A Few of My Favorite Things & Yerba Mate Latte

March 28, 2011

I used to drink frappuccinos and iced coffees.  Quite a lot.  I also weighed over 200 pounds, had health-related problems, and didn’t exactly look well.

So how does a person go from slushy, creamy drinks at Dunkin’ Donuts to beverages with health benefits and a fraction of the calories?  Like any change, it’s a process.

The words “almond milk” would likely have made me roll my eyes 10 years ago.  1%?  2%?  Skim?  Whatever.  Fast forward:  I began going to acupuncture for a repetitive motion injury, was told  I was “damp” and my “spleen was cold,” switched from cow to soy milk, learned that was still difficult to digest, didn’t like rice milk, and finally tried almond milk.  First sweetened, then not.  For the calorie conscious, it is to be noted that this product from Whole Food’s 365 line, an unsweetened almond milk, has only 40 calories a cup.  That’s low.  I use at least a little every day.

Raw cane sugar?  Honey?  Maple syrup?  Agave nectar?  Sweet N Low?  Splenda?  I think they each can arguably have a time and place.  For my everyday sweetener needs (mainly coffee and tea), though, I personally use stevia.  See what the Mayo Clinic and Wikipedia have to say.  Stevia comes powered and in liquid extracts.  I use the liquid, and 3-4 drops are sufficient.  Start with a little and add more if needed.  Stevia is pretty potent, so don’t overdo it.  It may take a while to adjust to stevia’s sweetness if you are used to other sugar products, so be patient and play around.

Side note:  Maple syrup, honey, and agave nectar are all great in oatmeal, yogurt, or tea.  Up to 1/2 TBS of one is moderate and reasonable.  The  amount here is key.  Having too much will spike your blood sugar and outweigh the potential health benefits these natural sweeteners have to offer.  As blood sugars regulate with clean eating, oatmeal with say cinnamon, ground flax seed, and blueberries will start to taste naturally sweet.  (Don’t roll your eyes until you are regulated and try it!)

The verdict on coffee will likely always be out, but I personally think 1-2 cups of coffee a day can be part of a healthy, balanced diet.  Some constitutions don’t need or react poorly to strong stimulants, so for them a decaffeinated tea is a nice way to warm up the digestive organs in the morning.

Some people have a natural tendency to diarrhea, others to constipation, and some fluctuate between the two.  For those who tend to diarrhea, acid reflux, heartburn, indigestion, or nausea, strong stimulants like coffee may increase their symptoms and are not recommended.

My first acupuncturist recommended yerba mate to me, and I have been drinking it ever since.  Yerba mate, a popular tea in South America,  is relatively gentler on the stomach and with less caffeine than a coffee alternative.  Data exists on the different caffeine levels of common beverages.  Some studies also suggest yerba mate promotes health in other ways such as having anti-inflammatory and improved insulin resistance effects.  Whole Foods, mainstream grocery stores, and even Target carry yerba mate, and it is sold loose or in tea bags.  Prepare with hot, not boiling water, and steep for 3-5 minutes only to avoid a bitter taste.

With these three products, I create my own version of a “yerba mate latte.”  I have it on many afternoons.  It’s delicious, satisfying, and satiating.  Brew a cup of yerba mate, and add in some almond milk and a little stevia.   Great for an afternoon pick-me-up or an early morning start.  Several of my patients are already converts – give it a try!

***I will be serving yerba mate lattes at this Saturday’s Community Acupuncture Clinic!  4/2/2011 from 12-4pm.  Call or email to schedule an appointment!

Remember:  You are what you eat.

In good health,


Molly B. Shapiro L.Ac., Dipl. O.M.

4405 East West Hwy

Bethesda, MD  20814


240 – 347 – 2323


One Response to “A Few of My Favorite Things & Yerba Mate Latte”

  1. Zachary Runkle Says:

    Yerba Mate is also tasty as a tea. I always take it at night.,

    <a href="Current article produced by our personal web portal

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