I used to be a coffee addict!
4 cups a day minimum. Looking back at my Facebook page, it is a little scary to see how deep my love for coffee was.
The good news is that I’ve cut my coffee consumption back to 1 cup each day or less, and since then, my sleep has improved and I have natural energy levels even when I’m unable to get my morning coffee in.
If I added something to my coffee, which was often, my coffee additive was always some sort of low fat, non-dairy product with added flavoring that I’m sure was filled with overly processed unnatural ingredients and sugar….lots and lots of sugar.
When I made the decision to make more informed health decisions for my well-being, I learned you can still get a cup of flavorful coffee without the added junk.
Alternatives to Coffee Creamers
Here are few alternative creamer ideas.
Coconut Oil – There is a long list health benefits associated with adding coconut oil to your diet. The downside of coconut oil is how you fit it into your diet. Let’s face it, the taste of coconut does blend well with everything. However, adding 1tsp or 2tsp to your morning coffee is a great way to add this healthy fat to your diet and makes for a tasty treat. Virgin or extra-virgin coconut oils only as these are made from raw coconuts and no chemicals.
Coconut Milk – There are two varieties: from the carton or from the can. From the carton (unsweetened!), you get a lighter flavor that definitely does not have as creamy of a texture. My preference: full fat coconut milk from the can! It is extremely creamy and provides healthy fats…the downside? It has a tendency to solidify when the coffee cools below a certain temperature, which you won’t have to worry about if you drink your cup of joe quickly.
Almond Milk – Unsweetened almond milk from the carton gives your coffee a little bit of almond flavor and takes the bitterness out.
Butter from Grass Fed Cows – Yep, that’s right! Unsalted butter from grass fed cows contains saturated-fats that are good for you, containing nutrients like Vitamin K, which most people do not get enough of in their diets. Kerry Gold and Organic Valley are two brands to look for.
Saturated Fats Might Not Be So Bad Afterall
Wait a second here…aren’t coconut oil and butter high in fat and calories? Sure they are, but they also provide nutritional value to your diet that commercial creamers do not. Maybe more importantly, they do not contain added sugar.
Fats, especially saturated fats, have received a lot of negative publicity, but scientific research has shown there is not actually a correlation between saturated fat intake and heart disease. Always talk to your doctor if you are concerned about cholesterol levels or heart disease.
My advice: experiment and find what works best for you and your goals.
Adding a Little Natural Flavor
Cinnamon – Try a dash of cinnamon or my favorite, a whole cinnamon stick! In my experience, a cinnamon stick is the way to go, because it does not overpower the flavor or the coffee, and you don’t have to worry about cinnamon grinds getting stuck in your teeth. :)
Vanilla Extract – A little dash of vanilla extract can go a long way in flavoring your coffee. It’s my go to.
Almond Extract – If you like a nutty flavor to your coffee, a little dash is all you need.
Organic Unsweetened Cacao – Word of warning here, this is not going to sweeten your coffee, but you will get an intense chocolate flavored coffee. You only need about 1tsp, and make sure the cacao powder you use is unsweetened. Adding a little cinnamon with this enhances the flavor too.
Stevia – A natural zero-calorie sweetener made from the leaves of herbs. Stevia is highly debated, some saying it is wonderful no-calorie natural sweetener and others saying the sweetness confuses the body and causes adrenal gland stress. My feelings are this, if you had to choose between a natural sweetener or one made in a lab, choose this. I’m not a huge fan of stevia just because I am not fond of the after taste. If you do use stevia, be sure to only use brands that are labeled Raw Stevia, unless it could have added filler ingredients.
Raw Honey – Raw honey(look for a local honey maker) is not processed over high heat, which means you will receive its full host of health benefits. It contains many minerals that are difficult to find in other foods. With that said, be sure your coffee is not too hot, as it could breakdown the raw honey’s nutrients. The only sad part? Honey in hot coffee is very tasty, however cooler coffee, like the coconut milk, the texture is a little hard to handle.
Maple Syrup – This is another natural way to sweeten your coffee (using pure maple syrup…not the processed junk!), but likely a poor diet chose. Calorie for calorie, maple syrup has a very high sugar content, albeit natural sugar. It does contain a few select nutrients, but in very low quantities. If you do opt for maple syrup in your coffee, be sure to choose a brand that is 100% pure and the only ingredient listed on the bottle should be pure maple syrup. And only use 1 or 2tsp, more would surely spike your insulin levels.
With any added flavoring, you have to find that happy balance between a taste you will enjoy and nutritional benefit.
My Go-To Morning Coffee Recipe
I used to use a method that is very popular among the paleo diet community called bullet proofing. Bullet proofing of coffee consists of adding coconut oil and butter from grass-fed cows. This is how I was drinking my coffee for a while, but truthfully I never truly enjoyed the taste and that is a lot of fat to be consuming first thing in the morning.
Since then, I picked up this method while following the 21 Day Fix diet and now my coffee usually consists of:
- 1 tsp of organic extra virgin coconut oil
- Splash of organic vanilla extract or organic almond extract
This adds just enough flavor to take the bitterness away and a tad of the extract goes a long way. So be careful!
I hope this gives you some ideas of how to flavor your coffee naturally!
Please leave a comment below if you think I missed something, and please make sure to share any tasty and healthy coffee recipes you might have.