I Tried It So You Don’t Have To: Bulletproof Coffee

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I’ve been dying to try bulletproof coffee ever since my friend Basti mentioned it earlier this year. You see, Basti’s a cool and funny dude, and actually very sweet, but he is NOT what one would call a perky person. Check out the cover of his latest album to see for yourself…

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So his upbeat tweets about feelin’ all cheerful and energetic despite having had nothing but his “Battle Brew all day were nothing short of miraculous, as far as I was concerned. 

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I figured I should give this miracle coffee a shot. Being the procrastinator that I am, though, I never actually got around to trying it until I joined that Biggest Loser contest last month. Because I was determined to emerge victorious, by hook or by crook…

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… and the bulletproof diet was the chariot I was planning to ride to the finish line.

So okay… first step? Bulletproof coffee for breakfast. You can actually make bulletproof coffee with any kind of single origin coffee, butter (as long as it’s unsalted and grass-fed) and MCT oil, but I decided to just order all the ingredients from Battle Brew to keep things simple. 

And whee! I was so excited when my Battle Brew Kit arrived!! Yes, despite dire warnings and a distinct lack of support from my friends…

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Bah. Worst part? Tirso wasn’t wrong… but I’ll get to that later. 

Moving on…

So anyway, according to the Battle Brew website, this is how you’re supposed to make the coffee:

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This is pretty much the same recipe for bulletproof coffee that you’ll find anywhere on the web. But let me just tell you now… DO NOT BLINDLY FOLLOW THIS RECIPE. You need to tweak it and test what works for you when you’re starting out, or BAD THINGS CAN HAPPEN

I didn’t know this at first, because I didn’t follow the recipe exactly. I use a Nespresso machine, so I didn’t have a coffee maker yet to make the required badass-strong brew.

So on the first morning, I just sleepily made some Nespresso, dumped it in a blender with a spoonful each of the butter and MCT oil… and immediately created what looked like a lake of oily liquid poo on my kitchen counter. 

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Stupid half-screwed-on blender… 

Sigh. Okay, so now fully awake and highly irritated, I tried again. Nespresso, butter, oil, some Stevia, blend… and OMG YUM! The result was a warm, frothy, buttery/creamy coffee concoction, that I luuurved.

… until my stomach started feeling like the launch site of a hydrogen rocket/bomb.

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Oh good lord. GASSINESS GALORE! I was like the poster child for gastric distress. Seriously, it’s a good thing I don’t smoke anymore, because I swear, if I’d lit a match anywhere near my gas-erupting mouth I’m pretty sure I’d have just exploded into a ball of flame. 

On the bright side, I was super alert and energetic! I loved it! I was like a MACHINE at work (probably fueled by all that gas).  But hmmm… the energy and mental focus kind of lost their charm later in the day, when this happened.

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Dammit. Let’s not go into detail, okay? Let’s just say Tirso was right and leave it at that. 

So okay, I figured I was probably doing something wrong, so I read up and found out MCT oil is super strong, so you need to build up a tolerance for it. DO NOT USE A WHOLE TABLESPOON RIGHT AWAY. 

Fine. Lesson learned. Armed with that knowledge, I was all set to start again, with LESS MCT and the Battle Brew coffee. (I bought a French press to brew it). So the next morning, I brewed the coffee, added a tablespoon of butter and only half a tablespoon of MCT, and blended with 2 packets of Stevia. OMG DELICIOUS! Especially with the super-strong coffee!!

It was SO delicious that I pretty much DOWNED my buttery brew… and another not too long after that… only to PANIC an hour later because I thought I might be dying. 

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Motherfrakkityfrak!!! Okay, so the coffee was way too strong. And mixed with what was apparently still too much MCT oil (which is like high-octane fuel for humans) it was not a good combination for me. 

At this point I considered giving up the experiment .. and possibly going to Basti’s house to tear him a new one… but I HAD to find out what it could be like if I just found the right mix. Because that taste I had - of the yummy brew, as well as the extra energy and alertness it gave me - had proven addictive.

And you know what? After a little more experimentation, I finally got it right! No more crazy side effects, just lovely coffee and lots of energy to spare. Again, it’s best to experiment to see what works for you, but here’s my current recipe, which should be a good starter for anyone who wants to try it out.

  • Brew coffee using 1.5-2 scoops coffee (not 2.5!) per cup water
  • Dump in a blender and add 1 tablespoon grass-fed butter
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon MCT oil
  • Add 1 or 2 packets Stevia (optional)
  • Blend for 20 seconds or so until frothy, and enjoy! 

