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  • Is Coffee Good For You? Let's See What Ayurveda Has To Say!

    Is Coffee Good For You? Let's See What Ayurveda Has To Say!

    To coffee or not to coffee… What does Ayurveda have to say about coffee? That’s a great question!

    I’m all about Ayurveda. So you’re probably wondering why I’m talking about coffee instead of tea!

    Coffee is one of the things I get asked about the MOST – especially by my private clients and RAD Cleansers. How does coffee fit into the Ayurvedic lifestyle? Or does it?

    Like everything in the health food world, there’s controversy over whether or not something’s really good for you.

    When it comes to coffee (the true love of so many), there are schools of thought that say it’s bad. Yet quite a few that celebrate its merits.

    I’m one of those people who believe there’s a time and place for everything edible. In fact, if you take a look at my Ayurveda Shop [insert link:], you’ll find lots of amazing coffee and delicious herbal coffee alternatives!

    Enjoy this gift from me to YOU! 15% off anything in my Ayurveda Shop! 

    Use coupon code NURTURE15

    When it comes to food in general, I don’t believe in good or bad. Every food carries a gift and has a purpose… It’s not about right or wrong.

    I don’t believe in rigid thinking around food. Mostly because that’s a set up for shame and guilt. Who needs that?

    What matters is how the food you eat makes you feel. That’s what makes food medicine!

    A better question to ask is, “Do I make smart choices for myself and my body? Do I tune in and find out if my choices match up with what I need to feel my best right NOW?”

    When we look at food from that perspective, coffee just IS.

    Can I get a little whoop whoop?!

    Ayurveda and Coffee

    From an Ayurvedic perspective…

    Taste is at the root of Ayurvedic nutrition.

    Black coffee is bitter. Typically, the bitter taste has an immediate light and cooling effect on the body. We call that “virya.

    Bitter foods are least beneficial for someone who’s already light, cold,  and dry. When someone’s naturally sensitive or anxious (like all you Vata predominant folks), a bitter food that’s also a stimulant is not helpful.

    The stimulating nature of coffee can send Vata’s already paper-thin nervous system through the roof. And quickly create issues like insomnia, exhaustion, memory loss and an inability to slow down or feel calm.

    The long-term, post-digestive effect food has on our body is what we call “vipak.”Coffee’s effect is pungent and warming. So, while people who run hot might crave coffee (all you Pitta predominant folks) and swear by its power to make them more productive in life… it’s actually making them too hot, dry and acidic.

    Being overheated for long stretches of time is no bueno. It can turn into inflammation, joint pain, dehydration, and loss of vital nutrition. Plus, I haven’t even mentioned yet Pitta’s love for everything pleasure-related…

    Coffee releases dopamine – a pleasure hormone – that’s addictive.

    As Dr. Axe points out, “when the brain is bathed in dopamine, it never forgets the source.” So, I’m sorry, Pitta! Coffee isn’t great for you either.

    You are probably thinking: ” Oh, no!”  But before you get bummed out… hold on. There’s hope!

    Pitta-predominant people need to cool down. Hot and steamy constitutions can add a cool, brisk, lubricating fat like coconut oil to coffee. That one shift makes coffee more suitable for Pitta’s propensity for heat.

    Vata constitutions run cold and dry – so adding a warm, lubricating oil like ghee serves them best.

    In either case, adding fat is a game changer! Adding fat to coffee helps slow absorption. It stabilizes blood sugar and does wonder for your digestive tract.

    Fat serves as a buffer to the typical caffeine rush that, let’s face it, taxes your adrenals. It even helps your body absorb cancer-fighting antioxidants – something high-quality coffee has a lot of.

    And one more thing about Ayurveda’s perspective on coffee

    If you want to use food as medicine, add a pinch of cardamom, turmeric or cinnamon to your coffee. They add anti-inflammatory, alkaline-forming, digestive support. Not to mention fragrant flavor and a delicious “je ne sais pas” to your drink.

    Now you may be wondering. In Ayurveda, is black coffee beneficial for anyone?

    The answer is yes and the winner is Kapha! The dosha coffee serves is heavy, wet, dense, cool Kapha. Coffee is their drink. The warm and bitter taste helps Kapha clear phlegm and can help get them moving in the morning.

    Yet even for slow-moving Kapha, who can handle quite a bit of dry heat, keep the dose to no more than 2 cups per day. If you can substitute traditional roasted coffee with cold-brew or espresso, even better! Espresso and cold-brewed coffee is far less acidic.

    Note: Kapha rules the winter season. So the coldest and dampest time of year is the BEST time for everyone to enjoy the occasional cup of joe.

    I must have you jonesing for a mug of your own by now!

