Bulletproof Coffee: To drink or not to drink? (Plus overcoming dependence on caffiene)

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Written By

Lauryn

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Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

Bulletproof Coffee Lululemon Blog Header 2 | Bulletproof Coffee: To Drink Or Not To Drink? (Plus Overcoming Dependence On Caffiene)

Coffee: Good? Hype? Bad? You decide…

It seems no one can make up their mind.

Some sources (1 , 2 , 3 ) claim that coffee “enhances brain function, boosts mood, and stimulates our metabolism.”

It also “gives some a long and happy and life”  by providing antioxidants, and lowers our risk for Diabetes and liver disease

Other opposing sources tell us that coffee:

Oy vey!

What do we believe?

Couple these conflicting messages with the hype over Bulletproof Coffee the past few years, and all we’re left with is a….

“Coffee Conundrum”: To drink, or not to drink coffee? That is the question!

If you haven’t heard of “Bulletproof Coffee”, you’ve been living under a rock.

Bulletproof Coffee, or “butter coffee”, is one of the latest crazes in the health and fitness world (now, joining the ranks as a health drink, alongside kombucha and green smoothies)—seemingly making coffee seem like (now, joining the ranks as a health drink, alongside kombucha and green smoothies)..

First created by the “bulletproof exec” Dave Asprey (a former Silicon Valley computer nerd turned body-composition and health hacking genius) after his personal weight loss success, professed benefits of the coffee cocktail include:

  • Enhanced performance
  • Supercharged brain function
  • Effortless fat loss
  • No cravings
  • A natural energy booster

The magic potion is composed of:

  • 1-2 cups of hot coffee brewed with low-toxin beans.
  • 1-2 tablespoons of grass-fed, unsalted butter.
  • 1-2 tablespoons of MCT oil (similar to coconut oil) or Asprey’s special Brain Octane Oil (another fatty acid)

For some, this recipe concoction sounds downright WEIRD (Butter in coffee? What is MCT oil?!).

For others, the professed benefits leave no question as to whether or not they will drink it (Especially if you want to become bulletproof).

No matter what camp you are in, let’s explore…

So what really makes “Bulletproof” coffee so special?

 A few things:

(1.) The add-ins of delicious healthy fats (grass-fed butter, MCT oil) replace cheap, additive-laden, artificial sweeteners and poor quality dairy found in Half-and-Half, Skim Milk, soy milk and sugar.

In turn, the fats in Bulletproof Coffee do actually help many folks curb sugar and carb cravings (otherwise often satisfied with donuts, bagels, lots of fruit and cereal).

The healthy fats, like MCT oil and grass-fed butter also:

  • Provide lasting energy throughout the morning (or your workout)
  • Rev the metabolism for the day
  • Boost energy
  • Promote mental clarity
  • Balance hormones
  • Enhance digestion
  • Help the body absorb nutrients from other food
  • Promote healthy body-fat composition
  • Counter stress and anxiety

(2.) In addition, the emphasis on non-toxic coffee beans does provide more gut-friendly consumption (Non-toxic beans are hard to come by in most standard brews, which are filled with fungus and mold). In fact, coffee is easily one of the largest sources of mycotoxins in the food supply. And while toxins are not 100% avoidable, by simply choosing to brew your coffee with a less toxin-infiltrated source, you do your body better than the poor-quality beans in that Keurig or Folgers in your cup.

 Word!

That’s a lot of benefits right there!

 Thus, Bulletproof coffee seems like a win-win-win-win-win-etc. across the board, right?

 So….to drink Bulletproof coffee or not to drink?

A Word of Caution

All in all, Bulletproof stands for one universal platform: Quality.

Quality coffee. Quality beans. Quality healthy fats.

And who can argue putting quality fuel into your body?

The fine line proponents of the Bulletproof “diet” walk is in replacing one full meal with coffee alone (i.e. coffee for breakfast).

In addition, it’s important to remember that while bulletproof coffee may be amazing tasting (and healthier) coffee, it is still coffee.

