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I like coffee. A lot.  This is no secret if you follow me on Twitter, where I always feel compelled to tweet out my love for the taste, smell, and (of course) effects of coffee.

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I have kind of gone back and forth about my coffee addiction.  I mean, adoration.  In the past, I occasionally felt *too* dependent on caffeine and tried hard to whittle myself down to a few-times-a-week drinker v. an every day drinker. When I got pregnant, I pretty much gave up coffee completely.  And then I had a newborn and – WHAM! – I was back to my old ways.  Hello, caffeine.  I love you so hard.  I need you in my life.

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(Here’s my #1 trick for iced coffee – coffee cubes!)

 

Right now, my perfect coffee is made with an Green Mountain Dark Magic k-cup (not going to lie, Keurig changed my life), a few drops of vanilla stevia, and a hefty pour of So Delicious French Vanilla creamer, which is a coconut milk-based creamer.

 

The other morning, I was curious of what my ‘hefty pour’ of creamer actually measured out to be, so I got out my tablespoon.  I looked at the back of the carton and saw that there were apparently THIRTY TWO servings in a small carton.  Immediately, I was all like, “Oh damnnnnnnnnnnn” because I go through a carton in a week.  I poured in one tablespoon and peered into my coffee.  Hmmm.  It was still rather dark.  Not very creamy.  So I poured into another tablespoon, and it barely made a dent.  I could’ve kept adding tablespoons until I got to my normal creaminess, but truthfully, at that point, I decided that I didn’t want to know!

 

The part of my creamer that I was concerned about was the sugar content.  I’ve been trying to control my sugar consumption so that the bulk of it does not occur in the  morning. I’ve observed that I feel much better if I eat sweet things later in the day.  I’m savory for breakfast – all the way.  Also, when I think about it, I would much rather EAT added sugar in the form of baked goods or pancakes or chocolate than drink it.  Anyway – a tablespoon of my coffee creamer contains 4 grams of sugar.  With all the tablespoons that I’ve been putting in… well, I don’t even want to think about my grand total. Winking smile

 

So, although I really love the taste of my creamer, I’ve been exploring other options.

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I’ve had some success with making my own coconut milk creamer.

 

I buy a full-fat can of coconut milk and then thoroughly mix it up (the fat and liquid separates in the can).  Then I add about five drops of my stevia.

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I store it in a glass jar in the fridge (it keeps for about a week – I drink it pretty fast anyway).  It gets thick and firm in the fridge but melts when added to hot coffee.  It does start to separate once in the coffee for a while, but that’s more of a visual issue than a taste one.

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Of course, this very basic recipe is hardly unique.  Once I found success with the concept of make-your-own creamer, I did some Googling and came across this blog, which had suggestions for Almond Joy, Cinnamon Streusel, French Vanilla, Hazelnut, and Pumpkin Spice creamers.  The flavor ideas are great!  I need to try adding flavors.

 

Speaking of measuring out foods, check out this post on what five ounces of wine actually looks like in a glass.  Measuring out my wine just ONCE saved me from many hangovers.

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Have you ever measured a food or drink and were surprised to see how much (or how little) you were actually consuming?

{ 42 comments }

 

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  • Kelly February 6, 2014, 2:59 pm

    I am the same way with coffee creamer. I tell myself I use a tablespoon but I KNOW I use more. I just don’t want to know how much more. ;)

    Reply
  • Kwithme February 6, 2014, 3:04 pm

    This week I experimented with measuring some add ins to a meal. It is cold and snowy here and I have been craving cheesy things. Monday night, we were having shrimp. I sautee it in olive oil and garlic. I was thinking, maybe, over a little pasta. Hmm, I try to avoid pasta, how about quinoa. Ok, so I was going to go with a risotto type of dish. Now I just needed a cheesy sauce. So, I mixed, 1TBSP butter, 1TBSP heavy cream and 1 TBSP parm cheese. Tossed all the shrimp and veggies in it and served over quinoa. It was great. It hit the spot. And before you raise your eyebrows. That cheese mixture was split between 2 adults, one teen and one pre-teen. So, it went a long way and took care of a craving!

