Monday, November 22, 2010

One lump or two?

I like coffee.

Let me put that another way: I like my skim dark chocolate mocha from Caribou, large please.

I could have one every day, if only it didn't cost me $4.17 with tax and 10 pounds of extra baggage in the shape of saddlebags. So I settle for a home or office-brewed cup of Caribou with some sugar and cream put in it for good measure.

And then I read an article that talked about the bad things sugar does to your body, and more specifically to your brain function. Researchers have affirmed time and again that people who have refined sugar as a regular part of their diet have more problems focusing and keeping a train of thought than those who don't, along with a whole host of other nasty things that sugar does to your body.

While I'm not a junk food addict, I start my day - every day - with a cup of coffee with some sugar tossed in for good measure. I haven't NOT started a day that way in probably 25 years. (For those of you doing the math, this means I began drinking coffee regularly in my teens. The big birthday is NEXT year, remember?) what if I tried to kick the sugar in the coffee habit?

So one morning at work I decided to fix myself a cup of coffee with just creamer in it, no sugar. It didn't taste the best, that's for sure, and I didn't enjoy it as much as I usually enjoy my coffee. But I told myself I was going to try this out for a while, so I left it the way it was.

An hour later I had my regularly scheduled meeting with my boss, and it was a good meeting. It was good in that I was focused on the conversation. I listened intently. I followed our discussion more closely and was more engaged. I felt clear-headed.

I hadn't realized I hadn't been feeling clear-headed up until this point.

Think about that -- 25 years of starting every single day with a kick of sugar. My clarity of thought was normal to me, but obviously not what it could be.

I kept this habit up for a week, then went back to sugar in my coffee. The coffee just wasn't worth drinking to me if it didn't taste the way I wanted.

And then suddenly I switched back. The benefits of being in-the-moment with my family, at work and in my life outweighed the taste factor. It's been three weeks now, and I officially enjoy my sugarless coffee in the morning.

And no, I am not planning on cutting out the creamer next. I figure this is enough of a step for me. For now.


  1. Now that is really interesting. I have never put sugar in my coffee, and now I never will...


  2. Good for you! I add splenda to my coffee every morning, which my sister has warned me is like the devil. However, I've started to switch to agave nectar, sort of like honey but sweetens coffee like sugar. Probably not perfect, but better than refined sugar or a processed substitute I guess.

  3. When I was a kid I always had some coffee in my cream and sugar. I don't know if you recall the story of my Dad and I coming back from the Lower Peninsula and the ham sandwiches and black coffee. I've written about it. The coffee was black, I never went back. I think coffee black is and acquired taste, but I wouldn't drink it any other way. Tea, now that's a different matter.

  4. I don't do sugar in my coffee, either, but I get (or make) latte's. I think the milk helps to sweeten the drink up a bit naturally.