Drinking coffee can truly be a love-hate relationship, if you know what we mean. On the one hand, there’s actually pretty decent evidence out there that two to three cups of coffee is good for you — it may even help you live longer. On the other hand, coffee can become a SUPER expensive habit, and frankly, its health benefits don’t extend to everyone. People who suffer from adrenal fatigue, which is caused by chronic stress, should probably stay away from lattes. But don’t worry, there are plenty of tasty coffee substitutes out there. The latest trend: mushroom tonic. Yes, mushrooms.

THE CONNECTION BETWEEN Adrenal Fatigue and Coffee

So, first off: What’s adrenal fatigue? This all-too-common condition occurs when your body is chronically under stress, which stimulates your adrenal glands to produce cortisol — a stress-inducing fight-or-flight hormone — around the clock. Cortisol is great if you come across a bear in the wild. But nowadays, most of us live with elevated stress levels as a result of our day-to-day life.

“The communication loop that connects your adrenal glands and the brain, called the HPA or hypothalamic axis, is responsible for regulating environmental influences that signal the release of cortisol and catecholamines such as epinephrine and norepinephrine (AKA your fight-or-flight biochemicals),” explains Christine Dionese, an integrative health and food therapist, to The Chalkboard.

And guess what else causes your body to produce cortisol? Caffeine. For this reason, if you suspect you’ve entered a burnout phase, it’s time to cut back on coffee and replace it with… ‘shrooms.

Health Benefits of Mushroom TONICS

Mushrooms are fantastic little things. They’ve come into the spotlight in recent months for their health-promoting properties, and unlike many health and wellness trends, mushrooms are now being shown in actual scientific research to do what they claim.

There are lots of different kinds of mushrooms out there, and they all promise their own range of health benefits. Chaga mushrooms have literally been shown in studies to have anti-cancer effects, as they’re effective at reducing inflammation (a major side effect of adrenal burnout). Shiitake mushrooms are similarly anti-inflammatory, while Lion’s Mane is known to help improve focus. The sexiest of all mushrooms — cordyceps — promises to increase your sex drive and exercise performance. And all mushrooms have one superfood ingredient in common: high levels of antioxidants, which can lower inflammation and help prevent cancer by binding to free radicals in the body.

Altogether, mushrooms are super healthy, and their tendency to increase focus and reduce brain fog makes them a fantastic substitute for coffee.

Mushroom Coffee Routine + ReCIPE

We’re calling this “mushroom coffee,” as we like to think of it as a fantastic sub for *actual* coffee. However, it’s not actually coffee at all — it’s free of caffeine and TOTALLY great for people with adrenal fatigue.

Start replacing one cup of coffee per day with a mushroom tonic (mushroom powder is easy to add into tea, milk, or water), and then gradually (avoid that caffeine withdrawal!) try to eliminate your coffee consumption altogether. Eventually, you can feel free to add a cup of coffee a day back into your diet. But until that time, mushroom coffee tastes delicious and earthy, making it a lovely substitute. We love this recipe from Mabel Nash Greenberg of mindbodygreen:

To save money, you can also buy whole mushrooms, dehydrate them, then grind them into a fine powder using your food processor. Don’t have a dehydrator? Roast them in the oven for three to four hours at 150 degrees. You won’t get *quite* as fine of a powder, but you’ll still achieve the results you need to use them in a tonic. If you’re still seriously missing that coffee flavor, try Four Stigmatic’s mushroom coffee packet, which has about half the caffeine as a mug of coffee and will deliver that yummy coffee bean taste and aroma you’re craving. Drink up!

Have you ever tried mushroom coffee? Tweet us @BritandCo and share your experience with us!

(Photos via Getty)