    Reply
  • Maryea {happy healthy mama} February 6, 2014, 3:34 pm

    Once I realized how much sugar I was consuming in my morning coffee, I cold turkey quit creamer and started drinking black. I’ve never looked back and just love the taste of black coffee now. Stevia as a sweetener is a good option, though. I don’t like starting with sweet in the morning anymore though. Black coffee all the way!

    Reply
  • Kathleen Ojo @ My Ojos February 6, 2014, 3:37 pm

    I’m pretty sure I gained 5lbs in December JUST on fancy coffee creamers. I regret nothing, but I’m back to using plain almond milk or the powdered stuff they give us free in the office. I also cut out most caffiene in January and mostly drink decaf now, so sad, but after having a baby I got up to 4 cups a day of regular and it just wasn’t healthy. So now I have a permanent withdrawl headache, but I sleep GREAT at night!

    Reply
    • Megan February 6, 2014, 9:09 pm

      I cannot do the powder creamer!

      Reply
  • Aishah @ Coffee, Love, Health February 6, 2014, 3:39 pm

    Luckily I was able to cut sugar out of my coffee, I never thought that was possible. I weened off of it slowly until one day it tasted too sweet and I haven’t put sugar in it since… crazy right? I do use CoffeeMate powdered creamer, however. I know a lot of people prefer regular, whole cream but for some reason I like powdered better. I hope to convert to regular cream since it’s “healthier.” I never measure the amount I use though, I also don’t want to know lol

    Reply
  • mary @ minutes per mile February 6, 2014, 3:52 pm

    … i realllllly don’t want to know how much 5 oz of wine looks like :) i’m a fan of my personal estimate!

    Reply
  • Janelle February 6, 2014, 3:59 pm

    Thanks to my dear husband, I have learned to drink (and enjoy!) black coffee in the morning. When I really want a treat (usually for holidays or if we have company), I love Organic Valley’s French Vanilla half and half. I just realized, though, that it has 9 grams of sugar in 2 Tablespoons – no wonder I like it – ha! Maybe I should try coconut milk and vanilla?

    Reply
  • Andrea February 6, 2014, 4:15 pm

    I’ve been making my own coconut coffee creamer for awhile… I use light canned coconut milk (it doesn’t seperate as much) with about 1 tsp if vanilla and a few shakes of nutmeg and cinnamon. I highly recommend it, it’s delicious! I store it in the fridge in a glass bottle and shake it before I use it.

    Reply
  • Breanne February 6, 2014, 4:19 pm

    It’s amazing what measuring just once does. The hard part for me is translating that amount across different things. Like, I know what two tablespoons of peanut butter looks like (NOT ENOUGH), but two tablespoons of olive oil is WAY too much. Thus, neither look like tablespoons.

    Reply
  • Elizabeth @ Positive Change February 6, 2014, 4:23 pm

    I have always been a measuring type of person. However, when it comes to PB I never measure and I don’t want to know how much PB I eat! I just know that one jar lasts almost a week and that is fine by me! :)

    Reply
  • Nikki February 6, 2014, 4:46 pm

    Like some of the other commenters, I just decided to drop the sweeteners/creams altogether one day and I’ve not looked back since! It’s so much easier to just pour the cup and go!

    I joined Weight Watchers before my wedding and the greatest gift it gave me was the gift of portion control. Now I can clearly visualize what 2 tbsp of peanut butter looks like. Now, whether I choose to stick to that is an entirely different story… ;)

    Reply
  • Shannon February 6, 2014, 5:07 pm

    Oh man, this post is so timely. I love that creamer, too, and just the other day realized how many calories are in one tablespoon. Since I usually go through a carton in 10 days or so (oops)… I should probably try out your recipe! The one good thing about that creamer, is that it enabled me to kick my splenda habit. Any tips for controlling my hummus intake?

