You may have guessed, but with a name like Catalina, I am of Spanish decent. Half – fathers side. Espresso runs deep on that side of my family, with my papa having around 6 cups a day. 2 with breakfast, 2 with lunch, 2 after dinner. It is also no surprise that my papa tends to need little sleep – but that’s another story. I first started drinking coffee when I started my first job in a cafe at the age of 14. To be able to make and serve coffee, I had to know what a good flat white tasted like. At first I hated it. Then I really liked it. I was never as bad as my dad, but I would regularly have 2 cups a day. One with breakfast, then a second one if it was Friday or the weekend.
Last year when I read Dr. Libby’s Rushing Woman’s Syndrome, part of her advice was to give up coffee due to its tendency to trigger adrenalin, which has an effect on your adrenals. Adrenalin is hard wired to trigger your fight or flight response as, historically, the only time you needed adrenalin was to run away from something. Adrenalin still has it’s place in the body and can be handy if you in danger, however when you are constantly causing your adrenalin to spike by drinking coffee and never giving it a break, it can have detrimental affects on your body. For example it can back up the liver causing issues with hormones, which can affect your mood, skin and for woman, their periods. It can affect your weight as adrenalin causes you to burn sugar instead of fat (because it is a better fuel to run away from those lions). Basically, when I first read her book, I was like “oh yeah that makes sense but that doesn’t apply to me”. 6 or so months later after trying everything else in her book and still experiencing issues, I knew coffee was oh the hit list.
Anyways, I have been off coffee for the most of the year now, first starting with a strict month of no coffee, and now only allowing myself a maximum of two a week (at the weekend). I can not tell you how surprised I am by the enormous difference it has made for me. I’m like a different person. As Dr. Libby’s advise goes… The things you find yourself resisting are probably the things you need the most.
Luckily, Dr Libby also has a zig zag policy. Zig the majority of the time as that is what makes the biggest difference to your well being, then the occasional zag won’t do you any harm. So down from approximately 10 coffees a week, to only 2. So on a Friday night, my friends and I get a beautifully made iced coffee to kick off the weekend, and I’m then well on my way. If I’m at a party, I’ll have a coffee while everyone else is drinking, then come 3 am I’m still having a roaring time, when previously I would be falling asleep.
Anyways, I’m not here to tell anyone how to live their life, this is just a long winded way of explaining how this recipe came about. As I mentioned, I love iced coffee. We generally have it with milk and sugar syrup. Not really in line with my general eating plan, but a zag is a zag. I was curious to see if a zag could be made a little more zig like, so I decided to experiment.
Getting its sweetness from naturally sweet medjool dates and maple syrup, there is no need for sugar syrup in this recipe. Dates are high in fibre, vitamin A, potassium and iron, maple syrup is full of manganese and almonds are a great source of vitamin E. All of which will help speed up the digestive function, giving your body a little more support to process the caffeine effectively. But best if all, this recipe is insanely delicious.
If you want a runnier version of this, that is more in line with a classic iced coffee, use almond milk instead of almonds. I am yet to try this so I can not advise on quantity but please try and let me know! Soaking the almonds and dates is essential if your blender is a bit gutless like mine. Everything will be easier if you don’t skip this step.
Iced Almond Espresso Thick Shake
5 mins plus soaking time
1/2 cup almonds, preferably soaked overnight, min 1/2 hr
5 medjool dates, preferably soaked overnight, min 1/2 hr, deseeded and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 cup ice
1 – 1 1/2 cups of freshly percolated coffee, cooled if possible
Extra ice for serving
- Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend until smooth. You might need to stop the blender, and scrap down the sides several times to get a good consistency.
- Place extra ice in 2 jars, divide the shake between the two jars and serve with a straw.
Enjoy your zag!