A match made in healthy breakfast heaven.
It seems like everyone is talking about “eating Paleo” these days. But what does that mean and how does coffee fit into that lifestyle? “By eating Paleo, you eliminate processed foods and empty calories that lead to poor health, and coffee provides additional health benefits that eating Paleo alone wouldn’t provide,” says Jill West, RDN, Director of Nutrition at Caveman Foods, a Paleo Certified and Paleo-Friendly Certified line of nutritionally balanced bars and snacks based in California.
Paleo diet and coffee's health benefits
Paleo, also known as The Paleolithic or caveman diet based on its roots in the Paleolithic Period, was popularized by Loren Cordain, PH.D. with the release of his book _ The Paleo Diet_ in 2002. Still enjoying popularity today, “Many people are interested in eating Paleo, because they want to feel better and improve their health by losing weight, improving digestion, increasing energy, and decreasing inflammation,” West tells us. “The aim is to return to eating foods that were available to our Paleolithic ancestors: lean meats, fish, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.”
And coffee brings so much to the table. Rich in antioxidants, which work to neutralize toxins that damage cells and speed up aging, coffee complements Paleo’s health benefits and may also lower the risk of Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, certain types of cancer, and depression.
Much like coffee, Caveman’s bars are loaded with good stuff. In their protein bar, for example, “The key source is egg white protein, which the body utilizes really well,” West explains. “While the body uses 60 to 70 percent of plant-based protein, it uses 100 percent of egg white protein, so muscles are really getting the protein rather than letting it just pass through the body, which also means you’ll stay full longer.”
While coffee and the Paleo diet make a solid couple, one popular coffee companion is a bit of a third wheel. Dairy products aren’t included in the Paleo diet, because it’s believed these foods weren’t available to our early ancestors. But even if you take milk with your coffee or enjoy a creamy texture, you still have options. “Almond milk would be the healthiest dairy alternative, because it is fortified with calcium and Vitamin D – two really important nutrients most people don’t get enough of,” suggests West. “Other alternatives include almond milk creamer, coconut milk, coconut creamer, which are not usually fortified and not as nutritionally rich.” If you like sweeteners or sugar in your coffee, go for honey, coconut sugar, maple syrup, or stevia. A sprinkle of cinnamon in your coffee tastes great, too!
If you’d also like to say goodbye to caffeine, decaf coffee is a great alternative. The reputation of decaf coffee is far from sterling amongst many coffee drinkers. But while the coffee industry was getting “death before decaf” tattoos, it was also trying to push coffee to a level where, like in wine, people were drinking it for the taste and not just for the chemical effects. And who does that describe better than decaf drinkers? With this in mind, many modern specialty roasters have started putting effort into creating delicious decaf blends and single origins. There are reasons decaf coffee beans aren't always great: it's expensive to decaffeinate coffee, so roasters in the past have bought cheap coffee beans to put in those blends. And because decaf is ordered less than coffees with caffeine, it's harder for even motivated baristas to keep it tasting great. But with the right sourcing of beans, roasting, and decaffeination, more and more delicious decafs are appearing every day, so you can find tasty coffee without the caffeine.
And, in the spirit of great pairings, we’ve matched our favorite Caveman bars with perfectly harmonious coffees, for the ultimate morning mashup.
Coffee and Caveman combos
Best for: Cold Brew
Irving Farm Cold Brew ($15)
Dark Chocolate Almond Coconut Nutrition Bar ($19.99, Pack of 12)
Taken as black coffee or diluted with dairy-free coconut cream or your Paleo coffee creamer of choice, Irving Farm’s Cold Brew melds effortlessly with this nutty coconut treat.
Best for: Automatic Drip Coffee Maker
Quills Inkwell ($15)
Dark Chocolate Caramel Cashew Nutrition Bar ($19.99, Pack of 12)
A crowd-pleasing coffee by nature, Quills Inkwell complements all the sweet, accessible notes in this chocolatey bar.
Best for: Espresso
Novo Espresso Novo ($16)
Salted Almond Butter Protein Bar ($22.99, Pack of 12)
The protein power in this salted bar pairs extremely well with the intense, bittersweet notes in Novo’s Espresso Novo.
Best for: Pour Over
Dark Chocolate Cherry Nut Nutrition Bar ($19.99, Pack of 12)
Cherry and nutty notes go perfectly with the jamminess of Kuma’s Ethiopia Guji Natural.