    Reply
  • Rebecca February 6, 2014, 5:36 pm

    I pretty much only drink coffee when I’m working at night and have to try to stay awake until 11 (or if I’m working at 7am after a long time of not working at 7am or working until 11 the night before). And then I have to have creamer. I cannot do black coffee. It’s almost always like six or more of those little tiny creamer containers. I don’t even care because coffee alone is disgusting and I only drink it *maybe* three times a week tops, if even that. Most weeks I do without, but if I’m especially tired, I’ll grab a cup.
    I don’t measure things. I don’t care. Sometimes my eyes are bigger than my stomach, or an add-in ends up being way too much extra flavor, but I deal with it. I just kind of go with what looks like the right amount. Unless I’m actually baking or cooking or something. :P
    My dad, on the other hand, eats enough, but doesn’t add much of anything to anything. He drinks black coffee, and he doesn’t put butter or salt on his corn or his potatoes. So blah. Healthy, but blah. (Compared to an uncle who adds salt to everything without tasting it which is awful.)

    Reply
  • Debbie@happyhealthyfitandfine.com February 6, 2014, 5:46 pm

    I hear where you’re coming from. Portion control can be tricky. I don’t know how many times I’ve looked at a label and thought, are you kidding? Better to get a handle on it early on or find a better substitute.

    Reply
  • KaraHadley February 6, 2014, 6:38 pm

    I drink the same creamer!! If I had to guess, I’d estimate that I use about 2 tablespoons. But I’m kind of in the “I don’t want to know” boat. ahhaha

    Reply
  • Kaitlyn February 6, 2014, 6:41 pm

    Ahh this is great! I live in Spain and cannot find coffee creamer here to save my life. There are health food stores though, so I know I can find coconut milk and stevia. And it’s vegan. So excited!

    Reply
  • Diana Griffith February 6, 2014, 7:18 pm

    I know you don’t drink regular milk, but that’s what I drink in my coffee instead of cream. I feel like that way, I’m also getting about 1/2 a serving of dairy by the time the morning is over (I like a LOT of milk in my coffee to make it creamy too).

    Reply
  • Alex February 6, 2014, 8:00 pm

    Coffee habits around the world are so weird! Haha. I live in NZ, and creamer is basically unheard of here. There is only one type at the supermarket called ‘coffee mate’, and it’s marketed towards trampers so they can have a sweet/milky coffee on multi-day tramps without having to take milk or milk powder. I drink black coffee, but most people here put a splash of milk and a teaspoon or two of sugar in their coffee.

    P.S. love your new grey chevron – I sometimes think about starting a healthy living blog (but then snap back to reality, where would I find the time?!), and when I imagine it I imagine grey and white chevron along the header!

    Reply
  • Jamie February 6, 2014, 9:03 pm

    I was surprised to realize how much coffee I was drinking! I would pour myself 2 cups but turns out those “2 cups” are actually 6 cups of coffee when you measure out the ounces. I now have a much smaller mug and drink 2-3 8 oz cups of coffee a day. I LOVE coffee. Thanks to my lovely mother who always told me never to put sweetener in my coffee I love drinking black coffee. Occasionally I will be at someone’s house and they automatically add milk and it makes me want to gag!

    Reply
  • Megan February 6, 2014, 9:06 pm

    I’ve been counting my calories again (since Monday this time, lol) and I refuse to count my coffee creamer. ;) to be fair, I don’t use a whole serving of creamer and I still am able to lose weight when I don’t count it.

    My husband is trying to get me to stop the creamer and drink it black like him, so I’ve slowly put less and less in there..

    Reply
  • Rachel February 6, 2014, 10:13 pm

    I too love coffee with a hefty serving of vanilla creamer. I was making my own for a while, but it was becoming annoying to me, so I’m back to buying it ready made. I’m curious about that vanilla stevia though!

    Love the new blog design :)

    Reply
  • Heather February 6, 2014, 10:14 pm

    Unrelated, but I really like your hair/bangs in the first photo.

    Reply
  • Stephanie @ Whole Health Dork February 7, 2014, 7:08 am

    I love your reaction to checking out the serving size. That’s definitely me sometimes! It’s all about awareness, which is what I love about this post. You discovered a problem, tried to solve it, and offered a solution! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  • Megan @ The Skinny-Life February 7, 2014, 10:50 am

    I can absolutely relate to this! When I started my weight-loss journey (now 4 yrs ago), I was blown away by all the things that I was “over-eating.” The biggest culprit? Chips….I could easily nosh on an entire bag and have no idea how many calories or servings I was consuming. It’s eye-opening when you begin analyzing what & how much you are eating.

