Like a lot of people, I love a good cup of coffee. Sometimes you find people boasting the benefits of a cup each day while others preach the damage it can do to your health.
Don't worry, I am not anti-coffee, not at all!
There is a lot of evidence that says coffee offers lots of nutritional benefits, including increased weight loss (due to the activation of metabolic pathways), reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, and others mostly due to the antioxidants and polyphenols.
A typical cup of coffee contains a variety of vitamins and minerals that can benefit health. Coffee also stimulates our nervous system and causes excitation. A lot of people benefit from coffee as it can help relieve constipation. It can also induce diarrhea, so be mindful of that too!
Coffee has also been studied to reduce the risk of some diseases including cancer and diabetes. While these all seem like great reasons to drink a bunch of coffee there are some people who should exercise caution when consuming it!
I recommended an individual approach when it comes to coffee recommendations, just like in everything I recommended, it really depends on the person and situation.
Coffee also can induce anxiety and may lead to dehydration too. Those who are sensitive to caffeine can experience jitteriness, headaches and mood swings too.
Who should and (should not) drink coffee?
While I don't think everyone needs to be drinking coffee every day forever, I love a good cup a few days each week. Anyone who truly enjoys the taste of coffee can enjoy it sparingly if they want to!
However, I do believe that we should all do a coffee "detox" and go a while without the caffeine laced drink for at least a week or so. Removing coffee from our lives for a period of time can be helpful to truly determine the effects it has on your body. I go without often and I truly know how my body reacts. I also spent a month of two when I started to clean up my diet without coffee to ensure I was maximizing my health.
You should NOT drink coffee if you experience anxiety or mood disorders, coffee is a stimulant and can cause further anxiety. If you are someone who has trouble falling asleep, consider removing coffee from your diet too! Especially the afternoon cup.
Those who are not very active and looking to crush a sugar craving or lose weight might want to consider removing coffee from your daily routine. Coffee causes a jolt of cortisol, which releases glucose from stores. What this means is that unless you burn off the releases glucose by exercising or some kind of activity, it can get stored as fat. It can be tricky for those who are looking to lose weight to have a coffee everyday if they are not fat burners.
Finally, those who are healing from certain diseases should also consider eliminating coffee, especially if those diseases are directly related to the gut (which disease isn't?!) because we want healing in the gut and coffee causes bowel movements, which we want but if we are sick we are also in desperate need to nutrients and nutrition. Hurrying things through the gut means less time to absorb the nutrients, so coffee is trouble there too!
The kind of coffee and also what you put in your coffee are important considerations!
Buy organic, please. Organic coffee is the best option as coffee is one of the most sprayed crops. Luckily organic coffee is readily available and not very expensive, it is worth the investment!
Really enjoy your cup. When you drink your coffee enjoy it for what it is and really sip it and employ mindfulness. This is important to really enjoy the coffee, especially if you are looking to enjoy it only on occasion.
Avoid to sugar and milk. Opt for something other than sugar in your coffee! We know that coffee spikes blood sugar so I suggest blending a little coconut oil (or butter, heavy cream, etc) to help slow the sugar impact. I use coconut oil and never sweeten my coffee, and I have truly grown to love the taste! Remember coffee is supposed to be coffee, not a sugar delivery method! Avoid conventional milk products, and go for organic and heavy cream when possible!
Go with alternatives. There are lots of coffee alternatives, I personally love Teeccino! It is so tasty, caffeine free, and easy to get your hands on. You can also choose tea as an alternative or chicory tea, and dandelion tea.
Drink more water. This is important to help counterbalance the effects of dehydration!
Have coffee before 12pm. Drinking coffee before noon will help to prevent the sleeping problems people associate with coffee.
What do I do?
As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist I get asked "what do you eat" regularly. When I speak on a topic, people want to know how I apply that to my life!
I drink coffee, usually about 4-5 times a week. I only ever have 1 cup a day, and it is on days when I teach fitness most, I burn off the sugars that get released. I experience no withdrawal symptoms when I don't have coffee and I love my Teeccino when I want a second cup later in the day! I add no sweetener and opt for just a tsp of coconut oil and I blend it on high for 15 seconds or so! This helps to mitigate the effects of the released glucose.
