Looking for a Coffee Alternative? Try Brewed Cocoa Beans

I had been reading a lot about the pros and cons of coffee and wondering if I should try to cut back. Then I got some blood work back from my naturopath and dairy, gluten and coffee showed up as my biggest problems. So I soon switched to chai which is great and all, but definitely not the same. There’s some good information about the possible problems with coffee in this article from Dr. Mark Hyman, author of 8 NYT Bestselling books:

Here are a few of his 10 reasons why you might want to quit coffee for optimal health (for the fill article click here):

  1. The caffeine in coffee increases catecholamines, your stress hormones. The stress response elicits cortisol and increases insulin. Insulin increases inflammation and this makes you feel lousy.
  2. Habituation to caffeine decreases insulin sensitivity, making it difficult for your cells to respond appropriately to blood sugar. High blood sugar levels lead to arterial deterioration and increased risk of mortality related to cardiovascular disease.
  3. The acidity of coffee is associated with digestive discomfort, indigestion, heartburn, GERD and dysbiosis (imbalances in your gut flora).
  4. Addiction is often an issue with coffee drinkers and makes it really difficult to rely on the body’s natural source of energy.  
  5. 5-HIA, an organic acid and component of the neurotransmitter serotonin (the happy chemical) seen in the urine tends to be elevated in coffee drinkers which means they may be at risk for lower levels of serotonin synthesis in the brain. Serotonin is necessary for normal sleep, bowel function, mood, and energy levels. It is a vicious cycle as caffeine can disrupt sleep and promote anxiety and depression. 
  6. Elevated urinary excretion of important minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium have been noted in coffee drinkers. An imbalance in your electrolyte status can lead to serious systemic complications.
  7. Constituents in coffee can interfere with normal drug metabolism and detoxification in the liver making it difficult to regulate the normal detoxification process in the liver. Another issue to be aware of with coffee intake is how certain medications such as levothyroxine (thyroid) as well as tricyclic antidepressants are poorly absorbed, making symptoms curiously worse for patients.

So, we were in Piece, Love and Chocolate a few weeks ago and came upon Crio Brü Maya flavor. It’s like coffee but it’s brewed cocoa beans. The cocoa (aka cacao) bean is high in antioxidants and minerals and is a bit stimulating like coffee. This stuff is awesome! Even Eric loves it and he never liked coffee. 

Here are some interesting facts about cocoa beans:

  • Brewing-Crio-BruCocoa (or cacao) contains the highest concentration of antioxidants of any food in the world, including polyphenols, catechins, and epicatechins. By weight, cocoa has more antioxidants than red wine, blueberries, açai, pomegranates, and goji berries combined. To see the ORAC USDA chart, go here. Antioxidants fight oxidative damage and free radicals in the body. 
  • Cocoa beans contain a natural stimulant called theobromine that is a relative of caffeine. Cocoa beans do not have caffeine. Unlike caffeine, theobromine gives you a noticeable increase in energy without making you feel nervous or jittery. Theobromine is gentle, mild, has a slow onset, is longer lasting and non-addictive, whereas caffeine can be intense, strong, fast acting, shorter lived and addictive. 
  • Cocoa has more magnesium than any other food, which supports the heart, aids digestion, balances brain chemistry and builds strong bones. Over 80% of Americans are chronically magnesium deficient. Cocoa is also a good source of manganese, copper and chromium (which promotes healthy blood sugar).
  • Crio Brü is a 100% gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, fat free food.

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You can read more about it here and also find tips on brewing. You can brew it in a french press or in a drip coffee maker. With coffee, I always wanted to add milk but this tastes great plain. It also doesn’t give me the jitters or make me sweat if I drink more than one cup. We have some samples at the front desk. Please let us know what you think because we may start carrying it in the retail area.