Teeccino Buzz

Exotic spices. Wars were fought over them in distant lands where untold lives were lost or enslaved in the quest to control the trade of these extraordinary botanicals that could turn food into sublime taste adventures. Once revered for legendary healing properties and sold for over 50 times the annual wage of a common laborer, spices are now simply thought of as culinary condiments to be found in everyone’s spice drawer.

But a deeper look into recent science reveals that the ancients may not have been so very wrong in their belief that spices were the font of health. I’d like to share why a morning brew of a spicy tea is my preferred way to start the day.

Let’s begin with looking at cinnamon, foremost among spices for its sweet and pungent flavor that transforms anything going into your mouth while it has unexpected effects on your body. A recent accidental discovery has pushed cinnamon into the limelight for its effect on reducing blood sugar, the holy grail for people suffering from pre-diabetic and diabetic conditions.

Perhaps you want to stabilize your blood sugar to help lose weight or like me, you’re looking for a caffeine-free stimulant in your morning brew. Adding cinnamon to your daily diet is a delicious way to lower your blood sugar and reduce both your cholesterol and blood pressure while you naturally boost your metabolism. Here are the top 5 health benefits of cinnamon!

1) CINNAMON LOWERS BLOOD SUGAR

It’s not that scientist set out to study cinnamon. The US Department of Agriculture was conducting experiments on foods to see how fast they raise blood sugar. Oddly enough, America’s favorite apple pie had just the opposite effect. It helped reduce blood sugar!

Apple pie, high in both cane and fruit sugars, should have raised blood sugar, not lowered it. When researchers at the US Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland discovered this phenomenon, they delved into finding what caused it. Richard Anderson, the scientist in charge of the study, found that cinnamon in the apple pie was responsible for making fat cells more receptive to insulin. One of his postdoctoral students, Alam Khan, decided to conduct a test in Pakistan to see what effect cinnamon would have on diabetics.

60 participants with type 2 diabetes were given between 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon powder a day, for 40 days, in capsules after meals. Within a short period of time, their blood sugar levels dropped an average of 20% lower than the control group of diabetics who were only taking a placebo. Cinnamon helped some of the diabetics even reduce their blood sugar to normal levels during the course of the study. The effects of the cinnamon were not permanent however. When the diabetics stopped taking the cinnamon, their blood sugar levels rose again.

The active principle in cinnamon that makes fat cells more receptive to insulin is a water soluble, polyphenol compound called MHCP. MHCP activates an enzyme that causes insulin to bind to cells and inhibits the enzyme that blocks this process. MHCP mimics insulin by activating its cellular receptors and it works synergistically with insulin in the cells.

Cinnamon oil, commonly used as a natural flavoring, won’t help though. You have to eat or drink ground cinnamon just like you buy in the spice rack at your grocery store to get the beneficial effects of MHCP. If you don’t want to eat cinnamon at every meal, you can take cinnamon in capsules like the diabetics did in the study. But if you love the flavor of cinnamon, you can add it to your meals or drink teas high in cinnamon like Chai teas. One of the researchers found that even just placing a cinnamon stick in his tea cup lowered his blood sugar although he wasn’t diabetic.

2) CINNAMON INCREASES YOUR METABOLISM

Pungent spices like cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom increase the body’s metabolic rate. The heat you experience when you eat a spicy meal, or drink spice teas like Teeccino Dandelion Red Chai and Maya Chai, is generated by the stimulating effect of spices that raise your metabolism by burning up calories. Spices are natural stimulants that will wake up your system without adrenal-stimulating drugs such as caffeine that elevate stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.

3) CINNAMON’S POLYPHENOLS ARE POTENT ANTIOXIDANTS

I’m sure you’ve heard that many fruits like berries are high in polyphenols and have strong antioxidant properties. What you may not know is that spices are packed with polyphenols too which activate antioxidants to fight free radicals. Even the little bit of spice that you add to flavor your dishes or drink in your tea can have a major impact on your body’s ability to quench those damaging free radicals.

Although cinnamon ranks in the top 100 foods with high polyphenol content, it’s near the bottom of the list. However, when studied for its effectiveness as an antioxidant using a test method called ORAC, which stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, cinnamon ranks among the top 5 spices for fighting free radicals. It’s not necessarily the quantity of polyphenols that counts; it’s the type of polyphenol that makes the difference.

Just so you get the idea of the antioxidant potency of spices versus fruits, cinnamon has an ORAC score of 131,420 whereas blueberries have an ORAC score of 4,449. Now to be fair, you may eat a lot more blueberries than you will cinnamon, but nevertheless, that potency means that even a little bit can have a big impact.