If not consumed in moderate amounts (i.e. cups and cups per day, or depending on coffee to function), then our bodies become stressed (and out of whack) a whole (hormonally, digestively, blood sugar balance, etc.).

(And we all know…chronic stress—physical, emotional, mental—is not a good thing).

Coffee for breakfast

  • Eggs and bacon OR coffee?
  • Chicken sausage, greens and avocado OR coffee?
  • Smoothie with coconut milk, banana, spinach, nutbutter and some quality protein powder OR coffee?

Of these three meal choices, which one provides more nutrients?

(Answer: The food choice!)

However, if you are eating according to Bulletproof guidelines, coffee IS often times the morning fuel of choice.

And while we DO consume an amazing source of healthy fats in the brewed beans, we ALSO miss out on a nutrient-dense regular meal (complete with vitamins, minerals, amino acids and fiber from lean protein, colorful veggies, fresh fruits and healthy fats).

Bottom line: Bulletproof for breakfast cuts your nutrient-density short for the day—leaving you with a deficit (with 1/3 of your meals and nutrition coming from coffee, butter and MCT oil).

Instead of replacing your breakfast (or another meal) with coffee, simply consider replacing your regular Folgers or Starbucks cups and shots with one cup of Bulletproof coffee per day (still eating nutrient-meals throughout the day).

Stress Out

Do you enjoy coffee?

For many, coffee is like sunshine—a bright spot in the day.

However, coffee becomes unhealthy when we depend on it to function.

Think: If you were stranded on a deserted coffee…would you neeeeeed coffee to keep going like you use it now?

(Show of hands).

Yup, that’s what I thought.

Due to deadlines, late nights, little sleep, early morning workouts, afternoon slumps, burning a candle at both ends, and plain lethargy, coffee is EASILY the answer to “get going” or “have energy.”

 For some, coffee is even the answer to pooping! (i.e. people rely on it in order to go, and can’t go without it).

Any of these signs suggest an unhealthy dependence and relationship with coffee—ultimately rooted in stress.

Unfortunately, we are no better off  between Bulletproof coffee and Folger’s, if we neeeeeed it to function.

Why?

Elevated cortisol.

Or in layman’s terms: Out of whack hormones!!!

While cortisol is a natural necessary stress hormone (designed to help you wake up in the morning, endure a tough workout, handle the stress of a boss’s negative feedback and cope with in emergencies when in danger), when we have too much of it…our body screams, “May day! May day!”

Stimulants—like coffee—are perceived stressors to our body, elevating that cortisol when we drink it. And when we drink lots of it (say more than one cup of coffee per day), it leads to side-effects like:

  • Hormone imbalances (estrogen, testosterone)
  • Fatigue
  • Blood sugar dysfunction
  • Afternoon crashes
  • Difficulties waking up in the morning
  • A feeling of being “wired and tired” at night
  • Constipation and bloating
  • Indigestion
  • Crazy sugar cravings
  • An insatiable appetite or complete loss of appetite
  • Reliance on stimulants to feel lively
  • Lack of true gains in your workouts or performance
  • And beyond…

Instead of slamming down a cup of Joe (EVEN if it is “Bulletproof”) because it’s “what you do” or the “only way to function”, why not address the root of your need and dependence in the first place? (i.e. de-stressing your body and decreasing your reliance on coffee).

That way you CAN have your cake and eat it too…

Yes, you CAN wake up in the morning energetic, get through the afternoon—with or without coffee, AND still enjoy one cup of Joe each day (for the simple joy of it)!

How do you get over coffee dependence?

