Autoimmuni-Tea Coffee Substitute

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Herbal Coffee Substitute Recipe with protein and healthy fats for natural energy
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I love coffee, especially when I make it with healthy fats and collagen, but there are times that I choose not to consume coffee (like during my 30-Day Autoimmune Reset).

Why No Coffee?

I’m not anti-coffee at all and there are many health benefits attributed to coffee. However, at times I find it is better not to consume coffee and a small percentage of people won’t tolerate it at all.

I avoid coffee on the autoimmune reset because coffee is technically a seed, not a bean. As Sarah Ballantyne explains:

Coffee is made from a seed (not a legume, but the pit of the coffee fruit). Right away this should put us on the alert since seeds tend to contain protective compounds to prevent digestion and thereby ensure the survival of the plant species. In the case of wheat, those compounds cause increased intestinal permeability (i.e., leaky gut) and prime the immune system to exaggerate inflammation and potentially cause autoantibody formation, which is clearly detrimental to our health. In the case of the itty bitty seeds in blueberries, those compounds have such a low toxicity level as to have a negligible effect on our health (and the beneficial antioxidants and polyphenols in blueberries more than compensate!).

Most people do just fine with coffee, but I’ve found it is helpful to stop drinking it for a month or so once in a while just to make sure my body is doing ok with it and to mix things up a little.

Another possible concern with coffee is the caffeine content. Again, many people do just fine with this, but I found that my cortisol patterns were the opposite of what they were supposed to be (low in morning and high an night) and found that temporarily removing coffee and caffeine helped a lot.

Additionally, individuals with celiac disease should consider removing coffee because of the potential cross reactivity. From Mickey Trescott:

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.

In other words, coffee is great for some people, but others have trouble with it. The easiest way to know is to remove it for a month (or longer) and then gauge reaction when it is added back in.

An Alternative…

I still love drinking something warm and nourishing in the morning, so when coffee isn’t an option, I make an herbal tea substitute. It isn’t exactly the same, but it is an easy way to sneak in some collagen protein and healthy fats.

I’ve also consumed a mug of warm bone broth at times, though it doesn’t have quite the same appeal. For my Autoimmuni-Tea Herbal Coffee Substitute, I’ve found a variety of teas and herbs will work. My favorites are:

  • Dandelion root tea – My favorite. It is said to be great for the liver and for digestion and I love the earthy taste.
  • Rooibos tea – Another great option. Slightly sweeter than dandelion naturally and great flavor.
  • Pu-ehr tea – A rich, earthy tea that is said to help cholesterol levels (not a problem for me) and other things. I’ve not ever taken this one while pregnant/nursing and would definitely check with a doc first if you are.

I also add:

  • Grass fed butter: a great source of vitamin K2 which helps decalcify arteries and is important for proper blood clotting. There is also research that it can lower the risk of heart disease. (source) (NOTE: I don’t add this when I am on the autoimmune protocol until I’ve been on it for at least a month, though I do find that I tolerate butter well.) Ghee is another good choice.
  • Coconut oil: (or MCT oil) a great source of lauric acid and medium chain fatty acids, which are an excellent easy fuel source for the body and brain.
  • Collagen hydrolysate: an easily digestible form of gelatin that supports skin, hair, nails, and digestion and is a good source of protein.
Herbal Coffee Substitute Recipe with protein and healthy fats for natural energy

Autoimmuni-Tea Coffee Substitute Recipe

An herbal alternative to coffee that is loaded with natural protein and healthy fats for a natural energy boost.
Calories 158kcal
Author Katie Wells


1 cup



  • Brew a strong tea with the tea bag of choice.
  • Add other ingredients and blend for 15-20 seconds until emulsified.
  • Enjoy.


Nutrition Facts
Autoimmuni-Tea Coffee Substitute Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 158 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 13.5g84%
Sodium 27mg1%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Sugar 0.3g0%
Protein 6g12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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What do you drink in the morning? Coffee? Tea? Water? Share below!

This autoimmune-safe herbal coffee substitute recipe uses herbal tea and natural sources of protein and healthy fats for an energy boost without caffeine.

