By now, most wellness fanatics are familiar with Bulletproof Coffee — the fatty morning brew that blends coffee made from low toxin coffee beans with grass-fed butter and Brain Octane (aka coconut oil extract 18 times stronger than regular coconut oil). Advocates say the coffee concoction not only helps satiate (one would hope at 400-plus calories!) but boosts energy throughout the day. While the blend’s origins may be several thousand years old, biohacker and founder of The Bulletproof Executive Dave Asprey was responsible for popularizing it. Now, after a remarkable 100-pound-plus weight-loss journey, he’s published a new book: Bulletproof: The Cookbook. We chatted with Asprey to learn more about his latest book, his thoughts on diet and wellness, and why you should consider skipping breakfast.
The Cheat Sheet: What’s the most important thing you learned while working on the book?
Dave Asprey: The most important thing I learned is that it’s one thing to know how to cook and it’s something entirely different to know how to make a really good recipe that demonstrates the importance of quality that makes it Bulletproof.
CS: What’s one wellness myth that drives you crazy?
DA: Saturated fat is bad for you. We were told for decades that fat was the health enemy. Now, research shows that not only are quality fats not dangerous, they may actually be key to a good diet. Not eating enough fat and calories will make your body’s stress response go up and you actually don’t do very well or feel great. When you eat a high fat diet, that’s low in sugar, you teach your body to burn fat instead of sugar. You’ll also feel more satisfied and have fewer, if any, cravings. Fats are the building blocks to your hormones, including sex hormones like testosterone as well as human growth hormone. I eat about 60% of my calories from fat.
CS: What’s a typical day like food-wise for you?
DA: I’ll start the day with Bulletproof Coffee (no surprise there!). I’m not usually hungry again until early-to-mid afternoon when I’ll get salmon and vegetables and put some Brain Octane Oil on top of them. Dinner is typically grass-fed meat or sushi with vegetable and avocado on the side.
CS: What’s always in your fridge?
DA: Butter. Lots of grass-fed butter.
CS: Fitness myth?
DA: A fitness myth we’re trying to clear up at Bulletproof is that calories in, calories out is what matters. Calories play a role in fitness, but hormones and the quality of the foods you eat matter much more.
CS: Can you walk us through a typical week fitness wise for you?
DA: I follow the Bulletproof exercise recommendations, based on Body by Science, to keep my workouts brief, intense, infrequent, safe and purposeful. This means you use the most efficient techniques that get the job done in the smallest amount of time and effort. The other thing that’s really important is getting your lymphatic system moving by moving your body. The most efficient and Bulletproof way to do this is using Whole Body Vibration where you stand on a rapidly vibrating plate for 15 minutes every day or so. This will cause massive lymph circulation throughout your body and move oxygen to tissues that may not get very much of it, even areas you’re unlikely to reach while walking around.
You can also benefit by working at a standing desk and taking occasional breaks to move around and circulate the blood. Any opportunity you have to move, you should take it. This could include going for walks, playing with your kids, helping someone move — it will all benefit your body and lymphatic system.
CS: What are some of the key things that have factored into your 100-pound weight loss?
DA: Getting the right amount of fat is the foundation of the Bulletproof Diet and what helped me the most. Just as important is focusing on the quality of foods and avoiding toxins of any kind to the best of my ability, both dietary and environmental toxins.
CS: What’s the deal with skipping breakfast?
DA: Intermittent fasting (IF) shows tremendous promise for fat loss, preventing cancer, building muscle, and increasing resilience. The basic idea behind plain intermittent fasting is to eat all of your food for a day within a confined time period, 8 hours for example, and fast the rest of the time. This tells your body to simultaneously build muscle and burn fat. Studies on IF show that it can have tremendous benefit for fat loss, preventing cancer, building muscle, and increasing resilience. To name a couple, IF increases mTOR, a major mechanism that increases protein synthesis in your muscles. It also puts your body into ketosis, a fat-burning mode that’s also good for your brain.
The issue is that plain IF doesn’t work for many people due to stress of fasting, or for those that have an impaired metabolism, for example. For that reason, the Bulletproof Diet incorporates Bulletproof Coffee. You still get the benefits of IF, but you also have healthy fats from grass-fed butter and MCT oil that give you a stable current of energy to sustain you throughout the fast and the day.
CS: What kind of a difference does drinking it make?
DA: Bulletproof Coffee removes hunger and food craving for hours and gives you focus and energy all day long. Because the coffee is extremely low in mold toxins, you won’t get the crash and jitters that usually accompany a cheap cup of coffee. If you’re following the Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting Protocol, it helps your body stay in ketosis, promoting fat burning and muscle building. To put it simply, you just feel really great when you drink it and that feeling lasts throughout the day, including more focus and more energy.
CS: Any precautions for Bulletproof Coffee?
DA: For those just starting on Bulletproof Coffee, play around with the amounts of butter and Brain Octane Oil that you use to see what makes you feel best. Initially, it’s better to start with lower amounts of Brain Octane Oil and work your way up to more, since starting with too much might upset your stomach. As with any caffeinated drink, if you’re drinking so much coffee that it’s impairing your sleep, you should consider drinking less, or mixing it with decaf.
CS: What are some items anyone attempting to follow your plan “needs” to have?
DA: We’ve tried to make it simple for Bulletproof followers to grocery shop and make Bulletproof choices by creating the Bulletproof Diet Roadmap. This roadmap will help you pick the right foods and avoid the foods that are “kryptonite.”. But for anyone just getting started, you should have plenty of grass-fed butter, grass-fed meats, MCT oil (XCT oil or Brain Octane Oil), and vegetables from the green zone of the Bulletproof Diet Roadmap.
CS: What’s your take on supplements? Any that you recommend across the board?
DA: People today are consuming fewer nutrients than ever. Micronutrient deficiencies chip away at your performance long before they cause disease. Almost every common disease has been linked to micronutrient deficiencies. That being said, I am a fan of supplements, but they have to be the right ones and the right quality, otherwise, they won’t do anything for you and you’ll just be flushing them down the toilet, literally. The supplements I recommend the most are Vitamin D (specifically D3), Magnesium, K2, Vitamin C and Krill Oil.
CS: Can you single out three of your favorite recipes?
DA: There are so many delicious new recipes in Bulletproof: The Cookbook, it’s hard to pick just three. But a few that we’ve been making at home recently are Braised No-Chili Lamb Chili, Cauliflower Bacon Mash, and Bulletproof Ceviche.