A Bad Combination for Women: Intermittent Fasting & Paleo

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If you’re one of the many women who read The Bulletproof Executive, this post is written for, and dedicated to you. Many thanks to Stefani Ruper of PaleoforWomen.com for writing an awesome review of research on Intermittent Fasting results for women. It is awesome reading for anyone who thinks that men and women respond the same way to diets.

People sometimes forget that in addition to being The Bulletproof Executive, I’m the author of The Better Baby Book. This book details the program I put together with my wife, Dr. Lana, so we could have healthy kids with better genes and healthier brains, even though she was over 40 and had previously been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The book is about how to use nutrition (paleo-friendly, but not paleo-derived) principles and epigenetics (the study of how environment affects genes) to enhance female fertility and pregnancy health.

I did this for my own family, and eventually we compiled 1300 references for the book that was underway for several years and is now published. It is one of my most valued achievements because I believe it will help to improve the lives of the children of every woman who reads it. It’s the instruction manual on “How to Expect More When You’re Expecting.”

But for women who are already mothers, or who are looking forward to children, or women who simply haven’t decided one way or another, fertility and women’s hormones are vitally important. Stefani Ruper’s “Paleo for Women” list of principles is worth repeating here, because she does a better job of describing what a “Bulletproof” evolutionary perspective does for women than I do:

  • With an evolutionary perspective, a woman does not work against but instead works with her body.
  • With an evolutionary perspective, a woman listens to her body.
  • With an evolutionary perspective, a woman does not see herself as separate from her body.
  • With an evolutionary perspective, a woman loves and respects her body.
  • With an evolutionary perspective, a woman is free.
  • With an evolutionary perspective, a woman feels good.  
  • With an evolutionary perspective, a woman looks amazing and real. 
  • With an evolutionary perspective, chins come up.
  • With an evolutionary perspective, a woman is fierce.
  • With an evolutionary perspective, things aren’t perfect.

I’m so pleased that Bulletproof principles have helped the women in my life feel good, look amazing, and be fierce. That’s sexy, life-affirming, and so much more interesting than “Desperate Housewives.” That’s also why we have women like Emily Deans and Ashley Tudor as guests on Bulletproof Executive Radio. High performance is not just for men. It’s also for the woman my 5-year-old daughter will become.

More than a few women have found BPE after trying Paleo and Intermittent Fasting and running into health problems after a few months. Many have found further success here, and I believe Stefani’s epic post just explained why. As she writes:

Many women find that with intermittent fasting comes sleeplessness, anxiety, and irregular periods, among a myriad of other symptoms hormone dysregulations.

This matches what I see – low calories lead to low energy, stress, and hormone dysregulation in both men and women, but it happens faster in women. That’s one of the reasons I don’t believe in caloric restriction as a generally healthy practice. In both women and men, caloric (or fat) restriction sends epigenetic signals that reduce fertility. In essence, fasting or low fat sends the message “Argh, a famine! Lack of food! Don’t reproduce!”

In men, it’s an evolutionary matter of convenience. If you reproduce during a famine, it’s uncomfortable, yes. But you don’t carry the baby around. If you’re a woman and you get pregnant during a famine, you have a much larger chance of dying when you’re pregnant or nursing because of the incredible stress it puts on your body. Low calories signals famine so a woman’s body gets stressed and stops being fertile until food supplies return to levels that can support reproduction.

Epigenetics is also the reason I don’t advocate “chronic cardio” or intense daily exercise for men or women. It sends the epigenetic signal, “A tiger is chasing you every single day. Your species must be under threat.” For men, this translates to, “Reproduce quickly and die.” For women, this translates to “Be fertile quickly (early puberty), reproduce quickly, and get out of the way (die) to make room (maybe to feed the tiger?).”

So the problems of caloric restriction, excess cardio, and intermittent fasting are related and express themselves in exhaustion, adrenal fatigue, and hormone problems, in both women and men, but women are more sensitive to these effects than men and feel the problems first.

Stefani also points out that MDA does a good job reviewing the health benefits of fasting  but that the sex-specific aspects of the hormonal response are unmentioned, and reproduction/fertility/menstrual health wasn’t mentioned at all.  She also writes:

Mark is attentive to who should and who should not be fasting.  He knows very well and cautions people against the dangers of fasting while stressed.  Still, the mere fact of being more sensitive to the strains of fasting simply by being a woman is, I would assert, pretty important for a woman who is contemplating or already practicing IF.  This goes nearly unmentioned in the blogosphere.

Amen Stefani.

Enter Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting. I used biohacking principles to make BP-IF easier on the body than “traditional” intermittent fasting, for the simple fact that it’s wasteful to apply more stress to the body than is needed to cause a hormetic change. I wanted to stay lean and muscular but didn’t have time to sleep 8 hours a night. I needed my stress hormones to do other things, so I created BP-IF.

BP-IF represents a simple way for women (and men)  to realize the benefits of IF without the risks to their health. Instead of going 18 hours without food, you have Bulletproof Coffee in the morning, which is low toxin coffee that doesn’t cause adrenal stress the way most coffee does, blended with a nice big hunk of grass-fed butter and Upgraded XCT oil in it for breakfast with no carbs or protein. It tastes great.

The fat makes your body stay in ketosis so your physiology gets the benefits of Intermittent Fasting, but the fats provide enough fuel for your brain that you don’t get the same stress response. You still have energy (it feels like more energy than a normal breakfast provides), and you can still make hormones. You don’t even want to eat lunch when you have Bulletproof Coffee for breakfast.

Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting basically tells a woman’s body that it’s time for autophagy (cellular cleanup) and rapid fat loss (ketosis), but it preserves adrenal function more than normal IF. Since you’re actually using adrenal hormones (catecholamines) to burn fat, this *really matters* more for women.

Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting also doesn’t send the epigenetic signal that you’re in a famine and should shut down your fertility. In contrast, it sends the signal, “You are in a land of plenty, with an environment full of the types of fat that make for optimally healthy babies. Be fertile! Have babies!” If you don’t believe this is real, make “Get Some” Ice Cream and feed it to a woman friend (or to yourself!) to see the effect in real life.

Does Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting work better for women? Yes. One woman just lost 28 lbs in 28 days on Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting and told me about it this morning. Even the Rapid Fat Loss Protocol works better for women than severe caloric restriction, for the same reasons that BP-IF works, although I don’t recommend the rapid fat loss program for people who have time to do normal BP-IF.

These programs work better for men too. Several have reported that they broke through weight loss plateaus using Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting that plain Leangains or MDA-style IF couldn’t touch.

On top of that, the cold hands, brain fog, irritability and tiredness that come in the afternoon with traditional Intermittent Fasting don’t exist with Bulletproof IF. Our bodies were made to use fat for fuel – if there’s enough fat, we do well, and our hormones work, and we can still lose weight.

All forms of fasting, long term, intermittent, and Bulletproof, rely on catecholamines to melt fat. If you are psychologically stressed, physiologically stressed, lacking sleep, or you have adrenal dysfunction, you need to fix that before you try any fasting protocol. Higher fat intake combined with more pink Himalayan salt can do wonders for adrenal function.

There is a reason that stressed women crave fatty and salty foods – adrenal exhaustion. Listening to your body, then eating something soaked in butter and coated with salt is not just a good idea, it’s vital to your health. It will help you be a fierce, amazing woman who feels and looks good. And it will help you to safely practice Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting without harming your adrenals, your fertility, or your brain.

Now that’s truly Bulletproof, and it works for women and men.



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By Dave Asprey

  • cz

    i found this fascinating. even though i’ve been on the fast five yahoo group for years, i have never been able to eat in a five hour window. i get too hungry in the middle of the night, too headachey in the morning, too hungry, too something! i usually eat in a 7 or 8 hour window. but the “better” i’ve been doing that, the more weight i’ve gained! it’s been perplexing. i even played with staying under 1600 calories a day while being quite active (bike an hour a day to get around town, do body weight exercises twice a week a la Primal Fitness MDA, and sprint once a week). i don’t eat wheat and very little dairy or nuts…if anything i should have lost weight, but i haven’t. i don’t know if it’s because i just turned 40.

    i tried the bulletproof coffee in the morning, but even with the superb beans at Ritual or Four Barrel in SF, I end up crashing the next day. I tried a caffeine-free bulletproof drink in the morning, but still felt hungry by noon, and ended up gaining a few pounds anyway!

    perhaps it’s my age, or perhaps it’s the weight i’m supposed to be at now that i’m better nourished (i’m presently 5’5″ and 130 lbs…i’ve always been 120 – 123 lbs).

    also, people say that having a protein breakfast is best, and when i have two eggs at 9a or 10a, i feel satiated and really good for four or five hours. i wonder if, for women, that kind of breakfast is better than a bulletproof coffee?

    in any case, i’ll keep trying and tweaking. this article is helping me be a lot more flexible with how and when to eat, and i really appreciate it!

    • dhnaomi

      It could be that you’re a “slow caffeine oxidizer” and don’t handle the caffeine all that well. You can find out by having your DNA sequenced (your ability to process caffeine is partially a genetic trait) via 23andme.com

      As for the breakfast thing.. I dunno, sister, I feel pretty great just having coconut oil or heavy cream or maybe a bit of bacon for many hours before eating my first meal. I don’t think it’s a female thing.

      I should mention that I’ve spent many weeks up to this point in full ketogenesis, during which time my body has become very acclimated to running wholly on fat for fuel. So that’s probably a piece of this puzzle.

