Recently I took the time to blog about my thoughts on decaffeinated coffee. It came as quite a surprise to some of you that as a health counselor and wellness coach I advocate (and partake in) drinking coffee. Coffee is not only, in my opinion, delicious, but in moderation actually has several health benefits. Coffee drinkers (it has recently been shown) have a decreased risk of several diseases including Parkinsons, cancer of the liver and type II Diabetes. Surprising considering the old adage, “It will stunt your growth,” or the belief that it could cause cancer or heart disease. Turns out that at the time that studies produced those results heavy coffee drinkers were also heavy smokers and generally less healthy and active people. When consumers of coffee with an otherwise healthy and active lifestyle were observed the benefits of the bean emerged. There are certain genetic makeups that do not benefit from coffee, however. Those who metabolize caffeine slowly should avoid it. It’s easy to tell if you are one of these people. If drinking coffee immediately makes you feel strange, or uncomfortable that’s your body telling you it’s not your cup, if you will.
Coffee itself can have a positive effect on the brain and body. While the caffeine in coffee doesn’t alter or speed up our thought process itself, what it does is clog the receptors in our brains that absorb the chemical we produce that triggers sleepiness. This actually allows the brainwaves to flow more freely and that’s what causes our brains and bodies to work a little faster. One of the things that is effected by this speed up is our metabolisms. This little boost can actually help us maintain a healthy weight. In addition to caffeine which we now know in moderation can be good for us, coffee also contains a high amount of anti-oxidants, the benefits of which we discuss often.
Fun tips to making a great cup/or pot of coffee.
- Get a coffee grinder. This will not only save you money in the long run, but grinding your own coffee beans keeps your coffee fresher and more flavorful.
- Experiment with different brewing methods. One that has gained in popularity is the French Press. It’s very easy to use and makes a flavorful brew. If using a French Press make sure not to grind your beans too finely or you’ll end up with a mouth full of coffee grounds. Find the brewing method that you like best.
- Sprinkle some cinnamon in it for great taste and a boost in anti-oxidants.
- Pick a quality coffee. It’s fun to experiment with different flavors of coffee, and I’m not talking about hazelnut or french vanilla. The taste of your coffee can very greatly based on where it’s from and how it’s roasted. The lighter the roast the higher the caffeine content and the more sour the taste. The darker the roast the bolder the taste. Trying out single origin coffees can give you a more precise idea of what type of coffee you prefer.
- In keeping with what has become a theme this week, I must mention that the coffee industry is another that has what we’ll call dirty hands in the way of worker conditions and wages. Buying Fair Trade Certified coffee is a great way to support coffee growers that are providing safe conditions and fair wages to their workers, helping to end the cycle of poverty.
- Don’t drink too much. I cannot stress enough that moderation is key in consuming coffee. Drinking too much may not make you short, but it can leave you feeling short-tempered or anxious. Everybody is different in how they metabolize caffeine. Caffeine, like any substance that triggers neuro-responses, can also become addictive. So please, pay attention to your body and use this bean to your advantage.
As many of you are aware I am fascinated by anything having to do with health and wellness. I research absolutely everything having to do with the body inside and out. Many years ago I noticed that there were very expensive creams on the market to fight against cellulite. Many of these creams contain caffeine. I began to research anything and everything having to do with caffeine as it relates to the skin. Consequently, I found out that caffeine increases blood flow thereby helping to reduce the effects of fat cells underneath the skin. Several of you wrote in and asked if coffee grounds were my number one solution to cellulite. You are correct of course but but my technique is original and has a twist. Years ago I created a technique and shared it with people who were suffering with cellulite. It helped to make their skin smooth, soft and certainly reduced their cellulite. If you have cellulite I suggest you try it. Actually, if you don’t have cellulite I suggest you also try it, you will be amazed at the results.
V Well’s Coffee Ground Scrub
In a large bowl combine 1 cup coffee grounds with olive oil and salt. Use enough oil to create a thick paste and sprinkle in some kosher salt. Depending on whether or not you like a hard or soft exfoliant will depend on how much kosher salt you sprinkle in. I suggest a tablespoon. Some people prefer more so as to create a harder scrub.
35 minutes before taking a shower, put your hand with the bath mit into the bowl and grab some of the paste. Rub the paste onto your legs and hips (actually you can rub the mixture anywhere you like, you will see fantastic results after just a week of using this technique).
Wrap yourself in your bathrobe and keep the paste on for 30 minutes.
Rinse off in a warm shower. I would like to point out here that for all of you that like to take two or three showers per day, I strongly suggest you cool your water temperature. Showering with very warm water will dry out your skin. So if you take numerous showers throughout the day try to make them as cool as possible.
I strongly recommend you try this paste. I have recommended it to many people over the years and they always give me rave reviews. Remember it is great to exfoliate your body anyway, why not use something natural. This is one of the best ways that I know to fight cellulite, and might I add, the cheapest? So what do you have to lose my friend?
Well I thought it might be fun to rain on your parade. No, I’m just kidding. Actually I did think it would be interesting to point out some myths and maybe general questions that I periodically receive from you.
