimmune protocol.
    I am on day 9 now – I love peppermint tea now if I am meeting someone for a visit.

    On another note – after trying for 9 days to get my hands on your cookbook, my parents were able to get one in Calgary Alberta – the timing could not have been better as the store got your books in the day my parents were leaving to come back home to Manitoba (16 hour drive). I can’t wait to have the book in my hands by this evening!


    • Mickey says

      Yay! That is so great. Naturmend is the ONLY place in Canada the book is sold. In fact, it is the only store that has it at the moment! I’m happy you snagged a copy!


  • Hayley Stringer says

    I’m really struggling with giving up coffee. I have Crohns and have been trying to go fully AIP but this is really holding me back. My resources for making bone broth are very small. I know that is no excuse. I didn’t think it was going to be this hard. 10 years of coffee is hard to kick. Help please 🙁

    • Mickey says

      Hayley, have you tried drinking tea instead? I recommend weaning instead of quitting cold turkey, as the caffeine withdrawal can be torturous. Wishing you luck!


  • Hi Mickey,

    I am so glad to find your website. I am a fellow NTP and I am really curious if you know of folks reacting to milk thistle seed while experimenting with AIP diets. I have had great success with milk thistle (and have healed wonderfully using AIP and GAPS) but wonder if I should work on eliminating it from my autoimmune client’s diets. Any thoughts? Great work, Mickey!! 🙂

    • Mickey says

      I don’t think it is a problem to use milk thistle on AIP if it is indicated. It is a seed, but I think the therapeutic use is different than eating it. 🙂


  • Conni says

    I got the ok from my naturopath to drink Teeccino Medeteranian herbal coffee. They have a line made with dandelion root which is gluten free. Even though I can’t have nuts or seeds I can have this. I like this so much more than coffee now. Vanilla Nut is my favorite.

  • floral says

    Hey 🙂
    This whole spring has been about trying to get healthy, after turninglow fat vegan and eating mostly oats and fruits and some veg and chickpeas. This diet wrecked my health. Having been off and on vegan, vegetarian and pescetarian for 17 years was fine with me and had made me very healthy and also healthy looking with thick shiny hair and so forth. But quitting fats was not a good option. I gained so much weight and got heart problems and lost about a third of my hair. My face swelled up. I saw a doctor and my tests were perfect except for iron, zinc and vitamin D. Though supplements helped against the lot, i was still unable to sleep and kept losing hair every time i had a tiny bit of coffee or cocoa powder (in smoothies it’s yummy) . I saw a pattern and googled

    • floral says

      Hm, my cellphone is difficult to write on. So i was saying.. I googled gluten, coffee and cocoa and found the autoimmune paleo protocol. It all made sense. My doctor didn’t think theres anything wrong with me but she neglected what i said about coffee and gluten and that i lose hair and cant sleep. However. I started eating paleo, the autoimmune version and my face swelling went down in just a few days, for the first time in about half a year or more. I look like i did when i was pretty. 😉 just hoping my hair will grow thick again and weight come off. All this time, for years on end i have been excersising daily. And never ever eating sugar. So that was clearly never the issue. So. Coffee! I used to love coffee and i still dream about having strong coffee in a café in say Egypt or Turkey, eating sweet dates with it. Yum. 🙂 But no. I drink rooibos now. I have green tea in the morning (lunch is too late and makes it hard to sleep that night) . After reading this i will run down and get some fresh ginger! I want ginger lemon water. 🙂

      • Mickey says

        Floral, thanks for sharing your story! I was also vegan, for over 10 years. I had some similar problems until I went AIP. I’m happy to report my hair has come back, but it took 6 months-1 year before I really noticed a difference. Best of luck to you! 🙂


  • Allyse says


    What about Teecino? Have you heard of it?

    • Mickey says

      Yes, I have heard of it–it is not included on the autoimmune protocol because it contains a gluten-grain (barley), even though it is marketed as gluten-free. I would not take a chance with it.


  • Lisa K. says

    Mickey, what do you think about the Cocoa Leaf Tea (mentioned in an above post)?

    BTW – I *LOVE* your cookbook and have recommended it to dozens of people! It’s worth it’s weight in gold!!!

    • Mickey says

      Hi Lisa,
      Do you mean the cacao? (cocoa is different!). I have seen this product, although I haven’t tried it. I think it would be a candidate for reintroduction after the elimination diet!

  • Joe Fogarty says

    Everyone needs to take time for THYME! The benefits are amazing. Thyme tea (hard to find /search online) and Thyme glycerine extract (alcohol base for diabetics). Best of health to all.

  • Clayton Barker says

    I have begun to replace my coffee with a Chicory root/carob mix that I make in the French press. I however have read that carob contains tannins which may bind with nutrients. Is this a problem? should I stop drinking carob too?

