WAKE UP & SMELL THE COFFEE (or TEA)
I think I had my first coffee at Uni (20 years ago) and I have enjoyed it ever since, but I have my moments with it. Most recently though, I fell out of love with it a month or so ago when I got the flu really bad.. I just didn't feel like it for about 3 weeks and it wasn't until I recovered from the flu that I made the decision to add it back in to my morning routine.. and yep, I did miss it! Don’t get me wrong, coffee is awesome—there is so much literature about why it is so good for you (and why it is not, but with everything you weigh both sides up) in particular assisting the health and wellbeing of your brain. If you can drink coffee, great, but if not, there are some great and trendy alternatives on the market I’ll discuss.
HERE IS THE LOWDOWN...
The caffeine in coffee is a stimulant, and stimulants have a direct influence on how your brain functions. As a stimulant, coffee can assist with your mood by making you happy (also edgy.. but this is related to the type of coffee you drink), it can make you more alert, help burn fat by increasing your metabolism, and help you work harder both in the office and during physical activity. It does all this by being absorbed into your bloodstream like everything else you drink and eat, ending up in your brain. That’s why it is so potent and can be addictive: it’s like a natural high, so to speak, as it is loaded with vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, and magnesium, potassium, and niacin, and contains enormous amounts of antioxidants. This is why as soon as you have your morning coffee (even some teas), you feel like you have more energy!
Why not try these cappuccino and latte alternatives
I used to love my cappuccino's in a mug, and I still have them from time-to-time as a bit of a treat, but here are some great brain-stimulating ways to drink your coffee (but remember to skip sugar, artificial sweeteners, and low-fat milk options—if you can’t give up lattes or cappuccinos, then you must make sure the quality of the actual coffee (beans) you are having are good quality and the milk or milk alternatives you are adding to it are of also of good quality. Here is my tip... If I were you, I would reconsider drinking soy milk and replace with either almond or coconut milk....
Long black with pouring cream: My CrossFit gym got me into drinking Americanos (long black) with pouring cream a few years ago. Why pouring cream? Pouring cream is just normal pure cream, but pouring cream has less sugar and is higher in saturated (good) fat than milk, it also cuts the bitterness out and makes it nice and creamy—buy grass-fed, organic full fat cream where possible. Drinking this will stave off hunger and make you feel fuller longer while still giving you that morning caffeine boost. When I drink these I order an Americano or long black with pouring cream. After one of these I tend not to crave or feel like another coffee all day.
Bulletproof coffee I drink this regularly (well pretty much everyday) and it is awesome. The inventor and founder of Bulletproof is Dave Asprey, and he is the ultimate bio-hacker and Silicon Valley entrepreneur, meaning he has scientifically researched and tested on himself ways to fix issues and ailments he was suffering from. He has spent years of research and tests to “hack” his body to make him better.... "For years, he tried restricting calories and working out every day. Nothing helped. By the time he was 30, Dave’s doctors told him he was at strong risk for a stroke or heart attack — not at some indeterminate time in the future, but soon. Dave got the idea for Bulletproof Coffee after a trek in Tibet in 2004. At 18,000 above sea level and -10°F, his energy was plummeting – until he staggered into a guest house and a local handed him a creamy cup of yak butter tea. The butter-infused drink is a necessity for the people in Tibet, who live and work in such rugged, high altitude terrain. The drink instantly rejuvenated Dave. It was like a flip was switched on in his brain and body."
His coffee formula is that you buy and use good quality organic coffee beans (no mould beans, meaning the coffee is more pure and free of mycotoxins (mould) that attach to dried coffee beans), add grass-fed unsalted butter or ghee and coconut oil (but not any normal coconut oil, instead a more potent derivative of it called MCT oil, but what’s even more potent is Dave Aspreys’ derivative of MCT oil called Brain Octane oil). All these ingredients combined make the most potent brain-enhancing morning coffee you will ever have. The coffee obviously is the stimulant, the grass-fed butter or ghee (the saturated fat in grass-fed butter slows the absorption of caffeine, which gives you even energy for several hours instead of a caffeine spike and crash, is full of butyrate that is great for your gut and brain) and the Brain Octane oil is also great for your gut and brain, it is flavourless unlike coconut oil and is able to be absorbed by your body quicker so your body is now getting its energy from this quality fat rather than added sugar.
