I am a coffee drinker – I always have been.
In fact, even as a young nutrition student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo so many years ago, I choose to devote my final quarter and senior thesis to researching the “impact of caffeine on academic and athletic performance in college aged students.” My findings at the time revealed that caffeine in moderation is perfectly acceptable and in fact, found to be beneficial in certain cases. There you have it again…moderation and for caffeine this boils down to less than 300 mg per day. I stand strongly by the “all things in moderation” theory as it applies to most things that come from the earth. Where I don’t agree with the moderation concept is when it applies to things that are so overly processed that our ancestors wouldn’t know what to do with them and our bodies are still confused by today.
Coffee is not the problem, but what you put in it might be.
So I won’t tell you to stop drinking coffee, but may I offer a suggestion when it comes to what you put IN your coffee? Several months ago I decided that artificial sweeteners are probably not very good for my body. Even as a calorie-counting/fat-phobic gal, I surrendered to calorie containing sweeteners in my morning coffee. The good news is that I haven’t gained weight. The bad news is that I can’t really find anything that I really like quite as much as those yummy, bad-for-you, store-bought coffee creamers. Why-oh-why do chemicals have to taste so good? And it’s not so much the sugar that is as off putting as the excess of ingredients I can’t pronounce and the extensive expiration date they come with. It’s frightening really.
An all natural coffee creamer that tastes good!
I’m so happy! Thank you to one of my favorite health gurus, Elizabeth Rider, I got the idea to use cashews as a base to make my own homemade creamer to replace coffee mate. Here original post gives a great way to make simple, healthy, homemade coffee creamers this way. I always find inspiration from other health bloggers, so I took her base and added my most favorite flavors, vanilla and chai! Yum!
Vanilla Chia All Natural Coffee Creamer
- 1/2 cup Raw Cashews
- 1 cup triple steeped Chai Tea
- 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 T Organic Honey (optional)
- Soak the cashews overnight in 1 cup of water.
- Heat 1 cup water to a boil and add 3 Chai tea bags and steep >3 minutes then let cool.
- Strain the soaked cashews in the morning and them to a blender*
- Add all ingredients and blend for 60 seconds.
- Add to coffee and store remainder in a mason jar.
*A high speed blender like Blendtec is preferred, however a regular one will work too, you may just want to blend a bit longer.
Yup, that’s it. It’s that simple and another creative use of a mason jar!
How does this creamer stack up against the store-bought competition?
I encourage you to try it yourself, but I’m pretty happy! I LOVE the flavor of the chai tea and it got me thinking that we could work with other flavors of tea too for more variety. It’s rich and creamy, giving my coffee the right “look” and it’s sweet enough to make it really yummy. Now the best part — it’s actually low calorie! Who would have thought with nut base that it would be less calories? But here’s how it shakes out:
- Sugar Free Flavored Creamer (store bought): 30 calories per oz
- All Natural Vanilla Chai Creamer (unsweetened): 34 calories per oz
- All Natural Vanilla Chai Creamer (sweetened): 39 calories per oz
- Half and Half (unsweetened, obviously): 39 calories per oz
- Fat Free Flavored Creamer (store bought): 45 calories per oz
- Regular Cream (unsweetened, obviously): 53 calorie per oz
- Vanilla Chai Creamer (store bought): 69 calories per oz
Now this is something I really wasn’t expecting!
I was going to be ok with the increase in calories for the sake of fewer ingredients that confused my body. But the fact that they shakes out to be just about half the calories of the store bought Chai flavor (btw…70 calories per OZ?? That’s like more than vodka!) is truly a bonus. And it’s just a fraction more than the sugar free/fake stuff and still less than dairy products (which I do personally try to limit). And did I mention that it’s vegetarian, dairy-free, chemical -free, gluten-free, paleo and potentially Whole 30 approved. I’ll take it!
What’s your favorite coffee creamer flavor?
Let’s see if we can’t make it all natural for fewer calories!?
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