If you’re curious about what the other spices are in the top 5, here’s the list in order of potency:

  1. Cloves
  2. Oregano
  3. Rosemary
  4. Thyme
  5. Cinnamon

4) CINNAMON HELPS DIGESTION

Cinnamon enhances digestion and can relieve gas and bloating. A recent study in Britain revealed that by including cinnamon in the diet of pigs, it lowered the CO2 in their stomachs and thus cooled their digestion by decreasing the release of gastric acid and pepsin. No wonder it’s been popular for centuries to relieve acid indigestion!

Cinnamon oil has anti-microbial, anti-fungal and anti-biotic properties like many essential oils from spices and other medicinal plants. After all, plants developed their essential oils to defend themselves from insects and diseases. Ground cinnamon has shown effectiveness against the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, which is associated with the development of intestinal ulcers. It also fights candida, the yeast that can invade in your intestines causing both digestive and autoimmune problems.

One of the ways cinnamon helps reduce blood sugar levels is by also slowing down your digestion so that food moves more slowly from your stomach into your small intestines. That means that if your dessert contains cinnamon, the sugar in it will be absorbed more slowly and thus it won’t spike your blood sugar as rapidly as a dessert without cinnamon.

5) CINNAMON BOOST YOUR BRAIN POWER WHILE PROTECTING YOUR HEART

Cinnamon was found in the diabetics study to significantly lower blood pressure, LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides. It also helps prevent blood clots which makes eating cinnamon daily beneficial for heart health.

Cinnamon’s antioxidants have shown effectiveness in preventing the formation of various chemicals that contribute to the development of diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. They also inhibit the formation of Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) that contribute to the aging of the brain.

EAT AND DRINK CINNAMON DAILY

Cooking with cinnamon makes taking your daily dose a real pleasure. Cinnamon is included in all kinds of Indian curries and you’ll find lots of tropical recipes that depend on cinnamon where spices in general were thought to preserve food from spoilage. Cinnamon is used to spice up both meat and fish recipes and you can find Middle Eastern savory lamb and chicken recipes using cinnamon. Cinnamon flavors exotic rice dishes combined with nuts and raisins.

My favorite breakfast meal with cinnamon is TeeChia Cranberry Apple where the soluble fiber plus cinnamon makes a real heart healthy meal. I add even more cinnamon to my bowl to give me a bigger dose because I love its flavor and want the biggest impact from its health benefits too.

Like I said before, a spicy herbal chai is the way I start my day for a natural stimulant that wakes up my senses and sends a cascade of health benefits to my whole body!

Spring officially arrived on the morning of Tuesday, March 20th marked by the Spring Equinox when light and darkness are equally balanced. Now that the daylight is getting longer everyday, it’s a traditional time for a spring detox program. Recovering from a tough flu season where many people, who are never sick, were felled for weeks, it may be just the thing to revive one’s vitality and rebuild the immune system.

There are lots of detox programs recommending the best way to detox and cleanse. Choosing between those that involve fasting versus those that have a regime for eating cleanly is a decision you need to make depending on what fits your body and your life’s rhythms the best.

Whichever style you choose, detox programs can present a big challenge for many people due to the requirement to refrain from drinking coffee and alcohol. Ok, some number of days without alcohol isn’t that big a deal for most people, but ask a coffee drinker to give up the morning cuppa and boom! Resistance sets in.

Dandelion root, roasted and ground to brew like coffee, and chicory root, the French coffee alternative, can help a coffee drinker get over that hurdle. Along with replacing the taste and body of a cup of coffee, dandelion and chicory roots have detox health benefits that add to a cleansing program. But you have to be careful to prepare ahead of time to make your detox program more effective and more pleasant. Here’s why eliminating caffeine during a detox program is such an important factor and how drinking an herbal coffee made from dandelion and chicory roots can help.

GIVE YOUR ADRENALS A REST

Adrenal glands, part of our endocrine system, power our energy all day long by excreting the right hormones at the right time. Cortisol wakes us up in the morning while melatonin puts us to sleep at night. DHEA is produced as the master hormone that is used to create our sex hormones, keep our bones and muscles strong, and help to reduce depression. But if you’re a habitual caffeine imbiber, your body’s rhythm of hormone production is going to be compromised.

First, your cortisol level can be too high due to caffeine stimulating its production with every cup of coffee or energy beverage you drink. Second, high cortisol levels create stress and can have a cascading harmful effect on many parts of your body. Finally, if you’re powering your day with caffeinated drinks, adrenal fatigue can set in. Now you can’t feel energized no matter how much caffeine you consume.

The point of a detox program is to take a break from patterns that might not be optimal for our health. It’s like pushing the reset button. Your appetite corrects itself by getting used to eating less. Your organs get a chance to do some housekeeping because they’re not overwhelmed with the daily barrage of everything we consume. While you’re on reset, it’s the moment to wean yourself off of caffeine and give your adrenals a well deserved rest.

