Why I Broke Up With Bulletproof Coffee, Plus My Upgraded Alternative

Reading time = 8 minutes

Yes I know, I know… I told you for years how much I loved Bulletproof Coffee. In fact, Melissa and I are probably largely responsible for the extreme shortage of Westgold Unsalted Butter. Let’s face it… there are few things more satisfying than hand grinding your own coffee, the aroma of that magical brew filling all your senses and the rush of clarity you get once those caffeine delivered lipids and polyphenols rapidly absorb into your bloodstream, fuelling your mitochondria. But, what happens when you take this magical morning routine all away? Well, I can only speak for myself, but after years convincing myself that I just naturally had amazing energy in the morning, I realised that perhaps my creamy buttery brew was in fact propping me up more than I would have liked to admit.

It was a Monday morning and my son was off to school. I wouldn’t be seeing him for a week as it was his last morning with Melissa and I before he headed back to his mum’s place. Now, anyone that has met Leo knows what a little angel christ like buddha he is. Wise beyond his years and impossibly lovable. To be honest, I sometimes wonder if I am anywhere near as good a human as he is. So when I witnessed myself all of a sudden erupting into a volcano of anger over something ridiculously insignificant (I think he couldn’t find his soccer boots after looking ‘“really hard”), I knew that something in me was not quite right.

Now, being a parent is certainly one of life’s greatest challenges. They are your greatest mirror and can reflect all the things about yourself that you may find hard to accept. You can forgive yourself for the occasional meltdown, but for me it was becoming increasingly common. I promised this would be the last time I treated him poorly and vowed to figure out how I had become… well… an angry human.

So, I turned to the lowest hanging fruit – my diet. Was there something I was having which could be causing an imbalance? The obvious place to start was with my Bulletproof coffee (oh dear God, please don’t let it be the coffee!). I don’t know why this never occurred to me, but I decided to take a look at coffee from an Ayurvedic perspective.

Ayurveda

noun

the traditional Hindu system of medicine which is based on the idea of balance in bodily systems and uses diet, herbal treatment, and yogic breathing.

Without going into all the potential modern day scientific benefits of drinking coffee which you can get in this interview with Dave Asprey (who I love and respect for his work and dedication by the way) on The Melissa Ambrosini Show, I want to explore a more subtle side that is almost always overlooked – is coffee really good for YOUR bodily constitution?

In Ayurveda there are three main body types or doshas. We each have our own unique balance of all three doshas, but more often than not we tend to be more dominant in one or two…

Pitta (fire) – ravenous hunger, can devour food, strong digestion, fiery at times, type A personality

Vata (air) – hard to stay warm, needs more rest, likes to graze on food, weaker digestion, can be a bit flighty

Kapha (earth) – heavy, grounded, happily can eat an extra piece of brownie or two

These are outrageous over-simplifications, but you get the point.

I have a Vata constitution on the outside (I can get cold and my skin dries easily) while internally I am Pitta (fiery, driven, intense, unforgiving). It had taken me several visits to various Ayurvedic practitioners before the significance of this dropped. I had been ignoring the Pitta part of me, thinking I was just a delicate little Vata who just happened to be a total ass at times to those around me. But this was not always how I was. As I pondered my latest eruption, I reflected on my pre-coffee life and realised… I used to be nice person (oh dear God, not the coffee!).

So I turned to Dr Google and within 0.43 seconds was faced with 553,000 reasons why ‘pitta coffee ayurveda’ was not such a good idea. For starters, coffee can be an intestinal irritant that inflames the digestive tract (Pitta imbalance here we come), it is acidic in nature (hello again Pitta) and to top it all off, it’s dehydrating. Sorry Mr Pitta Vata. Coffee is out of the blender for you.

Could it be that my increasing rage was simply coming from imbalancing my Pitta day after day? So I gave it up, and the immediate results were… depressing. Literally. I was frickin sad! Is it normal that a food should be ‘making’ you happy? Why can’t my body just naturally be in that state?

And then there was the issue of energy. Or should I say no energy. None. Nada. My usually focused mornings resembled more of a walk on the moon where everything just went soooo sloooow. It all started making more sense. After jumping on the Bulletproof band wagon, which I will say is AMAZING for some people, I had to face the fact that it simply was kryptonite for me. It had become a vicious circle of maxing out my adrenals but not knowing it because that MCT oil just made me feel so good! I had energy, but it was exogenous and not from within.