      • Fatima


        I’ve been really excited about your bulletproof coffee lately and have been doing a ton of research and reading a ton of reviews on it but I also have seemed to gain a ton of weight since starting to use it and have become really swollen! I have had a swelling problem in the past and have been able to control it with my diet for a year now. I’m depressed to see it back. Also the caffeine in coffee seems to make me more anxious not energetic. I am trying to take some digestion enzymes with the coffee and have taken out the grass-fed butter and replace with raw cocoa butter and am skipping the ice cream for now. I think the fact that the butter is pasteurized may have something to do with my swelling. I’m thinking the raw eggs in the ice cream are the cause for the weight gain? A pound a day so far?

        Do you have any suggestions? I really like your idea and honestly really could use an energy boost these days. I was telling my husband I wouldn’t mind gaining more weight if it gave me back my energy ( I might be a little under weight) but so far this has not accompanied the weight gain..

        • Fatima

          btw… I forgot to mention that organic pastures has some nice grass-fed butters that are not pasture grazed which is to say it is practically raw still…maybe you should give this butter a try also? Might be a bit harder to find and a bit more expensive but I’m under the impression that you would rather eat quality ingredients if you can afford it. Also, in the past I have used high vitamin x butter from blue ice (which seems to be the same but more expensive) what are your thoughts on that.

  • maybol

    i started playing with IF in January and soon after, BP IF. it is now June and I haven’t had a period since. I am definitely not pregnant so no worries there but i often thought my diet change was possibly the reason. also, i went off birth control in January(for reasons because i’m trying to be more whole body, less chemicals) that i had been on for 10 years. i’ve lost over 10 lbs in the last 6 months. that “last 10” most are always “neeeding but just can’t loose”. very much a working journey this year so far. learning things about my body and my will and strength. still questioning the whole no period thing. any like stories?

    • Dave Asprey

      Megan, your lack of periods may be because you changed birth control pills. Read Wiley’s “Sex Lies Menopause” for some solid ideas.

  • I am a 30 year old woman who started BPE regimen March 1 with great results. Since my husband isn’t sold on all of it, I only do the food/sleep part, not the cool technology gadget brain stuff (maybe one day).

    I lost about 15-20lbs the first two months, no exercise. I went off BPE for a month while I backpacked Croatia since it was impossible to follow over there (remember, my husband isn’t a believer…yet).

    I have been back at it since we returned two weeks ago. I initially felt all the gluten bloat and “breadaches” (as I like to call them) go away but I feel like I’ve slowed down in terms of weight loss. Over the past couple of days I feel like I’m gaining weight.

    I’ve been really good at getting to bed by 10:30, awake to a cold shower, only 2 or 3 meals a day etc. but I just haven’t felt like I’m burning fat like I used to and I’m not doing anything differently that when I first went Bulletproof a few months ago.

    Also, I get this wave of sleepiness at 3:00 every day; like clockwork. I’m not sure if I’m “allowed” to nap so I haven’t.

    • D2

      The postprandial sleepiness that occurs roughly 8 hours after waking is normal for many people. Many people are actually biphasic (meaning that they sleep in two periods of sleep) sleepers without even realizing it. Although usually the night sleep is the longest period of sleep consisting of around 6-8 hours and the afternoon nap being around 20-30 minutes.

  • Ashley

    I’ve been drinking BP coffee in the morning for about 2 months now. I also have been making and devouring Get Some Now ice cream from time to time. I ovulated and got my period on my own for the first time in about 3 1/2 YEARS doing this BP thing. I’d been Primal/Paleo for about 2 years until stumbling upon the BPE. It was very tough trying to figure out what was wrong with my body and listening to everyone trying to feed me the ‘one size fits all’ message when it comes to diet and exercise.
    LOVE this post. I’ve been waiting to read this post for years. Thank you thank you thank you.

    • Dave Asprey

      Wow! This is so great!!! Thanks for sharing. Fat is so good for women. Seeing women eat a meal of only salad is starting to make me sad. 😉

      • Andrea Feucht

        Unless it’s salad with rare grass-fed beef and a big honkin’ avocado on top. 🙂

        • Dave Asprey

          I stand corrected! Salad based on meat and avocado makes me happy too. ?

      • Zorica

        My salads have olive oil/vinegar and MCT oil, grass-fed beef (or lamb), sometimes bacon, soft boiled eggs, avacado…:-D This is not just a salad…it’s a monster salad! But on the outside it can look like a ‘woman eating just a salad’. 😛

        • Dave Asprey

          Yes, salad as a carrier for bacon is just fine!

        • Mmmmm Bacon Delivery System.

    • Lisa

      Hi Ashley,
      Is there anything else you found contributed to the return of your period? (Lifestyle, exercise, supplements, etc.) I have not had a period for 1.5 years, as well as having a low TSH level and devastating irritable bowel syndrome. I was a mostly raw vegan and had just gone off the birth control pill when I lost my period. I have been eating meat and cooked foods for the past 4 months (and still no period), and I am just starting the Bulletproof Diet. I am desperate to heal my body, so I’d love to know more about your experience, as a woman with similar challenges, on this diet. Thank you!

      • Erika

        Hi Lisa and Ashley,
        I too have the problem of no period after birth control pill. I have been doing bulletproof coffee however for over a year now. I got off the pill a year ago and no period. I havent really tried the get some ice cream but am willing to try anything to heal my cycle!

        • Amy Leefe

          Erika, were you able to get your period to return? I know you posted this a few years back. I’m in the exact same boat as you were.

      • Amy Leefe

        Lisa, were you able to get your period to return? I’m about to try the BP diet in an effort to get mine back, which has been absent for 1 year, 3 months. Any advice would be so appreciated.

  • As someone possibly suffering from adrenal fatigue, I like the “all-fat” breakfast concept as a way to get ketosis with less stress on the adrenals. Note that protein breaks ketosis, not just carbs, so BP coffee works, but Atkins breakfast doesn’t.

    • Dave Asprey

      Exactly! And be sure to have some salt in the morning if you’re adrenal stressed.

  • Susan Martin

    OMG. Talk about timing. I just found this site TODAY from this post: http://www.theiflife.com/2-meal-coffee/ where Dave’s Bulletproof Coffee is addressed, and how I got here. Here you are addressing IF for women, which I was following from the IF Life. I was feeling guilty for having my coffee in the morning, and now it appears it’s a very good thing to have coffee. Yay!
    I have two questions – first, I am post-menopausal, so am not real concerned about fertility. 😉 Is it still that important to not fast completely for 16-18 hours? In other words, are there other reasons I should do the bulletproof coffee?
    Second – I tried to make bulletproof coffee this morning after finding the site. It did not work out so well. I put unsalted butter in the coffee, which of course melted. I could not get any foam with a hand-frother… I did not have MCT oil. Is it necessary for the foam? Would coconut oil work? I have lots of that. I’m not sure what I did wrong. But it did taste pretty good, albeit unfoamy… Any suggestions?

    • Christine

      I use coconut oil and my ninja chopper. Do you have a blender? I think speed is the key to froth.

      • Dave Asprey

        Big, bad blenders work best. Like Blend-Tec.

        • Denver

          Daves bang on, big bad blender, personally i assemble 125g butter, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 square of Lidnt 90% and activate “Big, bad blender” 30 seconds on full and you got yoself one peng breakfast.

          I do fill the blender with hot water while the coffee brews in the french press as it keeps the coffee from losing some heat to the glass of the blender jug.

          I drink said brew every morning at about 7:30 a.m and eat again at about 12:30 dinner time. Convenient and nourishing. I have a mental acuity I didn’t have before. Amazing.

          Dave? Is MCT really that much better? Should I ditch coconut oil for MCT then or use both?

        • Dave Asprey

          The mct oil is 6 times stronger than coconut oil. I wouldn’t put it in there if it wasn’t significantly better. ;-0

      • Alison R

        I’ve been mixing coffee with coconut oil with an immersion blender for over a year and it works fine and produces the same amount of froth. The trick is to blend in a taller container before pouring into the coffee cup or just get yourself a big a** cup!

    • J Praeger

      The best reason to do BP Coffee is that you feel freaking amazing on it! and your brain races for hours. that it helps you lose weight and your baby maker is just a nice bonus.
      I’d do BP coffee if it was BAD for me as it makes me feel so good! I use a little hand held AA baterry device and it gives me a little bit of a foam, but using Coconut butter makes it taste better, work better but I’m not sure about foaming better.

    • Dave Asprey

      Having fat during your fast will help to reduce stress on the body in my experience. It works better too!
      Coconut oil is ok, but MCT is 6x stronger.

      • Sherry Heart

        Im a 51 year old woman and have been doing a keto to Bullet Proof diet for the last year and a half. I have gained weight and I am constantly trying something new in order to get my body to loose. I realize I am at that age where we have a whole new set of rules. In the last few months I have been intermittent fasting with the BPC and eating after 12. I have gained. I think your data is there for most people but pre/post menopausal women have not been studied enough to know for sure. I supplement biodentical hormones. I am off the sugar and I am eating lower carbs. And still My weight is going up. At some point it has to be about calories in and calories out even though I know all calories are not the same. I am now going to lay off the coffee and do it only every other day. I am trying burst workouts every other day to see what that does. I am at a lose at this point. I feel like an endless ginny pig. I have talked to one of your food coaches a few weeks back and it didn’t help. I am trying to listen to my body but its really difficult at this age.