WEANING OFF OF CAFFEINE WITH DANDELION AND CHICORY HERBAL COFFEE

The key to enjoying your detox program without caffeine is to start one to two weeks before you intend to begin detoxing. If you typically get caffeine withdrawal symptoms like recurring headaches, fatigue and depression, give yourself even more time. Begin by combining ¼ Teeccino Dandelion and Chicory Herbal Coffee with ¾ of your usual ground coffee. Over the days ahead, start to gradually reduce the amount of coffee while increasing Teeccino. By the end of a week or two, you should be drinking 100% Teeccino.

Some people take longer to adjust to starting the day caffeine free. If you’re one of them and you still want a bit of the caffeine stimulus to start your day, you may be able to adapt to just ¼ to ½ the amount of coffee you originally drank. An additional benefit is that you may be able to drink more cups a day as you extend your coffee with Teeccino.

If you’re an “energy” drink consumer, try drinking iced Teeccino. It’ll fill you up and give you an energy boost that comes from the potassium in the herbs. Or cut your energy drinks with mineral water or another sparkling beverage that is caffeine free. Watch out, however, for sugar in any bottled beverage because your detox program will require limiting your sugar intake as much as possible.

DETOX PROPERTIES OF DANDELION AND CHICORY ROOTS

Even though you’re eating less during your detox program, you still want to nourish and aid your body’s natural detoxification systems. Dandelion and chicory roots, brewed into an herbal coffee or steeped like an herbal tea, help stimulate your organs to release toxins via their bitter taste and diuretic properties. Dandelion root is particularly known for its diuretic effect on the kidneys which can reduce bloat caused by water retention. Dandelion root contains polysaccharides that help protect the liver from toxins which are abundant in our environment or in the agricultural chemicals on the food we eat.

Both dandelion root and chicory root contain minerals that aid the detoxification process. As deep tap roots, they draw up minerals from the earth and concentrate them for your benefit. Both roots are high in potassium, an electrolyte mineral that is essential for heart health and healthy blood pressure. The importance of more potassium in the diet is being recognized by the FDA. The content of potassium will be required on the new nutrition facts regulations on food and beverage labels.

Minerals are essential to the optimal functioning of our bodies including the balancing of acidity and alkalinity. Potassium is an alkaline mineral which, along with calcium and magnesium, is used to correct metabolic acidity. Your detox program will emphasize consuming food and beverages rich in minerals. By drinking an herbal beverage rich in bioavailable potassium like Teeccino Dandelion and Chicory Herbal Coffees, you’ll be supporting your body’s mineral requirements.

DANDELION AND CHICORY ROOTS ARE PREBIOTICS

In case you don’t know the difference between a and a , the simple explanation is that probiotics are microorganisms that live in your intestines (and without them, you can’t live) and prebiotics are the part of the food you eat that feeds those microorganisms. Prebiotics are non-caloric soluble fibers that you can’t digest but that microbiota thrive on and use to produce essential compounds like vitamins and short chain fatty acids to keep your body in optimal health.

Chicory root contains the highest amount of the prebiotic, inulin, than any other food and dandelion root has a very high amount of inulin too. Nature has distributed inulin into many common foods like wheat, garlic, and artichokes in order to make sure your probiotics thrive. In a cup of Teeccino, the inulin extracts naturally from the dandelion and chicory roots during brewing. When you drink a cup of Teeccino, you’re getting soluble fiber that feeds your digestive flora and keeps a diverse population of microbiota alive.

Dandelion and chicory roots have a reputation for helping stabilize blood sugar. This function is due to their inulin content which has been proven to help regulate blood sugar.

Although you can take probiotic supplements, only 10% of the microbiota that live in our intestines are available by supplementation. The other 90% are anaerobic and can’t survive in a supplement. This makes it even more essential to be feeding your probiotics with prebiotics. Some restricted diets end up starving the microbiota of their necessary prebiotics. When that happens, the microbiota begin to eat the lining of your intestines which can lead to leaky gut syndrome and inflammatory bowel conditions. You’ll see more and more supplements with prebiotics in them as nutritionists recognize the importance of regularly consuming food that nourishes the entire population of probiotics!

DETOX PROGRAMS WE RECOMMEND

If you’re looking for a great detox program for your spring cleanse, we highly recommend the following:

  • Dr. Deanna Minich’s 21-day Whole Detox

I’ve done her programs several times and am always inspired by her sensitivity and breadth of knowledge. She is an expert in functional medicine and nutrition and has pioneered integrating nutrition for the whole self: mind, body and spirit. Deanna Minich, PhD. has some of the very best health information on the internet!
http://deannaminich.com/

Or any one of Amie Valpone’s programs from:

  • The Healthy Apple

She is a Manhattan Celebrity Chef, Culinary Nutritionist, Professional Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Writer and Motivational Speaker specializing in simple gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free ‘Clean Eating’ recipes.
https://thehealthyapple.com/

Confusion reigns across the internet and blogosphere about natural flavors. Really, it is quite amazing what some people will do to excite their followers by amplifying “fake news” and exploiting fear. We get phone calls every day from customers who are suddenly scared that they are ingesting something terrible if they eat or drink a product that contains natural flavors.

