The Bulletproof Diet: Lose up to a Pound a Day, Reclaim Energy and Focus, Upgrade Your Life
Dave Asprey J.J. Virgin

Ended: Dec. 19, 2014

To bring myself back to a state of resilience and health, I had to add a lot more salt to my diet. Since then, I’ve been increasing my energy throughout the day by taking ½ to 1 teaspoon of sea salt in water right when I wake up. That’s when your body uses salt the most efficiently.
Good science is repeatable. In 2008, another study compared a broad spectrum of nutrients in grass-fed to those in grain-fed beef.4 The grassfed meat had higher levels of carotenoids, which are pigments that make the fat appear yellow. Generally, the more carotenoids in a substance, the more nutrients it contains. Yellow fat (like grass-fed butter) is a sign of high nutrient density. One of the things you’ll notice when cooking grass-fed meat is the yellowish color of the fat. More carotenoids equal more antioxidants, nutrients, and flavor! The grass-fed meat had slightly less total fat than grain-fed meat, but the real difference was the type of fat in each meat. Grass-fed meat was higher in saturated fat, omega-3s, CLA, and trans-vaccenic acid, which is similar to CLA. The grain-fed and grass-fed animals had about the same amounts of omega-6s, total polyunsaturated fat, and cholesterol. This means the grass-fed meat had a better ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids and healthier fats overall.
Cheese is even more problematic than milk because the very process that turns milk into cheese also promotes the buildup of toxins. All cheeses are made using a combination of yeast, other fungi, and/or bacteria that form toxins in the cheese that kill off other organisms. But these toxins are also harmful to humans in varying degrees. Each and every batch of cheese may contain a unique mix of fungi from its environment, so it’s nearly impossible to know exactly which toxins the cheese you’re eating contains. The safest bet is to avoid cheeses altogether, as mold toxins are found in more than 40 percent of conventionally produced cheeses.
Other than butter and ghee, which are Bulletproof, the only form of dairy I recommend is a Suspect food that may or may not work for you—full-fat organic raw milk, kefir, or yogurt from grass-fed cows. If you test yourself and can tolerate these, they can be a great addition to your diet. Low-temperature-processed, grass-fed whey protein concentrate also works well for some people, but use no more than 2 to 4 tablespoons per day, as whey is high in amino acids that can cause inflammation in excess.
Your body needs more sodium than potassium in the morning so your blood pressure can go up, but eating fruit (which has a lot of potassium) for breakfast causes your blood pressure to go down. Low blood pressure in the morning makes it harder to feel energized and ready to face the day. This was the first time I realized that eating (or avoiding) specific foods at certain times of day could cause a desired reaction in the body.
The shortest-length fats of MCT oil are converted into ketones that are immediately used as fuel for your brain, and MCT oil also helps you burn body fat while you sleep. I’ve noticed that I think faster and more clearly the next morning if I have 1 to 2 tablespoons of MCT oil the night before with dinner or even right before bed. Try drinking the No-Coffee Vanilla Latte, which contains MCT oil, as a Bulletproof nightcap. Like Bulletproof Coffee, this drink will not take you out of the fasting state without added protein.
Luckily, Green Pasture ferments their cod liver oil using a traditional process that retains all the beneficial effects. They also test their cod liver oil for contaminants, heavy metals, and even mold. They are the only brand that does this.
Because it’s so prone to oxidation, olive oil should never be cooked.
Chicken skin is a good source of collagen protein, but the skin also has the most fat in it, much of which is inflammatory omega-6 linoleic acid. It’s okay to consume chicken fat every now and then, but you should only eat the skin on pastured chickens if it’s not burned or grilled. Denatured protein mixed with oxidized omega-6 fat (think: buffalo wings) is not Bulletproof.
the most flavorful form of rice ever known, mochi. Mochi is steamed sticky white rice that’s pounded into a hard square and cooled. You can buy it ready to bake in the refrigerator section at a natural foods grocery store, and they puff up into crunchy, chewy, hollow, amazing biscuitlike things that you can fill with butter or transform into a perfect waffle made of nothing but white rice! (These are not rice cakes.) Contrary to what most people expect, white rice is more Bulletproof than brown or wild rice, which I’ll discuss in the Suspect section.
