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?
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 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.