The 411: Coffee

I had my first sip of coffee when I was a little girl. My dad was (and still is) a coffee fanatic, and every time he ordered a cup of coffee, I asked if I could stir the coffee and sugar in for him. One day when my dad was at work, I saw my mom’s cup of coffee sitting on the dining table at breakfast. Gripped by my curiosity as to what that mysterious cup of dark liquid was, I took a little sip. I was absolutely repulsed. On that day, I swore that I would never enjoy coffee, much less drink it, even as an adult. My parents laughed at my childish oath, both insisting that my university experience and entering the workforce would not be complete without coffee, and would even necessitate it. And they were right. I first ventured into “coffee” in my second year of university with Starbuck’s caramel macchiato. It was pretty sweet and I couldn’t taste the coffee at all, a perfect (or not so perfect?) place to begin. I am proud to say that I have now moved onto drinking better coffee, and, as you can tell by my recent blog post on real deal pumpkin lattes, I am no longer a Starbucks drinker. To follow up that post, I decided to write another post exclusively on coffee’s potential health benefits and to debunk some myths surrounding the much-loved coffee bean.health benefits of coffee // gratitude and greens

When I hear people talking about their coffee consumption, I often hear people say they drink too much coffee and are trying to cut back. Although coffee is perceived as an unhealthy habit by many, a recent study undertaken by Harvard University shows that drinking up to six cups of coffee a day is not associated with increased mortality from cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other causes. Unless you suffer from tremors, sleep deprivation, or are feeling stressed all the time, there is no real reason to cut back on your coffee consumption. The summary of Harvard’s research on coffee suggests that while there may be potential health benefits to drinking coffee, more research still needs to be done.

health benefits of coffee // gratitude and greens

So, are there any health benefits to drinking coffee? Well, yes…

  • Coffee is filled with anti-oxidants and flavonoids.
  • Coffee drinkers have a reduced risk for diabetes. A study found that, compared to non-coffee drinkers, coffee drinkers experienced reduced levels of interleukin and isoprostane, two inflammatory markers related to diabetes. If you’re not a fan of caffeine, there is also evidence that suggests decaf coffee may have the same effect as regular coffee.
    • Those who drink more than 6 or 7 cups are 35% less likely to have and develop type 2 diabetes, while those who drink 4-6 cups are 28% less likely to.
  • According to the American Academy of Neurology, caffeine (not coffee itself) helps alleviate symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease. In a study conducted on patients of Pakinson’s Disease, those who consumed caffeine showed improvement in stiffness experienced and the speed of movement compared to those who did not consume caffeine.
  • Another Harvard study found that adults who drink 2-4 cups of caffeinated coffee a day were less likely to be depressed and at risk of suicide: “Caffeine not only stimulates the central nervous system but may act as a mild antidepressant by boosting production of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline.” The study warns, however, that depressed adults should not increase their caffeine intake, as this could result in side effects.
  • 112,897 men and women who drank coffee were observed over a 20 year period. What researchers discovered was that women who drank three or more cups a day were less at risk of developing skin cancer.
  • Contrary to the popular belief that coffee dehydrates, scientists at the University of Birmingham found that “coffee, when consumed in moderation by caffeine habituated males provides similar hydrating qualities to water.” (Sidenote: I find myself feeling thirsty and dehydrated if my cup of coffee isn’t followed by a glass of water, so just listen to your body! Know when to stop with the caffeine and make sure you are hydrated regardless of whether you are drinking coffee.)

And no…

With the above in mind, it seems that coffee does appear to be beneficial to our health. It is important, however, to remember that one cup of coffee is an 8 ounce serving with 100mg of caffeine. The addition of milk, sugar, cream, and other artificial additives and flavourings not only strip much of coffee’s health benefits, but also have further implications for your health. And, as with everything we eat and drink, moderation is key.

So, what do you think? Are you a coffee addict? How does coffee make you feel? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy coffee drinking,
Gen.

Sources: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

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Friday.

Since moving into my new home, I’ve had little to no time for recipe development. My days have been consumed with furnishing my new home and constantly, seemingly never-ending trips to home stores for hangers, bins, soap dishes, candles, and other tidbits that, despite being little, seem to make this space feel homier. I have a gorgeous view of downtown Toronto, and at night the glow of buildings, street lamps, and cars light up what would otherwise be a dark night sky. With the exception of Thanksgiving dinner, cooking in this kitchen has been slow, and most of my meals this week have been out. Two nights ago, I finally spent some quality time with my kitchen. I made a pumpkin spice cake, gooey cinnamon buns, and last night, made an acorn squash soup. Some highlights from this week…

I shared a recipe for real deal pumpkin spice lattes yesterday.

Yesterday morning I had an out-of-this-world blueberry acai bowl topped with pecans, chia seeds, raw cacao nibs, and blueberries.

I finished the graduate edition of Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will To Lead by Sheryl Sandberg. It was such an inspiring and encouraging read, and I wish I could share every single page I dog-eared. Below are excerpts that really caught my eye while reading the introduction to her book, and you can read the full introductory chapter here.

