I really like green tea. I usually drink 2-3 cups a day (multiple steeps of the same leaves so diminishing caffeine levels) at work. Occasionally I have a cup of black tea but never coffee and I very rarely drink green tea in the morning (never black). I started paleo a month ago and cut all caffeine as part of my program. Since, I've been feeling much more consistant energy levels through the day- possibly due to the no-caffeine, possibly due to consistent blood sugar levels.
But I miss the green tea- not the caffeine per se but the flavor/smell/experience. Herbal teas just aren't the same. The question is if anyone has an informed opinion on the general effect (I know we're all different) of green tea on a paleo diet or advise on whether or not to re-incorporate it into my life.
You might want to give white tea a try. It's is from the same plant as green tea but less processed. It has less caffeine and more anti-oxidants. It has a sweeter and less grassy taste than green tea.
Since white tea is harvested when the plant is younger than when green tea is harvested, white tea will have a lower fluoride content vs green tea.
I suppose if you really really like it you could convince yourself that the other beneficial phytochemicals tilt in green tea's favor. Or you might bet that ingesting all that fluoride isn't a concern (seems that many Asians tolerate it).
Every body is different - so incorporate back in if you want. Seriously. Loads of PH'ers have caffeine daily, many don't. If it's not the caffeine you miss - I've seen decaffeinated green tea in the shoppes (Bigelow/Tazo/Yogi) might be worth a shot. This one is definitely a personal decision.
Note: If it helps, I have moments where I'm completely caffeine free, sometimes a few weeks/months, etc. Currently am one cup of coffee in the morning, then 1-2 cups of something herbal in the afternoon and evening. On occasion a green tea. For several months it was just a cup of green in the morning. It just fluctuates :)
As another lover of Green Tea (I use loose tea with a infuser and everything!) I can say that for the most part, I'm down to about 16oz twice a week (one full infuser with about 1.5tbsp Pearl, Jasmine, or Dragonwell). This might have to do with the fact that I recently decided that Coffee wasn't evil, and when I drink a cup of coffee paired with coconut oil (eaten separately, I don't add anything to my coffee), I could pretty much last the next 14 hours or so without needing a pick-me-up... so in the afternoon I'm less likely to reach for tea.
Sure, the fluoride is a concern, but I still feel that green tea is a much more beneficial drink than anything else out there for mid-day drinking. And most herbal teas taste absolutely bleh if you are used to drinking the good stuff.
I think you have to weigh the pros and cons. Green tea doesn't have a lot of caffeine, at least compared to coffee or soda. Second, you get loads of antioxidants. True, you should be getting those form fruits and vegetables. But I see the green tea as a little insurance in case you don't take in as much from real food. Plus, doesn't having green tea with meals help keep blood sugar from riding too quickly? Or is that false? I've been drinking 2-4 cups of green tea per day. I wasn't aware of the flouride issue so I'll probably research that more. But as an alternative to coffee, soda, and other energy drinks, I think green tea is the next best thing to water.
I love drinking tea. If you are worried about caffeine try hojicha. It's roasted green tea and it smells amazing and is delicious, rich and nutty and hardly any caffeine to speak of, the roasting process somehow does away with it like coffee (the darker the roast the less caffeine).
I kicked my coffee habit, I manage on one or two a day now. Most times I rely on green tea to sate my need for a hot drink. White tea is also lovely, tastes more like proper tea. Have you thought of trying nettle tea? That's a pretty nice afternoon cuppa.