Pop, Soda, Coke
Whatever you name them, we call them the death of a trim waistline. Thankfully, more and
more companies are coming out with stevia-sweetened sodas. Kroger supermarkets carry three
such brands in their health food section. One brand, called Zevia even has a cola flavor that
contains caffeine. We know some of you may drink coke or diet coke for the caffeine hit. We’re
not going to bury our heads in the sand and pretend you don’t exist. If you’re a soda addict,
switching to a brand like Zevia can be one way to drink your soda without growing an insulin
belly from all the sugar in coke, or consuming the harmful artificial sweeteners in diet sodas.
This might not be a purist approach but it offers a practical solution.
There has been quite a buzz lately about Pepsi bringing out a stevia-sweetened version of
coke. So far, it’s not on the market, but will probably happen before too long.
Pearl chats: My children love to drink Virgil’s Zero Root Beer. They like it so much
that they save their own money to buy it since it’s not on my grocery list. It is stevia-
sweetened, zero calorie, zero harmful ingredients, yet absolutely delicious. We find it
at our local Kroger store.
No More Coffee?
Coffee and tea. They’ve been around for centuries. Our official stance is, go ahead! Shouts and
cheers! Fist pumps and high fives all around. We join you in a resounding, Yay!
We know there is much controversy over whether or not coffee and tea are healthy. We
have kept a close eye on the studies. Latest research has exonerated coffee and tea from their
bad reputation. Studies show that coffee does not leach minerals from the body. It is not a great
idea to take your vitamins with a cup of coffee, but it will not deplete your entire system.
You cannot count coffee as part of your water intake for the day, but it is a myth that coffee
will cause dehydration. Tea may be counted as water intake. Both tea and coffee have wonder-
ful benefits, but we still caution moderation since overdoing caffeine can raise cortisol levels
and tax the adrenal glands. In moderate amounts, coffee and tea are beneficial because of their
extraordinarily high antioxidant levels and mood lifting abilities. In fact, tea, and green tea,
can be consumed more liberally than coffee since they have less caffeine and both offer benefits
to the brain and body. Green and black tea can aid in weight loss, calm nerves due to their
theanine content and are anti-aging tools. The caffeine in green tea is neutralized because of
theanine, a natural de-stresser.
Coffee elevates dopamine levels, which contributes to a feeling of happiness and lessens the
chance of getting Parkinson’s. Numerous studies indicate that coffee consumption is associated
with a sharply reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, including an 18 year follow up study
on Swedish women released in J Intern Med in 2004. A 2009 study published in the Archives
of Internal Medicine reported that each cup of coffee consumed daily dropped the risk of this
disease by seven percent. Another very recent study carried out in China at the Huazhong Uni-
versity of Science and Technology suggests the likely reason why coffee has this preventive effect
against Type 2 diabetes. The researchers discovered that coffee is able to inhibit toxic amyloid
proteins that are normally found in the pancreas of people with Type 2 diabetes.
One has to weigh up these findings with the rise of Type 2 diabetes. Most Americans drink
coffee, yet Type 2 diabetes is on the rise. However, consider what they put in their coffee.
Sugar, or some other sweet Starbucks concoction? We doubt even high amounts (4-6 cups) of
plain black coffee daily can completely combat a diet that is too high in carbs and sugars. Yet,
these beneficial compounds in coffee cannot be discounted. Logically, it seems best to eat low
glycemic foods and also include some wonderful daily cups of Joe.
Coffee is now also considered by researchers to be an anti-cancer beverage. Laboratory
studies show that it has an anti-tumor effect against ovarian, colon, liver, and other cancers. A
recent 2011 study released in a May edition of Breast Cancer Research showed that post meno-
pausal women who drink moderate to large doses of coffee are also at significantly less risk for
an aggressive type of breast cancer known as “estrogen receptor (ER) negative.”
I look forward to my one cup of coffee each day, two on Saturdays. I jok-
ingly call coffee my “paci,” nicknamed for pacifier. It soothes, comforts, and lifts my
spirits. I am thankful for this “paci” when my boys are extra loud and crazy and I finally
shoo them out the door to play backyard football. What better way to de-stress than
with a comforting mug of coffee? My coffee with cream helps me get through the rest
of the day. Sure, it’s a vice, but God knows we need that little extra help sometimes
or He wouldn’t have made the coffee bean! Having only one cup a day is not a rule, but
I find I can become overly stimulated with more and push my body to do too much. I’m
not particularly interested in becoming a super woman.
I find it helps to have a nice hot drink in the afternoon with a snack. Eating on
the run, or while multi-tasking, often causes you to be unaware of what and how much
you are eating. Devoting a little time to unwind with a cup of coffee or tea, and some
yummy plan approved cheesecake, makes you stop and realize life is pretty great. You
receive more pleasure through food by relaxing and are more able to stop eating when
satisfied. Somehow, sipping on a hot beverage makes that more likely to happen. O
Serene chats: When I first started researching on the benefits of coffee and how it
is one of our highest dietary sources of antioxidants, I really wanted to be a believer,
but I had been indoctrinated by dietary gurus who looked down their noses at coffee.
