I put ghee in my coffee and this is why you should too…
Do you absolutely adore coffee but find that it seems to increase your anxiety? You enjoy it while you’re sipping it but then 30 minutes later you feel like you can’t catch your breath and your mind is racing? I know the feeling. I was dealing with some pretty intense chronic anxiety and everyone kept suggesting I remove coffee or drink decaf. I wasn’t completely opposed to this, but coffee was a huge part of my morning routine and we had created a really beautiful relationship. I wasn’t ready to let it go.
This was right around the time when the bulletproof “trend” started making an appearance in the US. I was super skeptical at first, I thought that the idea of butter blended into coffee sounded so gross, but I also knew that drinking ghee was an ancient Ayurvedic practice. All these wellness influencers I knew were doing it, so of course I had to try it. I started doing a little research to find the origin of this recipe. The concept of adding fat to coffee or tea was not new. Indigenous cultures in Nepal, India, Bhutan and Vietnam had been doing this for centuries. Butter coffee has been cited as far back as the 9th century in Ethiopia. They would grind and roast the coffee beans and combine with ghee for a portable quick caffeine fix.
As with any trend that becomes popular in the west, I think it is very important to look at the origin or the inspiration. Especially as a white person as we have a tendency to appropriate so much of what we do either consciously or unconsciously. While, yes, Dave Asprey created the “original bulletproof coffee” recipe, he got his inspiration by traveling to Tibet and drinking yak butter tea. He retuned to the United States and started experimenting with different buttered beverages. His “original” recipe includes organic coffee, organic unsalted grass-fed butter and MCT oil.
Let’s talk about why putting fat in your coffee works!
Not all bodies have an easy time metabolizing caffeine, which may be the impetuous for those post coffee jitters. Adding fat to your coffee creates a “time release” effect.
Rather than drinking a black cup of coffee or coffee with some milk which will immediately hit your adrenals and nervous system, you add fat and that fat buffers that adrenal hit. It also helps to heal your gut, give you a good dose of good fats first thing in the morning and decrease the acidity of the coffee.
I personally prefer to use ghee in my coffee as it has a long list of health benefits, tastes delicious and because all the casein and lactose have been removed, it’s ideal for those who are allergic to dairy.
But why is fat good for you?
This is a really great question, especially since so many of us grew up in the center of diet culture and the fat free movement. This movement has caused so much damage. FAT IS YOUR FRIEND! Ghee, olive oil, butter, avocado/avocado oil, salmon, nuts, all of these are sources of good fat. Your brain is made up of 60% fat which means that it needs a generous amount of fat each day to function properly. There are, of course, some medical conditions that may need you to watch out for large amounts of fat, but in general we want these kinds of fats in our diet regularly.
I personally don’t love the taste of butter in my coffee. Ghee is a much gentler way to put fat into your coffee. This traditional Ayurvedic recipe uses unsalted butter and is simmered until all the fat solids float to the bottom. You are left with this beautiful liquid gold that quite literally never goes bad. Ghee is a digestive and helps the body to assimilate and improve absorption. It helps to carry the medicinal properties of herbs into your tissues and lubricates your joints. It’s the perfect brain food and is healing for the gut. If you want to know more about the history of ghee and how to make your own, check out this blog post >> Ghee: The Good Fat.
My favorite part about making a coffee in the morning is deciding how I want to feel and selecting functional herbs and mushrooms based off that. My usual go-to's are Reishi for calm and immunity, Mucuna Pruriens for a mood boost and to lift depression, Lion’s Mane for focus and Pearl powder for nervous system support and collagen. You can also play with what kinds of flavors you want to bring in. You can use plain ghee, or I like to make vanilla bean ghee (super simple), adding things like cardamom and/or cinnamon not only add a beautiful flavor but also the added benefit of anti-inflammatory spices.
Here is my current favorite recipe:
Adaptogenic Coffee with Ghee
⅓ cup plant based milk
1 cup strong brewed coffee
1 tbsp. vanilla bean ghee (Ahara Vanilla Dream Ghee)
1 tbsp. Tocos (for skin and connective tissues)
½ tsp. each Reishi, Pearl powder and Mucuna Pruriens
½-1 tsp. coconut sugar
⅛ tsp. ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp. ground cardamom
Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend on high until frothy (about 30 seconds). Pour into your favorite mug and enjoy!
Whether you choose to add ghee to your coffee or not really is a person choice, but I challenge you to try it for a week and see how you feel. If you are new to adding fat to your coffee start with 1 teaspoon and slowly work up to a full tablespoon. Your body will thank you!
Food & Nutrition: Exploring the Origins of Butter Beverages
Global Table Adventure: The Real Reason Why People Put Butter In Their Coffee