Friday, June 27, 2014

Bulletproof Coffee

Have you heard of this trend? I don't know how I found it, but apparently this idea is pretty big in certain Paleo circles. The full story is here. Basically, a guy named Dave Asprey was hiking/climbing in Tibet and found himself completely depleted and dehydrated. A yak farmer took him in and gave him the traditional Tibetan drink of tea with yak butter. He was completely transformed. The hiker resolved to discover the science behind his rejuvenation. In short, he found that our bodies are starved for healthy fats -- medium chain triglycerides in particular. Absent a reputable source in this part of the world for yak butter, he advocates utilizing unsalted grass-fed butter along with MCT (medium chain triglyceride) oil, which is basically highly refined coconut oil. I'm not sure where the coffee idea came from, but I suspect it makes the most sense from a marketing standpoint in the United States. I may try it with tea at some point -- apparently the Tibetan hosts used our lowly Lipton teabags, so I can probably even elevate the quality of my faux yak butter tea from the original.

My morning routine is already time-consuming with sorting and swallowing supplements and administering my injections, so I wasn't crazy about the idea of adding more to it. Nevertheless, the notion of fixing my most vexing MS symptoms (cognitive fog and fatigue) with one frothy cup of joe was compelling. I was turned off a little bit by the weight-loss and fitness slant of Dave's website. I'm not interested in losing weight. The label on the MCT oil bottle is similarly off-putting, so I thought of using coconut oil, which my doctor already prescribes (a teaspoon twice a day) but I've found that raw coconut oil causes an allergic reaction for me -- an itchy, uncomfortable feeling in the throat, while cooked coconut oil is fine. The MCT oil, highly refined and delivering a higher dose of the beneficial triglycerides, didn't turn out to be allergenic. As a former vegan, consuming butter on purpose was a mental shift, but anything for health at this point.

Here are the ingredients in the blender. I may experiment with alternate blending ideas, maybe a shaker cup or even a whisk. This blending will not always go over very well with family members who'd rather sleep in. Also, soaping and scrubbing the Vitamix in the morning doesn't appeal. Finally, the cold butter and blending action create a less than piping hot drink. I popped it in the microwave after blending, which I'm sure negates some of the good I'm trying to do. But here's the final product:

It was lovely. I don't care for sweet coffee, so I enjoyed the bulletproof coffee just the way it was. I was surprised at the different coffee experience. Instead of a jolt followed by a crash, the coffee delivered a slow buzz which was gentler and longer lasting. The fats alter the delivery of the caffeine, apparently. While Dave's system is the result of much research and testing, it is out of my budget -- but there are less expensive ways to enjoy bulletproof coffee. Just do a little research.

The verdict so far: This may turn out to be a worthwhile addition to my healthcare regimen. Apparently results improve over a few weeks as we ramp up our healthy fats. The coffee is delicious and the immediate and lasting effects to the system are appealing. I'm going to have to tweak my routine with this. The whole blender in the morning may not be worth it. Maybe I won't mind drinking my coffee with a floating oil slick on top. Updates will follow.

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