While acute amounts of cortisol from complimentary stress can be beneficial, elevated or chronically high cortisol is not a runners friend. For support in finding lasting energy, that’s low stress on the body, and entirely plant based, try this recipe for our “Bonk Proof” coffee…
This recipe was inspired by my desire to reduce my total caffeine intake, and nourish my adrenal glands to help regulate cortisol levels. For more information on the effects of high cortisol, jump to the description beneath the recipe.
I have heard and read a fair amount about the trending “Bulletproof Coffee”. The premise is gaining energy from the fats in grassfed butter, MCT oils and high quality coffee (the ingredients), and reap the body composition benefits from the thermogenic fats (which promote fat metabolism). High quality coffee (single origin) is reported to bring mental focus and clarity, without the anxious jitters associated with mycotoxins (essentially mold) found in lesser quality coffee beans.
I don’t remember the last time I ate butter on purpose, it’s just not something I eat regularly, and would always prefer a plant based option where possible, so I knew I would be re thinking the butter in the recipe. I also wanted to include maca, a known adaptogen which nourishes the adrenal glands to balance, invigorate and energize. It’s a much more holistic buzz…
Because cortisol levels are spiked when blood sugar is low, I wanted to include some healthy, slow burning fats, so I kept with the traditions of the original drink and chose to include coconut. To create a creamy texture I wanted to use the mana (ground meat) versus the oil. You could easily swap it in the recipe below if you cannot find mana in a health food store near you. You can buy it online though from VitaSave.
Recipe & Instructions:
- Boil 2 cups water
- Add equal parts high quality ground coffee (try and find a single origin bean) and a coffee substitute (see below) in a french press with hot water. Steep for 2-3 minutes.
- Ideas for Coffee Substitutes:
- Choffy, or Crio Bru, roasted cacao beans (these are our Eat2Run picks because they are high in antioxidants and minerals, and naturally stimulating)
- Organic Traditions Maccachino Mix (if using, you do not need to add extra maca)
- Bambu, or Teeccino each made from unique blends of ingredients like barley, figs, dates, chicory root, nuts and/or carob. Note, many of these are not gluten free, but make great alternatives from a taste perspective
- Average ratio is 1 tbsp: 1 tbsp of each ground ingredient
- Ideas for Coffee Substitutes:
- After 2-3 minutes of steeping, add the filtered hot liquid to your blender with 1 tbsp coconut manna (can substitute coconut oil), and 1-2 tsp of maca powder
- Optional sweetener: 1 tsp maple syrup, coconut sugar or honey.
- Not recommended for those with high stress levels, excess abdominal fat, diabetes, or high blood pressure. Can sub 1/8 tsp of stevia in these instances.
- Optional “milky-ness”: Add 1/4 cup almond or coconut milk
- Blend all ingredients rapidly for 30 seconds
- Can strain through a small sieve (these are very natural ingredients, and you may notice larger particles in your drink)
- Pour into a mug or to-go cup and enjoy!
- Serve over ice for a cold drink alternative
Makes two servings (or one “venti” size)
Notes on Cortisol:
The stress hormone Cortisol is produced in the adrenal glands, which sit atop your kidney/low back region. Chronically high levels are from periods of prolonged stress due to physical or mental/emotional sources (which can include over training, injury, job or family stress). This elevation is linked to a number of health concerns:
- Poor quality sleep: The body will struggle to get into the most productive phase of sleep (Delta phase) with high cortisol levels
- Muscle wasting: Due to low HGH (Human Growth Hormone) production which occurs during deep and restful sleep. Your workouts will have less impact!
- Weight gain (particularly the mid section): High cortisol not only increases appetite (and induces sugar cravings for immediate energy, a fight or flight response), but it also is linked with excess fat in the abdominal area (1).
- Suppressed immune function: As a response to stress cortisol levels are raised, signalling a diversion of energy away from lower priority functions such as the immune system.
I hope this Bonk Proof Coffee recipe helps taper your caffeine dependancy, or provides you with a nourishing option when you feel the need for a stress-free stimulant.
1. Epel ES, McEwen B, Seeman T, Matthews K, Castellazzo G, Brownell KD, Bell J, Ickovics JR. Stress and body shape: stress-induced cortisol secretion is consistently greater among women with central fat. Psychosom Med. 2000 Sep-Oct; 62(5):623-32