It's been almost a year that I decided to eliminate my daily cup of joe. Believe it or not, my original intention in getting rid of coffee was to elevate my vibration. (Ya know, because coffee affects your energy/mood?) But before you judge me for how "crunchy" that sounds, keep reading because I'm sharing why YOU might want to, too AND I've got a coffee-less fall inspired latte that I guarantee you'll already have all the ingredients for! So I'm dropping knowledge on ya and saving you from spending $6 at Starbucks. You're so welcome! (haha jk...sorta)
DISCLAIMER: I want to preface this post with stating that I know other beverages (soda or energy drinks) also contain large amounts of caffeine. The reason I focus on coffee instead of tea (40 mg caffeine vs 105 mg/cup) is because teas are typically comprised of herbs, flowers, and plants so the way they are being utilized in our body is a little bit different. They have a plethora of benefits and a small supply of caffeine compared to espresso or a black cup of coffee. And as for energy drinks and soda, that's a whole other "evil," basically no one should be drinking them (in my opinion).
So it was about this time last year my husband set out for a 7 month deployment. I went on this quest to deepen my relationship to myself, as well as my spirituality and wellness practices. As unfortunate as it was to pause the newlywed stage, I wanted to take advantage of the last time I would be able to be unapologetically selfish. One day, I know I'll be slinging baby bottles and waking up every 2 hours, and I didn't want to look back and think "Damn! If only I had capitalized on that 7 months of solo time!" Now that the deployment is over, I'd like to think I was very successful in this endeavor. I also share a deeper gratitude for my man, but let's get back to my coffee dilemma and how I believe eliminating it elevated my wellness routine.
Firstly, did you know that your genetic makeup determines if caffeine is beneficial to you? I know we've all read or heard about the conflicting evidence of consuming coffee, daily- "Coffee prevents cancer!" "Your daily cup of joe could be putting you at risk for a heart attack!"
So, which is it? Well, both...
It all comes down to the gene, CYP1A2. The CYP1A2 controls the enzyme, also called CYP1A2, in our bodies. How YOU metabolize caffeine comes down to which variant of the CYP1A2 gene your body possesses. In simpler terms, there are two types- slow or fast.
Slow metabolizers metabolize coffee 4x slower than fast metabolizers. This means caffeine seems to linger in the bodies of slow metabolizers, increasing risks of heart attack, disturbed sleep cycles, an increase in an acidic environment (cancers thrive on this!), to even your bowels becoming dependent on your coffee drinking habits. To be considered a slow metabolizer, you have at least one "slow" variant, there being two, which are inherited from none other than your parents.
Whereas fast metabolizers are able to bypass the above mentioned negative side effects with more ease, due to the caffeine exiting their system a lot more quickly. Believe it or not, coffee also contains a polyphenols and antioxidants, but you are still able to experience these benefits in smaller dosages (aka reducing your daily intake). And even if you are a fast metabolizer, you can still experience coffee's negative effects.
So how do you know which one you are? You could totally get your genes tested through a variety of companies...but do your research. I, however, don't think that's 100% necessary if you are just mindful of the effects it might cause on you, personally. Notice how you sleep, your mood, your overall energy state throughout the day. Do you experience that energy slump at 2pm? Because believe it or not, when I gave up coffee, I started to wake up at 6:30 am ON MY OWN. My sleep normalized. I stopped feeling tired all the damn time. Honestly, I don't need "the energy" it provides, I feel energized most of the time! If/when I consume coffee, it's for the taste!
Oh, and one last bonus to giving up your caffeine habit; if you experience anxiety, even if it's just on a small level, consuming copious amounts of caffeine could be a contributing factor! For me, my anxiety levels were horrible in traffic. I would get to the point of white knuckle gripping my steering wheel, literally about to pull my hair out. Now, I still find it annoying but no where near how I was previously.
So, maybe give it a whirl..eliminate your daily coffee drinking habit! Because caffeine is considered a drug, you might experience headaches or other side effects like constipation, but just wait it out and even try out this coffee-less latte recipe. It does contain a small supply of caffeine so it's perfect for weaning you off, but you also reap the overpowering benefits from the tea!
Set pot to the side for 2 minutes. This allows the ingredients to steep further.
Pour contents over tea strainer (you could also use a french press) into cup & ENJOY. This recipe tastes like fall in a cup and honestly you can do it with any of your favorite tea packets. Last week, I used Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spice Rooibos and it was just as great!
Despite it still being summer, my soup cravings are already kickin' in. Anyone else feel that way? So instead of ordering take-out pho (because I did that last week lol). Instead, I decided to place an order on Amazon Prime Now. Welcome to 2018! (If you haven't used this, you're seriously missing out. Groceries to your doorstep with NO delivery fee if you have a Prime account...game changer!) Anyhow, I decided to share the recipe on here because after posting a video of me transferring warm broth to my bowl of tofu and veggies, my DMs blew up!
Let me preface the recipe and instructions of this post by saying that I didn't look up any recipe until after I already made my own. The broth might need some tweaking on your part, because it was really just 30 minutes of me adding things in the pot til until the broth tasted decent haha. And secondly, I believe the best way to achieve the same yummy Pho taste comes down to your garnishes...so don't skimp on those!
WHAT YOU'LL NEED:
- Broth (For a vegan recipe, I used chicken-less chicken broth. You can use vegetable, as well)
- Lo Mein Noodles (your choice, again)
- 1 pack of frozen (or raw) stir fry vegetables
- ANY other veggies of your choice (We love mushrooms in this house!)
- Low Sodium Soy sauce
- Chili Sauce or Powder
- Ginger (powder or fresh)
- Garlic (powder or fresh)
- *Star Anise (I did not use this because like I said, I winged it, but all recipes I found after did mention this as a key ingredient!)
- Tofu (or any other choice of protein)
- Basil, Lime, Cilantro (CUSTOMIZE!)
If you don't want soggy tofu (who does?!), be sure to prep it by wrapping the block with paper towels, setting it on a plate and placing a heavy item on top of it. I use my cookbooks that I never use :) Keep it there for about an hour, if you can.
After the allotted drying time has passed, begin to preheat your oven to 420 degrees. Cut tofu into cubes and place on a greased pan, baking for 20 minutes. While that cooks...
PREP YOUR NOODS (hehe)
Follow the instructions on the packet. For Lo Mein, put water into a pot and wait for it to come to a boil. Place noodles into the pot and cook for 3 minutes once the water has returned to a boil.
PREP YOUR VEGGIES
To make it easy, I used frozen stir fry vegetables. Saute them with a little salt (the broth is pretty sodium packed), pepper, cinnamon, ground ginger, garlic, and some spice if you'd like. It's really up to you.
This is the easiest part. I used one container of my broth, added about ~2 cups of water, a few sprigs of cilantro, ginger, a little cinnamon (it won't dissolve), chili sauce, a little soy sauce, a squeeze of half a lime, and if you get the star anise, this is where it's supposed to be added. Let it heat up.
...Your tofu should be done at this point. If you want it even crispier, toss it in a frying pan with some olive oil or spray.
TIME TO EAT
Load your bowl with the tofu, noodles, and vegetables. Top with broth and add your garnishes like basil, cilantro, lime juice, and some sriracha if you want some more spice!
...and that's really it! I made 8 oz of noodles and I had enough for leftovers the next day. If you end up getting inspired to make this on your own, be sure to tag me @eclectic.wellness on Instagram so I can admire your beautiful, yummy bowl of homemade Pho!