- Contrary to popular opinion, and this is one that just keeps perpetuating, tea does not have more caffeine than coffee.
- Sea salt and kosher salt are not healthier than table salt. Get over it baby! It’s all salt, any which way you shake it (same amount of sodium in all three) but use sea salt whenever you can, it does have healthier qualities that the regular salt does not.
- Bottled water is not always best, filtered water is usually better. Please watch out for Dasani water.
- Here’s a question that many people are asking: What can they do if they get bored with raw nuts? Well that’s easy, roast’em baby! I’m serious, they’re out of this world. Chop up some walnuts and almonds, place in a baking dish and bake at 425 until golden brown.
- Many people have asked me if they should use coconut oil on their bodies or eat it. Well yes you guessed it, eat it. But just one teaspoon per day. Oh yeah, use it on your body too, it’s a great moisturizer.
- How much chocolate per day? Well the gloomy answer is, just one or two squares of dark chocolate that is 70% cacao. Try to stay away from milk and white chocolate. Once you get used to dark chocolate, milk chocolate will be a thing of the past.
- Which is healthier, butter or margarine? Oh my goodness if you have to ask I’m failing in my job. Butter of course folks.
- Egg white omelets better? I will talk about this until I just can’t talk about it anymore. The yolk is good for you! One of the best ways to get biotin is eating egg yolks.
- Pretzels or chips…ah that is the real question. I’m not going to answer this one, look it up in my blogs. I’m sorry, just kidding. Obviously I’m in a jovial mood at the moment. Why the answer is chips of course. The right potato chip is far healthier than a pretzel.
- Canned beans…must you really? Dried is always better, but canned is OK in a pinch. Read the label on the can before you throw it in your cart.
- Cell phones, are they dangerous? Well I don’t know but with all the noise about them I choose to limit the amount of time I hold that funky little thing next to my ear.
- “All natural”, well yeah you guessed, does not always mean all natural. In fact, especially watch out when the ingreadients include “natural” flavors. You don’t even want to know what the FDA allows manufacturers to call natural flavors.
- Oh yeah, and if you’re out and about and you order bottled water in an effort to be healthier, for goodness sake, don’t use the glass of ice next to it.
- This is one of my favorites, next time you walk into a joint and you avoid touching everything in the place (door handles and such) don’t reach for the bowl of nuts sitting on the bar. Oh my goodness, any idea how many dozens of hands may have touched those nuts?
- Think you’re OK using vegetable stock do you? Well how do you feel about MSG? No kidding, make sure you check all ingredients.
- Oh my goodness, this is a frequently asked question. Is Truvia all natural? Answer…no, no, no, no.
Oh so many myths, so little time. Need not worry folks, I have plenty in me for another blog and another day. I do love your questions however, so keep them coming. Here are two of my favorite thoughts and these my friends are not myths. So do what you can to live by them.
- If it doesn’t have a mother and it doesn’t come from the earth, don’t eat it!
- Eat breakfast like a king, eat lunch like a prince and eat dinner like a pauper.
Make today and every day a healthy day.
Oh, so many myths, so little time! Now as you read today’s health blog please bear in mind I am not advocating nor promoting the drinking of coffee. I have however decided that today is the day that I shall debunk a myth. Today’s health blog is generated as a result of a recent trip to Greece for a beautiful christening where my son and I were the god parents to a beautiful little boy named Dimitri. This beautiful little boy happens to be my cousin’s Lena and Andoni’s son. Their family and the christening were simply beautiful. Oh, but I digress. Let me get on with my point…
On one of the glorious days, quite a few of my family members, including my son and I, were sitting at one of those great little outdoor cafes that Greece is filled with. A beautiful young niece of mine was seated next to my son and brought up the fact that frappes are much worse for your health than drinking espresso or drip ground coffee. Now my ears perked up since the frappe coffee happens to be one of my favorite cold coffee drinks. I do not drink it often I do however order it when I’m visiting Greece. I chose not to say anything at the time of this conversation but I did decide at that moment that it was worth investigating. For all of you coffee drinkers out there, and especially the frappe lovers in Greece; or anywhere else they may serve them, please be aware that frappe, instant coffee or Nescafe may not be as tasty as a deep intense drip ground coffee but it is certainly not any worse for your health. This instant coffee has not been chemically altered, in fact at this point I should explain exactly how instant coffee is manufactured.
“Soluble coffee begins as real coffee. It is roasted, ground, and brewed in a conventional way, before being turned into a powder or granules. Powder is formed by spray-drying brewed coffee into hot air (up to 270 degrees C) and the coffee liquid turns into a powder. It can create a good drink, but careless spraying produces a burnt taste. Granules are formed by freeze drying brewed coffee. This method produces a much more flavorful coffee.”
So you see my friends, although Nescafe may not be as deep, rich and flavorful as drip ground coffee; it does not appear to be any worse for your health than any other cup of java. So since I do not drink all that much coffee, I will enjoy a frappe now and then, when visiting Greece on a hot summer day. Which seems like a really good idea right about now.