In 2013, I wrote what I think is a pretty comprehensive article about natural flavors on our Teeccino blog. It’s a deep read, but worth it if you really want to understand the truth about natural flavors.

Recently though, I realized I could give a couple more good examples of how natural flavors are derived and why they’re safe to consume. I was sipping on a Kombucha beverage that tasted like cherries even though there was no cherry juice or natural cherry flavor on the label. It just so happened that I know exactly how this Kombucha company was hiding its natural cherry flavor in its ingredient list. I thought, this has gone too far. Now natural food companies are too afraid to admit they’re using natural flavors to make their products delicious!

So if some blogger or “medical medium” has led you to believe that natural flavors are full of bad things, please give me a moment of your time to read some real facts about these natural flavor compounds and why we love them to enhance our food and beverages!

WHY DOES THIS KOMBUCHA TASTE LIKE CHERRIES WHEN THERE ARE NO CHERRIES IN IT?

That Kombucha bottle didn’t say it was going to be cherry flavored so I was surprised when it tasted like a cherry soda. On closer inspection of the ingredient list, it said it contained “almond extract.” Right, so why didn’t it taste like almonds like any label-reading person would expect?

Here why: Plants share organic compounds across species even though the end result is that a plant’s particular mix of flavor compounds will make almonds taste like almonds and cherries taste like cherries. In this case, both almonds and cherries share an aromatic adelhyde called benzaldhyde.  

Normally benzaldehyde tastes like almonds, but I happen to know a man whose career has been devoted to cultivating plants for flavor extraction. He discovered a variety of almonds that have a benzaldehyde that tastes like cherries. So that is how this bottle of kombucha came to taste like cherries from so-called “almond extract”!

The truth is, the kombucha company should have said in its ingredient list, “natural cherry flavor”, not almond extract. Almond extract would taste like almonds because extracts are made from the whole plant or in this case, the whole almond. Natural flavors like benzaldehyde are steam distilled to isolate just the single flavor compound, not the whole extracted plant.

It’s an important difference. For instance, in this case, if the kombucha had contained almond extract, a person who is allergic to almonds shouldn’t drink it because it would contain the proteins that trigger the nut allergen response in sensitive people. It would have had to have an allergen statement on the bottle right underneath the ingredient list, but there was none. The kombucha company bent all the FDA labeling regulations and thought they could get away with it because benzaldehyde doesn’t contain protein or any other parts of the almond and thus it is safe for consumption by anyone with nut allergies.

COFFEE FLAVOR VERSUS COFFEE EXTRACT

If you eat an ice cream or yogurt that lists coffee extract on its ingredient list, that product contains coffee pure and simple. It will also contain caffeine and everything else in coffee. An extract simply concentrates the whole plant.

However, if you drink one of our Teeccino flavors that contains natural coffee flavor, you are not getting any caffeine, acids or the whole coffee bean extract in your cup. Teeccino’s natural coffee flavor is a combination of flavors that are extracted using steam distillation to isolate single compounds that are then combined to create the flavor of coffee.

I’ve done my best to explain to our customers that coffee shares flavor compounds in common with other plants. I’ve given the example of how coffee and garlic share a flavor compound in common just like cherries and almonds do.

Many of the people who drink Teeccino don’t want any coffee in their Teeccino and we understand that. Neither do we! However, the flavor compounds that go into our coffee flavor may be extracted from a variety of plants like chicory, garlic and yes, sometimes coffee beans.

I’m committed to erring on the side of full disclosure and honesty. I can’t guarantee that the flavor company I buy natural coffee flavor from didn’t extract one of the flavor compounds from coffee beans. However, even if they did, you’re not getting coffee in your cup. Flavor compounds do not equal the plant they are derived from. They are single “phytochemicals” (phyto means plant) produced by plants but isolated from the whole plant.

ESSENTIAL OILS ARE A SOURCE FOR MANY NATURAL FLAVORS

Here’s an example of a natural flavor that can be made from an essential oil or from a flavor compound within that oil. Pure cinnamon bark oil is extracted using steam distillation. I’ve used it in many teas to spike the cinnamon flavor notes from the cinnamon bark in the tea. You just can’t get enough cinnamon flavor from the bark alone if you’re brewing with a tea bag. Now if you were simmering that bark for 20 minutes, then you’d get plenty of flavor. Not too many people are willing to take the time to do that!

