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Bulletproof: The Cookbook: Lose Up to a Pound a Day, Increase Your Energy, and End Food Cravings for Good Hardcover – December 1, 2015
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About the Author
Dave Asprey is the author of the bestselling The Bulletproof Diet and creator of Bulletproof Coffee. He is the chairman of the Silicon Valley Health Institute and host of Bulletproof Radio. He has appeared on Today and Nightline and has been featured in Rolling Stone, Men's Health, Vogue, Marie Claire, and Slate. He lives in Victoria, BC, and Seattle, WA.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
THE BULLETPROOF PRINCIPLES
Maybe you're reading this book and already biohacking your way to Bullet proof living. You may listen to every episode of Bulletproof Radio, read every word on the Bulletproof blog, and constantly refine your program to achieve optimal performance. You may even decide to skip straight to the recipes because you've seen the incredible results the Bulletproof approach offers, and you just can't wait to get straight to the delicious Bulletproof food. And that's OK. However, whether you're new to Bulletproof or an experienced biohacker, take the time to read this opening chapter as a reminder of why we do what we do, and a refresher for the basic principles that define being Bulletproof.
First and foremost, this is a cookbook, a collection of Bulletproof recipes designed to make eating within the plan easy and satisfying, not to mention enjoyable. But before we roll up our sleeves to get into ingredients and food preparation, I'd like to underscore the foundational ideas that informed the creation of the recipes and also answer some common questions about the Bulletproof Diet. If you're new to all things Bulletproof, this chapter will give you a solid orientation to the philosophy, research, and goals that lead to the Bulletproof state of high performance. These are lessons with the power to change your life. Becoming Bulletproof isn't a quick fix or a fad; it's a new way to understand your physical state and tweak it to bring out unforeseen levels of energy and functionality.
It's not about being invincible. It's about adding so much to your energy and willpower reserves that you feel you can "bring it" no matter what life brings your way. For me, when I weighed 300 £ds, I honestly felt I didn't have that strength or control. Now, my joy and potential feel limitless. Becoming Bulletproof is about your true resilience, and realizing that you can do anything you set out to accomplish.
So before we get into recipes, let me outline the top tenets of the approach, and boil it down to basics to help organize the most important takeaways. The following sections will give you a good 101 understanding of what it is we're doing here, and why it works. From the top, here are the most common questions I'm asked about the Bulletproof Diet.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE BULLETPROOF?
Becoming Bulletproof is, in the simplest terms, about making you the most powerful being you can be, in terms of physical performance, brain power, and all-day energy. That means getting the very best out of your body and brain, all of the time. When I started this quest, I weighed 300 £ds. And while I was a fabulously successful entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, my physical and mental state was in sad shape. Because I had a background in tech, I understood the concept of hacking in a very real way. I had personal experience encountering barriers and boundaries and learning how to decode and work around them. So I employed that same approach in trying to figure out and conquer my weight problem and foggy brain. I believed on a gut level that there were ways to decode my system and create workarounds that would give me greater control over my system--not to outsmart it, but to understand its inner workings and optimize the functionality that my body, in its best state, could deliver.
As it turned out, this approach changed my life--and the lives of hundreds of thousands of people after me. All of my methods are driven by the idea that we are constantly refining and learning about what works for us personally, and making small tweaks--just as one does in technology--to make our bodies smarter, stronger, and more robust. There is no magic bullet. But if you can reset your body to cut your cravings, you'll change the state of your body and mind.
WILL THE BULLETPROOF DIET HELP ME LOSE WEIGHT?
Yes, being Bulletproof is a way to lose weight. It transforms the body into a lean, efficient, energetic machine. But that's really only a side effect of getting your body to operate in its most efficient state. Did I want to lose weight? Hell, yes. Is that why most people try the Bulletproof Diet in the first place? Absolutely. But is that what we're really doing here? No. Becoming our best, most powerful selves means fine-tuning every system in the body, from metabolism to detoxification to brain power. And when we do that, we lose excess weight because our systems are acting as they should. They are working at max capacity while burning energy efficiently and consistently. In essence, weight loss is a byproduct of making the body function optimally. I won't lie--it's the byproduct that most of us care the most about. But a thousand other good things are happening that make the weight loss possible. That's why becoming Bulletproof creates a noticeable upswing in brain function and energy levels. That's why people report feeling amazing--the best in their lives--when eating this way. So yes, weight loss is an awesome thing. But it's not the only thing. And it's not the thing that defines Bulletproof living. Bulletproof is much more concerned with holistic success, measured by performance across a number of bodily and brain functions.
