The other day my husband and I were out running errands and we stopped by Starbucks for a caffeine fix. I ordered my usual – a tall soy late, to which I sprinkle in cinnamon and nutmeg but add no sugar, syrups or artificial sweeteners. He ordered his standard - a grande mocha made with skim milk (with the whipped cream), to which he adds several spoonfuls of sugar or at least a few packets of the blue, pink or yellow stuff.

After Starbucks, we hit the bank and as we were leaving, he accidently grabbed my cup and took a sip. He made a disgusted face and said, “Agh, how can you drink that?” I’m sure it did taste awful to him, because his taste buds are used to every drink being ultra sweet. Like Jack, I used to have to put lots of "stuff" in my coffee, but I gradually weaned myself away from it, because I didn’t want to spend my calories on refined sugar and I don’t believe in artificial sweeteners (in my book, the words artificial & nutrition don't go together).

Now, I’m so used to drinking my coffee (or tea) without sugar that I don’t even enjoy sweet versions. Whether it be butter, salt or sugar, when you use less little by little and gradually stop adding them to your food, you do adjust, and the old versions become unappealing.

According to the American Heart Association, women should limit "added" sugar to 100 calories/day and men should cap it at 150. That equals about 6 level tsp of table sugar for women and 9 for men. The average consumption of added sugar in US is 22 tsp/day and about 30% comes from sweetened drinks. To put that 22 tsp in perspective, think of a 4 lb bag of sugar from the supermarket - on average, each of us goes through one of those every 20 days! So are you up for the challenge of slashing your intake? Your morning cup of Joe can be the first step.

If you start your day with java and always sweeten it up, try this 3 step switch:

  1. All this week, use one less spoonful or packet of sweetener every day. Next week, drop down one more…keep going until it’s gone.
  2. Start adding more organic skim or soy milk (or hemp milk). They add some sweetness and by upping the ratio, you’ll also boost your intake of protein, calcium and other nutrients.
  3. Sprinkle in some spices like cinnamon and nutmeg – they  add flavor and cut the bitterness and they’ll also boost your antioxidant intake.    

So what do you think? Do you want to give it a try? If you do, please share your experience!

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