It was difficult, with my purist approach to eating, to even put coffee in my shop-
ping cart at first. I felt like I was starting to smoke cigarettes or something equally
unhealthy (crazy me, huh?). Since finally allowing myself this wonderfully healthy indul-
gence, I have taken a step closer to comfort and the ability to nurture myself.
I have always enjoyed the deep aroma of coffee and tried to savor its flavor by
using coffee substitutes made by roasted chicory and grains. They didn’t have the
depth and fullness I knew came from real coffee and I was always left unsatisfied.
Living with a low glycemic approach, I didn’t like the extra carbs in the grains (even
though they weren’t over the top) as I prefer to save my carbs for food.
At first, I didn’t do regular caffeinated coffee as I was still trying to heal my
adrenals after some lifestyle stressors. Regular decaf is unhealthy because of the
chemical processes used. Here’s the good news. There is a healthy way to decaffein-
ate. It is called the “Swiss water method.” This removes the caffeine, but keeps the
bold flavor and antioxidants. You can find this at any natural food store. I still love my
Swiss water decaf coffee, but also enjoy the “real thing” now without any ill effects.
Now, along with my eggs in the morning, you can picture me enjoying real organic
coffee with cream. Care to join me? What a yummy way to stay young, slim, sane, and
I like to research the best and healthiest approach to everything. Coffee and its
different preparations has been my latest hot subject. Pearl laughs at my obsessive personality in this area. You could serve her Joe “any old how,” as long as it’s real
coffee. She could probably even drink it lukewarm! Horror! When it comes to coffee she
simply enjoys it without all the fuss. Me? I like to fuss. I am a complete coffee snob . . .
well, perhaps a “wannabe snob.” All my coffee gadgets come from the Goodwill thrift
store. If I can’t have a nice, potent, organic, freshly roasted “cuppa,” then I’d rather
I don’t mind a cup of French press or filtered organic coffee, but I prefer to dive in
deep and drink my coffee closer to the core essence of this antioxidant loaded bean.
Behold, the espresso—the most potent way of receiving the antioxidant properties
and bold flavor from the coffee bean. Surprisingly, it is also the best way of avoiding
too much caffeine.
Espresso is made by forcing a small amount of hot water through the coffee very
quickly. It is this rapid and pressurized contact with the water that extracts con-
centrated amounts of coffee’s benefits without over extracting caffeine and breaking
down the oils. In all coffee preparations, the best part of the coffee is extracted in
the first cup of water that flushes through the grounds. This is like the first pressing
of a good quality olive oil or wine and contains most of the incredible benefits we hear
about coffee. When you brew a pot of coffee, you run multiple cups of water over these
same grounds. More bitterness and acidic content of the coffee bean is extracted and
you get a boatload more caffeine and diluted benefits.
The longer the contact time with water, the more caffeine is extracted. It is a
misunderstanding that espresso is the stuff that gets you totally wired. Yes, it has
a stronger and deeper flavor, but a 2 oz. double espresso has only 50 mg of caffeine,
whereas an 8 oz. cup of brewed coffee has 2.5 times that much caffeine, sitting
around 135 mg. I don’t want to come across as fearful of a moderate amount of caffeine. In fact,
most of the studies show the benefits of coffee are associated with the real thing,
not decaf. But, keep in mind we are not encouraging you to be a “caffeine junkie.” Over-
stimulating yourself is not beneficial.
I don’t like to take my espresso in a quick shot as I love to savor a full mug of Joe.
Therefore, I dilute my morning double espresso with the same amount of hot water
and a dash of organic cream, if budget allows. Superb! This is called an Americano.
It rocks with a quiet moment— the baby napping or nursing and my Bible or another
meditational book in hand.
I found my espresso maker at Goodwill for five bucks. It does the job, but would
probably make an espresso connoisseur completely dissatisfied. I am hinting to my
husband about a Vev Vigano for Christmas. It runs around $40-50 for a small one.
It is purported to make the best espresso unless you want to spend up to $1000. It
carries an old world charm of being a stove top original Italian design. What makes it
better than most stove top espresso makers is that it is made from stainless steel
and not aluminum like other Italian models.
Pearl chats: Thanks for the loooooong coffee 101 class Serene. I still “like me some
Dunkin’ Donuts” brewed coffee. And yes, I can drink it any temperature. O
You can drink your coffee with full cream or half and half for S, and either black, or with
a dash of milk or almond milk for E. Please stay away from non dairy creamers. They are filled
with trans fats and do not work for our plan or your health. If you are completely lactose intol-
erant, health food stores have coconut coffee creamers which work for our plan. Do not use
pre-sweetened ones. They will counteract the wonderful health benefits coffee gives.
Also, please stop using flavored coffee liquid creamers like vanilla, caramel, or Irish Cream.
They are full of sugar and cause your middle to expand. You can buy flavor infused coffee beans
or ground coffee instead. Starbucks has a line of naturally flavored coffees. Watch out though,
because most other brands of vanilla, caramel, or other flavored coffee beans are artificially
flavored and add needless toxins to the body. If you love flavored coffee, purchase naturally
flavored beans or grounds then add your own cream and on plan sweetener. You’ll have the
same end product, but a much healthier and trimming version.