Updated: Jun 25, 2020
Hungry? Try coffee combined with intermittent fasting (IF)! Coffee isn't a meal but these coffee drinks will keep your insulin low if you have them first thing in the morning, or could help take some of the hunger pangs away between meals or if you are fasting.
Coffee can help curb hunger BUT can also leave you feeling a little queasy if you guzzle it down on an empty stomach. I use coffee a lot to help me extend my IF window a little longer (say til 2 or 3 pm if I get hungry around noon), but there are some key methods I've found that help me feel both full and energized.
1. The Standard: Coffee with heavy cream. While nothing fancy, this is so good and if you invest in good, high-quality coffee (sorry K-cups, we are not talking to you) and a lovely high-quality organic heavy cream, this the perfect morning energizer. If you think you need to eat first thing in the morning, just try having this first and waiting a little bit. Try also having this before your morning workout so you can sustain your fasting during exercise for extra fat-burn. However! If you feel like your stomach is ingesting itself by skipping breakfast or having just coffee on an empty stomach, try one of the other 4 ideas below. (Tip: Add a hefty dash of cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne for an additional metabolic punch on an empty stomach.)
2. Superfood Coffee Smoothie: This ain't your normal frappucino copycat y'all. Those recipes sometimes have upwards of 350 calories and 60 SUGARS each!! 😳 Even those that may be low-carb, 350 calories of anything (even in liquid form friends) is a meal. And the point of these coffee hacks are to help you stay lean. So, secret ingredient and low-carb kitchen staple here is Psyllium Husk. Psyllium husk is 100% fiber and has a pleasant, slightly nutty taste. You can usually find it in the supplements section of your grocery store IF your store carries natural foods. It thickens (duh, 100% fiber) ALOT in liquid, so please don't get the idea to add a spoonful of this to your coffee and then go take a shower. You will have a coffee jello situation when you come back. A smoothie is ideal- the psyllium adds the perfect amount of thickness when blended with ice and liquid. My favorite quick recipe: 1/2 cup ice cubes, 2 shots of espresso or a short cup of strong coffee, 1 tsp vanilla, 1-2 packets of organic stevia, 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, hearty splash of heavy cream or canned coconut milk. Blend in a little bullet blender or other blending device and drink immediately. The fiber from the psyllium husk adds thickness and makes you FULL! And the coffee, well, coffee is good. ☕️
3. Cashew Butter Coffee: Same as the standard above but add 2 teaspoons of all-natural (the oily kind that separates) cashew butter. Stir well and enjoy. The cashew butter literally dissolves in the coffee and just adds richness and really helps you feel satisfied with just a quick coffee. Experiment with cinnamon, vanilla, etc. if you're feeling crazy.
4. Liquid Mocha: There is totally a difference in cocoa powder, so check that you stock your pantry from now-on with Dutch-processed cocoa powder or Special Dark cocoa powder (the Ghiradelli and Hershey's brands are pretty easy to find in the baking section of many stores and meet this criteria). To a cup of hot coffee, add 2 T dark cocoa (to clarify, this is pure cocoa and NOT hot chocolate mix or something with sugar in it), 1 packet of organic stevia, 1 tsp of vanilla, and some almond milk, coconut milk or heavy cream. Stir well and heat up for 30 seconds. The dark cocoa makes this rich and so delish. If you have an aero-latte whisk, that's awesome too.
5. Butter Cinnamon Latte: The key to this is AIR. Yup, air! When you blend your hot coffee with hot almond milk, butter and cinnamon it doubles in size because it gets foamy and a lot of air is incorporated into your drink. Air adds volume - both in the glass and in your tummy! The butter and cinnamon make this taste amazing and are filling (cinnamon is also good for metabolism and suppresses hunger, so hey!) To make: put in the blender hot coffee, 1 T butter, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 cup hot almond milk (unsweetened - could swap coconut milk) and blend at high speed for 20-30 seconds until it grows in volume. If your coffee and milk were hot enough this will still be nice and hot and latte like, and be like a mini-breakfast to go!
One key to using coffee to help you with fasting or hunger is to follow the "fat-first" rule in the morning. When you wake up you've been fasting overnight, so your insulin levels are lowest and you are closest to ketosis. In other words, you are primed to begin burning fat for fuel first-thing in the morning....UNTIL YOU EAT A PIECE OF BREAD (or a bar, or granola, or yogurt, etc)! Regardless of your breakfast choice, think fat first for the most energy. Eggs, avocado, leftover protein, nut butter - these are all great options. I try to have a coffee drink and then do my power yoga workout if possible before I have my first meal. I find that when I do that a few things are consistent. 1) I usually feel hungry before I begin my yoga class, and I am mindful to gently remind myself that being hungry does not equate to dying or suffering but is rather a feeling. I listen to my body, and know that I am going to eat after my practice. 2) I feel much lighter and have better clarify during my practice when I've had a fat-first light breakfast or nothing except one of these coffee drinks. 3) I have really great energy from the coffee!