The Coffee Dilemma and Apple Carrot Muffins

Can you remember the first time you drank a cup of coffee?

I was in high school at the Mr. Mugs coffee shop in my hometown. I can remember being completely wired in English class. Over the years of sipping java, my palate has developed to be quite picky in the coffee bean department (medium roast from Guatemala, fair trade, organic to be precise). It was a huge disappointment when I learned some of the negative health effects of coffee. I believe in trying to find balance when it comes to indulging in this beverage. I find joy in sitting with my morning beverage while reading the newspaper on the deck. Therefore, I have not been keen to give it up completely but I don’t want to overuse it, knowing it is not the best for my health.

What are some of the ill health effects of coffee?

1. It is a diuretic: the chemical constituents in coffee make you urinate more. “What’s the big deal?”, you ask. The more you urinate, the more water you lose which ultimately dehydrates you if you don’t replenish your water intake. I have read that for every cup of coffee you need to drink 2 extra glasses of water because of the water loss.  Coffee disturbs the absorption of essential vitamins and minerals and there is a loss of nutrients upon urination.
2. It overstimulates adrenal glands: coffee stimulates the production of cortisone and adrenaline in the body (making us feel more alert and energized) which will also constrict blood vessels, increase blood pressure and the heart rate. This over-stimulation of the adrenals can ultimately make you feel less energized and eventually make it very difficult for the body to process stress hormones.

Are you considering cutting down on coffee or cutting it out completely?

  • If you consume several cups of coffee a day try cutting down slowly. For example, if you are drinking 3 cups a day, try reducing that to 2 cups for the first week and then try just 1 cup per day the week after that.
  • Some people may find they like the act of sipping something hot. Instead of having coffee, try something without caffeine. My favourite is a cup of herbal tea from Tealish on Queen St. West in Toronto. Find something that you really enjoy.
  • For those that like the taste of coffee- I found a coffee substitute called Teeccino. It is an herbal formula with roasted carob, barley, chicory, dates, orange peel, almonds and figs. I tried it today for the first time and the results were so-so . Although, Sarah absolutely loves it!!  So, it is all personal preference.
And with all this coffee talk I thought I would share a delicious muffin recipe from my good friend Kristen. This recipe takes a bit of effort but the results are well worth it.
Gluten-free, refined sugar free and high in fibre.
Enjoy with a warming beverage of your choice!  Try out some home-made hot chocolate (sweetened with dates)

Apple Carrot Muffins

By Kristen Bustamante (refined to be sugar free)


2 C brown rice flour 1/2 tsp baking soda 2 tsp baking powder 2 tsp cinnamon 2 tbsp ground flax seeds 1/2 tsp salt
2 ripe bananas and 12 pitted chopped dates. Put in a large bowl and add: 1 1/2 9 grated carrot 1 C grated apple 3 eggs 1/3 C oil (grapeseed or coconut) 1/2 C cooked quinoa


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees and grease muffin tins.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients and set aside:
  3. In a food processor mix together bananas and dates.  Put in a large bowl and add the other wet ingredients.
  4. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet bowl. Stir until mixed then spoon into the greased muffin tins. You can sprinkle with sunflower or pumpkin seeds if you wish.
  5. Bake for 18-20 minutes until golden brown on top.