    • Mickey says

      Carob and chicory are included on the Autoimmune Protocol by Sarah Ballantyne’s research. I haven’t done too much research on tannins and their affect on nutrient absorption, maybe Sarah would be the appropriate person to ask?

      When in doubt, I like to listen to the body for symptoms to see if a food is well tolerated or not. Everyone is different!

      Hope it helps,


  • gillian says

    Hi! I miss my coffee big time, even after six weeks without it! I drank only 1-2 cups a day but really really enjoyed it. Following the paleo mom breakfast brew recipe, I have tinkered a bit and have produced my own aip “cappuccino”!
    In a French press I put
    1 1/2 tbsp chicory root
    1/2 tbsp dandelion root
    1/2 tbsp carob powder
    Pinch ground cinnamon

    While that brews, I heat and froth some coconut milk. Then I pour a third of a coffee cup full of coconut milk and add the brewed “coffee”. Finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon…..yummy!!

    • Mickey says

      Fantastic–thank you for sharing!


    • Patty says

      Where do you get these ingredients loose so they can be put in a french press? It sounds delicious.

      • Mickey Trescott says

        Hi Patty, check the link above to be taken to a bulk version of them.

  • mary tegtmeyer says

    I sneeze when I drink chicory

  • […] No, it is not allowed on the elimination diet. (I have print-out guides of the foods to eat and avoid here). It is something that can be reintroduced sooner than a lot of other disallowed foods, however. I wrote a post about kicking the coffee habit here. […]

  • […] Mickey Trescott writes about Kicking the Coffee Habit. […]

  • Marisa says

    I am really early in the planning stage of starting AIP. My biggest joy in life is my coffee with bad sugary creamer. I have been so sick lately that I am ready to give it up. I have Hashimoto’s which I have had for many years with no need for thyroid meds, IBS, diverticulitis, history of miscarriage as well as blood clots. Autoimmune disease is rampant in my family. My Aunt and mother both have Lupus which I am getting tested for soon. I am a registered dietitian so I have a good knowledge of food and love to cook. I really want to feel better but am afraid of the bad headaches that come with caffeine withdrawal. Is it OK to wean off of coffee when beginning AIP or do you recommend I just go cold turkey?

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Marisa!
      I definitely advise weaning–no need to add a nasty detox headache to the beginning of your elimination diet! You can also try to wean on to tea in order to stay fully compliant. Wishing you luck!

  • Serene says

    funny, my break-up with coffee was the same! i was so addicted – i consumed way too much and kept myself in denial that it was, in fact, damaging my health. eventually i had made attempts to quit but they all failed in the long term. it wasn’t until i started reacting to it so violently that i gave it up in an instant without struggle.

    i put it down for two months, and then, one day, a friend of mine had a cup of coffee, and it just smelled so good with the cream and sugar and whatnot, so i asked for a sip, and he said sure…and immediately after that first sip, my heart started to beat really fast, and i felt like reality had switched from normal to “surrealistic adrenaline spike mode”. i had take deep breaths for a few minutes.

    i’m even sensitive to the small amount of caffeine in kombucha, which i learned a few nights ago.

    i haven’t been professionally diagnosed with an AI, but i suspect that i may have grave’s disease. i’ve been experiencing many of the symptoms, which have progressed rapidly over the course of about six months: sudden weight loss, panic attacks and severe anxiety, severe insomnia, mood swings…. to add to my hypothesized diagnosis, my mom has an AI (crohn’s) so i’m genetically predisposed to autoimmunity, and i was already diagnosed with adrenal fatigue back in june (we know the adrenals and thyroid are dependent on one another)

    i went for a blood test to check my TSH and other things, and am still waiting on results. my only concern is the issue of misdiagnosis. i worry i’ll be sent home being told nothing is wrong with me, though something clearly is, or worse, be misdiagnosed with given the wrong treatment. are there any other tests for checking the thyroid other than the TSH test?

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Serene,
      Sorry to hear of your trouble with caffeine–but good you’ve pinpointed it and that it is no longer an issue for you! A LOT of people have trouble getting off of it, and sometimes it is more simple when your body reacts violently. About the blood test–yes misdiagnosis is common with thyroid issues. I saw six doctors before I found out I had Hashimoto’s. I would make sure to read up on your condition, so that you can request the correct diagnostic lab work–I don’t believe Grave’s can be diagnosed by TSH alone. Good luck!