I’ve also made teas using a flavor compound called cinnamic aldehyde, or cinnamaldehyde, which makes up about 90% of cinnamon bark oil. However, if you remove that 10% of other flavor molecules in the oil, you get this hot, sweet flavor that is really tasty. Cinnamic aldehyde would be correctly labeled as a natural flavor. However, just recently one of the teas I designed for another company that uses cinnamic aldehyde changed their ingredient list from natural cinnamon flavor to “cinnamon bark oil”. Once again, the company is afraid of consumer rejection for natural flavors. Are they wrong to call it cinnamon bark oil? Yes, because it isn’t the whole essential oil. It’s the main component but it’s been isolated and added to a flavor base. Thus it’s a natural flavor, not an essential oil.

Essential oils are typically too potent to add directly to a tea without a base that helps disperse it. If you put an essential oil directly onto the tea, it should be called an essential oil. But if it has been added to a base, it is a natural flavor.

By the way, cinnamic aldehyde is a potent antioxidant. It has many uses including keeping bugs away so it is also used to make organic insecticides. Plants develop essential oils to protect themselves and thus they can protect you too!

ORGANIC COMPLIANT NATURAL FAVORS ARE SAFE AND SUPERIOR

In my blog post from 2013, I wrote about one way natural flavors can contain ingredients you may not want to consume. I must agree, you should watch out for natural flavors that aren’t controlled by the rules that govern organic products.

Back in the ‘90’s when I first made Teeccino, it was hard to find natural flavors that didn’t rely on a base of propylene glycol, which is derived from a petroleum-based raw material. I made sure that Teeccino never had any flavors that used it.

Once the National Organic Program came along, my job was made much easier. Anything not allowed in organic products is not allowed in flavors that are put into organic products either. All flavor manufacturers have to submit their full ingredient list to the organic certification organization in order to be approved for use. “Organic compliant” natural flavors are flavors that comply with all of the NOP regulations. Thus if you buy organic, you can completely trust the natural flavors to be clean and healthy!

WANT MORE INFORMATION ON ORGANIC FLAVORS? READ MY ARTICLE FROM 2013!

I do hope this helps you understand more about natural flavors . Over the years, I’ve done many taste tests and the truth is simple. Many foods and beverages need the spike of flavor that natural flavors give them in order to please our taste buds. If you have questions, please ask away. If I can’t answer them, I will get my favorite flavorist to give us the answer!

Maca Chocolaté, Real Energy In A Cup

Caroline MacDougall

Energy drinks are everywhere. People drink them day and night hoping to experience more energy, right? And they do get a burst…for a period of time… until they burn out that is.

Energy drinks are all based on caffeine. It might come from coffee, tea, yerba mate, guarana, kola nuts or be synthesized in a laboratory, but in the end, it is all the same stimulant: caffeine.

If you’ve been reading my newsletter for awhile, you’ll know that caffeine isn’t a source of real energy. It stimulates the adrenal glands to produce stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Those stress hormones heighten your feeling of being energized via mental alertness and elevated blood sugar that prepares you to fight or flee from danger. But that’s not the same thing as energy that the mitochondria in your cells produce every moment of every day.
What happens if you’re not in an emergency mode and you habitually imbibe caffeine? Eventually, you’re going to rob your energy bank account by exhausting your adrenal glands and your entire endocrine system. Then you’ll feel tired no matter how many Monsters® or Red Bulls® you down.

But many people find they can’t seem to live without that caffeine boost especially in the morning. Without it, they feel sluggish, mentally foggy and even depressed. Their adrenal glands aren’t producing the optimal boost of cortisol that should wake them up feeling refreshed.

Instead of depending on caffeine though, there is another way to experience being energized that doesn’t deplete you. If you want to boost your energy with an herb that nourishes your body while helping to reduce stress, then you’ll understand why I decided to add Peruvian maca to Teeccino Chocolaté to bring you real energy in a cup!

Enhancing Teeccino’s Natural Energy Boost

Teeccino gives you a natural energy boost that we Teeccino fans have all experienced, right? I always love it when we’re at a trade show and word spreads that Teeccino is helping exhibitors get through the grueling pace of the day. By day 2 or 3, we have converts from all over the show swearing that they couldn’t have survived without Teeccino.

Nevertheless, it’s hard to tell that to a coffee drinker whose adrenals are used to being whipped into action by caffeine. Even tea and yerba mate drinkers are often dragging without their morning or afternoon caffeinated cup.

And that brings me to why I decided that it would be a good idea to have an extra boost of energy added to Teeccino.

