You might have heard about the whole Bulletproof Coffee trend that’s been happening for the past few years. You know, the one that blends butter and a coconut oil like product into your coffee before you drink it? I find that people fall into one of two camps: 1) they drink it every morning and love it OR 2) they’ve never heard of it and think that blending butter into coffee sounds crazy. I used to be the second one before I actually tried it, and let me tell you, blending butter into any hot drink is the epitome of deliciousness!
We’ll get into the how below, where I’ll show you that you don’t even have to use coffee to get all the benefits of the fat-fueled movement, but first let’s talk about the why.
Why in the world would blending butter into coffee or tea be one of the healthiest breakfasts you can drink? It all comes down to starting your day with healthy fats as opposed to carbohydrates (found in cereal, toast, and other pastries, and even your favourite smoothies).
It’s no secret that sugar consumption is out. of. control all around the world, but especially in North America. Sugar is in everything.
We just took a trip to Florida, and I tried to get some pre-made soups to heat up in our hotel room as a healthier option than fast food when we were on the road (because we’re crazy and drove from Canada to Florida instead of flying). I didn’t see my usual brands that I get in Canada, but I grabbed one that looked fairly healthy. It’s good that I read the ingredients, because the second one listed was sugar. I kid you not.
There were 26 grams of added sugar in that particular soup, which is equivalent to adding 6.5 TEASPOONS of sugar. If you saw someone adding 6 teaspoons of sugar to their soup, would you think that they were off their rocker? Um, yes! So always read your ingredient labels, and do the math with how much sugar is in your regular packaged foods. 4 grams of sugar equals 1 teaspoon, so divide the grams of sugar listed by 4, and that’ll tell you approximately how many teaspoons of sugar is in that particular food. I found another brand with no added sugars, by the way, so all was well.
Back to the point: all that sugar does is leave us feeling high for maybe 30 minutes to an hour, then we crash as our blood sugar falls. Then we crave more sugar because it’s technically more addictive to the brain than cocaine. We can’t think straight, feel foggy, have no energy, and experience the funny-but-not-funny feelings of “hangry”, where you probably yell at/want to kill your husband/kids/boss while you frantically search for chocolate, coffee, or some other form of sugar and stimulants.
Eating fats triggers the exact opposite: clear minded thinking and increased cognitive function, better focus, lasting energy, and stable moods. Over a long period of time, this can help you balance your hormones, since you aren’t triggering a rollercoaster effect on your blood sugar or stress levels.
So, what exactly is in my tea latte? Here’s the scoop on all the fancy ingredients:
1. Coffee versus Tea
I’m a total tea drinker by default. I love the smell of coffee, the idea of coffee, pretty much everything about coffee … other than drinking it. My body rejects it in about 15 minutes, and I get so anxious that you might as well peel me off the ceiling. So I’ve learned to love tea!
Turns out that coffee and tea have tons of health benefits, just different ones. Coffee can protect against Type-2 Diabetes, Parkinson’s, and when you drink 2-5 cups a day you may be much less likely to die prematurely from certain diseases. Tea drinkers have a much lower risk of heart attack and strokes (the antioxidants in tea helps preventer blood vessels from hardening), and it helps with cell health and age-related declines in memory.
Regular tea drinkers also have higher bone density levels and slower rates of bone loss, while coffee has a reputation for bone issues (although it’s still unclear what the exact effects are and how significant they might be).
Either way, if you drink coffee or tea, you’ll be getting a huge amount of antioxidants, which are much needed for cellular repair and protection, as well as reducing inflammation (which is the #1 cause of chronic disease).
While in a true Bulletproof Coffee or tea latte recipe you more than likely stay feeling full for hours because of the healthy fats, in my experience, the caffeine help as well. When I make my tea latte with decaffeinated tea (if my anxiety is high), I just don’t feel full as long as when it’s made with regular black tea.
2. Grass-fed Butter
The entire concept of Bulletproof Coffee was developed by Dave Asprey when he was hiking in Tibet, where he stopped for some rest and was given butter tea.
Butter tea is a drink native to the Himalayan region, due to the high altitude, low moisture, and harsh living conditions, and has probably been consumed for the last 1,000 years. It wasn’t enough to drink tea, the people of Tibet, Bhutan, and Nepal started adding yak butter for energy and salt to prevent dehydration. The butter also probably helped them with chapped lips.
Dave then developed his own version with ingredients available in North America (i.e. replacing the yak butter with grass-fed cow’s butter or ghee), and it’s been promoted by huge natural health advocates like Dr. Joseph Mercola and Dr. Mark Hyman.
If you’re going to replace an entire meal (i.e. breakfast) with the tea latte recipe I give you below or another Bulletproof Coffee version, you’ll be consuming quite a bit of butter, so you better make sure it’s the highest quality possible.
Grass-fed butter is said to have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids (the kind of fat that reduces inflammation in your body, which might be showing up as anything from rosacea to a diagnosed health issue ending in -itis), beta-carotene, and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Also, anytime you consume dairy products, any chemicals or chemical reside that the cow ate while producing the milk are going to be concentrated in it’s fat (pesticides and most other chemicals get stored in the body in fat cells), which butter is virtually 100% fat. If you’re not eating organic butter, you’re potentially exposing yourself to higher levels of chemicals that wreak havoc all over the body.
