We are thrilled to have Dave Asprey joining us as our guest for today’s podcast! Dave is the Founder and Chairman of Bulletproof. He is a three-time New York Times bestselling science author, host of the Webby award-winning podcast Bulletproof Radio, and was featured on the Today Show, CNN, The New York Times, Dr. Oz, and more.
Dave is very well-known in the biohacking sphere. His first big book was The Bulletproof Diet, which has been out for about seven years. (The diet has been out for about the last ten years.) The book includes the things you should not eat, when to eat, intermittent fasting, and hacks to intermittent fasting. It has helped people to lose more than a million pounds.
In this episode, Dave shares the truth about keto and explains how to fast for optimum health. Be sure to tune in today to hear Dave’s story and find out what made him decide to write his latest book.
“Ninety percent of how you look comes from what you put in your mouth, and when you put it in your mouth.”
IN THIS EPISODE YOU WILL LEARN:
- Dave explains what made him decide to write his latest book.
- Dave explains what return on means in terms of fasting.
- Optimal health starts with what you eat and when you eat it.
- Dave talks about the vegan trap in which he found himself.
- Dave shares some excellent advice about fasting, for women in particular.
- How fasting helps you to become more plugged into the world around you.
- Fasting is about a whole lot more than just losing weight.
- Dave shares three hacks to help you to improve your fasting skills.
- How to make MCT oil easier to tolerate.
- Dave talks about Inner Fuel, the prebiotic fiber he makes for Bulletproof.
- Dave explains why he likes to use raw honey.
- Learning to be kind to yourself around exercise.
- Learning to be peaceful with your hunger.
- Dave discusses what is coming up next for him.
- The benefits of using a continuous glucose monitor.
Connect with Dave
Sign up for Dave’s Bulletproof Program
Dave’s New Book: Fast This Way
Connect with Cynthia Thurlow
- Follow on Twitter, Instagram & LinkedIn
- Check out Cynthia’s website
- Check Out Dry Farm Wines: www.dryfarmwines.com/cynthiathurlow
About Everyday Wellness Podcast
Everyday Wellness is not just another health podcast. Your host, Cynthia Thurlow (nurse practitioner and nutrition/IF expert) has over 20 years of experience in clinical medicine and wellness. Her mission is to bring you the best, science-backed yet practical information to improve your physical and mental wellness every day. She is a busy mompreneur and knows how important your time is. She has designed this podcast to be short in time and big on impact. She interviews a variety of guests in the field of health and wellness, and discusses important issues, and provide practical strategies that you can use in your real life.
Presenter: This is Everyday Wellness, a podcast dedicated to helping you achieve your health and wellness goals, and provide practical strategies that you can use in your real life. Now, here’s your host, nurse practitioner, Cynthia Thurlow.
Cynthia Thurlow: Today, I am thrilled and excited to have Dave Asprey. He’s the founder and chairman of Bulletproof. He’s a three-time New York Times bestselling science author, host of The Webby Award-winning Podcast, Bulletproof Radio and it has been featured on the Today’s Show, CNN, The New York Times, Dr. Oz, and more. Welcome, Dave, it is such a pleasure.
Dave Asprey: Cynthia, thanks. I’m really happy to be here.
Cynthia Thurlow: Well, I was going through your book and trying to think about an angle to start the discussion and I wanted to just share with the listeners that I actually met you in 2019, and I recall at the time, I was completely fangirling and geeking out, and [unintelligible 00:01:02] reached over and said, “I’m just going to walk up and introduce you to Dave.” you probably I don’t remember call this whole meeting.
Dave Asprey: Cynthia, I totally recall. I’ve never had anyone hug me so tightly and you were shaking, and sweating. It was really weird. How can I forget?
Cynthia Thurlow: [laughs]
Dave Asprey: Totally, not true, guys. [laughs]
Cynthia Thurlow: No, I just remember, you were incredibly gracious, and you’ve probably spent 10 or 15 minutes talking to me. The thing that struck me first and foremost was how gracious you were, but secondly, how tall you are. I think a lot of people don’t realize Dave Asprey is a tall guy.
Dave Asprey: I’m not like Tony Robbins tall, he’s a tall guy. He’s 6’8″ or something. I’m 6’4″, so tall-ish, but I’m usually the tallest guy in the room, which is strange, because if you’re the tallest guy in the room and you’re the fattest guy in the room, man, it’s hard to hide.
