“Breakfast: the most important meal of the day.”
How often have you heard that old adage? How many of you subscribe to that belief? And how many of you often skip it due to time/schedule issues? Breakfast has always been a struggle for me as most traditional breakfast foods are often my least favorite. Don’t get me wrong: I will eat eggs Benedict (minus the English muffin), sweet potato hash and crispy bacon with great enthusiasm but who has time for that every morning? During the week, I have a challenging schedule between working a full-time job and going to school full time in late afternoon through evening; often times, I also have to go back to work after school. This makes my “free” time and sleep schedule fairly restrictive so I do not have much leeway to make a hot savory breakfast and I am not much for cold breakfasts during the autumn and winter months. Since transitioning to a Primal/Paleo diet, breakfast is made even more difficult as typical convenience foods like cereals are not allowed (besides, they don’t give you much energy and you’re left hungry after a few hours anyway).
I struggled for the first few months, eating hardboiled eggs and a handful of nuts here and there but feeling mostly unsatisfied and somewhat lacking in the energy department despite following a fairly rigid Paleo protocol. I drank loads of green tea but that did not give me the boost I truly needed to get through the late afternoon into the evening. I did not want to resort to disgusting energy drinks so I scoured the internet for ideas and happened upon Bulletproof Coffee. My immediate reaction was of disgust (“BUTTER and OIL in your coffee?!”), disappointment (every time I tried to drink coffee, it only made me jittery and nervous; I couldn’t handle the caffeine), and followed by wariness (a lot of branded merchandise). However after reading through all the comments and considering how I was having some morning energy success with a tablespoon or two of coconut oil for breakfast, I felt like experimenting.
I did not have much to lose though as there is always coffee and Kerrygold butter in the house; the science behind MCT oil made sense to me as someone who regularly consumes coconut oil as a supplement and also previously tried a ketogenic diet. If the Bulletproof experiment turned out to be a dud, at least I could continue using the oil in other applications. Admittedly, I was very nervous because coffee often left me so anxious that it was more counterproductive to consume if I actually needed to do work (and my job requires an immense amount of concentration and focus). It was also an obscene amount of saturated fat on top of what I was already consuming throughout the day but down the rabbit hole I went.
And IT WORKED!
On only five hours of sleep (terrible, I know), I felt bright and energized. I was able to focus on all of my work tasks without feeling scattered or having my attention divided by distractions. There were no caffeine jitters, no horrible energy crashes, and strangely enough, no hunger pains. The hunger suppression was a bit inconvenient rolling into my school hours because my appetite would return right in the middle of classes, which is not the ideal place to eat a full meal. This is the only way I can consume coffee; without the butter & MCT oil, the nervous energy and jitters come roaring back and I’m Miss Milk Toast Wobbly Legs for the rest of day before crashing suddenly in the afternoon.
There are many that do not consider dairy to be Paleo but it is allowed on the Primal protocol. Stupid Easy Paleo offers up a wonderful recipe guide to Bulletproof Coffee that outlines the science, how-tos, and why some might relax their restrictions on dairy in the Paleo context. If you are curious, here are the products I use:
- Whole Foods “Three Beans Coffee” Medium Roast. This coffee is 100% Arabica beans and described as “sweet & smooth”; it comes as whole bean and you can grind it in-store. This roast works well for both cold press & hot brewing. It isn’t organic single-origin, wet-processed, mycotoxin-free coffee but it’s super affordable and works for me.
- NOW Foods 100% MCT oil. I’ve even started incorporating this as an unflavored oil component in unheated cooking applications.
- Kalona Unsalted Organic Grass-Fed Butter. Kerrygold is more affordable but after finding out that they use some GMO feed, I made the switch to Kalona.
- Pro-tip: If you are using a French press, don’t forget to filter your coffee through paper or fine-mesh steel as coffee contains the oil-like diterpenes cafestol and kahweol which when consumed in unfiltered coffee can actually raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Yes, I get weird looks (and the comments, oh geez…) when people see what goes into my coffee mug but I just smile and say, “Butter is the best way to start the day.” Honestly, who could argue against that? I know Andy Dwyer would not…