Tag Archive for hormones

Bullet Proof Coffee, Hormones, and Weight Loss

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you haven’t heard of Bullet Proof Coffee (BPC) yet, you will soon.  It gets a lot of press, and the creator of BPC opened his first brick and mortar shop in California this winter.

Many of you have heard of it though, because I get asked about it all the time. I’ve been Bullet Proofing for a couple months now, but this Post isn’t an endorsement, it’s just information. (By the way, I haven’t given up my raw cream totally, I’m only BPing half the time.)  Here’s why, here’s what it is, here’s how you may need to tweak it, and here’s why it could totally, completely backfire on you.

BPC isn’t Dave Asprey’s brain child, he discovered it while climbing mountains in Tibet; apparently the Sherpas drink something similar (with yak dairy), eat very little, do strenuous work, and have great energy.  Dave had similar results and then brought the idea back to the US.  Wow, has that ever worked for him! (He’s built a pretty profitable empire)

What is BPC?  The general recipe is 2 cups of clean (mold free) coffee, blended with 2 tbsp of grass fed butter and 2 tbsp of MCT oil.  Other ingredients could be added, such as vanilla powder, coconut oil, or stevia, or even collagen, which I’ll cover later.  Oh, it’s supposed to be blended as opposed to just stirred; I use a little milk frother, but you could use a smoothie maker.

Will BPC work for you?  There’s a bunch of pro’s and cons here, and don’t for a second think that Bullet Proof Coffee is a Magic Bullet for any weight issues you’re having.  We’re a chemistry set, and there’s way more to our weight than a few good, or bad, choices.

Here’s some facts:

If you’re NOT adrenally fatigued, coffee’s good for you!  Antioxidants and polyphenols in coffee lower the risk for different cancers (prostate, liver, and colorectal).  Coffee drinkers have a much lower risk of developing diabetes T2.  Coffee’s nutrients and caffeine lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s by about 60%, and gives protective qualities against other neurological disorders, like Parkinson’s and dementia.  Coffee’s nutrients have liver protecting qualities.  And we all know about caffeine’s effects on energy, performance, and brain recall: good, good, and good.

What’s not to like?  Well, if you’ve been burning the candle at both ends so much that you use coffee all day long, and barely feel it’s effects, you’ve set up a hormonal situation that negates any benefit coffee could provide.  You probably need to go on a coffee detox, and abstain for a while until your adrenals hormones, thyroid hormones, sex hormones, leptin, and all your other hormones can normalize.  Sad news, I know.

More bad news on coffee?  It’s grown in tropical climates; mold and bugs are a big problem.  Fungicides, pesticides and herbicides are all sprayed very very heavily, so go organic.  The Bullet Proof brand is created with this in mind, and is clean and free of any of those poisons, but I’m sure many other brands are also.  BP’s a little pricy for me, but I do buy their decaf, which is done without chemicals as opposed to the highly chemical-ized typical way of separating the caffeine out of coffee.

My biggest Con – and it’s important and has to do with your weight – will be at the end.  Let me go over why BPC could be good for you first.

When we wake up in the morning, if we’re normal, we’ve been in a hormonal state that’s triggered our cells to use FATTY ACIDS for fuel instead of glucose (sugar).  If we’re normal, we haven’t eaten for several hours, our blood sugar is low, and our insulin levels are low.  This is why we’re using fatty acids for fuel:  low insulin.  Remember, when insulin’s in the blood – fat is never ever ever used for fuel.  Only sugar is.  Low insulin=fat burning.

How do you know if you’re not normal?  Lot’s of ways:  high fasting morning blood sugar, belly fat, and labs that show a high level of hsCRP.  High levels of hsCRP mean Leptin Resistance, which means ABNORMAL.  Pay attention here, because typical BPC protocols aren’t for you if these are your body signs.

BPC can be used two ways.  1) you can have a cup or 2 in the morning before your breakfast.    2) you can drink it all morning long until it’s been about 16 – 18 hours since you’ve had dinner, and then start eating.  It’s complicated and if you’re interested in the Bullet Proof Fasting, read up on it.  Links at the end of Post.

