Are you battling infertility or trying to conceive and still drinking coffee? If so, it’s time to consider weaning yourself from caffeine. Try a tasty herbal coffee alternative made from health-promoting herbs and foods because there is simply no sugar coating that caffeine is an antifertility food!
Caffeine consumption has been found to negatively impact both male and female fertility health by…
- increasing the chance of miscarriage
- causing hormonal imbalance – raises estradiol levels (estrogen) which adversely affects ovulation
- reducing the muscle activity in the fallopian tubes making egg transport more difficult
- impacting sperm motility
- robbing the body of calcium, a necessary fertility nutrient for maternal and fetal bone health and embryo development
- making the body too acidic – an acid/alkaline balance is necessary for a healthy vaginal and uterine environment, as well as to encourage sperm-friendly cervical mucus production
Herbal Coffee Alternatives – A Comparison
In an effort to help you find a coffee alternative, I took on the challenge of brewing and sampling three of the more popular herbal coffee alternatives on the market. I have to say, it was a very fun challenge!
Dandy Blend is a certified Kosher, non-GMO, instant herbal coffee blend that contains water-soluble extracts of roasted dandelion, chicory root, beet root, barley and rye grains that provide “over 50 trace minerals in each cup…”. It is gluten-free, caffeine-free, non-acidic and claims to be “bitterness free.”
My thoughts: If you’re used to grocery store coffee, you’d never know you switched to Dandy Blend. It’s just that good! I didn’t expect it to be instant, powdered granules, so that was a pleasant surprise. I simply boiled water, added Dandy Blend, stirred and enjoyed. It smells and tastes like a light roast coffee and is not bitter.
Teeccino boasts offering a “natural energy boost from nutrients”. Teeccino is gluten and caffeine free, non-acidic, provides antioxidants, potassium and contains prebiotic inulin – an important fuel for healthy gut bacteria. The main contents of Teeccino are carob pods, barley and chicory root. Other ingredients may be dates, figs, almonds, spices, dandelion root and ramon seeds (depending on the blend or flavor – there are many).
My thoughts: Two teaspoons steeped in 1 cup of freshly boiled water in a French Press for much longer than the suggested 3-4 minutes resulted in a very mild, not bitter, yet slightly dry and sweet, dark brew. To me Teeccino looks just like a dark roast coffee. While its taste was pleasant, it did not resemble true coffee as much as both Dandy Blend and Reishi Roast did.
Reishi Roast is a blend of organic reishi mushroom – known to be a tonic, anti-inflammatory mushroom, filled with antioxidants – with chaga mushrooms, roasted chicory and dandelion root, milky oat strobiles (part of the plant that produces the seed), mesquite pods, raw cacao, cinnamon bark, milk thistle (all organic) and Himalayan pink salt.
My thoughts: Steeped for 10-12 minutes in 8 ounces of freshly boiled water, the resultant brew is dark and smells woodsy, faintly of mesquite. I taste the dandelion root most. The pleasant, almost sweet, flavor has a hint of a bitter aftertaste, truly just a hint. Steeped for much longer than instructed, may result in a slightly more bitter, stronger brew. It’s my favorite with full-fat coconut cream (about a tablespoon).
The makers share that, “Reishi Roast nourishes your nervous system, balances energy, and supports your adrenals, immune system and detoxification.” Fertility health benefits galore!
Reishi Roast or Dandy Blend Maca Latte
4 ounces freshly brewed Reishi Roast (steeped for 15 minutes)
-or- one packet Dandy Blend dissolved in 4-8 ounces of freshly boiled water.
4-8 ounces coconut milk (full-fat)
1 tsp. Fertilica Maca Powder
1 tsp. Active Bee Power Royal Jelly or raw honey (optional)
Heat Fertilica Maca Powder in the coconut milk just until steam is visible. Pour into your favorite mug and add 4 ounces warm Reishi Roast. Stir in 1 tsp. Active Bee Power Royal Jelly or raw honey to taste if desired.
Weaning Off of Coffee
While you are weaning off of coffee, one tip is to first switch from full-caffeine coffee to 1/2 caffeine for 1-2 weeks. Then, transition yourself to decaf (organic or Swiss water process are best) for 1-2 more weeks. The next step may be to make a 1/2 decaf, 1/2 herbal “coffee” to transition your taste buds (if need be) for another week or so, and by the end of 1-2 months you’ll have weaned yourself from caffeine completely, as opposed to going cold turkey which can be much harder.
Safety of Chicory When TTC and In Pregnancy
We have over the years received questions about the safety of consuming Chicory as a coffee substitute when trying to conceive and in pregnancy. There are websites that say Chicory can negatively impact the menstrual cycle, cause uterine contractions and miscarriage, and that it is contraindicated in pregnancy.
The reason you will read that it is not suggested in pregnancy is because it has not been studied. We don’t know the amounts one would need to consume to cause an adverse effect, if any at all. No one is willing to test pregnant women to learn this… thank goodness! We have not read any reports of ill effects on a developing baby from a mother consuming chicory in pregnancy, when consumed in moderation as suggested by the makers of the coffee substitute chosen.
We support the use of the coffee substitutes that contain Chicory root for pre-conception and into pregnancy. There is so much information out there about what pregnant women should and should not consume that it is best to continue to do your research looking for proven data and make choices that feel right for you in your pregnancy. Everything in moderation is a great rule to live by!
American Botanical Safety Handbook – Chicory Classification: Safety Class 1A – there are no known contraindications, precautions or drug and supplement interactions. Allergic skin reactions may result upon contact of the fresh plant (unroasted).
– Dandy Blend Instant Herbal Coffee Substitute. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.dandyblend.com/
– Farmacopia – The Store: Reishi Roast – Original Blend. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://farmacopia.net/store/product/reishi-roast-original-blend/
– Gardner, Z., & McGuffin, M. (Eds.). (2013). American Herbal Products Association’s botanical safety handbook (2nd ed., pp. 206-207). Boca Raton, Florida: American Herbal Products Association, CRC Press.
– Teeccino Caffeine-Free Herbal Coffee. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.teeccino.com
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