There are few things in life so filled with expectation yet everydayness than the smell of freshly brewed coffee. What’s your daily coffee routine? One to get you out of bed, one to get started at the office, one to get you through the afternoon, one to round off that perfect dinner…
Coffee is a controversial topic, and not an easy one. It’s impossible to say it’s either healthy or bad for you, because we’re all individual and coffee has both good and bad sides to it. How you usually drink your coffee makes a difference as well: if you mostly drink milk and not coffee, or use sugar or artificial sweeteners to down it, or simply depend on coffee to get through the day then changing habits can be worth a try.
For folks consuming a modern, western diet, coffee is often the #1 source of antioxidants. It’s also very acidic, causing acidification in the body (= not great) and the usual amount consumed is not needed to get the health benefits coffee can provide.
And if you’re dependent (read addicted) to coffee, or any other food for that matter, then it’s worth to pay attention. The foods that have more power over us than we have over them are the problematic ones. When talking to my clients about coffee, I usually ask them to ditch coffee for up to 3 weeks to see the effect it has and how hard it is to be without it. “Starting over” also helps when you want to to build new habits.
The thing is, that when we leave out a food that has a potential health effect on us for 21 days, when reintroducing the food, we notice the real effect it has. Coffee is a typical example here. Many claim that coffee has low or no impact on them, but when going through the sweat of the first days without it and feeling your heart race and hands shake after having your first cup 3 weeks later, you see the effects more clearly.
Having a couple of cups of coffee during the morning hours a few times a week is usually no problem, but much more than that has more negative than positive effects.
If you have any type of problems sleeping, no matter what the cause, I recommend drinking no or very little caffeine. Even if caffeine is not the cause of your problem, it surely won’t make it better.
So are you up for the challenge of questioning your coffee routine? There are only good sides to switching 1-2 cups of daily coffees for green tea and herbal infusions. Green tea is high in antioxidants that fight free radicals and balances the acidity of the body. Herbal teas are jam packed with good-for-you things, the benefits depending on the ingredients used.
Herbal infusions are also very easy to make. Try boiling any of these in a combination that you like:
- fresh turmeric (activated with black pepper or chili)
- dried hibiscus flowers
- lemon grass
- star anis
- licorice root
- cinnamon stick
- dried fruit or berries
Add these to your brew without boiling:
- mint leaves
- lemon balm leaves
- black currant leaves
- lemon juice
- fresh berries or fruit
- honey (or maple syrup for vegans)
Here’s a few of the trendy coffee replacers:
- Golden latte: vegan milk frothed with turmeric powder (note that turmeric should always be activated with pepper or chilli, which makes absorption of it’s nutrients tons easier, so ask how your liquid gold is made)
- Matcha: green tea in powder form, also trendy to drink mixed up in vegan milk, but is traditionally made in hot water. Matcha is ground green tea and thus much more potent than normal green tea
- Herbal infusions or detox tea: there are many variations, the common nominator being no caffeine and a blend of health promoting herbs and spices
- Bulletproof coffee: Bland coffee blended with coconut oil, MCT-oil or ghee to give extra energy. Can be a good choice for a pick-me-up super boost, but never as a meal replacement! Popular (and effective) among the ketogenic dieters
What about the next big trend? I think it’s going to be pimped hot chocolates using single origin, high quality cacao mass instead of the powder you buy in stores. Try making yours from cacao mass (100%), diluting about a 1 tbsp piece in 100 ml water and adding the desired amount of vegan milk (avoid cow’s milk with cacao as it hinders the absorption of its nutrients). Add sweetener (maple syrup, coconut sugar, stevia or xylitol) according to taste and vanilla. Blend on high for a smoother, frothier version.
Next time you feel that 3PM exhaustion, try this amazing tasting smoothie instead of a coffee:
- 1 banana (preferably frozen)
- 200 ml oat milk (or any vegan milk you like)
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 2 tsp coconut butter (optional)
- 1 tsp raw powdered cacao
- 1 tsp regular powdered cacao
- 1 tsp maca
- 2 dates
- 1 tbsp hemp seeds
Blend all ingredients on high and enjoy.