So faced with the age old question of what-the-hell-do-I-eat-for-breakfast, I headed into the slippery slope of dietary wilderness to find a truly upgraded Bulletproof brekkie alternative. And I think I may have nailed it.

But first, a disclaimer – it is up to you, and only you to ‘see’ what is true for you. Don’t believe me because others do, and don’t believe what you have read in books, seen on Instagram or heard from ‘authority’ figures, doctors, teachers and musicians who write about health. You already have all the answers, it’s simply a case of remembering.

Ok, that said, it’s time for my Bulletproof Brekkie Broth. Ladies and gentlemen, I truly believe that within this one magical mish mash of nutrient dense ingredients lies a clear path towards better health.

Coming back to Ayurveda, there is also a thing called Ojas, which can be roughly translated to vigor in the context of health and vitality, and the physiological expression of consciousness. Trust me, we all want a bit a Ojas! If you are kapha you naturally have more of this, but for you Pitta and Vata peeps, this is one area of your life that is well worth nurturing.

I admit I find it hard to go past the emerging evidence of a more primal approach to our diets. Adequate fats (if you tolerate them), moderate protein and bucket loads of easy to digest veggies seems to be the way forward these days. I also realised that bone broth is bit of a king when it comes to Ojas, so I just had to try and craft a breakfast bevvy that could work for just about any body type, even if you are vegan or vegetarian.

And while I am not recommending that everyone ditch their Bulletproof, I would like to point out that in this day and age with the amount of environmental toxins we are exposed to, don’t we all need to make every meal count? Could it be that your morning pick me up is a missed opportunity to have a super nutritious meal?

Intermittent fasting does aso have its benefits, and if anything I think that my daily habit over the past few years of replacing breakfast with a BPC was a huge step forward towards eating less, which is a very good thing if you want to be able to kick a soccer ball with your grand kiddies. Overeating has always been an issue for me, and hearing cries of “but it’s healthy” drip from my mouth along with the crumbs of a keto cookie (or 10) can get pretty boring for those around you.

So what I love about the Smoupie (I used to call it the Build Me Up Brekkie Broth – it’s my cross between a soup and a smoothie, and smoupie is just more catchy) is that while it doesn’t strictly count as a ‘fast’, it does allow you to get in a boat load of nutrients while being gentle on your digestion, which is weakest in the morning and strongest between 12-2pm. You get plenty of healthy fats to fuel you until lunch, a bunch of aminos and minerals from the broth, plus a feast of flavonoids from the easy to digest gently cooked plants of your choice. So if you want to start your day with a super tasty, gut healing, mitochondria fuelling, adrenal repairing, detox pathway opening, allergy reducing and immune system boosting brew, then this is what you do…

Essentials

1 cup of bone broth (preferably homemade because it’s so easy and way cheaper)

1/4 cup chopped parsley (or herb of your choice)

1/4 cup chopped kale (or leafy green of your choice)

Celtic sea salt to taste (for minerals and yumminess)

‘Next Level’ Optional Extras (don’t overdo these, less is more)

1/2 – 1 tbs grass fed ghee or caprylic acid (for fuelling your mitochondria)

1 tsp chopped ginger (to wake up digestion and detoxify)

1 tsp lemon juice (to wake up digestion and detoxify)

1 egg yolk (for choline and healthy cholesterol)

1 tsp coconut aminos (adds a touch of sweetness to balance Vata)

½ tsp dulse flakes (for iodine and minerals)

1 tbs collagen (for Ojas, skin, joints, hair)

½ tsp medicinal mushrooms such as reishi, cordyceps or chaga (for immunity)

½ tsp ashwagandha (for adrenal health)

½ tsp mucuna pruriens (for Ojas and dopamine)

¼ tsp turmeric (for a long list of longevity benefits)

Pinch each of black pepper, cumin, coriander and fennel seed (for a long list of longevity benefits)

1 tsp psyllium husks (because fibre is uber important people!)

