Quick coffee makeover

If you’re one of the 83 percent of Americans who drink coffee, you might want to take a closer look at what you’re drinking in the morning. Or throughout the day in many cases. (I’m guilty myself!)

In honor of International Coffee Day, I thought I’d share some quick and easy switches that can make your cup of Joe better for you and your health. Especially if you’re going to be drinking it anyway, you caffeine addict, you.

What’s in your morning cup of Joe?

Start with good, filtered water.

Greatist does a really great job illustrating what might be lurking in your tap water.

Choose an organic coffee. (Bonus points for fair-trade!)

Many people are not aware that drinking non-organic coffee can be a regular source of exposure to toxic pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Consumption of pesticides in non-organic foods in general can lead to devastating health consequences, including many types of cancers, nerve damage, and alarming health risks to children. Uh, no thanks.

Fair-trade certified coffee guarantees that the coffee farmers have been paid fairly, their workers don’t have to be exposed to toxic pesticides, and their direct connection to importers (cutting out the middlemen) ensures long-term sustainability. Give yourself an extra 10 points for your good deeds for coffee farmers.

Skip the refined sugar.

The best change I made in our pantry this year was switching to Madhava Organic Coconut Sugar. (In addition to Amazon, I found it at Whole Foods and in the organic section at my local Costco.) Compared to the bleached, refined white sugar, coconut palm sugar is unrefined, which means its vitamins and minerals stay intact. You can also substitute it for brown sugar in baking, since the flavor is similar.

Go for organic milk.

If you need milk or half and half in your coffee, read the label and make sure it’s organic. I typically buy Organic Valley® Half & Half or a local option. This way, I know that there are no antibiotics, synthetic hormones, or pesticides. Also, there should be only two ingredients: milk and cream.

If you’re getting fancy, do it at home.

Craving a pumpkin spice latte? I don’t blame you. But instead of driving down to your local coffee shop for a super sugary drink with scary ingredients like carageenan (a carcinogen) or caramel color (known to cause tumors and cancer), try 100 Days of Real Food’s pumpkin spice chart for an easy, do-it-yourself version at home. Tip: Pumpkin Pie Spice can be a bit tricky to find, especially out of season.

Happy International Coffee Day–here’s to your health. May you have many more caffeinated mornings.

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