Improve your life with Fat
Fat is your friend, my friends. Today, I share why you should have this deliciousness in your life with a guest post by an expert in biohacking and optimizing human performance, Dave Asprey. I was honored to be a guest on his top-ranking, popular podcast which I wrote about here.
The Bulletproof Diet Book
Well, this is a special week for Dave Asprey because he launched his much anticipated book, The Bulletproof Diet. All of Dave’s followers are excited to finally have this book in our hands, and I started it last night. I immediately jumped to the chapter on supplements and learned a few things such as which quantities of Vitamin K2 to take of each (not vitamin K1), as well as appreciating his story on sinus infection and high dose vitamin C. I am also going to biohack with his advice on supplemental iodine. Although I haven’t read the whole book, I expect it to be great.
In support of this book launch, I’m sharing a guest post by Dave where he details the truth about fat. I selected this topic because I’ve been wanting to cover it myself but just haven’t had the time. So, I’m happy to have an expert like Dave Asprey come on my blog to share some wisdom on FAT. Enjoy….
The Truth About Fat by Dave Asprey
It’s a key component of a healthy lifestyle. It has dictated the existence and extinction of many animals on our planet. In the human world, diet – although geographically unique – all have focus on nutritional value. So why for so long have there been so many hapless attempts from diet fads to teach us the right way to eat healthy. More importantly, why do most dieticians and nutritionists diminish the role that saturated fat has in making us healthier, happier and more efficient as humans.
In 1950 a scientist by the name of Ancel Keys rocked the world of nutrition by claiming, with some pretty convincing research, that saturated fat caused heart disease. The low-fat diet craze immediately stormed the scene and has unfortunately stuck around ever since, despite the fact that we later learned Keys threw out data that didn’t fit his model. More simply put, Keys manipulated data to corroborate his theory. He lied.
This might very well be one of the biggest lies in diet history. A lie which not only warped our nutritional understanding of fat, but resonated for over a half century to this day, where the fear of fat is still common in even some of the most educated, healthy people.
Due to faulty research, fats have gained a bad reputation, but the right types of fats are healthy and essential for life. All nutrients are converted inside the body before being used. The right fats are a clean burning, nutritious, and satisfying energy source that keeps your body and brain functioning at maximum capacity.
Firstly, fat contains more energy per gram than any other food, so it is most effective at delivering energy to the parts of your body that need it. Compared to protein or sugar, fat also has the lowest impact on insulin levels. Low-fat foods containing sugar spike insulin levels in the bloodstream, which leads to energy crashes and weight gain. Furthermore fat – unlike protein or carbohydrates – doesn’t raise the stress hormone cortisol, which increases blood sugar and suppresses your immune system. Eating fat increases the stomach’s bille production, which in turn allows it to release more toxins. This can be compared to a car having an oil change. To put it simply, healthy fats are an important component of the human body. It’s what we’re made of. The healthy female body is comprised of about 29% fat, while men are about 15% fat. Portions of every part of our bodies are made of fat, including our brains. This means that low-fat diets starve not only our stomachs but also our brains.
A large amount of people who quit their diets owe it to the waning of their will power. One of the main reasons people fail on so many dietary goals is that they feel like they’re being tortured and simply give up and go back to eating the foods they actually enjoy. Humans are like psychological misers, we have limited attention and willpower and once we meet our threshold we are likely to break. Saturated fats not only improve your bile turnover which as previously mentioned allows your body to excrete toxins more effectively, but it is also prevalent in some of your favorite, most delicious foods! This is music to struggling dieters ears. Rather than struggling through the fat-free agony, you can instead reap the health benefits of a high-healthy- fat diet and wake up every morning thrilled about the food you’re going to eat that day.
Like many big decisions in our lives, dieting deserves careful research before jumping in.