But keep it simple! Just because you can add a bunch of things in, doesn’t mean you need to. One or two is plenty, and rotate them to keep your diet diverse.

What You Do

1) Heat all the essentials in a saucepan until it reaches a gentle boil, then simmer for about 5 minutes (reduces oxalic acid in the greens).

2) If you choose to add in any ‘next level’ fats, add them to the blender and blend for 30 seconds on high along with any other ‘next level’ ingredients.

3) And finally, if you want to add in an egg yolk and some collagen, do this at the end and blend gently for 5 sec so you don’t ruin that fragile collagen and oxidise the fats in the yolk.

If you are vegetarian, replace bone broth with veggie mineral broth and skip the collagen. If you are vegan, do the same plus replace ghee with coconut oil and skip the yolk.

smoupie

I truly believe this could easily become bit of a miracle broth for many of you – well perhaps if you had it consistently for long enough it could work wonders. But just make sure you rotate any veggies, spices and herbs so you don’t develop allergies. Plus mix up your bone broth with chicken, beef, lamb and vegetable mineral broth. If you dare, try making your own fish broth – you are braver than me if you do.

There are a ton of studies about the benefits of coffee and caffeine which I am not refuting, like polyphenols which I now get from wild blueberries instead, I just want to put bio-individuality back on the breakfast table. The challenge here is that everyone is so different that this recipe may be incredible for some and kryptonite for others. For example…

Certain genes determine whether or not saturated fats will work for you (bye-bye butter).

If you have histamine issues then long cooked bone broths are most likely out for you. Switching to a 1-2 hour stock can help, or using vegetable and mineral both broth instead.

If you have candidiasis the collagen in the broth and collagen powder may exacerbate the issue.

If you have a Pitta imbalance the fresh ginger may exacerbate your fieriness and an be hard for people who don’t tolerate oxalates well.

If you have leaky gut the high oxalates in turmeric might not be worth the benefits.

If you don’t digest fat super well push the fat content too hard you may bind up calcium (from the herbs and broth) in the gut which kinda sucks because calcium binds up oxalates!

You get the point yeh? So it’s up to you to feel into what works for your body. You can get guidance from someone, if they truly know their stuff, but ultimately it comes down to you.

While there were many things I was doing that contributed to this fiery Pitta imbalance, I do believe that a great route to take is to identify and remove anything that could be causing an imbalance within you and see how you feel. Three months on I am not an angry human anymore, my wife actually wants to be around me again (plus there are loads more little flowers in her Period Tracker app ;), and Leo doesn’t think Daddy is a crazy person. Win-win.

Please pass this on to a friend and share on social media if you enjoyed it. This tells me what you are resonating with so I can provide the best content for you. Plus share with me how you go in the comments below. Even better, take a selfie of and your magical Smoupie and tag me on Insty @broadhurstworld and lets’s start a #smoupie movement!

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  1. Sarah
    August 21, 2017

    This is amazing thank you thank you thank you! I haven’t had my bulletproof coffee for 2 months now cause cleansing and cut out caffeine obviously and I’ll felt a bit like oh I do want it back when I finish but maybe I shouldn’t rush to having it again because I actually feel pretty amazing without it now. But I have so been strapped for ideas of what I could have for breakie instead so am super excited to try this thank you!!

    • B R O A D H U R S T
      August 22, 2017

      Let me know how you go Sarah! x

  2. August 21, 2017

    Thank you for sharing your experience with coffee. People think I’m nuts to give it up! I stopped drinking coffee as part of an elimination diet to find out what was causing my health issues. I thought I had to have coffee to function. After four days of having lemon water, green tea and fruit for breakfast I felt like a new person. I had more energy, I was less anxious and I slept better at night. It’s been 2 1/2 months and I have no desire to start drinking coffee again!

    • B R O A D H U R S T
      August 22, 2017

      The proof is in the fruit pudding Noël ;)

  3. Jehanne
    August 21, 2017

    I love this! I am excited to try your Build-Me Up Brekkie-Broth ASAP. Going to get my hands on some Sun Potion herbs soon! Have you tried this combo with an Avo? I follow a blogger who adds chunks of Avo to her warm broth for those fats! I’m a Pitta type too and I’ve been struggling with my energy levels. I’ll let you know how it goes.

