Thursday, May 16, 2013

Redeeming My Morning Coffee

Aside from those tea drinkers, who doesn't love a fresh, steaming cup of coffee in the morning? Mmm, "the best part of waking up..."  (to quote a jingle from a popular brand).

Until very recently, I was a cream and sugar coffee-drinker.  Then early this year, I booted refined sugar out of my diet, and that's when I started sweetening my coffee with raw honey.  The first two mornings my let's-get-this-day-started potion tasted off... disappointing.  Of course it did, because it was different, and no one likes different.

That third morning, though (and that is all it took), I started to really enjoy it.  Now... I'd never go back to white sugar even if it weren't wickedly unhealthy.

I choose raw honey because it's more nutritious.  The healthy enzymes and nutrients haven't been killed off in the pasteurizing process.  And, I buy it local. 

I don't suffer from allergies, thankfully, but did you know that if you do, ingesting local raw honey on a regular basis can help alleviate your symptoms?  It's important that the honey be local to your region because the bees will be collecting the very pollen you're struggling with and when you consume it in raw honey form, it builds your immunity to it; that is, your body will recognize its presence and not trigger the release of histamine which is what gives you the watery eyes and scratchy throat.  You can read more about that here

Nature... it's amazing, isn't it?!  Another reason to stand in awe of the Creator.

And, about that heat (pasteurization) killing all the good stuff, you might be thinking, "doesn't adding it to hot coffee do that, too?"  Here's the thing - I typically don't add the honey until it is a drinkable temperature with hopes that the milder heat will destroy fewer nutrients, if any.  And even if it did, my logic is that coffee-pasteurized honey is still better than white sugar.  That was my thought... so I went in search of some data to back my theory and found this.  (In case you don't want to go read it... it's affirming.)

I also add a tablespoon of coconut oil to it, which tends to pool at the top, as you can see, but I don't mind.  Contrary to what you might think, the first few sips aren't just mouthfuls of pure coconut oil, the coffee slips in beneath it to make it so delicious!

I consider coconut oil to be a super food (and I'm not alone - here and here are just two examples of others who concur).  It reduces inflammation, improves digestion and the absorption of nutrients, boosts energy, supports thyroid function, and on and on...

So, I add a tablespoon to my diet here and there whenever I can; my cup o joe, included.

And that's it.  I don't even need cream anymore!  No more ultra-pasteurized half and half or those nasty little cups of white stuff that doesn't need to be refrigerated, yet "contains milk ingredients."  {shudder} And definitely none of that toxic powdered stuff that deserves a skull and crossbones beneath its ingredients list (I actually drew a skull and crossbones on the canister that's in the office kitchen cupboard... hehe}

Of course, I could use my raw whole milk or skimmed cream (now that I've found a good source and am a faithful user), but who needs it when this is so tasty?  I'll save that for drinking straight, or making cheese and ice cream!

Here's an interesting post I read recently regarding making coffee healthier.  Again, it was mostly affirming.  I love it when that happens.  Of his 6 points, I'm lacking in two: 1) strictly buying organic and 2) eating first.  While I now drink a tall glass of raw milk before consuming my coffee, I can't eat a full breakfast so early.  I have a healthy breakfast about a half hour after my delicious one cup of coffee.  I think the nutrient-dense raw milk is a good first portion.  Don't you?

As for buying organic, I do have to find a reliable source of fair trade, organic coffee beans to bring it up another notch and leave those common grocery store brands where they are.  Run-of-the-mill coffee is heavily sprayed with pesticides and who wants that?!

The search is on. 

       Five-Minute Update...

Well, that was easy.  I like this company, Tropical Traditions, and they have a fair trade, organic coffee called Equal Exchange.  Tada.  Done.  I first found Tropical Traditions when I was sourcing a quality coconut oil, and found so much more on their website!  I'll still see what I can find locally, but I'm glad to know that one of my favorite online resources will come through, if I need it.

        Six-Week Update...

I have discovered that I can obtain that same brand of fair trade, organic coffee from my local food co-op.  Yippee!