Adaptogens: herbs that help you adapt to stress

As far back as the ‘70’s when I was buying herbs for Celestial Seasonings, I became involved with a group of herbs that are famed for increasing the body’s resistance and resiliency in the face of continuous stress.

Called “adaptogens”, the term lately has been making waves in the media since it is being promoted by brands making herbal products. A Russian scientist coined it post World War ll in 1947 when the Russians were extensively studying the effects of herbs on astronauts, athletes and the army where people were undergoing extremely stressful conditions. This was in the pre-steroid days when the Russians actually wanted herbs to help people be healthier!

Over time, the definition of an herb that is an adaptogen has expanded as studies have proven more effects these herbs produce. Today, in order for an herb to be classified as an adaptogen, it must have the following effects:

  • It must protect and strengthen the body’s resistance against stress from biological, physical and chemical stressors.
  • It needs to have a non-specific normalizing effect on the body. (Example: it will normalize either high or low blood pressure.)
  • It must be non-toxic and safe for consumption over long periods of time.
  • It should produce a stimulating and tonic effect on the central nervous system that is not addictive and doesn’t compromise mental functioning.

We’re talking about the opposite of caffeine. Adaptogens nourish and protect the body from stress while caffeine increases stress!

It is no surprise that a lot of adaptogenic herbs come from parts of the world where extreme weather conditions exist like Siberia and high altitude mountainous areas. Plants have to survive these conditions too and thus their phytonutrients help protect against highly stressful conditions like extreme weather and exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun.

Maca’s many health benefits

Enter maca, an adaptogenic herb that grows high up in the Andes above 12,000 feet, where people have to endure stressful primitive living conditions in freezing cold weather. For thousands of years, Peruvians have been growing and eating this tuber to keep them healthy and energized. Now, extensive scientific studies show that maca helps the body cope with stress while increasing endurance, stamina and energy production.

In regards to stress, maca has been shown in animal studies to lower cortisol levels, increase the size of the adrenal glands, and decrease stress-related fatty acids in the bloodstream. Additionally, studies show maca can help balance your mood and relieve depression, probably due to how much more energized it makes you feel!

In studies on mice, maca has a beneficial effect on memory, which seems to be due to its ability to keep the brain’s neurotransmitters from being recycled. It also has antioxidants, which may also be why the mice improved in their memory retention and cognitive function. They learned and processed information faster ~ now who doesn’t want that?

There are a lot of studies looking at maca and sex hormones with varying results. Maca doesn’t contain phytoestrogens or male hormones like some plants do, but it has been shown to increase the production of testosterone in men and balance hormone levels in women. Maca has been shown in human studies to be helpful for relieving the uncomfortable symptoms of menopause and to help prevent bones loss.

It is theorized that its effect on the sex drive, hormones and fertility comes from how well maca nourishes our glandular system. Inca warriors figured this out. They are reputed to have consumed large quantities of maca before going into battle to amp up their strength and vigor!

Maca is a member of the cruciferous vegetable family which means it’s related to broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. It’s rich in minerals including calcium, potassium, iron, iodine, copper, manganese and zinc and its protein consists of 19 amino acids. Maca also contains polysaccharides, polyphenols (antioxidants). macamides and glucosinolates, all of which are considered to be the active ingredients in maca. Due to its tough high fiber, maca is consumed cooked to make its nutrients bioavailable. 

Studies show that heat is needed for extraction of its active ingredients in water ~ so don’t make a cold brew of Maca. This is why Teeccino’s maca is lightly toasted ~ which also makes it more tasty!

Same delicious Teeccino flavor!

And speaking of tasty, I’ve made Maca Chocolaté taste just as delicious as the original Chocolaté tastes. I bet you won’t taste much difference because toasted maca blends right into the rich coffee and chocolate notes. For awhile, Maca Chocolaté will only be available in the 11oz all-pupose grind bag. We plan to upgrade the tea bags by fall 2018 to Maca Chocolaté, but we have to be environmentally responsible with our current packaging first and use up what we have already printed.

I could go on for some time about maca (and there are lots of websites for further research) but here’s what I suggest: Drink Maca Chocolaté and discover its effects for yourself. I can’t wait to hear what your experience is so please do share it in our product reviews or write a testimonial on our website. You could be the next winner of our $25 award for the best testimonial of the month!

Lucila is a new Teeccino Ambassador right here in Southern California where our company is based. She recently told us about her MOPS. org event with 100 Moms meeting up! She wrote: “These are pics from my Santa Ynez Valley MOPS meeting. We meet twice a month and there are about 100 moms attending each […]

Lisa of Kitchen Counter Intelligence is an integrative health coach and a Teeccino Ambassador who has done a number of fun Ambassador events, like a recent one at the police officers’ banquet with her son. She wrote in after her most recent event – her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary (!) and she told us the […]

Whether you’re hosting a large or small gathering this holiday season, you’ll want a quick way to serve a festive cup of Teeccino to accompany your desserts. After all that work of getting the dinner on the table, let’s keep it simple yet delicious! Here are 3 ways I recommend to make a holiday cup of Teeccino depending on how many guests you’ll be serving:

BREWING OPTIONS:

Less than 8 people:Less than 8 people: Use a drip coffee maker to make 10-12 cups of brewed Teeccino.

