The Bulletproof Diet describes a simple high-fat, low-carb diet with intermittent fasting, high-intensity exercise and good sleeping practices to help you lose weight, have more energy and be able to focus better than ever before.
One day last year I walked into the kitchen and saw my roommate, just cutting off a big chunk of butter from the last pack we had bought. I thought he was about to make scrambled eggs, but then, he dropped it into the blender. I suspiciously raised my eyebrows, and when he then proceeded to add his freshly brewed coffee to it, I blurted out: “What the hell are you doing?”
He laughed and said: “Bulletproof coffee, of course!”
“What in the world is that?”
“It’s coffee with butter. You blend it and then it tastes awesome, kind of like a cappuccino. Oh, and it keeps you full for hours!”
That’s how I first learned about Dave Asprey. Since then, I must’ve watched the video on how he makes Bulletproof coffee a thousand times, mainly because I think it’s funny, but also because it’s a simple, yet brilliant idea.
Over time, Dave developed a whole diet and entire brand around it, which, by now, has become one of the most popular approaches to health & fitness in the Western world.
Here are the 3 cornerstones of it:
- Blend your coffee with butter to unlock its full health potential.
- Eating the right kinds of fat keeps you thin and focused.
- Switch your meat and eggs to be grass-fed to get just the right amount of high-quality protein.
Wanna make your body bulletproof? Let’s see how it’s done!
Lesson 1: Put butter in your coffee and blend it to unlock more of its health benefits.
Coffee is great. I love it. The taste, the smell, the effects. If you love coffee too, then you’ll really dig this diet. After experimenting a lot with his own way of eating, Dave discovered that adding butter to his coffee greatly improved its effects.
The recipe for Bulletproof coffee is really simple:
Brew 1 cup of coffee.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of grass-fed, unsalted butter.
Add in 1-2 tablespoons of MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil (Dave recommends starting with just 1 teaspoon, because it’s strong).
Mix it all in a blender for 20-30 seconds until it is frothy, almost like a latte or cappuccino (this part is important, mixing it with a spoon doesn’t cut it).
This not only tastes great (at least if you ask me), according to Dave you also get 3.4 times more antioxidants out of your coffee – because the fat increases polyphenol absorption, whereas milk suppresses it. Coffee has also been shown to reduce inflammation in some studies, an effect which is added to by the butyric acid in butter.
And, if you drink it regularly, coffee can increase your insulin sensitivity, which prevents diabetes and getting fat. This is partly because the good fat from the butter and MCT oil puts your body into ketosis, a state in which your body burns fat to get energy, instead of sugar.
Even after having sushi with rice the night before, Dave managed to increase his blood ketone level from 0.1 to 0.7 (anything over 0.6 indicates ketosis) within 30 minutes with a Bulletproof coffee – it takes three consecutive days on a low-carb diet to achieve the same thing.
Plus, a Bulletproof coffee easily keeps you full until the afternoon, which is great if you want to get lots of work done.
Lesson 2: Make sure you get short-chained, saturated fats to stay focused, thin and energized.
The great thing about spending a lot of your time in ketosis is that it allows you to eat lots of (good) fats, from which you can get your energy, without overeating (which so easily happens with carbs) and storing the excess energy as fat.
More importantly, the right kinds of fat are absolutely essential for your brain to function, such as omega-3 fatty acids, which enable cognitive functions, such as memory.
Fat also forms about 70%-85% of the dry mass of myelin, the substance that protects your neural pathways and lets your neurons transmit messages and communicate faster.
In general, the right kind of fats have two traits:
Their molecules are short, which gives them greater anti-inflammatory powers.
They’re stable, with less space for oxygen to “connect” to the molecule, thus causing oxidation, which in turn, inflames it and speeds up aging. This is what people mean when they talk about saturated fats being good for you.
So yes, as long as you’re eating good fats, you’ll stay healthier, have more energy and even think faster! Some of the ones the Bulletproof diet suggests are MCT oil, ghee, avocados, krill oil, cocoa butter, coconut oil and of course: grass-fed butter.
Lesson 3: Make all of your meat and eggs pastured and grass-fed to get just the right amount of high-quality protein.
A simple way to get more of those healthy fats and great protein at the same time is to just switch all of your meat to be grass-fed and to only consume pastured eggs (which means the chickens also ate grass).
This’ll up the quality of both your fat- and protein-intake, especially the latter of which is hard to get right. If you get too little or bad protein, you lose muscles and your bones get weak. Eat too much of it, and you’ll suffer from inflammation, feel slow and lethargic and crave carbs.
The problem with most regular protein is that it’s grain-based, with lots of gluten or soy. The same applies for grain-fed meat. And although organic meat is better than grain-fed, it’s not the deciding factor: grass-fed is what really makes a difference in a omega-3 levels, anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins.
A good indicator is the darker, yellow-ish color of the fat on the meat and the more orange color of the yolks in your eggs – those tell you how rich in nutrients they are.
Other good protein sources besides grass-fed beef and pastured eggs, which Dave suggests, are wild fish (like haddock, anchovies, sardines and trout) and lamb, for example.
My personal take-aways
I’m wary of all diets, because I fundamentally believe variety is the spice of life, and that no one way of eating will last you forever. However, as far as my own experience with the diet goes, those aspects I have tested have all held true for me. In the end, becoming bulletproof means weaving your own Kevlar vest, so I encourage you to try, mix and adapt some of the parts of this diet to see what works for you. Disclaimer: I’m not a nutritionist and this isn’t medical advice