Sunday Health Hack No. 19 – Smooth out your morning caffeine levels

Sunday Health Hack No. 19 – Put some Chaga mushroom powder into your morning coffee for a good steady prolonged caffeine level (& much more).

Let’s continue with the “morning coffee“ routine, using again this common beverage as a “carrier”, for then adding something “beneficial” to it.
In this case Chaga mushroom powder.

Called the “King of Herbs” by the Chinese, the “Gift from God” by the Russians or “Black Gold” by the Romans, the use of Chaga in Chinese medicine dates back thousands of years where locals in the mountain region of Siberia drank Chaga tea daily, inhaled Chaga or used it topically (on the skin). Over time its popularity spread to the west of the Urai Mountains and Baltic regions of Eastern Europe.

A birch fungus, Chaga grows on living trunks of mature birch trees in cold climates. The name Chaga originates from the Russian word for mushroom (czaga). In Norway Chaga (kreftkjuke) translates to “cancer polypore” in reference to its fungal appearance and strong medicinal properties.

Researchers in Scandinavia, Russia or China have studied in-depth the anticancer properties of the polysaccharides found in Chaga, and found the effects comparable to chemotherapy and radiation, only without side effects. Among the many beneficial properties in Chaga, the polysaccharides have been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory and immune balancing properties which stimulates the body to produce natural killer (NK) cells. NK cells fight infections and battle tumor growth.
Today, Chaga has an ever-growing reputation as one of the most health-giving foods on the planet.

This incredibly “ugly” woody fungus also contains a wealth of important nutrients. These include manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, copper or phosphorus. All of these nutrients contribute to your overall health and give your body the fuel it needs to thrive.

Additionally, Chaga contains 31 times more antioxidants than blueberries, so it strongly (and naturally) reduces inflammation in the body. And by ‘cleaning up’ your system of bad and infected cells and assisting in the growth of healthy ones, Chaga promotes greater efficiency to combat diseases.

Chaga is a powerful immunity booster, which has been the subject of many studies over the years. One interesting finding was that this tree mushroom creates unique specialised proteins which stimulate white blood cells. And these are essential for fighting harmful bacteria and viruses.

Chaga is also high in fibre which is beneficial for the gut bacteria. And in combination with its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, Chaga even contributes again to your weight-loss goals.

Chaga mushrooms are part of a plant category called “adaptogens”. Adaptogens have unique properties which help support the body’s ability to cope with the effects of physical and emotional stress. When taken consistently, adaptogens support healthy stress responses and promote feelings of calm and balance.

Chaga is traditionally prepared by grating the woody mushroom down to a fine powder and then brewing the powder as an herbal “tea”. But the very “earthy” taste is not to everyone’s liking.  Thus the consideration to combine it with another “carrier” which has a strong self-taste like coffee.

But there is more to it. The caffeine in coffee actually helps the adaptogens to enter the bloodstream faster and as a result, the mushrooms help to prolong the caffeine level without causing a crash. Meaning, Chaga makes sure that your caffeine levels don’t spike (and then collapse), which might make you “jitterish” as your cortisol may go wild too, but that your caffeine level remains constant and nicely stimulating.

So, my Sunday Health Hack for today is – In the morning brew your first coffee in a (small, 2 mugs) French Press. I use dark roasted 100% organic arabica coffee (1:10 coffee-to-water ratio). Then I add a tablespoon of MCT oil to it (see my last Sunday Health Hack No. 18) as well as some Chaga powder.
The most convenient (and quality reassuring) way to do that is to get some Chaga mushroom extract in capsules. Open the capsule and put the extract powder to the coffee in the French Press.
Last but not least add hot water to it.

My trusted product source in Germany for (very) good quality Chaga mushroom extract is again Sunday Natural, and, again, I do not have any affiliation with them –

Extra “French Press” trick: The “health benefits” already start with the “how” you prepare your coffee. So first, gently pour twice the amount of water than you have coffee onto your grounds. Then give the grounds a gentle stir and allow the coffee / Chaga / MCT oil mix to bloom for 30 seconds. After that you pour the remaining hot water and place the lid on top. Don’t plunge just yet! Let the coffee steep for 3-4 minutes. No less, no longer.
You may use these 3-4min waiting time to prepare and endulge your “morning water drink” with some added lemon and apple cider vinegar.

Extra “Coffee taste” trick: A good investment is having a water boiler where you can set the temperature. As a general rule of thumb, brewing coffee with hot water at 95 degrees Celsius achieves a greater body in the coffee and complements coffee varietals that boast full bodiness as a desired trait (like Arabica).
Anything lower than 90 degrees Celsius leads to under extraction of flavours resulting in a weak tasting coffee, while anything more than 95 degrees leads to a burnt tasting cup of coffee.

Extra “Chaga taste” trick: If the “earthy” Chaga taste is still too “dominant”, another nice addition to your morning coffee is a dash of Cinnamon. It not only improves the taste even further but also nicely increases its sweetness. And, of course, all the other health benefits of Cinnamon go right with it too (see my Sunday Health Hack No. 15).

Adapt in Peace, Yours  Andreas

Sunday Quote
Don’t be afraid to start over again. This time not from scratch but with a wealth of experience.

Sunday Music
Well, speaking of kings and godfathers (of health) …