  • Amber says

    I highly recommend powdered/loose matcha tea! Coffee was my last hold out, not being able to find anything as creamy and robust tasting as coffee with half and half (half and half was my last dairy hold out. I may be able to go back to grassfed butter and raw kefir soon, though). Anyways, I went from 2-3 cups a day of coffee to matcha with NO HEADACHES and I LOVE IT!!! Highly recommend it. I drink it with frothed milk and I swear it tastes almost like espresso. I have no knowledge of it being irritating to the gut, though of course it does contain caffeine. But I get a “zenergy” instead of a nervous energy with it. I do recommend using a matcha whisk, blender, or milk frother to get it to mix in properly and google “best matcha teas by price point) to make sure you don’t get turned off of matcha by buying the wrong stuff. There is amazing stuff for $0.40-0.80 a cup, depending on how strong you make it, but looking at reviews I see there is good stuff for pennies a cup which I plan on trying. You can also mix it with a vanilla rooiboos tea and it’s delicious!!! I hope this helps someone struggling to make the transition!

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Amber–thanks for sharing what has worked for you! I do think this could be a good transition tool for people, but they should be aware that green tea still has quite a bit of caffeine (although not as much as coffee!), and can be immune stimulating for those who are sensitive. Cheers!

  • Amber says

    ^Adendum to the last comment-I make it with frothed coconut milk 🙂

  • Tara says

    I like to make “golden milk” / tumeric tea as a hot beverage substitute!

  • Has anyone tried the AIP-friendly Rooibos tea version of “Bulletproof Coffee”? I haven’t tried it yet, but want to. You can use the regular “Bulletproof” recipe, but instead of coffee, you can use Rooibos or herbal tea, + 1 tablespoon coconut oil (instead of ghee) + 1 tablespoon MCT oil + 2 tablespoons collagen + a pinch of cinnamon. (Blend in the blender). If you’ve tried it, let me know. If I try it first, I’ll let you know. :O)

    • Mickey Trescott says

      I haven’t tried it, but if you do and it is good please report back!

    • Lorie says

      Yes, I have tried it! It is a good replacement for a coffee latte.

  • Caitlin says

    Hi! I am new to AIP Paleo as have recently been diagnosed with Chronic Urticaria, and while they are still trying to find out the reason behind it, they are leaning more towards an autoimmune issue. I have been fascinated by your website and blog for over a week and started the elimination phase three days ago (cold turkey). Decided to do it mid way through a flare up as I didn’t want to take steroids and thought “let’s give it a try”. Not sure it was the best idea ever as I am exhausted, still seeing off the back end of my flare up (with a cold) and struggling to work. I would normally go for a coffee around about now to get that “kick” that I need. Do you have any advice for a drink that can give me the energy boost I need and keep the fatigue at bay? I have even tried having banana with honey, with the hope that the sugar would give me some type of rush (no joy)! Any and all help for this newbie is much appreciated 🙂 Thanks, Caitlin

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Caitlin!
      Sorry to hear of your flare, you must be uncomfortable! I do recommend following your doctor’s advice, even if you decide to start the elimination diet. Sometimes it is medically necessary to combine the best of conventional as well as natural approaches to get on the right track. You could be low on energy for a variety of reasons–caffeine withdrawal, sugar cravings, or lack of starchy carbs in the diet (AIP options are sweet potato, plantain, yuca, taro). For you, easing your way into the protocol may be more sustainable than going cold-turkey, with other issues (like perhaps caffeine addiction and blood sugar imbalances). Hope it helps!

  • Susan Paull says

    I was diagnosed with Hashimotos a couple of years ago. I started having real problems even while on my meds and so went on an autoimmune diet to lower my antibodies. I was only drinking mate during that time. After many months on AIP I started adding some things back. I added tea back and can’t tolerate it now. I get too raced up and also I get hungry much more easily sometimes leading to a migraine. I find I have to be careful with the mate as well if I have too many cups. (one or two.) What causes the change? By the way this is the only website that I have found that mentions this sensitivity changing with Hashimotos.

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Susan,
      Mate definitely has a component similar to caffeine, so you should be cautious there as well! I’m not sure why those of us with Hashi’s develop a caffeine sensitivity, but I suspect it has to do with the interplay between adrenal (stress) hormones and thyroid hormones.

  • Tara says


    Is Dandy Blend allowed on the AIP?


  • […] Additionally, individuals with Celiac disease should consider removing coffee because of the potential cross reactivity. From Mickey Trescott: […]

  • […] Additionally, individuals with Celiac disease should consider removing coffee because of the potential cross reactivity. From Mickey Trescott: […]

  • Sofie says

    Hi, I was diagnosed with hashimoto’s 2 years ago. Here in Belgium, paleo and AIP are not that well known. First I started on paleo but niticed that it just wasn’t enough. So now I’ve started eating AIP. I already have more energy. Coffee was a big problem, I love coffee. But the more I drank it, the more I felt ill. So now I drink cichory coffee. No caffeine, tastes great. I don’t know if you have it in the US? Also matcha thee is a good alternative, as a treat. I usually make it a latte with coconutmilk.

