Kai Chronicles

Eating, exploring and enjoying life


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Let’s talk about coffee and books

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Is there anything better than snuggling down with a coffee and a good book?

I love me a good book. Give me a coffee too and I’m in heaven. I’ve been reading a lot lately, so much so that I’m thinking about changing my career path to professional reader – is that even possible? I think that would be my dream job.

I keep track of my books on Goodreads.com and so far this year, I’ve read 12 good ones. For me, that’s a huge increase from previous years. Last year, I read 10. Although I have 15 as my goal for this year, I think I will aim for 25. I have at least 20 books on my shelf and probably another 6 on my tablet to read. Most of these are fiction of varying genres.

What’s your favourite genre? Mine at the moment is Crime Thriller.

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All the pretty food

It’s day 21 of my health kick. With each day comes new strength and determination to be the healthiest and fittest I can be NOW. I’ve even been getting up to do early morning work-outs. I’ve been eating less junk (WAY less) and more salads, berries, proteins and drinking more smoothies. I’m lovin’ it and don’t miss the unless carbs and calories I was consuming on a regular basis. But I continue to dream.

There was this time not too long ago when I had to face the beautiful food and say no and it was tough.

I was in Perth and Mr M spotted a donut shop and just had to try one. That didn’t tempt me. I planned to sit in the car and wait patiently. Within seconds, he returned and asked me to get coffee at the little cupcake shop because he could see they had a kick-ass espresso machine. It didn’t take much for me to jump out of the car and into that cute, retro-style sugar haven.

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The gorgeously retro espresso machine that made average coffee. (coffee snobbery runs high in my household)

When I entered the glass door at Kustom Cupcakes, it was as if I had walked into 1955. Everything was pale pink and blue, clean and fun looking. The cabinet was filled with perfectly coiffed cupcakes of different colours, flavours and textures. Who can resist a good cupcake?

CUPCAKES COLOUR

Colourful Cupcakes

Me, that’s who. I looked, oh yes did I look but I did not touch. I ordered 2 coffees to go and stocked up on all their written material so I could plan my order for the next time we passed by. So far, my wish-list includes:

  • Peanut Buttercup
  • Cherry Pie
  • PB & J
  • Salted Caramel
  • Choc Mint
  • Jam Donut

I best stop there. Of course, I will not eat all those,  it’s just a dream. Prices: 6 for $20, 12 for $35 or 24 for $65. How much money should I take?

The coffee was ok but what was most impressive was the Oreo cookie that was served on the lid of each cup. I like that idea!!! They also had jars of lollies to help yourself to – of course, I did not.

What I did indulge in on that trip was a banana spilt. I can hear you say, “But I thought you weren’t having dairy?”

That is correct, I am not having dairy at the moment. This banana split was made with coconut ice cream! I didn’t even order it, Mr M surprised me with it so I couldn’t say no – that would’ve been rude.

banana split

Banana Split made with coconut ice cream from Gelare in Joondalup’s Lakeside Shopping Centre.

I resisted the cupcakes but the frosty dessert got me. I didn’t feel guilty. I’m enjoying working hard towards my health goals and being able to indulge every once and awhile.

What’s your favourite pretty food?

 


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Coffee Talk

Coffee. I’ve been drinking the stuff since I was 15 or so. It’s a big pasttime in Canada, where I was born and raised and I’m glad to have it carry-on in my homes in the South Pacific. Most cultures have strong social connections to coffee and the rituals that surround consuming it. I found a fabulous travel piece about this very topic on Your Life is a Trip.

I love going to a cafe and having a coffee to go along with some writing time. Gosh, 12 years ago it would have been a coffee and a cigarette. Glad those days are long gone.

Coffee and writing. It really goes together. Much better than coffee and cake.

The cake counter seems to be taunting me. The chef just brought out  a newly made triple chocolate cheesecake. I haven’t had chocolate for 38 days now but who’s counting? I found a flourless orange cake recipe the other day. I bought some fresh blueberries to go on the top. I think today is the day to make it.

Triple Chocolate Cheesecake - No worries.

It may sound like I have cravings, but I really don’t. It doesn’t bother me that the cakes, muffins and friands are in abundance in the cafe I sit at or that they have 12 flavours of ice cream on offer. I’m content with my decaf, soya flat white coffee. It may be a vice but one that I’m happy to hold on to.

