A Favorite Morning Ritual

One of my favorite rituals is my morning cup of coffee. And it’s not just me; the average American drinks 2.1 cups per day and a whopping 52% don’t add sweeteners, which, when I found this out, was music to my ears! (1) I have lost count of the number of clients who, when they’ve asked me whether or not they could have coffee as part of their Paleo regime and I told them yes, were beyond relieved. Now, please take this with a grain of salt; black coffee is not actually an official part of the Paleo diet (2) as it doesn’t fit the profile of being a nutrient dense, anti-inflammatory food that promote overall wellness. But.. and it may be a big but, it’s still something in all honesty I continue to enjoy. Call it my small percentage of wiggle room, the way some people may eat a piece of bread now and then or indulge in cheese. I enjoy the ritual, the small, the rich crema on top of a cup of perfectly pulled ristretto shot. I am, undoubtedly, a coffee snob. Here’s my own rationale: it’s my own small pleasure. My one thing I choose to enjoy (ok, maybe there are two; I’d be telling lies if I wrote that I never have a drink!), my small percentage amongst the copious amounts of veg, rich fats and natural proteins I absolutely relish eating each and every day. If 95% of my diet is alkaline and anti inflammatory, I don’t feel I’m doing myself harm. This does not mean coffee is Paleo or that I am not; it’s my own personal balance which is precisely what I recommend clients, blog readers and more or less most people, with the exception of certain populations that, for medical reasons, should truly be avoiding caffeine at all costs. I enjoy it black, but over the past couple of years, I’ve tweaked it just a little if I’m having it prior to (or even sometimes mid) a workout. I’m talking about adding fat- coconut oil, or sometimes MCT. This goes back far beyond the advent of Bullet Proof coffee. In fact, this is a tradition hails back to China’s Tang dynasty (618-907 AD). Tibetan monks, who would, and still do, drink hot yak butter tea to sustain them and provide them with warmth and supplement their meager diet (3). So how does this parlay into sport? Studies show not only that caffeine stimulates resting energy expenditure but that this increased cellular thermogenesis is accompanied by an increase in fatty acid turnover and lipid oxidation. In other words, when consumed strategically, a good old cuppa joe can help the body at being more efficient at using fat as its fuel. I’ll typically have a black espresso in the morning about 1/2 hour prior to my training, whether it’s a short recovery swim or a long bike followed by a brick run. I’ll add that dollop of fat and even on a recovery day, that formal each and every morning is what sustains me until my body tells me it’s time to eat, which may be several hours later after a long workout, or perhaps just a few hours, in the case that I’m taking a rest day. Without a doubt, it’s not something I’ll soon be going without! (1) Ledbetter, Carly. “How Much Coffee Do Americans Drink Every Day?” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2016. (2) OriginalPaleoDiet. “Is Coffee Permissible on The Paleo Diet? | Dr. Loren Cordain.” The Paleo Diet. N.p., 13 July 2016. Web. 05 Sept. 2016 (3) “Tea Tuesdays: Butter Up That Tea, Tibetan-Style.” NPR. NPR, n.d. Web. 05 Sept. 2016 (4) Acheson, Kevin J., Gérard Gremaud, Isabelle Meirim, Franck Montigon, Yves Krebs, Laurent B. Fay, Louis-Jean Gay, Philippe Schneiter, and And Charles Schindler. “Kevin J Acheson.” Metabolic Effects of Caffeine in Humans: Lipid Oxidation or Futile Cycling? N.p., 01 Jan. 2004. Web. 05 Sept. 2016.