Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Health Fad Review: Bulletproof Coffee

My love affair with coffee started when I was around 3, thanks to my grandma who caved to my demands for a cup of that delicious-smelling hyperactivity elixer. It was mostly milk and sugar, but whatevs. I was hooked and thus began my undying love of all things coffee.

I also don't eat breakfast. It's sad, because I love breakfast foods. Pancakes, muffins, biscuits, eggs, bacon, you name it. But I'm just not hungry in the mornings and the idea of food before 11am makes me a little nauseated. I can force myself to drink my calories in the form of shakes, but most of the time, I'm too tired and crabby to even do that. Just give me my coffee and be done with your morning shenanigans. 

This year, my sister and I are on a health kick together, so when I stumbled across bulletproof coffee and read the outrageous claims and reviews from devotees, I thought my breakfast woes were behind me forever. Bulletproof coffee, for those of you not aware, is 2 cups of freshly-brewed coffee blended with 1-2 Tbsp Kerrygold butter and 1-2 Tbsp coconut or MCT oil. The "creator"/"brander"of this interesting beverage throws around a lot of crazy promises and talks about it like it's the Jesus of coffee (dude isn't a nutritionist or scientist, from what I've read, so I take all his claims with a grain of salt). You're supposed to drink it as a meal replacement. So of course, I decided to try it for a week. For science! Give me a practical way to inject calories into my body in the AM that involves coffee? Sold! 

Honestly, I went into my week of bulletproof coffee without any expectations except for the whole extra calories thing. After drinking coffee for so long, I barely react to caffeine anymore and usually start the morning with around 20oz in my giant travel mug. It's more about the taste and the warmth, I think. Anyway, for this experiment, I opted for Nutiva Cold Press Coconut Oil, the prescribed Kerrygold butter, and regular store bought coffee beans because I refuse to order my coffee online from some guy with dubious claims about mycotoxins. I'm too lazy to french press anything in the morning, so I used a normal coffee pot to give me around 20oz of coffee. Same goes for dumping everything into a blender; enjoy less morning hassle by using an immersion blender instead. 

I tweaked the recipe to suit my tastes by using 3 cups coffee, 2 Tbsp butter, and 1 Tbsp coconut oil, immersion-blendering the shit out of it until it looked like a latte. It actually tastes great! If you get flavored coffee beans, you can pretend you just got yourself a nice hazelnut latte, or whatever you're into. It's thicker, creamier and more flavorful than using plain cream. I don't even taste the coconut. And as for the effects? I was so convinced it was bullshit, but the first day I did it, I felt almost high. I was so energetic! I am never energetic at work. Place sucks out my soul and sumo pounds it, so this was odd. And I'm energetic all day, even late afternoon, when I usually want to nap. It's weird as hell how adding all that extra fat to my coffee makes me feel so much more amazing than coffee or regular breakfast food alone (prior my bulletproof coffee week, I was eating steelcut oats every morning). So I'm now convinced that the "more energy" claim is valid. 

Other than being energetic and more motivated than I am when I don't drink bulletproof coffee, I haven't noticed any other effects. I'm still hungry at the normal times, no immediate weight-loss, still feel at the same intelligence level... and that's 100% fine with me. I'll take being energetic all day while still getting calories into my mornings. 

Will I continue to drink my coffee this way? Yep. It appeases my latte cravings, energizes me,  and makes the day go by quicker. I do, however, think that if you're a person who regularly eats a hearty breakfast, you will have a hard time adjusting to your new liquid breakfast, like this guy. Maybe eat something small, like an egg, along with it if you want to try it out? 

If you google "bulletproof coffee," you can find camps of nay-sayers and camps of bulletproof coffee addicts, each with their purported "scientific evidence" that supports or debunks the effects.  I probably fall in the neutral zone, because I have a hard time considering nutrition a "hard science": it's so individual and the human gut microbiome isn't fully understood yet. Therefore, it's hard to figure out the actual facts of fads like this, because it works for some and doesn't work for others. Lots of conflicting studies and all that, so I can only use myself as a guinea pig and go from there.

Have you tried bulletproof coffee? Let me know how it worked out for you! I'm curious! 

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