Healthy Now: Coffee and exercise can go hand in hand | SierraSun.com

Healthy Now: Coffee and exercise can go hand in hand

Special to the Bonanza

Start your day with a free cup of coffee at the Truckee Community Pool, and end it with a smooth Pumpkin Spice Latte at home.

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Little known fact: They make a killer cup of coffee at the Truckee Aquatic Center (8924 Donner Pass Road) Unbelievable. Not sure how they do it, coffee is coffee right?

Maybe it is because the equipment is state-of-the-art and brand new, or maybe because they are brewing with our local Sierra Pacific Roasters. Who knows?

All we know at Truckee-Donner Park and Rec' is that it is so good employees now have to pay for it because we were wiping out the inventory. The powers-that-be are trying to keep us in admin' with the Folgers.

Rats. Rumor has it the idea to start up a poolside coffee bar was the brainchild of member Rick Rucker, a Masters swimmer who always placed his travel coffee cup at the end of the lane he was using to take a hit of between laps.

In fact, when they were designing the new pool Mr. Rucker did attend one planning session suggesting espresso machines be available at the end of each lane for lap swimmers. That did not fly, but perhaps the seed was planted.

Or perhaps The Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District is reminding us that caffeine is good for your work-out and are making it easy for members to partake of a cuppa' Joe pre-swim or gym.

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The benefits of coffee when combined with exercise are well documented: coffee helps release stored fat from fat cells, especially before or at the end of a workout; it increases heat production and epinephrine which helps burn additional calories and fat; and, coffee provides antioxidants.

For endurance, caffeine is so effective in increasing performance levels it has been banned by the NCAA in high doses. Whatever the reason for Park and Rec's poolside coffee bar, the barista capabilities at the Aquatic Center are first-rate and now, for a limited time only — free!

That's right. You can help yourself to a steaming cup of freshly brewed coffee, courtesy of TDRPD, until the end of January 2017.

Unfortunately, what you cannot get is a pumpkin spice latte. They went out of town (Go ahead. Look for one.) on around December 26th. For this reason, we are glad to share a recipe for this festive holiday concoction so you can make it at home during any season.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

2 tbls. canned pumpkin puree

2 tbls sugar or equivalent sugar substitute

1 cup milk or 1 cup cashew milk (35 calories per eight ounces)

1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup brewed espresso or double-strength coffee

Preparation:

First of all, to make very strong coffee, the rule of thumb is more coffee less water. This works if you have a French press, not so well if you have a drip machine.

One trick when working with a coffee maker is to pull the pot out from under the filter basket (only if you have the type of machine that stops dripping when you do this!) and let the hot water steep in the coffee filter for about two minutes.

Then return the pot to the burner under the filter and let the stronger coffee flow in. Once you've got your coffee ready to go, whisk together in a small saucepan, over medium heat, the pumpkin, vanilla, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and milk. Whisk constantly until frothy. Pour the coffee into a mug and pour the pumpkin spiced milk over it. Cheers.

This column comes courtesy of Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District staff and members, celebrating health and fitness in the Sierra. For more information on how you can stay in shape during the winter months, visit tdrpd.org.