    • B R O A D H U R S T
      August 22, 2017

      Hey Jehanne, to be honest I think that would defeat the purpose of having something easy to digest in the morning. I know that avo is incredible, but I think it’s best eaten around midday because it’s not easy for everyone to break down. Plus the fats in their raw form are not super stable, so adding to hot broth would have to have a negative impact. I know avocado oil is supposed to be ok for use in cooking, but to be honest when it comes to vegetable oils like olive, macadamia and avo, I think playing it safe and having them raw is the safest approach

      • Jehanne
        August 22, 2017

        Hi Nick!
        As I’m writing this I’m sipping on some warm, DELICIOUS, healing brekkie broth (for dinner). Interestingly enough I intuitively decided to leave the zabouca (our Trinidadian word for “avocado”) out. It’s really divine. I had no “next level” goodies, but I think the local, fresh turmeric and added Grenadian nutmeg were perfect. I also wanted to add that I love that you are HONEST and constantly question your habits and assumptions. And that you’re bold enough to be transparent when you shift something that you once swore by, and that worked for you. We are seriously so individual, and it changes with the seasons of our life. ✨ I’ve been primarily “vegan” (I prefer to say plant based) for the past two years but my body has been asking for butter, so I included some sweet ol’ butter in my soup and it’s just insane. Thank you! Will be incorporating this when I head back up to my Torontonian winter ❄️

        • B R O A D H U R S T
          August 23, 2017

          Thank you for your kind words Jehanne. I am so happy to have you here. Butter… it’s pretty beautiful hey? And yes, we are always evolving and changing. Good to stay open and flexible.

  4. Sarah T
    August 22, 2017

    Thanks for the blog post, Nick Like the idea of the morning brekkie broth. Want to give it a go!
    A few qs: Do you have a recipe for the bone broth you can share?
    How do you determine your Ayurveda type?
    Do you have a collagen you recommend?
    Are the problems you’ve written about coffee from the caffeine or the actual coffee?
    I’ve just recently began making bulletproof coffee with decaf beans (breastfeeding and never been a big coffee drinker prior). I am enjoying it. However, there was a little question in my mind if it would suit everyone, which until your post, I’d been ignoring, focusing on the benefits of bulletproof coffee instead of listening to my intuition. Don’t think I’m having any bad reaction to it, but just not sure? Thank you!

    • B R O A D H U R S T
      August 22, 2017

      Hey Sarah, I will release a recipe on my blog one day, but really they are all the same. Western A Price has a good one. To properly determine your dosha, I recommend seeing an Ayurvedic practitioner. You can do an online quiz, but I don’t they are super helpful because you may be answering questions from a position of existing imbalance. Great Lakes collagen is ok, but my favourite is by Vital Proteins. The issue I have written about are from the coffee bean as a whole and all its constituents… but that’s just my own personal experience. You just have to tune in and see how you feel. Depends how attuned you are as well to your body. Hope that helps!

      • Sarah T
        August 22, 2017

        Thanks so much for the quick reply Appreciate it! Keep up the amazing work! And thanks again for the post which reminded me to listen to my intuition

  5. katie
    August 22, 2017

    good timing)) it was so hard for me to admit that my favorite coffee drink and tea has become an obstacle rather than support… being snappy sucks. loved ur recipe, it inspired me to try it out. i didnt expect it would be such a delish sounding thingy, ive been over coffee alternatives and they all dont seem as fun option. and this is like a super potion!! i want to share with you one more way how i maintain stability through day and it helps me to be patient to those around me… funny enough… its Melissa!!! lol not your sweet wifey but actual dried plant :) u can buy it in capsules or just grind ur own powder and eat like a teaspoon daily. it makes me a whole different person, makes me chill and not sleepy at all. some call it lemon balm herb also. much love to u guys :) thanks for great vibes, very very fun to feel that others strive for balance and honesty as well :)

    • B R O A D H U R S T
      August 23, 2017

      Oh wow! Never thought of that. doTERRA also make a Melissa oil which is epic. That TedX was super interesting. Thanks for sharing!

