3 Amazing Natural Alternatives to Coffee

One question that every client of mine gets during their first session is ‘ do you drink coffee?’ and if so, ‘how much coffee do you drink?’

michelle tirmandi toronto nutritionist nutritionist in toronto natural alternatives to coffee

I ask not because I am judging (ahem, former coffee-holic over here!), but because although coffee can provide some pretty amazing health benefits (it’s packed with antioxidants, boosts metabolism and increases alertness, just to name a few), it can also seriously mess with our systems.

The truth is that too much coffee, (which in my opinion is more than 1-2 cups per day – ouch!), can cause a slew of not so pleasant effects on the body. Here are just a few, not so fun facts about coffee…

  • It is a diuretic (causes urination) thereby releasing precious minerals from the body more rapidly.


  • It speeds up digestion which causes the stomach to empty prematurely (ever ‘had to go’ immediately after breakfast?) without always having the proper amount of time to absorb all of the nutrients from your food.


  • It can cause dehydration due to the loss of fluids in the body which has a direct influence on redness, inflammation and the loss of collagen in the skin.


  • It is acid forming which places extra stress on the body by forcing the body to use stored minerals to process it.


  • It can also cause anxiousness, nervousness and has the potential to raise our cortisol and stress levels – a major negative for balancing our hormones.

The good news is that you don’t need to trade in your cuppa joe for good in order to be healthier!

Tapering down the amount you drink, or giving your body a coffee-detox for a few weeks can have many benefits.

Also, if it’s the energy spike that you are after you can try out one of these healthier natural alternatives to coffee (matcha green tea is by far my fav!). I’ve ordered them below in terms of most similar to coffee to least similar to coffee, so depending on how hardcore you are about weaning yourself off, you can select accordingly!

Mushroom Coffee

Mushroom coffees have been gaining popularity in the health food scene over the past few years due to their similar taste to coffee combined with formulas yielding amazing superfood benefits. The innovative company, Four Sigmatic, has created two instant coffee superfood blends that conveniently allow you to brew a cup of superfood-infused cuppa joe designed to give you a boost but sans the jitters or other negative effects of coffee.

Mushroom Coffee With Lions Mane 

This superfood coffee blend containing the medicinal mushrooms Lions Mane and Chaga provides both brain boosting and regenerative effects. Chaga’s alkaline qualities also help to reduce the acidity of coffee thereby providing a smoother taste as well. The addition of the potent herbal ingredient Rhodiola is known as an adaptogen that helps the body to moderate stress levels, improve circulation and increase memory and alertness.

Mushroom Coffee With Cordyceps

This superfood coffee blend contains both the mushrooms Cordyceps and Chaga. Cordyceps is known for supporting the adrenal glands (the organs that take a beating when you are stressed) and Chaga also has immune boosting benefits. Combined, the two play together well for a  great performance and metabolism boost.

Matcha Green Tea 

Matcha green tea is a powdered green tea made from the chlorophyll rich green tea leaf. Matcha, an antioxidant powerhouse is considered to be more ‘potent’ and nutrient-dense then most other green teas and provides blood sugar balancing effects, anti-aging and metabolism boosting effects. Although only a very small amount (~1/2 tsp) is required to brew a full cup it still contains brain-enhancing caffeine in about the same amount as a cup of coffee. The difference is that it also contains a calming, relaxation effect due to the amino acid L-theanine.  Matcha Ninja is a great Toronto start up currently offering 100% organic matcha powder.


Dandy Blend is a completely herbal alternative to coffee made from chicory root and dandelion root. Although it’s texture is very similar to real coffee, it’s caffeine free and lacks the bitterness and acidity of coffee which some say make it taste better then coffee. Other benefits of this coffee substitute is that unlike the strain coffee places on the body (patcuarily the adrenal glands), this herbal blend is actually nourishing and cleansing to the liver and kidneys, it reduces inflammation and is filled with skin loving antioxidants. Dandyblend can be found at most health food stores.

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