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Your alarm clock went off at 6:59 am and the only thing dragging you away from your warm sheets and cozy hunni is the thought of folgers in your cup (and knowing that if you’re late again, you’ll be searching through the classified ads). If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone tell me they start off their day with coffee… well.. let’s just say I would be writing this blog from somewhere a lot warmer than it was today. The question is, how are you really starting off your day by sipping away at your coffee? Caffeine serves your body with a dirty cocktail of effects such as hormonal imbalances, sleep disturbances, mood swings, irritability, physical dependence and many more…including the most dreaded of all: weight gain. Allow me to elaborate…
FUN FACT: Caffeine has a half-life of 4-6 hours, which means chances are, it’s stickin’ around for quite some time!
HORMONES: one thing you DON’T wanna mess with! You’re body has many hormones which all play important roles in our body. Below are a list of hormones which are specifically affected by caffeine.
Dopamine- we all know good ol’ dopamine as it is known as the “feel good hormone”. Caffeine increases its levels in the body and acts in a way similar to amphetamines. This sounds too good to be true, right? Well, it is. Once the caffeine wears off, we are left with low energy and often enough; we are left with a physical dependence to reignite the engine.
Adrenaline- So you woke up to a cup of coffee and 4 hours later, you feel like round kicking the colleague beside you, Chuck Norris style. Caffeine rockets adrenaline into our system, which will certainly give you little boost, but remember; what goes up, must come down. Talk about system failure.
Cortisol- The “stress hormone” that is supposed to help us cope with long term chronic stress. Caffeine activates this hormone which may have long term effects such as; weight gain, moodiness, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Adenosine- Inhibits absorption of adenosine, a hormone that helps calm the body.
Your Sacred (and much needed) SLEEP:
We all know that caffeine can affect sleep by keeping us awake longer but what we don’t keep in mind is that it inhibits your body from maintaining a deep sleep which is when our body restores, renews and repairs.
WEIGHT:As previously mentioned, increased levels of the hormone “cortisol” can lead to long term weight gain. Additionally, you may experience increased cravings, especially fats and carbs (as if we don’t crave the crap outta this already).
Now that I’ve worried the hell out of your daily routine, I’m not going to sign off and call it a night. Below is my favourite latte recipe which can be a great alternative to help you through morning traffic and kick start your morning. This is a yummy latte BUT it is also a great starting point so don’t be afraid to customize this recipe to your personal likes and dislikes. Still having issues? Try putting a coffee bean under your tongue or adding a couple of coffee beans in your morning smoothie when you just can’t kick the craving… but really, is the cup of coffee worth destroying the hour you spent sweating your nickers off at the gym last night? Probably not.
Wake up to a latte in your cup.
2 tbsp. raw cacao
1 tbsp. honey or agave (add a smidge more if you prefer it to be sweeter)
1 tsp. chia seeds
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
3 cups boiling water (may substitute 2 cups rice milk or almond milk with 1 cup boiling water)
Infusion of choice (optional): infuse the water with your favourite flavour (you can buy many different loose teas such as toffee, chia, a nutty flavour, etc.)
First, infuse the boiling water with your choice of herbs. If you’re going to use milk, infuse the cup of water, heat the milk and then combine. (May skip the infusion all together)
In a small pot on the stove, mix all ingredients and heat until you have reached desired temperature.
Enjoy at home or throw ‘er in a travel mug!
Caution: This latte does NOT contain any dirty cocktails of ingredients or side effects other than a perfect start to your morning routine.
What’s it good for?!
– Kale is a part of the brassica family (along with cabbage, collards, etc.) which all contain phytochemicals such as sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol which has been best known to fight against cancer (specifically prostate and colon). Indole-3-carbinol is also great for balancing estrogen for those who are estrogen dominant.
– It is a source of di-indolyl-methane, also known as DIM, which is known to be an immune modulator, anti-bacterial and anti-viral agent.. anything else?
– Rich in flavonoids including b-carotene, letein and zeaxanthin which are stron anti-oxidants and perform anti-cancer activities.
– Rich in vitamin A, B complex, C, K and minerals like copper, calcium, sodium, potassium, iron, manganese and phosphorus.
Before I bore you with more facts, just trust me when I say it’s healthy…very healthy (don’t tell your kids). There are many ways to prepare kale, but if you’re a newby you may want to start off slow by adding a leaf or two in your morning smoothie or perhaps sneaking it in a stir fry. If you’re ready to jump on the bandwagon, try this recipe below…
What You Need
Juice of 1 lemon
3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard
2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon capers
Salt and black pepper, to taste
4 to 6 cups Tuscan kale, midrib removed and chopped
Nutritional yeast, to taste
1/2 cup croutons
Cherry tomatoes (optional)
Avocado, diced (optional)
How to Make It
Prepare the vinaigrette in a small bowl, whisking together the lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, garlic, capers, salt and pepper.
Place the kale in a serving bowl. Add the vinaigrette and toss well. Then add in nutritional yeast, to taste. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes.
Add the croutons and toss again. Top with additional nutritional yeast, tomatoes and/or avocado, if desired.
This delicious creation was made by Carolyn Scott-Hamilton