Our coffee guide today comes from Allie White, Transformational Holistic Health Coach and all-around wealth of knowledge in all things healthy and happy. Her mantra is clear: Helping fun-loving women experience a whole new level of energy, beauty, and confidence so they can create the body and life they love with ease. Grab a quality cup of coffee and enjoy!
"How-To" Coffee Guide
Are you one of the many people wondering if coffee is healthy for you? There is so much conflicting information out there, it makes it difficult to know for sure if coffee is beneficial or detrimental to your health.
My answer is this: it depends on your unique individuality, your health struggles, and goals. (Not the answer you wanted, is it!?)
Depending on your situation, coffee can either be part of a healthy diet or really harmful, causing further health complications.
I’m sure you’ve heard about the many health benefits of coffee. Yes, they’re true! Coffee is loaded with antioxidants and full of magnesium; it can lower the risk of type II diabetes, help prevent Parkinson's disease, and lower the risk of liver cancer and disease. Sounds pretty good!
So if coffee is so healthy, then why aren’t you seeing the benefits?
There are two main reasons:
The quality of coffee
What you put in coffee
Quality: Pesticide Concerns!
Most coffee is very high in pesticides, which are linked to cancers, neurological disorders, and endocrine disorders (thyroid disorders, hormonal imbalances, adrenal fatigue, menstrual problems, and much more).
What We Put In Coffee: Chemicals, Creamers and Sugars….Oh My!
In addition to the pesticide concerns, there are two more components we put in coffee that keep us from experiencing its health benefits.
The first is sweeteners & artificial sweeteners:
Sweeteners: Putting poor-quality sweeteners in coffee adds unwanted chemicals AND calories. Case in point – Starbucks most popular blended coffee drinks rack up about 500-750 calories per 16 ounce serving. Most of that is sugar, which converts in the body to fat.
Artificial sweeteners: These sweeteners add to the chemical load of the body, convert into other more carcinogenic substances during the body’s own detoxification process, and increase the carbohydrate cravings. Yikes!
The second is poor quality dairy:
Most creamers or coffee lighteners that are sold as such are some of the lowest quality dairy products on the market. These may contain added hormones and/or antibiotics from dairy cows and chemical additives to replace the fat removed in low fat milk. If you think non-dairy creamers are a better choice, guess again. They contain hydrogenated oils (trans fats), casein, corn syrup solids, soybean, canola and/or sunflower oils, artificial flavours and colours, etc. (basically a storm of chemicals).
Here’s your three step magic coffee formula:
1. Choose high quality coffee - organic, fair trade, shade-grown.
2. Drink black or add: Teaspoon of organic unsalted grass-fed butter and/ or some coconut oil or MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil. (I prefer organic, virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil.) * If you the blend coffee with butter or oil, it will get frothy and taste like a richer, healthier latte. Major yum! Sweeten with flavoured or plain stevia.
3. Do NOT drink on an empty stomach. Start your day with water, eat breakfast, and then enjoy your coffee. This will help prevent hormone and blood sugar imbalances that can lead to weight gain, insulin resistance, diabetes, and much more. Yes, this magic coffee formula is very helpful but it doesn’t solve every problem. Even if you follow this formula you still might experience harmful health effects from drinking coffee.
Should you quit drinking coffee?
While we’ve seen that coffee does have health benefits, the amount of caffeine that is present in coffee may be causing problems in your body.
If you have any of the following health challenges or concerns, you may want to consider reducing or eliminating coffee and caffeine.
You NEED coffee to function.
You have adrenal fatigue - you're exhausted all the time no matter how much you sleep, you never feel great and/or energized, exercise and other activities cause more fatigue. If you eat a highly processed, acidic diet including meat, dairy, alcohol, and sugar. Coffee is acidic and will further damage your liver and body leaving you more depleted. You have hormonal imbalances or blood sugar imbalances. Coffee gives you a JOLT of energy, followed by a crash, a headache, a stomach ache, and hunger.
If you said YES to any of these, you may want to reconsider your coffee habit. Switch to green tea for a while, unless you'd like to go cold turkey. Switching to tea not only cuts hard-to-digest, acidic dairy from your diet (if you drink latte’s), but also strengthens your immune system and gives a boost of antioxidants.
From there you can take it up a notch and give you body a complete break from all caffeine. Try going caffeine-free for a month to give your liver and body a break. After the month is up, do a coffee experiment. Have a small amount of black coffee after a meal and notice how your body reacts. Do you crash, get a headache, become irritable, and experience more cravings? If so, this is a sign you need to strengthen your liver and increase the mineral reserves in your body by eating a high amount alkaline foods (google "acid/alkaline food chart")
You may also want to consider the fact that coffee has a half life of about seven hours, meaning if you have a latte at 3pm the caffeine will still be in your system at 10pm when you'll want to be winding down for bed. Coffee after 12pm may prevent you from getting quality sleep. If you can, skip the coffee after noon and notice how if effects your sleep patterns. If you have insomnia or high stress, eliminating coffee can make a huge difference.
There you go! It’s time to get curious and tune in to what your unique body is telling you instead of looking outside of yourself and listening to a specific diet or what the “experts” are saying. Only you know what is right for your body. This can take time, so remember to be compassionate with yourself and have fun.