Anxiety, stress, sleep habits and gut issues do not plague me much, but I do have trouble drinking enough water every day, so I really make an effort when I am having a cup of coffee. I do notice my skin gets drink when I have too much coffee and not enough water. I am really getting into tea lately though!
Do you drink coffee? Have you noticed any reaction or problem when you consume too much or at the wrong time? Let me know in the comments!
Okay, so I am one week into my second round of the 21 Day Sugar Detox, feel free to read about my first experience here. This time I did very little planning, this is because I knew exactly what I was getting into, and because I am almost already 100% gluten free (I say almost because there are times that you just can't be sure) and I ate mostly paleo meals, not to say I am paleo, I am not, but I knew that level 3 would be easier this time around than before.
So far so good, not planning things is nice, makes things feel more sustainable, but I still have cravings, mostly for fruit, strawberries in particular. Also, I went to the fair, and truth be told I didn't exactly follow the detox, and realized how fast I can slip into the world of sweets.
I find that I lack self control if I am not being conscious about it, so I need to be more conscious about that. One thing I wanted was a quick snack, high in fat and protein, low in carbohydrates and more interesting then just plain nuts. I created this sugar-free no-fuss paleo "granola."
It is sort of pumpkin-ish, it tastes nothing like pumpkin, but I used gingerbread spice and a scoop or two of pumpkin puree, so it is sort of pumpkin, I am not sure, it all made sense when I was making it.
This turned out crispy and flavourful, not sweet at all (be mindful, granola traditionally is just oats masquerading as candy, this granola has ZERO sweetness, you were warned), but I am excited about the possibilities. I plan on using bananas or apple sauce in the future to add to the mix (but I didn't want to waste my daily fruit option on granola), and potentially add in some raisins after cooking to make it just a touch sweet without a sweetener. It makes a yummy topping to a chia pudding (chia seeds + nut milk) or as a cereal substitute, I think it will look cute on top of a smoothie as well for photo purposes.
Sugar-Free Pumpkin "Granola"
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 cups nuts* (I used hazelnuts and walnuts)
1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 egg white, whisked
1 tbsp gingerbread spice blend
2 tbsp pure pumpkin puree (I used canned, nothing added)
Have you done a sugar detox? What would be the most challenging thing for you to have to give up?
One thing that I have become very interested in and passionate about is seasonal and local eating. There are many great reasons to start eating local and supporting local farmers!
All photos in this post are from my dads garden, we plant all kinds of things, and the more I learn about health, nutrition and the benefits of growing your own foods, the more things we put into the ground!
Why Eat Local?
Eating locally is more natural, your body wants to eat foods that are locally grown, they are in season and your body moves through the seasons too. The minerals and soil that are found locally nourish your body more accurately, helping you be more in-tune with yourself and the environment
Eating local foods means you are supporting local farmers, we need to be supporting local farmers to help keep Ontario agriculture thriving, support those people who grow food, and avoid buying imported foods (especially the ones we can and do grown in Ontario)
Eating local food is more nutritious, this is because it has significantly less travel time to get to your table. Foods lose nutrients when they travel because nutrients are depleted with time, light and heat, all major factors when we ship foods from far away
It helps the environment. Shipping foods from far away is extremely hard on the environment, and eating local means that the food is fresher and usually requires less pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, the foods is picked and eaten much faster, meaning it don’t have to be freakishly modified in order to stay good and fresh before we eat it!
All great reasons, but now for tips to eating local foods!
Remember that when you see local produce and it seems more expensive than non-local foods, you are paying the price in other ways, like putting local farmers out of business, eating less nutritious foods, and negatively affecting the environment
One person can make a difference, remember that each dollar you spend is a vote for what you think is important! Also, check out some charts around that say what foods are (or should be) locally available near you, and then start looking for those foods. I am not asking you to stop eating avocados because they don't grow in Canada, but I am asking that you look for local apples, because apples are truly a southwestern Ontario fruit!
Check you the Foodland Ontario website or more information on eating locally! There you can find information on what produce is in season, recipes to try, information on farmer’s markets and more!
Do you think buying local and supporting local farmers is important? Do you shop the farmer’s markets?
Amanda is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist out of Southwest Middlesex, and London ON. She works with clients to help them achieve their health and wellness goals!
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