Being diagnosed with Endometriosis back in February of 2014 prompted me to rethink how a Paleo diet could be therapeutic for healing. Blood work before the diagnostic laparoscopic surgery showed high blood glucose levels despite not previously allowing too high an amount of carbs into my daily diet. With a genetic predisposition toward diabetes on both sides of the family, I knew that I’d need to do something a bit more drastic to get my health under control and fight any regrowth of endometrial tissue, which had already kept us from 1 successful pregnancy.
A Ketogenic Diet for Healing
I began to learn about eating a ketogenic diet with a Paleo foundation and how it would help with blood sugar and proper hormone metabolism, both key factors in Endo growth. I decided to start by cutting fructose down to 25g daily, max. And gradually worked my way toward and average of 50g carbs total each day. With time, I played around with it, gauged how I was feeling, and made adjustments to my other macros until I felt I’d hit the sweet spot where my hunger, energy, and cravings were in balance.
One key component in a keto diet, and reducing carbs in general, is the need for increased fat intake. I already ate a greater than average amount of fat each day so it wasn’t too difficult a transition. To keep satiation up with each meal, I’d look to add diverse fats and particularly boost saturated fats. Still, I struggled with getting the calories I was reaching for while keeping carbs low and protein at a moderate level. That’s when I discovered the Bulletproof Coffee recipe and became intrigued by how it could benefit my new dietary needs.
Making Bulletproof Work for Me
I loved the idea of enjoying a warm drink in the morning with the added benefit of getting a large serving of fats without carbs or protein. But I don’t drink coffee and I knew my hormones didn’t need the caffeine anyway. Plus a previous IgG food intolerance test showed a strong intolerance to all dairy so I knew butter was out. Weeks went by and it stayed in the back of my mind.
An episode of Shark Tank with a pitch from Crio Bru was the answer I needed. Brewed cacao with no ingredients apart from ground cocoa beans yields an extremely high antioxidant count, something that I knew would also help provide the healing I was searching for. I gave it a shot and I haven’t looked back since. When it’s done right, there’s no sweetener needed. I enjoy a cup nearly every morning, I never get tired of it, and it keeps my mind focused and my creative process strong for a good 4 hours after drinking it.
Modifying the Bulletproof Recipe
When you pull butter from the recipe and try to replace it with other fats, you lose the casein present in butter that acts as an emulsifier for the drink when blended. Casein is the protein found in butter, albeit in small amounts. At one point, I tried to make it with ghee and found the drink didn’t blend well. I was left with a fat slick on top that was less than appetizing. I figured since the only difference from ghee to butter was the absence of the casein and lactose, I prayed all I needed was a bit of protein to do the trick.
I had already been using Vital Proteins Collagen Proteins in my diet regularly (for gummies and things) as a supplement to boost my gut health, joint health, and sleep. So I added a bit of collagens and voila! It blended and was frothy and amazingly delicious. I continued to tinker with the recipe and went through different fat options and flavors to find how what I enjoyed best. The result is the following recipe that I feel is pretty much the perfect way to do Bulletproof dairy-free.
STEP 2: choose a fat. I stick to the original recipe by including a source of medium chain fats (MCT) in the form of MCT oil. MCTs are generally made by concentrating coconut oil and they’re great for natural energy and gut health. You can also choose to use straight coconut oil but you will end up with a coconut-y beverage (not my favorite). Straight MCT oil has the benefits of a concentrated brain/gut boost while not tasting like coconut due to the expeller refining process.
STEP 3: choose a second fat (optional). In committing to avoid dairy, I came upon a different saturated fat: red palm oil. I use Nutiva brand because they do organic and a hexane-free, cold-process. The taste is slightly acquired but when you use cinnamon or other spices/oils in the drink, the red palm becomes pretty mild. The bright color you see if from the orange color of the oil, indicative of it’s high levels of polyphenols and coq10. It’s a very nutrient-rich oil that has a great place in a keto diet when used in the right recipe. Optionally, while not 100% dairy-free, you could try ghee here if you do well with it.
STEP 4: choose a protein to emulsify the drink. I love collagen proteins, as I discussed recently in my post about Bone Broth. You can use a very small amount if you are shooting for Dave’s Bulletproof diet with intermittent fasting (this is what I do). Or for true meal replacement, go as high as a full 2 Tbsp. and get the 17g protein it provides. Optionally, you could use pure whey protein for non-dairy-free but I haven’t personally tried it.
STEP 5: season and flavor it. Adding sea salt both provides hormone regulating trace minerals and really helps with the favor. I can’t stress enough, don’t skip the salt. As far as flavors go, my favorite is a combo of vanilla extract, ceylon cinnamon, and a few drops of peppermint essential oil. Cinnamon for blood sugar regulation and peppermint for digestion, it’s a win-win.
Dairy-Free Butter Coffee/Cacao/Tea
12 oz. brewed beverage of choice*
1 Tbsp. red palm oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
large pinch sea salt
½ tsp. – 2 Tbsp. grass-fed collagen proteins (gelatin)
Place all ingredients in a blender (a Magic Bullet or immersion blender are my favorites) with the hot liquid first. Blend on high speed until creamy and frothy. Enjoy immediately.
*Note: Crio Bru brewed cacao is my go-to morning beverage. I prefer the Cavalla French Roast because while I don’t drink coffee, this one mimics the coffee “roasted” flavor the closest. I’ve tried many of their other flavors and none of them really stood out to me so I stick with the French Roast. I’ve also tried this recipe with Good Earth Sweet & Spicy Herbal, which has notes of chicory, and is delicious! So for those of you needing a different coffee substitute, a chicory blend like this one via Meatified might work well. And of course, small-batch organic regular or decaf coffee would work great if that’s your thing!