Goodbye, Coffee – Hello, Chamomile

Based on the very helpful suggestion of one of my readers, I read the book Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests are Normal? over the weekend. It gave me a lot of confidence going into my endocrinology appointment that I’ve done all I can with my lifestyle to support my Frankenneck.

The advice in the book was clear: maintaining stable blood sugar levels is really important and one of the facets of that is no caffeine.

Although I say I don’t drink regular coffee (and given the opportunity, I fill the corporate overlords’ coffee pots with decaf when no one is looking… sssshhhhh), I’ve been dabbling in regular coffee. My weekend breakfast usually includes a few cups, and lately, that’s sometimes sloshed over into weekdays, too. I knew it was happening and I knew it was wrong, but I was so mopey-dopey, drag-ass because of my busted thyroid, I was using coffee to perk me up. Bad move! That’s just further inflamed the Frankenneck.

So I’m re-committing to no coffee, and that includes decaf because even the unleaded variety contains trace amounts of caffeine.

In the herbal arena, I’ve tried ’em all: lemon, orange, apple, cinnamon, berry. I dislike them all. Violently. And while I can’t say I actually really like chamomile, it’s not offensive. It’s warm… I get to sip it from my giant cup that I love because it’s huge and it was a gift from my good friend Stacey… and it almost fulfills the coffee ritual (although it’s really lacking in the aroma department).

Since I’m going to be drinking this stuff, I decided to learn more about it.

Wild chamomile

One of the descriptions I found said this:

The finest chamomile flowers in the world come from the Nile River Valley of Egypt. Considered a remedy for all ills by the ancient Egyptians, this golden herb remains a modern favorite to promote calm and relieve anxiety.

Now we’re getting somewhere!

While I’m sipping my cup – which frankly, tastes a little like dirt and is not at all reminiscent of “freshly cut apples” as I was promised – I’ll pretend I look like this:

Ya know, it’s funny! I’m wearing that outfit right now.

Turning inside the body for a moment:

Chamomile is perhaps the world’s most soothing herb, helping to relieve anxiety and insomnia. Chamomile is also often used internally to treat digestive disorders… and even menstrual cramps… It is an anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and anti-bacterial herb.

So if I drink chamomile tea every day, I’ll be draped in jewels and have a badass crown, my eyeliner will be perfect, I’ll be relaxed and well-rested, and my monthly hormone poisoning will be more tolerable? Sign me up.

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  • Anonymous says:

    Melissa – do you like coconut? If you do, throw a tablespoon of coconut oil in your tea. It will give you 14g of sensational MCFAs. I don't actually like coconut but I still choke it down in my tea every day (usually apple cinnamon chamomile) because I want the good fat.


  • Jenn says:

    I drink funked up chamomile like Wonder if you have local places with options like this? I bet Trader Joe's has something even better…

  • Dave says:

    Good luck on the no coffee thing…I am out on that…now where is the nearest Starbucks!

  • jencereghino says:

    It's more expensive than most herbal teas you may find at the grocery store, but I'm in love with Teavana. Doesn't look like they have a location in Austin, but you can order online:


    I wonder how that outfit would hold up in The Warrior Dash…just throwing that out there…

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Anonymous (I know who you are now! Thanks for the email.) –> I might try that trick. I love coconut oil, and I bet that would help the grass-water, I mean chamomile, taste richer.

    Jenn –> That sounds yummy!

    Dave –> I reserve the right to drink coffee after the Bataan Death March!

    Jen –> I'm SURE I could wear that outfit over obstacles. How hard could that be?!

  • Meagan says:

    I'm doing a 7-week challenge and giving up coffee is killing me! Well, OK, not at all killing me. But making me a less pleasant person to be around. I wish you luck! I'll be raising my Cardamom Cinnamon tea in toast.

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Meagan –>

    *clink* Here's to tea drinkers!

