I first came across Dave Asprey at the Quantified Self conference this past fall, where he gave several talks (“Using Software to Exercise your brain & grow focus” and “Data Does not Lie: Orgasm vs. Performance”). He was a popular guy, and attracted a large crowd wanting to talk to him wherever he went.
For those of you who haven’t heard of Dave, he’s a Silicon Valley investor, computer security expert, and entrepreneur who has spent over $250k during the past 15 years biohacking himself to “upgrade” his body and mind. He’s lost over 100 pounds by eating over 4000 calories a day with little exercise, increased his IQ over 20 points, and sleeps less than 5 hours a night (you can learn all about Dave at his Bulletproof Executive blog).
Dave’s story has inspired so many people that what started out as a personal project has evolved into a business for Dave, who is doing a pretty good job building his personal and (for-profit) brands ala Tim Ferriss (author of “4-Hour Body”). While both seek to achieve maximum gains and rewire their bodies with minimal effort and agree on certain areas of training (and Dave has stated that Tim’s workout principles are spot-on), they disagree on a few points, such as supplements (Dave likes supplements more) and the “slow carb” diet (Dave argues that beans are not as good for quick weight loss or building muscle mass as a high-healthy-fat diet).
Which brings me to the topic of this post – the “Bulletproof” diet. Taking many queues from the popular Paleo/caveman diet, the Bulletproof Diet could be called an “upgraded” Paleo diet. The premise is simple – eat a high (healthy!)-fat, low carb diet, getting 50-60% of calories from healthy fats, 20% from protein, and the rest from vegetables.
By sticking to approved/”bulletproof” foods, you avoid/minimize eating things that can make you weak and fat, replacing them with high-quality foods that fill you up, maintain strength, and can even make you smarter. Dave has created an illustrated guide that clearly lays out, from green to red, foods to eat, and foods to avoid. Here’s what proteins look like:
The Bulletproof diet also incorporates intermittent fasting, whereby you consume most of your calories during a very small window, typically 6 hours. In other words, you would consume all of your meals between, say, 2pm and 8pm. By restricting carbohydrates, your body goes into ketosis, and starts to use fat as it’s primary source of energy instead of glucose. You can learn all about intermittent fasting at Leangains.com.
You get to “cheat” by having a few cups of Bulletproof coffee in the morning (combine high-quality, single-origin, mold-free coffee beans with grass-fed butter and coconut or MCT oil), which does wonders to stave off hunger while increasing cognitive function over the final few hours of your fast.
So, why try the Bulletproof Diet?
After my last round of bloodwork with InsideTracker, I noticed there were a few biomarkers that I was having trouble optimizing (slightly elevated LDL and slightly low HDL, and while I had doubled my testosterone from my previous test, it was still below my “optimal zone”). While relatively fit, I have always had a little bit of stubborn fat around my waist/”love handles” (there is a correlation between stress, inflammation, and love handles). My theory is that the cause of most of these issues has been my diet, which although “healthy”, contained very little fat (of any kind) and lots of carbs (i.e.pasta, rice).
Could a high “healthy”-fat, low carb diet be the answer? Over the next 30 days, I will be putting the Bulletproof diet to the test, having follow-up bloodwork done, and documenting it all here!