Today is my last cup of coffee. This is its picture.
I am sad. I am scared. I am in mourning.
Why, you ask? Why give up something so vital, so imperative, so truly awesome? Something people claim they cannot live without? Something people spend small fortunes on at fancy coffee shops? Needing coffee in the morning (or afternoon, or after dinner) is a uniting, universal force many people can agree on. There are memes about it, clubs, meetups... people actually bond over this drink. It makes people’s lives better. So why would anyone elect to give it up?
Well, I have a liquid nondairy flavored coffee creamer problem. Back when I was beginning to drink daily coffee, I had half & half and sugar in my coffee like many people. I was happy and content. But then I decided to try something from that towering wall of liquid coffee creamers in the refrigerated aisle of the grocery. All the flavors beckoned me and called my name. It started with French Vanilla. Then came Hazelnut, my all-time favorite. Then Irish Cream, followed by Cinnamon Vanilla, then a little Cafe Mocha. I liked all of these. They were delicious. When they came out with Coconut Cream and Almond Joy, I was pretty sure I had died and gone to heaven.
At first I would swap out my regular half & half with the flavored creamers a once or twice a week, like maybe to celebrate the fact that it was Friday or to occasionally enhance a nice relaxing Sunday morning. Then it became my weekend habit, including Fridays. Then I was using it on Mondays because Mondays were -- well, Mondays -- and I wanted something to cheer me up. Then everyone knows Tuesday is the lamest day of the week, so I started choosing it on Tuesdays, too. Of course you need something to get you over the hump on Wednesdays, and Thursdays were really close to Fridays which were practically the weekend, so why not Thursdays, too? Pretty soon it became a daily habit. And sometimes twice a day.
I would play around with flavors and mix them. I felt like a mad scientist in her lab, adding a dash of this and a few drops of that, trying to make the perfect cup of coffee. I never had anything short of three different flavors at a time in the fridge. It took me five years to realize that I did not need sugar with the flavored creamers because they were already so sweet. So I left it out and patted myself on the back for making a “healthier” choice.
Flavored coffee creamers became so much a part of my life that I joined a consumer “club” sponsored by one brand, where I could complete activities involving showing my love for their creamer in exchange for points to use toward gift cards. I have the branded mug they gave as a gift to prove it. I have rewards accounts at coffee shops. I am on email lists for coupons. I even made up a custom coffee drink at a chain coffee & doughnut shop that later showed up on the menu (although it is now premade, and sadly, it sucks).
So y’all, I was heeeeeaaaavvvy in the liquid nondairy flavored coffee creamer scene.
Then, I went keto.
For the uninitiated, keto is short for ‘ketogenic’ and is represents a lifestyle whereby one eats low carb, high fat, and moderate protein foods to gain or maintain health. It is somewhat similar to Paleo and Atkins, and there seem to be many definitions just how many carbs or how much fat and protein constitutes ‘keto.’ But the version I use is also sugar free (including corn syrups and most alternative sweeteners) and clean, meaning it cuts out processed foods entirely. You see where I am going with this.
No more of my flavored creamers.
Shockingly, I found it pretty easy to cut out the processed foods. The creamers were another story. I tried keeping them, since I had cut back to just a couple tablespoons a day. But I think they may be to blame for slowing my weight loss to a crawl, plus I know that makes me a total keto poseur if EVERY DAY I am consuming something that has sugar, unhealthy oils and several unpronounceable ingredients. I tried coffee with keto-approved sweeteners and a splash of heavy cream, but it just tasted like -- coffee. Bland, boring coffee. Flavored creamers have ruined real, regular coffee for people like me. I mean, eating an ice cream sundae or a slab of chocolate cake for breakfast would be ridiculous, but if we drink those things, that’s perfectly acceptable, right?
So the only solution for me is to go cold turkey. I am sad, but it is definitely necessary. I think I might switch to tea to get me through. They make a green tea with pomegranate that is so good, it doesn’t even need sugar. Then there’s the peach one, the cherry almond, the coconut chai...