Here’s A Quick Way To Kick Your Caffeine Cravings

Click Here To ReTweet This Blog & Recipe – thanks!

It’s summer and I’m thirsty and hot – a lot. New York City can be pretty sticky, and I need constant refreshment to get through a day. Try my favorite mid-day caffeine-free latte recipe!

 

 

Back in the day I would cool my afternoon energy lulls with an iced latte or frozen coffee drink from that place that rhymes with “Blahr – ducks.” Since detoxifying my body over a decade ago, I find that I don’t like or want as much caffeine, dairy, and sugar as I used to. Actually, I find that I feel even worse if I have them!

 

What’s wrong with a little caffeine you might be asking? Well, if you’re drinking several (or even one, for some people) servings of coffee, tea, cola, or “energy drink” a day, your sleep can be effected no matter how early in the day you drink it.

 

Your morning cup of tea or coffee can also dehydrate your skin making it look older than it is (horrors!), and makes you urinate more, leading to overall dehydration.

 

If you remember your high school chemistry, you might recall that calcium (from your bones) is an alkaline substance.

 

If you’re drinking caffeine (along with sugar and diary, especially) you can change the pH balance of your body to be overly acidic. There are strong links between regular caffeine use and osteoporosis, because of the acidic nature of many caffeinated beverages.

(Are you more than ready to get off caffeine, sugar, and dairy once and for all?

Join my 8 Week Delicious Detox Tele-Course here – we start Tuesday September 13th!)

 

Still, I like to enjoy a yummy cold drink, especially in the afternoons, and here is one of my favorite recipes:

 

1 cup iced Teeccino

½ cup MimiCCreme

Serve over ice

 

Teeccino is an herbal coffee-replacement that offers a roasted aroma, look and taste just like coffee, without the caffeine. Or the caffeine crash a few hours later.

 

MimiCCreme is a line of non-dairy, soy-free, gluten-free nut creams that make any cream recipe totally amazing. I like the unsweetened version for my iced teeccino in the afternoon, but the sweetened versions are great for desserts, baking, smoothies and breakfast recipes.

 

Enjoy your caffeine free latte!

 

Like this recipe and my tips? Want to really make a shift and transform your health?

Sign up for my Delicious Detox: The 8-Week Reboot Tele-Course beginning Tuesday September 13th at 2pm EST!

Learn more and sign up here:

 

Natural Sweetener Smack Down: Agave

Human beings are built with a taste for sweetness – it’s in our DNA. We crave sweetness because mother’s milk is sweet, and we’re programmed to crave sweet carbohydrates so that the human species will survive. When we were all still living off the land, hunting and gathering in the wilderness, sweet foods were safe to eat – poisonous foods are generally bitter.

In the last 200 years, humans have gotten really good at growing crops that can be made into sugar. The cheap, abundant bags and bottles of sweetness have led us into a dire health situation.  Americans get most of their calories from sweeteners. They also get many diseases from added sugars. Sugar isn’t bad, it’s just that we tend eat too much of it.

The current epidemic of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity is directly linked to humans’ recent ability to produce huge amounts of refined carbohydrates from corn, sugar cane, and from a lesser extent maple trees, honey combs, and cacti. But some sweeteners make life interesting, food taste good, and make birthday cake delicious.

It gets confusing when we try to wade through all the conflicting information about how much sugar is safe to eat, which sweeteners are healthier, and which ones are dangerous over time. Now let me start off by saying that I don’t think you’re going to keel over if you have a cup of coffee with two packets of white table sugar. But do that three times a day for 20 years and you’ll start to see some health problems develop.

I do my best to use more natural sweeteners. “Natural” and “unprocessed” are loaded terms. By “natural” I mean less processed and as unrefined as possible. I try to use sweeteners that are made from plants and are only slightly cooked, dried or crystallized using as few steps as possible. If I can’t understand the process it took to create something, I’m less likely to eat it. I also avoid sweeteners that were made in a lab or chemically derived like splenda, aspartame, saccharin, high fructose corn syrup, and so on.

That being said, I love a good dark chocolate or a creamy rice pudding and I’m only human after all – so I do enjoy desserts. I just eat a lot less sugar than I used to, and I feel better now than I did in my early 20’s.

So, I’m putting together a series on natural sweeteners to help people understand the benefits, drawbacks, and uses of the different options lining the health food store aisles.

The first contender had a meteoric rise to fame in the health food world since it’s introduction in the last 10 years, but is currently experiencing a negative backlash. Agave, alternatively known as “agave nectar” and “agave syrup,” comes from cactus native to Mexico. If you took that same syrup and fermented it you would eventually get Mexico’s other famous liquid, tequila.

