Bulletproof Coffee!

Update #2 (August 2015): I have since stopped drinking my coffee “Bulletproof” style. I found that I was struggling with my weight earlier this spring. I then heard several podcast discussions about BP coffee and realized that it was simply adding a lot of calories that I simply wasn’t using up. Also, I have not been doing intermittent fasting as much lately, so Bulletproof coffee just wasn’t as necessary to carry me through the fasting periods.

Since leaving off from Bulletproof coffee on a daily basis my weight has stabilized and I have not noticed a loss of energy or mental performance. I have made one other slight change recently: when I am writing or need to study for long periods of time, I will drink 1-2 cups of green tea after my morning coffee. I picked up on this tip from Tim Ferris – apparently there are complementary stimulants between coffee, green tea, and black tea (so I have coffee early, green tea later in the morning if needed, and occasionally black tea if I really need a boost).

UPDATE: A recent article on HuffPo got me thinking again about why I chose to start drinking bulletproof coffee (the technique more than the brand). I thought I would update my own post with the science I researched before venturing down this path.

What is Bulletproof Coffee?

Start by making two cups of coffee – choose the best beans you can find, and no Starbucks/Peets/Seattle’s Best does not count. To that add two tablespoons of grassfed butter (yes grassfed matters- I like Kerry Gold but Organic Valley now has their version at our local Whole Foods and I got to meet one of the farmers earlier this year). Then add in 1-to-2 T of MCT Oil (I use the Upgraded Brain Octane from UpgradedSelf.com). Then blend together using a blender (or I use a battery powered stick-blender). I drink this in place of breakfast which gives me an energy boost, staves off any sense of hunger for about 6 hours, and feeds my brain better than any other breakfast option I have found. I am not try to lose weight persay, but the calories provided by this combination accelerate metabolism and do not bio-accumulate in adipose tissue, and so you may notice a side effect of a slimmer waistline.

Why does Bulletproof Coffee work?

The Coffee

Coffee has long been understood to contribute an energy boost to those who consume it. That energy may affect you differently from other people based on a number of factors: some people achieve higher focus while others get scatter brained; some folks achieve flow state where others get jittery. By an large you can achieve more of the positive benefits by selecting better quality coffee and preparing it optimally

Making optimal coffee includes four key ingredients:

  • Fresh beans. Fresh beans refers to the fact that coffee beans, like any form of produce, has a shelf life. Shelf life is negatively impacted by light, heat, moisture and air. If your coffee beans do not display a “Roast Date”, choose something else; and if the roast date is more than two weeks, move on to another option. One last point to ponder is that shelf life of coffee beans is about the same as a fresh banana. oh, and please do not store tehm in the refrigerator. They may last longer, but the constant changes in temperature will lead to condensation on the beans themselves resulting in mold or other bad things.
  • Clean water
  • Proportion of water to coffee
  • Contact time between coffee beans and water

The Butter

The MCT Oil

Here’s a link to the original article I referenced:


GAPS and coffee have a love/ hate relationship. For many GAPS adults, coffee has a ritualistic place in our daily routines, making it one very difficult to give up piece of our previous dietary menu. I for one have enjoyed coffee since I was a young soldier on my first cold bivouac in Northern Germany. I have been something of a coffee snob (no, I do not like Starbucks…it does not qualify as quality coffee). I patronize only fresh roasted coffee from coffee shops or places that print the roast date on the bag…only buying coffee that I can consume within three weeks of said roast date. Enough coffee-geekery ( btw I am a member of CoffeeGeek.com…username WhoIsJohnGalt).

So a couple months ago I heard an interview with the creator of a blog called The Bulletproof Executive. Dave Asprey refers to himself as a bio-hacker and has experimented with and researched various aspects of diet and lifestyle. He has formulated an approach which is similar to GAPS, or upgraded Paleo. Dave is a bit of a mycotoxin-phobic, so has some interesting thoughts of home fermenting, but in most ways he is supportive of the recommendations of the GAPS diet…including recommendations for exercise and sleep. Anyway, back to the coffee.

One of the relevant aspects of the Bulletproof approach is to start the day with Bulletproof Coffee. The key is to start by brewing quality, fresh roasted, mold free coffee beans. I have several local sources and know of a few options across the country. Secondly, you need a source for pastured butter ( Dave recommends Kerry Gold, but we also use Organic Valley Pasture Butter). It has to be pastured butter to achieve the stated benefits ( the mct’s and omega 3:6 ratio I pasture butter make a difference); margarine or run-of-the-mill butter will not do. Also, Dave sells an MCT oil supplement, but I have not tried that…you could use coconut oil to get the same effect. So here goes….

Make two cups of coffee. Add in two tablespoons of pastured butter ( and Optionally one tablespoon MCT or coconut oil). Dave recommends blending with a stick blender to froth, I simply stir with a spoon.