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Sofie! Thanks for the suggestions, happy you are feeling better after ditching the caffeine. I haven’t tried chicory coffee but I’ve heard a lot of folks are using it as a replacement!

    • i drink dandelion/chicory roots coffee

  • What about dandelion and chicory roots instead of coffee?

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Bernadette –
      Many people love this combo, I have yet to try it!

  • Michelle says

    Any recommendations are greatly appreciated here. I have Graves and I’m told Chronic Fatigue (which I’m still unsure if that is a symptom or a diagnosis) and depression. My doctor just took me off of my thyroid meds due to my having .04 tsh and I’m taking an antidepressant. I’ve only been drinking coffee for 8 months to help (I was drinking Monsters). I don’t enjoy the taste of coffee, I enjoy the way it makes me feel. The same thing goes for the monsters which I stopped a couple years ago now.
    Here’s the thing; If I drink coffee not only do I have energy but I feel happy (same thing with the monsters). Today is day one of me attempting AIP (which I only just heard of) and I’m miserable. I need something I can tolerate (taste wise) to give me the energy and feel good feelings I get from what I guess is just caffeine in general (feel free to correct me if you know something I don’t!!). Any ideas??

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hey Michelle! I totally understand where you are coming from. My suggestion would be to try something like green or white tea, or even yerba mate, all of which have a little caffeine, as well as a clean B-complex vitamin in the morning that might both help give you some energy (without going overboard with the caffeine) as well as give you some nutrients. Those B vitamins are common in energy drinks and they are cofactors for neurotransmitter production, which can definitely impact your happiness! Wishing you luck!

  • MOE says

    hi Mickey
    could you please advise on yerba mate if its good for celiac ?

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Moe, I’m not a medical practitioner and I can’t advise on medical conditions. Mate still has some caffeine, so if you are trying to go caffeine free it wouldn’t be a good choice, but it can help some people wean off of coffee if you are trying the elimination diet. Hope it helps!

  • Elena says

    I am super struggling with ditching coffee. I do it a couple of times a year but always end up back at a few cups a day. I am excited about beginning this process of healing but the coffee issue derails my efforts. The thought of making it through the day is daunting as it is but the idea of shopping, thinking, and batch cooking without loads of caffeine seems impossible. I have Hashimotos, adrenal fatigue. I know it’s so bad but how to stay awake long enough to do this is my catch 22……..

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Elena, I totally get your struggle! Can you swap it out for tea to make it through the elimination diet, so you are still getting the caffeine, but able to stay compliant with the elimination phase?

  • sonia says

    Can I try Órgano black coffee with ganoderma extract? I have hashimoto and love coffee.

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Sonia, that product isn’t elimination diet friendly as it includes both coffee and reishi mushrooms, both of which are not included.

  • Rebecca Nos says

    This is a very old post, so I hope you will see this and comment. I am interested in the coffee and gluten connection. I actually have never heard that before. I also am allergic to gluten and have never tolerated coffee well. I tolerate tea somewhat better, but the caffeine is still a problem. I am on a quest to figure all this out. I have been off caffeine for months at a time, but I miss it. And I want to find some way to enjoy it, even if its not every day without negative side effects. Could you elaborate on this connection and would it possibly affect caffeine in general or just coffee? And what about chocolate? Any resource articles you could point me to? On a life long quest… Thanks in advance.

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hey Rebecca! I wish I could be more helpful, but figuring out how much of a connection there is for you and your symptoms is going to take some trial and error on your part. Some people are even sensitive to the small amounts found in chocolate (I’ve been here at some points in my journey!), others tolerate a the amount found in tea just fine. About the cross-reactivity, it is related to the coffee itself, not the caffeine. I hope that is able to help you!

  • I still get symptoms of caffeine overdose when drinking decaf. Decade is only truly about half decaffinated. I get violent gruesome nightmares when caffeine has built up in my system. It takes 3-4 days to get out of our bodies. I finally found Teacinno (spelling?) it really tastes like coffee but it’s no acid 100% caffeine free. I don’t know if I have autoimmune problems or not but I can’t handle caffeine or acidic foods. I know I have leaky gut. Anyone who says it doesn’t exsist is ignorant and doesn’t have it. I got it from smoking as a teen (8 yrs) as well as taking ibuprofen. It’s been years and I can’t heal my gut but I do feel good when staying away from all coffee , high acidic foods and especially preservatives! I’ll be trying the elimination diets listed here and read more of your blog. Thank you

    • Mickey Trescott says

      Hi Cindy! It is true some decaf is not truly decaf. We don’t recommend Teecino as it is made from barley and not considered AIP. I like to create my own blend of dandelion and chicory. Hope it helps!

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