In small doses of less than a teaspoon, agave was believed to have little affect on blood sugar levels, and was thought to be safe for diabetics. However, people rarely use less than a teaspoon of sweeteners, and there are other factors that should give diabetics pause. Agave is also very high in fructose – about as high as high fructose corn syrup. Since all that fructose is hard for your liver to metabolize, anyone with liver issues should avoid using agave as their main sweetener. Fructose elevates triglycerides and gets stored as body fat. So if you have high cholesterol concerns, avoid agave.

Agave isn’t made from corn, which is a common food allergen. Also, high fructose corn syrup has been shown to contain traces of mercury from the processing facilities where it is produced. Unlike other metals and trace elements (copper, zinc) you DON’T need any mercury in your body! Now the Corn Refiners Association is trying to get permission from the federal government to allow them to change labeling laws so that HFCS can be labeled as “corn sugar,” which would be much more appealing to consumers. Corn Sugar – sounds safe and friendly, doesn’t it?

So when it comes to using agave, I prefer to use it in small amounts for recipes that need a good liquid sweetener that doesn’t add extra flavor. Maple syrup is often to maple-y, and brown rice syrup is too thick for some recipes. I like to add agave to my Iced Teeccino Latte in the summers, and here’s my recipe for this delicious caffeine-free beverage:

Iced Teeccino Latte

2 tablespoons teeccino or 2 teeccino bags

2 cups unsweetened rice, hemp, or soy milk

2 teaspoons agave

1 cup ice

Directions:

  1. Place the ground Teeccino in a tea strainer and set in a tea pot or 20 ounce mug.
  2. Pour the milk in the pot or mug and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. The milk will absorb the flavor of the Teeccino while chilling.
  3. Remove the pot from the refrigerator and remove the tea strainer.
  4. Pour the steeped Teeccino milk into 2 glasses. Add 1 teaspoon agave into each cup and stir well to melt the agave.
  5. Add ½ cup ice to each cup and serve chilled.

Natural Soda Taste Test Challenge #2: Fizzy Lizzy

When I saw today’s headline that “energy drinks” are being linked to major health problems for adults and kids alike, I realized that this taste test challenge series is even more timely than I thought. Not only did a study released last week link diet sodas to higher risks of cardiovascular disease, energy drinks often contain four to five times more caffeine than soda, and some people drink several servings a day. The problems of overdosing has become so widespread that the American Association of Poison Control Centers “has adopted codes…to start tracking energy drink overdoses and side effects nationwide.”

What with all the hype about dangerous side effects from drinking regular soda, diet soda, and energy drinks (Did anyone really think it was ok to drink 4-5 times the regular amount of soda at once? Yikes!), I think it’s time people started exploring to the natural soda selection available in many grocery and health food stores. Last week I test drove Zevia’s stevia sweetened cans, and you can read my comments here.

This week I’m sharing my love for a local New York City soda:

Fizzy Lizzy!

natural soda taste test challenge series alexandra jamieson fizzy lizzy

Coming in several flavors including Grapefruit, Fuji Apple, Yakima Grape, Pineapple, Cranberry and Raspberry Lemon, Fizzy Lizzy comes in glass bottles and uses so few ingredients you might be tempted to recreate the recipes at home. (Which I often do, and I’ll show you my recipe at the bottom of this page!)

My personal favorites are the Pineapple and Fuji Apple. Pineapple has three – count ‘em 3! – ingredients: carbonated water, pineapple juice and vitamin C. The Fuji Apple contains carbonated water, apple juice, lemon juice concentrate, natural fuji apple flavor, and vitamin C. Again, there are few ingredients, they’re pronounceable, and I see no preservatives besides the vitamin C.

This line was created by New York Citer dweller Liz Marlin, who loved mixing her own low-sugar drinks at home, but couldn’t find anything available in the retail stores that offered good flavor and natural ingredients. These drinks are 70% juice and offer a light, refreshing taste for the “adult soda” market that offers a great option: maybe you don’t drink alcohol or have guests over for dinner who are designated drivers.

The flavors are hip, clean, and healthier than the traditional sodas of my youth. (sorry Dr. Pepper – I loved you so, but I can’t do the acidity anymore!)

You can find Fizzy Lizzy’s in many stores across the country, and you can even make your own version at home!

Here’s my recipe for homemade sodas, a la Fizzy Lizzy:

1 20 ounce glass (glass glass, of course – everything tastes better out of a glass glass, right?)

4-5 ice cubes

1 cup pineapple juice

1 cup soda or seltzer water (I used to love tonic water, but then I read the label and realized it has high fructose corn syrup – curses! Vodka and soda water just ain’t the same.)