The reality is that saturated fats are both healthy and key for dieting. They balance hormones, help in excreting toxins, and are found in some of the most delicious of foods. Doing your research on incorporating saturated fats into your diet, will not only make you feel better in both mind and body, but will allow you to conserve your willpower and make your dieting experience more effective and tolerable.
Fat is the foundation of The BulletProof Diet, an incredibly in depth dietary guide created by bio-hacker and best-selling author, Dave Asprey.
Dave Asprey is a Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur who spent 15 years and $300,000 to hack his own biology, losing 100 pounds, upgrading his IQ, and lowering his biological age. He runs the No. 1-ranked iTunes health podcast and The Bulletproof Executive blog about using biohacking to increase human performance — and he invented Bulletproof Coffee.
You can find more about biohacking, the art of changing your environment and your biology so you perform better in his new book The Bulletproof Diet, and also on The Bulletproof Executive website, Facebook and Twitter.
Food Journal (#RealFood)
Here are a few days from my omnivore “Real Food” food journal.
Breakfast: BulletProof-ish Iced Coffee… iced upgraded decaf coffee, Dandy Blend, HVBO, upgraded vanilla, grass-fed butter, organic coconut oil, 1T grass-fed whey, 1T grass-fed collagen, and MCT oil.
Lunch: large Salad w herb vinaigrette, cucumber, shallot, and kelp.
Dinner: Grass fed Ribeye steak cooked in my sous vide. Roasted red potatoes and leeks cooked with grass-fed organic ghee topped with fresh chives. Boiled broccoli smothered in lemon thyme grass-fed butter. Chocolate covered strawberries. Decaf bulletproof coffee
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Omnivore Food Journal…
A snapshot like this into my day doesn’t tell the whole picture, because I try to eat with “a week in mind” (though you’ve seen that I’ve had many days started with Decaf Bulletproof Coffee, it’s not always the case). Here’s a day from my journal for Kamea (my 3 yo) and myself.
Cinnamon Paleo Bread
- Kamea had Cinnamon Paleo Bread spread with organic grass fed High Vitamin Butter Oil as well as a dish of frozen organic cherries and a scoop of grass fed bison braunschweiger. She’s a fan of braunschweiger and liver. Personally, one way I find it easier to get down is by eating a small bite of it with something else. Most people would use crackers but since we don’t eat crackers often, I have it with sliced cucumber or a berry or olive. Kamea’s vitamins for the day: Vitamins (d3/k2) pill.
- My breakfast was: Bulletproof iced coffee. This version was using the upgraded beans (mix of both decaf and regular) blended with 1 teaspoon high vitamin butter oil, 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil, 1 tablespoon MCT oil, 2 tablespoons Straus European grass fed butter, and the upgraded vanilla. I then pour it over ice (during the summer). Delicious. This is a common (first) breakfast for me because it’s so easy to do and keeps me satiated until I have more time to figure out a meal. Sometimes I crack in 1 to 2 pastured organic raw egg yolks. If I’m not having Bulletproof coffee, I’d say the usual for me is cooking pastured eggs using my Sous Vide Supreme and veggies. Or, I’ll join Kamea in some Paleo -style bread, organic fruit, and organic raw nuts. A very easy breakfast too.
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Here is a common question that comes up when I’m chatting with people about the raw food lifestyle.
What If I’m Addicted to Caffeine?
No problem! Been there, done that, when it comes to caffeine. Boy, do I remember the days… working long hours, drinking 2 – 3(!) triple shot (espresso) soy cappuccinos. Yikes! I’m surprised my adrenal glands are even functioning any more. Better late than never though. I was determined to kick the addiction and I did just that… by doing all of the following tips and tricks. I like variety, so it was fun to change it up with the different options below. That helped to keep me distracted, too, and made it more enjoyable.
So… need some ideas for kicking the caffeine habit? Try any (or all!) of the following suggestions:
Drink fresh squeezed orange juice in the morning to give yourself some raw (sugar) energy instead of stimulated energy from caffeine.
