How I Make Coffee Into A Healthy Meal ... No, Really.

morning_coffee.jpg

Who doesn't love coffee? With just over half the U.S. adult population drinking coffee on a daily basis and it being a $4 billion import to the U.S., I'm sure a few of my readers will appreciate this post. Health professionals are not all in agreement of coffee being healthy or unhealthy, so I'll share my personal experience with it and some benefits and warnings about consuming coffee so you can make your own mind up and listen to your body's cues for if your coffee is benefiting you or not.

Until this year, I avoided coffee for many reasons (fears); caffeine addiction, withdrawal headaches, stained teeth, feeling like I had to have my coffee to start the day and getting the jitters. Another big (legit) reason was because of pregnancies, so if you are pregnant, remember you should be avoiding all caffeine.

But then, I learned of Bulletproof coffee, told my sister, who tried it first and raved about it, so then I decided to give it a try.  I was leery of the caffeine's affects on my breastfed baby, but haven't noticed any differences, so that was good news too. I've also gone without coffee for days with no noticeable withdrawal symptoms.

Benefits

What are the potential benefits of coffee? Well, it is extremely high in antioxidants and contains other nutrients such as magnesium, potassium, manganese and several B vitamins. Coffee increases serotonin levels which will elevate your mood, contribute to healthy bowel function, and increase sexual desire and function. Coffee can increase your focus, it can help you learn better which makes you smarter. Caffeine can also help you burn fat and increase your metabolism. It can also eliminate headaches, but please note you are just eliminating a symptom this way and not getting to the root cause of your headache. Coffee can also increase your physical performance, so it would make sense to drink your coffee, then do your morning workout.

Potential Draw-Backs

If you drink cheap coffee, it can be contaminated with impurities, pesticides and mycotoxins (toxic mold) which can contribute to brain damage, weight gain, cancer, hypertension, kidney disease, and numerous other health problems. The caffeine could cause sleep issues in some, depending on how you personally respond to it. It is also a diuretic which means you could get dehydrated by drinking too much coffee, so make sure you drink plenty of water during the day and also limit your coffee consumption to no more than 3 cups a day. I drink a large glass of lemon water as soon as I wake up (before the coffee).

Making a Meal

And now, to make coffee into a meal. To do that, let's define a meal; some dietary fats, protein, and maybe some carbs?

First, The Fat

Traditional Bulletproof Coffee is coffee with two healthy dietary fats; butter and an extract of coconut oil. What this does when consumed in the morning (as you are breaking your overnight fast) is it tells the body to go into fat burning mode and you will have sustained energy for hours. Healthy dietary fats should be a part of any meal. I go into more details in this past blog post.

When you choose a butter, you want to find butter that comes from grass-fed cows as they will be the most healthy and therefore produce the healthiest milk for butter. Kerrygold is a good brand that is pretty well available in most grocery stores. I prefer the unsalted. If you can find a local source for your butter, that's even better!

If you are allergic or intolerant to milk products, you can try ghee which is clarified butter. I have not been able to find ghee from grass-fed cows in regular grocery stores, but your local health food store will most likely carry it, or you can buy it online as ghee doesn't need to be refrigerated. Or, you could buy grass-fed butter and clarify it yourself.

The extract of coconut oil I use is Bulletproof Brain Octane oil. It is a bit pricey, but it takes awhile to go through a bottle even at 1 TBS per day. You can substitute MCT oil or even coconut oil here, but you won't get the same concentration of the caprylic fatty acids that benefit your brain function. You will, however, get the same fat burning and energy stabilizing benefits.

Next, Optional Protein

I list protein as optional as some people don't need protein at every meal. But for women and especially breastfeeding mamas, we need the calories to sustain us until lunch. For protein, I add some gelatin. Don't worry, this doesn't make the coffee turn into jello. Well, maybe if you refrigerate it, but who would want to do that? Haha. Gelatin is made from collagen which is a great supplement for the elastic parts of the body; skin, tendons and joints.

Then, Optional Carbohydrates

When I feel I need some extra carbs for more energy (usually to make up for not enough quality sleep the night before) or calories (again for breastfeeding calorie demands), I add puréed pumpkin or cooked butternut squash. I've tried sweet potato purée with tasty results too.  By using these starchy veggies instead of a muffin, I'm getting all the phytonutrient benefits as well as the fiber and they don't cause the large blood sugar spike (and crash) that a muffin does.

Lastly, Optional Herbs and Spices

Now, if I'm using ghee instead of butter, I add about a tsp of sweetener; usually xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar substitute that doesn't affect your blood sugar. Erythritol or stevia would be other healthy sweetener options.

If you want a real treat, add some vanilla or pumpkin pie spice. I've added mint flavored chlorophyll and cocoa powder. Maca or other super foods are also a good addition. Check out this post for other flavoring and supplement ideas.

And Blend

Put everything in the blender for about 20 seconds and enjoy hot. Now if this seems like a lot of effort for coffee, think of it as an alternate to a morning smoothie without all the sugary carb-loaded fruit that leaves you hungry and needing a snack an hour or two later.

To Summarize: The Recipe

6-12 oz freshly brewed quality coffee

1-2 TBS grass-fed butter or ghee

1 tsp - 1 TBS Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil or MCT or coconut oil

1 TBS gelatin (optional)

2 TBS - 1/2 c cooked pumpkin, butternut squash or sweet potato (optional)

1 tsp xylitol or erythritol or pinch stevia (optional, recommended if using ghee)

Optional flavorings:

1/4 tsp vanilla powder

1 TBS mint flavored chlorophyll

1/2 tsp cocoa powder

While the coffee is brewing, add all other ingredients to a blender. Add brewed coffee and blend for 20 seconds until frothy. Enjoy hot.

Let me know if you try this and how you feel. It may take a week or so for your body to adjust to its new breakfast.

With love, hugs and smiles,

Carolyn