HOW DOES THE BULLETPROOF DIET WORK?
The Bulletproof Diet doesn't work like most diets--there's no calorie counting because when you stop eating foods that make you weak, you'll actually be able to hear the hormone hunger signal from your body, and you won't experience food cravings. You don't have to attempt to magically work out more than you eat, which creates unsustainable biological stress for most people. And let's remember, famines and labor camps are not great ways to build willpower or resilience. Instead, choose foods that have the right kind of energy, but are also lowest in the things that slow you down, and highest in nutrients. Then, you eat them at the time when they will do the most for your body and mind based on circadian biology. This is a far cry from most "healthy" diets, which focus on decreasing the amount of energy in your food while increasing the amount of nutrients and totally ignoring the effects of antinutrients.
The Bulletproof Diet partially falls into a category broadly known as ketogenic diets, though my plan has fewer ketones than a full-on ketogenic diet. (For you science geeks out there, it's a cyclical ketogenic diet with nutrient timing!)
You've probably heard of plans like the Atkins Diet and the Paleo Diet, which also fall under the ketogenic umbrella, but make no mistake: The Bulletproof Diet is different from those popular programs, for reasons I'll get to shortly. The thing that lumps these approaches into a single category is the way that weight loss is achieved, namely by a process called ketosis. Ketosis is a state wherein your body burns fat instead of carbs. When you think about it, this is a pretty simple proposition. Your body typically burns carbs, turning them into sugar for energy. But if your body is out of carbs, it will go to Plan B: fat burning. It's a natural function, and one that your body would employ in a natural way depending on your circumstances. If you found yourself in a situation where you were deprived of carbs, your body would know what to do, and would find an alternate energy source (read: your stored fat). The Bulletproof Diet is built around creating a ketogenic state in order to burn fat stores for energy rather than using carbs. When you carb-load, you're stockpiling your body with extra energy to use, but in the absence of those carbs, your body will burn fat, so you become leaner in the process.
IS KETOSIS SAFE?
When I was initially discovering the power of ketosis for myself, I'd heard about the so-called Eskimo diet, where almost no calories come from carbohydrates, and most calories come from fat. Nutritional alarmists will often confuse a state of metabolic ketoacidosis from diabetes with the completely natural form of ketosis from diet--it's a natural state in which the body rests. Full ketosis is used to treat epilepsy and cancer, even in kids, with great safety. In this state, your body creates carbs from proteins. For some people, this is optimal and they stay in this state for prolonged periods. For other people, like me, it makes me feel run down. This is why, for ultimate resilience--and especially for women--I recommend cycling in and out of ketosis. I recommend eating some carbs as it stresses the body to create carbs from protein. With my recommendation, you get the best of both worlds. And my recommendation is still less suggestive of a ketogenic state than most paleo diets recommend.
When I began studying ketosis, I wanted to see what would happen if I entered a ketogenic state and stuck with it indefinitely--or for three months, as was the case for me. Guess what? It wasn't good. The Inuit people subsist primarily on protein and a huge amount of fat. They live on delicacies like whale blubber and seal jerky. And good for them; they are genetically predisposed to function this way as they've evolved with this diet for centuries . . . and they live on packed snow. We, in everyday America, however, have not. After eating nothing but protein and ridiculous amounts of fats for three months, my body started malfunctioning. My sleep quality went away. My eyes and sinuses were superdry all the time. I started getting headaches. Because I didn't have enough carbohydrates to manufacture the mucus that lines a healthy stomach, I developed food allergies to my favorite foods as soon as I added them back in. I'm still working to hack the food allergies I developed by eating that way, and making great progress. Clearly for me, this state of prolonged ketosis was a terrible idea. I know that having experienced it firsthand, and I've seen lesser versions of these symptoms--especially sleep and energy problems--in a good number of Bulletproof followers who stay in ketosis for long periods, though not all of them. This is why the Bulletproof approach advocates moving in and out of a ketogenic state, always being mindful of how and when we eat carbs for added energy. For the vast majority of people, I do not advocate putting your body in a ketogenic state indefinitely.
What I do know is that you can use ketosis as a tool, in measured, regular bursts, to bring out some amazing fat-burning and brain-revving potential. That is what being Bulletproof is all about: biohacking your way to the sweet spot where your system thrives and continually outperforms itself without causing damage or detriment to your systems.