        • Solve99Problems.com

          You state that you are “eating lower carbs” but it sounds like you may still be eating too much sugar/carbs. You really need to stay between 10- 20g/day carbs MAX or you will gain, rather than lose due to the combination of the fats you eat on this program & excess carbs/sugar in your diet. You must be strict with the carb intake or you won’t have success.

        • Sherry Heart

          When I say “eating lower carbs” I mean Im off the sugar and grains and beans and dairy and even off anything fermented to see if its an excess yeast problem. Meaning Im eating Good Veggies, Good Fat and some protein (my body requires less protein). Besides being off dairy and anything fermented (this is about 4 weeks now) I have been eating like this for over a year and a half. I first started following the Ketogenic model. I had to cut back on my good veggies in order to get my carbs down. I lost just a few pounds in the beginning but that stopped and I didnt change the way I ate. So when that wasn’t working, I tried to hack my weight with the keto/paleo/Bulletproof mix. Now I am really trying to hack my own body. My doc told me to start taking my temp every morning to see if I had a metabolic problem and what do you know, I have very low temps every day. Meaning my metabolism does not burn as well. No matter how I eat. I cut back quite a bit on the BPC in the morning. and I have incorporated more good veggies and Im doing Burst training because I think the coffee is having an effect on my adrenals. I started eating first thing in the morning instead of BPC to get my metabolism revved up and Finally my weight is going down. Im listening to my body and experimenting to see how MY body reacts. Im trying to hack it just like Dave Aspery hacked his own body. The take away here to anyone who is reading this-There is not ONE right “Cookie Cutter” way of eating for anyone. Everyones body metabolizes differently. People who work out more are different from people who work out less. Men are different from women and Menopausal women have their own set of rules. For me it took cutting back on the fat (I still eat plenty of good fat) and adding a metabolic exercise and adding more veggies (veggies are always a good thing to add to any diet) to start loosing weight. I still keep a lot of the BulletProof ways in my diet. I think its a great diet but I needed to be tweaked for my body to loose weight.

        • aimingforthecenter

          Try the website eat to perform next. You might be dieting yourself down too much. Carbs build muscle. You might need to eat MORE and weight train hard for 3 to 6 months. Then you go low carb with some fasting.

        • Laura Jane Williamson

          Hi Sherry, I just wanted to send you a hug and I hope you’ve had better results the last few months. I’m 39, but my story sounds just like yours and I’m so frustrated right now. What used to work doesn’t work anymore, and I feel like I gain weight if I eat anything at all! Here’s to some good luck for both of us, we sure deserve it!

        • Gwendolyn Stopanski

          This is for Sherri and Laura. I have felt your pain. I too, couldn’t lose weight. In fact I gained. I had every blood test you could imagine. My thyroid was normal. My a1c was 4.9. Even the doc was baffled. He put it down to my age. I am 51 years old. An ultrasound 6 maths later showed benign nodules on my thyroid. My ferritin was 38. Although that number is in normal range, it can make losing weight difficult. I started taking 200mg of selenium a day (thyroid support) and iron supplements with vitamin c as an adjunct. Voila, I have lost 10 pounds in 3 weeks. It doesn’t even feel difficult to do. I am so excited. I stick with whole foods and good fats. I am following this page so that I can incorporate some IF. My advice is this. Get all your bloodwork checked and correct anything that might be out of balance.

        • debby

          Please have your thyroid checked. Full thyroid labs are: TSH, Free T4, Free T3, Thyroglobulin Antibodies & TPO Antibodies. It’s very common for women over 50 to develop Hashimotos/ Hypothyroidism which can cause weight gain, even while dieting & exercising.

      • Health Mercenary

        Dave, I do have one question: I’ve read many books on the near-miraculous properities of coconut oil, and your comment seems like you’re promoting your product (which is totally within your rights!). But, but, but. That seems slightly irresponsible when considering the fact that coconut oil has many scientifically proven benefits, and MCT and Brain Octane have NO books that I know of, and only a few blog posts and a couple studies supporting them. Point being made: I honestly believe that coconut oil is far healthier than any oil extract anyone can come up with, but if you can provide solid scientific evidence via a randomized double-blind trial that brain octane or MCT provide more benefits better than coconut oil, I’ll follow up on that.

        • Flass Maximus

          the studies on coconut oil are inclusive of all the MCT’s contained within, including the two that comprise XCT and Brain Octane.
          one is the other, minus some parts, mainly Lauric Acid.

        • Rawstagirl

          Actually coconut oil won’t put you into ketosis like brain octane does because the latter is mct8 only…big big difference. Second mct and brain octane do not taste like coconut and that is a huge advantage in my book. Coconut oil in my coffee tastes gross.

    • Susan Martin

      Thanks for the replies! I am all for reducing body stress while trying to get healthier. I will continue the experiment and consider MCT oil! I used Kerrygold unsalted butter and Nutiva coconut oil today.

      Update on making bulletproof coffee – here’s your laugh for the day. This time, I tried using an immersion blender to make the foam. I had just used it to mix with and thought it might be a better idea than having to clean the blender… NOT. Think blending without the lid on… :-O Besides making a MESS, I did make a bit of foam, but of course I probably did not blend it long enough since moving the stick at all made puddles on the counter. I guess I will try the heated blender jar method tomorrow. It did taste good, though!

      • Dave Asprey

        Lol – the foam is better when it’s not on the ceiling!

        Some immersion blenders let you start slowly; those work great!

      • Andrea Feucht

        Use an XL coffee mug – I use a 16oz mug for about 6oz of BP coffee and the vortex usually stays contained. 🙂

        • Laurie Russell Gordon

          does everyone know a standard mason jar fits a standard blender. i found some great 20 ounce jars with handles. throw it all in mason jar. pop onto blender mixing blade and bottom. put it onto mixer and blend. i bought a magic bullet just to mix my coffee in the mornings BEFORE i knew about mason jars fitting blenders. Dont even use the magic bullet anymore. Also the mason jar works great for smoothies too.

        • samiam

          I didn’t know it until my mom told me. I stopped using my magic bullet for BP coffee as the mason jars are glass and not plastic. Hot liquids + plastic = ew.

      • Damion Waltermeyer

        3-4 liter bpa free pitchers are your friend. Also, in smaller containers, rotate the stick counter to the spin of the blade to neutralize the whirling up the sides effect. I use an immersion blender in a 4 liter pitcher every morning for the coffee, it’s quick and easy and usually don’t even hit the 2liter mark. I tried it in a much smaller jug at a hotel in the south of spain during a vacation and quickly found I need a way to control the splash. Which is where the counter-spin idea came from. I also tend to cut the butter a few times for more surface area before I put it in the pitcher(pre-butter to prevent splashing) if I am in a rush.

      • Josh H

        I find the Magic Bullet really perfect for making BPC. I had one sitting around that I had never used, but found it so ideal that I went an bought a second one to use at my office.

        There is a good Magic Bullet bundle for sale at Costco that includes a travel-mug style lid for the canister, too.

    • Sally Oh

      We put sticks of butter and coconut oil in the coffeepot pre-brew, then blend the whole pot with a stick blender before pouring. Works like a charm, no mess 🙂

  • Debbie Belcore

    Dave – perhaps you can add a bit more about how to quantify adrenal fatigue (temperature stability perhaps)? Thanks!

    • Dave Asprey

      Temp stability is more thyroid than adrenal. Easiest is seeing stars when you stand up fast, or you can shine a light at your eye from the side, and if your iris doesn’t stay contracted for at least 30 seconds (it starts trembling) then you’ve got adrenal fatigue.
      Salivary cortisol helps too.

  • Dan Williams

    My recommendation would be to move this — “If you are psychologically stressed, physiologically stressed, lacking sleep, or you have adrenal dysfunction, you need to fix that before you try any fasting protocol.” — into a more prominent position on the BP site wherever you’re discussing BP-IF. I imaine a BIG number of your readers are suffering from those issues and would do well to follow some of your other tips to get them sorted out first before moving on to the BP-IF protocol. Of course, for those who are seriously obese, its probably a toss-up which one is more important to hit first, but for those of us who are just trying to push towards optimal, I think there’s some danger in jumping into BP-IF without fully understanding the need to get the other systems in an optimal range first.

    Which is why I’ve moved back to eating a fat/protein breakfast and have started supplementing with L-Tyro and 5-HTP to work on some of the psychological stress issues…along with a number of complementary practices, emwave, etc. I’ve switched back to oolong tea instead of coffee also. I’m seeing better overall results in terms of energy, mood, etc. from a keto diet based on BP principles (the green side, etc.) than I was on doing BP-IF or carb-back-loading.

    In short, I loved the “feeling” I was getting on the BP-IF, but I’m not sure it was loving me back, or appropriate…at this time.

    I hope this doesn’t sound like I’m throwing stones at the program, more just trying to caution others to really take to heart what you said there and not just go running to it as a “one-size-fits-all” solution.

    • Dave Asprey

      Good suggestion! BP-if works for most people because they eat so many less toxins. It often reduces adrenal stress if salt is adequate. Adrenal glandulars are helpful too.

      • Dan Williams

        Thanks Dave. I’m basing the 5-HTP/L-Tyro on a combo of listening to Julia Ross and Dan Kalish on your and Sean Croxton’s shows. Hopefully that’s a good place to start until I can get in for some salivary cortisol tests to get a better idea exactly what’s going on with my adrenals. The post on stress today was a big wake-up call too. I’ve been half-assing it on some of those.