DIRECTIONS: Mix all together in a glass, drink, AHHHH! Enjoy!

Party Planning Chelsea Clinton Style

Top 10 Tips For Planning a Gluten-Free, Vegan Party

This weekend the nation watched as former 1st daughter Chelsea Clinton married her longtime boyfriend Marc Mezvinsky. Not only was the wedding gorgeous and the bride beautiful, but the catering included vegan options and a gluten-free cake – how cool! If you admire the menu options and thoughtful way the bride and groom accomodated the diverse dietary needs of their guests, check out my Top 10 Tips For Planning a Vegan, Gluten-Free Party Menu…

1. Serve it Seasonal: Every season offers a cornucopia of veggies, especially in summer and early fall. Use locally grown produce to add a rainbow of colors and flavors that will create a visual feast.
2. Eat first, label later: Don’t worry about emphasizing that the party will be gluten-free and vegan. The food will speak for itself and the guests will be happily surprised to find out that their delicious meal was so healthy. If told beforehand, their preconceived notions might alter their experience.
3. Serve Salacious Salads: Offer a variety of salads with different ingredients and themes. Beans, pasta, potatoes, tofu, grains, tempeh, and lettuce salads can all be prepared with different dressings and herbs to create a truly stunning party buffet.
4. Fabulous Flavors: Place a wide variety of gluten-free, vegan condiments near the buffet or on the dinner table so that guests can add different flavors to their taste. Gluten-free soy sauce, lemon wedges, fancy sea salts in grey, black, and pink, mustards, non-dairy sour cream, vegan mayonnaise, fruit-juice sweetened ketchup, cornishons, caper berrys, relish, salsas, and hot sauces will give guests options for creating their favorite flavor profiles.
5. Devouring Dessert: Finish the meal with a decadent vegan, gluten-free dessert and your guests will rave about the amazing healthy meal they enjoyed. Whether chocolate, fruit, pudding, or cake based, vegan, gluten-free desserts can be delicious and inspiring to your guests.
6. Try a Theme: Decorate your party and choose recipes based on the time of year, holidays or special events. Summer barbeques with grilled vegetables, fruit, mushrooms and tofu spruce up any July 4th party. May 5th can inspire a Mexican themed buffet. The end of December can be a solstice celebration uniting Christmas and Hanukkah foods that are veganized and gluten-free.
7. Create a vegan drink list: Many alcoholic beverages are made using animal products to filter out impurities. Check with www.barnivore.com for a complete list of vegan and gluten-free wine, beer, and spirits.
8. Hot Potato: For a casual gathering, set up a baked potato bar. Using baked potatoes as a base guests can season with whatever toppings they desire. Shredded vegan cheese, tofu sour cream, steamed broccoli, vegan baked beans, cubed tofu, and chives can spruce up the lowly, delicious potato.
9. Mexican Madness: Celebrate May 5th with a burrito buffet. Corn tortillas and taco shells can be stuffed with beans, rice, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, avocado slices, guacamole, salsa, shredded vegan cheese, olives, sliced green onions, and jalapeños.
10. Eating Ethnic: Choosing a menu from an exotic world cuisine may offer more vegan and gluten-free options. Sushi rolls and miso soup using gluten-free soy sauce make for the beginnings of a fabulous Japanese dinner. Many Indian recipes can be easily veganized by replacing the butter with Earth Balance or coconut oil, and chickpea flour papadum are delicious and gluten-free. Italian menus can easily be put together using gluten-free pasta, fresh vegetables, and shredded vegan cheese or nutritional yeast flakes for added flavor.

Sinfully Delicious Strawberry Lemonade

My son likes to get dirty. I put this characteristic to good use this year in the back yard when I received my special order from Seeds of Change : mature organic strawberry plants. We planted several pots of strawberries this spring, and have been harvesting the rewards, much to our delight.

But what to do with all those berries? Rather than spend time in my hot kitchen, I decided to whip up a chilled concoction that would serve the yummy harvest without all the sweating and baking. We’ve been drinking these strawberry lemonades for days now, and I’m happy to report that the benefits to your skin will be as good as the benefits to your taste buds! Great vitamin C, natural fruit acids, and lots of enzymes give this virgin-cocktail skin-replenishing plant power.

Here’s the basic recipe:

1 pint strawberries, stems removed
1/2 cup raw agave nectar
3 cups water
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
ice

Puree the strawberries in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pass the pureed strawberries through a fine meshed strainer or sieve to remove the seeds and set aside. Combine the agave and water in a pitcher, and stir well. Add the lemon juice and strawberry puree to the mixture and stir well to combine. Chill. Serve in ice-filled glasses.

Yield: 1 1/2 Quarts