Fat Part I: Bulletproof Coffee or Tea #vroom
First, a note. I’m one year into following the autoimmune protocol/AIP and have successfully reintroduced a few foods (including coffee, thus this post). I’ll be writing an update post soon – some reintroductions have been more successful than others, but in general, I am still following AIP 90% of the time and feeling better than I ever, ever have, with the continued goals to squash inflammation, heal my gut, feed my brain and body optimum nutrients for energy, and have balanced hormones. It’s been an amazing year. Food is medicine indeed.
I’ll admit, the first time I heard about Bulletproof coffee – coffee whirred together with grass-fed butter and MCT oil – I thought, Huh? I’m not sure why I doubted, I’m a big, BIG fan of eating plenty of anti-inflammatory fat to be trim and healthy, in fact I’ve embraced this style of eating for years. I read and follow a lot of paleo-esque publications and blogs, and I saw people raving, but the reality of Bulletproof didn’t fully sink in until I started a new habit several weeks ago – listening to podcasts. Hooray for podcasts! I am ridiculously late to this game, especially given I used to BE a podcaster with my friends Suz & Kim. Other than my own show (baha), I’ve never had a podcast really capture my attention, which is nuts because I am addicted to public radio and am a big fan of listening to stories.
But finally, I’m onto podcasts. If you haven’t laid eyes on me lately, it’s because I’m curled up at home, back in school – of sorts – listening and taking notes and learning so much. It’s no secret that I happily spend my days immersed in all things food, cooking, and nutrition – I’ve put my thyroid disease into remission by learning about and eating the healthiest possible foods – but this is on a new level because now I can listen in the car, in the bathtub, and while I cook and wash dishes, where before I was limited to needing my hands to hold a book.
If you’re trying to lose weight and look younger and feel better and live a big life (everyone?), I highly recommend podcasts for their ability to invite you into a story, to expand upon topics covered in books, to motivate, and to keep you on track. I enjoy podcasts that combine nutrition information with motivational speakers, spirituality, exercise/movement, optimal daily routine, managing stress, relationships, anti-aging, serving others, setting big goals, etc.
A few to start with:
Heading out for a walk or run? I suggest having a listen to Abel James, The Fat Burning Man. The dude has a seriously sexy voice – prrr – he’s charming and humble, his guests are fantastic, and he stays out of their way and lets them tell their stories.
If you’re a woman, The Health Bridge is must listening for addressing hormone fluctuations, adrenal fatigue, weight, and stress management; Drs. Sara Gottfried and Pedram Shojai are deeply knowledgable and good friends, which makes their conversations both interesting and fun.
Looking to dig deep into motivation and using your time in more and better ways? Tim Ferris, innovator and author of the wildly popular The 4-Hour Workweek, hosts a sophisticated podcast called The Tim Ferriss Show. Do not miss his two-part interview with life coach extraordinaire Tony Robbins. Whoa.
Ready to up your brain power, productivity, and weight loss game? Dave Asprey the bio-hacking Bulletproof Executive is your man. His book is great too, the diet he suggests is completely AIP-adaptable (he has autoimmune disease himself), and his suggestions for adding energy and clarity to your days are fascinating. I’ve adopted two of his suggestions over the last month (and recommended his book to many friends):
1. Because I’ve successfully reintroduced coffee and grass-fed ghee (aka clarified butter, with the protein casein removed), I’m drinking Bulletproof coffee for breakfast and my adrenals and appetite are loving the no-carbohydrate, protein + fat breakfast. And holy man my brain is loving MCT oil. #vroom
What’s the point of MCT oil? MCTs – medium-chain triglycerides – exist in coconut oil, but in small amounts. MCT oil is concentrated, so you can use much less oil to achieve the energy-boosting power of coconut oil. Your liver uses medium-chain triglycerides to make ketone bodies, which along with glucose, are one of two fuel sources for the brain. The beauty of taking MCT oil is that you can benefit from ketone bodies without the intense carbohydrate restriction required to enter dietary ketosis (a la the Atkins Diet). Combined with unsalted grass-fed ghee (or butter, if you can tolerate a trace of casein) for deliciousness and extra nutrition (grass-fed ghee/butter is an excellent source of Vitamins A, K2, D, and E; beta carotene; and anti-inflammatory butyrate and YUM), as well as the mild energy-boost from a cuppa joe, Bulletproof coffee delivers casein/lactose-free nutrition, clarity, adrenal support, stable blood sugar, and controlled appetite. What’s not to like? I’m a convert. #vroomagain
If you’re new to using MCT oil, start with 1 teaspoon (vs. tablespoon) of oil and see how you feel. I took a couple of weeks to slowly work up from 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon per cup. It worked smoothly for me, but I’m a pretty fat-adapted person; as in, I eat a very high-fat (relatively low-carbohydrate) diet. If you’re not used to eating a generous amount of fat, go slowly and let your digestive system adjust.
