Is it possible to make a habit like coffee drinking healthier? Can you incorporate herbs and healthier habits into your morning cup of Joe? It sure is and I’ll show you how.
I started drinking coffee when my son was born. I managed to get through four years of university and an additional four years of studying herbs without a cup of coffee, but once that little bundle of sleepless joy entered my life, I became a coffee drinker.
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There was absolutely nothing healthy about my coffee habit at that time. The cheapest stuff we could find brewed in paper cone filters (bleached paper to boot) and a typical peculator style coffee maker. We used cheap cream from the grocery store and white sugar. Terrible I know, but we were low on money and very high on stress. I was dealing with postpartum depression, the terrifying diagnosis of ONH and many sleepless nights. Coffee became a crutch, a life line and a necessity.
Back in the spring my husband and I decided to do a detox – the first one we’ve done in years (since before Monkey Man was born). The first few days were brutal and cutting out coffee was not easy at all. I was on edge all day long and had terrible headaches. I felt so tired for the first few days, but by day four the fog had lifted and I came out the other side of it. It made me quickly realise how much my body relied on coffee and how much harm it had likely done to my adrenals.
After the detox was complete (we did it for four full weeks) we decided that if we were to introduce coffee back into our lives that we were going to do it right. No more low quality coffee brewed through plastic and bleached paper filters. No more multiple cups a day loaded with cheap sweeteners and no more coffees in the afternoon.
If we were going to have a habit, we wanted to invest in it. Check out how we took our coffee ritual and added herbs (among other awesome things) to make it a healthier and more sustainable habit.
It all starts and ends with the beans. We have quickly learned that your coffee is only as good as your beans and that is the truth. Cheap crappy beans means you’ll have cheap crappy coffee. In addition to this, how your choose your beans can go a long way to supporting farmers, sustainable practices and fair wages…. or not. After some research into the coffee industry we decided that organic and fair trade coffee was the only way to go.
How can we possibly boycott factory raised meat and pesticide sprayed fruits and vegetables, yet not support the most sustainable, ethical and ecological way to get coffee in my cup each morning? Investing in more expensive coffee also had the nice byproduct of consuming a lot less of it. Better for the Earth, our bodies and our pocketbook.
How You Brew
First and foremost the crappy old coffee peculator had to go. Running hot/boiling water through plastic and paper coffee filters (especially bleached ones) never sat right with me. Our favourite purchase to date is our stainless steel French press (often called a Bodum). We opted for stainless steel because I’m a clutz and I knew a glass one would be broken within a month. We also chose to get a smaller sized one because it helps to limit how much coffee we drink.
I can’t tell you the number of times I went back for a third cup of coffee simply because it was already brewed. I grew up in a family where we wasted nothing – you CANNOT leave the table until EVERYTHING is finished kind of family. Those lessons are embedded deep in my DNA at this point and I would drink more coffee just to avoid wasting it. Not good for my mind, adrenals or my body.
We also decided to use freshly ground coffee and invested in a coffee grinder. The taste difference between a freshly ground cup of coffee and good ole Maxwell house is astronomical! I can’t go back to already cheap ground coffee. I am ruined for life and therefore no longer a cheap date 😉
Sweeteners and Creamers
I, like many folks, do not drink my coffee black. Wish I could because it would avoid creamers and sweeteners, but alas this is how I like my coffee. If you are making the switch to healthier and more ethical coffee choices and healthier brewing methods, we don’t want to ruin it with white sugar and generic brand creamer now do we?
If you have access to grass-fed organic raw milk I envy you! Let that milk sit a bit, wait for the cream line and pour away. I unfortunately have to settle for organic, grass-fed but pasteurized. Is it expensive? Oh yes definitely! But remember we are here to invest in our coffee habit. More expensive creamers will also force you to reduce your coffee consumption which is never a bad thing. Just as a note for my vegan or dairy-free friends… there are soy and coconut based creamers available and they are quite tasty. Be aware of the non-organic varieties as soy is a heavily modified and sprayed crop (at least it is round these parts). Try coconut first before you use soy.
As far as sweeteners go you have lots of healthier options which is awesome. My absolute personal favourite is local maple syrup. Now that I have tried this in my coffee I am never going back. It is just delicious. Not a fan of maple syrup? Try coconut sugar, honey or organic cane sugar.
Adding in Herbs
This is one of my favourite ways to experiment and add healthier ingredients into my coffee. My favourite and the simplest way to add in herbs is by including ground turmeric in with your coffee grounds.
The amount you add is up to you and depends on how much coffee you are brewing. For our four cup bodum we started with 1/4 tsp and we currently now add a full tsp. There is a slight alteration in taste and colour, but we have grown quite fond of it. For more information on the medicinal properties of turmeric check out my blog post on turmeric milk.
Another awesome addition to ground coffee is cinnamon, especially if you have blood sugar issues. Cinnamon has antimicrobial properties, helps to stimulate circulation, aids in digestion and supports the pancreas. Plus it tastes great! Have a craving for a pumpkin spiced beverage? Try adding pumpkin pie spice to your coffee… your welcome 😉 If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice it’s super easy to make your own.
Think Beyond H2O
Here is where things start to get really fun. Another key ingredient to coffee is water – boiling water to be specific.
Side note: If you don’t already have a Berkey water filter check out this post and find out why you absolutely need one.
Anywho, if you we start to think beyond plain boiled water the world starts to open up immensely. For example, you could use this yogi tea recipe as the liquid in your coffee (just skip the part where she mentions using a tea bag and just use plain water). Perhaps there are medicinal herbs you would like to consumer more of? Each evening you could make a herbal infusion, using medicinal herbs you’d like to consume more of, and simply heat up that tea in the morning and use it to make your coffee.
Some Herbal Inspiration
Here is a list of herbs that would make awesome additions to your morning cup of Joe. Either for flavour or for medicinal purposes. If you have a favourite comment below so I can add it to my list.
- Black pepper
- Burdock root
- Cardamon (pods or ground)
- Cloves (whole or ground)
- Chai spice blend
- Chicory root
- Cinnamon (stick or ground)
- Dandelion root
- Pumpkin pie spice blend
- Star Anise
- Stinging Nettle
Enjoy and thanks for reading!
P.S. Pin for future reference and to share in the love for coffee 😉