        • Dave Asprey

          I love Julia Ross’s work (she spoke at my SVHI.com nonprofit twice and is a total rockstar).
          That said, I’m deeply skeptical of 5-htp even though it does work for weight loss. It raises blood serotonin WAY too much, and we want brain serotonin to go up. I’d get a prescription for GHB instead. ?

  • Dan Williams

    Dave- What do you think about some of the work Dr. Peter Attia is doing around ketosis at his War on Insulin blog? Have you and Armi thought about getting him on a podcast? It seems like he’s doing some pretty great work with trying to advance nutritional science. I’d love to hear you guys talk shop on keto-adapting, calories in/out, high-fat diets, and all that jazz.

  • Andrea Feucht

    Thanks for the great post and links, Dave. I *do* have a question about women who lose weight while caring for their adrenals on BP-IF. How many calories are they getting? (And possibly, how low are their carbs…) I’m dead serious. It makes a difference to know that a woman who weighs 150lb can eat 2000kcal (or more!) of mostly fat and lose weight versus it taking 1400.

    I know that the truth is neither “a calorie is a calorie” nor “calories don’t count”, but rather that caloric content is but one aspect of an eating lifestyle. That being said, it still counts for something.

    Thoughts and experiences from other women are very much sought.

    • dhnaomi

      In my experience — I work with people who follow an IF sort of protocol called Carb Back-Loading — there is no single calorie total that can be relied upon for any given woman. It has to be felt out.

      I also see that women have different caloric needs depending on what’s going on in their lives. Resistance training adds a much higher caloric requirement than those silly exercise calorie counters might suggest, due to the high cost of repair and growth of muscles.

      A personal example: when I was breastfeeding and on an IF plan that looked very similar to the BP-IF protocol, I was tracking my food and eating close to 3000 calories a day. I was also performing about 20 minutes of resistance exercise 3 days a week. In this time (roughly 2 months) I lowered my bodyfat percentage from about 27% to about 22%.

      Currently, about 6 months after the breastfeeding relationship ended, I’m doing what we call “Carb back-loading style IF” and eating something like 2000 calories a day. I’m 135 pounds and 20% body fat, seeing slow but steady fat loss (and more importantly, still gaining muscle).

      The nice thing about eating a Bulletproof style diet, and following the BP-IF protocol, is that even if you overeat calories, it is virtually impossible to store any fat. Avoiding all carb and excess protein intake sees to that.

      And fat is immensely satisfying. It’s far easier — and far safer for your metabolism and retention of your lean body mass — to fast with little bits of fat than it is to fast completely or to try to eat “in moderation”.

      • Dave Asprey

        Well said! “And fat is immensely satisfying. It’s far easier — and far safer for your metabolism and retention of your lean body mass — to fast with little bits of fat than it is to fast completely or to try to eat “in moderation”.”

  • I am 44, 5’9″, and about 120 lbs overweight since 1995. I have been doing Chris Kresser’s Personal Paleo for the last 3 weeks. I was eating a lax grain-free low carb diet. This 30 day reset omits sugar, alcohol, grains, starches, dairy, nightshades and eggs (for my situation). I love eating eggs for breakfast but I’m off them now. I’m having bulletproof coffee with Upgraded Self beans. It keeps me going for about 4-5 hours until lunch. I have lost about 2-3 lbs per week. I’m tracking what I eat. I am averaging 2200 – 2300 calories per day with the breakdown being 75% fat, 17% protein and 8% carbs. I’m eating lots of veggies but this breakdown above is % of calories and not volume. This diet is satiating and enjoyable. I am excited to add the foods back in and find out whether I react to them or not.

    I think I like caffeine a little bit too much. I usually prefer black tea with raw cream. Even though I’m off dairy, I decided not to give up butter. I like the butter delivery system with bulletproof coffee. There was already decreased joint inflammation prior to starting paleo. I am noticing some unwelcome side effects such as irregular heartbeats that I didn’t have before. I think I have to switch back to tea.

    • Dave Asprey

      You might try switching to ghee if you’re doing the Kresser 30 day cleanse. I haven’t read up on it, but it sounds like the Bulletproof diet if you were to pull out eggs and butter. Egg allergies are a problem for many and doing a 30 day test of no eggs is a good idea if you’re having inflammation problems….
      The heart racing – how are your adrenals? Getting enough salt?

  • Hi Dave,
    I just wanted to say thank you, sincerely, so sincerely, for honoring the research and trends that we have begun unearthing in all of this. I am not 100 percent sold on BPE IF, mostly because I think fat helps with the adrenals but may leave out an important leptin piece, but honestly I am not sure… and so many people see positive results that I think the ultimate answer is to try it and see. That being said, it is fairly well attested to in the literature that fasting induces mental clarity and alertness in women as a tool for foraging for food, so we often feel benefits that may in fact ultimately lead to hormonal dysregulation (ie, insomnia to help us stay awake and find food). So we should pay attention to more than just energy, and also be aware of what’s happening with our metabolisms and fertility, etc, as we move forward. As a final note, there are probably differences for women who are overweight versus women who fall in the normal weight range, with IF stressing out the normal women more since their bodies are more sensitive to the fat stores.
    All that being said, I just wanted to get that piece out of the way and to say again that I am honored by your respect and attention. I love how you talk about your diet–paleo friendly but not paleo deprived–and the fact that you care about stress and men and women each and babies and holistic health. Well. All that is to say. Thank you from me and from the planet, which needs your kind of passion and approach.

    • Dave Asprey

      Likewise, I appreciate your blog and what you’re doing! You’re right; a carb refeed every 3-7 days seems to handle leptin well. Adrenal extract during weight loss seems to help as well!

  • Ashley

    Here’s a link to Mark’s response to Stefani’s post:


    • Dave Asprey

      That was a good response. Too bad he didn’t mention bulletproof intermittent fasting which has better effects for women.

      • Mfb47

        Maybe he doesn’t agree with you.

  • What substance(s) in coffee is responsible for withdrawal symptoms? I wonder why some get headache when not getting their coffee.

    You say that toxin free coffee causes less adrenal stress. What about the caffeine, does that increase cortisol or adrenalin? I thought it did.

    • Dave Asprey

      Caffeine is what causes withdrawal headaches…but those happen 1-2 days after you stop drinking. The headache an hour or two after a cup of coffee is biogenic amines or mycotoxins or both.

  • Charlotte

    Wonderful post Dave! (I also loved Stefani’s.) I am a 39 year old woman and I have experimented with IF and it works well for me. I do not identify as ‘paleo’ – in fact I avoid all dietary labels (both kinds). I have lost body fat and gained lean muscle since I began experimenting with IF 3-4 months ago, I seem to sleep better, my digestion seems to function more efficiently and I have a feeling of improved overall wellness and energy. I tend to fast most days during the morning and only have a 1-2 cups of herbal tea with some coconut oil stirred through it until at least 12pm. I am rarely, if ever, hungry and my mind is clear. I am constantly in touch with my body and I break the fast if either of these change – it has maybe happened once in the last 3 months that I felt like I needed food before I could get lunch around 12.30-1pm. However, I do not have any obvious hormonal disruption and my stress levels are very low and I understand this is not the case for many women.

    Anyway, I wanted to share my experience and I also wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom with us. You have taught me much! Namaste.

  • Evaline Jane

    Hi Dave! I started drinking bulletproof coffee a few weeks ago, have definitely been enjoying it. I am a 30 year old female, 5’10, 160 pounds looking to lose 10-15 lbs. I started doing BP-IF this week. Monday and Tuesday I did OK with it, by Wednesday at 1pm, I was starting to have an anxiety attack and tunnel vision (vision was going black around the edges). I ate a banana and a salad, and seemed OK after that (still a little light headed and weak though. I guess I am just wondering if you have had anyone else have similar results with this. I did not feel energized or good, but hungry and foggy minded. I am using your bulletproof coffee, Kerry Gold butter and MCT oil. I have recently been for a physical and my fasting blood sugar/blood tests all came back normal. I would love to be able to reap the health benefits of this type of fast, any ideas what could be going on here?

    • Dave Asprey

      You may not be ready for intermittent fasting depending on your health condition. Try adrenal extract (I like Pure Encapsulations) and additional salt. Just a lack of salt in the morning can cause those symptoms. Add 1 Tbs of honey at night. And see a doctor if you need to! ?

  • Meghan Kennihan

    I know a lot of women who are not the biggest fans of red meat…What do you suggest for clients who just don’t like red meat? Can they thrive on a paleo diet eating turkey, chicken, seafood, and eggs? Also, what are your thoughts on Boars Head Turkey Breast…. Honey Smoked, Oven Roasted, Maple Glazed… see [URL=”http://www.boarshead.com/nutrition.php”]nutrition guide[/URL]…. are these ok?

    • Dave Asprey

      Processed chicken or turkey breast is a very bad idea for lots of reasons. Either is preserved with toxic preservatives or it will have biogenic amine or mycotoxin problems or both. Sadly, the type of fats in poultry are not nearly as good for you as the type in red meat. Adding more agents will help but not completely solve the problem.

