At last another weekend is here. Hm, I notice I feel an extra big bout of relief lately when the weekend arrives, definitely ready for the summer holidays! This semester is overly crazed and everyone is about to burst from stress, good times :p.
Because it’s the weekend I’m treating you all to a fabulous, if I may say so, new chocolate recipe (ok, and because I got my stash of raw cacao refilled and am now turning everything into something chocolate-covered…)! But before I do, I’d like to share some more knowledge on a very testy subject:
I’ve noticed coffee is one of the most treasured food habits and most people are very unwilling to let go of it. I hear ya, and I’ve been there. All I can say is, try and try again. Set yourself the goal of one week (or a few days, if you’re particularly addicted..) and work from there. I’m a big advocate of nixing the cup a Joe and here’s why…
Yup, coffee is one of the most sprayed crops out there. Pesticides are claimed to be safe by mainstream thinking, but if you’re at least little concerned about your health and well-being (oh, and of that of the planet..) you better stear clear of these chemicals. There are strong indicators for pesticides being harmful in too many ways to even begin explaining. Even if you’re not all that concerned for pesticides being able to cause some serious neurological or cellular damage (I’m not either), it’s still worth noting pesticides are very acid forming in the body. An acidic body is a weak, unhealthy body which will manifest in many ways (ranging from being more prone to the common cold to premature aging and osteoporosis).
Note: opting for organic coffee will at least eliminate a side order of chemicals with your cofffee.
It’s one of the most acid-forming foods
Coffee has a very low pH level, meaning it’s very acidic. Coffee is worse, in terms of pH, than meat, cigarettes, artificial sweeteners and refined sugar (and trust me, these are some pretty heavy offenders!), ew! Why should we possibly consume something, that is obviously such a hazard on our bodies, on a daily basis? Answer: we shouldn’t. Coffee should be regarded as a treat, an indulgence, certainly not a daily habit.
Again: an acidic body is not a body in the best of health. Only an alkaline body is strong, healthy and beautiful. Refresh your acid-alkaline knowledge here.
It drains and blocks important nutrients from the body
Certain compounds (tannins) in coffee interfere with both iron and calcium absorption, two very vital nutrients. As if that weren’t bad enough, coffee contributes to acidosis, which contributes to calcium being leached from the bones. Double loss.
“A cup of coffee reduced iron absorption from a hamburger meal by 39%”
So. IF you’re still inclined to have your cup a Joe, avoid having one around (especially after) mealtimes.
It’s a stimulating food
Now this may sound weird as the stimulation you get from coffee is a plus in the eyes of many, but bear with me as I try and touch on the subject very briefly (and I’ll do a more thorough discussion on this subject soon). Stimulation from foods, in general, is not something we should want or need! Think about it. Why do we need, crave, coffee, simple carbs, a fatty or sugary food? Because we lack actual, proper nourishment, in the broadest sense of the word. This could mean we (chronically or not) lack certain vitamins, minerals, or other essential stuff like enzymes, or we lack adequate amounts of food/calories, maybe we lack proper sleep and rest, or we lack something on a much bigger scale, such as balance or fulfillment in our lives. Wow, right?
And trust me, building up dependence on coffee, ice-cream, chocolate, candy or baked goods, just to name a few, won’t help you tackle the real issue. Give your coffee (and other mentioned foods…) a good hard look in the eye and then start to figure out why it is you need external stimulation in the first place!
Coffee equals stress
For long-time users coffee won’t seemingly have this impact anymore, but trust me: it’s there. Just because you’ve built up a tolerance doesn’t mean the harmful effects aren’t there. Coffee has been shown to increase cortisol levels, aka the stress hormone. If you drink coffee every day, coffee will exhaust your adrenal glands, even without you noticing it. Exhausted adrenal glands are a major buzz-kill: the longterm effects are general fatique and exhaustion, decreased fitness level and increase in cravings for, you guessed it, stimulation foods!
So there ya have it, the truth behind your liquid gold. I can’t claim it’s easy to quit coffee, but I can assure you you’ll get nowhere if you don’t even so much as try. Work towards seeing coffee for what it truly is: a treat to be enjoyed from time to time, not a daily recurring habit. I drank liters of coffee and redbull for ages. Now I never consume a cup of coffee anymore. If I can do it, anyone can.
A great (ok, better) way to still enjoy the taste of coffee is to include small amounts in homemade treats. Add a little bit of coffee to a smoothie (not your morning smoothie, but one that is consumed as a treat!) or some energy balls. This way you can still enjoy the taste of coffee, yet in much smaller amounts, and without it being so habit-forming. Or let coffee simply be a weekend indulgence. Be creative!
One last note: decaffeinated coffee is also a disaster, as they use all kinds of gross chemicals (the same ones as used in dry-cleaning for example..) to remove the caffeine from the coffee!
Ok, after this somewhat depressing post here’s my prefered way of consuming caffeine : chocolate! I love making my own chocolate so I can assure it’s wholesome and of the highest quality, without any ingredient I don’t want lurking in my precious treats (hello refined sugar!). I’d really like to recommend, once again, to invest in a bag of raw cacao (dutch webshop). A bag will last for a month if you’re a serious cacao-head (like me), and even longer if you don’t use it everyday . Raw cacao tastes indefinitely better, darker, richer, and is also a gazillion times healthier (remember?). I really love the idea that Im at least ingesting upwards of 25.000 antioxidants when I’m indulging in my favorite treat!
Chocolate Energy Blobs (raw, no equipment required)
Yields ~8 blobs
* 1/3 cup (80 ml) raw cacao powder
* 1/4 cup (60 ml) coconut oil
* optional: 1-2 T agave or other liquid sweetener
* 1/3 cup raisins
* 1/3 cup chopped Brazil nuts
Heat your coconut oil au bain marie until completely liquefied (if needed, depending on room temp!). Transfer to a bigger bowl and stir in cacao powder. Taste and see if it needs sweetener for your preferred sweetness. Stir in nuts & raisins. Line an oven dish with tinfoil and drop scoops of the mixture onto the dish. Place in the fridge or freezer to firm up. These can be eaten straight from the fridge and freezer, and are not transportable in warmer temperatures! Tip: if you have some leftover chocolate sauce, dip a banana or some strawberries in it for another wonderful treat.
These cute little blobbies taste uh-mah-zing, and are so much healthier than store-bought chocolates! They are great for energy as well since the raw cacao contains some caffeine, and coconut oil is famous for it’s (non-stimulating…) energy providing fatty acids (these fatty acids are used for direct energy instead of being stored as energy ).
These could still be made with regular cacao powder, of course, but I say: raw cacao, because you’re worth it .
Enjoy your weekend loves!