Bulletproof coffee has taken the health world by storm with its promises to increase energy, digestion, brain performance, and even metabolic rate. Designed by Dave Asprey, The Bulletproof Coffee phenomenon has been popularized by the Paleo community but is popular with even those that don’t eat Paleo. Designed by someone in Tibet, Asprey experienced the drink on a hiking trip there and brought the drink home to the United States. The drink is the new “it” morning beverage that claims to be a health secret to get in on. Even Dr. Andrew Weil says the drink may be beneficial.
What is Bulletproof Coffee?
In case you’re not familiar with Bulletproof coffee, it involves making a clean, non-toxic coffee free of pesticides, herbicides, etc. and blending it with medium chain triglyceride (MCT) fats which increase energy and possibly performance, and are said to ward off hunger. Dr. Frank Lipman even says these fats have been shown to improve digestion and lead to a higher metabolism. Once coffee is blended with a source of MCT fats, a rich, frothy beverage results that’s consumed first thing in the day.
What’s Wrong With the Original Recipe?
The original Bulletproof coffee involves blending coconut oil (a well known superfood high in medium chain triglyceride fats) with grass-fed butter. The official Bulletproof website also uses a medium chain triglyceride oil made from coconuts and sustainable palm oil, known as Brain Octane. The healthy fats blended with the coffee help create satiety, ward off hunger, jump start the metabolism, and can help the caffeine from coffee digest more slowly, which prevents insulin crashes often caused by caffeine intake.
It all sounds pretty great except for the fact the drink contains butter. Butter in coffee? We don’t think so! Despite the health claims surrounding butter, it’s still an animal-based fats high in cholesterol and comes from dairy cows, which we know is not the best source of nutrients or the kindest option. The good news is, you don’t need butter to get the benefits.
Here’s how to make it vegan:
3 Tips for Making Vegan Bulletproof Coffee:
1. Use Organic, Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
You can still make Bulletproof coffee by simply using all coconut oil instead of half coconut oil and half butter. And while you can use palm oil since it’s another plant-based source of medium chain triglycerides, it’s probably best to avoid this oil due to the high amounts of controversy surrounding its production and environmental dangers. There is also no research that shows it to be more beneficial than coconut oil (which has much more research supporting its health claims).
Don’t just use any coconut oil, however. Be sure to use organic, extra virgin coconut oil which is cold-pressed so all the nutrients in the oil are retained. Other coconut oils may be processed with pesticides, bleaching agents, hexanes, and heated at high temps that destroy the natural nutrients.
2. Or, Opt for Coconut Butter
If you’re not into using oil and want something more like the texture of butter to create a creamier coffee instead of just a rich one, use raw coconut butter, aka vegan butter. This magical superfood is different from coconut oil and cream. Coconut butter is raw coconut meat that has been pureed and ground. It’s a wonderful whole food replacement to butter that’s rich in MCT fats, fiber, and even a little protein to boot!
3. Add Some Non-Dairy Milk To Make it Extra Frothy
The butter in typical Bulletproof coffee creates an incredibly frothy texture when blended, however since we’re not eating butter, use non-dairy milk instead. Choose an unsweetened version since added sugars are never a great idea, and add this to the blender with your coffee, coconut oil or butter, some stevia if you need a healthy, zero glycemic sweetener, and even cacao powder for an extra superfood boost.
Vegan Bulletproof Coffee Recipe:
- organic coffee ( or chai or green tea) of choice (See why organic coffee is important here.)
- 1 tsp-1 tbsp. of organic (raw) extra virgin coconut oil or butter (Start small if you’re new to using MCT’s in your coffee since they’re pretty potent for first users in their strength and abilities to “get things going” for digestion.)
- 1-2 tbsp. of non-dairy milk (Unsweetened coconut milk or unsweetened almond work great here.)
- ground vanilla if desired, or alcohol-free vanilla extract
- stevia if a healthy sweetener is desired (no sugary sweeteners)
- optional: 1 tsp or tbsp. raw cacao and some cinnamon
1. Brew your coffee first.
2. Add the hot coffee and other ingredients to your blender. Even a small blender like a Nutribullet or Magic Bullet work here.
3. Blend for 30 seconds (at least). This is what makes it frothy and mixes the ingredients together perfectly- don’t stir them into a poured cup of hot coffee – it won’t work.
4. Pour into your favorite coffee mug and enjoy before breakfast.
Why Before Breakfast?
Drinking your Bulletproof coffee at least 30 minutes or even an hour before breakfast provides your body with healthy fats that are said to improve mental function, slow down the effects of caffeine entering your blood stream (which benefits blood sugar) and will jump start your digestion before food is consumed. If consumed with meal, the fats will more than likely upset your stomach and you may not get the same brain-boosting benefits.
Does it Work And Should You Try It?
You’ll have to test it out and see how it works for you. Some people do wonderfully with higher amounts of fat while others don’t. I have tried this several times myself and can tell you that mental focus, energy, better blood sugar, and digestion all seem to be consistent benefits experienced quickly. Do keep in mind to start small with fats and moderate the rest of your fats throughout the day. If Bulletproof coffee doesn’t work for you, that’s okay – a regular cup of Joe is never a bad thing. Enjoy your cuppa however it works for you, healthy fats or not.
*Note, other fats like olive oil or nut butter are not recommended (and probably won’t taste too good.) These do not have MCT fats like coconut, which are what benefits the brain, digestion, and the blood sugar.*
Have you ever made vegan Bulletproof coffee or tea?
Image Source: Pseph/Flickr