Sunday, June 28, 2009

Want an Alternative to Caffeine? Meet Teeccino


Trying to cut the caffeine habit can be impossible if you’re used to waking up to a strong brew and refilling your mug a few times a day at the office. Decaffeinated coffees and teas still carry traces of the stimulant that can wreak havoc on your body even if you don’t realize it. Discovered by a German chemist in 1819, the chemical compound in coffee was coined “kaffein” and is synonymously called “guaranine” from the guarana plant’s berries, “theine” found inside tea leaves, and “mateine” when isolated from the yerba mate plant. Either way you pronounce it, inside the human body, caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and produces a temporary feeling of alertness. Many people who drink decaf coffees, espressos, and teas, are either unable or unwilling to feel the consequences of a regularly caffeinated drink, but still enjoy the taste. With Teeccino, decaf-lovers can get the taste of real drip coffee in a natural, herbal mixture without the stimulating aftershock of caffeine.

Caroline MacDougall, an herb expert and creator of Teeccino, was working for various tea brands as an herbalist before she started making a name for herself in the early '90s with her own mixture she calls “herbal coffee,” a replacement way to drink your coffee without the addictive or dangerous qualities of caffeine. Knowing that many people are addicted to caffeine through coffees and teas, Carolyn sought a way to bring her knowledge of the Mediterranean rainforest to her morning cup and then share it. The basic ingredients of her herbal coffee are a simple and delicious blend of roots, nuts and fruit found in nature: roasted carob, barley, chicory root, figs, dates and almonds.

Drinking a coffee alternative can still imitate the rush that coffee can give you in the morning without the negative health effects associated with caffeine. For example, each cup of Teeccino is infused with around 80 milligrams of potassium which sends oxygen to your brain causing an energy boost that just might help you start you day.

So you’re probably wondering why a certified organic “herbal coffee” drink would be any healthier for you than a regular cup of java if it also has a stimulant in it—albeit a natural mineral—to help you be more alert. Caffeine can lead to infertility, it is a leading cause of stress by helping put your heart under pressure, and caffeine is a large inhibitor of heart disease. By shocking your nerves into having more energy, caffeine also stimulates your hunger, making you more susceptible to sweet cravings, ultimately spiking your blood sugar which can lead to a sugar intolerance or diabetes. Anxiety and depression are also linked to caffeine and the stimulant actually decreases your memory and cognitive skills.

Sean Paajanen, coffee and tea guide from About.com, applauds Teeccino’s efforts to be unlike other coffee alternatives and doesn’t mind the taste, “An excellent herbal coffee that contains no caffeine, but does taste remarkably just like regular coffee. No need to deny yourself in the mornings if you want to cut your caffeine.” Paajanen continues, “I've tried a few coffee substitutes…but was always disappointed to find they don't really taste like the coffee I know and love. I have been completely impressed with Teeccino, as the first coffee substitute I have found that tastes like coffee. Really. It has the rich, full-bodied taste that I love in my cup. And the many flavours make this a very versatile product to enjoy.”

So next time you have a caffeine headache and you drive through your local coffee cart, think how much you could save your body and your wallet by using a healthy alternative. Even if herbal coffee doesn’t taste exactly like your precious Starbucks latte, your homemade drip, or Peet’s best cup of tea, it might be worth a try to save your future health.

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