Step 1: Bulletproof Your Diet
By: Dave Asprey
June 7, 2012
I’m not going to write about every microcosm of dietary advice or debate every aspect of nutrition. In this article, I’m going to lay out a simple “do this-not that” plan for people who want to live as healthily as possible.
Before I do this, you need to understand one simple fact:
Biohacking starts with diet.
This may seem like hyperbole, but diet is almost magical. Going from a low-fat, high carb, whole grain, plant based diet to the Bulletproof Diet has made amazing changes. I’ve lost weight, increased my IQ, and reduced my risk for almost every known disease. Diet is the foundation for upgrading your IQ, managing stress, preventing disease, and optimizing physical performance.
There are five things your diet should do for you.
- Provide nutrition.
- Feed your brain.
- Fuel your body.
- Optimize physical performance.
- Keep you satisfied.
1. Provide nutrition
To paraphrase Michael Pollan, the world is becoming overfed and undernourished.
A good diet should provide all the nutrients your body needs to perform basic functions. Many people think of food just in terms of calories or macronutrients, which overlooks the most important part. Vitamins, minerals, enzymes, cofactors, and other micronutrients can’t be obtained from any source except diet. Your body can’t magically convert Cheerios into a source of real nutrition.
The first priority of eating well is eating what your body needs. This involves balancing macronutrients and micronutrients for optimal performance.
2. Feed your brain
Your brain is an organ like any other. It requires specific nutrients for optimal functioning, and doesn’t perform well when it’s malnourished. Malnourishment comes in many forms. It could be from a low calorie diet or from overeating the wrong foods. In order to have a high performing brain – you need to eat the right kinds of food.
3. Fuel your body
Imagine trying to write a book, negotiate a business agreement, or think of a new invention when you’re body feels like it’s been inside a cement mixer for a few days. I had this problem for years. I never thought of business as a physical stress, but it is. Just like an elite athlete needs the right food, businessmen need to keep their body ready to handle the demands of their job. If you’re like me, your job is a 12 month tour de force of (enjoyable) work. Getting sick, tired, and weak from your job is not an option. The solution is to keep your body impenetrable, be able to identify problems as they occur and account for weakness that may be specific to you, by understanding your body and taking care of it properly.
4. Optimize physical performance
Many of the people I work with are busy entrepreneurs who also love sports. While I don’t personally exercise on a regular basis, I understand the value of smart exercise and sports. Even though the Bulletproof Diet is designed for people who don’t necessarily want to exercise, there are very simple adaptions that can turn it into the perfect nutritional formula for anyone from Ironman athletes to power lifters. With a few simple tweaks, the Bulletproof Diet can become your secret weapon for high octane fueled sports performance.
5. Keep you satisfied
Bad food tastes like crap. Enough said.
There are many other things a good diet should do, but those are the top five. So how do you accomplish all five with the least amount of work?
Enter The Bulletproof Diet
The Bulletproof Diet took me 15 years of research and self experimentation. It’s so effective, some of the most well known bloggers have even tried to copy it. Not only is it easy to follow, it allows for experimentation and variation. It’s not a “diet” in the way most people think of it. The foods are arranged in a spectrum so you can choose how bulletproof you want to become. The more you eat on the green side of the spectrum, the better you’ll feel and perform.
I’ve tried everything from strict vegan diets to eating almost 100 percent fat. The following is what has worked the best, and as new information comes in, I continue to modify the diet. Since I’ve already created an entire infographic, I’ll make a few points for you to remember.
Low calorie diets are bad for you.
Your body is designed to eat satisfying amounts of food. Low calorie diets can produce weight loss, but they ruin your cognitive function and are very difficult and often painful (to you, or those around you) to maintain. Don’t be scared by all the high calories foods on the Bulletproof Diet. They won’t make you fat.
Eat happy things that ate healthy things.
Large animals should be your main source of calories. Cows, sheep, bison, and other large ruminant animals are food. Optimally, they should be raised on their natural diet (grass) for their entire lives. They should also be treated humanely. If you can’t find grass-fed meat, conventional meat is better than nothing. If you’re eating conventional meat, pick the leanest cuts you can find since most toxins are stored in fat.
The reason I say “eat animals” instead of “eat meat” is because eating the whole animal is good for you. Despite what you may have heard, fruits and vegetables are not the most nutrient dense foods – organ meats are. Eat organ meats such as liver, heart, and kidney at least once a week, preferably more.
Fat is your friend.
The idea that fat makes you fat is archaic, pathetic, and childish. All nutrients are converted inside the body before being used. Fat is a clean burning, nutritious, and satisfying energy source that will keep your brain and body functioning at maximum capacity. Vitamins like A, E, D, and K are all fat soluble, meaning they need fat be to be absorbed by the body.
Animal fat is preferred. Grass-fed butter is an easy source, but rendered animal fat (grass-fed) is even better.
Grains are evil.
Wheat, barley, sorghum, oats, corn, millet – they are all making you sick, weak, and fat. Some are less damaging like white rice and buckwheat, but they don’t provide any real nutrition. Grains are a high toxin, low nutrient, cheap source of sugar that is better left for rats and birds (the only animals that preferentially consume grains over other foods).
Remove toxins as you go.
This will occur naturally without the need for advanced supplementation if you follow the Bulletproof Diet. There are some more advanced detox methods I will be discussing later in the series.
If you are still confused about how to implement the Bulletproof Diet, stay tuned for a future article which breaks it down into 14 easy steps.