Non-AIP Bulletproof Coffee
Makes 1 cup
1 eight-ounce cup French press-brewed coffee (caffeinated or decaf)
1 tablespoon Brain Octane oil (the Bulletproof brand of MCT oil; you can also use NOW brand although I really like the Bulletproof brand)
1 tablespoon grass-fed ghee (aka clarified butter, available at most grocery stores)
2 tablespoons grass-fed collagen powder (Bulletproof brand or Great Lakes brand; both are colorless/flavorless/textureless, dissolve instantly, and deliver a nutritious protein boost)
Pinch of cinnamon (optional)
Whir coffee, MCT oil, and ghee (or unsalted butter) in a blender on high speed until frothy. Add the collagen powder and whir gently until combined. Enjoy your divine-creamy-latte.
AIP/Whole30 Bulletproof Tea
Makes 1 cup
If you’re following the autoimmune protocol/AIP or Whole30, try the above recipe using green tea or herbal tea + 1 tablespoon coconut oil (instead of ghee) + 1 tablespoon MCT oil + 2 tablespoons collagen + a pinch of cinnamon.
2. I’ve been working on getting better, deeper sleep by moving carbohydrate consumption from breakfast to dinner. I’d basically come to this conclusion on my own, just by experimenting and seeing what makes me feel best, but now I know that I was onto something. Breakfast is now primarily Bulletproof coffee made with collagen (if I did a big workout the day before and I’m extra hungry, I’ll have a couple of slices of bacon topped with avocado and fermented kraut aka my beloved AIP breakfast nachos). Lunch is the usual bounty of lovely vegetables, a nice amount of protein, and a generous drizzle of good fat (coconut oil, bacon fat, grass-fed ghee, MCT oil, or cold olive oil or avocado oil). And dinner is when I eat AIP/paleo carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, or a hash made with yucca, or tostones or plantain tortillas, or a chopped salad that includes squash and/or fruit. Now that I can eat 80% dark chocolate again (also reintroduced), I’ll have a couple of squares for dessert if I’m in the mood. Good energy all day + sleeping like a ROCK + plus my average night’s sleep has dropped from 8 to 7 hours. Better quality in less time = YES.
Another tip toward the same end: I’m taking my Vitamin D3 and K2 supplements in the morning, and magnesium at night (the three work together). I’ve been taking magnesium at night for a couple of years – it’s relaxing – but I was lax about when I took D3, not realizing its role in the body’s production of melatonin. Our bodies expect sunlight – which stimulates Vitamin D production when the sun shines directly on bare skin, which for me and probably many of us is almost never these days – in the morning. Someday I’ll live in a climate where 1) it’s light in the morning, and 2) it’s warm enough to expose some skin. That day is not today, however -> Minnesota.
BONUS: You will very much like what supplementing collagen does for your skin, especially if you also take Vitamin C (and use topical Vitamin C). I might be a wee bit obsessed. True for men too, by the way!
DON’T FORGET: Whether you’re eating more whole foods or you’re embarking on AIP, Whole30, Bulletproof, or a similar elimination diet, absolutely keep a daily food journal and note your energy, mood, sleep quality, appetite, and any food reactions (itchiness, headache, brain fog/lethargy, breakouts, hair shedding, weight gain, flushing, constipation, etc.). If you track your blood sugar, obviously note that too. In a very short period of time, you’ll have a sense of how what you eat makes you look and feel and most important you’ll actually learn something from your efforts!
I like the MyFitnessPal app for my phone. I ignore the calorie recommendations – I eat for deep nutrition and do NOT count calories and I suggest the same for anyone who asks. It’s still a handy app, however. You can scan bar codes on the occasional odd ingredient, like for instance MCT oil or ghee, and poof, there’s all the nutrition info. And you can customize your nutrition goals – I’m personally experimenting with eating a bit more fat and fewer carbohydrates these days (60% of calories from fat, 20% from protein, 20% from carbohydrates) because I have better energy and appetite control and I’m slimmer at that ratio. Everyone is different, however, so definitely experiment and find your personal sweet spot for optimal healing, energy, appetite, and weight.