Benefits of BPC besides the benefits inherent in coffee?  If we avoid carbs in the morning, and just have the BPC, which is very high in FAT, we keep insulin low, blood sugar low, and Fat Burning Up.  As long as we don’t eat carbs, the Fat Burning Continues.  This is a good thing, and effective – if you’re normal.  High fat diets provide a lot of nutrients and have a great effect on our hormones; plus, our cells become good at burning fat/using fat for fuel when fat is a normal and substantial part of our diet.

BPC really does make you feel very alert, and it does have an effect on cravings via fat’s positive effects on satiety hormones.  Additionally, the nutrients in grass fed butter and MCT oil are very good for our brain, heart, and gut.

There’s plenty of antidotal evidence that BPC can help you lose weight and become mentally sharper. If you visit the site, you’ll see testimony’s by actors, doctors, and athletes singing it’s praises.

Still, it’s not for everyone, and like I said before, it’s not a Magic Weight Loss Bullet.  Here’s why.

First, BPC is based on the principle that a high fat or ketogenic diet is good for you, which I believe in and use myself.  I don’t eat sugar or grains and I haven’t for years.  No problem.  If you do eat sugar and grains and think you’re going to get away with BPC, you’re wrong.  Lots of carbs + lots of fat = Lots of Body Fat.

Who else shouldn’t rely on BPC as a meal, or try that 16/18 hour fast I mentioned above?  Food Addicts and Chronic Dieters.  BP fasts or efforts will most likely throw you into a food binge rebound, just like all your other diet attempts.  Don’t do it!  Addicts and Dieters need to practice normal meals with Real Whole Food, and no snacking.  Baby steps.

One more caveat:  we women, with all our wonderful, fluctuating hormones, may need to add some collagen to the coffee.  Remember collagen?  Lots of amino acids that are very different from the amino acids in muscle meats like burger, or dairy, like whey.  Again, it’s a long explanation, and there’s a lot of science behind it.  Check out the links if you want to explore farther.

What if you’re interested in BPing, but don’t like coffee?  There’s other ways.  You can use green tea, black tea, ground cocoa, or even vanilla powder.  Again, check out the links.

There you have it!  Bullet Proof explained.  And just to really nail it home:  Bullet Proof doesn’t equal Magic Bullet.  You still need to Sleep, Manage your Stress, Exercise, and eat Real Whole Food. Have a good week!







Weight Loss Is About Your Metabolism; Metabolism Is About Your Hormones.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAInteresting week I’m having; it’s been heavy on female clients who are exercising hard and not losing weight, or barely eating and not losing weight, or both, and not losing weight.  This is always surprising to the people this happens too, because exercise and diet are supposed to create the calorie deficit that causes calories to be burned and weight loss to happen.  Exercise is supposed to make us calorie burning machines, right?  Barely eating should melt off our fat, right?  This works when we’re young, so what happens after 30, or 40, that brings the old calories in – calories out efforts to a screeching halt?

That’s easy.  Years of yo-yo diets, full of refined carbs and chemicals ( hello diet coke, lean cuisines, bagels, cereal, beer, and crackers), eventually cause metabolic damage, usually in the form of Insulin Resistance, and organs that become damaged/worn out ( the liver, the pancreas, etc); and our hormonal system shifts from one that’s full of Growth Hormone, sex hormones, and fat burning hormones like Glucagon, to a hormonal system full of Insulin and Cortisol.

Remember this famous line:  our body isn’t a math equation, it’s a chemistry set.  We need to manipulate our chemistry if we want to lose weight.

Quickly, because I have a big yoga workshop in a few hours, I’m going to cover the diet and exercise we need to do if we want the hormones that help us lose weight.

