The holiday season is already upon us, which inevitably means we’re craving all of those yummy specialty drinks. You know the ones. They usually consist of some blend of cinnamon, cloves, all spice, star anise - it just smells like December! You’ll likely be tempted by the hot chocolate, apple cider, pepperminty treats.
All the coffee shops and fast food restaurant chains are savvy enough to understand that we crave all of these treats during the holiday seasons, so they try not to disappoint. In fact, the way these treats are marketed is probably a major reason we crave them in the first place, but that’s a story for another day.
Before you jump on the bandwagon of indulging in these sweet specialty drinks, let’s take a minute to see what’s actually inside them.
At Wake Up and Read the Labels, we pay attention to ingredients ALWAYS. We understand the importance of putting food that’s made with real ingredients rather than the artificial stuff in our bodies. We know better than to trust the marketing whether it’s zero calories, zero artificial sweeteners, no artificial flavors, etc. None of that matters. What does matter? Ingredients!
We may be craving a Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice, but we’re going to see what’s inside before giving in. Here’s the ingredient list on the Starbucks website.
There are a lot of ingredients listed here, and several stick out as ones to avoid. Let’s review what some of these ingredients are doing in your body.
There’s sugar in the Cinnamon Dolce Syrup, Vanilla Syrup, and the Caramel Sauce. That’s a lot of sugar! Pumping your body full of so much sugar leads to a quick burst of energy and then a crash. There are alternative sweeteners that won’t lead to such a blood sugar spike.
Natural flavors may sound simple enough, but it is far from it. There are loopholes that flavor manufacturers take advantage of, and they can get away with adding preservatives, synthetic solvents, and other additives that are far from being natural.
Carrageenan is a preservative that’s added to thicken and preserve a product. Studies link carrageenan to inflammation, cancer, and diabetes. There’s some controversy surrounding carrageenan, but it’s an unnecessary added ingredient that is best to simply avoid.
First problem with corn syrup is that it’s another unnecessary added sweetener. Second problem is that it’s derived from corn. Corn that’s not organic is genetically modified and can lead to many health risks.
Soy Lecithin is another added preservative, plus it comes from soy. Soy is another one that’s GMO and should be avoided.
There are several more ingredients that we could cover, but we’ve made our point.
Now that you know some of the bad, what does this actually mean to you? Well, for starters, it could be the reason you have no energy!
All of that added sugar plus the corn syrup can lead to you feeling sluggish throughout the day.
Once you add up all of the preservatives in this one drink, your body may have an inflammatory response which is leaving you feeling bloated and inflamed.
So now you’re bloated and tired. It’s not worth it! Why resort to consuming something with so many unnecessary ingredients when clean and healthier versions exist?
That’s what Wake Up and Read the Labels is here for. We’ve got you covered!
A clean version can always exist, you just have to know which clean ingredients to swap for the bad. The Wake Up and Read the Labels version is made with all real ingredients that you can pronounce and your body can digest.
1 quart organic apple cider
½ cup coconut syrup (recipe below)
1 can unsweetened coconut milk (no guar gum added)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
Coconut Syrup Ingredients
⅓ cup coconut sugar
⅓ cup water
Combine the coconut sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Stir until the coconut sugar has dissolved and then remove from heat.
Let the mixture cool and set aside. This should yield ½ cup of coconut syrup.
Wake UP’s Caramel Apple Spice
Add the apple cider, coconut syrup, coconut milk, ground cinnamon, allspice, and ground cloves to a medium sized saucepan over medium-high heat.
Whisk ingredients together and let simmer for 3-4 minutes or until heated through.
Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour into a blender.
Blend together on high for 20-30 seconds and then pour in your favorite holiday mug to enjoy!
If you can’t find all of the ingredients or don’t have them on hand, there’s always another options! Use the replacements below.
Organic Apple Cider - Can’t find any without unnecessary ingredients? Use apple juice instead! Just make sure that the ingredients are apples and water and nothing artificial added. If you use apple juice instead of apple cider, cut the amount of syrup since apple juice is typically sweeter than cider.
Coconut Syrup - Don’t feel like making your own syrup? Use maple syrup instead. It may not taste as caramel-y, but it’ll still be delicious.
Coconut Milk - Swap it for your favorite nutmilk. Just make sure you’re paying attention to the ingredients! If you aren’t sure of a clean nutmilk, download our Free Morning Guide a perfect swap.
Next time you’re craving a Starbucks Caramel Apple Spice, try Wake UP’s version instead! Your body and your future self will thank you.
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