  • Megan says:

    Have you tried peppermint? It's very refreshing. Also, as a tea snob, I can't drink grocery store tea. Loose tea from a tea store is so much tastier. I love your blog – especially all the food prep ideas and recipes:)

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Megan –> I'm glad you like the blog. Thank you!

    Sadly, I only like peppermint mixed into lamb… not for drinking. But thanks for the suggestion; I bet it will help another reader.

  • Christine says:

    I'm not big on plain Chamomile, but I am fond of Mighty Leaf's Chamomile Citrus blend, especially with a touch of honey or agave nectar.

  • ashley thiel says:

    You might try afterease tincture by wishgarden for cramps. My midwife says it works miracles!

  • Anonymous says:

    you may already know about this place, but there's a great tea house/cafe in the domain. you can buy bulk, loose tea and they are really helpful in helping you to mix flavors to find a less 'violent' taste.

    ps i don't live in austin anymore, so i love reading your blog for not only the great paleo/CF advice, but also for the fun memories that come with your references to local stuff! thank you!

  • jencereghino says:

    I'm drinking this:

    with coconut milk, right now…so good!!!

  • Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Ashley & Anonymous –> Thanks for the tips!… and Anonymous, I'm glad to give you the Austin fix 😉

  • Anonymous says:

    There's also Teecino which is brewed like coffee and comes in different flavors made with herbs, nuts, and (uh oh) grains. The Mayan flavor made with ramon nuts may not have any grains

  • Meri says:

    Hi there!

    I also gave up coffee 1,5 years ago after which I’ve learned that I’m hypothyroid… Sucks. Anyway, I’ve been drinking two cups black or green tea every day and I don’t want you to tell me to STOP 😀 I know, I probably should, but I just like black tea (like Darjeeling) so much. Sigh.

    Been on paleo since 01/10 as well, but little did I know to f*ck up my thyroid with a too low carb version of it… Well, on a road to get better. Glad I found your blog via Jennifer at Vibrant Sexy Strong! Some powerful peer stuff <3

    Take care,


    Ps. I've been a crossfitter since 2005 so I HEAR ya babe!

    • Mel says:

      Hey, Meri! Glad you found me!

      Sorry to hear you’re hypothyroid. It’s no fun. At all! But it can be manageable, and it sounds like you’re doing all the right things. I’ve just starting reading about hypothyroid & low carb, so I’m still educating myself. I’d say I eat moderate carb, so I think I’m in good shape, but I’m digging into it.

  • Meri says:

    Yep, education’s the key and finding the right people to help treating it. But indeed I would be very careful in reducing carbs if already on a moderately low carb diet but I guess it’s also true that everyone’s different, even among hypothyroids.

    And sorry about your thyroid loss as well, but it seems you’re doing a great (and great looking) job living without it!

    Anyway, today I drank only one cup of back tea instead of the too usual and subbed the other one with some herbal mint… Plerrhhh. But maybe I’ll get used to it. And cinnamon’s nice. It’s nothing like coffee or a genuine black tea, but it’s okay.

    Have to try the coconut oil trick! I do eat coconut oil but mostly plain or in cooking but I’ve never put it in my tea… Wicked. 😀

    • Mel says:

      I don’t think I eat “low carb.” I eat a ton of veggies and 1-2 servings of fruit per day, so I think I’m in good shape.

      Good luck with cutting back on your tea. I know! It’s not that fun. I found a mango herbal that I like. Definitely not at all like the coffee experience, but it is warm and comforting.

  • Jeanne says:

    I’m a sucker for coffee, but try to limit my intake to 1 cup once a week. For that big bold aroma and kick-butt flavor, try Chai (indian spice tea) or Teecchino (roasted dandelion/chikory etc., coffee substitute). The Java flavor is yummy, it comes in a ground form, and you make it in your coffee maker (I do it in the Espresso Machine for treats and top with coconut milk). Also, I’ve found that what I enjoy most about coffee is actually the BITTER flavor, so some mornings I just make a small 1-2oz glass of digestive bitters, and it really hits the spot.