Hot peppers - These awesome guys can work wonders for your caffeine addiction because they give you a real rush of endorphins. For the hard-core folks out there, think habanera peppers. If you find those too hot, then start with a milder red pepper and work your way up. The idea here is that it must be hot enough to release endorphins—the brain’s mechanism for dulling pain. The endorphins tackle two issues for you: 1) providing energy so you don’t miss the caffeine and 2) fighting headaches that may result from caffeine withdrawal. When I want a quick burst of energy, I just take a couple nibbles. Of course, be careful when handling hot peppers. Wash your hands when you’re done and don’t touch your face!
Drink green juices, including wheat grass if you like, which some say can reduce cravings for coffee and caffeine. Add carrot juice, either straight or in the green juice. The carrot juice helps give you a little sugar increase which can help give you a little energy boost. That being said, my usual green juice recipe, using our Norwalk Juicer, is made up from (all organic): cucumbers, celery, romaine lettuce, cilantro, with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and sometimes fresh herbs make an appearance. If you don’t have a Norwalk Juicer and want to check out some other juicers I like, here you go.
Upgraded coffee beans
To help avoid severe withdrawal problems, consider migrating off gradually. You can start with half decaf (or just make the regular caffeine version with fewer coffee beans/ground when you’re making it at home (as in it’ll be more watered down than normal). Back in the day, one thing that helped me when I went to Starbucks was that I had them give me a small regular coffee, but had them put a quarter of it as hot water, and I increased that to half of the cup as hot water with the other half as coffee… and so on). And, of course, you can go half regular coffee with half decaf and eventually work your way to 100% decaf. Get organic and fair trade when possible… that’s very important. My favorite coffee beans right now are Bulletproof Exec’s Upgraded Beans.
Tea can rock the house. Both black tea and green tea are reputed to have a number of beneficial health properties, along with a more subtle caffeine boost than coffee. So, it’s a great way to enjoy a hot beverage with a little caffeine as you transition away from toxic, (often)-pesticide-ridden-caffeine-filled coffee. And, finally, you can have herbal tea as a goal beverage when you’re ready to eliminate all the caffeine in your diet (My favorite sources are: Traditional Medicinals and Mountain Rose Herbs). Enjoy it sweetened with a touch of raw honey (or a little organic maple syrup – not raw) or toss in a tablespoon of goji berries. Those make for an awesome treat at the end of the cup when they’re nice, plump and warm.
If cola, Mt. Dew, Red Bull, etc., is your brand of poison, you’ll get a triple-whammy benefit by weaning yourself off of these antithesis-of-health beverages. You’ll be eliminating not only caffeine, but also 1) a fairly disgusting quantity of sugar (or artificial sweeteners, which bring their own host of problems); and 2) the carbonic and phosphoric acids that are bad for your blood, leach calcium from your bones, and dissolve the enamel in your teeth. As with coffee, it may be easier to reduce your quantity gradually, such as by ordering a medium instead of a large (etc.), or pouring out the contents of a can when you’re 2/3 of the way through it. Another great idea is to gradually cut your fountain drinks with soda water, when available at self-serve fountains (it’s usually dispensed by a little hard-to-see plastic tab that may or may not be labeled). This won’t help reduce the acidity, but it will help you taper off your caffeine levels without denying yourself the refreshing and cleansing fizz—what I like to call “Throat Draino.” Caffeine is much more addictive than bubbles, so once you’ve kicked your chemical addiction to caffeine, it will be much easier to phase out carbonated beverages entirely.
Drink cold-pressed coffee, made with a Toddy Maker. This isn’t Raw and it still has caffeine, but it’s less acidic than regularly brewed coffee, so it’s a start (I’m all about the baby steps!). In the scheme of things, this is better than regular coffee. Use this as a stepping stone on your way to eliminating coffee from your life.