SO HOW IS THE BULLETPROOF DIET DIFFERENT FROM THE ATKINS AND PALEO PLANS?
The Bulletproof Diet recommends 6 to 11 servings of veggies a day. "Whoa" you're thinking. "That's a ridiculous amount of veggies." And you're right. Some people have a hard time adjusting to eating this many servings of veggies because it so far exceeds what we've become accustomed to in the sad state of an American diet devoid of nutrition. I'm advocating more veggies per day than most other programs, and even some vegan diets! The FDA recommends 5 servings of 1/2 cup (or 21/2 cups per day). But please note, they treat fruits and veggies as the same thing. This is a flawed approach, because fruit is mostly sugar, while vegetables are mostly nutrients and fiber. I recommend 9 servings of veggies a day and potentially a lot more. So my plan suggests at least three times more than the FDA recommends. That's important to remember, because while we're asking you to skip carbs, in measured cycles, we're also flooding your body with the amazing nutrients nature provides, and teaching you how to identify and limit carb-heavy, starchy vegetables, except when you want your body to have healthy carbohydrates. So that's the first way Bulletproof living is different from the Atkins plan.
Atkins and Paleo are both considered "low-carb high-fat" (LCHF) diets. Atkins focuses on a high-protein, high-fat eating plan to trigger ketosis, but doesn't focus on the type of fat or protein. Paleo also advocates a high-protein, high-fat diet, but it does pay attention to the type of fat and protein, which is a major improvement. But it's also high enough in protein to trigger inflammation, and the impact of cooking techniques isn't a part of the diet, even though it affects how you use your food.
The Bulletproof Diet is also an LCHF diet, like Paleo and Atkins, but it has components that set it apart entirely: namely, a focus on eliminating cravings by controlling food toxins, and eating the right foods at the right times, not to mention significant differences in Bulletproof cooking methods. People forget that cooking is a form of food processing, and you can "process" food in your own kitchen and accidentally turn it from something nutritious into something that will make you crave sugar. This should be a no-brainer, but plenty of other diets don't really take this aspect of the formula into consideration.
Other plans know that by introducing ketosis, the body will burn fat, and so they figure, mission accomplished. But if you're burning fat that's full of food toxins, you're going to experience fatigue and cravings . . . totally not Bulletproof!
The Bulletproof Diet also differs from the Atkins and Paleo diets in its attention to toxins, or antinutrients. As I was hacking my own performance, and losing 100 £ds, I learned a lot about the toxins that exist, naturally and unnaturally, in our food supply. Besides of all the manmade toxins that have entered our food chain via pesticides and manufacturing processes, there are also naturally occurring antinutrients that, while they won't kill us, can slow down or compromise our natural system functions. Take kale, for example. The darling of healthy eaters everywhere, kale is enjoying its moment in the sun. It's all the rage in salads, juices, pastas, you name it. Every hip restaurant has kale somewhere on its menu, and most markets now offer an array of heirloom varieties. Here's the thing. Kale isn't always good for all of us. It's a goitrogenic food, which means that in its raw form it interferes with iodine uptake and can cause enlargement of the thyroid (this is where the term goiter comes from). It can slow your thyroid function, which is a bad thing because your thyroid controls your energy levels.
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The chapters are titled as such:
He repeats a lot of information from his podcasts and previous book. He basically takes the ingredients he has been talking about forever and tries to pass them off as "new recipes". He promotes a lot of his branded products, which doesn't bother me, but it might some people. I was slightly disappointed with the book overall. You would be better off looking for recipes on the internet and making them BP with your own modifications, per your palate. This book isn't going to help that much.
2 meals a day, a period of fasting, butter coffee in the morning is a perfect plan. Eat until satiated, don't count any calories, stick to the good fats and enjoy your food while shedding unwanted pounds. The recipes are easy, you just need to gather the ingredients and do it. I feel so good I don't even want to eat out. I do what is suggested when I'm hungry and it works, no need to eat!
2. I used to work in catering/personal chef and taught cooking, so I have bought A LOT of cookbooks. The balance that I think is important in writing recipes for people who are changing their eating habits a) make them uncomplicated (so that you're not constantly thinking about food!), b) fairly easy to source ingredients (ever read diet recipes and go "what the hell is that and where am I supposed to buy it?!) and c) flavorful enough that you don't feel like a martyr.
3. If you're thinking of doing this, don't just "dabble" and then complain if it doesn't work for you. Read The Bulletproof Diet, there are explanations and valid research backing up the ideas, and follow it for a while.