Monday, February 10, 2014

Bulletproof Coffee

When I first heard someone say "bulletproof coffee" it was like fingernails on a chalkboard or hearing that song you hate for the 2 millionth time which for me is Freebird. I liked the song the first hundred times but now cannot stand it.

Famous Paleo Athlete Hunter Pence - BP coffee effect?
And, so for about a year I just made fun of the stupid name "bulletproof" and read a little mostly about people who hated it because they agreed with my position. Once in a while a positive note would slip past my negative net and I would read about how much someone liked the effect.

But, I am probably considered a coffee snob by most people because I buy fresh roasted beans, have an expensive grinder and espresso machine and know how to make cappuccinos and lattes and stuff. To me, that does not make you a snob, but I can understand the label. And, the idea of adulterating my fine coffee in this non-traditional manner that would offend almost all Swiss, Italians and French just seemed very wrong.

Then one day someone's link took me to the bulletproof site and I read some of the info there. It mostly seems OK but I question the mark-ups on basic items. And, when investigating pieces of the info and talking with my coffee roaster friend I discovered things that were claimed about the coffee sold there that just did not make sense. So, that made me think maybe it was all a sales job to get you buying bulletproof store items.

So, I went back to Mark Sissons site and read about his take on bulletproof coffee. I tried the egg thing since I can source eggs from friends who have chickens and made the mistake of microwaving my cup of coffee once after adding the egg which sort of cooked it in my mug. That was gross so don't make that mistake. And, I tried it for a few days because I can get local organic eggs from friends who have chickens and liked the little extra buzz, did not miss the frothed milk of my cappuccino like I thought I would though my cat missed getting her spoonful of frothed milk. But, for some reason I kept thinking I should add nutmeg to my coffee because it reminded me of eggnog which is not surprising really.

So, I went back to the bulletproof guys website and read his recipe again and again.  I almost ordered the MCT oil but then remembered the misinformation there about the coffee beans they sell and decided to just buy MCT oil at my local health food store. And, while there I bought some grass-fed, organic ghee which was nothing like the ghee I normally get at the Indian grocery store. The ghee made in India has a strong smell and flavor while the grass-fed organic kind had almost no smell and consequently a very mild flavor.

So, I made the bulletproof coffee using a triple espresso pull and one tablespoon each of ghee and MCT oil and swirled using a Aerolatte Milk FrotherAnd, geez, this actually was pretty good.

I like the more coffee flavor experience because my drink was not diluted with the frothed milk. And, my stomach actually felt better after drinking my coffee because the frothed milk about half the time seems to be almost like a laxative. And, there is a kind of buzz from the bulletproof coffee. It is more pronounced the first few times but even after about a month of being about 90% bulletproof I still notice it.

So, what more can I say? If you resisted trying bulletproof because it seemed too cliched or mysterious or stupid, now you don't have those reasons if you read this far. The only reason now is you don't want to spend $7 for 7.5oz of organic grass-fed ghee, $16 on MCT Oilor buy organic coffee. I can understand that because I didn't either. I spend more money on other things that turn out stupid and since I drink coffee everyday I finally convinced myself to try it. And, sourcing those items locally only ended up costing me $23 because I already had a frothing wand and already bought organic coffee beans. Or, if you believe the claims on the bulletproof site about upgraded this and that, you can order a kit there for lots more bucks and get everything that way and not have to make more decisions on what to buy and where.

And, that ghee and MCT oil are going to make months of bulletproof coffee at one cup per day. I will have to buy maybe four 7.5oz containers of ghee to each 32oz of MCT oil so the cost is really minimal.

There are other claimed benefits of drinking bulletproof coffee. For me, the most important items were taste and how I feel right after drinking it. Who knows about the increased metabolism and weight loss claims. That is hard to know. Mark Sisson is not convinced about MCT oil and sort of pooh pahs it but while I agree with Mark's stance probably 90% of the time, his tone is a bit off on this one - almost like since he did not discover it then it is not that great. I don't know. I could be reading something else into his writing on it, but that was my take.

What do you think? Have you tried bulletproof coffee? Is it just a stupid trend that will disappear or will Starbucks and Peets be selling it in a year?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Paleo Inspired Lemon Meringue Cake

This is not really paleo because real paleo folks will not eat anything remotely sweet or even something similar to a grain-based dish because it weakens the resolve of a person to be 100% paleo. I have given up on being totally paleo and just don't want to be a food nazi and worry about being completely grain-free.

The idea has been floating around in my head for a few weeks now and came together today. The basics are 1) a Meyer lemon based curd with 1/2 cup lemon juice, 2 tbsp sugar, 2 tbsp xylitol, 2 tbsp butter, 2 eggs, 2 egg yolks, tbsp half&half, and dashes of vanilla extract and salt; 2) meringue with 2 egg whites, 2 tbsp sugar, and dashes cream of tartar and vanilla extract; 3) pancakes made of coconut flour, almond meal, eggs, and milk. Then I assembled the cake in a 9" springform pan with pancake, lemon curd, pancake, and meringue. This was then baked for 20 minutes at 325 degrees. With a cup of cappucchino, it was a great brunch dish. The remainder will be dessert tonight.

Cooking the curd is easy: 1) whisk sugar/xylitol with eggs and yolks. 2) heat lemon juice and add to egg/sugar. 3) heat mixture until it thickens 4) add butter, vanilla, half/half, salt.

Each pancake was made with 2 tbsp of almond flour and coconut flour each mixed with 2 eggs and enough milk to create a thick enough consistency for a 9 inch crepe pan. I used butter to oil the pan.

Just use an electric hand mixer to make the meringue.  

Regarding xylitol, I read about it on the bulletproof website, bought some at the health food store, and am using it sparingly at this time. There is nothing magic about it regarding taste or in this recipe. Sugar is fine to use and you could experiment with other sweeteners. 

These are fairly standard recipes you can find almost anywhere in standard cookbooks or on the internet. Any variation of these would work. Just trial and error this for yourself. For instance, next time, I will probably make a little more curd and meringue even though this tasted very good as is. Lime juice or regular lemon juice could be substituted in the curd.

Let me know what you think and how any variations worked out. Thanks!