Drink Teeccino®, which is herbal coffee (or my new favorite, the super popular Dandy Blend). YUM! My husband and I have become huge fans of this during the past year. For my husband, it was love at first sip. For me, although I really enjoyed it and would drink it here and there years ago when I first stumbled upon it, it wasn’t (at the time) the perfect coffee replacement to me. Then again, I was such a hard core coffee lover, I didn’t think anything would ever compare to the real thing. That being said, here I am, loving Teeccino – big time! I can’t imagine not having it. In fact, I don’t know what I was thinking years ago by not thinking this was an awesome coffee replacement. Not only does it taste great, but it’s not acidic and safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding. It’s high in potassium, helps restore alkalinity, and the chicory root can help improve digestion. We usually get the Maya Caffe (organic) because it’s the most coffee-like in flavor, but I do enjoy their flavored varieties, too.
We love it plain (black), and we also enjoy it with Raw nut milk or other non-dairy milk for a nice creamy experience. It’s brewed similarly to coffee, using a coffee pot, but recently they launched a new product: Teeccino – “tee” bag style. Now, I can take it with me to restaurants and enjoy it (or Starbucks and just get a cup of hot water there to steep my tee bag). Teeccino is much better for your health than regular (or decaf) coffee, and can help transition you away from coffee. I’ve even brewed coffee mixed with Teeccino for some of my coffee addict friends to reduce the caffeine and help them transition. They love it.
Make a beverage (or food) with raw chocolate powder. Raw chocolate has only small amounts of caffeine, but it has a stimulating effect from Theobromine. Many people love raw chocolate for the feel good, natural buzz they get when consuming it. There are many ways to enjoy this: 1) blend warm water with Raw chocolate and a sweetener such as raw agave nectar (or use a raw nut milk and blend until warm for a hot chocolate type drink). 2) You can also make chocolate nut milk by adding raw chocolate powder and a couple of pitted dates to it to the next batch of raw vegan nut milk you prepare. 3) Make other Raw food recipes. Raw chocolate is satiating, delicious, gives you energy, and is full of anti-oxidants.
REST & ADEQUATE SLEEP! I can’t emphasize enough that getting enough sleep at night (and rest) is one of the big keys for helping to maintain great energy levels so you don’t feel the need to reach for caffeine. I realize that it’s not always possible to do this in our hectic lives, but TRY! Your health is worth it.
Set a schedule for yourself. Decide a plan of attack for eliminating coffee from your diet and write it on your calendar. Try the different methods outlined above for ease and success, and enjoy the healthy transition. You’ll be so glad you did it. Remember, part of the addiction is the experience associated with consumption (such as going to a cafe or wrapping your hands around a big, warm mug), so look for surrogates—ways to replicate the experience without the caffeine. Find new places and new cafes and wrap your hands around a big mug of green smoothie, warm herbal tea, or yummy Teeccino.
Updated thoughts: Now that I’ve broken the caffeine addiction, I can enjoy a cup here and there (when not pregnant or breastfeeding) and not feel guilty about it, or worry about it for that matter. I keep it organic when possible. Usually decaf. There are some things that give you a psychological edge… a spiritual uplift that can be worth their weight in health gold. If having a cup of organic, fresh brewed coffee is that for you, then so be it. It would be my recommendation that it’s not something you consume tons of… keep it in moderation or as a treat – and try some of the other options I mentioned above to help reduce the dependance. Personally, I love my new relationships with Teeccino and herbal teas – thankfully, in spite of it being bumpy at first. Although the heart break was severe when I initially said good-bye to coffee/caffeine, my experience now is much healthier and balanced.
Moreover, I have concerns about coffee production and the environment, which I haven’t looked into a whole lot yet, but I’ve seen snippets here and there about its problems. I plan on diving into that soon and seeing how bad it is (I’ll be reporting on this over at Green Mommy Blog). I have heard that shade-grown, organic, fair-trade is at least better (for health and environment), but I don’t know how much.