The other day I tried an experiment, and its led to a new habit that I just can’t resist – bulletproof coffee…
I first heard about bulletproof coffee a few years ago, but recently it came to my attention again whilst reading Dave Asprey’s book ‘The Bulletproof Diet’ (which I will review separately).
The Concentration Problem
For a long time I have suffered with problems with trying to use coffee for concentrating, especially on writing. My mind tends to wander, and depending on the depth of my depression anxiety can kick in and make the process impossible. Whilst I usually try to avoid the caffeine rush (and subsequent low) from coffee, I have in the past used it when I have been too tired to get anything productive done. You get a short boost, a little bit of energy, but then I find the effect wears off after about 30 minutes leaving me tired and irritable again.
Dave Asprey claims the down from coffee is due in part to the toxins introduced into coffee during the manufacturing process. His theory – and I am paraphrasing here – is that our bodies react to these micro-toxins and our bodies fighting these microscopic beasts is what makes us feel tired and low. Sound logic but could a ‘cleaner’ coffee really reduce the downsides of coffee consumption and increase my mental focus? I would have to wait to find out…
Bulletproof Coffee requires 3 main ingredients:
- Good, toxin-free coffee (freshly ground)
- MCT (Medium-chain triglycerides)
- Butter (Grass fed, full fat)
After I had overcome the hurdle of convincing my wife that these ingredients were in fact for coffee we set about trying to find them. This actually proved harder than I had imagined. Our local supermarket didn’t have any coffee which classed as toxin-free so we ended up buying some regular coffee for the espresso machine (hey it is a test after all).
Butter was a little easier, but out of the 30 or so types on the shelves only one fit the criteria – Kerrygold Irish Butter from grass-fed cows.
MCT was impossible, not only did the supermarket not know what it was, neither did the health food store or local Holland & Barratt – so we used the common alternative Coconut Oil. There are some people who argue that coconut oil is actually better than a processed MCT as it is natural, containing Lauric Acid and is often cheaper than products such as Brain Octane (the official MCT for Bulletproof Coffee).
We brewed the coffee as normal in our espresso machine, and once made poured it into the blender along with about 50g of Kerrygold butter and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. A few minutes blending and the coffee was ready.
The butter when blended gives the coffee a creamy taste and appearance, so no milk or cream needed.
If it wasn’t for the increased energy I would definitely use this to calm my night-time anxiety.
For me it tasted great, although the coconut was a little overpowering. I have subsequently made it using less and will eventually switch to MCT purely because of the taste (im not a big fan of coconut anyway). The coconut oil is there for the MCT, which is what is said to improve concentration and mental focus – so I havent skipped it out much despite it not being my preference.
When made with just coffee and butter its superb, and I would easily class it as the best coffee I have tasted in a long time.
Effect – Coffee for Concentration
Energy levels were definitely increased for a few hours after taking my first cup. I buzzed around feeling great and when it eventually did wear off I wasn’t left with the usual down that coffee gave me. I’m still not 100% sure why though.
Perhaps psychosomatic, but potentially also because of the increased energy and coconut oil I did feel an improved cognitive ability. It wasn’t drastic but enough to push me to carry on with jobs I had previously been putting off. I also found my mind wandering a little less. If it wasn’t for the increased energy I would definitely use this to calm my night-time anxiety.
To give full credit to the inventor I have ordered some of his own special coffee beans that meet his criteria for production, along with a bottle of Brain Octane which is supposedly 18x stronger than coconut oil. I’ll update this page when they arrive and I have had a chance to try it out.
Should you try it?
Yes. If you are looking to boost your concentration even if only short-term then I would highly recommend giving it a go, apart from the rather large calorie count (around 250 per cup!) there isn’t anything too unhealthy here (real butter is good for you). If you have tried it, or do try it please leave a message in the comments letting us know what you think.