EPISODE 41 — Dave Asprey —Becoming Bulletproof: Living Your Longest and Healthiest Life
Dave Asprey is a Silicon Valley pro who’s turned his sights from hacking computers to hacking biology — and today, his goal is to help us all live longer healthier and happier lives. He is the author of three New York Times best-selling books and, working alongside top doctors and scientists, he has developed the Bulletproof diet to allow everyone to access their full mental and physical potential.
In this episode, Dave answers questions such as:
- How can fasting improve mental energy and clarity?*
- Why does exercising with less fuel actually give you the best ROI?
- How did Bulletproof take Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and Hollywood by storm?
- Why should every leader focus on clearing their mental programming?
*always consult a licensed medical professional when considering making any diet or lifestyle changes
Listen & Subscribe
3:22 – Hacking his own biology. “I realized that if we can troubleshoot the internet, maybe I can turn that knowledge around on myself. I started measuring what worked, and I realized a lot of the stuff that I’ve been told was just BS. It was dogma. It was a belief system, but it was not based on science. It was not based on our understanding now of how biology works. It took a lot of studying, but I eventually spent more than a million dollars on hacking my own biology, and I’ve lost the weight. I’ve gotten younger. My brain has the response time of a 20-year-old. I have the visceral fat levels of a 20-year-old, and I am 48. So something here is working.”
8:36 – The truth about fasting. “Fasting is going without. It’s choosing to go without something that you or your body thinks you need, and an example is food — the most obvious form of fasting. If you’re a man, you can go about 70 to 90 days without eating before you die. So if you didn’t get the muffin before you walked in the courtroom, the truth of the matter is that you’re not going to die. The reality of the matter is that you’ll probably feel like you’re going to die, and so what you do when you do something called intermittent fasting, which has been a big part of the bulletproof program, is you basically teach the body to stop whining so much about things that it thinks it needs that you don’t need.”
10:13 – Intermittent fasting AKA metabolic resilience. “Intermittent fasting is about teaching the cells to make more energy and teaching your body to not give you a sense of anxiety around food. Another name for this is metabolic resilience. What this means is it’s possible to be perfectly focused all day long and to not have the afternoon dip, to be at your strongest whenever you need to be your strongest, and to be able to stand up and deliver whatever you need to deliver in a place where you’ve thought about your words, you’ve thought about their impact on the situation, and you actually have energy left over at the end of it and you walk out of there going, ‘That was not a big deal.’”
16:58 – Controlling hunger triggers. “All life forms — whether they’re human or not — die of famine quite often. So if there’s food, we think we need to eat everything. That’s why when someone puts the bagels in front of you in a meeting, you start thinking about bagels, and that little voice in your head — it’s not you; it’s actually your cells going, ‘Is that food? You know, most animals die of starvation, so you better eat it.’ That’s why you’ll eat everything unless your adult mind is present. That’s why it steals your focus, unless your cells are like, ‘We’re not hungry because you ate the right stuff, or you didn’t eat the right stuff.’ So you didn’t trigger hunger, and therefore, focus happens.”
22:25 – Fasting with black coffee. “The first hack for fasting is black coffee. If you drink the Bulletproof beans, it won’t change my life, but it’ll probably change your life because there are mold byproducts in coffee from the way it’s fermented that cause cravings in an hour or two, and they also give you jittery anxiety. We’ve all drank a bad cup of coffee and got a headache or wanted to punch people. It’s not the coffee. It’s what’s in the coffee that does it. I lab test my coffee, and we produce it differently — but even if you’re just going to do regular black coffee, studies show the amount of caffeine and two small cups of coffee double ketone production. That’s better than just waking up and having water if you want to function.”
24:54 – An ideal fasting schedule. “Here’s the schedule that works best: Have an earlier dinner, not a later dinner. When you start building that into your routine, you want to eat before it’s dark, if you can. You’ll want at at least three — and ideally more than three — hours between your last bite of food and when you go to bed. You’re going to sleep better, so the ROI on the time you spend in bed will be higher as a result of doing that. But let’s say you had dinner at 6 and go to bed at 10. You’ve got four hours of fasting after dinner, if you didn’t have a midnight snack or something — which you don’t want to do. Then you slept for 8 hours, but you’ve got 12 hours of fasting if you just woke up, which is a very, very basic minimum. Then you do these hacks that are in Fast This Way for breakfast. You feel better as a result. You are less hungry than you would be if you had breakfast. Truly, someone will put food in front of you at 10 AM, when you normally would want it, and you just don’t care. It takes no willpower to say no to a doughnut when you’re already full.”
29:03 – Exercising and fasting. “What you do is wait until right before lunch, or right before you’re going to break your fast, and then exercise. People say, ‘But my workout might not be as intense.’ I don’t care. Make it as intense as you can. You’ll be surprised at how good your workout is. A lot of people set their personal records when they’re exercising at the end of a fast. You’re going to do this, and then you’re going to be really hungry, and then you eat. This is when you get the highest ROI on your exercise.”
32:46 – Spirituality and fasting. “The reason that we think most spiritual traditions have fasting built in is that after two to three days of fasting, you do go into a state of ketosis, and a state of ketosis creates mental clarity because it feeds the neurons better. So, now that you have this clarity, you have the energy to go inwards and look at what’s going on in there. Traditionally, they would fast in a cave, the way I did for the book. They would fast and relax and reflect. There are metabolic and health benefits — profound health benefits — for fasting without spiritual practice.”
41:53 – Better than optimization. “So how do you do the fasting thing? How do you do the other things that make you younger and stronger and faster and smarter and still do what you’re here to do? That’s the challenge. And that’s why it’s different from human performance optimization. Screw optimization. I just want more. I want better. I want faster, stronger, longer life, more energy, and I don’t want to give anything up to do it. And if to optimize I have to say, ‘I just gave up dinner with friends every night because I had to go to the gym for two hours’ or whatever — that’s an optimization. No, I don’t want to do that. I simply want better.”
46:42 – What does being a game changer mean to you? “It is someone who’s done something that’s changed the world or changed a lot of other people’s lives. For me, that might mean a Nobel Prize winner or a Navy SEAL or someone who’s created a new field of medicine or someone who solved a major problem in aging. In the first 500 or so episodes of Bulletproof Radio, I asked every one of these amazing people I got to interview to tell me the three most important pieces of advice for people who wanted to perform better as a human being. Then, I statistically correlated and analyzed all their answers to find out what game changers have in common. I boiled it down to 46 rules in my book, Game Changers. The reason I asked them all that is because I also want to kick ass. So that’s what being a game changer means to me. It’s that you made a really big difference in the world in your own field.”
EPISODE RESOURCES & REFERENCES
Chronic fatigue syndrome
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
Fast This Way by Davy Asprey
Ketogenic diet (keto)
University of Colorado
The New York Times
University of Calfornia
World Series of Poker
World War I
Game Changers by Dave Asprey