Ever heard of bulletproof coffee? It’s coffee with butter in it. Yup. You read right. Butter. In coffee. Why would anyone do such a thing? I had the same question until a few weeks ago. Over the last few months I kept hearing and reading about something called Bulletproof Coffee–a brew of coffee, butter, and MCT oil which is a blend of palm oil and coconut oil. Those on the bandwagon claim improved energy and focus by starting their day with bulletproof, along with weight loss and greater satiety throughout the day. As a holistic health coach I feel it’s my duty to stay abreast of the latest food fads, especially when they make such lofty healthy claims. Plus, I had to know–does it taste good?
I did some more reading about bulletproof coffee and decided to give it a go. I brewed a french press cup of coffee and poured it in my Vitamix with (gulp) 2 tablespoons of grass fed, unsalted butter and a heaping teaspoon of raw, unrefined coconut oil. After a few seconds of blending the coffee took on the creamy color and frothy texture of a latte. So far so good. It was not the oil-slick disaster I imagined. I poured it into my mug and took a sip. It was delicious! I usually drink my coffee black–just personal preference–but I love the indulgence of a rich, creamy latte from time to time. My coffee was as rich as a latte made with milk but not as heavy in my belly. There was the slightest hint of coconut and the dark, toasted flavors I love in a strong, dark roast brew.
I sipped it slowly, savoring it, and by the end of the cup found myself as pleasantly full as if I had eaten a meal. I felt alert! Fortified! Strong! So I drank my coffee with butter and coconut oil for about a week straight. The novelty didn’t wear off and neither did the consistent energy. That said, since I am not usually a cream-in-my-coffee kind of gal, I find there are certain mornings where I just want the astringent, unadulterated cup of black coffee and a breakfast I can chew. So bulletproof has become just another breakfast option in my repertoire–not a total game changer. But then, I’ve never been one for fad diets.
If the deliciousness factor hasn’t totally convinced you and you’re wondering about the health pros and cons, here are some things to consider:
-Saturated fat has long been vilified in the American diet but studies of late are providing evidence that high quality saturated fats may be doing more for our health than we originally believed. As with all macronutrients, fats are not created equal. The quality and source of the fat you eat makes a difference. For example, butter from grass fed cows have a much higher ratio of Omega-3 fatty acids to Omega-6 fatty acids, so make sure you’re choosing butter made from grass-fed dairy cows and unrefined coconut oil.
-If you start your day with bulletproof, consider that you’ve started the day with a larger amount of fat than you normally might and that your cup of coffee (depending on how much butter and coconut oil you add) has between 200-300 calories in it. So factor that into the choices you make for the rest of the day. Many proponents of bulletproof are also proponents of the Paleo diet and other high protein, higher fat, low carbohydrate diets. Whether you are interested in following one of those diets to the letter or not, just remember to keep the rest of your meals full of high quality vegetables and fruits no matter what else (lean protein, grain, or both) accompanies them.
-No matter what the Bulletproof Executive claims about weight loss without exercise, I encourage all of my clients, no matter their diets, to incorporate regular and consistent movement into their lives. Our bodies were made to move and the health of our hearts, organs, brains, major bodily systems, and emotional wellbeing depend on regular exercise–even if its moderate.
-You don’t need to drink this for health reasons. You can drink this because it tastes SO good. Let it replace your morning latte every once in a while. Drink it on a particularly cold morning when you can’t seem to warm up. Swap the 200 calories (and post sugar high energy crash) your sneaking from an afternoon candy bar for the 200 you get from much higher quality fats from grass fed butter and unrefined coconut oil.
-Experiment! That is part of the fun of food. Try new things and figure out what you like, what makes you feel energetic, what keeps you, individually, feeling the best. There is no cookie cutter model for feeding oneself, no one way of eating that works for everyone. So don’t worry too much about the fads. Eat what you like and what makes you feel good. Remember, enjoyment is an important form of nourishment.
-Brew 12oz of coffee. While the coffee is brewing, pour hot water into your Vitamix or blender to warm it up.
-When the coffee is ready, pour the hot water out of the blender. Put coffee, 1-2 T of grass fed, unsalted butter, and 1 t of raw, unfiltered virgin coconut oil into the blender. Blend until well combined and frothy. Pour into a mug and bliss out.