Review: Bulletproof Coffee
Last May I wrote this post about adding butter to my morning coffee. I had read about Bulletproof coffee a long while ago, and began adding butter to my coffee… then I decided to try out Intermitent Fasting (IF), where you only eat during a set window of time each day. So I knocked the buttery coffe on the head, and went with the IF, which works well for me. Then I read this article by Sara Solomon, where she states that you can have Bulletproof coffee while fasting, because the fat doesn’t affect your insulin levels. I decided to give the old Bulletproof coffee a go again, and was delighted when I was sent some Bulletproof coffee and Octane Oil from the Bulletproof range to try.
Wait, I can hear what you’re saying: What is Octane Oil? Bear with me…
Ingredients for Bulletproof Coffee:
Upgraded Coffee Beans
When I’ve made Bulletproof coffee before I’ve just used a good quality coffee. This coffee differs because it apparently is free from mould toxins, and suppresses adenosine, which is a neurotransmitter that influences attention, alertness and sleep. Adenosine levels in our bodies rise throughout the day, and when they reach a certain level we feel tired and need to go to bed. When we go to sleep, the level resets and we’re back to the beginning for a new day. Caffeine blocks adenosine from binding to certain receptors in the brain so that it can’t make you feel tired.
Still with me? Basically, that’s how all caffeine works – but the caffeine in this coffee is not hampered by mould toxins which can mess up the process somewhat.
Taste-wise, I didn’t notice a difference to begin with – but then when I tried my regular coffee again I found that tasted bitter and unpalatable. The Bulletproof coffee seems to be more mellow and easier to drink than “normal” coffee now.
Upgraded Octane Oil
Octane oil comes in liquid format, rather than normal coconut oil which is solid at room temperature. It is a purified form of medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, which metabolises in our bodies into ketones, providing energy to the brain without breaking down glucose. So this oil helps with cognitive function and helps to support healthy digestion and immune system.
Because the oil is liquid at room temperature, it’s easy to get into the coffee (Rather than trying to hack at a jar of soild coconut oil in my freezing kitchen each morning). You’re supposed to start off with a teaspoon of this in your coffee, and gradually build up to two tablespoons per day. There have been studies linking consumption of coconut oil with improvements in dementia patients, so much as we’re all prone to skepticism in these matters, there is science behind this. A word of warning though: if you’re going to try this, do build up oil intake gradually as it does have ahem an effect on the bowels.
The recommendation is for organic, grassfed butter, and everyone seems to favour KerryGold. I spoke to a dairy farmer who told me that dairy cows in the UK are all fed grass; with the ridiculous milk prices these days (that’s a post for another day) farmers can’t really afford to feed them much else. All British cows are fed grass, and in the winter months they’ll get silage topped up with various other things, none of which are poisonous or dead cow parts, as the media would have us believe. Either way, whether you’re buying KerryGold or another brand of butter, you have no way of knowing what the farmer is feeding his cattle in the months when they can’t go out to pasture. The best you can do is go for an organic brand like Yeo Valley. The dairy farmer I spoke to explained that in the States (where Bulletproof Coffee comes from) farming is more industrialised and not all cows are grassfed, which is probably why they stipulate that it should be grassfed.
The most important thing (for me, any way) is to ensure the butter is definitely unsalted. There is nothing worse than making yourself a nice morning cup of coffee, only to find you didn’t read the butter label properly and it’s salty and horrible.
I add two tablespoons of butter to my coffee and although everyone seems to turn their noses up at this, I honestly can’t tell you it tastes bad. It’s probably an acquired taste, but since I’ve always been a fan of having cream in my coffee any way, switching from cream to butter wasn’t a massive jump.
How to Make Bulletproof Coffee
I use 2.5 tablespoons (or thereabouts) of ground Bulletproof Upgraded Coffee with around 8oz boiling water in a french press. While that’s brewing, I’ll add 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of Upgraded Octane Oil to my blender. Once the coffee has brewed, I’ll add it to the blender and blend it all for a few seconds.
The result is what looks like a milky coffee, with a bit of foam on the top.
Here’s a video of Dave Asprey, the creator of Bulletproof coffee, showing you how (and why) to make it:
Why Drink Bulletproof Coffee?
