Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Smellin' Coffee

Coffee is something both my dad and I have a taste for. That being said, however, we have very different preferences when it comes to coffee. I like mine flavored. If even a single flavored bean finds its way into Dad’s morning joe, he notices—Not a flavored coffee fan.

At the very least, I put milk and sugar in my coffee. Most of the time, I add chocolate syrup and whipped cream if it’s available. I used to be fine with the powdered cream, but I’ve since upgraded to the liquid variety, favoring the Vanilla Carmel of Coffee Mate, but settling for French Vanilla when I have to.

As you know, I’m quite the coffee drinker. I’ve also become somewhat of a nutrition junkie. Back in my Kansas days I was on a pretty restrictive diet of no more than 1000 calories a day (yes, I was constantly hungry!) followed by almost two hours on the elliptical every morning. I told myself that coffee was the one thing I would just let myself have. Well, no problem when my calorie intake was so low that my poor body was crying out for some simple sugar. Now that I’ve gotten smarter about my eating I’ve realized that saying “I just have as much coffee as I want” is akin to saying “I’m going to eat healthful foods but I can have as much chocolate cake as I want”. Not exactly a recipe for success. I measured once, just how many calories are in a cup ‘o joe that I might typically drink. Sugar is about 15 calories per teaspoon. I pile in at least 4 of those in my giant mega mug. Chocolate syrup is 100 calories per 2 tablespoons—throw in one of those. Cream varies, but I generally count 40 calories per tablespoon. Gotta have at least 5 of those. That’s about 360 calories. OUCH!

So, today I decided to give Dad’s method a try. I went cold to-furkey on Robin’s coffee and switched to black. I mean, why not? I love the flavor of coffee, right? Who needs all of those refined carbs! I confidently walked into work this morning, poured myself a steaming hot cup of decaf and took a sip.

It was all I had in me not to spit it out. Ugh! But no! I was determined! Millions of people drink this stuff just like this every day. I would join their ranks. I’ve always heard that it’s an acquired taste. Well, I was going to acquire it!

Normally, I down about 4 “Robin sized” mugs a day—probably the equivalent of a Starbucks Venti. Today, at noon, I still have the same cup of black nastiness sitting on my desk that I started with this morning. I’ve taken about half a dozen sips and the mug is more than half full. I guess I’m not cut out to drink with gusto.

What’s a poor coffee lover to do? Cut back? Switch to Splenda? I’m not sure I have it in me. But I’ll give it my best shot. Tomorrow is a new day and a new brew! Lo-cal coffee—here I come!