I have been drinking my coffee this way for about two months now. I typically only drink black coffee, so I had some getting used to amendments in my cup. But I was surprised at how soothing and delicious the combination butter and coffee can be. Dave recommends this as a breakfast replacement for fat loss, but that is not a goal for me. However i am somewhat fat adapted after two years on GAPS. I find the caffeine helps my mental alertness and the butter ( along with my usual GAPS breakfast ) helps stave off any morning snack-longing, so I am net more productive in the mornings.

Read Dave’s full article to understand the derivation of this method and the full benefits Dave has uncovered. Give it a try. I think that if you are a coffee lover, this will definitely fit into your GAPS lifestyle.

Bulletproof Coffee



12 thoughts on “Bulletproof Coffee!

  1. Thanks for the blog. I am just starting a modified GAPS/SCD shift in my food and have been trying to grapple with justifying keeping my coffee in my routine. I’ve already realized that eliminating coffee or coffee related drinks with sugars/flavorings/etc in them will have to be eliminated, but I am having a hard time coming to grips with removing black coffee from my “diet.” You find that coffee fits fine into GAPS?

    • Brook- my experience has been favorable. I have long been a coffee drinker so was reluctant to give up that aspect of my morning routine. (Dr Natasha does allow for fresh coffee on GAPS). During the Intro phase, I did give up coffee for about a week- I wanted to detox as fully as possible-and I felt crappy anyway so I thought I would try to titrate off of coffee. However I found that adding back weak black coffee (actually I started with Americano) was fine. After the first phase of GAPS, I tried regular strength, fresh-roasted black coffee (Counter Culture Coffee is a great local roaster for me) prepared using paper cone pourover brewer. Still no issues. Actually, I am a big Coffee-Geek and have not had any problems with coffee. I will say that my issues were somewhat minor. I do not recommend you add coffee to GAPS if you are not a regular consumer. There are some interesting articles alluding to the cognitive benefits and positive health aspects of coffee. I will try to post those once I get time.

      Please keep in mind- fresh roasted coffee is NOT the stuff you buy in a can or the bean-bin at a grocery store. If the package does not have the roast date on it, skip-it. I am fortunate to have local roasters who sell their wares in our local co-op and local Whole Foods.

      • No doubt. I have a feeling, from reading your response, that we are very similar in our coffee-geekdom. We have two local roasters that do daily roasts and sole source their beans, so that you know where they are from and how they are processed. I do not drink store-bought coffee. It’s just nasty. But thanks for the feedback. Makes me feel better about not cutting it completely out.

  2. Pingback: How to Make Your Coffee Bulletproof… « Primal Cut

  3. Pingback: Christian Jax » How to Make Your Coffee Bulletproof…

  4. Thanks for the great blog! I have been on GAPS for 3 months and have been avoiding tea, which is really difficult for me! The caffeine in coffee does not treat me well. I tried ‘bulletproof green tea’ today for the first time. Sadly, I did not feel good, blood sugar was not in control and I had to eat about two hours after the tea. Any ideas why this would happen?

    • I have tried bulletproofing tea and it is nowhere near as effective for me as the bulletproof coffee. My only guess (you might post to Dave Asprey to get a more informed response) is that the additional caffeine in coffee in combination with the fats and MCTs makes the bulletproof method effective for meal replacement. You might also consider what other foods you are eating along with the bulletproof tea. One final thought is to try and gauge if you’ve actually made the metabolic switch to preferentially burn fat versus glucose. I myself never use Bulltproof Coffee for meal replacement (but then again I do not take the full dose of butter and coconut oil–I usuallt add a Tablespoon of each to my morning mug of coffee which I have while preparing breakfast for myself and the family). I am typically a “fat burner” given that GAPS can be a fairly low carb eating plan. One other note: my wife had experienced some issues after about 9 months to a year on GAPS- since then we have learned that women have a higher need for carbohydrate than men. You might checkout http://www.paleoforwomen.com/ to understand some of the subtleties.

      • Good thoughts Felipe. I thought I was fat adapted since I’ve been doing GAPS for 3 months, and seemed like I went through ketosis a few times, but maybe I was just too low carb and feeling crappy. I saw my nutritionist today and we decided to add in some sweet potato and a tiny bit of white rice- just the sound of it makes me very happy. I think I really need more carbs like you suggest.

        On a side note- since trying the MCT oil last week, my stomach has been terribly wrecked! I had aboout 2tbls in the evening and 1 tbls the next morning in the tea- wow my stomach is still desperately trying to hear. Won’t be doing that again!

    • CC, are you eating or pulling coconut oil (outside of “bulletproofing” your coffee/tea) at all? With the way you describe your blood sugar and ketosis issues, it might be something you want to consider.

      • Yes I have been eating coconut oil a lot!! I have recently started adding quite a bit more butter as well. I think that has helped with the blood sugar issues a bit.

  5. Hello, where do you buy you mold-free coffee? How do I know what kinds are good to buy? I am on GAPS, looking for a cheaper option than the bulletproof guy’s site (which is pretty expensive for me, considering GAPS is already costly). Please share websites and any guidance/advice. Thanks!

    • I buy from Counter Culture coffee. Luckily they are local to me. I have also ordered from Intelligensia and Stumptown coffee.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s