    Reply
  • Cate February 7, 2014, 1:20 pm

    I started measuring for that very reason! It can add up quickly. Luckily, I’ve adjusted to the darker color and not as sweet of flavor.

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  • Emily February 7, 2014, 1:21 pm

    I must be the odd one out here, but I actually DO measure my coffee creamer (ever since I saw that there were 30-something servings in that tiny bottle.) BUT the way I do it it super easy (not that measuring something is ever particularly hard but you know what I mean). I took the Tbsp measuring spoon off the set, and just keep that next to the Keurig. I have to stir my coffee with something anyway, so I just use that to measure and stir, rinse it off, and put it right back by the coffee maker. Easy-peasy, and limits me to the correct 35cal I “should” be getting, not the easily 100 or so I was probably pouring before!

    Reply
    • Michele February 8, 2014, 8:19 pm

      Ha, I do the same thing! I have one tablespoon that I use for my coffee creamer (sugar free). I measure out a tablespoon, rinse it and use the same one every day. I also add Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk to my coffee to make it lighter. I like my coffee light!

      Reply
  • Kelsey February 7, 2014, 2:53 pm

    Have you tried using So Declious original coconut milk or vanilla coconut milk? There’s only about 7 grams of sugar in a cup.

    Reply
  • Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs February 7, 2014, 4:03 pm

    I totally understand how easy it is to use way more creamer than you think you do — I used to drink my coffee with flavored creamer until I really thought about how many extra calories I was drinking… Now I’ve trained my palate to just drink it with a splash of skim milk. It doesn’t taste AS good, but it’s still good :)

    Reply
  • Lee February 7, 2014, 5:31 pm

    Ha – I realized the same thing about that same coffee creamer about a year ago. I was going through a carton a week. I actually started measuring 2 tbsps and at first it seemed like it wasn’t enough but I got used to it.

    Reply
  • Elisabeth February 8, 2014, 1:06 am

    Definitely guilty of eating way more than I’m estimating…especially with nut butters! And that’s why I’m a bit obsessive about measuring or weighing pretty much everything I eat. I’ve lost over 200 pounds since 2012 & a big part of that is using a food scale.

    Reply
  • Kelly February 8, 2014, 11:38 am

    I had been reading about mixing/ blending coconut OIL in coffee. I tried it (blended in the vitamix) and it’s really good!! I will add the caveat that I typically drink my coffee black. Coconut oil adds a creamy look and flavor. It also separates after a while but it’s not an issue. Plus it’s great for you!

    Google “coconut oil blended in coffee” for more details from some other blogs.

    Reply
  • Lauren February 10, 2014, 12:06 pm

    Caitlin!! I seriously had the exact same life moment as you recently…….. crazy! I also drink the So Delicious French Vanilla Creamer. I began measuring my creamer after Christmas Day…. I cooked all day and realized by 5pm that I had gone through an ENTIRE cartion of the creamer. Then came the horror of looking at the nutrition information. Shocking and oh so depressing, ha.

    I just began making my own almond milk (posting a video to my YouTube channel detailing this process soon) and now want to really dive into making my own creamer. Definitely will be trying your recipe!! Thanks!

    xo, Lauren
    http://alovelysideproject.wordpress.com/

    Reply
  • Cassie Propst February 11, 2014, 4:54 pm

    Good afternoon! I am a mother of two and a veterinary nurse as well as brand spanking new to the blogging world!! I have stopped by your bog multiple times and am always pleased to read up on the subjects you write about. I was hoping you wouldn’t mind emailing me back? I am hoping to find a well established blogger that wouldn’t mind me asking a few questions.. Also I was wondering if you ever allow guest or co-blogging? I am sure you receive quite a few emails a day and I understand its probably tough to answer them all, but if you found a moment to do so it would make this mommy’s day!! I hope to hear from you!!
    Cassie Propst
    http://www.adoreyourhealth.com

    Reply
  • Caitlin February 11, 2014, 8:54 pm

    When I was trying to lose weight I cut sugar out of my coffee cold turkey once I realized how much I was already getting throughout the day. It took me about a week to adjust to the more bitter flavor, but now I can’t stand sweetened coffee. I’d guestimate that I probably use about 1 1/2 tbsp of soy creamer between my two cups I drink every morning. I want to try the coconut milk method!

