Find out Why We Stopped Drinking Coffee Creamer – And why hydrogenated oils are bad for your health. Learn what we use for our coffee instead, and try this delicious recipe for Homemade Vanilla Bean Coffee Creamer.
Are you starting off your day with a hot cup of plastic?
Sometimes I wish I had an IV hooked up to me with coffee running through the tubes.
Yes, I like coffee and I like all kinds. I’m not a coffee-snob. It doesn’t have to be a particular brand or a particular strength. Sure I have my favorites, but if a cup of brewed coffee is offered, I won’t say no.
I sometimes drink it black, but my perfect morning cup includes one cup of coffee and one tablespoon of coffee creamer.
Ack! I’m craving a hot cup as I type this!
Back when I started to seriously re-think what my family was eating, I started to read more labels. When I asked myself, “What’s this stuff made of?,” I realized that 98% of my coffee creamer was made up of 3 ingredients: water, sugar (many also have high fructose corn syrup), and partially hydrogenated soybean and/or cottonseed oil.
What are the Hydrogenated Oils found in Coffee Creamer?
In terms we can all understand, hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated and shortening are the “friendly” terms for trans fat.
Manufacturers try to trick us into thinking we’re not consuming trans fat (because why would we think that these differently named items are really the same thing?) and just about every medical organization agrees that trans fat is bad for you.
New York City banned trans fats, back in 2008, from all of its restaurants. But what exactly is the stuff?
How are trans fats made?
A trans fat is a perfectly good (and healthy) fat that’s forced to morph into something icky and in some ways, deadly.
Trans fats are created in a lab. Manufacturers take an oil (palm, kernel, soybean, corn or coconut oil), inject it with a metal (nickel, platinum or aluminum) and this causes the molecules of the oil to rearrange themselves. At room temperature, the end result is either a semi-solid (a.k.a. partially hydrogenated) or solid oil (a.k.a. fully or just hydrogenated).
Can you imagine what your body has to do in order to process this almost-plastic substance through your bloodstream?!
It’s no wonder why trans fat causes all sorts of health problems. It raises your bad cholesterol (LDL), lowers your good cholesterol (HDL), clogs your arteries (imagine soaking up dry flour with a sponge), is a major contributor to type 2 diabetes, and it’s been linked directly to coronary heart disease.
Now I need to pause for a moment and interject some common sense here. I am not saying that if you drink coffee creamer you’ll get heart disease, diabetes or high cholesterol. I’m not saying that at all.
What I am saying is that coffee creamer is comprised of a key ingredient THAT DOES cause heart disease, diabetes and high cholesterol.
And I do know this: Cutting it out can only be good for your body!
Why We Stopped Drinking Coffee Creamer
And consuming all other hydrogenated oils.
Do I sound a little crazy? Am I going overboard?
I don’t think so. This battle isn’t just about me. I have a family to take care of. The decisions I make today, the decisions I make in the grocery stores, affect these guys.
Here are some of the items I found in my pantry that contained some form of hydrogenated oils:
- granola bars
- hot chocolate
- peanut butter (the sweetened kind with more than just peanuts and salt)
- microwave popcorn (even labeled “healthy!”)
- saltine crackers
- butter crackers
- graham crackers
- salad dressings (several brands!!)
- BBQ sauce
- sriracha sauce
Yikes! Eliminating these items also eliminated a lot of processed foods from my pantry. This means that we started to rely on whole real foods to fill us up instead.
What can I use instead of store-bought coffee creamer?
When I first discovered the nasty truth hidden in my cup of coffee, I stopped drinking coffee creamer and I simply went to black coffee. I usually do like it like that. However, there are some days when you need to mix it up.
So I created my homemade vanilla bean creamer. Made with vanilla bean powder, or vanilla extract, and only natural sweetener (maple syrup), this stuff even tastes better than the store bought stuff! You can even make it dairy free with almond milk, for example!
How do I replace store-bought coffee creamer and other hydrogenated items with real foods?
If you’re going through your pantry and removing items with harmful ingredients, then anything with hydrogenated oils needs to go. When you’ve stopped drinking coffee creamer, your best bet is to go black, make a homemade creamer, or simply use ‘cream and sugar,’ (a natural sweetener preferably).
Other items, like tortillas and peanut butter, can either be made from scratch (these tortillas are SO GOOD) or purchased if you are diligent to double check the ingredient list. Here is a list of 25+ real food snacks that are easy to make to help you avoid the processed foods!
Sometimes healthier options are hard to find locally, so online grocery shopping is a good alternative. You can still price check, and ingredient check, when you shop online. I’ve found these sources to be pretty good on price and ingredients:
- Amazon – if you try one month free of Amazon Prime, you get free 2-day shipping and access to Prime Pantry for groceries.
- Thrive Market – Crumbs readers get 25% off + One Month Free membership through this Thrive Market link.
- Vitacost – They often have good sales that include free shipping. Click on this Vitacost link to see what’s on sale.