"When combined, I have found that these ingredients make a beautiful, creamy, frothy coffee which will make you feel fuller for longer, improve you focus at work, stave off those mid-morning cravings, and most importantly won’t give you the coffee crash and come-down your usual morning coffee(s) do."
Coffee and intermittent fasting
I combine intermittent fasting with my morning cup of Bulletproof coffee , as Bulletproof coffee is intended to be a meal replacement and substitutes for your breakfast due to its good quality fat content. Drinking your coffee this way stops you craving more coffee and snacking throughout the morning. One cup in the morning will get you through to lunch time. You can learn more about Bulletproof coffee here.
My usual morning flows like this:
- My last meal of the day is dinner (finished at approx 7pm). I then go to bed around 9pm.
- I wake up in the morning at 5/5:30am have 2 glasses of water, one with 1/2 lemon and a tbs apple cider vinegar, I then exercise.
- I come home and make a Bulletproof coffee at around 7am.
- I will not eat (consume any food apart from the Bulletproof coffee) until lunch time (12/12:30). I have therefore fasted (not eaten) for approx. 16 hours. This is called intermittent fasting.
- I then have lunch which is usually either a vegetable packed omelette or a roast vegetable salad with some type of protein (organic chicken, grass-fed beef or fish), then I snack on nuts in the afternoon (mix of cashews & macadamias). I usually have a protein shake when I get home and have something similar to my lunch for dinner.
This particular way of eating (for me) helps me maintain my weight and cognitively function better while I am working. I also don't have to think about what I am going to have for breakfast, I don't snack mid-morning and I obviously eat less (consume less calories), the coffee and it's fat does the work.
PS. Good friends of mine have a Health Food Emporium on the Gold Coast Highway in Broadbeach called Brio Emporium (under the BelAir Building) and they specialise in all things good fat, keto and Bulletproof!!
Here I am making my morning Bulletproof® coffee....
Ingredients: Boiled cup of water. Freshly ground Bulletproof Upgraded Coffee beans (or, low- mould, fresh roasted beans), enough to make a regular cup of coffee. 1 table- spoon of Brain Octane oil* (coconut oil, or MCT oil does not have the same potency). 1 tablespoon of unsalted grass-fed butter or grass-fed ghee.
I recommend starting slowly when you add MCT oil/BrainOctane oil as it can cause you to go to the toilet! Dave calls this “disaster pants”. Place the ingredients in a blender and blend for 10-20 seconds to make a frothy, creamy-looking latte. Please note though, avoid stirring the butter and MCT oil into the coffee before you place them in the blender, as the ingredients won’t emulsify properly and will sit on the surface of your coffee. Let the blender do the work. Tip: If you have either macca, MCT oil or cacao powder in your smoothies you may not feel like a coffee, as all three ingredients are natural stimulants in their own right. Tip: Add an espresso shot to your smoothie above and you will be on fire, ready to crush the morning.
Matcha latte: is made using matcha tea powder (matcha is a powdered, specially-processed green tea, you are actually drinking the ground tea leaves resulting in higher vitamin and nutrient content) and either coconut milk or almond milk or both, along with MCT oil or coconut oil. Once made, it is a beautiful light green colour, full of antioxidants and obviously containing caffeine to give you a similar buzz as coffee, and the coconut oil (or MCT oil) is your healthy fat.
Turmeric latte: Ever wonder what gives curry its yellowness? This yellow tea or latte is another great alternative to coffee. Turmeric on its own is awesome anyway, hails from the ginger family, and has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries as it contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Most of all it contains properties which help your brain, in particular combatting degeneration. Add turmeric root, ginger root, lemon, cinnamon, and sprinkle of pepper to a cup of boiled water. My wife loves these. At a café, a turmeric latte will be made with turmeric powder (ground turmeric root) and almond or coconut milk with cinnamon.