For nearly a year I have been astounding everyone I know by letting them know that I put butter in my coffee. Dave Asprey, also know as the Bulletproof Executive has been sharing what he has learned over his years of biohacking through conference presentations, blog and podcast. This January I will be joining him in San Francisco at the first Bulletproof Biohacking Conference. There I will spend 2 days intensely training my nervous system with the world-renowned trainer Jay Schroeder. I'll spend a third day listening to Doctors and Scientists speak about biohacking. The knowledge that I've applied from Dave has already netted tremendous results for me. I can't wait for more.
So much of what Dave has uncovered suggests a path to health that is in the opposite direction that every educator, physician and friend has ever pointed me towards. I approached Dave's work with the same skepticism as I do the output of any other diet miracle kook. The difference is that Dave hasn't discovered any of this which seems so much like snake oil. Instead, he's found these answers in strange texts unreferenced by the USDA dietary guidelines. No, not the notes of a witch doctor preserved on clay tablets. He finds this wisdom in publicly published scientific studies. Perhaps more skeptical than I, he reports to have tried the mothods on himself. Don't worry, it's done with the supervision of Medical Doctors including his wife Lana. They have coauthored a fascinating book prominently featuring epigenetics called The Better Baby Book.
I want to make one thing clear up front. I do not endorse any of the methods that Dave describes as part of the Bulletproof lifestyle for anyone else. I do fully encourage everyone to experiment with those methods, measure the results and then decide if you endorse them for yourself. My journey is an excellent example of what is happening to me when I went bulletproof. There are others who have reported similar results. Be much, much more skeptical than you have been with the guidelines you have accepted already. Test for yourself and share the results with everyone, particularly if they don't have the desired effect.
The beginning of my journey is uninteresting. As I progressively learned from Daves blog and podcast, I tried a few things here and there. The coffee tasted good. I was more than ready to stop cardio workouts. However, much of what Dave was preaching was too outlandish for me. I started reading the work of others. I checked some of his references. Then I caught myself using more and more of the knowledge gained through consuming Dave's work to refute things I found in other places on my exploration into improving my health. I experimented off and on with good forward progress which kept me encouraged. It was a long time before I was able to remove all of the barriers to my success though.
I had my first true taste of bulletproof results starting strangely on this past Halloween. A business trip took me away from home that evening. This usually results in less adherence to the bulletproof diet as compliant food is more difficult to find in most airports. Through sheer determination and preparation I was actually able to do very well for a few days. The meeting I was in town for went very well. I noticed a significant increase in comfort and fidelity of my social interactions both with colleagues and strangers. The following two weeks are turmoilous and busy.
By mid November I decided I was going to recommit and start implementing the whole bulletproof enchilada (with nightshade-free sauce and no tortilla or cheese). During my "whole enchilada" phase, I cooked throughout the week food from the Bulletproof Chef cookbook. Since I had also invested in a Bulletproof Vibe Whole body vibration plate, I also doubled-down on that, using it for 15 minutes each morning. I stuck with my usual bulletproof coffee and less-than-compliant bulletproof intermittent fasting in the morning. I started on Saturday and by Tuesday I was feeling amazing. I felt it increasingly for a few days. I was bulletproof! I had formerly convinced myself that the small improvements I had seen were the bulletproof feeling that Dave was talking about. Those incremental changes just had me feeling better. Feeling Bulletproof was amazing. I was exceeding even my own expectations at work. My mind was on fire. My body wasn't fighting me anymore.
Then Thanksgiving break came. It started with an ~18hour road trip with the wife and little ones. I ate bulletproof on the drive. I enjoyed my "No-Chili Lamb Chili" cold in a fast food joint with a play area while my kids burned off some energy. My daughter even spilled a huge cup of Brocoli Leek soup all over a very nice, very, very understanding woman on one stop. Bringing along my bulletproof Vibe didn't even occur to me, so I skipped my shake sessions. While enjoying my time in Atlanta, I had a beer (or maybe 6) with my old pal and had a few other minor dietary deviations. On the trip back, I ate something called an "Angry Whopper", bun and all. Then I had another for dinner. No, this didn't progress into a downward spiral ending in some sort of horrible fast food binge. I sure did feel horrible for a week after eating those two burgers though.
I jumped on the obvious. What I ate was causing me to feel like a dazed moron encased in jello. After returning from Thanksgiving break, it was time to go into overdrive to finish work that needed to be done before christmas break. I let life get in the way and slipped back into some habits of convenience. I had been a very, very big Chipotle eater*. I had myself convinced that a double-chicken, guacamole and lettuce burrito bowl had no negative impact on my body. So I continued my practice of frequent meals at Chipotle. I also ate a lot of my wife's very delicious, very well intentioned perfectly paleo food. The fog cleared a little, but just as before, I was only feeling better. I wasn't feeling Bulletproof.
Then I dove into my data. Unfortunately, as track-happy as I am, I find that tracking food is arduous and I hadn't done it. So I was data mining my mind, which had been through and was still in a wheat fog. I did manage to figure out that I just can't tollerate nightshades. Potatoes are still on my "maybe" list, but any sort of pepper certainly induces in me mind-numbing, gut-bloating, second-chin-conjuring inflammation. It occurred to me that durring my first fleeting Bulletproof success, I had accidentally not eaten out at Chipotle because I had brought my home-cooked food to work for lunch each day.
