findings: coffee with butter and oil

My daily regimen for this experiment didn’t go as planned, but I got the results I was looking for.

Here were some things that held me back for the first week.

  • I didn’t receive all of my coffee making supplies until last week. That included an “Aeropress” coffee maker, immersion blender, and coffee bean grinder.
  • Instead of adding just 3 tbsp of butter, I’ve been adding half a stick each day. It helped me stave off hunger for up to 7 hours (8am to 3pm) and kept my mind focused in class.
  • Trader Joe’s ran out of Kerrygold Unsalted butter, so I waited several days for them to restock. Then I bought 5 bricks of butter.

I started off using instant coffee that tasted bitter, and tossed in some butter and coconut oil. Even with cheap ingredients, this concoction was powerful.

When my supplies arrived (week of 04/08/13), I could finally make the perfect cup of coffee. Words cannot describe how sharp my mind felt just minutes after finishing my drink. The room turned brighter and my mind hummed at 100x its normal speed. Examples follow.

I usually take a long time (30 min to an hour) to write just one email, mostly because I lose interest half way through and want to come back to it later. But the morning I had bulletproof coffee (that’s what coffee + butter + MCT oil is called), I couldn’t stop typing. Words flew from my mind to my fingers. I was prepared to hit send before my conscious mind knew what happened.

My sense of smell also became more acute. When I walked into the kitchen, I knew exactly what my roommate had consumed. Some juice blend and shrimp bao from Trader Joe’s. Unfortunately, I had little control over my enhanced nose so I couldn’t avoid my towel’s manly scent.

I procrastinated a lot less. Typically when I start on homework, I’d find it mentally draining to pull out notes from my folder. On bulletproof coffee, this no longer became a concern. I didn’t even notice that I pulled out my notes until I was already sifting through them! That’s a good kind of weird.

I put in effort even when I don’t care. Work feels less of a burden. I leave 3 hour labs feeling ready for more. Homework doesn’t leave me feeling saturated. When I ask questions in class, I don’t fumble my words as much (this was a big problem for me as I usually have to put in a lot of effort to be coherent).

It has been less than a week of taking the prescribed bulletproof coffee, but I’ve had more benefits than drawbacks at this point.

This post took me about 30 minutes to write up. I had the words floating in my head, so wrote I wrote it down by hand this morning.

If you want to try bulletproof coffee for yourself, go here. This is Dave Asprey’s recipe, so I take no credit for coming up with this strange concoction.

My next experiment is eating more salt (specifically, consuming a teaspoon of salt every morning). Stay tuned.

experiment: coffee with butter and oil

For the next month, I’ll be drinking coffee blended with grass-fed butter and MCT oil for breakfast. Odd as it is, I tried it a week ago and loved it.

This is Dave Asprey’s concoction - read more about it here.

My goal for this experiment is to (a) feel more awake in the morning, and (b) shed some fat. You read that correctly - eating grass-fed butter helps you lose fat.

Here’s my regimen for each day:

Week 1: 2 cups coffee + 3 tbsp butter + 1 tsp MCT oil + 2 tbsp coconut oil

Week 2: 2 cups coffee + 6 tbsp butter + 1 tsp MCT oil + 2 tbsp coconut oil

Week 3: 2 cups coffee + half stick butter + 1 tbsp MCT oil

Week 4: 2 cups coffee + 2/3 stick butter + 1 tbsp MCT oil

Here are the ingredients I’ll be using:

  • Kerrygold Unsalted Butter
  • Bulletproof Upgraded Coffee
  • Bulletproof Upgraded MCT Oil
  • Trader Joe’s EV Coconut Oil

automate: daily running check-in

For the past week and a half, I’ve been running on a treadmill about 20 minutes a day. I wanted to keep track of the details, so I created a check-in system using Google Forms.

I answer only 4 questions - three quantitative (miles, minutes, and calories) and one qualitative (how does my body feel?). The first three are given on the treadmill, and the last question doesn’t require much thinking.

Using Google Calendar, I email the form to myself at 9am every morning (except Sundays when I take a break). I usually run between 10am and 1pm, so the email is already at the top of my email.

Since I usually read off of my iPad during the run, I can enter the details immediately without having to get off the treadmill. Pretty convenient, huh.

Profits can be creative, too.

dumbed down business pitches

I think these businesses pitch it right for the most part:

Learn from proven entrepreneurs.


Appsumo partners with people who make the coolest apps out there to offer you exclusive price deals on their products. Mom would approve.


Forget about constant frugality. Learn how to automate your money — and earn more.

I Will Teach You To Be Rich

We just focus on what matters — great food + great prices = Value.

Trader Joes

Frustration-free web-based apps for collaboration, sharing information, and making decisions.