8-15 people: If your cup size is 8-10oz, you’ll need to brew more than a single pot in your 10-12 cup drip coffee maker. Be efficient and brew 2 pots of Teeccino ahead of time. Store the brewed liquid in your refrigerator (you can store chilled Teeccino for a week or more!) and when you want to serve it, pour it into a pot and heat it up on your stove. Ladle the hot Teeccino into your cups. Alternatively, you can brew Teeccino an hour or two in advance and store it in an airport.

16-60+ people: Brew 1 to 2 gallons of Teeccino using a coffee urn. Urns are sold based on the number of cups they serve, but remember that a coffee “cup” is only 5oz. An urn that is supposed to brew 100 cups, only brews 67 x 8 oz cups. That’s why I like to measure the water in gallons (128 fluid oz/gallon). 1 cup of Teeccino all-purpose grind brews 1 gallon in an urn. Use 2 cups to make 2 gallons. Couldn’t be simpler! Just pour a gallon of water into an urn and add 1 cup of Teeccino to the brew basket. Start your urn brewing at least 50 minutes ahead of the time when you want it to be ready. Urns make it easy to serve a lot of people at once.

We offer attractive laminated custom labels so you can purchase the flavor of your choice to hang from the urn.

NOW TO MAKE YOUR CUPS FESTIVE:

Maple Cappuccinos: 

  • Heat milk or a non-dairy alternative in a pot on the stove. You’ll need 2 oz of milk per cup. 
  • Use a handheld milk frother to whisk the milk into a foamy froth.
  •  Fill your cups to 3/4 with brewed Teeccino. 
  • Spoon the frothy milk into the cup to create a cappuccino topping. 
  • Then pour in the remaining hot milk to fill the cups to the top. 
  • Sweeten with 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup that you dribble over the foam!

Mocha Cappuccinos:  

  • Fill your cups to 3/4 with brewed Teeccino. 
  • Add 1-2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup. 
  • Stir well. 
  • Top with foamy milk as described above. 
  • Sprinkle cocoa powder over the top of the foam.

Teeccino with Liqueurs:

  • Baileys® Irish Cream: Add 1-2 tablespoons to each cup of hot brewed Teeccino. No need to add milk to these cups but if you want a foamy cappuccino, just follow the directions above. Baileys® makes every flavor of Teeccino deliciously superb!
  • Frangelico®: Add 1-2 tablespoons to each cup of hot brewed Teeccino. Absolutely divine with Hazelnut Teeccino!
  • Godiva® Dark or Milk Chocolate Liqueur: Add 1-2 tablespoons to each cup of hot brewed Teeccino. Dark chocolate has no cream in it, milk chocolate does. You should use the dark for a richer chocolate flavor or the milk chocolate to take the place of milk. Chocolate heaven coming right up!
Maple Cappuccino
Mocha Cappuccino

Frequently we’re asked, “What’s the pH of Teeccino?” People are confused because we know that Teeccino is alkaline for the body, but if brewed Teeccino is tested with a simple pH strip, you get varying results.

The difference starts with the pH of the water used to brew. Alkaline waters are very popular these days, but some are made artificially alkaline and others are naturally alkaline. What’s the difference? The same thing that makes Teeccino alkaline regardless of the water’s pH: the presence of alkaline minerals provided by nature.

THE COMPLEXITY OF PH MEASUREMENTS

Pure, neutral water has a pH of 7.0. Mineral water made by nature, which naturally absorbs alkaline minerals when passing over rocks or filtered through the earth, can have a pH up to 9.5-10.0. Alkaline water, manufactured artificially using ionizer machines, doesn’t provide alkaline minerals although it has a pH of 9.5. On the other hand, water used in bottled beverages usually starts with a low pH of 4.0-4.5 in order to prevent microbes from growing in it. Thus mineral water has an alkaline pH but bottled teas, sodas, kombucha and juices must have an acidic pH below 4.6 as required by law.

Our body has a range of pH depending on whether you’re measuring pH in the stomach (pH 1.35-3.5), the blood (pH 7.35-7.45) or the vagina (pH<4,7). Our skin has an acid mantle of pH 4.6-6.5 in order to protect our body against microbial growth. Then there’s the pH of urine, the intracellular fluid (fluid inside our cells) and the interstitial fluids that surround our cells. They have a range of pH that can fluctuate rapidly depending on many things so trying to determine alkalinity versus acidity gets far more complex than a simple measurement using a pH strip!