  • kitty

    I am really glad you posted about this Dave. I felt so weird when I tried the Full fast with bulletproof coffee (but calorie restricted) and then after a couple days I suddenly was hyper,fidgety, and anxious. Thought about food all the time. My period came late that month and I hardly slept at all. Very frustrating. I read Stefani’s post on Paleo for women about fasting and the effects on women. I knew exactly what she was talking about. I referred to her website in the BPExec forum to another woman who was looking at extended fasting. I already stressed out my adrenals and thyroid with a long restricted calorie vegan diet with lots of soy milk (yum!!! not..) and TOFU (RIP thyroid). Not to mention the cardio everyday. Im going back onto the IF this week. Hopefully it will pump me for uni exams. 🙂 I think the hardest part for most women is to just accept their bodies and listen to them. I ignored mine for so long I only just recently, after 8 months of dropping veganism, have begun to read my signals better. The bulletproof executive has been a real life saver. Thanks you 🙂

    • kitty

      Make that ‘Thank you’

    • Dave Asprey

      You’re so welcome. Thanks for reading. Knowing the blog is helping people makes it more than worth the effort! ?

      • kitty

        I really enjoy the blog and forum. The blog is super helpful and the forum is great for us upgraded paleoists to share our experiences. Will you write more on women specific things? We really need it. 🙂

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  • i tried intermittent fasting and i got sick the next day. BOGUS. Thanks for calling them out on their b.s.

    • Mfb47

      Just cause it didn’t work for you doesn’t mean it’s bogus. It makes a lot more sense than a lot of b.s. out there including having coffee with butter in it. Yuck.

  • Chameleon199

    I have been Primal for 2 years and just recently tried BP-IF. Caffeine makes me crazy. I get heart palpitations and anxiety. I have thyroid and adrenal fatigue, so I am thinking I should fix those first. Do you have any product recommendations?

  • Marc

    I’ve been doing leangains style IF for months now with no problems. I actually feel great.

    I’m wondering, though, what does the fat in the BP coffee do to the production of growth hormone? I’m assuming it breaks the fast, causes a release of insulin, and stops HGH production.

    • Sieger

      This question is exactly what I was looking to answer in reading this post. I’m currently following the Engineering The Alpha diet and workout plan which includes IF. I’m like you, and curious if I should add in BP-IF or if it will hinder my GH response.

    • Michal

      Please, any new answers to this? I know it’s old, but am really curious about the possible inhibition of higher HGH secretion by the much energetic meal – the fat in the coffee. I know that fat doesn’t raise insulin, but what about the other benefits of the IF – the HGH and testosterone levels? Thank you

    • Dr. P

      Fat, especially MCTs, produce a relatively tiny insulin response compared to carbohydrates . I do not know whether a small amount of MCT consumption would affect the fasting state enough to significantly change the AUC for plasma HGH. As a side note, the HGH boost from intense exercise has a much greater effect on HGH than IF. In combination, ithe HGH reseponse may be even better, but I do not no if the data exists to support this. Endurance training, however, seems to decrease HGH.

      • mickey

        Awesome, thanks!

      • Marc

        This make sense to me, do you have any citations?

  • LadyBud

    Coffee, on an empty stomach, seems to make me hungry, with or without the GF butter and MTC oil. I was wondering if I ate a couple boiled eggs, or even just the whites, before a yummy cup of BPC, would that ruin my IF and throw me out of ketosis? I generally eat low carb and tend to keep my carbs around 50 grams per day. I look forward to your response. Thank you!!

    • Dave Asprey

      Sadly protein will break the fast. 🙁 Maybe one soft yolk only (no white) may be ok for some. Results vary.

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  • Jessica Jane

    I’m a young, probably overtrained and certainly stressed-out female trying to get back my lean mean energy I used to have a few years back. I’ve eaten paleo since mid-2009 in combination with weight lifting/crossfitesque workouts but don’t feel as great as I used to when I started. I was wondering, can I replace coconut oil or grass-fed butter with coconut butter (aaaaamazing), or even coconut milk in the mornings instead? I get a little nauseated eating straight-up fat in the morning. Are there tactics to mitigate this response? Just consume less fat? Drink more water? Thank you, Bulletproof Exec! 😉

    • Dave Asprey

      If you add relatively small amts of carbs or protein it doesn’t do the same fasting effect. Try betaine hcl and or lipase and or ginger capsules for nausea!
      Sent from my nobile phone. You understand…

      • Paleomeo

        What about 1-2t of ACV with 8oz of water in the morning? I’ve found it really helped me with eliminating fishy burps from fermented CLO in the past, seems to eliminate nausea w/ bulletproof coffee as well. Does this break the fast?

  • dill

    interesting! i have coconut oil but i don’t like taking more than 2 or 3 tablespoons. seems too much!
    i remember a period when i pigged out daily on good dark chocolate – and lost ALOT of weight. similar concept? if you get the 90% and 99% chocolate it’s pretty much cocoa butter and polyphenols….
    cause i can’t take coffee.

  • Really interesting… I am pregnant and have naturally done IF and consistently tried to make myself conform to the 6 small meals a day adage, leaving me totally stressed and gaining weight. I am going to try to tweak my diet and see if it helps!

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  • joe

    you don’t have to starve yourself on IF. I eat 3000 calories a day on IF and lose fat and build muscle, following paleo diet.

    This article does not understand wtf IF is, or at least what lean gains IF is visit leangains.com fast 16 hours eat 8 hours

    • Dave Asprey

      Joe I ate 4000 calories and gained muscle on bulletproof IF

      Don’t understand your comments about leangains…of course I know it.

      Sent from my nobile phone. You understand….

    • margaret vasquez

      This post was more geared towards women. Obviously leangains has been proven to work great but the fact is that a lot of women don’t respond as well to plain IF. That’s why bulletproof IF is optimal for women. This girl with the username paleoangel I believe? went into severe depression and found herself breaking out and not losing any weight with normal IF.

    • IF guy

      Margaret and Dave – what Joe is referring to is this statement in the article:

      “Many women find that with intermittent fasting comes sleeplessness, anxiety, and irregular periods, among a myriad of other symptoms hormone dysregulations.

      This matches what I see – low calories lead to low energy, stress, and hormone dysregulation in both men and women, but it happens faster in women. That’s one of the reasons I don’t believe in caloric restriction as a generally healthy practice.”

      This is a misunderstanding and mischaracterization of intermittent fasting. In IF you don’t restrict daily caloric intake _at all_. You compress the time period in which those calories are consumed.

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  • Jess

    Hi Dave,

    You mentioned your wife had PCOS. I have recently been diagnosed with this. My diet has been paleo for the past 3 years and my nutrient levels are all in check (recently had Spectra Cell blood test done). However, with my hormones out of wack, I’ve been gaining 1-2 lbs per week for the past several months. What did your wife do to get her hormones back in sync? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thank You,


  • Magda

    Hmmm. I have been doing BP IF for about a month and have put on weight instead of losing it. Anyone else have a similar experience?

    • ccattwood

      coconut oil makes me gain weight immediately!

    • Robyn

      Yes, I am still trying to figure out if IF bulletproof coffee/diet is good for most women, or at least – for me. I am so used to working out that only drinking bulletproof coffee until 2pm with no protein before that is messing with my workout routine. I workout in the morning usually but now i drink the BPEcoffee w mct oila nd grass fed butter at 8am’ish, go about my day, work out around 1pm, and hten break my fast at 2pm right after working out w a green plant based protein smoothie. Then a bullet proof meal for dinner. Stop eating around 7pm.
      Only putting on weight- and the only cheat i do is a glass of red wine now and again.
      Anyone have any feedback if there is something I can do to improve?

  • Reka

    Hi, I’m very interested in how exactly Lana beat PCOS. I guess most of it was through the Bulletproof Diet but if you guys have a little time to point out the most important details for this syndrome it would be most appreciated. I lost the excess fat but still have very irregular periods which never bothered me before but now I’m worried about fertility.

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  • Naya

    Hey Dave,

    I want to put on healthy weight with the Bulletproof Diet.
    After serveral illnesses I´m lightly underweighted and I haven’t had a period since May.

    How can women gain healthy (muscle) weight the most effectively? Is it usefull to do Bulletproof IF or eat serveral meals a day?

    • Dave Asprey

      Eat several Bulletproof meals a day – no IF if weight gain is the goal. My wife gained 20lbs and then stabilized using that technique, and she’d been 20lbs under weight for more than 15 years, no matter what she ate.

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  • Lauren

    I’ve always tried to make my food as rich in nutrients as possible. Still, our everyday life sometimes does not allow to receive all vitamins and minerals from the food we take. I have read the article about nutritional supplements, it stated that supplements are necessary to support your body. After some research, I’ve decided to try military grade nutritionals – supplements which i considered natural and safe. Within 1 month I have already noticed the results. My tone went up, I was sleeping much better and my energy increased considerably. Now I am feeling better and stronger than ever before.

  • Jennie Martinez

    Hi Dave, so I’m a busy college student. Over the past couple of months I’ve gained LOT of extra weight from an absolutely horrible, unhealthy diet-mostly from stress eating. I’m around 155 pounds at 5’2. I’m looking to lose between 40-50 pounds. School and work can get pretty stressful at times and I’m wondering if BP IF would work for me. Also can you put coconut butter or cocoa powder in the coffee? Thanks.

