Café Coffee |Good or Bad?

I went from drinking coffee “light and sweet” occasionally, to not at all, to now black, sometimes 3 a day (or night.) What is the phenomenon with coffee and caffeine? Well, for one– in the Western World we want to accomplish everything and then some; preferably accomplished “yesterday”. Caffeine helps the illusion that we are superheroes that can accomplish more in a day, in a shorter period of time, with precise focus. Sometimes that is exactly what it is though; an delusion.

coffeecollage

Let’s recap some of the benefits of coffee…Say HELLO to Caffeine. Did you know that coffee is the most commonly consumed psychoactive substance in the world? Coffee can improve energy levels through the caffeine content, it can also help burn fat as it is a appetite suppressant. Several studies show that caffeine can boost the metabolic rate by 3-11%. Some essential nutrients are found in coffee as well; one cups contains Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) 11% of the RDA, Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5) 6% of the RDA, Manganese and Potassium: 3% of the RDA, Magnesium and Niacin (B3): 2% of the RDA not to mention it is loaded with antioxidants.

In a study involving nearly 20,000 individuals; people who consumed at least four cups of coffee daily had a 64% lower risk of early death compared to those never or rarely consumed coffee…four cups!

Now that we have talked of some of the benefits; be mindful of how much you consume, when you consume it, and whether your body has become accustomed and reliant on coffee. The reduction in risk was more significant once people reached the age of 45, which means it may be even more beneficial to consume coffee as we age. Also it is not advised to consume large amounts of caffeine while pregnant; limit yourself to 1 cup or less during pregnancy.

Coffee is coffee right? Wrong–bad quality coffee can have a lot of impurities in it; which can cause sickness, headaches, etc. This can happen if your coffee is made from beans that have been over ripped or otherwise ruined. Even one ruined bean can make your cup toxic. If you invest and buy high quality, speciality coffee you don’t have to worry about this.

Another thing to consider is if you have high cholesterol please choose filtered coffee! Coffee beans contain cafestol and kahweol, two ingredients that appear to raise LDL cholesterol levels. Filtering the coffee traps most of the LDL, but cafestol and kahweol are found in espresso, turkish coffee, french press and scandinavian style “cooked coffee”.

Keep in mind that decaffeinated coffee still contains caffeine. Say what!? Typically an 8-ounce cup of brewed coffee can contain anywhere from 75 to 165 milligrams of caffeine; whereas decaffeinated coffee contains an average of 2 to 7 milligrams per cup.

Like anything; balance is essential to reaping benefits, become resilient to absence not co-dependent. With that being said…my cup of black coffee was delicious this morning! Coffee is often loaded with “hidden” calories, try adding almond, or coconut milk that is unsweetened. Cream contributes about 50 calories and 3 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon! Most importantly; avoid sugar in your coffee; a teaspoon of sugar contains 16 calories. It may not sound like much, but if you add two, three, five teaspoons to your brew and drink a few cups per day, the calories add up!

More importantly for me; the good far outweighs the bad since I drink my coffee black or with a splash of unsweetened almond/coconut milk. Coffee aids in a boost of happiness for me, not to mention is a big social factor–in a few hours I am meeting  a friend at a local café to share stories of her recent mission trip in Africa, and catch up before I leave for Asia in a few days (I will already be back in Thailand when this publishes!)

Ps. Pro-tip: I started to notice a discoloration in my teeth from consuming coffee last year so frequently in Thailand; I now drink both hot, or iced coffee through a straw! Slerrrrrrrp, cheers!

Advertisements

The Power of Routine

Routine is key; not everyone’s will LOOK the same, it’s about finding what works for you. But, there are many rituals reiterated time and time again:

  • Read. Read, and then Read some more
  • Exercise of some sort. Physical activity
  • Nutrition and healthy lifestyle
  • Meditation (in whatever form that looks like for YOU)
  • SLEEP, breaks, and rest/naps
  • Nature and getting outside

routine

 
The list goes on, in many forms; but these things seem true to living the BEST life that you can live. So what does my typical ritual look like?

  1. Wake up at 5am
  2. Listen to Joyce Meyer
  3. Get up at 5:45
  4. Listen to ipod with “Morning Mix”
  5. Make my Green Smoothie (click for recipe if you missed that article)
  6. 6am Train fitness client
  7. 7am Drink smoothie, read daily devotion from The Daily Stoic Read chapter book
  8. Dishes OR laundry
  9. 8am write, and schedule upcoming blogposts
  10. 9am Turn cellphone on, respond/initiate any texts or e-mails
  11. 10am Meal #2 (usually eggs of some sort)
  12. Social Media/Blog sharing/Vlog sharing
  13. 11am Gym
  14. 12:30 Meditate
  15. 1pm Meal #3
  16. Graphic design, Photography, video work
  17. 4pm Meal #4
  18. 7pm Meal #5
  19. 10pm Turn phone on airplane mode
  20. Netflix documentaries/vlogs on YouTube/Editing video/vlogs
  21. Read
  22. 11-12pm Bed

Now, things come up; travel happens, special plans, etc. so not everyday may look like this exactly. For example –some nights I may go to muay thai training, maybe I don’t go to the gym, maybe I go on a hike, or a friend’s pool, or out to lunch with a friend. BUT, most days; I try to certainly follow from 5am–9am as closely as I can and then all else is fair game.

I’ve never been a morning person…doesn’t matter if I was getting up at 4am to go snowboarding, or 3am to fly to Thailand. Morning is not my jam…I’m a peanut butter girl (no idea what that analogy has to do with anything.)

For me not being a morning person; (you may say, “you sure seem like a morning person if you wake up at 5am and get up at 5:45!”) I find this morning ritual extremely important. Everything helps ease me into my day. Just because I wake up at 5am doesn’t mean I am bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to meet the world…God, no! Half asleep with one eye squinted open I roll over to my laptop and try to type in “YouTube” half of the time with my eyes still closed. I listen to Joyce Meyer sometimes in and out of consciousness. My morning Mix consists of John Mayer, Norah Jones, Jack Johnson, Iron and Wine, and so forth– not to mention my first client is my Mom, which I train from home, outside. So you can see how each event rolls me into the next slowly easing me into a productive day.

But why do I drink a green smoothie every morning? The answer is simple…
It makes me FEEL amazing. Not short term like the 5 minute endorphin spike I get with junk food, and later regret with a sugar crash–but long term; mentally and physically.

I love devoting the nourishing food I choose for my body over the occasional junk BINGE. The great part about this awareness?
The junk is slowly moving out of my lifestyle, and less impulses to indulge are arising. I never want to preach something I do not practice; I will not sit here and deny I didn’t have graham central station ice cream from J. Foster in Avon, CT this past weekend, I did.

But! And that’s a big BUT, that– is part of the process. Do not beat yourself up. Do not tell yourself you cannot have something. And do not feel defeated. Competing taught me in a negative way to associate food with accomplishment and celebration (something I never struggled with before.)

Time and time again we are told we are what we eat; and that is certainly true! Instead of thinking of taking away certain foods, think about just adding more and more healthy options IN.

Daily, we have to choose what we want to fuel our bodies with, it is a process, not an end goal. EVERYDAY choose YOU. And just like the balance of everything else…celebrate with chocolate every now and again to remind yourself you are human!

Growing up I was never a bookworm; I didn’t particularly like reading, and I sure didn’t like school. NOW, I can’t get enough of reading and knowledge! Constantly trying to evolve and learn through growth inside and out. Don’t let the pattern of what you’re used to; and your thoughts, keep you from evolving and changing. If there is one thing for certain; it’s change!

No matter the activity; working on my laptop, eating meals, working out, reading– I try to implement them all outdoors. I try to get outside as much as possible, I am happier outside, and I feel more justified staring at a computer screen for hours when I can hear the birds chirping, and the sun slightly kissing my skin.

Too many people seem to LIVE for the weekend…

Burning themselves out during the week; at a job they don’t find fulfilling, surrounded by miserable people, counting down the hours until 5pm on Friday.

Only then; are they too mentally drained and exhausted to do much other than spend their time “relaxing” mindlessly in front of the television…draining more of their energy –without even realizing it.