The other night my husband and I were talking about my “diet”. I happen to say, ” I am not doing this as an obsession” but I felt I was having to convince myself of that fact. Maybe it is somewhat of an obsession. But what does it matter anyway? I feel great and I’m quite pleased with myself for sticking to it.

We all need to feel successful at some time in our lives. If doing something that makes you feel good, isn’t hurting anyone and gives you some confidence, even if other people don’t “get it”, I say go for it!!

I love having goals to achieve. It’s a healthy, challenging way to compete in this crazy world and better to be competing with yourself than the Joneses.

Damn, my coffee is down to foam around the rim. Waiter!!


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The World’s Most Popular Drug

Did you have a coffee or tea this morning?

Caffeine laced drinks and products are consumed by millions the world over. Does that make us all drug users…..and possibly abusers?

The truth is: Caffeine is a drug.

Caffeine is a natural stimulant found in coffee, tea, cola and cocoa beans. This, of course, does not mean caffeine is limited to these products. There are countless other soft drinks, lollies, ice creams, energy drinks, chewing gum, supplements and medications on the market today that are enhanced with caffeine.

Many people consume hundreds of milligrams worth of caffeine per day and would never guess they may be dependant on or addicted to a stimulant.

What happens when you stop –  cold turkey?

There is a very high chance of experiencing withdrawal symptoms such as: headache, nausea; feeling light-headed, tired, moody, depressed and irritable. These symptoms may continue for 2-8 days so it is easy to reason why so many people just continue with their daily caffeine fix.

How much caffeine are we talking about?

  •  250ml cup of instant coffee (1tsp)  = 60-80mg
  • 1 oz espresso = 90mg
  •  250ml cup of black tea = 40-60mg
  • 250ml cup of green tea  = 25-40mg
  •  375ml can of Coke = 50mg
  • 100g chocolate bar = 20mg

It is hard to pin point the safe levels of caffeine without doing a scientific experiment first-hand. It all depends on who you ask.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand say:

“There is currently no recognised health-based guidance value, such as an Acceptable Daily Intake, for caffeine. However, a FSANZ Expert Working Group analysed the available literature in 2000 and concluded that there was evidence of increased anxiety levels in children at doses of about 3 mg of caffeine per kilogram of bodyweight per day. The anxiety level for children aged 5-12 equates to a caffeine dose of 95 mg per day (approximately two cans of cola) and about 210 mg per day (approximately three cups of instant coffee) for adults.”

Is there any reason to stop?

According to the Havard Health Publications, caffeine is not only safe, but may also have some benefits.

“Studies show that the risk for type 2 diabetes is lower among regular coffee drinkers than among those who don’t drink it. Also, coffee may reduce the risk of developing gallstones, discourage the development of colon cancer, improve cognitive function, reduce the risk of liver damage in people at high risk for liver disease, and reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease.”

There are some health conditions that will not benefit caffeine intake: like candida. Caffeine can feed candida and would aggravate excess candida symptoms that may: abdominal pain, thrush, depression, urinary infections, rashes, acne, white coated tongue and food cravings.

Some people may not tolerate caffeine very well and experience over-dose like feelings such as: restlessness, nervousness, excitement, insomnia and gastrointestinal issues.

Although there is no proven evidence that says caffeine is harmful to an unborn fetus, it is widely known and accepted that caffeine should be limited to (the equivalent of)  one or two cups of coffee per day.

I personally have “gone off” caffeine several times. Each time I endured 2-3 days of physical pain in the form of severe headaches and nausea.

I am currently off caffeinated coffee but have been having small doses of caffeine in decaf coffee and chocolate, occasionally. I do not drink green or black tea at all.

Yesterday I was unwittingly served a caffeinated coffee  and was not aware of this until 1-2 hours later. I  noticed that I was jittery and scatter-brained and couldn’t figure out why. When I was told of the coffee mix-up, I rationalised my confused state to the excess caffeine.

There’s no denying it: Coffee and caffeine products are big business and keep getting bigger. It does make me wonder though….

Do we need to be stimulated all the time? And are we just trading off one drug for another?

Cigarettes are no longer in fashion and are now a known health hazard but coffee, tea, cola and energy drinks are very sociable, acceptable and consumption is on the rise……for the moment.