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


44 responses to “Autoimmuni-Tea Coffee Substitute”

  1. Corina Avatar

    Good morning Katie.
    I love all the herbs mentioned above. I have also added chaga mushroom and lions mane mushroom powders to the dandelion, or Rubio. Sometimes I make carob roasted with cacao roasted powder. Our planet gives us infinite variety of wonderful herbs.
    I’ve enjoyed your post and the other comments. It encourages me not to rely on coffee as my go to.
    Love never fails, Corina

  2. Carla Avatar

    5 stars
    I have been looking for a list of alternatives for a while now. Thank you for these. I am going to try them. My issue is not the coffee itself. I can’t drink it without milk and sugar, which is making my “having babies” fat not go away.

  3. Kelly Avatar

    Hi! I followed your link for the collagen hydrolysate – do you use the creamer in this recipe? They have so many products listed! Thank you!!

  4. Ren Avatar

    Hello! I just have a quick question – I tried your latte recipe on saturday, and the oil from the coconut oil and butter kept rising to the top. I’m not sure if I made it correctly then, and it was a little hard to stomach because I felt like I was just drinking oil. Help?

    Also, this morning I’m trying Teeccino Chicory tea as a coffee substitute. I noticed you did not mention this in your tea alternatives to coffee and I was wondering if you had an opinion on it?

  5. Ashlee Avatar

    I love coffee, but a full cup can get my heart racing. So when I got pregnant, I began drinking dandelion root tea (only instead of the above add-ins I use collagen powder and your turmeric tea recipe ingredients). It’s delicious, but as an alternative I have become interested in Four Sigmatic’s products after hearing you talk about them on your podcast. I ordered the reishi hot cacao mix, but saw their disclaimer on the box about checking with your doctor if pregnant or nursing, which I will but also like to hear from other moms with these types of disclaimers. I’m still nursing my now 13-month old and am curious, would you (or anyone in the WellnessMama community) drink the decaf hot cocoa with reishi if nursing? Thank you!

  6. Alex Avatar

    4 stars
    I’ve gotten into the Pur-Ehr tea lately, and I’ve been brewing it with a few teaspoons of coconut oil, first thing in the morning. I find the coconut oil makes me feel a little ill, however, maybe its just the oily nature of it?

    I Have no desire to give up coffee (I use it wisely), but I can’t drink it on an early stomach, so the above concoction is my first drink of the day.

    I like how you add Collagen Hydrolysate for protein – I’ll give it a go.

    The drink in your picture almost looks like a real coffee – maybe placebo is playing a part in it!

  7. Miranda Avatar

    5 stars
    Hi there! I absolutely love all of your recipes. I still use your homemade lotion recipe and plan on trying the homemade toothpaste. I was wondering if you had any suggestions for natural healthy energy drinks? I am trying to remove caffeine completely from my diet because I’m a singer and it’s bad for my voice. Even decaf teas or coffees could be bad if they are acidic. I’m having a hard time finding a good substitute . Any suggestions?

  8. Jan Avatar

    I drink hot lemon water with 1/2tsp cinnamon, 1/2tsp tumeric, 1 tsp coconut oil and 1/2tsp. maple syrup

  9. Jessica C Avatar


    I am reading your 7 Simple Steps for Healthier Families and it mentions green tea as starting the ‘building blocks for better sleep’ do you have a green tea that you recommend? Or can you tell me which tea recipe is best for readying your body for sleep throughout the day?


  10. Alyssa Stanley Avatar
    Alyssa Stanley

    Is Danelion Root tea safe while pregnant? I love a warm drink in the morning especially now that it is getting cold.

  11. Rachel Avatar

    I make mine with matcha powder sometimes! I like to add either honey or stevia with the matcha, I don’t love green tea by itself

  12. Mariam Avatar

    I ADORE coffee, however in the last few months my body has been reacting badly to it, by experiencing a headache if i don’t have coffee following on from if i did the previous day. This even happens when i’ve abstained for a good week or two. My coffee of choice is a long black (Americano), I wonder if you have any solutions to this/any clues?

    Also, I’ve been having headaches not related to coffee at all in the last months, which I tracked to be occurring AFTER I finished my exams. Any thoughts?

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