    Try one of the Ayurvedic recipes I created for you below. Remember the coffee-fat-spice combinations I mentioned before? They taste best when you blend them in a blender. Seriously! I highly recommend. It makes a difference in flavor, texture, and is for your pleasure.

    Talya’s Ayurvedic Cup of Joe


    Preparation Time: 10 minutes

    Yield: 1 (10-ounce) serving

    8-ounces hot Black Coffee – use cold-brew coffee or espresso whenever possible

    2-ounces full-fat organic Cream, Half and Half or Coconut Milk (omit for Kapha)

    2 Tablespoons organic Ghee, Coconut Oil, High-Quality MCT Oil, Grass-Fed Butter or a combination of more than one (use 1 Tbs for Kapha)

    1/4 teaspoon ground Cardamom, Turmeric or Cinnamon

    Pour all the ingredients into a blender. Process for 20 seconds and enjoy in your favorite mug. Extra points if you drink it sitting outside in nature!

    Caffeine-Free Café Latte


    Preparation Time: 10 minutes

    Yield: 1 (1-cup) serving

    Although I enjoy a very occasional cup of coffee myself, this is my personal go-to morning drink. By no means is it a complete substitute for coffee. However, it evokes the familiar warmth and aroma of coffee without stressing your adrenals or your nervous system. It encourages healthy blood flow and naturally elevates your energy.

    1 cup Hot Water

    2 teaspoons Dandy Blend or another instant herbal coffee substitute

    2 Tablespoons full-fat organic Cream, Half and Half, Coconut Milk or Almond Milk (use almond milk for Kapha)

    1 teaspoon organic Ghee*, Coconut Oil or Grass-Fed Butter (optional)

    1 teaspoon Maple Syrup, Brown Rice Syrup or Coconut Nectar

    1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger or Cardamom (use Cardamom for Pitta)

    Bring the water to a boil and pour it into your favorite cup with the remaining ingredients.

    *Available in my SHOP

    Maca Love Tea


    Preparation Time: 5 minutes

    Serves One

    Adaptogens are powerful. They energize your body, bolster your immunity, and support your kidneys and adrenals in ways other “energy drinks” do not. Warm and grounding, maca is one adaptogenic herb that makes an excellent morning caffeine substitute. Because it will give you an energy boost, drink this before 12 p.m.

    12-ounces hot water

    2 to 4 Tablespoons whole or plant-based milk

    2 teaspoons MacaForce* by Healthforce Superfoods or Macaccino by Organic Traditions

    Pinch cardamom, cinnamon or ground ginger, optional

    Maple syrup, raw honey or stevia to taste

    *Available in my SHOP

    Combine everything in your favorite mug and enjoy!

    But wait… there’s so much more!

    Now that you've read this far, you might be wondering – where can you find GREAT herbal coffee substitutes and coffee alternatives? Here’s my list of faves and why!

    Dandy Blend

    Dandy Blend is ah-mazing. It’s smooth, warm and smells incredible. Reminiscent of the aroma we all love when it comes to coffee, Dandy Blend has a similar texture as well. I love that it’s instant – when you add it to hot water or warm milk, it dissolves.

    Healthwise, it has an alkalizing effect on the body. It’s kosher, non-GMO and made from a combination of roasted barley, rye, chicory root, dandelion root, and sugar beetroot extract. Although it contains extracts of barley and rye, it’s gluten-free. Here’s an excerpt from their website:

    “Gluten and Gliadin proteins are not water-soluble. That means that all gluten and gliadin are left behind in the grounds, and get thrown away (usually composted). We test for gluten and gliadin using the ELIZA tests accepted by FDA and Health Canada, the results always show that there is less than 5 ppm of both in Dandy Blend. Standards in both countries are that 20 ppm or less is gluten-free.”

    They even offer a copy of the test results on their website! All around, they get 5 stars from me and I drink it most days.

    When it feels too warming or stimulating, I add ground peppermint or licorice root powder to balance it out.

    Crio Bru

    Crio Bru is a brewed cacao that tastes like coffee. Whaaat? If you’re anything like me, you’re already saying, “yes please!”

    It’s brewed the same way you brew coffee – in a coffee maker or French press. Here’s an excerpt from their website:

    “Roasted, ground, and brewed just like coffee, brewed cacao has the amazing flavor and aroma of pure dark chocolate. While it brews like coffee, you get the benefits of cacao – a superfood prized by ancient cultures for its energizing and restorative properties.”

    Crio Bru’s brewed cacao beverage also has [naturally occurring] theobromine, a naturally occurring stimulant found in cacao that can be longer-lasting, milder and more pleasant than caffeine.”

    Do I need to say more? Anyone offering me chocolate for breakfast has my vote!

    When I make Crio Bru in a French press, it’s easy to add other herbs and spices I want to be infused in my morning cup. Sometimes I add ginger root, licorice root, cinnamon sticks or mint – just to mix things up, or because I want to add something “medicinal.”

