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Your Morning Bliss

This week we are tackling your morning beverage. Be it coffee or tea, enjoying a cup of something special somehow seems to make for a better day! Some can enjoy such beverages unsweetened and plain, but for most, adding complementary textures and flavors further enhances their morning cup.

photo credit: duncan Latte art

Over the years, products have been developed to make it easier to spruce up coffee and tea at home. You can easily find 20 or more coffee creamer varieties at your local grocery store. Labels entice you with words like “low fat”, “all natural”, and “light”. We hope this post will help you look past the surface of product labels into the nutritional value of your coffee or tea additives and how they can positively or negatively impact your health goals.

The base of commercial creamers usually include a combination of a few or more of the following ingredients: corn syrup solids, vegetable oil, palm oil, sodium caseinate, cellulose derivatives, binding agents, unspecified natural or artificial flavors, sucralose, and cane sugar. Some ingredient lists are 12+ items long, and chances are, the longer the ingredient list is, the more foreign the items become. In fact, you would probably have difficulty even pronouncing some of them.

Why is this an important point to make? Well, for starters, some of these ingredients can cause hypersensitivities and result in a number of unwanted gastrointestinal effects. Additionally, by forcing our bodies to breakdown ingredients that have been altered in some way from their natural form, we turn away from nourishing our bodies with food to hindering our metabolism as our bodies work to find alternative pathways to process such ingredients.

A better alternative is to turn to some one-ingredient items to spruce up our morning coffee or tea. Below, we will share some of our favorite add-ins.

FOR CREAMINESS

2 Tb half and half- Long gone are the days of avoiding fat and replacing it with sugar and refined ingredients. Keep your cream, we say!

2 Tb heavy whipping cream- That’s right folks, have your cream and eat it, too! Again, we feel it is better to incorporate quality fats in the diet rather than the lower fat alternatives that instead of fat, contain the ingredients discussed above.

Dairy free milks, to tatse- Best if homemade, but choosing store-bought unsweetened, organic varieties is a great alternative. By choosing organic, you will avoid the same unwanted filler ingredients as discussed above.

FOR FLAVOR

1 tsp vanilla, almond, or chocolate extract

2-3 drops peppermint essential oil

1-2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

FOR SWEETNESS

Stevia or Truvia to taste

TECHNIQUES

  1. For a simple drink, combine 8 ounces of strong-brewed coffee or tea with your choice of the above ingredients.
  2. For a foamy no-fuss “latte”, combine 8 ounces of strong-brewed coffee or tea with your choice of the above ingredients. Add to a blender and blend for 15 seconds or add to a glass jar and shake vigorously.
  3. When adding cocoa powder or cinnamon, make sure you are either whisking vigorously or using the “latte” technique to avoid clumping.

THE BURNING QUESTION: But what do I order when I am out at a coffee shop?

photo credit: Dai Lygad Multiple Choice: Caffè Gioia, Canton, Cardiff
  1. Your favorite black coffee with heavy whipping cream, half and half, or dairy-free alternative. Ask for cream, half and half or milk to be steamed if you like the froth.
  2. Americano with ¾ hot water and ¼ heavy whipping cream, half and half, or dairy-free alternative. Ask for cream, half and half or milk to be steamed if you like the froth.
  3. Double tea-bag hot tea with ¼ heavy whipping cream, half and half, or dairy-free alternative. Ask for cream, half and half or milk to be steamed if you like the froth.
  4. Breve- Espresso with steamed cream.
  5. Whole-milk macchiato- Espresso with a touch of foamed milk.
  6. Unsweetened iced coffee with heavy whipping cream, half and half, or dairy-free alternative.

**For sweetness, we recommend avoiding sugar-free syrups and instead choosing all natural sugar substitutes such as stevia, truvia, or monk fruit extract.

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