We regularly get asked about a healthier alternative to the ever so popular Frappuccino.
What exactly is a Frappuccino you may ask? It’s basically coffee blended with milk, cream, sugar and just about all things processed with ingredients that I am sure most of us wouldn’t be able to pronounce properly. Sure… it might be tasty however, it certainly isn’t beneficial for you and what about us non-dairy consuming humans?
I will say now, before I go any further that this recipe is still a treat! Just because it’s a healthier alternative and doesn’t contain a list of processed numbers doesn’t mean you should be adding this to your daily routine!
Healthy Frappuccino Recipe
- 1 espresso shot or 1 tbsp instant coffee (more or less depending if you like the taste of coffee)
- 1 cup almond / cashew / coconut milk
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup / honey / rice malt syrup
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- 1 cup large ice cubes.
- Optional Flavours – 1 tsp cacao powder or 1 tsp vanilla extract or a handful of almonds for extra creaminess.
1. Put all the ingredients into the Vitamix 2L container in the order listed and secure the lid.
2. Select Variable 1. Turn the machine on and quickly increase the speed to 10, then override to High.
3. Use tamper to press the ingredients into the blades.
4. Blend for 45-60 seconds or until ready.
5. Stop the machine and serve.
Should I be drinking coffee?
This has always been a tough one.
My personal experience had me giving up coffee for a whole year as my adrenals were suffering. This was because of other things too. I was stressing out and experiencing anxiety. I was burning the candle at both ends and to be honest not only did I love the buzz that coffee gave me but I just LOVED the taste. I was a barista for 4 years and loved it then and still do. I am pretty passionate about this magical liquid. The smell of freshly brewed coffee is enough to have me at my closest café in my daggiest of Pyjamas! Not the best look, but the coffee was worth it…Sometimes. Some baristas certainly need a refresher course. I felt as though I was swigging the Brisbane River! I guess it makes you appreciate a good one though when you find it. So make sure you praise your Barista when you find one! Always a good thing to get on their good side…
It was never a good idea to start my morning with it though. Most stimulants are never a good idea when dealing with adrenal issues. I was complaining about an ache in my lower back… turns out it wasn’t my back, it was my poor adrenals! I gave it up and the first day I had what I would consider a heinous migraine.
The adrenal glands are little triangular shapes at the top of each kidney. Each adrenal contains an outer cortex which is responsible for producing steroid hormones which include:
Aldosterone: helps control blood pressure by managing the balance of potassium and sodium.
Cortisol: works in conjunction with adrenaline and noradrenaline. These hormones help regulate your reaction to stress, metabolism, sugar levels and blood pressure.
They may be small but they pack a punch stronger than that of any coffee. They are some pretty important triangles.
I am back to drinking coffee now and so far so good. I have one in the late morning after my smoothie of choice or overnight oats and haven’t experienced any negative side effects. I have also overhauled my diet and lifestyle as well so that certainly helps.
Not everyone responds the same way though. Some people turn into Jitter Bugs from one small cup of coffee and others are still dwelling in the negative pits of sleepy town. A lot of factors must be taken into consideration when it comes to how your body metabolises caffeine. These being body weight, age, gender, any pre-existing conditions and even genetics. I guess all we can say is ENJOY RESPONSIBLY.
Here is a handy image on just how much caffeine is in coffee.
But how do I enjoy coffee responsibly?
Since 2010, Australians have consumed 12.9 billion units of coffee! That number doesn’t even include the end of 2013 and this year so far. That is a lot of caffeine!
Along with blueberries, pecans and even cinnamon, coffee packs a huge antioxidant punch! This magical liquid is brimming with polyphenols, a type of antioxidant found in many vegetables and berries that destroy free radicals which are the nasties that assist in creating inflammation.
Inflammation is a big NO. A huge NO! Many chronic illnesses such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes and even cancer are all created by some sort of inflammation or if not directly related, it certainly plays a big role.
The more antioxidants in the diet, the less inflammation in the body, says John Hibbs, ND, a senior clinician at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Wash. “A cell that can control intracellular inflammatory processes is going to survive better under the duress of daily living.”
(Molly,(2012) 8 Health Benefits and drawbacks of coffee. July 8th 2014 from, http://www.care2.com/greenliving/8-health-benefits-and-drawbacks-of-coffee.html?page=3)
Research has also shown that coffee helps prevent type 2 diabetes. Some say that the chlorogenic acid slows the release of glucose into the bloodstream and others state that it’s the antioxidant level that helps regulate the body’s sensitivity to insulin. It’s still all up in the air however, there are known benefits of coffee in regards to preventing type 2 diabetes and also heart disease. Again, the beneficial ingredient is most likely the antioxidants. The foundation of heart disease is inflammation of the blood vessels, which is caused by those nasty free radicals and nothing blasts them like a good dose of antioxidants.
For those struggling with cholesterol, THERE ARE ALARM BELLS. Coffee contains two oily substances, cafestol and kahweol, that can raise blood levels or low-density lipoprotein (LDL) which is the bad Cholesterol. When the beans are brewed this oil is released and easily passes through the metal filters used in stove top espresso pots. It’s best to use the drip coffee machines as they have paper filters which trap these substances before they hit the cup.
Coffee has also been said to help with depression and Parkinson’s disease.
Exactly how the substance fights depression is not well understood, but it is known that when it enters the brain, caffeine changes levels of chemical messengers such as serotonin and dopamine, which are linked to feelings of joy and enthusiasm, says Michel Lucas, PhD, RD, a research fellow at Harvard School of Public Health. “Caffeine increases your energy levels and feelings of wellness, two things that can have an impact on depression.”
Studies also show a 30 percent reduced risk of developing Parkinson’s disease among coffee drinkers, for similar reasons. That’s because Parkinson’s is caused by the loss of brain cells that make dopamine, a chemical instrumental in movement and fine motor control. (Molly,(2012) 8 Health Benefits and drawbacks of coffee. July 8th 2014 from, http://www.care2.com/greenliving/8-health-benefits-and-drawbacks-of-coffee.html?page=5)
When should I enjoy a coffee?
Here is a super handy and interesting table on when to enjoy your coffee.
Coffee is one amazing energy drink too! When it comes to professional athletes caffeine is one of the few legal substances which has been scientifically proven to boost performance. How does it help?
- Mobilises fat stores which frees up energy for hard-working muscles.
- Draws more calcium into muscles which in turn strengthens their contraction.
- Releases endorphins on top of the endorphins that you are already releasing from working out.
Worried about dehydration? Don’t be! Caffeine has no negative impact on hydration. Caffeine will make you urinate however, the fluid you consume in caffeinated beverages tends to offset the effects of fluid loss when you urinate. Bottom line… drinking caffeinated drinks in moderation doesn’t cause dehydration. MODERATION being the big word there…
In regards to the benefits of coffee I am talking about drinking coffee and ONLY coffee. None of this “Orange Mocha Frappuccino” business…
So keep that in mind when you are ordering your next coffee. The additions will certainly override its goodness. I’m talking about the processed syrups and other junk they put in. Try and make your own healthier, more natural concoction like the recipe posted above. Make it fun!
Talk about an energy Buzz! Just ask our wonderful friends, THE BEES.
I love a good coffee induced figure-eight dance!
Happy dancing everyone!