I love the stuff, I swear. I’ve always been a coffee fan to begin with… 

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…but this upgraded bulletproof version makes it even better. (Please note though that you do NOT want to be drinking this stuff if you are BFFs with carbs.)

Aaaand… I’m happy to report that I’ve already lost 7 pounds having it as part of the high-healthy-fat/low-carb diet I’ve been on the past couple of weeks. Still quite a ways to go, but YAY!

So have you ever tried Bulletproof coffee? Fan? Not a fan? Have a better recipe? Share in the comments! Cheers!

The “10 Books That Stayed with Me” Challenge

At this point, pretty much everyone I know has already taken the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge — including me, quietly…

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…so there’s a new challenge making the rounds on Facebook. You might have seen it on your feed already… but if you haven’t, it goes like this:

I’ve been challenged to list 10 books that have stayed with me in some way, and tag people to do the same. Rules (there are always rules): Don’t take more than a few minutes and do not think too hard. They don’t have to be the “right” books or great works of literature, just the ones that have affected you in some ways. [Then tag 10 friends, including me, so I can see your list.]

Anyhoo, it’s all over my feed, but for once I really don’t mind because I’m always up for a good book recommendation. In fact, I was ecstatic when my goddaughter/gal pal Sabine tagged and challenged me to list my 10 books. (Incidentally it also reminded me that she was actually named after a character in one of them.)

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Yes, Sabine, your mother is a name thief. But since I never ended up having any kids of my own, I forgive her. 

So okay, here’s my list. And please note, this is an HONEST list, unlike some super-bullshitty, “Oooh, me so smartypants” ones I’ve been seeing online recently…

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Here goes. 

1. Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence by Nick Bantock

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Intriguing and interactive, Griffin and Sabine is a love story/mystery told through illustrated letters and postcards - all bound up in a hauntingly beautiful book of gorgeous art. To this day it remains one of the most unique and creative books I have ever come across in my life. Definitely a keeper.  (Pic c/o Portly Adolescence)

2. Half-Magic by Edward Eager

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This is a story about these kids who found a coin that could grant wishes, but only half of what you asked for. (It took a while for them to figure it out.) I don’t really know why the story stayed with me all this time, but to this day - because of this book - I always make sure that my “wishes” and requests from God and the universe are well-worded. :)

3. The Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I must’ve been about 7 or 8 when I received this series from my lovely Tita Lourding, and I distinctly remember thinking that that was it — I had achieved Nirvana

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And OMG I just found this pic of the exact edition of the books I had, and just looking at them makes me feel like super-happy 8-year old me again! Whee!

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(Thanks, Glass Junkie!)

4. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry

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A classic that needs no introduction or explanation. The best thing about this book is that you can read it often, at different ages, and get something new from it every time.  (Art above by Charles van Valkenburg, c/o thelittleprince.com

5. The Missing Piece Meets the Big O by Shel Silverstein

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I’ve actually written a post about this book before - which just proves it really belongs on this list - so yeah, just go read that. :) 

6. The Roald Dahl Omnibus

I don’t know whose book the Omnibus was - my Mom’s I think? - but it was an awesome collection of Roald Dahl’s short stories. Most people know and love Roald Dahl for his children’s books…

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(Me included!) but his short stories for adults are something else — quirky, kind of twisted and extremely entertaining.

7. The Best Short Stories of O Henry

This is my other favorite book of short stories. I’ve also written a post about these before… 

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… so yeah, you can go check that out too. :) 

8. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

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(Photo credit: SoObsessedWith.com)

I guess this answers the question of whether I’m a Harry Potter girl or a Narnia one. This and the fact that I can still quote the first LWW movie (the animated one) almost verbatim — with feelings… because my sibs and I used to watch and act it out all the time.

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Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Harry Potter — but for some reason it’s the Narnia books that stayed with me… so much so that I can read every book except The Last Battle over and over again. (The Last Battle made me sad. I read it more than 20 years ago and I still feel sad remembering.)

9. The Famous Five Series by Enid Blyton

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Okay to be honest, I wanted to say ALL THE BOOKS by Enid Blyton, but that’s cheating. So let’s go with the Famous Five. Or Malory Towers. Or no… The Magic Faraway Tree, because how awesome was that?? Ah crap, I’m so conflicted. Just read them all. 

