Coffee… what can I really say about coffee? Seriously? I am having a hard time knowing what to say about coffee. How about this… I like coffee? It works for my body, I love the taste, I love the smell and I love the way it starts a morning right. In my opiniont’s the perfect thing to drink while sitting around with a good friend chatting and sharing your heart with them? Those are a couple things that come to mind when I think about coffee. Before I say too much, coffee is not everyone’s friend. Some people do quite poorly on coffee/ caffeine. Whether it is just a genetic thing or because of an illness, it’s not for everyone. If that’s you, keep it out of your diet and choose a naturally caffeine free herbal tea.
But for us who do drink coffee… how do you make it healthy? This article isn’t an all-out explanation of all of the health benefits of coffee, but it will give you a good idea about how you can make it healthy! My first rule with coffee: It must be organic! Coffee is one of the most highly sprayed crops with pesticides. Non-organic coffee will give your body a mega-dose of pesticides that you don’t need. The good thing is that organic coffee is about the same price as non-organic coffee. So to start out, make sure your coffee is organic! And while you are at it, buy whole beans! Then you know you are getting fresh coffee. Some of the pre-ground coffees can become rancid before you buy them. You want to freshly grind your own beans so you get the rich and amazing coffee smell that comes from fresh organic coffee. Brew it with filtered water and if you use a drip coffee maker, use unbleached filters.
I drink coffee about 5x/week. And I only drink organic coffee. If I happen to be at a coffee shop that doesn’t serve organic, I will have it on occasion but it is not a regular habit. I have never been a fan of coffee black. And because of that I have found my favorite ways to “doctor” up my coffee to make it taste amazing!
Back when I was in chiropractic school I would spend a LOT of time studying. And much of my study time was at coffee shops. I loved getting out of my house, putting in some music and going to town studying for a few hours. I went to one coffee shop so often they memorized my drink and would start making it when I walked in. I told you I studied a lot… this is proof! When I first started going to the coffee shop they couldn’t believe the drink I ordered. I don’t think it’s that odd, but to them it was weird. I didn’t want any of the syrups or flavorings that they had. I also didn’t want to have a coffee drink full of pasteurized milk from grain-fed cows. My drink was a single shot Iced Americano in a large cup with a healthy splash of heavy cream. I chose that coffee drink because I like weak coffee. I always have and I believe I always will. Secondly, I chose heavy cream because it’s mostly fat and even though it was still not grass-fed it was only about 2-3 Tablespoons versus 2 cups of skim milk that is in a large latte. And thirdly, I could add my own sweetener, which would be Vanilla or English Toffee stevia. I still use them in my coffee now!
There are a lot of people out there who drink coffee with something I call “junk” dairy. If that’s you, don’t take it personally at all. Once you know what is in that creamer, you will want to change. I will give you options below! But before I give you options, I want you to look at a food label for a non-dairy creamer and then I will go through each ingredient explaining what they are.
This is the powdered creamer you ALWAYS see when coffee is served at a meeting, a corporate office setting and often times restaurants. Do some of you still use this? Now, even though the label above is a powder, the non-dairy creamers that are liquids are NO better! They just have all of these bad ingredients in liquid form with an added non-natural flavoring. A good example of this is International Delight. Aren’t they the ones with the commercials “What’s your I.D?”. I would beg to argue that if you used this on a regular basis over the course of many yours your ID would be sick and tired. And none of us need that. There are many other options that are so much better tasting and healthy for you.
Look at those ingredients. Can you believe what’s in there?
1. Corn Syrup Solids: This is powdered corn syrup. The #1 ingredient is a toxic sugar that clogs your cell membranes. And corn syrup (along with high fructose corn syrup) is so completely chemically manufactured that our bodies don’t even recognize what to do with it. It is very hard for your liver to process. And our livers are already bombarded enough with toxins we can’t avoid from our environment. Corn syrup also contributes to silencing your hormone Leptin. Leptin is the hormone that tells your body to burn fat for energy. We ALL want our Leptin as hormone sensitive as we can. Many people chose this type of creamer because it’s no-fat or low-fat, not realizing that it stops your body from signaling “burn fat” in the first place.
2. Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil: Soybean oil, without hydrogenation, is already an inflammatory Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acid (PUFA). These PUFA’s are created with extremely high heat and are also clogging to our cell membranes. And to top it off, this soybean oil is Hydrogenated. Another word for that is Trans-Fat.
3. Chemicals, Chemicals, Chemicals: Can you pronounce any of the other words listed on the label? One of my rules is that if I can’t pronounce it, I don’t want to eat it. There is one exception to that. Often time there will be an ingredient in a health food with a very long word. If it is natural and good for you, the manufacturer will put what it is in parentheses. For example: Lactobacillus may be found in a dairy product. Lactobacillus is probiotic or good bacteria. It’s a big word, but it’s good for you, and it’s explained on the label so it’s not confusing.
What are some HEALTHY alternatives to “junk” creamers:
1. Organic Heavy Cream: You can add a splash of this in your coffee or tea. It contains healthy fat and tastes amazing. I love heavy cream! The ideal cream to choose is raw, grass-fed organic cream. Do your best to find at least organic. The only down side of heavy cream is if you are dairy sensitive. Then choose another one of the options
2. Canned Coconut Milk: Add 1-2 Tablespoons to your coffee for some extra creaminess. The coconut milk will separate a bit in your coffee. That’s totally normal
3. Organic Grass-Fed Butter (or coconut oil): Yep, you read that right. You can put organic butter in your coffee as a healthy alternative to a creamer. Another way to get the superfood butter into your diet.
4. Stevia: This isn’t a creamer, but you can flavor and sweeten your coffee with stevia. My favorite brand is Sweet Leaf and it comes in many flavors. My favorites are English Toffee and Hazelnut. Who even needs the sugary flavorings found at the coffee shops when you have Stevia?
**I want to make one point when it comes to drinking coffee. If you are pregnant, I believe you should avoid coffee. There are many benefits to coffee, but those stop in pregnancy. A developing baby does not need and should not get caffeine, especially daily. Switch to a caffeine free herbal tea or drink a caffeine free roasted cocoa beverage in place of caffeine. I know you can do it for 9 months!
How do YOU drink your coffee?