Cynthia Thurlow: Starting from a place of gratitude, and that was certainly a theme that I saw you weaving into the book and this whole transformation. So, where did it come to you? I know you’ve written many books, and obviously, you are well known in the biohacking sphere. But what made you decide to write this book right now?
Dave Asprey: My first really big book was The Bulletproof Diet. It’s been out for 10 years now, or diet has been out for about seven years. It’s helped people lose more than a million pounds. It took a long time and a lot of research and fixing the little tweaks that didn’t work. Oh, and I was vegan. Oh, and I was keto. Oh, and I tried all these things. It included stuff not to eat, when to eat, intermittent fasting, hacks for intermittent fasting. It included the stuff that you’d find in a book about lectins or food toxins. Even now, when I just reviewed it again, it was about as good as you can get in terms of even predicting some things that studies said. The problem was, who can read that and then follow it all? Then, I said, okay, I’m getting feedback from people saying, “I’m overwhelmed. I don’t know where to start.” So, I stepped back, and I said, “What is the highest return on investment activity that I could teach people to do?” The one that they maybe wouldn’t do on their own. And it’s fasting.
The problem is, you want to write a book about fasting, I’ll give you the down low. Step one, don’t eat for a while. Step two, it’s good for you. Here’s a bunch of studies from PubMed, boom. There’s already a few books like that out there, and my blog is lots of fasting stuff. What I wanted to do was make it so that someone who is like I was, who doesn’t know all this stuff I know now, someone who has some weight to lose or maybe just has energy to gain, they could pick up the book and they would actually try it and actually succeed. Step one, you can try it, because you convinced someone, “Oh, here’s a bunch of science. Do it.” They’ll do it for a week and they’ll suck, and then they won’t do it. There’s two words that say why they won’t do it. They are hypoglybitchy and hangry. These are words that I used to describe myself when I weighed 300 pounds.
Here’s what return on investment actually means. It’s not money at all. Everything you do in life, you invest some amount of energy, and you gain or lose some amount of energy as a result. Let’s see fasting. I didn’t take time, energy, or money to make breakfast. I got paid up front, because I got an extra 10 minutes of sleep or whatever. Then, I had more energy that morning, not less, because I know how to do it right instead of doing it where you do get hangry. Then over time, I get more metabolic energy all the time, and I probably have to buy new pants, smaller ones, not bigger ones the way I used to. That’s the best investment ever because they paid you, and then they paid you, and then they paid you. That’s why I wrote a book about it.
Also, most people won’t do it, because fasting is abhorrent on its face. You want me to not eat? Are you kidding? Don’t you know that famine has killed our species and our evolutionary predecessors for 2 billion years? That’s the worst book you could ever write. But I wrote it because it matters that much because of that equation.
Cynthia Thurlow: I think that’s so perfect. Considering we’re now in a situation in westernized countries where we’re just struggling with diabetes, and obesity, and metabolic disease, and in such an easy way, fasting in almost all of these instances, when we look at research, when we look at all the data that obviously, we’re both very familiarized with, fasting is such an easy answer. It’s one of those things for me, I worked in allopathic medicine for over 20 years, and I finally got to a point. People always ask, “Why did you leave clinical medicine?” My answer is always the same. I got tired of writing prescriptions.
Dave Asprey: [laughs]
Cynthia Thurlow: Because in cardiology or neuro medicine, that’s all you do. We’ve conditioned patients not to do the lifestyle piece. We’ve conditioned patients to come in with a symptom and give them a prescription. And yet, this is so much more powerful than that. It all starts with food or the lack there of.
Dave Asprey: I’m really happy, you didn’t say it all starts with exercise.
Cynthia Thurlow: [laughs]
Dave Asprey: Because when I went to the doctor when I weighed 300 pounds, I said, “Man, I feel I’ve been poisoned and my energy is low. I’ve worked out an hour and a half a day, six days a week. I went on a low-fat, low-calorie diet, and I still weighed 300 pounds. I am wrecked, and I wake up in the morning and feel hungover. Something’s wrong.” He looks at me and he goes, “Maybe, you should try to lose some weight.” I go, “What do you mean?” He goes, “Well, you should try to eat healthy.” I said, “Did you not hear me?” But it was really clear. In medical school, they might even taught you this when you’re going through it. If a patient has 10 symptoms like I did, they’re hypochondriac and they’re lying to you.
