Each day a person gets about three opportunities to up their nutrition in order to sustain them for that day and carry them through to the next.
Some of us, for various reasons, cannot overhaul our food lifestyles overnight. Sometimes the availability of funds and wholesome foods just isn't there. Supplements are expensive and it's frustrating to have to take things after striving to get nutrition from food (that comes from seriously depleted soil).
That's why I'm a big fan of doctoring your foods to the highest and most flavorful potency. Make food into both medicine and supplements by simply working them into your routine recipes. By doing so, you don't have to remember to take anything or choke down pills. You also don't bypass any digestive channels. You can feel better from the start of your day. Chances are, you have some of these ingredients hiding in your cabinet!
Without further ado - here are 10 superfoods you can add to your morning brew.
1. Grassfed butter - There is a vast nutritional difference between butter from grassfed or pastured cows versus conventional store bought butter. Mainly, the Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio, very important when fighting inflammation. Not only is grassfed butter better in terms of a nutritional brain food (plus it's from non-GMO fed cows), but it mixes better. Kerrygold unsalted butter is available in many stores - ask yours to stock it for you. Follow this recipe and blend. I choose not to use it as a meal replacement but for when I really want to focus without the caffeine jitters. This coffee will give you energy and make you chill at the same time.
2. Coconut oil - If you've read about butter coffee, you will see people adding commercial MCT oils to it. Please skip that and go for coconut oil instead, which is close to the whole product. This is another fatty brain food that is also anti-microbial without hurting the good cells. Blend as you would the butter. The best coconut oils is the least processed - that would be centrifuge extracted, the only kind I use for consumption. I even confused the Whole Foods employees by asking about it. Get energy, better nutrition absorption, pain relief, weight loss and more. The benefits are astounding.
3. Cardamom - Is a familiar friend if you've ever had the pleasure of imbibing Turkish coffee (recipe). Cardamom is the secret ingredient. This blessed spice is bursting with electrolytes, contains vitamin C, iron, fiber and other medicinal properties. It is amazing for all things digestive and is said to fight depression and cancer. If you have a hard time getting an appetite, take heart - cardamom will get it started. Plus the smell and taste are heavenly - you might not be able to go back to regular after adding cardamom. You will want to use the powdered spice. If you happen to have an essential oil then you also have a great breath freshener. But, if you want to use the oil in coffee, you will need to dip just the point of a toothpick into the oil bottle and stir the pick into the pot. Yes, that is the amount for the entire pot - it is a very potent oil!
4. Cinnamon - For the most benefits, use Ceylon cinnamon. Most North Americans use cassia which has high levels of coumarin, toxic to the liver. Ceylon cinnamon is shown to help with moods, weight loss, blood pressure, gut health, pain, oral health and more. It's probably not used as much because it tastes much more subtle than typical store-bought cinnamon. Always get your organic spices in bulk from the health food store and transfer them in jars to preserve their taste.
5. Reishi Mushrooms - I tested this one on myself to make sure there is some benefit to adding Reishi powder to my morning regimen - there is! It takes awhile to notice, so please stick with it 3-5 times a week. I find buying the powder and adding it in is less expensive then buying Ganoderma coffee (Reishi-infused beans) or taking the supplements. Plus, you can easily add it to other recipes. In just one of my morning cups, I add between 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon and use a handheld frother to mix. The fine powder does not stir well. After doing this for a month, I find that I have less pain, better immune system and pep. Some people find it to be bitter - it can be, but it has a taste that lends itself well to coffee. Reishi is wonderful for a struggling immune system, even for people who are auto-immune.
6. Egg Shells - Some people make their calcium supplement by grinding egg shells. I haven't tried that but I add egg shells to my brew for the world's smoothest cup, and to get some minerals back in. I use only farm fresh eggs, rinse the shells, break them up and put them in my french press to brew with the grounds. After four minutes I plunge and pour. Works with drip coffee machines too, just place in the brew basket. This is the secret to the smoothest cup you'll ever drink - it annihilates the acidity.
7. Raw Cacao powder - Not only is this a yum way to get a cocoa taste, but raw cacao has minerals like magnesium and iron, flavonoids and antioxidants said to help prevent cancer and increase cardiovascular health. A little goes a long way. This one will suppress the food appetite but increase the appetite for some lovin'. The jury's still out on all the health hype - and so am I. But, chocolate cravings are real and to me, this powder beats a Hershey bar any day of the week.
8. Gelatin - Do your joints and bones go "snap, crackle and pop" in the morning? Then get some strength, collagen builders and extra protein with gelatin and soothe your digestive tract at the same time. You can get tasteless packets at the store, or go for a grassfed source. Also try the easier-to-digest collagen supplemental powder which you can simply add - no premixing. I was using Now Foods brand and first add the granules to an ounce of cold water, let sit for a minute, then add to the coffee. Without that first step, I might have to eat my coffee in a gel! I will switch to collagen hydrolysate soon so I can just add the powder. Obviously, this is not for vegans and vegetarians.
9. Cayenne - Has so many benefits in its own right. Believe it or not, it is used around the world in coffee. It actually neutralizes the acid. Check out this Mexican mocha recipe.
10. Nutmeg, clove and/or ginger - Similar to cinnamon and cardamom, these are sweet spices loaded with medicinal properties. If they appeal to you in any way, explore some recipes and make your beverage your new medicine. If this is starting to sound sort of like Chai, well, it is similar! Here, try this Moroccan coffee, sure to really wake you up and possibly reduce pain, and help your cells push away cancer.
The worst thing I tried during my experiment was whey protein - don't try it in coffee! I don't think I kept it down. Did you know Nordic countries like Scandinavia use raw egg to make coffee?
- Raw honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar are possible sweeteners that are less damaging than white refined sugar - but, I'm not sure that they qualify as superfoods for this purpose even though they do contain minerals and antioxidants. Real vanilla extract would be preferable to sugar.
- Himalayan Salt - Yep, some people swear by just a pinch, especially in cold brew.
- Raw milk and cream, great for fat and protein but not so great if overheated in the coffee. Coconut milk would be a great alternative.
- Prebiotic Fiber (not affiliated and haven't tried it, found it through researching - thoughts?)
- Turmeric - after trying this for awhile, it just didn't taste good to me. It's only palatable if using generous cream, sweeteners and other spices or cacao.
Heather Callaghan is a natural health blogger and food freedom activist. You can see her work at NaturalBlaze.com and ActivistPost.com. Like at Facebook.
Image courtesy of zirconicusso at FreeDigitalPhotos.net