1) We need to lift, or resistance train; and we need to do cardio intervals that make us breathless.  This isn’t “new” information, at all.  Science has shown for years that to burn body fat during and after exercise, our muscle cells needed to be stressed out and broken down.  Then, during our rest periods, those cells rebuild and become a little bit bigger.  Bigger muscle cells use more calories – 24/7 – than small muscle cells.

Go for a “burn”,  which means a build up of lactic acid; recent science shows that lactic acid induces release of both HGH (human growth hormone) and Testosterone ( ladies – we DO want testosterone! ).  This primarily happens when we sleep.  Add “sleep” to your weight loss routine. 

Let me repeat:  To induce a hormonal atmosphere that increases the calories you burn in a day, you need to tear down your muscles cells during your workout, then rest so they can 1. rebuild bigger, and 2. stimulate the necessary hormones that create muscle growth as opposed to FAT DEPOSITION.

Aerobic exercise is Great-Awesome-Wonderful. There’s a million benefits to it.  It. Will. Not. Take. Off. Weight.  Too much cardio actually eats your muscle cells, which LOWERS your 24-7 calorie burn.  Cardio DOESN’T build muscle tissue, and cardio can make you STARVING.  Be careful with it.

2) Your Diet:  Once we get past a certain age, and have had years or decades of either crappy processed carbs, or “healthy whole grain” carbs, we’ve caused damage to our cells called Insulin Resistance.  You know you have this if you barely eat and either can’t lose weight or you’ve gained weight. This means you’re not burning the body fat you see in your belly, thighs, or butt.  That’s because the muscle cells, and the liver cells are saying “No” to the insulin, which is trying to reduce the glucose (sugar) in your blood stream. This causes the pancreas to keep pumping out more insulin.  When insulin is in the blood stream, FAT IS NEVER USED FOR ENERGY, only glucose is used for energy.   Insulin also causes major amounts of damage to our arteries.

Remember, there’s only a few things we do with all that extra glucose: (a) stuff it in some muscle cells – which doesn’t work if they’re insulin resistant  (b) stuff in a storage site in our liver – which doesn’t work if those cells are insulin resistant, or (c) turn the excess glucose into TRIGLYCERIDES, which is fat, and stuff it in the fat cells, which are NEVER insulin resistant.

When you’re Insulin Resistant, YOU CAN NOT BURN THE FAT YOU HAVE STORED IN YOUR BODY.   You only burn glucose/sugar.  Think that if you barely eat, the body would HAVE to burn fat?  Not if you’re Insulin Resistant!  In that case, your body will happily, and easily, turn muscle tissue into glucose, and use that.  Again, if insulin is in the blood stream, fat won’t be used for energy.  This, and reduced thyroid function, is what happens from years of calorie reduction.  Not a successful plan for weight loss.

What’s the answer to manipulating your diet to lose weight?  Cut the carbs, WAY UP THE FATS, moderate protein, a TON of vegetables, a little bit of fruit, a little bit of nuts and seeds, and a little bit of whole fat dairy if you tolerate that.

If you’ve got a lot of Insulin Resistance, you’ll need to go Ketogenic, and probably add a liver cleanse.  Don’t be scared!  The ketogenic diet is incredibly healthly,  and honestly not hard to live with.

Why a liver cleanse too?  Our liver SHOULD be our biggest calorie burning organ; it should burn more calories than our muscles!  It’s supposed to do hundreds of jobs a day.  If it’s clogged with toxins or damaged by insulin resistance, that calorie burning avenue is hampered, badly.  It’s also a road to really poor health when our liver can’t do the jobs it’s supposed to do.

So there you have it.  If you want to lose weight, but can’t, you need to lift, you need to cut the carbs, you need to focus on Real Whole Foods, and you might need a liver cleanse.  If you’re really Insulin Resistant, you’ll need to do a Ketogenic Diet.  It’s mid-June.  Think where you could be at Christmas time if you start now.  Honestly.  Think about that.  Email me if you want help with the  Ketogenic Diet, it’s a slam dunk for reversing Insulin Resistance, losing weight, and getting healthy.  

Have a great weekend!