Well, my symptoms are real, and I did before I was 30 on lab have high risk of stroke and heart attack, prediabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, oh, and serious cognitive decline, and I’m probably missing a couple others, asthma and Asperger’s syndrome, all kinds of crap. But “No, no. Let’s not pay attention to that. You should just eat healthy, and you should exercise.” It turns out what you just said is true. 90% of how you look of your fat comes from what you put in your mouth, and when you put it in your mouth. What is not a matter of, is it plant based or animal based? That’s completely a garbage way of thinking for the simple fact that animal-based proteins include spider venom and plant-based proteins, 99% of them will kill you. If you don’t believe me, go out into your backyard or the forest, pick up the first plant you see and stick it in your mouth, and you might have to go to the emergency room if you do that. So, don’t really do it. But most plants have proteins that are bad for us, and some that are useful. So, it’s not that. And fat? Did you mean margarine, did you mean candle wax, or did you mean all of them? Because they’re different things.
It’s just one layer of nuance and detail down from what you read about in a simplified health magazine. When you understand that’s why your clothes don’t fit, that’s why you’re tired. Yeah, you’ve got to move but a 20-minute walk every day, [laughs] and once a week doing something hard for 10 minutes is probably enough for the average person even if you’re saying, “I want to work on my booty,” it turns out doing squats a couple times a week is all you really need to do if you eat the right stuff. Why are we causing so much struggle, and suffering, and pain? Why did I spend $300,000 making myself well? Because I believed false things. It was only when I started testing whether my behaviors worked, then I was like, “Wait a minute.”
Then, you meet the experts and the masters who are frustrated, a lot of them with medical degrees. No one will listen. How do they not know that grass fed– this is so important? So, there’s this huge frustration from the knowledgeable people, the masters, the wizards, and then, there’s this giant gap of PR marketing nonsense, “Bet you can’t eat just one.” Then, there’s a bunch of confused people like I was. I am still a little bit angry. I’ve done a lot of forgiveness work but really, I’m still a bit angry that I just had to spend so much time, and money, and energy sorting through all that. I ran a nonprofit for 15 years in antiaging field to learn from people three times my age who figured this stuff out, and like, “Why was I not born with a manual or at least why couldn’t someone have written one?” This is probably going to work. This isn’t. All that goes into all of my books because I don’t want anyone to go through what I went through.
Cynthia Thurlow: Well, it’s interesting because most if not all of the individuals that I interview on the podcast, there’s been some type of health issue, some type of health insult, some type of health journey that has spurned their desire to turn all this antiquated dogma on its head, completely flip it.
Dave Asprey: There’s a really interesting pattern that happens too, because you have the medical knowledge. It’s so easy to say, ‘Oh, there’s a cool post. I’m going to copy, I’m going to paste it, and I’ll change it a little bit.” It happens all over the place. We’ve all dealt with that. But the problem is, when people do that, they change it, they take out the important stuff because they didn’t know what was important. For instance, I was totally keto in 1995. It was called the Atkins diet. I lost 50 pounds of the 100 I needed to lose. The other 50 pounds took me more than 10 years. Because it turns out, this is going to sound really crazy. pork rinds and cream cheese, and artificial sweetener, which is all keto, doesn’t work because it causes inflammation. If you want to go on a plant-based kick, you probably won’t last that long on it, but you could go on the soda and Doritos vegan kick. That’s not going to last long either. So, doing it right is different than just doing it.
When I see these meatheads, “If you eat another carb, you’re a bad person, and I’m never having glucose again.” STFU because I actually did that, and it gave me leaky gut and an allergy to eggs. I experimented with it. It doesn’t work long term. If you tell women to do that who are not little miniature men, it wrecks them even before men. I saw the devolution of the keto, the cyclical keto with the right fats that I described into dirty keto. The same thing is happening in fasting right now, Cynthia, and that’s the other reason I wrote the book, especially for women.
Well, this trap, I’ve been caught in it twice, and I didn’t do it with fasting. I guess you do learn over time. The vegan trap that I was in when I was a raw vegan for quite a while, man, I feel really good. I just went raw vegan, and I’ve got all this energy, this is great, last little bit of weight, and then about, oh, six, eight weeks later, a few little things aren’t working quite right. My sleep isn’t quite there. My joints really hurt. Clearly, I’m not vegan enough. I’m going to buy a bigger bowl that’ll hold more kale. You go down this path, and you do more of what you already have proven works.