A handful of steps and hacks:

  1. Cut back. It is best to slowly reduce your intake of caffeine and coffee. 3-4 cups each day right now? Go to 2…then to 1. Ideally 1 is enough for the average person. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but you’ve got this.
  2. Replace your crappy coffee with one cup of quality coffee per day (i.e. Try Bulletproof coffee—it’s delicious) and eliminate artificial sweeteners, poor quality dairy and sugar.
  3. Eat nutrient-dense meals throughout the day for energy (i.e. instead of replacing your breakfast with just coffee, eat a breakfast rich in vitamins and minerals—like an omelet with veggies, smoothie with spinach/kale and berries thrown in, or my favorite sautéed greens with meat or sausage thrown on top—and of course, avocado).
  4. Before eating or drinking anything for the day, first thing, drink 12-16 ounces of filtered water with lemon and a pinch of sea salt (helps balance body). This not only begins hydrating you, but also aids in digestion (and elimination).
  5. Consider supplementing with amino acids. Did you know that being addicted to coffee may be a sign of an amino acid deficiency? Amino acids are the “building blocks” of neurotransmitters—the “feel-good” chemicals in our brains. When are brains become stripped of these feel-good chemicals, we reach for “drugs” to feel better. If you find you get a ‘withdrawl headache,’ the most often recommended amino acids to take for caffeine addiction are Tyrosine or DLPA (Phenylalaline). Some do better with one, others do better with the other. Try taking 1,000 mg with breakfast, and another 1,000 mg at lunch as you cut out the coffee. 
  1. Beat constipation. Many report bowel movements only after drinking coffee. This is no good, as that stressor (of coffee) is actually triggering your ability to poop or not (instead of you naturally being able to go). Get back on the ‘regular’ by drinking water throughout the day (half your bodyweight in ounces). In addition, Magnesium Citrate with Calcium (like Natural Calm) can also be beneficial for getting more regular (as well as battling some for headaches). If you use it, take it at night time in a glass of water before bed (it can also make you sleepy).
  2. Consider a complete elimination program for at least 7 days (if not longer) and avoid all refined sugars, flours, caffeine, alcohol, dairy, gluten and any other addictive substance. By allowing certain triggers to stay in the diet, the body stays on the vicious cycle of cravings and addictive behavior. Reset your biology by eliminating all these dietary triggers for inflammation and fatigue—and see what your body REALLY can feel like (like really good).

The BIG Bottom line: Bulletproof coffee is a great way to get some quality coffee into your life!

Like many things, coffee can be perfectly fine in moderation, but when we replace real food and lots of our nutrients with coffee, OR train our bodies to need it (like water, vitamins and minerals)…something is wrong.

Reset your body (and stress levels) to enjoy a cup of coffee for the joy of it (not the need for it).

While you’re at it…

If you haven’t tried Bulletproof coffee, you need to (I even like it and I am not a coffee girl).

Here’s my simple recipe below or if you live in Austin, hit up Picnik food trailer and tell ‘em Lauryn sent you!

Try This: Bulletproof Coffee Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of organic coffee, herbal coffee or tea
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil or MCT oil
  • 1 Tbsp organic grass-fed unsalted butter
  • ¼ tsp vanilla
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • a few drops of stevia extract

Directions

Blend all ingredients on high for 20-30 seconds, until foamy. Drink up.

Your Turn

Interested in re-setting your nutrition, your hormones or addressing your dependence on coffee in a simple way? Or ready to quit the “diet mentality” and be at PEACE with food, diets and healthy eating?

My Fuel-28 Program was created for you!

Over the course of 28-days, I will guide you through:

  • Developing a sustainable (healthy and happy) relationship with food
  • Ending diets and “trying to eat healthier” for good
  • And help your rewire your biological need (and dependence on things like sugar and caffeine) in order to thrive in your health and well-being

(PLUS you won’t eat cardboard).

The program includes:

  • 3 sessions with Lauryn (1:1 or Distance Skype/Phone)
  • 28-Day Program Guide (All you need to know and more)
  • 4-Week Meal Template & Grocery Guide
  • Education around fueling your body and making sustainable change that is EASY and DELICIOUS
  • Support in your specific struggles, questions and concerns
  • Weekly encouragement and Thrive projects for continued success
  • Conquering your sweet tooth, caffeine addiction, restrictive or binge eating habits and more
  • Ongoing e-mail support & check-ins
  • Optional: Grocery Store Tour, Pantry Sweep &/or Simple Meal Prep Lessons

 

If you’re interested in finding out more, or simply desire a 1:1 nutrition session for direction and a “plan” that works for you, connect with me today for a free 30-minute consult via e-mail.

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