Since I have begun seeing clients as a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, I am so grateful for my longstanding experiences with and my love for food. I am constantly asked the question “If I shouldn’t eat this, then what can I have, instead?”. I love having answers to this question.
I firmly believe that changing diet and lifestyle has to come from a place of both education and confidence. If I meet with a new client and tell them to stop drinking several Cokes daily, but don’t explain why, I can’t really expect them to want to make this change. Why would they? They are both chemically and emotionally attached and possibly even addicted. If I can take the time to explain the effects that the high levels of sugar are doing to their insulin resistance, if I can talk through the reasons why high fructose corn syrup is terrifying and explain the affects this one drink can have on their blood sugar, digestion, mineral absorption and so on, I have a much better chance of getting them on board for the long haul.
Late last year my sister-in-law Carrie and her family came to stay with us in California from Kentucky. Her husband, my brother-in-law, Troy still had his daily morning coffee, which we have dubbed the “Troy Latte”, as this drink is in a league of it’s own. Troy likes his coffee pretty heavy on the cream, which hey, I get it dude, to each their own. (But also you guys, his morning coffee is white) My issue wasn’t in how he takes his coffee, but more in his preferred choice of cream. I try so hard not to be a know-it-all and bombard people with my thoughts on food, but there are just some things I cannot keep quiet about. This is the ingredient list on this well-known, brand name french vanilla non-dairy coffee creamer that Troy loves:
WATER, SUGAR, VEGETABLE OIL (HIGH OLEIC SOYBEAN AND/OR HIGH OLEIC CANOLA), AND LESS THAN 2% OF SODIUM CASEINATE (A MILK DERIVATIVE)**, MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES, DIPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, NATURAL AND ARTIFICIAL F L AVORS, CELLULOSE GEL , CELLULOSE GUM, CARRAGEENAN. CONTAINS: A MILK DERIVATIVE.
WATER, CORN SYRUP**, VEGETABLE OIL (HIGH OLEIC SOYBEAN AND/OR PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN AND/OR PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED COTTONSEED), AND LESS THAN 2% OF SODIUM CASEINATE (A MILK DERIVATIVE)***, MALTODEXTRIN, MONO- AND DIGLYCERIDES, DIPOTASSIUM PHOSPHATE, NATURAL & ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS, COLOR ADDED, CARRAGEENAN, SUCRALOSE, ACESULFAME POTASSIUM (NON-NUTRITIVE SWEETENER). CONTAINS: A MILK DERIVATIVE.
Goodness!! Wow – where or where do I even start? These ingredients lists are terrifying, at best. Of course, I tried for like 2 days to not say anything, but like a child holding in a surprise, I just couldn’t do it anymore, I burst open at the seams and had to say something. But, I couldn’t just tell him how horrid vegetable oils are, especially hydrogenated oils and how they are literally poison to our body. It wasn’t enough to tell him he was probably consuming more than a day’s worth of sugar in just his one morning cup of coffee or that all of the ingredients listed that we cannot pronounce, are barely even food. I did all that and then I followed it up by making him some homemade creamer instead. Because I needed him to see it was still possible to have a real food version of what you love, with just a little extra work.
This creamer takes but 10 minutes to make, probably even less and you’re left with a tasty coffee treat. The best part is, since you are making it yourself, you can customize the level of sweetness, if you want any at all. When I make this for us, I make it without sweetener, but a little honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, stevia, monk fruit extract (or other natural sweetener of your choice) can go a long way. Also optional, the addition of just a little gelatin to thicken the creamer, which I really like.
Using the inside seeds from real, whole vanilla beans is my personal choice to maximize the vanilla flavor and bring that signature “French Vanilla” taste. Vanilla bean paste or extract will also work, as well. Additionally, if you like other flavors like hazelnut, almond or mint, use all-natural infused extracts at the end after you remove the creamer from the heat. You can also add pumpkin spice or cocoa to the mixture before heating.
PLEASE NOTE: Heating is needed ONLY for adding the gelatin. If you are NOT adding the gelatin, feel free to simply add the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. That’s it.
- 1 cup raw or grass-fed heavy cream
- 1 cup raw or grass-fed full fat milk
- 1 cup almond or cashew milk (or other non-dairy milk, for nut-free hemp milk is great)
- 1 cup coconut milk (I like this brand, the light or the regular)
- 2 vanilla beans scraped (or vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract)
- pinch of sea salt
- Sweetener: 2 tablespoons honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, 1 date, a little stevia, monk fruit extract, etc (use more or less of each, depending on your preference)
- Thickener: ¼ teaspoon Vital Proteins grass fed gelatin (with the green lid)
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat add the milk and cream or non-dairy milks, the vanilla bean seeds and a pinch of sea salt. Add your sweetener now, if you are using.
- Whisk well to combine and continue to whisk as it heats. Bring to a barely bubbling simmer, turn the heat down to low and let it infuse for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the gelatin, if using. Whisk really well to incorporate and remove any lumps. Let cool.
- If not adding the gelatin, there is no need to heat. Simply add all the ingredients to a blender, and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Pour into a glass serving container or mason jar, cover tightly and place into the fridge, it will thicken as it cools. Keeps up to a week.
You can also just use 2 cups of plain half and half (high quality, organic and grass-fed is recommend, of course)
You can use all coconut milk if you prefer, but I find the coconut flavor can be a tad overpowering
Hemp milk is also a really great option in place of the nut milk
use hemp milk or all coconut milk and skip on sweetener
If using vanilla extract (or other flavor extracts), add at the end, after you have taken the creamer off the heat.