Thursday, June 21, 2012

How To Wean Yourself Off of Overly Sugary Coffee







   A cup of black coffee is a mere 2 calories. 
   The average coffee drinker adds at least 3 tablespoons of sugar and 2 tablespoons of creamer to their cup of joe, increasing the calorie content to 130 calories. 
   130 calories of mostly sugar plus the estimated 130 milligrams of caffeine per serving makes for a pretty unhealthy concoction that not only adds empty calories and carbohydrates into your dietary intake, but also increases insulin thus increasing fat storage.
   130 calories is pretty mediocre in comparison to an icy favorite. The Starbuck's 12 ounce Vanilla Frappuccino contains 210 calories and 47 grams of carbs. We all have friends who order this drink on a very frequent basis, and they usually opt for a larger serving and pile on the whipped cream. This drink is also expensive. You are paying 4 dollars for a sugar rush and inevitable insulin spike and fat storage. 
   
   Fear not, for with a little determination and dedication, you can ween yourself off of these very unhealthy drinks and learn to appreciate a modest serving of BLACK COFFEE.
   Black coffee might scare you. The thought might make you gag. Surely, black coffee must taste bitter, rough, and unpalatable. There is no way you'd ever enjoy coffee just as it is. Black coffee is gross.
   I used to fall prey to such misconceptions. Now, I thoroughly enjoy a cup of freshly ground black coffee every morning. The taste of sweet, milky coffee no longer appeals to my tastebuds. 

   Truthfully, black coffee is an acquired taste and is not for everyone. But hopefully these methods will at least LESSEN your empty calorie intake and help you appreciate more subtle flavors.

   STEP 1: MEASURE YOUR ADDITIVES

   Pour your usual serving of coffee. Instead of pouring your sugar and cream directly into your mug, measure them out with a tablespoon and add them into a small container. Take a mental picture, or better yet, an actual one. 
   Resume preparing your usual serving of coffee. Taste it. Now, is this how your usual coffee tastes, or did you measure the ingredients inaccurately? Take note of the extra spoons of sugar and creamer you add until you reach your average consistency. Record the amount. 
   Now, take that amount and convert it into calories and sugars and fat. Use your nutrition labels. Read them. 
   
   STEP 2: DECREASE INCREMENTALLY AND USE SUBSTITUTIONS

   Decrease your usual sugar/creamer mix by a teaspoon each everyday. These small increments will adjust your tastebuds so subtly you won't really notice. Keep track of your progress.
   Substitute unhealthy additives. Use raw sugar or honey instead of white sugar; they taste much more flavorful meaning you will need less. 
     Creamers also need to be substituted. Those flavored coffee creamers are horrible. Read the ingredients. They're just really, really bad for you. Ditch them.
   Progress onto using real half and half or whole milk. Once you conquer this stage, progress onto using almond milk/coconut milk/hemp milk. These non-dairy natural milks are not as creamy as half and half, so you might need to use more on an ounce by ounce basis. This is perfectly fine. Natural "milks" are MUCH more nutritious than artificial creamers. They also taste..well, more natural. Such flavors tend to complement coffee better, at least in my opinion. I recommend vanilla hemp milk as a substitute- hemp milk is ridiculously creamy and earthy tasting.

   STEP 3: USE BETTER COFFEE

   Starbucks is nicknamed Charbucks for a reason. That huge can of Folger's goes stale very quickly. If you do not own a coffee maker at home, you can buy a French Press for $10-15 at your local grocery store. French Press makes tastier coffee anyways.
   Peet's Coffee offers delicious beans- ground and whole. I recommend buying whole beans and grinding them every morning, but this step is unnecessary. There are many delicious beans offered at discount stores like Ross and Marshall's- they offer the leftovers from gourmet shops. Don't turn your nose up at these products- explore them and keep an open mind.
   Read about the coffee you are buying. Knowing about what you are going to enjoy makes experiencing it so much better. Learn about the different factors of coffee tasting on the internet- many articles ranging in depth are available at your fingertips. Become interested. This is a beverage most people drink everyday for their entire lives.
   
   STEP 4: TAKE THE PLUNGE

   Make yourself a cup of coffee. Add nothing. Smell it. Savor it. Taste it. Strange? Taste a little more. Don't be surprised if by the end of the cup, you end up really liking black coffee. If not, that's alright, try again later or don't. Bottom line is- you will be a little more aware of what you're drinking. :)