“…knowing that things could be worse should not stop us from trying to make them better. When the suffragettes marched in the streets, they envisioned a world where men and women would be truly equal. A century later, we are still squinting, trying to bring that vision into focus. The blunt truth is that men still run the world. Of the 195 independent countries int he world, only 17 are led by women. Women hold just 20 percent of seats in parliaments globally.”

“…women have slowly and steadily advanced, earning more and more of the college degrees, taking more of the entry-level jobs, and entering more fields previously dominated by men. Despite these gains, the percentage of women at the top of corporate America has barely budged over the past decade. A meager twenty-one of the Fortune 500 CEOs are women. Women hold about 14 percent of top corporate jobs, 3 percent of board seats, and 5 percent of congressional seats. While women continue to outpace men in educational achievement, we have ceased making real progress at the top of any industry. This means that when it comes to making the decisions that most affect our world, women’s voices are not heard equally.”

“A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies and men ran half our homes. I believe that this would be a better world.”

In honour of World Food Day yesterday, I’m sharing one of my favourite organizations with you. Feedback is an amazing organization working to eliminate food waste. To join the movement and find out more about food waste, visit their website here.

Although I haven’t had much time to read blogs this week, here are some recipes that got me drooling:

skinny-pumpkin-chai-latte-1

EDOC9996

Chia_berry_porridge_3

DELICIOUS-Vegan-Banana-Bread-Cinnamon-Rolls-One-bowl-9-ingredients-and-so-delicious-vegan

What are your plans for the weekend? Anything exciting? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Friday and an amazing weekend to all,
Gen.

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Real Deal Pumpkin Spice Lattes


Happy Canadian Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is, hands down, my favourite holiday. I love that Thanksgiving hasn’t been entirely commercialized and that there is no material gift giving involved. Thanksgiving is a lot about food, but it is also about giving thanks, and expressing your love and gratitude to those around you. I spent my food-filled weekend with loved ones eating Chinese food and a big Thanksgiving meal. Right now, my stomach is still full to the brim with sweet potato mash, green beans, brussel sprouts, stuffing, and my veggie alternative to turkey: acorn squash with purple kale and lentils. It was a wonderful end to a stressful and busy week of moving into my new home in downtown Toronto, which is why I haven’t been posting much. With no internet at home and no data on my phone, the past week has been a healthy break from the world wide web. It’s hard as a blogger, because I almost always feel the need to be on social media in order to connect with readers, potential readers, and other bloggers.

Anyway. Onto these real deal pumpkin lattes, because I’ve been meaning to share these forever.

real deal pumpkin spice lattes // gratitude and greens

Recently, the pumpkin spice latte was declared the choice beverage of “basic bitches” around the world. Basic or not, I remain a devoted fan of not just the pumpkin spice latte, but of all things pumpkin. I think you can tell just how much I love pumpkin from the post I published last week with 31 Pumpkin Recipes To Get You Through October… Although I’m a big fan of the pumpkin spice latte, I refuse to buy the “PSL” from Starbucks. As ridiculous as this sounds, I am a pumpkin latte purist, settling only for lattes made with real pumpkin purée and real maple syrup. Not only does Starbuck’s beloved pumpkin spice latte have zero pumpkin, but the drink also contains more than 50 grams of sugar, has two doses of a carcinogenic caramel colouring made with ammonia, and artificial flavouring and preservatives. Here’s the list of ingredients:

  • espresso
  • pumpkin spice flavoured sauce
    • sugar
    • condensed nonfat milk
    • high fructose corn syrup or sweetened condensed nonfat milk
    • annatto (for colour)
    • natural and artificial flavours
    • caramel colour (class iv)
    • salt
    • potassium sorbate (preservative)
    • whip cream (whipping cream, vanilla syrup, caramel colouring, among others)

How many of those ingredients would you have at home? Not very many, I suspect. Pumpkin spice lattes are, in fact, very easy to make, and require just a few ingredients. This recipe is adapted from The Kitchn.

real deal pumpkin spice lattes // gratitude and greens

Real Deal Pumpkin Spice Lattes
*yields two servings

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 shots espresso
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin purée
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, to top

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. In a small saucepan, whisk the pumpkin purée with the spices over medium heat.
  2. Add the maple syrup and vanilla extract, and continue to stir.
  3. Pour the milk into the saucepan. Whisk to incorporate the milk with the pumpkin, spices, maple syrup, and vanilla. While the milk is heating up, prepare your espresso.
  4. Froth the milk with a milk frother or a blender. I use an aerolatte frother, which costs around $25.
  5. Pour the espresso into two cups. Top each cup with the pumpkin spice milk, and sprinkle with cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice if desired.

Best served with a good book and a cozy sweater. Enjoy : )

real deal pumpkin spice lattes // gratitude and greens

What’s your favourite fall drink? Pumpkin lattes: yay or nay? Let me know in the comments below!

Wishing you much love and happy kitchen adventures,
Gen.

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more latte recipes:
green tea latte by manu’s menu
spiced chai tea latte by dine and dish
maple cinnamon chamomile tea latte by pickles and honey