I may or may not be addicted to coffee. Actually, I take that back. I am addicted. I get headaches if I don’t have it in the morning. Whatever, there are plenty worse addictions out there :-) And coffee is good for you- it’s completely natural (as with all things, in moderation)! I know people right now that are all about “giving up caffeine” because they think it’s bad for them. I guarantee 90% of them won’t be able to sustain it, plus, it’s not really coffee that’s bad for you- it’s the sugar you put in it. Solution- nix the sugar (and the cream, while you’re at it)!
With any diet, including a real food diet, it is overwhelming to all of a sudden say, “OK! I am now completely going to follow this diet 100%.” It’s an unrealistic goal when you are used to certain eating habits, and God forbid you cheat for a day, and then it’s all over. What’s the point anymore? This is why I never “diet.” Small goals are better. The first thing Zach and I did to make the switch to a less processed diet was make the switch to black coffee. This is potentially the smallest change we made with the biggest effect. We noticed the difference in how we felt right away.
As part of the switch to a more real-food-conscious diet, I cut back significantly on refined sugars (I try to use natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup instead) That’s not to say that I never eat white sugar. I like baking and you simply can’t substitute honey for everything sweet. Making the switch to black coffee from your “regular” order at Dunkin’ Donuts (that’s a reference for you Boston people) is one way to cut out a lot of sugar and, frankly, make you feel great.
Zach and I decided to make the switch to black coffee together.
Full disclosure: the first day was horrible. Very bitter, and very different from our regular routine of something sweet in the morning. All day at work, we kept thinking, “I really wish I had regular coffee with cream and sugar.” We were grumpy. But we persevered.
The second day was better. We still longed for that smooth, sweet version of the coffee we were used to, but at least we knew what to expect. The first sip was not followed by grimacing faces. No surprises the second day.
The third day was… pretty good! Our appreciation for black coffee started to grow. Coffee with cream and sugar sounded yummy, but black coffee didn’t sound repulsive anymore. And, we began to notice differences in how we felt during the day. Black coffee seemed to be aiding in digestion a little more than regular coffee and we had more energy.
After about a week, we were hooked. We didn’t even want cream and sugar in our coffee anymore! And, we began to see and feel the benefits. Cream and sugar definitely adds some weight to your coffee and it’s not necessarily the first thing your body naturally wants in the morning. Digestion was better, and energy was better. The coffee seemed to be more effective, probably because there was no sugar rush/crash competing with the caffeine. Also, (I know this is kind of gross) the amount of plaque build-up on our teeth seemed to decrease as well! (Did you know that in indigenous cultures around the world where real food is still 100% part of life, and dental care doesn’t exist, tooth decay is not a problem?)
My advice for making an awesome cup of black coffee:
- Invest in a grinder and grind your own beans. It’s worth it.
- Buy good coffee, as freshly roasted as possible. Unflavored, organic is best.
- All black coffees are not brewed equal. Chances are, the coffee that has been sitting in the pot all morning at the local diner is NOT tasty. These are the times I use cream and sugar to cover up the burnt taste of bad black coffee, or order tea as an alternative. And, sorry Dunkin’s, but your black coffee stinks. If you are going for a to-go option, get Starbucks, or ask for coffee with just whole milk instead of cream and sugar.
- French press coffee tastes phenomenal. I just use my coffee brewer most days for convenience, but if you have some time on your hands, use a french press.
Making the switch to black coffee is a small step you can take to decreasing the amount of refined sugar in your diet. When I make iced coffee, I still put cream or whole milk in it, but no sugar. It’s impossible (at least for me) to completely take out refined sugars from a normal American diet, but this is a great step in decreasing the amount you ingest. One small step for real food, one giant leap for your stomach.