I know what you’re thinking, and no this isn’t another post on Bulletproof coffee. I’ve just about praised the pants off that drink, but I’m also keenly aware that some just aren’t ready to feed their arteries 2 tablespoons of oil and butter, others can’t tolerate the caffeine or acidity of coffee. I also think some edits need to be made to this drink, but let’s not reinvent the wheel. Here’s what I love about Bulletproof Coffee:
- Easy way to increase my calories from fat
- Don’t get the caffeine crash from coffee
- Long lasting natural energy from the MCTs in coconut oil
#2 and #3 are definite keepers, but #1 is on shakier ground. Although one goal with Paleo is to get 50% of calories from fat, the flipside is to get around 25% of calories from protein, and Bulletproof coffee totally flails on the protein. Interestingly, Dave Asprey (the creator of Bulletproof) sells whey protein, which is a complete protein with glutathione and immune-boosting properties, derived from milk and tastes like it, making it a good candidate for a latte. So why isn’t whey part of Bulletproof Coffee? Here are a few personal guesses why:
- Whey Protein isn’t Paleo!
- There’s debate on whether denaturing the whey from heating it makes it lose nutritional value.
- His whey is whey concentrate, not whey isolate, so it still has lactose and casein.
It’s processed, so it’s not Paleo!
You mean like grassfed butter? DJ break it down:
Butter: “Churning (milk) produces small butter grains floating in the water-based portion of the cream” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butter#Production
Whey: “Whey is left over when milk coagulates and contains everything that is soluble from milk….Whey protein is the collection of globular proteins isolated from whey….Isolates are processed to remove the fat, and lactose” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whey_protein
In other words, butter (and ghee, which is filtered from butter) is a derivative of milk. Whey protein (and isolate, which is filtered from whey protein) is also a derivative of milk. Both are “processed” yet pure, but whey is processed more. Mark Sisson puts whey in the 80/20 category, which suggests: “in the context of full and earnest commitment, an overall 80% conformity with the 10 Primal Blueprint rules will yield a solidly healthy result.” I’m going with this.
Does Denatured Equal Non-Functional? No How No Whey!
Google “Whey protein+coffee” and you’ll quickly see why bodybuilders are hesitant to put expensive whey protein in their coffee blenders. But the bottom line is this: when you heat whey protein, the nutritional value of the protein doesn’t go away. Heat simply causes the secondary amino acid shape to take form. You think you’re immune from this if you have non-denatured whey? Guess what. The acid in your stomach does the exact same thing as heat! It’s part of the natural digestive process.
What about bioavailability of the proteins? Here’s the response from the fitness advisor at EAS on this:
“Under standard home-heating or cooking temperatures, the nutrients, primarily protein, are not destroyed and still provide a readily digestible, high quality protein. The other nutrients, such as calcium, potassium and sodium are quite stable in heat and will not be destroyed.” - http://caloriecount.about.com/forums/foods/adding-whey-protein-powder-coffee/page/1
Bottom line: The same amount of protein will be absorbed whether you mix whey in plain lukewarm water (nasty) or drink it in boiling hot coffee (latte!). If you’re really concerned about pouring your whey down the drain, you can always blend it with iced coffee or wait until the coffee comes down to <70 degrees.
Whey Isolate Vs. Whey Concentrate: Which is Better?
One of the most commonly asked questions about whey protein. Here are the main differences:
- Whey Concentrate typically has less protein (70-80%) than Whey Isolate (94%), which means it has more fat and more carbohydrates such as lactose.
- Whey Isolate is one extra level of filtering, so casein is commonly considered a contaminant in Isolate, whereas it may be present in some (though not all) Concentrate.
- Because Whey Isolate is filtered more, it is missing some co-factors and possibly some immune-boosting properties retained in Concentrate. Dr. Mercola recommends concentrate for this reason.
- Isolate is considerably more expensive.
Casein and Lactose Intolerant? Picking Is Whey Too Easy
If you have ME/CFS, lyme disease, or some other autoimmune condition, whey is probably one of the first supplements you tried for boosting glutathione and detoxification. Unfortunately, there’s also a good chance you didn’t tolerate it. Lactose and casein (and sometimes cysteine and sulfur) intolerances are all common in our population. A lot of people recommend Mercola’s Miracle Whey concentrate, since it’s advertised as being casein-free and low in lactose (2g) typically tolerated by lactose-sensitive people. That amount of lactose was enough to give me digestive issues. That took me to Whey Isolate.
After combing through the whey isolate market, I did find some good casein-free, lactose-free options:
- Immunocal (http://www.nutritionadvisor.com/immunocalfaq.php)
- Apparently, some people reported that Immunocal was more helpful than Immunopro (a popular whey concentrate carried by Prohealth.) It’s casein-free, has <0.5% lactose. It’s very pricey at $79.20 for 30 packets though, and it’s marketed more for the medicinal properties than the protein, so I definitely wouldn’t use this for our purpose.
- AbsorbPlus (http://shoppe.listentoyourgut.com/absorb-plus-unsweetened-vanilla-1-kg-tub/)
- 99.8% lactose free, casein-free. For glutamate excitotoxicity be warned: free form l-glutamine is added. 183g of Protein in 24 ounces.
- JayRobb (http://www.jayrobb.com/protein/whey-protein-unflavored-24-oz.asp)
- lactose free, casein-free, no free form amino acids added, lecithin (soy). 621g of protein in 24 ounces, even though the product costs the same per ounce as AbsorbPlus
Out of these, it’s an easy call. Jay Robb is the purest whey isolate, has almost 3.5 times the protein as AbsorbPlus for the same cost, and is also backed by a big brand name (for QC concerns). The spendthrift in me also likes the free shipping, but we try to keep him in the closet.
Paleo Latte Recipe
Now that we’ve picked out our dancing shoes, let’s boogie. I’m gunning for approximately 50% calories from fat and 25% calories from protein. Note that fat has 9kcals per gram, while protein has 4kcals per gram.
[If post-workout] 1/2 scoop of JayRobb Whey (52 calories from protein)
[Any other time] 1/3 scoop of JayRobb Whey (Whey can spike insulin, so unless it’s consumed post-workout, 10g is the maximum amount recommended. That still gives you 35 calories from protein)
1 tablespoon of coconut oil (130 calories from fat)
12 oz cup of French Pressed Cameron’s Organic French Roast.
(Alternatives: Trouble with acidity? I recommend Puroast Low Acid Organic beans with 1/2 the acid or Mount Hagen organic freeze-dried instant. Trouble with both caffeine and acidity? Try the tasty decaf version of Mount Hagen.)
All thrown into a single-serving Hamilton Beach blender (cover with a cloth so you don’t burn yourself!) It’s a thicker texture and isn’t as rich as the Bulletproof, but you get all the healthy natural energy with a milder latte taste with a more balanced nutritional profile.