Then, you switch to keto. “Okay, well, I feel amazing on keto.” Well, after a while, your cells, the ones in your brain and your immune system that require glucose and don’t get enough of it when you burn muscle to make glucose, they start being unable to repair the brain and the gut lining, and your gut bacteria change. So clearly, the 15 grams of carbs or having a day are too much. I need to go down to 10 grams of carbs a day, and I’ll have even more ketone, whatever salts that probably aren’t good for anyway. Because you know it works and you do it more.
If people walk away from our interview with one piece of advice, if fasting isn’t working for you right now, doing it more probably isn’t a good idea. It’s actually doing it less, doing it in a different way, doing it with assistance, and that kind of thing, you can say that that’s true for everyone. It is 2x true for all women, and it is 5x true at perimenopause or menopause. Three days a week fasting, intermittent fasting for just 14 or 16 hours might be exactly what’s right for you, and it’s okay. If it’s a really rough week or it’s your period, maybe that’s a week where no intermittent fasting or one day. It’s okay to change it up, and it’s okay to say, I wanted to fast for 23 hours today. So, I was going to try. Oh, man, but I’m feeling like crap, and I just yelled to my kids, and can eat something. And you still did an 18-hour fast, you didn’t fail, you didn’t lose. You actually use this weird thing that fortunately, women are better at than men on average called intuition. All of those are wins. But doing it every day, because that’s what you’re supposed to do, oh, my God, can we just stop already?
Cynthia Thurlow: I’m so glad that you’re touching on this because I remind people that once you’ve gotten to a point with intermittent fasting, and your body’s adapted, and you feel great, what I love is variety. I don’t like people to be rigid. Rigidity will breed so many other problems. And you’re right. With women in particular, they need variety. They really genuinely need variety, either with the time schedule, their nutrition. I find and I see this all across social media, because I’m in so many groups where there are middle-aged women, and you’re right. It’s like they tell themselves, “Okay, I need to work out harder, I have to restrict more, I need to eat no carbs, low carbs, lower carb, no animal protein, more animal protein.” So, I’ve watched this happen and women are so hard on themselves.
The biggest caveat of all is that perimenopausal period, those five to seven years preceding menopause into menopause, this is where women get stuck. All of a sudden, their sleep is terrible, they have underlying food sensitivities, they are gaining weight, even people who’ve never had a weight problem. It happened to me. I always tell people, it’s like, “I hit the wall perimenopause.” Even though I was this big research institution trained NP, I still didn’t know about perimenopausal. I spend so much time unpacking for people there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with what you’re doing. We’re having reverse puberty. This is a time in our lives, where my kids–
I have teenage boys. My kids, they’re ramping up their hormones, mine are kind of ramping down and reminding ourselves, we’ve got to give ourselves grace, we have to be flexible. Much to your point about maybe you’re doing a varied schedule, and that’s actually one of the things I talk about quite a bit is that, if you’re doing 16:8 and that works, that’s great. But you may need to change it up and certainly the five to seven days preceding your period without question. I love in the book in particular that you really address this because I feel it’s a missing piece in a lot of the fasting literature and certainly a lot of the big biohacking fasters that are out there, largely because I think a lot of the big fasting people are men. But I love that you touch on this because it really brings to the forefront that this is a big problem.
Dave Asprey: We have this weird cultural moment right now, where women are stepping into the power of being women, which is awesome, and it’s about time. The power of being a woman doesn’t mean doing karate, with a machine gun leading a troop of commandos. But that’s all you see in the movies these days.
Cynthia Thurlow: [laughs]
Dave Asprey: There’s something different in the way women express feminine power. When we unconsciously bring that mindset in, then the fasting bro mindset, which is definitely out there, you’re like, “Oh, yeah, I’ll do that.” But actually, it truly is different for women. The fact that it’s okay that it’s different for women, it shouldn’t be surprising, it shouldn’t be shocking any more so than if I tried to fast according to the right fasting schedule for women, I’m a 6’4″ guy, I’m about 10 point something percent body fat, and I would probably fail. It wouldn’t work. So, why is it such a mystery? I think it’s because of media and the portrayal of women as many men. And when you step into that and be like, “Actually, I’m going to own the fact that I can make babies and you can’t.”
