If you haven’t heard of “bulletproofing” your morning coffee, you’re not alone. Whenever I casually toss it out in a group of my non-trainer, non-nutritionist friends I get weird looks, similar to when I assume that everyone knows what a burpee is or how to interpret the acronym AMRAP.
It sounds high-tech, a little dangerous, and kind of gimmick-y. And so, even though bulletproof coffee is on the menu for only five bucks at one of my favorite little coffee bars in Singapore, I doubt the majority of folks that go into that place even have a clue what it means – or why it is such an amazing, valid, and useful food-beverage hybrid.
At its simplest, bulletproof coffee is simply a high-quality coffee mixed with coconut oil and butter. Yes, you heard me right – you put a ton of plant and animal fat in your coffee, then you swig it down all thick and creamy-like. As you can imagine, it is not a low-calorie treat, it is not for the faint of palate, and it is (in my personal opinion) one of the most g*ddamn delicious ways to enjoy your morning cuppa joe.
Bulletproof coffee has come up on this blog briefly, once suggested as an alternative to the skinny vanilla latte (or any other sugary blended beverage, to be honest) and once as a recommended part of a balanced breakfast. But I’ve never actually gone into the nitty gritty of what bulletproof is, why it matters, and how you can give it an honest try.
First of all, true bulletproof coffee isn’t just a bean/oil/butter combo. It’s a very specific “upgraded” black coffee, “brain octane” MCT coconut oil, and grass-fed clarified butter (like ghee). A man named Dave Asprey went on a Himalayan trek during which all they were given for breakfast was a steaming hot cup of strong coffee with yak’s (very fatty) milk, and he found that it not only helped him stay full and sustain his high activity level throughout the trekking day, but that it was also helping him lose body fat – a very notable development indeed.
Upon returning, he did some experimenting and came up with the bulletproof recipe – and its central claim that it puts the body into ketosis (burning fat for fuel, aka that thing we’re always trying to get our metabolisms to do). While this claim has yet to be backed by any actual science (sorry, Dave), there is great evidence to the fact that MCT oil (i.e. one-third of the bulletproof formula) helps send the body into ketosis all on its lonesome, which combined with the satiety provided by the butter and the caffeine boost from the coffee can make for one helluva satisfying breakfast drink.
So what do I personally think of it all?
As a committed intermittent faster, I am a huge fan of “using” bulletproof coffee to get you over the hump of no longer eating breakfast (a huge transition for a lot of those new to IF). Sure, it’s a bit of a cheat, but because the ketonic effect of MCT complements the ketonic metabolic goals of IF in general, I call it a win-win – you feel good, you wake up, you stay full, and you can push your fast a little longer than you might otherwise.
On the contrary, bulletproof coffee is still just coffee, and if you’re the type of person who needs to chew in the morning, it probably won’t take over your usual breakfast food – and shouldn’t be added on to what you’re eating due to the fact that it’s a nearly all-fat, nearly 500-calorie little beverage. Some rogue bulletproofers have experimented with adding egg whites or protein powder, making for a more meal-like experience, albeit at the expense of the purity of the main ingredients. And don’t forget that texture here is absolutely crucial – you need to put the ingredients in a blender (nor stir with a spoon) to get the full experience of deliciousness.
In my humble opinion, if you have normal cholesterol and don’t feel the need for a sweet, food-filled breakfast, bulletproof could be an absolute breakthrough for you – and it’s definitely something worth giving a whirl (pun intended) in your morning routine.
What do you eat for breakfast? Are you a coffee person, bulletproof or otherwise?