  6. katie
    August 22, 2017

    oops i finished my post but thten had an urge to share a little more with you guys, lol! you might find this info quite interesting as well. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JaQNy0Ef4YY

    made me wonder what would a real coffee experience be like when done fresh and properly.
    seems to me that many substances are fun and useful in nature, and problem is that people alter them and also abuse them by far more than they need. lack of body awareness. stuff like coffee or tobaccoo leaf (and tons of others) are quite powerful when used rarely and with purpose, fresh…

  7. August 22, 2017

    Hi Nick! Love your post and all of your knowledge. I have actually started making my own bulletproof version after hearing how it works good for our mitochondria! I love your alternative and am definitely going to check that out. I have always had an intolerance for coffee so my bulletproof in the morning consists of 2/3 of warm water mixed with Vata-herbs, 1/3 coconut milk, turmeric, coconut oil, mct-oil, collagen, ceylon cinnamon, ginger, milk thistle and a few sprinkles of pepper. I know you are not a nutritionist but I do know you have a lot of knowledge in this area, so I was wondering what you might think of this alternative. Keep up the good work! Lots of love!

    • B R O A D H U R S T
      August 23, 2017

      Hey Helene, thanks for being here. It all depends on how it makes you feel? I guess all I can point out are the potential issues… coconut cream/milk can be hard to digest for some, turmeric can cause issues due to high oxalates, coconut oil is pretty hard to break down for most people (controversial but true), MCT is a refined product so I still don’t know what to think about it, collagen can cause issues if you have candida, pepper can aggravate Pitta. BUT, this could be a dream drink for you and many others, so thanks for sharing! Just stay tuned in and listen to your body. x

      • Elizabeth Wenzler
        August 23, 2017

        Just jumping in on the coconut cream point, is that why drinking coconut milk or eating coconut yoghurt makes me feel ill/bloated/nauseous? I had no idea it could be hard to digest!! Thanks for sharing that! :) Ghee is my main cooking fat at the moment, I love it. I think I may have to do veggie broth if I try this as i have histamine intolerance (so can’t do bone broth),and I have SIBO too.

        • B R O A D H U R S T
          August 23, 2017

          Hey Elizabeth! You can also try a short broth, like a whole chicken cooked for 2 hours in lots of water and some veggies like leek and carrot… then you can eat the chicken as well, but you get a low histamine broth with loads of bone broth benefits. Worked for Melissa when she had histamine issues a couple of years ago

  8. August 22, 2017

    Great post, Nick. Excellent information so clearly dropped. You, and your “ojasic” brekkie broth, are terrific.

    • B R O A D H U R S T
      August 23, 2017

      Ha, thanks Laura! I learned from the best ;)

  9. Anita
    August 23, 2017

    Thanks for sharing your individuality, Nick. I loved that you let people know that, amongst all the wonderful Heath advice around, one needs to listen to their intuition and their body.

    I so wanted to love Bulletproof coffee but I just couldn’t stomach it. I tried. I stopped. Now I have confirmation that, as having a lot of pitta vada, it’s not for me. Your post was my confirmation.

    Your smoupie recipe looks awesome! Thanks x

    • B R O A D H U R S T
      August 23, 2017

      Give it a go and let me know? :) Thanks for being here Anita.

  10. Brooke Hunter
    August 24, 2017

    Wow Nick, what a fantastic article; I truly love how honest and informative both yours and Melissa’s blogs are. Thank you.

    • B R O A D H U R S T
      August 24, 2017

      Thanks Brooke!

  11. Emily
    August 24, 2017

    Hi Nick,

    This is great! I find bulletproof coffee sends my pitta-dominant constitution into overdrive if I consume it regularly, such a shame – it’s so tasty! I’ve also noticed that too much meat makes me particularly fiery, angry and aggressive, so that could be something else to experiment with too. I still eat meat, but I’ve gotten strategic about how and when I consume it, and it’s made a world of difference.

    x

    • B R O A D H U R S T
      August 24, 2017

      You sound very dialled in Emily

  12. Jade
    August 24, 2017

    Amazing read!!! Very inspiring. I must admit im feeling quite overwhelmed and short tempered lately. I don’t even know myself anymore!
    I will definitely be trying this…
    Thank you

    • B R O A D H U R S T
      August 25, 2017

      Let me know how you go!

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