Cynthia Thurlow: [laughs]
Dave Asprey: My first book was a fertility book. My wife is a Karolinska-trained medical doctor. She’s certainly at the age to go through perimenopause. We talk about it all the time, “I wonder my hormones are doing right now,” and she loves fasting. I talked about it in the book. Then, sometimes, it’s like, “I’m having carbs for breakfast. “What are you talking about? Carbs for breakfasts? Let’s have them for lunch, at least.” She’s like, “No, my body really wants some carbs, but it’s not a croissant.” Even when we decide we’re going to change it, we can choose the foods that don’t make you hungry later. That’s also missing from even fasting bros. “I’m going to fast for 24 hours. I’m just going to push through it.” Yeah, you ate pizza last night, and today you’re suffering. But if you’ve eaten something different last night, today would have been an effortless fast. But it’s that sort of– I call them hair shirt fasters. You know what hair shirt is?
Cynthia Thurlow: Mm-mm.
Dave Asprey: Maybe, I’m just weird. I think I was one class away from a minor in religious studies, because it was the only classes I could successfully pass, because it’s not that hard to pass religious studies class, and I was studying computer science. So, I was like, “how do I pad my GPA?” Anyway, hair shirts are something that monks would make in the 14th century in a branch of Catholicism, and you would make this because it was really itchy. You would wear this so that you could suffer more all day, because suffering has merit. [chuckles] There are water-only hair shirt fasters out there. You’ve got to do it on this rigid schedule, you’ve got to do it this way. But I look at my life, I’ve suffered plenty without a hair shirt and without adding to it.
I look at the average parent right now. Let’s see. You’re trying to focus on your job, if you still have one, we’re going to move this pandemic thing, and you’re trying to focus, and there’s two kids running around the house completely going bonkers, because they can’t see their friends, pestering you, when you wanted to focus. That’s enough to say, “I’m going to make my fast more difficult than it needs to be to get the results I want.” I don’t think that’s okay, because the end result of that is that, it will wear away your energy, and you’re going to yell your kids, you’re going to yell your boss, or maybe both at the same time. This is something that men and women do. So, now’s the time to say, how do I turn my energy up without taking hits along the way? I did not know there would be a pandemic when I decided to write this book, but I knew it was the highest value add, and if I can get some people to just try it without the suffering, that it would be big.
In fact, I’d like to invite our listeners, I will teach you the book for free. I was a teacher at university, California for five years. I love teaching. I haven’t taught any of my books ever. fasthisway.com, you can register and for two weeks starting January 25th, every day, there’s a fasting exercise. You don’t fast every day, by the way, you don’t need to. And I’m going to walk people through the idea of a working fast. How to fast when you want to get stuff done? And then, how to tune what you eat before and after a fast? But the other side of fasting that the fasting bros totally missed is the spiritual side of fasting. The magic of fasting that I experienced because I fasted in the cave for four days as you know because you’ve read the book. But see, I’m afraid of being alone, I’m afraid of being a jerk, because I’m hungry, and I’m afraid of getting fatter because I’m hungry because I somehow think that being hungry makes me fat, because if you don’t eat six times a day, blah, blah, blah. So, I sat in this cave and said, “Well, a shaman drops me off, and there’s no food and no people for 10 miles in a direction, I could totally lose it, and at least no one’s going to laugh at me except for me.” I think it’s my best book from a storytelling perspective.
But one of the things that I described is that when you fast, your sensors open. This is by design. The body says, “Oh, there’s no food here. Have some extra energy.” It then forms ketones that are formed even if you’re a woman, even if you only intermittent fast for 12 hours a day three days a week, you get a slight bump in ketones. That’s a very mild schedule. That means you had dinner a bit early, and then you had breakfast, it’s very doable. You probably want to do 14, 16, 18, whatever but that’s enough to get started. Anyhow, when that happens, no food, more energy to find the food. But at the same time, you want to say sensors, I’d like to say, it’s just your nose, or maybe it’s the way your brain talks to your nose. Maybe, it’s your ears, maybe, it’s your eyes. I think it’s more than that. But basically, you become more plugged into the world around you, because your body says, “Oh, that’s how I’ve always found food.” That’s how animals find food. They just know where to go. How do they know? They don’t have a map and don’t have GPS. You have that in you.
