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.
Nell! I feel the same as you. I love my morning cup of jo—and enjoying it in the quiet house before anyone wakes up is magical!
My most favorite time to run is at 6am, before my kids are awake, but that does not always pan out. I would have my coffee and then run. No need to eat. Now most of my runs are happening at 930am after my youngest gets dropped off at school. I am hungry by then, but after years of happily running in the fasted state, it is really hard for me to transition to running this late. I feel sluggish if I have only had coffee at this point and have been up for a few hours. I am only running 3-4 miles right now b/c of a hamstring injury.
What paleo foods would you suggest to eat before I run…or none at all? An extra cup of jo?
The latter- go fasted! Please feel free to search the blog as I’ve been writing about it quite bit lately! I’d suggest starting the day with some fat in your coffee (MCT or coconut oil) and see if that doesn’t tide you through until the time when you’re ready to hit the tread, road or trail! Keep me posted!
Thank you! I will take your advice and give it a try. I will let you know how it goes. I love your blog. I relish eating in a paleo way…I just feel so much better–it feels so right! Where I ‘get off track’ is the occasional sweets that are in the house b/c of kid stuff. It can be frustrating!
Thank you again!
Thank you for taking the time to share this with me! So glad the blog is helping!
Hi! The fat is satiating in the coffee. I tried it with this coconut oil but I preferred it with a little dab of grass fed butter. Is that OK?
It depends on what health issues a person may be addressing, but rule of thumb is that if someone opts to have dairy it should be full fat, 100% grass fed and preferably raw.
Thank you! A lot of dairy makes me feel heavy. I will try just a dab and see how it feels. Thanks so much again!
That’s the best thing to do; follow an intuitive eating approach. After all, you’re the only one who knows how your own body feels!