What are other dumbed down pitches?

dumb it down

Big words suck. No big words please.

A guy described his startup to me yesterday. I still don’t know what it does.

I asked him directly, “so, who are your customers?”

He said, “You know, businesses. We mostly help them with customer retention, and my dev team is putting this together blah blah blah …”

It felt like I got pitched by one of these guys, but minus the funny.


If you can’t dumb ideas down, then you don’t know what you’re saying.

Use analogies and metaphors. Tell me a story. Get me excited, not impressed.

Give me one (just one) grilled cheese sandwich, not a buffet.

Finish goals fast.

Finish goals fast.

redesigned: morning routine

Waking up in the morning sucks, but it doesn’t have to.

We just need to redesign the process. My method is simple. Perhaps it’s so simple that everyone might overlook it and end up not doing it.

Before we dive into the tactics, let me remind you of Fogg’s Behavior Model, which says that every behavior is activated when motivation, ability, and trigger happen at the same time.

Here’s two things to avoid.

1. Looping. Going back and forth between the snooze button and your cozy blanket. If you’ve ever taken a programming course, here’s another way to look at this problem:

while (time ≤ 2:00pm) { snooze button; sleep; };

2. Closet shopping. You finally wake up, but face a new challenge. What the hell are you supposed to wear? Most guys don’t have this problem, but women are anal when it comes to their outfit. I’ve heard that some women dress up just to go grocery shopping. That’s just absurd.

Strategy: Our objective is to make forward movement easy and backward movement hard.

Tactic 1: Exiting the loop in one iteration. (i.e. wake up and stay up)

Once you hit the snooze alarm, what stops you from slipping back into bed? Usually nothing does, and that’s the problem.

So try this: put your phone or alarm clock in the bathroom. Once your alarm goes off, you enter the bathroom and lower your ability to slip back into bed. You think, “heck, I’m already in the bathroom, I might as well move forward with my day.”

When the alarm goes off (trigger), your motivation to turn it off will put you in a new context (the bathroom), thus lowering your ability to backtrack into bed.

Tactic 2: Pair up clothes all at once.

After laundry I immediately pair up my shirts and shorts, and place each set onto hangers. Then, before I sleep, I pick one set and place it on my chair (I’d even recommend placing it on your bathroom counter).

This little habit increases your ability to move forward and take a shower, which in turn helps you carry momentum throughout your morning routine.

* * *

These are just two tactics that anyone can use to wake up and stay up. Since morning routines vary person by person, I suggest looking at your mornings with a design perspective.

Feel free to borrow my strategy (making forward movement easy and backward movement hard) or create your own.

texting triggers for deep breathing: summary

Does texting effectively build a breathing habit? According to the survey results, definitely not

Most of you guys either tolerated or hated this experiment. Apparently, I even ruined someone’s week (yikes). Talk about bad timing.

Anyways. Here are a handful of lessons I picked up from the survey results.

Texting sucks (as a simple habit trigger).

Here’s why:

1. It’s invasive. You prefer valuable content from people you recognize.

When you receive a text, you wonder who sent it and what the sender wants to tell you. We’re conditioned to relate “texting” with people we know, so we hope it’s from someone we want to hear from. When it’s not from someone we want to hear from, we feel disappointed.

In this experiment, my texts went ahead and disrespected these norms and hopes.

  • You received texts from random numbers, which made it confusing and disorganized. Also, since we’re programmed to dismiss unknown numbers, you’ll tend to shrug off my texts.
  • Apart from being funny annoying, each text didn’t add much value. You already knew what to do, I just unnecessarily bludgeoned you with texts.

2. It’s too creative? You don’t need to read an entire sentence to breathe - a gentle tap would suffice.

Triggers must be simple and concise. My texts were complicated and time consuming. Exactly the opposite. Nearly all of you thought my texts were annoying after a while. Some of you preferred something simpler, like “breathe”. Others suggested scrapping the texting idea.

Here’s some tasty pie (charts)!

These are the results of the survey. I didn’t include written portions because some were way too wordy or just blank.

What’s coming up next?

Glad you asked. I’m trying out a much more subtle way to trigger deep breathing. Don’t worry, it doesn’t involve texting (or technology for that matter), I promise. And this time, you’ll get to keep something tangible!


If I give you 2 apples and then take 1 away, is it the same as receiving 1 apple?

If you make 2 new friends on Facebook but have 1 friend unfriend you, is it the same as making 1 new friend?

No way! You feel worse when you lose something than when you gain something. When it comes to humans, arithmetic fails.

So in reality:

2-1(1+∂)=1, where ∂ (the emotional factor) is anywhere between 1 and ∞.

This is called loss aversion, which is people’s tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains.