This is a guest post from Kaylyn Alexander, who writes over at The Earthbound Experience.
Coffee addicts, let’s admit it: a freshly brewed pot of coffee is the main motivator for getting out of bed each morning. For centuries coffee has provided jolts of energy for millions, however coffee creamer is relatively new with its mid-20th century birth date. I’m a sucker for a little Bailey’s Irish Cream or Half & Half, but lately I’ve noticed that my stomach disagrees.
A rude awakening came to me when I realized coffee additives contain additives. A popular creamer additive is carrageenan (found in Bailey’s, Land O Lakes’ Half & Half and Coffee-Mate), which has been linked to gastrointestinal problems and cancer. If you’ve experienced decreased intestinal secretions or stomach ulcers, you share the same concern scientists did when feeding a 5% diet of carrageenan to rats. Let’s also not forget the hydrogenated oils that are basically manipulated oils the body can’t break down. Or the pesticide ingredient Disodium Phosphate that is also used in industrial cleaning products. Needless to say I trashed my toxic coffee creamer supply.There are a plethora of options to flavor or spice up your coffee while keeping it healthy. Over the past few months, I’ve compiled a list of my favorite healthy coffee additives I’d love to share with you:
1. Almond Milk. Almond Milk is a go-to for vegans and those with a lactose intolerance. It is naturally cholesterol-free, low in fat and calories, and high in vitamins and minerals. If you don’t mind a hunt of nuttiness and prefer a milky additive in your coffee, this one is for you.
2. Coconut Milk. Coconut Milk has the same benefits as almond milk but is distinctly and obviously favored by coconut lovers. Coconut milk has antibacterial, antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties; Pacific Islanders refer to the coconut tree as the Tree of Life.
3. Coconut Oil. This is one of my favorite additives because of its health benefits (read directly above) and simplicity. I’ve grown away from milky additives and sometimes prefer a little flavor; both preferences are satisfied by coconut oil. The oil is known to aid weight loss and increase immunity.
4. Extracts (Vanilla, Almond, Peppermint, etc.). Small additives for loads of flavor. Try peppermint extract with chocolate-infused coffee (read below) for a peppermint mocha.
5. Cocoa Powder. Try brewing your coffee grinds with cocoa powder for a smooth, chocolaty infusion. Cocoa powder is filled with antioxidants, minerals and vitamins.
6. All-Natural Ice Cream. Sometimes you have to cheat, and this is the way to do it. Sweet, creamy goodness in a cup of bold coffee is simply perfection.
7. Agave Nectar. My mom swears by this natural sweetener. It has a low-glycemic index meaning it won’t cause blood sugar to sharply rise or fall. Although agave has more calories than sugar, it’s sweeter and breaks down easier.
8. Local Honey. If you’re not down with Agave, you’re probably a die-hard honey fan. It’s debated that local honey is somewhat of a natural vaccination during allergy season. Honey is endorsed in the Bible for its health benefits.
9. Stevia. Drop the sugar and try this zero-calorie, all-natural sugar substitute. Stevia is high in alkalinity (cancer cells can’t survive in an alkaline environment) and sold in several forms.
10. Brown Sugar. It’s debatable whether brown sugar is healthier than white sugar, but oh how delightful it tastes in a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
11. Cinnamon Sticks. Way to level up the fancy factor of your coffee! Cinnamon sticks not only look delectable in your cup, the spice is known to suppress the appetite and can lead to weight loss. If you like cinnamon, also try Star Anise.
12. Maple Syrup. Maple syrup is an all-natural sweetener that is easy on the digestive system and wards of illness.
13. Cardamom. This popularly used coffee additive in India can also be found in Chai and Thai tea. Cardamom may take away coffee breath, lower blood pressure, inhibit bacterial growth and is an aphrodisiac.
14. Whey Protein. Boost the nutritional value of your coffee by adding Whey Protein, which will additionally prolong your energy throughout the day.
15. Ice. I’ve known several people who won’t drink coffee black, unless it’s iced. Tip: to prevent watered-down coffee, make coffee ice cubes.