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Showing posts from 2014

Drinking *Caffeinated* Coffee in Martha’s Vineyard

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Mid-August in Martha’s Vineyard is as good a time as any to drink coffee. And there are lots of good options to find good coffee. Two of the best known are Mocha Mott’s, with locations in Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs and the Black Dog Bakery and Café in Vineyard Haven. I love them both.


Black Dog vs. Mocha Mott’s I like Mocha Mott’s for its reliability and I *love* their peanut butter cookies (When I feel guilty about eating them I focus on the high levels of protein compared with chocolate chip cookies).  I like Black Dog coffee for its smooth taste and dark roast. It’s mellow….almost better to drink it on an overcast day, rather than a sunny, let’s-hit-the-beach day. Black dog coffee always tastes like summer turning into fall. It reminds me of trees with a few brightly colored leaves and pullover earth-tone sweaters. It’s good coffee to drink if you have to get some work done.  I have been enjoying both Mocha Motts and Black Dog coffees for years and don’t really have a preference…

Get Fitter this Summer with Pre-exercise Caffeine---and the Joy of Trying New Coffee Places on Vacation

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OK, this notion of getting the perfect summer body is cliché. But so what? A lot of people are into working out and it can be lots of fun. Everyone knows (and appreciates) the benefits of working out, but did you know that drinking coffee before exercise makes you burn 15% more calories hours after exercise. It’s basically a two-for one proposition: post-exercise health benefits and increased metabolism plus a metabolic boost from coffee. 
The precise numbers can be found in this paper from the June 2014 issue of the International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. If you like to parse numbers and enjoy a good quantitative read, you will really enjoy this paper; however, the big takeaway is coffee before exercise augments exercise-related benefits.       

 Have you started vacationing or taking mini-vacations yet? The season is definitely ramping up, and it feels great. Several years ago, when we were in Mystic, Connecticut on a mini-vacation, I went to Bartleby’s C…

Can one day of Gorilla Coffee in Montclair lead to a lifetime of love?

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By the time I got to Whole Foods this afternoon, I was on the brink of exhaustion (though it was a happy exhaustion since I had just completed an hour of power yoga and half an hour of cardio).  I had been up working during the early morning hours, gotten kids to schools, worked out---and gone for a walk. I had already consumed at least 5 cups of coffee....

So when Rhiannon Corby, a representative from Gorilla Coffee, a microbrewery with 2 locations in Park Slope, Brooklyn, offered me coffee, I actually wavered briefly. Very briefly. "Sure," I said. I tried a small cup of Ixil A' Achimbal single-source Guatemalan coffee--a coffee grown by a collective of coffee farmers in the rugged western highlands.



My response: It gave me a sense of completeness. A satisfaction that even I could not articulate. Drinking this tiny cup of Gorilla Coffee made me feel more alive and gave my life in that moment brighter overtones. I felt like a craving was being fulfilled and stimulated at…

Suddenly Sunny! Coffee Decreases the Risk of Skin Cancer (and More)

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Happy spring! The weather has morphed from on-the-verge-of-one-more blizzard to feels-like-summer-during-the-daytime weather. The sun is shining. There are even a few people sporting sun visors and Vera Bradley sun hats.


Spring means renewal---and a desire to get away from the same old, same old.  For years, I’ve been ruminating on the many benefits of coffee. The fact that coffee is the #1 source of antioxidants in the American diet (we absorb the antioxidants in coffee more readily than fruits and vegetables) and that it significantly decreases the risk of Parkinson’s disease, depression, liver disease and type 2 diabetes. It also makes you smarter, less depressed and a better athlete. 


We know that: NEXT!
So here’s the news---speaking of fashionable, uber-chic visors and sun hats: Drinking coffee decreases the risk of skin cancer in women, according to a study from Harvard University. In a 20-year-study of 112,000 people, women who drunk at least 3 cups of coffee per day were much les…

The 5th Annual MLK Coffee Drinking Party: Civil Rights and Coffee--Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (What a Party it Was!)

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On Sunday, January 19th, 2014, we hosted our 5th annual MLK Coffee-Drinking Party. (MLK, Jr. loved coffee and was a regular coffee-drinker.) Five years seems like a long time, certainly long enough to create a tradition in a community like Montclair, New Jersey. But when you think about long-standing traditions, you should think about coffee. Coffee has been part of the human experience since the 9th century when, according to the legend, an Ethiopian goat-herder “discovered” coffee beans after observing his goats eating them and becoming unusually active. By the 1400’s, coffee beans were being cultivated and roasted on the Arabian Peninsula, and by the 1600’s, regular coffee consumption was part of life in Europe and New York.



Coffee and Civil Rights—Two Old, Cherished Traditions
Now think about Civil Rights. Think beyond the United States for a moment. What are civil rights? Civil rights are secular human rights that guarantee legal, social and economic equality. The quest for thes…

A Red-Letter Day for Coffee Drinkers--Consolidate Your Memory and Hydrate with Coffee

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January 13, 2014 was a red-letter day for coffee drinkers!
Two major health-related stories were widely reported, starting with news (published in Nature Neuroscience) that caffeine enhances “memory consolidation.” Although there have been lots of studies showing that coffee is a cognitive enhancer, there has never been a study in which study participants were asked to memorize something without the benefit of coffee, take caffeine after the memorization activity--- and then perform at a later date….until now.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins University got 160 people between the ages of 18 and 30 to look at pictures of various things (ducks, etcetera) and to identify them as either “indoor” or “outdoor” objects. Shortly after this task, the participants received either a placebo tablet or a 200-mg caffeine pill. Then they left. 24 hours later, everyone was back at the study site looking at the same pictures.


The goal was to determine whether the pictures were old, new or the same. The…

Want to Achieve Your Goals in 2014? Don’t Stop Drinking Coffee

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One source of joy at the beginning of a new year is the sense that we get a clean slate. A chance to be kinder, work harder, to fulfill dreams and be healthier.
And while a common resolution to break bad habits (things like cigarette smoking, binge eating, hoarding, drinking too much and regretting it later, watching too much reality television, being overly engaged in social media at the expense of everything else…), you should not stop drinking coffee in 2014 (unless of course there is a compelling medical reason).


The Health Benefits of Coffee
 Drinking coffee not only significantly decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, cirrhosis, and depression, but it is packed with antioxidants. Plus coffee is a good source of B vitamins. One serving of coffee contains 6% of the RDA of vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), which supports the adrenal gland and functions as an anti-stress supplement. The same cup of coffee also provides 11% of the RDA of vita…