Bulletproof coffee has gotten a lot of attention recently. I’ll admit, I was super excited to throw a slab of butter in coffee. I loved it! I even tried skipping my breakfast and doing my morning exercises “bulletproofed.” My body and nervous system had mixed responses and I realized that wasn’t the best combo for me.

From what Dave Asprey says, a big part of his inspiration in tossing butter in coffee was Tibetan tea. Tibetans have been mixing butter into their tea for centuries. Having mixed results with the “no-breakfast-bulletproof-exercise-routine” got me thinking more about the nature of coffee according to Traditional Tibetan Medicine and how we would actually supercharge it.

Tibetans not only throw butter into their tea…they even season it up with salt. Why? Until recently most Tibetans lived intensely active, nomadic lives at very high elevations, and this mixture of butter and salt in their tea was the perfect all-day nutritious tonic to keep them energized, hydrated and nourished. For high-mountain nomads who are very active and have limited food staples, butter is an excellent foundation for keeping the body nourished.

The thing is, we don’t all live in the high-mountains and we don’t all spend our days trekking after animals. We are ALL unique! Understanding this is the key to knowing how to supercharge your coffee specific to your needs.

First we need to take a look at coffee’s nature. It is very bitter and a little astringent. According to the theory of the five elements, the foundational theory of Traditional Tibetan Medicine, these tastes together have a high concentration of the wind element which is cool by nature. Wind is responsible for many important functions in our body including breathing, circulation, the nervous system, the function of the senses, the expelling of impurities and all of the movements of our mind and body.

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Is it Good to Put Butter in Coffee According to Traditional Tibetan Medicine?

The wind element can also become disturbed when over-stimulated. That jittery feeling, heart palpitations, nervousness and anxiety all come from an over-stimulated wind element. Its characteristics are rough, light, cool and mobile. Dave’s awesome idea to throw butter in coffee is balancing because butter is smooth, heavy and stable. It’s also excellent for increasing potency and the strength of the body. Fresh butter, however, is also a little cool by nature. That’s one of the reasons Tibetans also would put salt in their tea. It helps make it more warm natured and digestible. However, for most of us salt is not a good option according to our lifestyle and environment. Here’s five ingredients to supercharge your coffee according to your specific condition and goals.
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1. Supercharge Your Metabolism with Ghee

While fresh butter is cooling and heavy, ghee or clarified butter is actually warm and lighter in nature. According to Traditional Tibetan Medicine texts, not only does it boost the metabolism, it also helps sharpen the focus and clear the memory.
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2. Clear Your Mind with Cloves

In Tibetan Medicine formulas clove is the main herb for the central nervous system. Adding a dash into your coffee is a perfect way to tonify it. If you are using coffee to power up your cardio it helps to balance the function of the breathing and protects the throat from irritation.
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3. Make Your Heart Happy with Nutmeg

If you are prone to irritability, moodiness and get the jitters from coffee, sprinkle in some nutmeg. Not only is it considered nectar for the heart and circulation in Traditional Tibetan Medicine, but it will help keep you from going crazy from caffeine and get a good nights sleep.
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4. Kindle Your Kidneys with Cardamom

The Moroccans had something right when they threw cardamom in their coffee. If coffee makes you pee frequently or you simply want all day energy and better digestion, cardamom is your comrade. It is the main herb used to support the function of the kidney’s in Tibetan formulas.
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5. Sweeten the Deal with Raw Honey

Raw honey, unlike most other sweeteners, is considered warm and light according to Tibetan Medicine. It seals the deal when it comes to protecting the digestive and nervous system.

This list offers some basic ways for you to custom tailor your coffee according to your own condition and health goals. In addition to this, having my own experience playing with butter in coffee, I highly recommend that you do not replace your breakfast with bulletproof coffee if you plan on doing cardiovascular exercise at the same time. Wait until you have eaten something and your nervous system and heart will be much happier with you in the long run. If you have any questions about how to custom tailor your coffee for you, feel free to ask me in the comments or schedule a health consultation with me. There are many other delicious household spices and ingredients that can be used according to your specific needs.

Photo Courtesy of : Will Keightley CC BY 4.0 

Matthew Schmookler, CMT
Tibetan Medicine Practitioner & Yantra Yoga Teacher | Sowa
Matthew's specialities include natural mental health, pain management and gastrointestinal wellness with Tibetan Medicine and Tibetan Yantra Yoga. As a graduate of Shang Shung Institute, completing internship and exams at the Qinghai Medical College and Hospital in Tibet, he is one of the few certified Traditional Tibetan Medicine practitioners and Yantra Yoga instructors in the US. Matthew is co-founder of Sowa offering in-home therapeutic wellness treatments and Tibetan Kunye Massage as well as Corporate Wellness Programs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. In his free time Matthew leads Khaita Joyful Dances to modern Tibetan tunes.

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