    Once it’s brewed, I might even stir in a teaspoon of ground ashwagandha, maca root powder or even a bit of chai spice. Love, love, love Crio Bru.

    Rasa Koffee

    Here’s what RASA Koffee says will happen to you when you drink a cup of their adaptogenic herbal coffee alternative. (I must say I agree.) You’ll:

    • Upgrade your coffee ritual
    • Enjoy calm energy
    • Enhance mental clarity
    • Boost stress resilience
    • Be more awesome!

    Rasa contains no gluten, no caffeine, no sugar, and no coffee. According to their package, they don’t add flavors or unicorn hearts either. Instead, they pack it with these great tasting, health-enhancing herbs, and adaptogens:

    chicory root – a wonderful herb for digestion and elimination

    burdock root – an incredible purifying herb, so good for liver and blood

    dandelion root – a treasured liver detoxing coffee substitute

    eleuthero – an amazing herb for energy

    shatavari root – a yin-building Ayurvedic tonic herb for nourishment

    he shou wu – a beauty-enhancing herb for longevity

    codonopsis – a beautiful plant for increasing vitality

    ashwagandha – a rejuvenating Ayurvedic herb for calm and grounding

    chaga mycelium – a powerful immune-boosting medicinal mushroom

    rhodiola root – a renowned herb for brain power and endurance

    cinnamon – my go-to spice for blood sugar balance and improved circulation

    reishi mushroom – another immune-building medicinal mushroom superstar 

    There is so much I love about this list of ingredients… I can hardly stand it!

    Starting your day with a power-packed line up like this… there can be no stopping you now! There are few better ways to feed and nourish your adrenals while still getting all the energy you desire from a cup of joe.

    Rasa Koffee provides lasting energy that actually nourishes your body. Plus it tastes so good. Use code “AYURVEDAWITHTALYA” to get 20% off your first order with RASA. It's also available at a discount in my SHOP. 

    Brew it in all the same ways you’d brew coffee. I opt for the French press in my kitchen. But you can make it in a coffee maker or stovetop espresso maker.

    In the fall, I add a little organic eggnog (my favorite food) after it brews and I’m good to go!

    Warming Teas and Spice Blends

    What are most of us looking for when we go for that cuppa? ENERGY!

    But really… caffeine is not the only way to get your blood moving. That’s why exercise is so good for you and feels so amazing.

    When it comes to pumping blood, sometimes all you need are a handful of warming spices running through your veins. Consider a cup of hot ginger tea – or adding one of these spice mixes to whatever hot drink you enjoy – the next time you’re looking for a vitality boost.

    Warming spices can motivate you like nobody’s business. Why do you think people who run hot are always so fired up about life and all they get to DO? They’re already warm and spicy. Now you can be, too.

    Fresh Ginger Tea

    VK-P+, slightly

    Preparation Time: 20 minutes

    Serves Two

    4 cups water

    2-inches fresh ginger root, sliced thin

    Bring the water and ginger root to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, steep for 10 minutes, strain, and drink. Once it cools down, you can drink it throughout the day and use it as a base for instant herbal coffee alternatives. Fresh Ginger Tea is a tonic for warmth, digestive regulation, and vigor.

    Talya’s Chai Spice Mix


    Preparation Time: 5 minutes

    Yield: About 1/2 Cup

    3 Tablespoons dried ginger powder

    2 1/2 Tablespoons ground cinnamon

    2 Tablespoons ground cardamom

    1 ½ teaspoon ground clove or allspice

    1 teaspoon ground black pepper

    1/2 teaspoon Celtic sea salt, optional

    Combine all the spices in a clean, dry jar and mix well. Add ½ teaspoon of this mix to any hot drink, a coffee substitute. You can even stir it into hot water, add a little milk and sweetener and be on your way.

    Warming Tea and Spice Mix


    Preparation Time: 5 minutes

    Yield: About 1.5 cups spice mix

    ½ cup ground cinnamon

    ½ cup ground ginger root

    ¼ cup ground bilva powder (an Ayurvedic herb)

    ¼ cup licorice root powder

    ¼ cup ground cardamom

    Dash vanilla bean powder, optional

    Combine all the spices in a clean, dry jar and mix well. Add ½ teaspoon of this mix to any hot drink, a coffee substitute. You can even stir it into hot water, add a little milk and sweetener and be on your way. For extra warmth and digestive support, I love to add this mix to Dandy Blend and Crio Bru.

    This warming tea doubles as a “sweet” spice mix you can add to yogurt, oatmeal, pancakes, granola, raw desserts, and other sweet things.

    So, Ayurveda and coffee… what do you think?! 

    Share your experience of this blog by joining my free Ayurveda Every Day Facebook group! I’d love to meet you!

    Love, Talya