My goal, is to be oblivious to the day; for it does not matter–
when you do the same thing everyday.

To build a life in the long run that I don’t have to look forward to the weekend, be inspired by my work, and help others stop spending mindless money on things that are not fulfilling!

 

Eating for Energy

The best way to lose weight FAST is to jump on a fad diet.

…True. but it is not sustainable; you will be miserable and constantly feel deprived like you are missing out, eventually you will gain back if not all, sometime more weight than you started with making the experience temporary– and not a healthy lifestyle.

The unhealthy cycle:

  • Your initial motivation then wears off
  • Rebel, Revert, Binge
  • Gain even more weight
  • Depression and unhappiness

    eatingout

    So what can you do about this?

    Don’t fall into the trap! The understanding of the elimination of either carb or fat; comes down to the process of elimination. As long as your calories IN, are less than the calories out (being burned through exercise and daily energy) you will start to see change in your overall body composition and loss of body fat.

    This is why it is important to be aware of what you are putting into your mouth; common thinking patterns are; “I can’t go out to dinner with friends because everything at a restaurants is unhealthy.” While these days; this statement is more correct than not, it certainly is not true.

    Choosing lean protein options in restaurants such as chicken, fish, eggs, quality lean beef/bison is possible! Don’t be ashamed to request your meal to be to be cooked in olive oil over vegetable oils or butter. Every restaurant has a vegetable or salad option (the key is to how it is prepared, again asking to be cooked in olive oil or steamed. Dressings are the other calorie dense, highly processed additives to be mindful of.)

    Unprocessed foods take longer to digest which means a steady flow of energy (glucose) through the day. Ever wonder why “everyone is so tired” these days?
    What you put in; doubles what you get out! Food for thought, literally: It takes your stomach at least 15 minutes to tell your brain that it’s full. In a Western world; especially America, where faster is better and meals are eaten on the go, in the car, and as fast as humanly possible– it’s no wonder we can’t listen to our bodies when they tell us we are content to stop eating.

    A few of my favorite types of cuisines are Asian, South American, and Mediterranean. The options are endless with ingredients like fresh vegetables, quality protein, healthy fats like avocados and olives! Truly food of the Gods; I feel amazing picking on a little of this, and a little of that, as opposed to stuffing my face to the feeling of discontent. Fruit pairings with cheese are one of my favorite snacks! I will be the first to admit; I love indulgence, I love food, and hate how my body feels after.

    A perfect example of this would be last weekend when I went to the local Greek Festival; I had an amazing day with family, you can see it vlogged here: The Announcement You’ve Been Waiting For but to say that I overate is an understatement. The food was AMAZING; I had everything from spanakopita, grilled octopus, gyro, and more…to baklava, cookies, and Greek Coffee which is the same as Turkish Coffee (much like our espresso here in the states.) The coffee is served with the grounds. I opted to have mine unsweetened, or sketos (pronounced SKEH-tohss.)

    The moral of the story is; on the car ride home the food coma was induced, and my consciousness began to dissipate. To the point of when I got home, at around 7:00pm I took a nap! My body just couldn’t handle all of the sodium and sugar intake and it went into recovery mode. Now I understand why siestas (an afternoon rest, or nap) are so common!

    I realize in my photos above; flour tortillas are pictured, and while recently I have made the effort to eliminate almost all processed food– I am still at the stage of occasionally making an exception. For the reason stated earlier of balance. I am stubborn; I want what I can’t have, and if I tell my body I can’t have chocolate–suddenly I am dreaming of swimming in a chocolate fountain. Likewise; with any other ingredients–if I quickly claim “I no longer eat refined white flour” I will be the first one in line for a cupcake. However; through reputable Netflix documentaries, reading nutrition based articles, and really meditating on the idea of what these processed foods have begun negatively effecting our minds and bodies– I see myself slowly, naturally, making these changes.

Plant the seed; and watch it grow, with anything in your life–Knowledge and understanding is the first step towards change. Don’t jump into anything health related; make small changes daily until you are closer to the place you want to be.