  • I think something to we all need to consider here is the context. It wouldv’e made sense for men to fast then feast since they were Hunters and would’ve had to stalk animals, sprint after them, and lift/drag them back to camp. When would women have needed to fast? They were probably taking care of babies back at the hut. I was a huge advocate of IF at first because it worked like a charm, but then I started feeling like everything in my body was rebelling. During 2010-2012 I was eating only whole foods with a few time a month treat grains, and was occassionally eating oatmeal, quinoa or Ezekiel bread during 2010-2012. I always had skin issues but everything else felt great. As of 2013 I decided to go totally grain free and started IF (20/4) and immediately dropped 8 pounds and felt awesome at first. My skin looked better than ever. About 10 lbs from my dream weight I decided to return to my sprints and weight HIIT w/os. I did three workouts that week and gained 12 pounds overnight. I kept up the IF and Paleo but it’s like my adrenaline and metabolism put on the breaks. I think I’ll do a full day fast a few times a month, but I am thinking about nixing the 1-2 meal a day idea and going back to something more regular. I was actually considering adding some gluten free grains like oatmeal and rice a couple times a week to balance my insulin, which always feels elevated on IF. I plan to keep up the 3x a week at least dynamic workouts, so don’t want my body to think it’s starving or in distress.

    • ccattwood

      this was me, exactly! I lost 18 pounds in 8 months doing 18/6 and felt great. I maintained that weight loss but at about the 14-16 month mark my body rebelled. I bloated up, my core temp dropped dangerously low, I could not get warm for anything, I had zero energy, and my adrenals were shutting down. I quit coffee, and began eating THREE meals a day, adding back my favourite former foods – oats and sourdough rye bread – and have yet to regain any of the weight lost, but the health improvements are drastic. My body temp is normal, I can actually sweat again when I exercise (exercise feels good again!), and I am a more pleasant person to be around. There is so little info out there for females and IF’ing longterm. Good luck!

    • T_M_G

      I think you’re dramatically oversimplifying the lives of women way back. There was probably a fair bit of child rearing going on, but if we look to more “primitive” cultures today, women are working morning to night, often out gathering food, firewood, medicine, whatever they need. They will spend the vast majority of the day doing chores that are at least somewhat demanding, while of an age and ability to do so. That means they’re essentially working out at a slow pace all day, and may not have access to foods during this time. There’s probably much less sprinting going on, or anything else that’s high intensity exercise, which is likely why they don’t experience adrenal burnout (among other reasons). I imagine that there is a fair bit of fasting going on for these women as a practicality of life, as well as during food shortages, and seasonal availability. Women are usually the ones who end up suffering the most when food is scarce. It sounds to me more like your issue could be adrenal burnout (which is a complex issue of course), rather than the fasting. Have you checked out nettle seeds for this? It’s worth a google.

  • Sophie2

    all interesting and exciting info — Great and good. I have life-long allergic (severe rxs) to cows/ruminants milk and soy and wheat (not chemically lactose nor gluten intolerant per many and duplicate blood tests as well as morphia and sulfa, sulfites and some sulfates -a rare phenom). Suggestions for use besides butter — i can only use a small amount of coconut oil (organic extra virgin – cool processed). Not asking for medical advice just tips. Thank you.

  • Alison

    Fasting for 8 hours before bed always rebalances all my hormonal homeostatic issues immediately (regulates blood sugar, resets circadian rhythms when travelling, improves my libido, makes me feel much fresher in the morning, gives me good cognitive performance the next day, among other things). The trick is to be a complete pig before hand!:)
    I don’t suffer any of the things you mention here because before the fast I eat copious rich fatty foods and have as many calories as I would in a normal day. IF is definitely not a problem for this woman!

  • Jojo

    Ive been eating fairly bulletproof for awhile but I just ordered my first batch of bulletproof coffee after wanting to try it for a long time. I’m excited to try the bulletproof intermittent fasting but I’m hung up on one thing. It has been so engrained in me how important protein first thing in the morning is for weight loss and I notice here that on this fast there is no protein till after 2pm. Can I really skip the protein and lose the weight? Also will I then have enough energy to do my morning work outs and if so, should I have the coffee before or after my one-hour exercise/ strength routines? Please get back to me! Thanks.

    • Juliana

      I hope this comment gets a reply! Im wondering the exact same thing!

    • Sally Oh

      Leangains Martin says protein is required before a fasting workout. He suggests a BCAA drink 10-15 minutes before the workout and that this doesn’t really break the fast. I have not done enough study on this to know if it’s true. But it is true that a fasting workout is catabolic meaning it breaks down rather than builds up. Maybe read up over there.

      You get energy from fats. I have no trouble with morning energy with my bulletproof coffee. Even when I workout in the am.

      I have found no reliable corroboration to the idea that protein first thing in the am is critical to weight loss.

    • Alison R

      Be careful waiting until 2 pm to eat especially if your last meal was by or before 6:30 pm the previous day. His food roadmap is confusing this way. From what I gather is you must eat 15-18 hours between meals. The 2 pm is based on eating dinner at 8 pm the previous day. I was doing this all wrong focusing on the 2 pm time but we eat dinner at 6:00 pm every night with the kids. I had to move my lunch up to NOON.

      • HeatherENowak



      • michele reep

  • Amanda

    Hi Dave,
    A lot of comments have asked about PCOS, but I haven’t found a reply yet. I am also “suffering” from this syndrome, and have been unable to go off the pill for years due to extremely long periods (over 10 weeks). How did your wife combat this with her diet? Just paleo and bullet proof?

  • Colleen

    I’ve been having just coffee with mct oil and a little bit of 18% cream in it for breakfast…. at 6:30. I’m wondering if the cream in my coffee would be causing insulin production and ruining the fast…. and therefore not resulting in fat burning…I’m usually getting hungry by 10:00….. then I eat a couple of eggs with butter…. and I eat lunch around 12:00. should I cut out the cream? I’d use grassfed butter if I could but I can’t find it here.

  • jnb

    IF works wonderfully for this woman! It’s changed my life and couldn’t feel more natural. Of course one will experience all those sympoms but they will disappear over time. The body is shocked at first like it would be with any major change. Especially dice most of us have abused our bodies for so long stuffing unnecessary food…this is common sense to me.

  • skeptic

    This article is bull. You have not referenced any reliable sources or data from any studies to prove your point.

    Also,” lost 100lbs without using calories or exercise”. Exercise is good for you and those who want to lose weight without it are just plain lazy and unhealthy. The pounds may come off, but it does not mean that you are healthy.

    • Nicole

      FYI – not all people can exercise as much as they need or want to. I myself have an autoimmune disorder called Myasthenia Gravis (meaning Severe Muscle Weakness). It has taken me from being a vibrant, active and strong adult to one that can handle very little exercise without passing out from exhaustion. As a result, I have had the pounds creep on over the last few years, and learning about IF and changing the macro nutrient levels around in your diet without having to starve ones self is an amazing gift. An added bonus is that eating a low-carb, high fat diet while including IF gives me more energy all the time.

  • mammaH

    Hi I’m a breastfeeding mother who does modified IF. And right now im drinkimg my first cup of bulletproof coffee with coconut oil. Its amazing tasting.. as a breastfeeding mother I never go over a 12-14 hour fast. I work out 6 days a week. I love it. Any tips or suggestions as to make the most out of my Bulletproof fasting without depleting my milk production? I love eating healthy fa s and have no problem doing so. Any advive would be great. Thanks

  • Mina Hang

    Im a nursing mom and I was wondering if it’s safe to drink BF coffee?

    • Damion

      Yes. Just don’t drink it while you are nursing in case of spills.

  • Nik Kosmas

    If I want to gain weight shouldn’t I drink whey protein and carbs in the morning to stop the overnight catabolic processes? And wouldn’t fat slow that down? Perhaps a fat snack mid morning ?

    • Zorica Vuletic

      I would think to gain the weight, the whey protein and carbs in morning would help. You could probably add the BP coffee to your other morning food to still get the mental boost though. Try to experiment and see what you get. In the end there is still individual variation and that’s where self experimentation comes in.

      • Zorica Vuletic

        p.s. I assume it’s muscle you want to gain??

  • M Rembert

    Hi Dave,
    Would the principles of ‘bullet proofing’ work on other drinks – I’m not a fan of coffee but can see the sense in having healthy fats during a fast? Can you suggest substitutes? Would it work with milk for example?

    • chomps

      The point of using coffee is that coffee doesn’t have calories, much less carbs. Milk is full of sugar. Try tea.

  • bfoon

    As a youngish woman I am grateful for this post. I have just come across this website and have been reading everything I can about BP diet and lifestyle. I can’t wait to get started. Thank you Dave and to this community.

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  • Trisha

    So what about peri menopause? I am almost over the peri phase and the ONLY way I have successfully lost weight is with IF. I eat one large healthy lunch about 2 pm daily, workout at 5pm, have a healthy small dinner at 7pm. Easiest and quickest weight loss since in my twenties. At age fifty one, I am well on my way back to the body I had in my twenties. For exercise, I lift weights and rebound 30 minutes most days of the week.

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  • Com265

    I tried the BP coffee for breakfast/lunch routine and gained weight…tremendously. Several pounds in a few days. I have also tried the Fast Diet 5:2 plan which drops weight albeit very slowly.

    I generally eat a low carb diet so I am now adding that to the 5:2 or 5:3 plan. Am I burning out adrenals?

    The BP coffee used to cause tremendous headaches so I switched back to coconut oil from the pure MCT oil. I might try it again on the non-fast days.

    We need more research. I feel we are all grasping at little straws of incomplete data!

  • PrettyLolita

    I do intermittent fasting and have non of these problems. It is advised that women fast for 10 hours and fast the rest.

