SFH #37: My Coffee Drink

A journey behind my caffeinated concoction ☕️

I grew up in a house where 'real' foods were a staple. Processed foods were limited and seen as a treat. We didn't have sugary cereal as kids, soda was very limited, and coffee didn't exist in our house. I tasted my first cup of coffee at Passover, breaking of the fast gathering at the Immerman's house. I think I was 14 or so, and I was not too fond of it. Way too bitter. It registered to me as an illogical choice to consume it.

As I grew up and encountered all sides of coffee culture and relationships, I still stayed removed. After being in Portland for four years, I had a good friend, Andrew, say to me one day, "You love craft beer and wine--you have to give coffee another chance". I tried, but the taste was hit and miss for me regardless of the form I chose. The caffeine buzz was unwelcoming. I knew that I was more sensitive to caffeine than most, and I had no issues around lagging energy. I couldn't get into it, even with an honest effort.

Then came Henry. Henry Hudson Hain was born on December 13, 2015. Thank you, Lisa. 🙏🏽 Our coworking space, Primary, was in construction and development. Our business partner Danny and I were navigating and choosing a coffee partner for our cafe. I was primed for another go. As some of you know, having children is the gift that keeps on giving, whether you like the lessons or not. 😂 One of my first lessons was how valuable my sleep and restoration were to my foundational health. I leaned into the 'free' coffee abundantly available to me. I was still sensitive to caffeine, but I found ways to consume that worked best for my lifestyle. And I eventually landed on a formula that works well for me (and I think for many of us).

  1. No more than 16 oz a day (2 cups). Caffeine can be a tricky substance in general to consume. The delicate balance of our adenosine, adrenal glands, and dopamine should be considered when drinking coffee and caffeine.1 This is why people get headaches and chemically dependent on coffee.

  2. No later than 2:00 pm. I've now moved that to 12:00 pm. Six hours after you consume caffeine, half of it is still in your body. It can take up to 10 hours to completely clear caffeine from your bloodstream.2

  3. Don't chase the energy 'the high.' The point of coffee isn't just to get the caffeine rush. Balance is key. I aim for the sweet spot of coffee's benefits.*

  4. Take days off. Go by feel. Coming back to the chemical dependency one can acquire from regular coffee consumption. I can generally do 2-4 days a week depending on several other factors, but pushing beyond that, I start to feel flagging energy and adrenal fatigue come in.

  5. Honor the ritual and the benefits—more on this below.

*This is not a meal replacement. I don't consume for the nutritional reasoning as much as the mood and focus boost. 

From that time frame six years ago to now, I've practiced and honed my coffee consumption into something that works for my healthy lifestyle. It took me years of testing, but I've landed (currently) on a habit that I enjoy from creation to consumption. I love making my coffee in an Aeropress (relatively new to me). The flavor is more consistent and balanced versus my previous renditions in a French Press. I add Ghee and MCTs--the heart of bulletproofing. I put in Chaga or other available adaptogens. And I finish it off with the hottest of the hot new trends, Oat Milk. Oatly truly has a finishing flavor that other non-dairy milks, and frankly, other kinds of oat milk do not. When blended, it's the perfect earthy concoction that sets me up for focus and sustenance for the morning. I've made it 100 times over with variations, and I feel very connected to my creation. I'm writing to you now, fueled by one.

'Bulletproof' coffee can be pretty polarizing. Coffee in and of itself has a fine line, as mentioned above. The science behind adding healthy saturated fats to coffee has been backed by centuries of practice. Still, it has not been clinically researched deeply—my reasons for maintaining the habit below our anecdotal with a couple of years of practice.

  1. Focus. I'm dialed into my work when I take in the combination of saturated fats and coffee. It's real.

  2. Better mood. It has been stated that the boost of testosterone you get from the MCTs and grass-fed butter in bulletproof is helping regulate your mood. There is no excellent resource to back this up, though I can say that my mood is generally boosted from my satisfaction of being focused and completing work, and completing the coffee ritual.

  3. Improved metabolism. My metabolic benefit is primarily due to the practice of ketosis here. We never use to call it ketosis when training for endurance events. I would tell my athletes, 'we are stoking our metabolic engines to burn fat for fuel.' I have decades of practicing habits around ketosis, so my body readily uses my fat stores. These days health experts use quick hacks like IFing, ketogenic diets, long walks, and heavier resistance exercise to jump-start ketosis. I see my coffee ritual as a small part of the equation. I can sustain a longer 'fasting' period and utilize the sparse nutrients to feed my body and brain.

For a deeper look at the practice of bulletproofing see the video 📺