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.

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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

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A Healthier Sports Drink

It is a well known fact that a large portion of the human body is made up of water.  In fact, it is estimated that water comprises nearly 50-75% of the average person, with a large portion being stored in the muscles and bones.  Water is essential for all bodily functions, including proper muscle function, digestion, blood flow, and waste removal.  One simple test to ensure that you are well hydrated is to analyze the color of your urine.  If the urine is a dark yellow, you are typically dehydrated, while clear urine indicates that you are getting enough liquids throughout your day.

A common reason that someone becomes dehydrated is that they typically wait too long to drink water, relying on the feeling of “being thirsty” rather than periodically drinking water throughout the day.  More often than not, people confuse the sensation of being thirsty with being hungry, overeating when they should actually be drinking more water; this hinders digestion as more food needs to be broken down with inadequate water to support the process.

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When talking about dehydration, it is important to note that it only takes a loss of 2-3% of the body’s water supply to activate the thirst response.  Perhaps, even more surprising is the fact that it takes a water loss of just 1 % to impair both mental performance and physical coordination.  This, along with other serious health risks (such as heat stroke) is why it is essential to stay hydrated during athletic competition.  One of the best ways to do so is by making your own all natural sports drink (see recipe below) that provides the benefits of the big name products, but without all the added preservatives and artificial ingredients.

Homemade Cherry Sports Drink

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  • 5 T. Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate
  • 2 T. Lemon Juice
  • 2  1/2 T. Raw Honey (local honey may boost immunity against common allergens)
  • 3  1/3 c. Cold Water
  • 1/4 tsp. Himalayan Sea Salt (provides important electrolytes/minerals)

 In a quart size bottle, combine first four ingredients.  Add salt and shake to thoroughly combine.  Chill and serve.