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  • cherly23

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  • Afh

    Sounds like youre just trying to sell your coffee…

    • Zorica Vuletic


  • Lynn Hauka

    Thanks for more information on this subject. I’m post-menopausal so fertility isn’t an issue. I would like to find more info for PM women. I find I can IF easily if I measure success in simply not eating for 14-20 hours. Initially I feel good: alert and energetic. However the pattern I’ve now observed is that after a couple of days my emotional state really goes south. I will feel extremely touchy and overly sensitive to the least thing, and almost paranoid. A bit like PMS but not quite that. Following that, my energy will suddenly plunge. I’ve been primal for a year with great success and have been in fat burning mode for months. Finally I just decided I’ll eat when I’m hungry and won’t when I’m not. So yeah, listen to your body!

    • Zorica Vuletic

      It seems that you don’t need to do it every day. Just do it for how long it makes you feel good and if it happens on the third day that you would like some lunch as well, then eat some lunch. Or whatever pattern that ends up feeling good. 🙂 Ya, I am kind of in agreement about the PM. I really don’t see much info. on PM women. It’s mainly on reproductive age, followed by pre and/or menopausal women. I would like to see how things are in PM. Is it more similar state to what guys can get away w/? Since it seems less of ‘all’ hormones, not fluctuating or in the process of them lowering, but at different times various ratios? Btw, do you feel better in PM than in menopausal?

      If I can judge based on just one anecdotal evidence, it seems that a family relative that I know is enjoying life and seems to be happier since she has turned 60 than in her 50s. I think menopause was kind of hard for her (but not so severe and bad like I hear of some people). She just seems much more calm and happier these past few years compared to the previous decade. (and before that she was always pretty happy and content w/ no chronic issues, but did have a huge hep A virus at age 30 which she recovered from).

  • sue

    I have been doing bpc for about two months now.. I am 59 years young and feel great. I cut out all grains and sugar including sugar. I dont see many women in my age range doing this. I eat a very small lunch and dinner.. I rarely feel hungry and only eat when I am. I have tons of energy. Yoga once a week and will start weights twice a week. I do think about keeping my muscle tone. I am always tweeking for great results on this eating lifestyle. Its the best for me now and in the long run.

  • sue

    I mean all sugar including fruit..

  • Amy

    I am done having children, but am struggling with the hormone issues of PCOS. How can this system of eating help with that imbalance? How does it compare to bio identical hormone replacement?

  • Robin Maisel

    It’s my understanding that bulletproof coffee would break the fast, even if it keeps insulin low, because of the high calorie count. Is that not correct?

    • GoodStew

      no it is not correct

  • Katie Aleman

    I have recently started IF and I feel amazing, am dropping weight (I only need to drop 15 lbs), I’m still breastfeeding my 10 month old with no issues.

    I understand the thinking behind the butter/coffee combo, I’ll have to believe your word on it regarding the taste. However, wouldn’t it be much easier to simply enjoy full, balanced meals during your eating window? Any time you fully satiate your appetite the danger of your body thinking it is starving dissapears. I make sure that I’m not hungry one bit during my 8 hour window 10-6, plus I eat my dinner at 6. I go to bed at 10 and sleep like a baby (my daughter sleeps from 7:30 pm til 7:30 am).

    So many people tend to over stress and take ideas too far, ie paleo + if + caloric deficit. It is a recipe for disaster. If you pick 2 out the 3 above you will lose weight and feel good.

    • shiNIN

      People are different. I’m just very temporarily hungry inside or outside my 4-6 hours eating window (I’m a simple one and a hedonist, when I’m hungry, I eat :D) but many people don’t take IF well. It’s okay, we don’t all need to do IF, it’s not the Only Healthy Way to Eat.
      Caloric deficit is a must if one wants to lose weight, it’s very basic, we can’t trick laws of nature. I can’t lose weight on paleo+keto+IF(20/4) if I eat too much, well of course I can’t. If one doesn’t consciously restrict calories but lose weight while they want to, they are lucky, they automatically eat at a deficit. I’m different but I always satisfy my hunger with yummy food unlike many dieters so I’m good. I just lose weight slowly but it’s cool.

  • Lauren

    Dave, I really enjoy the taste and benefits of Bulletproof coffee with unsalted butter and MCT Oil, but I have developed severe acne. Do you have any idea if it is a phase (I have only been drinking it for 3 weeks) or if there is a substitute (perhaps Ghee) that might work the same way without the acne side effects?

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  • Sarah C

    I wonder if any other women have had my issue. I had adrenal fatigue, but corrected it (according to saliva tests) over about a three year period. I gained about 20 lbs in the process following the Schwarzbein Principle. Last year I was ready to shed the weight so I started my first real “diet”. I was intermittent fasting and eating a very low fat high protein diet. I know that’s retarded, but it worked. Problem is, eating a high fat, moderate protein diet, and still IF, I’ve gained a good 7 lbs. of the 13 I lost back. I’ve been IF for a year, and still wake up starving every morning- I drink a few cups of coffee, a lot of herbal tea, and watch that clock till noon! I know I shouldn’t keep fasting when I’m starving, but I’m terrified of gaining the rest of the weight back. I’ve tried BPC several times. I love the taste, and I bought all the products. Problem is I gain a pound or two in literally 2 days! So then I stop of course. I don’t know what to do. I feel like I’m trapped. I’m almost 40 years old, physically fit, but a little heavier than I’d like. I feel like BPC is a great idea, but why does it make me gain weight? I STILL feel hungry by noon when I have it too! Can anyone help me? I feel desperate!

    • Alison R

      Sarah what time are you eating your last meal the day before? if you are eating by 6:00 pm and then having dessert like a protein shake with MCT oil before bed then BPC the following morning by 7:00 am, you should be able to last until Noon. It took me awhile to figure out how to manage this IF correctly and still get enough calories in that day. I used MyFitnessPal app to track so I get in the needed calories so my body doesn’t think it is starving.

  • Michal

    Usually I’m intermittent fasting every day for about 16-22 hours and am curious (and according to the comments not the only one) if the morning coffee doesn’t inhibit the higher HGH production during the fast. Please help as that is one of the main reasons I fast.

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  • Lorraine

    I tried BP coffee for about a month (1T MCT oil & 1T grassfed butter blended in coffee every morning). At first I felt the mental benefits Dave describes, but those subsided after a couple of weeks, at which point I didn’t feel any particular benefit. It also did not curb my hunger in the morning most days. I would have the coffee before a brief, intense, HIIT workout and found that I’d be hungry within an hour after the workout. If I didn’t work out and I waited until lunch time to eat, I would be VERY hungry and low blood sugar cranky by noon. Regardless of whether I exercised in the morning, I would pretty much be hungry while drinking the coffee or immediately after drinking the coffee. I also gained 10 lbs on the coffee (I was not underweight or overweight when I started). I have since stopped the BP coffee and instead blend 1T MCT oil or a tablespoon or two of coconut milk to my coffee and have it with a smoothie. I’m not sure why the coffee didn’t work for me, any ideas?! I am female, btw.

  • Carola S

    How is it intermittent fasting, then? Doesn’t the bulletproof coffee break the fast?

  • Kathleen

    Do I put collegian protein in my a.m. Coffee? Someone told me NO protein during a.m. Fasting? I’m sooo confused!

    • gramavegas2010

      I add the BulletProof Collagen Protein (30 grams) to my coffee every morning per the directives in Skye St.John’s book “No Fail Fat Burning For Women” which is all about the Bulletproof diet for women…… also Asprey’s book says to add it in the morning as well – especially women.

    • Alison R

      Yes it is very confusing!! In the book Dave says women over 40 and those that need to lose weight should have protein after or with the coffee at least 25-30 grams. You can only get this by eating 2 eggs and adding 2 tbsp of his collagen protein to the coffee or eating 4 oz of meat protein. People are also confused that eating at 2 pm the following day is based on eating at 8 pm the previous night. If you eat dinner early it’s important to count the hours in between 15-18 and play around with what works for you. Any longer than 18 hours is going to tell your body you are starving and make you gain weight. Hope this helps!

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  • pinarberry

    Hi. I’ve been doing BP IF for more than 5 weeks maybe. I have non of those problems. ( 28 years old 5′ 9 160 lbs ) I am struggling with weight some fat from my body for a long time. I know I dont have too much weight to lose but since last year I cant lose any weight.
    I am OK with 16:8 style (mostly 18:6). I eat healthy/paleo foods – no diary -, I use ketostix to see if I am in Keto. They show me usually small trace.
    I’ve reading many articles, checking lots of web sites.But I couldn’t figue it out yet.
    So the question is ‘Should I stick to macros like 10/25/65 or calories? ( depends on my TDEE – around 2000 calories)
    If the answer is calories, than I have to tell that in 6 hours window I cant eat 2000 cal specially without diary. Is this the reason that I cant lose weight because I don’t eat enough?

    P.S. Sorry about my English. It is not my first language. I hope you cant understand and answer me.

    • gramavegas2010

      If you can’t seem to get enough calories from food in 6 hours, why not add more MCT oil, or butter to your meals. That will up the calories. I don’t even check, or count, calories on this. Ever. There are better ways to check ketosis than those strips. Keto meters are available and I just read about Keto-Sport which reads ketones in your breath.

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  • EKS

    Are you all just eating scoops of oil? I don’t get the oil consumption, how to do it. It sounds like a gross thing to do.

    • gramavegas2010

      It’s anything but gross EKS. Where did you get that we are “just eating scoops of oil”???? The coffee with butter, MCT oil, Collagen Protein and Vanilla Stevia make my mornings heavenly! I am never hungry and often have to remind myself to eat in the afternoons. I get to eat my steaks and veggies and twice a week I have sweet potatoes with lots of butter and himalayan salt. Again, where did the “eating scoops of oil” come from.

