A quick Google search for “is coffee good for you” will bring back hundreds, if not thousands, of results summarizing studies extolling both the health benefits and risks of coffee consumption. Nutrition science can be confusing to say the least — recall that everything we eat both causes and prevents cancer — which is why I think it’s most important that we check in with own selves and health to determine whether or not something is “good” for us.
While I’ve fortunately never been the type of person that needed a cup of java to rev my engine in the morning, there have been periods in my life where I have fallen into the habit of picking up a daily coffee. But it’s never long before I start to feel the side-effects: heightened anxiety, trouble falling and staying asleep at night, and just a general feeling of being stimulated. I do love coffee but now I try to limit my consumption to the weekends when I can really enjoy a cup of the good stuff from a local roaster.
Regardless of any antioxidant benefits it might provide, coffee is a stimulant which means that it has the capacity to wreak havoc on our nervous system, blood sugar regulation and production of hormones like cortisol (an integral part of our stress response) and insulin. You might want to check in and see how you’re feeling these days — do you need that coffee to get started in the morning? Having trouble sleeping at night? Experiencing energy fluctuations throughout the day? Then it might be time to reconsider that one- or three- or five-a-day coffee habit.
A great alternative to coffee is Dandy Blend — a roasted herbal powder made from chicory, dandelion and beets. It has the rich flavour of coffee but it’s caffeine free, packed with minerals and can help to support the liver. My favourite way to enjoy it is with raw cacao for a mocha flavour, either as a latte or when it’s hot like it’s been in Toronto lately, this smoothie.
ICED MOCA SMOOTHIE
1 banana (preferably frozen)
3 Tbsp hemp seeds
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 heaping Tbsp Dandy Blend
1 Tbsp raw cacao
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp maple syrup
1 cup vanilla almond milk (or use plain + 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract)
Handful of ice
Method: Place all ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth.