Have you ever noticed how good the food industry is at tricking us with clever marketing?
When Big Food gets caught using toxic ingredients, they rebrand. Or they find another word to use on the label for whatever ingredient was problematic.
The caffeine industry is no different. Clever campaigns are created to inject new life into old products – campaigns that sound novel and healthy to many consumers.
But don’t believe what you read. Caffeine is never healthy.
THE LATEST TREND = THE LATEST HEALTH TRAP
Just last week, Starbucks recently announced its new “Oleato” line of coffee drinks.
“Oleato” in Italian means “with oil.” Each drink in this new line will include a heaping tablespoon of olive oil.
According to the current CEO of Starbucks, the idea was born during a trip to Sicily, where it’s common practice to consume a tablespoon of olive oil per day for optimal health.
But consuming straight oil of any kind is never healthy, and combining it with coffee is a health disaster.
THE MARKETING MASQUERADE
Starbucks is capitalizing on an old idea that the “Mediterranean diet” is healthier than most diets worldwide. While most Europeans tend to eat less-processed food, especially in Italy, the Mediterranean diet is not inherently healthy.
This diet IS healthier than what is commonly called a “standard American diet,” full of highly-processed foods like hot dogs, artificial cheese products, fried foods, and packaged foods.
There are reasons people who eat foods without preservatives and chemicals are healthier, but that doesn’t mean their diets are actually promoting health.
Olive oil has gained an allure in recent years as one of the healthier oils for cooking and consumption. It’s certainly a better option than canola oil or generic vegetable oil blends, but its high-fat content should still give us pause.
Taking a shot of olive oil daily will tax your liver, burden your heart, weaken your brain, and upset your digestive process. High-fat diets are problematic and addictive, which is true regardless of the types of fats you are eating.
Read more in this blog about how fat impacts our heart and bodily health, or check out my recent Instagram post on how fats affect the brain and liver.
Caffeine is also a major detractor of health. Don’t believe the bought-and-paid-for studies out there that claim coffee’s antioxidants prevent degenerative disease. Coffee, matcha tea, kombucha, and energy drinks are unhealthy under any circumstances.
The added wrinkle here is that caffeine and large amounts of dietary fat are both highly addictive
I share more details on the true effects of caffeine in this blog post on how caffeine keeps us down.
Need help in kicking your habit? I’ve created a Recovering From Addiction master class just for you. Go through this 14-day support program at your own pace and empower yourself to make choices that may feel like a challenge now but that you know will support your health.
Thankfully, there are plenty of options for those of us who love to cozy up with a warm drink or who need a healthful boost of energy that won’t cause us to crash hours later.
Here are a few of my favorite coffee alternatives that actually promote health and boost energy naturally.
- Chaga is a healing powerhouse. Packed with vitamins and minerals, chaga’s betulinic acid kills cancer cells on contact. Chaga is a superstar immune booster and adrenal supporter as well. Chaga grows on the birch trees of the northern hemisphere and creates a symbiotic relationship with its host trees. This wild food passes its grounding, supportive nature onto us when we consume it. My favorite source for chaga powder is linked in my Amazon store.
Check out my Spicy Chaga-Reishi Tea Latte, Chaga Irish Coffee, Chaga Latte, and Elderberry Chaga Cider recipes for delicious inspiration.
- Chicory is a perfect replacement for coffee as it has a similar taste and texture when prepared. Chicory even offers a similar intoxicating aroma to help coffee lovers make the switch to this healing, not harmful, beverage. Chicory improves digestion, supports the adrenal glands, and purifies the blood and liver. It can also help to prevent gallstones, kidney stones, and what are referred to as liver stones by helping the body to process fatty meals. Chicory can also help to reduce water retention, swelling, and bloating throughout the body. If you haven’t tried roasted chicory as a comforting drink on a cold day, you will thank me and soon forget that urge for coffee. Find my favorite brands here and here.
- Fresh ginger tea is one of my favorite energy-boosting drinks. Ginger is a powerful anti-viral and anti-bacterial that also combats the harmful effects of stress throughout the body. Ginger offers healing benefits to the liver, relieves menstrual cramps, and soothes nausea and heartburn. Ginger has a unique form of bioavailable vitamin C for an extra immune boost and also expels old fat cells from the liver. Ginger tea is a wonderful winter drink (try my Medicinal Ginger Tea recipe!), and freshly grated ginger steeped in water in the fridge with added lemon juice and raw honey is a refreshing and healing summer option.
- Herbal tea is a classic coffee alternative, but you may not know which herbal teas offer a true energy boost (as opposed to the false, destructive energy that caffeine tricks our bodies into experiencing). Licorice root offers benefits as a superpowered antiviral, but it’s also your best friend if you’re looking for a natural energy boost. Licorice acts like a battery recharge for the adrenal glands, which are hugely responsible for energy levels, focus, and stamina. Lemon balm is calming to the nervous system, but it won’t make you sleepy. Its sky-high levels of antioxidants and phytochemical compound, terpene, will leave you feeling stable, strong, and capable. Rosemary tea made by steeping fresh rosemary leaves in hot water improves circulation and focus as its effects deliver more oxygen to the brain. Rosemary also helps to relieve depression, anxiety, and sadness and manage stress.
There are endless life-giving herbs to choose from, and we are fortunate to have such easy access to many of them. Look no further than my Medicinal Tea recipe for a blend that will stabilize and ground you for a healing boost that caffeine could never match.
Next time you’re tempted to pull up to the drive-thru to give the latest marketing ploy from Big Food a try, try to remember that the biggest game these industries play is repackaging old lies as shiny and new.
No global cafe chain has ever blended olive oil and coffee before. That doesn’t make the trend healthy, exciting, or even new.
We’ve had “experts” telling us to combine coffee with butter for years, and nobody has ever gotten healthier from drinking it.
Olive oil instead of butter sounds healthier, but it’s similar to eating farm-raised fish instead of farm-raised chicken – it will still cause problems in the long run.
Stick to what’s been true for thousands of years: the healing and abundant gifts of Nature. There are reasons native cultures consumed lemon balm and licorice root, just as we do today.
Herbs and wild foods may not be trendy, and the food industry may never spend millions to market what they can’t patent, but they are timeless in the truth of their ability to support our health.
Avoid the trendy traps and marketing gimmicks by building a relationship with these healthy alternatives. Your body, mind, and soul will thank you, and you may be surprised at how satisfying they can be.
To your health and peace,