HOW DOES THE BODY CORRECT ACIDITY?

If you’re worried about being too acidic, you can influence your alkalinity via diet and exercise, but rest assured, your body has its own systems to handle metabolic acidosis.

Producing energy in cells creates acids that are released into your bodily fluids all day long. The body has a natural buffering system that uses alkaline minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium to maintain the correct balance of acidity / alkalinity. It also excretes acids through the urine and via respiration by breathing out CO2.

However, if your body becomes too acidic and your diet isn’t providing enough minerals, your bones and teeth will become the source of the minerals the body needs to buffer acidity. Unfortunately, this can lead to osteoporosis, loss of teeth, and other chronic diseases. Thus eating mineral-rich foods and beverages are your protection against becoming too acidic.

THREE STEPS TO KEEP YOU ALKALINE

Our modern diet is a challenge for the functioning of the body’s metabolic systems because it contains so many acid-forming foods and drinks. Refined sugar, grains stripped of their fiber and an excess of animal protein has taken our diet a long way from the days of hunting and gathering. Over millions of years, our bodies evolved to consume a high percentage of wild plants and meat from wild animals without much body fat. It’s only been in the last few centuries that we’ve radically changed the composition of what we eat and our bodies haven’t been able to change fast enough to cope.

Very simply, fruits and vegetables help keep you alkaline while most grains, fish and meat are acid-forming. Does that mean you shouldn’t eat grains or protein? No, of course not. It just points to the need for the right balance in our diets like everywhere else in our lives.

we eat too few fruits and vegetables so if this is true for you, start finding ways to add more into your meals. A daily salad of mixed greens and chopped fresh fruits and vegetables is a requirement in an alkaline diet.

the soil in which our food is grown has been depleted of minerals through conventional agricultural practices. If you buy organic foods, the soil has been regenerated with inputs like seaweed, dolomite and compost that rebuild soil health and mineral content. Some farmers test their soil’s acidity too and correct it by adding ground rock to provide more minerals. Eating organically grown food protects your health in many ways including producing fruits and vegetable with higher mineral content.

we are eating far more sodium than in the past and much less potassium, which is essential to the body’s buffering processes. Acidic waste can only be released from our cells if our sodium-potassium pump is working properly. That requires the right ratio of sodium to potassium in order to pump out waste for removal and pull in nutrients from the blood.

Back in our hunting and gathering days, it is estimated that the ratio of potassium to sodium in the foods we ate was 10 to 1. Now, the modern diet has reversed this ratio to 1 to 3. This new dominance of sodium is part of what is causing an increase in our body’s acidity. Our cells can’t function efficiently if we don’t provide them enough potassium.

In recognition of the need for potassium, the FDA has included it for the first time in the revised Nutrition Fact boxes due out next year. You’ll begin to see food and beverages list potassium content soon but we’ve been listing the potassium content of Teeccino since we first began in 1995!

POTASSIUM AND ENERGY PRODUCTION

Those of us who drink Teeccino find that it gives us an energy boost despite it being caffeine free. In the early days of marketing Teeccino, I consulted a biochemist, Stephen Cherniske, author of Caffeine Blues and a number of other best selling health books, to figure out how Teeccino could be so energizing. He explained our need for more potassium and how our cells respond to the quickly absorbed potassium in brewed Teeccino. The sodium-potassium pump is activated and cellular energy is produced as a result.

When I tell people that Teeccino gives them energy that comes from their own body, I get these questioning looks. Really? Truly! It is obvious if you understand the source of true energy versus caffeine-stimulated stress hormones. The mitochondria in our cells are extraordinary energy producers if we just provide the right mix of nutrients for our cellular metabolism to function optimally.

Part of that energy production is having the right acid/alkaline balance. The long term goal of optimal health is supported by keeping all the body’s fluids in the right ratio in which they were designed to function. Will drinking alkaline water with a pH above 9.0 help? Should you stop drinking acidic beverages in favor of only high alkaline ones? It’s just not that simple. Our bodies are superbly designed to allow us to drink both as long as whatever we consume provides the alkaline minerals that are essential for optimal health!

We’ve done it again! Another successful Bhakti Festival under our belt. With staggering amounts of workshops and lectures, yoga classes and keratin music we were there to assist a community of mindful people from all over the world. Being that this festival was a 100% meat, drug and alcohol-free, we were there every step of […]

Barbara just got started as a Teeccino Ambassador, and has been making many new Teeccino fans already! She sent us great pics of a fellow coffee-shop goer where she shared Teeccino during a meeting – and two new Teeccino fans from her construction crew! She told us about sharing Teeccino at the coffee shop – […]