In Praise of Fat

by Victor Koen in the NY Times
When I read about Bulletproof Coffee in the NYTimes one Sunday, I scoffed.  Butter whipped into coffee increases brain function and metabolism?  Plus it helped you lose weight?  Clearly too good and too goofy to be true, even if Jimmy Fallon raved about it.  My initial reaction was that the whole idea was silly.  

Then last Sunday, Greg and I were enjoying an impromptu brunch at Modena Wine Cafe as part of a glorious weekend falling in love again after many tumultuous days of silent sparring.  When I saw the café served the kitschy coffee, I paused.  Here was a food fad that had made the long journey to the Colorado prairie and the rural and somewhat red-necked hamlet we’ve recently come to inhabit. Three mimosas into the menu and open to just about anything, I gave the beverage a whirl.

The frothy coffee was delivered in a tall glossy chartreuse mug.  Very pretty.  I’m a straight up coffee drinker and a French press snob to boot.  My coffee is served à la the latter or it is not served at all, unless I opt for an Americano or the occasional soy latte.  No BUNN drip coffee for me.

The sudsy concoction, which was indeed drip, looked more intriguing than straight up BUNN coffee and less gut-bombing than a latte.   I took a sip.

My brain mouthed an audible “Ah!” and I grinned as if I’d just discovered a whole new continent.  The coffee was rich and dark and pungent—so, quite strong—but it was also velvety and palpably luxurious.  And something indeed seemed to be happening in my brain.  I had the same lovely calm and remarkable delight I got when I ate foie gras in Paris, lardo in Rome or very good ice cream any day here at home.  Fat does something for my over-anxious, all-too active mind.  I felt like I’d been wrapped in lavish fur on a snowy morning, but I was clear-eyed and purring.

Whatever bliss was, this was it.

And now, much to my chagrin, I’m proselytizing for something I’d previously poo-pooed.  Oh, the story of my life. 

What is it about fat?  We’ve been told so often that it’s bad for us and yet it makes us feel really really good.  Not the good of the sugar high, which is like heroine and comes with obnoxious baggage of glorious highs coupled with flaming lows   I’ve got an idea that all this prolonged low-fat eating has been at the expense of mood here in America.  Not to mention health.  We’re certainly cranky here in the U.S.  And I’ve never met a strict vegan who looked anything but stringy and tired.

So this week I’ve been working at perfecting my own bulletproof recipe  at home:  Thus far, the ideal amalgam is 1 Tbsp. of coconut oil to 1 1/2 Tbsp. of unsalted European butter (however, according to legend, grass-fed butter is best) to a large cup of French-pressed Italian roast, whipped to a froth in the blender.  I’ve only made the coffee twice, but my mornings have been gold-lit and lovely and my brain clear and calm.

Let me now sing the praises of fat.  In stressed out times, I reach for butter and bread (or white cupcakes made with buttercream); now I’m simply doing it without the burden of carbs that lead to cravings and crashes.  What I want to know is this:  If what’s good for my brain is the good fat, why haven’t I been getting the same pleasure from putting avocados and coconut oil in my morning smoothie, and is this pleasure sustainable or am I simply flush in love with something new or fallen into a “cult”? 

Stay tuned, I will let you know. 
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