    Reply
  • ryan February 27, 2014, 7:44 pm

    I just realized after reading through the comments that I may be the only male here. I just wanted to find a coconut milk recipe as I have a small can of it (coconut milk) but no creamer of any kind. My google search took me here… I’m amazed at how many people still get hung up on “calorie counting”. It’s the factory food one needs to watch out for. So long as you’re eating somewhat healthy foods (fresh) and getting virtually any amount of exercise in you should be okay. At least I’ve been. I lost 35 pounds simply by eating lots of sauteed dark greens in garlic (lots of garlic too) in a quality olive oil and mixing it with quinoa at the end. Flavoring with nothing but a bit of “Braggs” amino acids (soy sauce alternative still made from soy. so I’m not sure how that works) and avoiding too much sodium. I use chili sauce as well. The stuff you see in the “Asian” section at any store (I like the one with the seeds that you need a spoon to dish out vs. the siracha. unfortunately most those sauces have some pretty funky additives. it’s my one exception). Quinoa is a WONDERFUL grain: high protein, alkaline (non-acidic) and gluten-free. Cooking is a chore regardless. But it’s surprising what one can cook up within 20-30 minutes and have something healthy and gourmet from scratch. Then again I do realize many people don’t have the time to do even that. Which is a problem. Still, staying away from pre-packaged foods and microwaves goes a long way. Really…
    Wow! I honestly have no idea why I am still talking. Me being here was a total fluke. I guess in a nutshell the point I wanted to make is that the days of “calorie counting” are a fairly dated concept/approach to eating well. I remember living off junk food for a period of time where I would say “so long as I don’t go over 2,000 calories I’m okay”. Not the case. Shitty food is just that. Eat fresh and never underestimate the affects of stress on ones mental, physical and emotional state. That’s my justification for drinking wine: the stress will kill me long before the wine so I might as well enjoy myself (not talking about becoming an alcoholic here just unwinding. which for some chamomile and/or valerian tea can be even better. in fact it IS better. no chance of feeling even remotely lousy or dehydrated the next day).
    Okay then! Be well strangers and may we all be blessed with good health for as long as possible. It’s stuff like this that’s a good start… Sorry this is so lengthy and even off topic.

    -Ryan

    Reply
    • Caitlin February 28, 2014, 12:38 am

      Thanks for this comment :) I agree that it’s more important to be concerned with where your food comes from.

      Reply
  • Karen March 20, 2014, 11:10 am

    This morning, after realizing that it took me about 5 days to go through a carton of coconut creamer, I googled alternatives and found your post. Thanks for the ideas!

    Reply
  • Heather June 26, 2014, 6:47 pm

    I’ve been experimenting with different coconut milk creamer recipes now that I’m gluten and dairy free, as well as cutting out additives for health reasons. I still can’t get the thicker texture I see on your site, even after in the fridge. What coconut milk do you buy and from where? I feel like I have to put 2-3 pours in for my coffee to even change color in the slightest way? Many thanks!

    Reply
  • Melanie August 5, 2014, 3:48 pm

    I’ve been dairy free for a little while, and soon discovered the joy of canned coconut milk in my coffee. I wouldn’t go back to dairy milk in my coffee even if I could. Then I used my handy hand blender to mash up some shelled walnuts in the coconut milk, and that was the complete end of bottled coffee creamers for me. heavenly. sweet and creamy coconut-walnut creamer, and it’s (mostly) preservative free, except whatever’s in the two ingredients. It’s so sweet, it doesn’t even need sugar added. And I suspect it doesn’t come close to the mono/poly/disorbate-whatever garbage, that’s in Cremora or bottled dairy creamer, so I’m happy happy. :D

    Reply
  • Heather Whalen August 11, 2014, 2:01 pm

    Really trying to find good non-dairy creamer alternatives for morning coffee. Haven’t liked any of the suggestions (soy milk, SoDelicious creamers, etc.). Only thing decent is almond or soy milk frothed and then espresso mixed in. Really miss coffee and half n’ half (no sugar).
    Where do you buy your thick coconut milk?
    Thank you!

    Reply