Butter and coffee – and mental clarity
Bulletproof coffee has been a fad for a few years now – with its main presence of social media consisting of videos of butter being blended with coffee and coconut oil. It has been claimed to promote weight loss, improve physical performance and seriously boost energy…but do any of these claims actually stack up?
The original bulletproof recipe came from Dave Asprey, the bulletproof executive. I started following Dave’s blog years ago, when he was experimenting with anything and everything that could make him more productive, and before his coffee recipe became a thing. He has spent a serious amount of time and money trying out different sleep patterns, diets and exercise (among other things), in an attempt to discover the most efficient and easiest way to feel as healthy and energetic as possible – so he’s not advocating spending every hour in the gym and eating only green plants, but instead trying to “biohack” his body for maximum results, with the least investment of time and energy necessary.
I started drinking bulletproof coffee after reading Dave’s book, Head Strong: The Bulletproof Plan to Activate Untapped Brain Energy to Work Smarter and Think Faster-in Just Two Weeks, last May. I had started a new job, and was studying part time, so I was looking for a way to focus more clearly and for longer – and one that wasn’t going to take up a tonne of my time, as I didn’t really have any to spare.
I now have bulletproof coffee (and usually only bulletproof coffee) for breakfast, and have converted some of my nearest and dearest to it too. There are a number of variations on the recipe, but I have the following:
- one large cafetiere of coffee
- a tablespoon of butter
- a tablespoon of XCT oil (a fraction of coconut oil, consisting of medium chain triglycerides and completely flavourless)
- a spoon of collagelatin protein powder
I blend all of this together in a nutribullet and drink it on the way to work. With this I take omega 3 fish oils and Coenzyme Q 10 – because they are apparently best absorbed if consumed with fat. I’ve noticed a big difference in mental clarity, as promised, and both my mood and blood sugar appear to be more stable.
Previously, I was the type of person that had to eat regularly, or I simply couldn’t function. Having patients that ran through my lunch could be a big problem sometimes, and I would feel pretty awful if I didn’t eat when I was supposed to. I have seen the difference that bulletproof coffee has made most clearly in this area – missing my lunch is unfortunately a regular enough occurrence, but once I’ve had my coffee, I no longer become foggy-headed or as tired as I did before. I’ve had days when I haven’t had the chance to eat until after 5pm (not something I’d recommend), but have almost forgotten I missed lunch because the impact has been minimal.
Mid morning slump
This has all but disappeared – that crash that I used to experience after regular coffee (particularly on an empty stomach) no longer sends me looking for toast/chocolate/anything that looks vaguely appealing around 11am – although if there’s a delivery of donuts from Aungier Danger in the staff room, I am not responsible for my actions.
Avoiding both the mid morning slump and light headed moments have obviously improved how well I’m able to function, but on top of that, my head just feels clearer anyway – and I find it so much easier to focus, and for longer periods of time The way I’ve really noticed this is that when I have porridge or toast as well as my coffee, I don’t have that same clarity. This is, I think, down to the carbohydrates in the said toast or porridge. Reducing carbohydrates or calories can promote a fat burning state called ketosis, in which your body gets energy from fat (ketone bodies) instead of glucose. The XCT oil in the coffee contains exogenous ketones, and, along with reducing carbs, can help your body to burn fuel from fat instead of glucose – something that is gaining popularity in both fitness and health circles, as it can supposedly increase mental clarity and promote fat loss.
I haven’t noticed much of a difference weight wise, although I would imagine if you have a big problem with cravings throughout the day (and have a job that allows you to eat while working), this could have a big impact on unwanted weight gain. Some of my friends have found it fills them up though, and they tend to snack less as a result – and they can eat at their desk etc.
Have you tried bulletproof coffee, or any version of it yet? Or do you have a go-to breakfast that is as quick to make? I’d love to hear what keeps you focused throughout the day, and especially if you’ve your own variation of the recipe above!