If you're a fan of coffee you've probably heard of a growing alternative health practice: putting butter in your morning cup of joe. Yes, I just said butter. In a cup of coffee.
Before you call me crazy, don't knock it til you've tried it. Keep an open mind and read on.
What is Bulletproof Coffee®?
Putting butter in coffee recently became trendy when Silicon Valley entrepreneur Dave Asprey coined the term Bulletproof Coffee® after a trip to Tibet where he drank hot tea mixed with yak butter. The traditional Tibetan beverage rejuvenated him and ultimately inspired his own version using high-quality coffee, grass-fed butter and medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, derived from coconut and palm kernel oil.
According to Dave, when you drink this concoction in the morning the healthy fats naturally energize you, make you feel satiated and jump start fat burning for the rest of the day.
Those claims are enough to make hundreds of thousands of folks jump on the bandwagon, hoping to reduce their appetite and shed pounds with little effort.
Don't Skip Breakfast
Here's the deal: it's not a magic weight loss cure. You shouldn't substitute this drink for breakfast just so you can lower your daily caloric intake. While healthy fats do make you more satiated, you need to eat them with other foods, especially those with fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K & K2 so your body can properly absorb them.
No matter what food lifestyle you embrace--80/20, real food, WAPF, primal, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, keto, etc.--it's good practice to start your day with healthy foods and enough calories to properly fuel your body.
I understand that what constitutes a "healthy" breakfast is totally subjective; however, I don't think many would disagree that we all need food of some sort!
Grass-Fed VS Grain-Fed Butter
Before you go tossing a nob of generic grocery store butter into your coffee cup, please know that run of the mill butter won't do.
It must be butter that's made from milk produced by cows that have grazed exclusively (or primarily) on grass, i.e. grass-fed. This type of butter also goes by the name "pastured" (not to be confused with pasteurized, which is a form of heating) because the cows are allowed to roam and eat freely on pastures.
This distinction is super important because grass-fed butter has something that regular butter doesn't have (even organic)--lots of vitamins!
Grazing on fresh grass allows the cows to absorb nutrients that imbue their milk, and thus butterfat, with vitamin A, D, E & K & K2. The characteristically deep yellow and sometimes orange color found only in grass-fed butter comes from high amounts of carotene (well known in carrots & sweet potatoes).
In addition, grass-fed butter contains a naturally occurring fatty acid known as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which have been shown in studies to reduce body fat mass in humans and animals (source).
Most importantly, grass-fed butter has high levels of a newly discovered vitamin called K2. First identified by Dr. Weston Price and dubbed "Activator X", this fat-soluble vitamin is created through fermentation. When a cow eats lots of fresh grass, their stomach ferments it and transforms the Vitamin K (also known as K1 and commonly found in leafy greens) into K2. Studies have shown that high amounts of K2 may help counteract the calcification of arteries, amongst other benefits (source).
More Info On Vitamin K2:
- On the Trail of the Elusive X-Factor
- Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life
Sensitive to dairy but want to reap the benefits of grass-fed butter?
Try grass-fed ghee (ultra clarified butter) or high vitamin butter oil.
Related Articles on the Benefits of Grass-Fed Butter:
Coconut Oil vs. MCT Oil
In his Bulletproof Coffee® recipe, Dave recommends using MCT oil, which is a supplement comprised of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA) sourced from coconut oil and palm kernel oil that are easily absorbed by the body. Compared to long chain fatty acids, MCFAs are easily and quickly digested, which is why they're recommended by many as a source of healthy, sustained energy and a way to stimulate your metabolism.
However, if you find MCT Oil too expensive (me!), you can easily attain the same dietary benefits from its source--organic, virgin coconut oil. I always have a large jar or two around for oil pulling and skin care uses, so it's more economical for me to use pure coconut oil instead.
You can get two of my favorite high-quality coconut oil brands HERE and HERE from Amazon and HERE and HERE from Thrive Market.
Related Articles on the Benefits of Coconut Oil:
- Using Coconut Oil Therapeutically
- Coconut Oil 101: Decoding Labels
- The Truth About Saturated Fats & The Coconut Oil Benefits
In summary (in case you skimmed the previous sections), mixing high quality grass-fed butter and coconut oil (or MCT oil) into your morning coffee will increase your daily intake and absorption of healthy fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, K & K2 and healthy fatty acids such as conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). In addition, this healthy fat combo has the potential to give you sustained energy for several hours afterward.
Oh, yeah and one other thing. It's delicious! Yep. Grass-fed butter and organic, virgin coconut oil taste wonderful on their own, but when they're whizzed together with hot coffee it creates a delicious, creamy latte-like beverage that goes down smoothly!
And without further adieu, here's my own simple version that's easy to replicate at home.
Hot Buttered Coffee with Coconut Oil
A creamy & healthy morning beverage comprised of freshly brewed artisan coffee blended with high-quality grass-fed butter and organic, virgin coconut oil. This results in a latte-like coffee drink that emulates the original Bulletproof Coffee® recipe.
8 ounces of freshly brewed coffee
1 tablespoon (or less) of grass-fed butter or ghee
1 tablespoon (or less) of organic, virgin coconut oil (like this or this)
- hydrolyzed collagen from 100% grassfed cows (for extra protein)
- homemade coconut milk or full-fat canned coconut milk
- homemade almond milk
- homemade almond milk coffee creamer
- heavy cream or half & half (I like raw or non-homogenized 100% grassfed dairy)
- grade b maple syrup
- raw honey
blender or immersion blender
Want more real food & gadget recommendations? Check out my shop page.
Brew your coffee, ideally with freshly ground coffee beans. When that's finished, measure the grass-fed butter and coconut oil into a blender.
If you're just beginning to add grass-fed butter & coconut oil into your diet, you can certainly add a teaspoon or two and work your way up. Some people are sensitive to large amounts of coconut oil in the beginning.
Pour the coffee into the blender, secure with the lid tightly and blitz for 20-30 seconds or until the coffee turns a creamy color and starts to froth a bit. You want the fats to emulsify and completely mix with the coffee. Pour it into a coffee mug (the top should be frothy) and drink immediately.
Update #1: I've starting blending my bulletproof coffee using an immersion blender, because it's way easier and quicker to clean up. I just pour all the mix-ins/spices into a tall mason jar, add the coffee, stick my immersion stick blender into the jar and whiz away. The bottom part of the blender detaches, so I only have one small part to rinse off afterward (or put in the dishwasher if I wanted).
Update #2: It's been over two years since I wrote this post and I'm still drinking bulletproof coffee almost every morning. That's how much I love it! However, I thought I'd let you know that I now like to add in 1/2 to 1 scoop of high-quality hydrolyzed collagen powder (from 100% grass-fed cows) to my blended coffee. It dissolves instantly, is tasteless, and is an excellent source of protein and essential amino acids.
Notes & Tips
- Quality counts in this recipe. If you don't have access to grass-fed or pastured butter, omit it and instead double up on the organic, virgin coconut oil.
I'd like to hear from YOU!
What's your favorite add-in for coffee?
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