Tuesday, January 31

Whole Latte Love

I was a regular coffee drinker long before the Starbucks craze swept the nation, err, planet Earth. I remember venturing to "J Street Cafe" (the local coffee shop in my hometown) with friends in high school. A true coffee shop in every sense of the word from the multi-pierced baristas (or were they simply "coffee makers" back then?) to the poetry readings and open mic nights.

My coffee habit continued all through college and, of course, law school. I actually took a 3 month hiatus from coffee after the Bar exam because I worried that I had a dependency issue(!) But the three months weren't as difficult as I feared so I gave myself permission to resume the habit. And I'm glad I did. It's much easier to lose weight without the extra calories contained in soda, juice, and even flavored waters. There are also a number of health benefits that make coffee a great choice for those who have chosen to get healthy.

Coffee is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, which increase cognitive function and protect against diseases of aging such as Type II diabetes, depression, stroke, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Studies also suggest coffee may help fight against breast, skin and prostate cancer.

Drinking two to three cups of caffeinated coffee daily may also lower the risk of depression in women by 15% and those who consume four or more cups daily have shown an even greater reduction in their risk of developing depression. Caffeine affects brain chemicals and is known to release mood-altering transmitters. (No wonder I'm so happy!)
The latte recipe below contains 25 calories (without the foam). And the brewed coffee contains 43. Enjoy!

3-4 oz espresso (or flavored coffee of your choice)
3-4 oz unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze
2 packets of stevia
Microwave for 45 seconds before adding foam

Brewed coffee:
Combine 10 tbsp ground coffee, 1 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg in a coffee filter and brew with 6 cups water
Mix together 1/2 cup steamed milk, 3 tbsp agave nectar and 1/8 tsp cocoa powder.
Pour coffee in a mug and top w/ milk mixture (makes 6 cups.)

A quick way to foam milk without fancy equipment is to put 1/4-1/2 cup of milk in the blender, then microwave for a minute or so (the heat will make it froth.)

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