Chipotle has four menu items that don't have a nightshade or wheat in them. Chips, lettuce, sour cream and cheese. With the bulletproof diet lens, the only completely green menu item is lettuce. The thing is, I knew this. My love affair with Chipotle was long. It started with my first burrito in 2002 at the San Diego location near UCSD. I can conjure up a vision of the sign seen from the parking lot as my coworker told me about this place he had been to in Denver. He pronounced it "cha-poodle". Chipotle is named appropriately. It means smoked jalapeno pepper en Espanol. My young sister actually works at a Chipotle. I had personally interrogated an expert from behind the burrito counter about what was in each item. I knew that my "safe" bowl was laced with delicious, succulent jalapeno and adobo sauce. Needless to say, the realization that my body could not come to an agreement with food so delicious which had done so much to forward the cause of organic, real food was tough to bare.
This realization launched a quest to stop ingesting anything that might be causing an inflammatory response in my body. For good measure I was also looking for anything I could do to reduce any inflammatory response that did occur. I started cooking again with recipes from Upgraded Chef and a few from Practical Paleo. I had some ginger tea and tightened my supplement regimen including Upgraded Glutathione. My cognitive engine started to roar once again.
It was only then that I realized that a key part of my success before the Thanksgiving disaster was the Bulletproof Vibe. Every time I use the shaking sensation I feel "good" when I step off the plate after a 10 to 15 minute session. A nice tingly feeling and a little more alertness. Either the effect, or my awareness of it always fades quickly though. I hadn't thought much about it and hadn't attributed much of my success to it. Which is why I hadn't bothered with it durring the initial recovery from my Thanksgiving disaster.
It's not a double-blind, controlled study. Heck, there's about 10,000 variables I'm not controlling for. I imagine the affect is reduced inflammation attributed to the lymphatic drainage stimulated by the vibration. Whatever it is, I lost 8" off my waist and dropped about 10 pounds and seem to have turned on the other 90% of my brain. How much of it is the bulletproof diet, avoiding food sensitivities or standing on a vibrator for 15 minutes a day I'm not sure I want to bother finding out.
I am convinced that I've found a way to cheat at the game of life. I considered myself to be a pretty smart guy before I started on my long bulletproof journey. I did manage marginal success in a technical career at least. Now, I feel like I've doubled my cognitive ability. Suddenly I'm seeing all of those "crazy ideas" I've always had in a different light. Before I would squint and see an opportunity. Now I'm seeing the opportunity, four different ways to grasp it and getting it in motion in an afternoon. Look out! I'm either tilting at windmills or my wind is about to blow some major change into town.
A Quantified Quickview
Oct 31 - Nov 2 - Business trip to California, pretty bulletproof, taste of feeling bulletproof, no taste of Chipotle on this busy trip. I ate lots of US Wellness Pemmican and sockeye salmon.
Nov 3th - First weight measurement since leaving for the trip, Daughters 3rd birthday party hosted at home, I eat "bulletproof" chipotle for dinner instead of wheat-filled party food @209.3 (First time under 210lbs I can remember since high school)
Nov 4th - Wife at baby shower, take kids to Chipotle for dinner @213lbs ( +4lbs? Stress and drinking at party, Chipotle for dinner two nights in a row?)
Nov 10th - I've been eating "well", but also hungry often. Too busy to eat. Tax Season cometh! Decide to start cooking/eating completely bulletproof @208.8lbs
Nov 13th - Feeling truly Bulletproof for the first time ever @ 208.8lbs
Nov 17th - Fun activities with the family @210.1lbs (+lbs stress finishing up work before big trip?)
Nov 18th - night time weight measurement @213lbs ( Stressed about departure early next morning. 1.5 hours of driving to make a QS Meetup in Denton fairly late)
Nov 19th - 3AM Departure on road trip from Dallas -> Atlanta (no weight measured)
Nov 24th - Returned home after trip ending in ~18hr drive @216lbs (Now who's an Angry Whopper!)
Dec 14th - Trying really hard! Still not feeling truly bulletproof @ 209lbs
Dec 20th - Spent $55.45 on Chipotle burritos for office pot-luck so I would have "bulletproof" option. @210.2lbs
Dec 21st - Ate my last Chipotle meal. My 243rd non-cash Chipotle purchase since June 2009 (thanks Mint.com!) @210.1
Dec 27 - Going all bulletproof dietarily. Dust off the Upgraded Chef book. @ 211.5lbs
Dec 30 - Realized I need to use BP Vibe. Started 5-15 minute sessions nearly every day @ 211.4
Dec 31 - NYE @ 211.6lbs (ate no-chili lamb chili for dinner. Ate about 8 amazing home made irish chips (potatoes, salt, vinegar deep fried). Had about 4oz potato vodka and 1 2-finger Jameson in bed at 3AM)
Jan 1 - Some "digestive reactions" to [vodka|lunch out|irish chips] @ 207.7lbs measured in the afternoon
Jan 2 - @ 208lbs (Spend a lot of time in the kitchen, slow start getting to work, work goes okay, feeling great)
Jan 3 - 5 @ 207lbs ( Still adjusting to cooking, driving wife nuts in the kitchen, mind is on fire, unparalleled progress at work, lights turning on all aspects of life, writing enjoyable and seems high quality)
Care to help me make this pretty? @billschuller
* Seriously, I recently ate 12 of 13 consecutive non-breakfast meals at Chipotle. It was not out of the ordinary to eat both lunch and dinner there for a while. No, I was not on the "Chipotle diet", but they have organic food that tastes good when I was not going through the "trouble" of cooking. My kids also love it making it pretty much the only place where we could all get a meal together.