    • shiNIN

      Scoops of oil doesn’t sound good indeed 🙂 But even ketoers don’t need to eat like that.
      I could easily eat sticks of butter, it’s yummy (I do it sometimes since I saw the South Park episode about it and I just had to try)… But sadly, I need to avoid very fatty stuff, my fat intake is high enough anyway… And I do keto…
      Where comes my fat? I eat fried vegetables and it means a lot of fat. Nuts, eggs… I rarely eat meat but I like only fatty ones anyway. I always ate much fat, it’s natural and good for me.
      Ketoers tend to consume a lot of heavy cream and different kinds of cheese too. Well probably not the paleoers though paleo means very different things for different people…

      • shiNIN

        I forgot to mention BP coffee or just coffee with some butter, made foamy and creamy with a stick blender, tastes great. At least for most people. If I just add oil, it’s no good, but the butter foam… Yummy!

  • uluruonyou

    I’m a 37 year old fit female on day two, but both days have been challenging. Day 1 the caffeine made me sweat and I was anxious. I was hungry by 11. Day 2 I switched to decaf, upped the butter and MCT to 2 tbls each. I woke up hungry and was hungry all morning, the bulletproof coffee did do anything. I finally gave in and ate lunch at 12:30, grass fed beef, arugula, salted grass fed butter and a small amount butternut squash salted. I’m now sleepy. Is this part of the transition?

  • I know this is an old post but thought it good to say that according to BP book women over 40 should have some protein with/straight after their BPC in the morning – probably a lot of research and observation taken place since this post 2 years ago… thanks for keeping the research going Dave

    from book:

    “EAT PROTEIN WITH BREAKFAST If you’re over 40 and/ or have significant weight to lose, it might help you in the long-term if you add some protein to your breakfast. Try mixing grass-fed collagen right into your Bulletproof Coffee. This will make you hungrier sooner than regular Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting because it kicks on your body’s digestion process and effectively ends your fast, but it will also help reset your leptin levels, allowing you to both feel better in the long run and lose weight faster. When you’re in maintenance mode, try adding some Bulletproof protein like pastured eggs or whey protein to your breakfast and see how you feel. Just don’t eat carbs in the morning unless you want your gut bacteria to tell your body to store fat all day long!”

  • Sharon

    Just found this site and am interested HOWEVER I DONT LIKE COFFEE.
    I only drink TEA (herbals and Rooibos) Can you provide an answer?

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  • Danielle Hernandez

    I actually started the bulletproof protocol of intermittent fasting and bulletproof coffee/vanilla latte in the morning for the last month. And today I found out I’m pregnant. In one month all of the inflammation and bloat that I had been feeling is gone. I feel wonderful. I did however start the Skye St John protocol ten days ago because I think I might have been leptin resistant because before I wasn’t losing any weight. Within her ten day protocol (using bulletproof coffee) I lost ten pounds. I’ve been looking for research as to whether it’s okay to continue this approach through pregnancy. I must say after reading this I feel confident that it’s okay. I will listen to my body as I go. Any ideas are welcome! Thanks Dave (and Skye) who have helped us get pregnant after trying for the last six months!!

  • Sally Oh

    I’m a fan of BP-IF. I am not a fan of using Stefani’s article or any of those studies either pro or con with regard to IF for women. None of the studies are big enough or long enough to measure anything reliably.

  • Mastodon

    I drink BPC (mtc oil & organic unsalted butter – unable to find grassfed in Canada ????) at 7am but I’m starving by 9am. Any ideas?

    • Marc

      Can you find grass fed ghee if kerry gold or anchor or local dairy isn’t panning out?

      Regarding hunger, I usually have a few cups of coffee spaced out from 7a to 1-2p with water and tea. Perhaps you can try having something ever hour or two. It took me a couple of weeks to adapt if IIRC, but that was > 3 years ago.

      • Mastodon

        Unfortunately, no luck with ghee either. Apparently it’s an ‘import’ issue.

        My last food intake was last night at 8:30… I had my 16oz BPC at 7am this morning… it’s now almost 11am and I want to eat the steering wheel.

        I will try a second cup of BPC. Easier when at home than at work due to the fact that I work out of my vehicle so maybe a good thermos is in order – cold oily coffee is not even remotely appealing.

    • Airfun

      hello Mastadon,

      You don’t say where in Canada, so this is general…Vitacost has grassfed ghee, in the forums there was a comment lately on grassfed butter in ON and BC.

      Good Luck!

  • Char L

    In the Bulletproof Diet book, adding collagen protein to Bulletproof coffee is recommended for women over 40, so I had been doing that for about 6 months. I’m finally learning from Dave Asprey to doubt what anyone else says and see what works for me. So I stopped adding the Bulletproof collagen protein to my morning Bulletproof coffee about a week ago. I have tons more energy, my brain is clearer, and I’m losing weight faster. I’m a 59 year old woman. So, if you see this comment Dave Asprey, I’m hoping you’ll let me know why women over 40 should be putting collagen protein in their Bulletproof coffee and not doing the intermittent fasting. I am still enjoying my collagen protein–in the afternoon in a cup of bone broth. Thanks so much Dave for all your information has done for me!

    • Lonni McDonough

      This is my exact question too. I’ve been adding the collagen protein too since I’m over 40 and peri-menopausal. My weight loss is at a stand still and wondered if I should cut this out in the morning. I too read from Dave that add it help women lose weight. It makes me hungrier before I break the fast too.

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  • Fatima Khawaja In London

    I don’t like coffee… I love teaspoons off solid ghee and solid coconut oil in my intermittent fasting window and eating window. Anyone else expiriencing anything similar?

  • alexis

    I’m a nursing mother, would it be safe for me to try bulletproof coffee?

  • CG Photography Brisbane

    Hi all, I can’t see an answer on this thread to one question in particular. If I’m on the normal Intermittent Bulletproof fast – should I exercise in the morning? Do I drink the coffee before or after the workout and is this ok/enough if I’m not eating until about 1pm due to the fast? Many thanks!

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  • Cheryl Diamond-Murray

    is the intermittent fasting the same for gastric bypass people?

  • Caroline Nie Ohuchi

    I thought I was doing IF but since I add collagen to the BF coffee , it was not consider IF unless you don’t have any protein at all. But than on the site , they say it is ok for women to add it as it is different for woman. I have started 3 months on this ketogenic/than Bulletproof but it is rather difficult. My weigh did not go down much. I have lost some love handles and lumps but now it seems to have plateau. I do only yoga and no weigh training. Not sure if it is because I am now on starting menopause that weight just don’t drop?I also take tons of supplemens like zinc, magnesium, amino acids,macs, evening primrose seed oil, krill oil, vitamin D3, calcium, pink salt, …

  • Linda Lensch

    No issues. Good success with intermittance, energy, mental acuity. Competitive female endurance paddler, etc.

  • lisa

    when I drink Bulletproof coffee with ingredients ordered from the company (2 tab ghee, 2 tab brain octane) i am starving and growling by 9 a.m. and literally have more stabbing hunger pains than are bearable. i have tried to deal with this by eating a cucumber. it is the most inocuous food i can think of. today, i do not like the taste of the ghee in the coffee and i am considering just using the brain octane. i would like to add some cream rather than the ghee but i understand the protein content is not allowed. additionally, do i never get to eat breakfast again? never some eggs? never a protein shake? everyone speaks of intermittent fasting as if they do it daily. i will need to numb this stabbing hunger somehow. it simply makes my hours until lunch so very very uncomfortable.

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  • Gina

    Hai Monika, I’m 51 and already out of menopause (started early at 38). I always weighted the same but with reaching 50 the weight crept up (not much, like 4 kilo’s but I like a fit body). I started IF but nothing happend with the weight. But… since drinking a BPC it’s so much better! I’m not hungry at all, feel awake and have the energy to workout. First I did kettlebell workouts but I heard it’s better to walk for 30-45 min. because, when you need more oxygen your body will make glucose and raise your insuline to get it to your muscles. So I would say, give it some more time. Make the BPC, go for a brisk walk and maybe you should lower your carb intake a bit more to get out of the ‘carb addiction mode’. Good luck. Gina (The Netherlands)

  • Danielle

    I’m a day eater and am rarely hungry at night. Is it still considered IF if I stop eating around 3:30 and then don’t eat the rest of the day until BP coffee in the morning with breakfast about an hour later?? I still get hungry after I drink the BP coffee.. (maybe not enough butter or MCT.. but it hurts my stomach so I can’t add more…)

  • Ashley Jeziorski

    I think it is relative. Everyone is different. For me, I ran into problems trying to be strict paleo. On top of that, working out all the time and I had a terrible high stress job. All these things lead to my weight gain and hormone imbalance. I felt stuck. But I didn’t just blame it on paleo. Or just my job. It is a combination of things. In the last month I gave up grains completely. I started to feel a lot better and stopped craving crap food. Now I am 2 weeks in going low carb and doing intermittent fasting. I eat in a 8 hour window. I had coffee with cashew milk and some coconut oil in the morning. I lost 5 pounds and I feel amazing. Also I am not suffering in the gym due to going low carb. Also I added yoga 4x a week and 15min meditation into my daily routine. I think different techniques work for different people. If anything I think this will help me get back to being fit and healthy and reset my hormones.