Happy FRIYAY! How has your week been? I had such a great, relaxing work week which I think it has to do with this rainy weather! I’m just so productive when it’s gloomy out and love curling up in bed with a La Croix and my laptop after work to pump out some blog posts. When I’m in the writing mood, I glance through my brainstormed topic ideas. I keep a running tab in my phone on Evernote since I have a two second memory and never remember ideas if I don’t write them down! One idea I had jotted down last spring was on the topic of ways to keep your daily coffee healthy. I joke all the time that my body may easily be 90% espresso. I love, love, love espresso not solely for the caffeine jump, but the taste. I have to cut myself off at a certain time of day since I don’t want to become too reliant on the caffeine, but love it so much that I could drink it at all hours of the day. I literally go to bed at night being so excited to wake up and have my morning espresso. When I tell S this right before we go to sleep, you better believe he’s thinking he’s engaged to a fruit loop. I’ve heard that coffee increases dopamine levels in your body which in turn, boost your mood. In addition to the science, I blame my dad which you can read more on here.
With that, I have shared on Snapchat how I keep my coffee or espresso healthy and my Snap Fam was really receptive so I figured I’d share on the blog as well! For some background, I typically lead a lean, clean and green healthy lifestyle. If I’m indulging, my daily coffee is not where I want those treat calories to go. I’d rather eat ’em! Who else?! Pouring sugary flavoring and heavy cream into a daily coffee not only adds so many calories to your daily in take, but just isn’t fueling your body with the natural nutrients it needs to power through the day. The sad thing is that major coffee retailers market these drinks as the norm, but a drink full with caramel drizzle, 7 pumps of sweetener and heavy cream isn’t a normal thing to consume everyday.
Even drinks dup ‘skinny’ are horrible and packed with aspartame which in my opinion is the worse kind of sweetener around because it’s a harmful artificial sweetener that is thought to lead to cancer [which makes sense.. it’s factory made and created from Mother Nature] and actually packs on pounds despite the “zero calorie” label. There are much healthier options to add a touch of sweetness to your coffee that is natural and found in nature 🙂
Below I listed out healthy tweaks to make to your daily cup of joe depending on your needs: creamy, sweetener, flavor and more!
IF YOU WANT CREAMINESS
If you’re switching from creamer, I suggest trying unsweetened almond milk. My favorite brand is Califia which can be found at Whole Foods and Wegmans. This brand is organic, carrageenan free [used to thicken products and known to be toxic] and have lotsa healthy flavors! S always jokes while we grocery shop because I get three almond milks a week – the Califia unsweetened original, unsweetened vanilla and unsweetened coconut. He says we always have at least five almond milk in our fridge and thinks I’m a litttttle crazy.
Coconut milk is also a creamy-satifying alternative as well. I do want to forwarn from opting for both coconut milk and almond milk while out and about. Starbucks offers both and are jam packed with preservatives and added sugars. Dunkin Donuts offers almond milk, but it’s a sweetened Almond Breeze version that also has carrageenan in it. To avoid this, I opt for my espresso black and add my own almond or coconut milk when I get home. If I’m out for the day, I’ll resort to a splash of nonfat milk. The reason why I don’t really mention milk as a go-to alternative to creamer is because dairy can be very hard on digestive systems. Once I ditched dairy during Whole 30 last year, I hardly touch it unless I need a splash on the go!
In summary – find an almond or coconut milk you enjoy to add to your coffee at home. While you’re out, avoid sugar-filled dairy alternatives and opt for nonfat or 2% cow milk.
IF YOU WANT FLAVOR
Flavored coffee – some people love it, some hate it. My dad can’t even drink regular roasted coffee if it was brewed in the same coffee maker as flavored. I personally love it! If you want some flavor, opt for flavored grinds at home. Trader Joes has great flavored coffee. S gifted me a Nespresso recently, but I haven’t tested out any flavored options yet since I’ve been loving the Lungo series. I’m sure there are many flavored Nespresso pods out there like you can find for Keurig too.
If you’re at Starbucks, every single one of their drinks flavors is derived from sugary syrup. As you can tell above, opting for “sugar-free” syrups is just as bad, if not worse, in my book. To add flavor on the go at Starbucks, ask for cinnamon or nutmeg sprinkled on top. Not only does cinnamon give a touch of flavor, cinnamon boots your metabolism! Win, win.
Dunkin Donuts offers flavor shots! They are a condensed brew of flavored coffee in a little shot that’s added to your drink. They also have awesome flavors like toasted almond, hazelnut and blueberry. Keep in mind the ‘swirls’ are the sugar-packed version so I always order by saying ‘sugar-free shot’. Unfortunately they still don’t offer pumpkin in the fall as a shot, only a swirl. During this time of year, I make my own pumpkin creamer at home!
In summary – grind your own flavored beans, find flavored Keurig or Nespresso pods, opt for cinnamon or nutmeg or grab a flavor shot at DD!
IF YOU WANT SWEETNESS
So back in my high school and college days, my DD order was so gross. Well, I thought it was yummy then, but now looking back I cringe. I’d legit order: Medium iced lattee with five pumps of caramel swirl, two Splenda and skim. I loved me some sugah’. That was seriously the equivalent of drinking a milkshake for breakfast. By the end of college, I dropped the sugar and any sugar-filled creamers which was hard at first! I also learned that opting for sugar cane, pure maple syrup or honey from Mother Nature is always better than putting factory created substances like Equal or Splenda in your body. Your body will respond more nicely to natural calories made from nature over fake, cancer-causing crap.
In summary – always opt for nature made sugar like cane sugar, honey or pure maple syrup and ditch any pre-made creamers or syrups.
I hope these tips help you keep that daily cup of joe a but more healthy! While I’m a cold turkey person, meaning if I want to stop a habit I do it right then and don’t look back, but you may want to opt to wean yourself off instead. Think of your personality and how your body reacts and go from there. If you want to wean yourself off, try putting in one sugar instead of three and gradually alter your order every day!
What’s your favorite way to take your coffee? Xo Mindy
PS- I’m always sharing healthy recipes on Pinterest, so follow along if you’d like to see more!
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