For this reason, dairy products, especially butter, are the one food group that I purchase Certified Organic nearly 100% of the time. Grass-fed dairy products are usually Certified Organic as well.
If you’re lactose intolerant or have a casein allergy, you can use grass-fed ghee instead of regular butter. Ghee is a clarified butter that virtually eliminates all lactose and milk protein exposure.
Brands that make grass-fed butter include KerryGold, which I can find from time to time at my local grocery and health food stores, and you can find grass-fed ghee from brands like Lee’s Ghee on Amazon (ships Worldwide) and well.ca in Canada.
3. MCT Oil
I’m not a full-on ketogenic diet advocate, although my body does do better with a higher amount of fat than most people. This is why most of my friends look at me like I have two heads when I eat a muffin slathered with (literally) 1/4 inch of butter on each half. MCT oil is one of those food-based supplements that I haven’t tried yet, but the benefits are apparently amazing.
MCT stands for Medium Chain Triglycerides, which are a specific type of fat that are abundant in coconuts. You can get some MCT’s from regular coconut oil, but MCT oil is much higher in concentration. Apparently you’d have to eat something like 20 tablespoons of coconut oil to get the amount of MCT’s in 1-2 tablespoons of MCT oil.
So, what’s the deal with MCT’s anyways? They’re the part that makes you feel full for hours on end, and directly fuel your body for fat burning and cognitive function.
Translation: if you want to lose stubborn fat (good bye, muffintop!), feel focused AF, and not crave sugar all morning and afternoon, this is your secret weapon.
Now I have a fairly sensitive digestive tract, and MCT oil, if not of great quality and in too big of quantities, can have you running for the bathroom within minutes. Maybe this is why I’ve intuitively stayed away from this product for so long, but in the last year, there’s a new MCT darling on the scene called MCT powder.
I’ve had several online friends recommending MCT powder lately as it’s gentler on the digestive system, and is also reported to help you feel less jittery. In other words, right up my alley.
As with anything else food related, what is inside the bottle doesn’t always have to be listed in the ingredients (le sigh, right?!). Finding companies who source and produce the highest quality MCT products is super important.
4. Collagen Powder*
I started using collagen powder about 9 months ago, and for the last 4-5 months, people have been raving about my skin.
To be clear, I’ve never felt like I have good skin, so for people to compliment me on it is a huge deal.
100% transparency: I also introduced an essential oil into my skincare routine that’s fabulous for the skin around that 4-5 month mark, so that’s definitely part of the magic. Click here to learn all about 100% pure essential oils and how they’ll change your life, and click here to ask me what specific essential oil I used to get people to notice my glowing skin.
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, making up to 30% of all protein in our bodies and 70% of our skin. We’re now just learning about the benefits of collagen, and it’s nutritional mother, gelatin (there’s collagen in gelatin, but no gelatin in collagen).
If you have hair, skin, and nail issues, joint issues, or want to reduce the signs of aging and improve your digestion, you might want to try adding collagen to your daily diet.
Collagen is relatively tasteless, odourless, and it dissolves in both hot and cold liquids. It’s perfect for adding to a Bulletproof coffee or a tea latte, but you could also add it to soups, stews, sauces, salad dressings, smoothies, yogurt, or applesauce.
For those of you who might be strictly ketogenic, adding collagen to your morning butter coffee or tea will take you out of intermittent fasting mode, since it’s made up of protein and not fats. If you want to extend your IF period, keep collagen out of your tea latte.
I’ve tried several brands of collagen powder over the past 9 months, including Bulletproof Upgraded Collagen, Organika Enhanced Collagen Protein Powder, and Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides. All three were well tolerated by my sensitive stomach and GI tract, woohoo!
How do all of these (maybe new to you) ingredients make the most creamy, delicious breakfast drink you’ve ever had?
Here’s how to make a tea latte that’ll change your waistline, hormones, and focus for the better!
Butter Tea Latte
Prep time: 5 minutes
Makes 1.5 to 2 cups
Tea of your choice
1 cup of milk (organic dairy, or non-dairy milk such as almond, cashew, etc)
1-2 tablespoons organic, grass-fed butter or ghee
Dash of vanilla extract
1-2 teaspoons MCT oil (or equivalent in MCT powder)
1 scoop of grass-fed collagen powder*
- Heat milk in a small saucepan until warm.
- Boil water for the tea, and steep as usual in 1/2 to 3/4 cup of water.
- Add the warm milk and steeped tea into a blender, and add the butter, vanilla extract, MCT oil/powder, and collagen powder.
- Blend for 30 seconds until super creamy and a rich froth forms on top.
- Pour and enjoy from your favourite mug!
*optional: add your favourite pure essential oils that are safe for internal consumption, like Peppermint, Cinnamon, or Cardamom! For the stronger oils like cinnamon and cardamom, start by inserting a clean toothpick into the bottle and then swirling it into your latte.
By Ashley Srokosz, RHN