Simple Vanilla Coffee Creamer

Now a days it seems like everyone is debating what is, and is not, healthy.  Are eggs good or bad for you (good – they are a great source of bioavailable protein and nutrients), margarine or butter (butter – when made from organically grass-fed cattle it is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and beneficial saturated fats; margarine on the other hand is chemically similar to certain plastics and was originally created to fatten up pigs), and should we drink coffee?  Fortunately, for us, grandmother’s old adage of “everything in moderation” has never been more appropriate.

Those opposed to drinking coffee often argue that, once metabolized, coffee becomes very acidic to our bodies.  This is true!  Our bodies are designed to maintain an average blood pH of 7.4.  When we consume foods that make our bodies more acidic (less than 7.4), our body is forced to compensate by pulling alkylating minerals from other tissues in the body.  This includes our bones, and it is this chronic balancing act that can lead to conditions such as osteoporosis (very few people are clinically calcium deficient).  Research also shows us that cancer cells thrive in an environment that is acidic (they also feed on sugar, which further promotes acidity in the body), and can often be reduced by eating foods that are alkaline in nature (such as fresh greens).

On the other hand, there is also a growing body of research that suggest drinking coffee can have a very positive impact on one’s health.  Not only has coffee historically been touted as a strong anti-oxidant, but has recently been proven to jump-start our metabolism when consumed prior to strenuous exercise.  When drank in moderation, the caffeine in coffee can also act as a headache suppressant.  The concern here is, that when consumed in large amounts, a person can often become addicted to caffeine.  This addiction can in turn lead to symptoms of withdraw, such as tremors and headaches.  So, as Grandmother and I said before, everything in moderation!

With that being said, it is important to point out a few points about drinking/brewing coffee:

  • Coffee is best when purchased as organic – with the coffee industry growing exponentially each year, it has become common practice to use more and more pesticides.
  • Coffee should be brewed from freshly ground whole beans –  just like any food or spice you purchase, the more processed it is by the time it reaches you the less healthy nutrients exist
  • If you are going to add sweeteners/flavorings to your coffee, try to limit the amount of sugar and artificial additives used (both of which are inflammatory to your system).  Below you will find a recipe for a vanilla creamer that is high on flavor, yet low in ingredients.


Vanilla Coffee Creamer

1 1/4 c. Almond Milk

1 T. Vanilla Extract

2 T. Local, Raw Honey (Provides anti-microbial benefits and aids digestion)

Combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.  Store in refrigerator for up to one week.

Peppermint Mocha Variation: Replace Vanilla Extract with 1-3 T. of Dark Cocoa Powder and 1 tsp. Peppermint Extract

Healthier (And Tastier) Potato Skins

With March Madness just around the corner, and game day snacks a must, it is important to have an option that tops the taste bracket but not the scale.  Rather than reach for the fried buffalo wings, mozzarella sticks, and bacon laden potato skins, try giving these twice baked sweet potatoes a “shot.”  Sweet potatoes, as is made apparent by their rich orange color, are packed full of beta carotene (the whole foods version of Vitamin-A).  Vitamin-A is typically touted for its ability to improve night vision, while simultaneously boosting the immune response (including against measles).  Top this with fiber rich black beans, and heart healthy guacamole (think omega-9 fats from avocados, lycopene from tomatoes, and anti-viral onions) and you’ve got yourself a game-day treat that can’t be beat!


4 Large Sweet Potatoes

1 1/2 C. Black Beans, drained if using canned

1/2 C. Shredded Cheese, Mexican Blend


1 1/2 Avocados

1-2 T. Lime Juice

1/4 C. diced Red Onion

1/4 C. chopped Cilantro

1 Medium Tomato, diced

1/2 to 1 Jalapeno, seeded & diced

Salt & Pepper, to taste


Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Prepare guacamole by mashing avocados with remaining ingredients; stir to incorporate.

 Bake sweet potatoes until fork tender; approximately 35 minutes.  Halve and remove pulp (reserve for later occasion).

Fill hollowed out sweet potato halves with beans, top with cheese, and place back into oven for 5 to 10 minutes until cheese is melted.

Top each “potato skin” with guacamole and a dollop of sour cream (optional).