So, how do you take your coffee?  Is it a guilty vice that falls in the 20 of the 80/20 rule, or have you boosted it's health-integrity?

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Mom said...

As I don't drink milk at all...just a tad poured into my cereal, what does the milk you drink taste like?? Very interesting post indeed!!! My coffee is two cups in the morning (after 1/2 glass of water) and I put a teaspoon of organic whole cane sugar (unrefined and unbleached) into each cup and that's it! I'll have to try the coconut oil, but don't know if I can wait til it's cooled a little. Although I do throw in an ice cube into each cup! Maybe that works! I'm going to find out where I can get local raw honey here, as this time of year, John does suffer with allergies..itchy eyes etc. Thanks again for the healthy tips!!! xo

Mom said...

By the way....our cereal is bran and we load it with fresh fruit...always banana and whatever is in season! Does that absolve us?? ;-) The amount of cereal is never more than a cup for John and half a cup for me. Oh, and I always throw nuts into it! What's your spin on this??

Pam O'Brien said...

Mom, no need to wait till the coffee cools before adding your coconut oil, that's just for the honey. Coconut oil stays stable in high heat. Your whole (raw?) cane sugar is a good choice for a sweetener.
Good idea to find local raw honey. It'll help John with his symptoms.
Raw milk is awesome. I used to only drink milk a couple of times a month, if that. Now I drink two TALL glasses per day! Whole... full of rich cream (and since I started, my "fluffy fat," i.e. muffin-top, is melting away. Good fat does not make us fat... low fat is what makes us fat! Hmpf!)
It tastes a bit more organic [earthy] than pasteurized milk. When I said before that I could almost taste the grass... that was true! It tastes healthy. And, when it sours, there is still 101 things you can do with it (even if it's past prime for drinking straight), as it is rich with good-for-you probiotics; unlike pasteurized milk which is putrid and must be thrown away when it sours.
I have an opinion on your cereal, too, but I'll have to come back to that. ;-) xo

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Nancy W said...

We switched to raw milk in the past year and it tastes so good! I'm going to have to try honey and the coconut oil in my coffee, thanks for the suggestion! Love your pictures, so peaceful.

Mom said...

Very interesting response to my comment! We have a couple places nearby where I can probably get raw milk. Let's try and see if my handles will disappear as well!!! ;-)

Carol said...

I'm visiting from the Barn Hop and like your suggestions for a healthier coffee. Thanks!

Sherri @ The Well Floured Kitchen said...

Coffee is one of our last hurdles to "healthify" in our house. I tend to prioritize stuff the kids eat. I occasionally buy organic coffee, but not on a regular basis. We use organic whole milk, no access to raw around here :( Lastly, I use so much coconut oil (love tropical traditions), that I usually don't feel the need to add it to the coffee. I like the idea of raw honey as a sweetener!

Nancy W said...

I've switched to using the coconut oil and the honey in my coffee and I have to say it's quite good. Thanks for the tip, I too am always looking for ways to reduce sugar intake!

Pam O'Brien said...

That's great, Nancy. I'm glad you're enjoying it. And thanks for letting me know!

StayatHomeMama said...

Our family has enjoyed raw honey and coconut oil since we started using it in the last yr. We haven't yet made the leap to coconut oil and honey in our's almost the last frontier in our house to be touched...but I definitely agree that eventually something different needs to take place. With homeschooling 3 kids, it's one of the things I really enjoy and it helps me keep up with them. I only down a cup before they have me running around tending to things. We started drinking raw milk within the last 6 mths and it does have a little bit of a healthy taste but we have learned to love it! BONUS: my child with milk intolerence never complains of a stomach ache after his morning cereal anymore! This is the main reason we started drinking raw milk in the first place. Its so amazing all the benefits!

Courtney said...

I used to just put the coconut oil in my coffee and let it sit at the top, but about a month ago I saw a blog post in which someone used a blender to combine the two. I've been doing that ever since! The two combine, surprisingly, and it becomes thick and foamy, like a latte.