I know what you’re thinking: that’s a lot of fussing about first thing in the morning, before I’ve even had any coffee! I was with you, to start with. Is it worth the fuss? I think so, yes. Here’s why:
A Longer Caffeine Hit
I find that Bulletproof coffee stops me from getting that initial caffeine hit, followed by a slump. The fat binds with the caffeine so that you get a more prolonged release of energy over a period of time – you’re awake and alert for longer than if you just downed an espresso.
A Clearer Mind
I’ve also found since starting to drink Bulletproof coffee that I’ve had less of the old brain fog. S has not been sleeping well for the last couple of months, and normally that would result in my doing minimal work (badly) before collapsing onto the sofa. This last month though has probably been one of my most productive. I’ve been hosting talks and workshops, working on new products and writing blogs and articles for myself and my clients at a much more prolific rate. I am able to concentrate more, and can sit at my desk for hours at a time without looking up in search of shiny things.
Bulletproof Coffee and Intermitent Fasting
With regard to my IF practice, bulletproof coffee helps with this. In fact, there is a Bulletproof Diet Roadmap which has an option for IF. For me, previously I would have a black coffee at breakfast time and from about 9 am I would pretty much watch the clock, starving, until 11am when I would eat. With Bulletproof I find that I don’t really feel hungry; I often forget to get up and eat until much later in the day.
The official Roadmap favours a more paleo-type approach to diet, with more natural foods, organic vegetables and suchlike.
During my first week of Bulletproof coffee, I was also quite stressed and… no, there’s no excuse. I was also eating a lot of cake. That Monday morning as I got into the shower I thought I would just check my weight, in a kind of “you can’t keep eating all this cake, Vicky, I bet you’ve put on loads of weight” sort of way… imagine my shock when I looked down and found that I had los 4lbs. Without trying. While eating cake. I asked in the Bulletproof Facebook group whether this was normal, and the response was a resounding yes!
Full disclosure: my weight has fluctuated in the last couple of weeks, but I think that’s because I’ve not yet put the cake down. I know that realistically you need to not be consuming tons of sugar in order for more dietary fat to be a good thing!
Bulletproof Coffee Tips
Here are some tips for your Bulletproof Coffee journey, some of which have been sourced from the Bulletproof Facebook group where I asked what people thought were the most important things to get across in this review…
- Heat your blender by swishing it around with boiling water before you start – this stops your coffee from getting too cold. I did this a couple of times, but I use a Breville Blend Active blender and often find that the blender is then too hot to unscrew the lid! I’ve never found that my coffee was cold once mixed with the butter and oil though.
- Use a proper blender. I have tried just stirring a lump of butter into my coffee; it takes a long time, and it just leaves a film of melted butter on top of your coffee. Invest in a blender!
- Go slowly at first. As I mentioned above, the Octane Oil especially can have a definite effect on the bowel so you need to build up gradually. If you’re not used to having that thicker, fatty taste in your coffee I guess you might want to build up the butter conten too.
- Don’t skimp on the butter! I know that 30 years of official dietary advice have had us all avoiding butter like the plague, but I’m fairly sure that approach has been disproved about a million times over by now and the majority of experts (who are not affiliated with a sugar-laden weight loss product) will agree that fat is good for you. It’s certainly better for you than sugar, at any rate. Plus, I promise you will grow to love the creamy texture it can give your coffee.
- Don’t use instant coffee. The whole point is to use the absolute best quality coffee you can find – and yes, that is going to cost you more than £2.50. A bag of Bulletproof coffee whole beans costs £9.95 – which you might think is extortionate, except for the idea that this coffee essentially replaces whatever you were usually having for your breakfast, and negates the need to nip out to your local overpriced coffee shop for a takeaway.
- One person commented that their hair had been thinning until they started using Bulletproof… this is something I hadn’t considered but actually, I cut a couple of inches off my hair a couple of weeks ago and people are still commenting on how long it’s got. So perhaps it does have an effect on the old hair follicles too!
- To get the full effect from Bulletproof, one also needs to tame their food cravings generally – unless they crave only organic vegetables and lean protein. I’m working on that side of it myself…
Disclosure: I was sent a pack of Bulletproof Coffee and some Upgraded Octane Oil for review, but all words and opinions in this post are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase after clicking one my links, I may receive commission at no extra cost to yourself.