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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.
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…
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.
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!