10. The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé

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Another one that needs no explanation. Who can even contest this? Tintin ROCKS, man.  I also adore Asterix.

So there you go. I have more, but I think I’ve cheated shamelessly enough already with all the series — haha this is so not a list of ten books! :D Maybe the rest can be a post for another day.

A few thoughts before I go though…

I found it really striking that now, in my forties, after having voraciously read thousands (literally - THOUSANDS!) of other books that I don’t remember at all .. the ones burned into my memory are the ones I read and loved as a kid. They’re also the ones I discussed and shared with other kids.

I don’t have any research to back it, but I’m pretty sure that means something significant.

So parents, PLEASE. Get your kids to read. It will count for so much later on in life, believe me. Of all the passionate love affairs of my life, my relationship with reading is undoubtedly one of the most constant…

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… and the most comforting. 

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Plus there’s this…

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So GO! Spread the reading love around. I challenge you all. :)

Something to remember whenever life seems to suck 😊

A random reminder to go be awesome today. 😊

The Biggest Loser Contest

I’m joining my office’s Biggest Loser Contest because I really need some major diet and exercise action. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’m seriously packing on the pounds, man! It’s pretty wild. 

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So yeah, seeing that I’m an obvious candidate for any form of weight loss challenge, I figured it would be pretty off to pass when the office set one up. 

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LOL. The nerve.

So yeah, I’m definitely in, and I am in to WIN, man! By fair means or foul, it seems. Because it’s barely begun and I’m already being all nefarious and sneaky and trying to make myself as heavy as possible for the first weigh-in.

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I may or may not have also dropped around a few hints that I would not be averse to sharing the prize money with people who regularly tempted my strongest competitors with food and/or fattening drinks. 

I do realize it’ll take much more than just this to make me win the challenge, of course, so if you have any good tips, please send them my way! And be warned… since I’ll be all food-deprived and stuff over the next 3 months, I might be a little cranky and/or extra annoying.

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I’ll try not to be though. :D  Wish me luck!

Why Everyone Should Have a Creative Side Project

I was sorting through stuff to throw/give away/sell this weekend, and I came across a shizload of yarn I bought when I lasted visited my BFF Mia in San Francisco.

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Yup. A little exagg. You see, I was pretty sure I’d need a ton of yarn for all the knitting I was planning to do when I got home. Mia was not quite as convinced.

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Hobby Hitler. Anyway 3 years later, it seems she was right. I knit like half a scarf for her husband when I first got my supplies, and that was pretty much the extent of my knitting career.

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Now that I’ve found all the yarn again, though, I’m considering giving it another go. And not just to prove Mia wrong (though that’s always a fun incentive :)) but because I really do think everyone needs some sort of creative side project. I’ve always believed this, but I recently read an article on the Psychology of Side Projects which cited studies that actually proved it.

Go check the article out, because it’s really very interesting. If you’re too lazy though, here’s the gist: It turns out that embarking on a fun, purely-for-passion side project can actually make you happier, more creative and more productive at your day job… so much so that companies like Google actually incorporate “side project time” into their regular work hours.

When Google began its famous 20 percent rule (employees could spend 20 percent of their time exploring fun, passionate side projects), the result was a more productive, more creative 80 percent. Side projects boosted work performance.

Cool, huh? It should probably be noted though that although employees could work on whatever they wanted during the 20%, the side projects would need to advance Google in some way. 

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Creative side projects and hobbies can make you happier and feel more fulfilled outside of work as well. There’s a lot of satisfaction to be gained from the little victories that short-term side projects (and creating things, in general) can provide. If you’ve ever had a cool side project or hobby, you’ll know this to be true. 

In our society leisure is used as an “escape” from work. “Escapism” in this respect means that people do not seek meaningful leisure activities for their own growth and development, but instead resort to passive activities to escape from everyday strains and problems. Such behavior is frequently associated with a passive lifestyle and boredom, which in turn might feed into apathy and depression.

Side projects and creative hobbies help stop this cycle and nurture a more creative and fulfilling version of down time.

In other words, there’s R&R, and there’s being a total sloth.

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The latter isn’t so great for you in the long run. Rest/recovery that’s also productive (but in a fun way) is much better. So if you don’t already have a fun and creative side project going on, go start one! The more different it is from your day job or regular activities, the better! 

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There are tons of things you can do, and even more that you can learn, so go for it. Sky’s the limit, baby. Enjoy!