If you don’t feel well after eating frozen blueberries, it’s probably because you ate mold toxins. Buy high-quality organic frozen or firm fresh blueberries. Frozen moldy berries are a much bigger problem than people realize.
Apples are high in several antioxidants that are believed to help protect against cancer and heart disease, but the biggest problem with apples is their pesticide content. Apples are ranked number 1 on the Environmental Working Group’s 2014 list of 12 most-contaminated fruits and vegetables. You should try to buy organic apples whenever possible, and wash any nonorganic ones thoroughly before consumption.
Everyone’s favorite fruit—the banana—is about as nutrient dense as white potatoes with a similar nutritional profile. They are high in carbs and low in most nutrients. Despite their convenience, bananas are too high in fructose and carbs to be Bulletproof and should be eaten after dinner only every now and then.
the French “paradox” (the idea that the French suffer low rates of heart disease because they drink lots of wine—it’s probably because they eat lots of butter!).
One of the simplest things you can do to increase your performance is to toss out spices that more than a few months old. Use high-quality, recently opened, fresh or dried herbs and spices, or don’t use them at all. I’ve done my best to identify the rationale behind the rankings in this section, but there is always room for personal experimentation. It’s up to you to decide where you go on the roadmap and how that makes you feel and perform.
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR One study found that 20 grams of apple cider vinegar reduces glucose levels and insulin sensitivity after a meal in both insulin resistant and healthy people.1 There’s also evidence that it can improve cardiovascular function, fight tumors, and kill pathogens.2 This is the only vinegar I use in my kitchen besides white distilled vinegar.
This herb is high in antioxidants and plant phenolics, and has some medicinal benefits when it comes to helping the gut biome and suppressing yeast in your body. As long as you buy from high-quality sources and don’t shake the container over steam (which traps water and allows mold to grow on any spice), oregano is an amazing herb.
Turmeric provides one of the most potent anti-inflammatories you can get from food. It’s extremely high in carotenoids, which is what gives it a yellow hue, and has been used for centuries to help heal wounds, fight infections, and even decrease the risk of cancer. There is still ongoing research into the positive effects of turmeric, but it’s well documented to help your gut biome, reduce inflammation, and thin the blood. Turmeric can even protect your body from the mold toxin aflatoxin!
Despite being one of the most common spices, studies have shown that black pepper tends to be especially high in mold toxins,17 particularly aflatoxin and ochratoxin A.18 I love the taste of it, but I noticed that when I ate a lot of black pepper I woke up with sore joints, which for me is a sign of mold exposure. Since the risk is so high, I generally recommend avoiding it. If you continue to eat black pepper, ditch the ground stuff, as it is far moldier and the essential oils are gone. A good pepper grinder with fresh, high-end black pepper is the only way to do it. I’ve switched to oregano mostly.
While flavorful, most vinegars contain significant amounts of yeast and fungal by-products that function as antinutrients and can limit your performance. Red wine vinegar, malt vinegar, and balsamic vinegar tend to be highest in antinutrients, including mold toxins and in the case of balsamic, lead. I was astounded to feel a difference when I switched from large amounts of balsamic vinegar to apple cider vinegar in salad dressing.
While coconut milk is full of healthy fats, coconut water is mostly sugar. It does have some nutritional benefits, but it will take you out of fat-burning mode and might cause food cravings later. You’ll get better results if you only drink it once in a while after a workout or before bed.
Tragically, beer has the most toxins of any common alcoholic beverage. Drinking beer will wreck your performance, cause terrible food cravings, and make it extremely difficult for you to lose weight. Plus, beer has all the grain toxins and more ochratoxin than wine or untested coffee. They don’t call it a beer belly for nothing.
Microwaved food is fully denatured, and one (albeit controversial) study showed that microwaves cause changes in HDL, LDL, and white blood cells.3 Microwave ovens also tend to create high amounts of electromagnetic fields in your kitchen. I don’t recommend using them.