This may sound stereotypical, but it’s real. On average, women are better at that than men anyway. I don’t know why. But I know lots of women, I know lots of men, and people lost a million pounds on The Bulletproof Diet, and I’ve interacted for 10 years with people, and there’s a lot of intuition in there. When you do that fasting thing, and you have the energy from it, and you’re not super distracted, and your sensors are open, your ability to do the deeper work, whether it’s on yourself or on the land on which you live, or on your community, your tribe, your family, whatever, it is noticeably, quantifiably bigger, and every major spiritual tradition ever has found this out. So, I’m going to lead people through in the last two days, either one- or two days’ spiritual fast with meditative exercises that are a part of it. Because it would be a disservice to everyone listening, if it was like, “Fasting, it’s just about higher performance. You can be a high-performance mom. Go.” You don’t have to do it that way. But if you try to do a spiritual fasting, I’m going to fast to be more in tune with myself. Meanwhile, you’re in the middle of a workday and you got to make three meals for everyone else, you’re probably not going to get very spiritual. You’re just going to get angry. So, dividing those times up, that’s okay too, it’s just a matter of kindness to yourself.
Cynthia Thurlow: I love that because I think a lot of people are attracted to intermittent fasting because they want to lose weight. I think that’s the intrinsic desire. I remind people that, for me, it’s the mental energy. It’s the cognitive improvement. In fact, normally I like to do my podcast completely fasted, but it’s 7 o’clock at night on the East Coast, and that’s not possible. But I think the longer you fast, meaning the longer you’ve been doing fasting as a process, the more attuned you are to what goes on with your body. And for me, the spiritual side, even though, I like to remind people I was raised Roman Catholic, my family technically, where we– well, not during the pandemic, we’re not going to mass. But the whole concept of that spiritual side of me is one that, fasting has allowed me to reconnect to that, as well as with meditation. So, I love that that’s been integrated. Now, I’m sure that a lot of people continue to make that association, fasting equals weight loss. But fasting is so much more than that. I love that you’re teaching being kind to yourself, giving yourself grace. There are lots of people trying to manage multiple things that are unusual for them given this pandemic, and certainly, this is a book that makes things feasible and reasonable for people.
But let’s unpack a little bit because you’ve made some references to a few different things. What are some of the things that listeners can do to make fasting easier for them if they’re new to fasting, or perhaps for people that have been doing fasting for a while, what are some of the– I hate to use the word, hacks. But what are some of the things they can do nutritionally that will improve their fasting skills?
Dave Asprey: I’m okay to call them hacks, because people call me the Father of Biohacking.
Cynthia Thurlow: [laughs]
Dave Asprey: I’m okay with it. But honestly, it does a little bit of disservice. What they are is they’re tools. In the beginning of this movement 10 years ago, it wasn’t okay to say that you wanted control of your own biology. You’re supposed to just be a victim of whatever– It just happens, and I don’t know if I don’t go to the doctor. So, it was about changing the language of how we think about our health. We’re in the driver’s seat, and a hacker is the ultimate– They’re in the driver’s seat of your computer, and you don’t want them to be like, “How did they do that?” It’s a cool metaphor. And also, a hacker gets into a system that they don’t fully understand. The human body, if there ever was a system we don’t fully understand, that’s it. You can still change it, even if you didn’t know. You didn’t have to be the one who built it. So, three, we’ll call them tools, are things that really offend about 10% of the fasting purists. What they do though, is they, let someone who would have been like me at 300 pounds. I could not have functioned in my life if I skipped breakfast. I did not have the metabolic skills, I did not have the fitness to do that, despite my best efforts. I find that the vast majority of people who have 20 pounds to lose and haven’t been working on themselves for a while, that’s where they are. You’re already set up to fail.
There’s these three tools and I’m going to give in order from mildest to strongest. What you want to do during a fast is, you want to maintain levels of this signaling molecule called mTOR. Now, you probably haven’t heard of this before, and that’s fine but it is a fundamental thing. If you want to put on muscle, and I don’t mean big bulky muscle, unless you have a lot of testosterone present like a guy does. I mean appropriate amounts of muscle. You want this hormone to go up. Actually, is mTOR a hormone? No, it’s a signaling molecule. But you want it to go up, and then you want to go back down and stay low. If it’s up all the time, this is one that makes tissues grow. Guess what happens if your mTOR is high all the time? All sorts of tissues grow, including breast cancer, including all kinds of things. So, hmm, we want our fasting to keep this low, because that’s a hallmark of fasting, and we want our fasting to keep our insulin low, so your blood sugar’s stable and your insulin doesn’t rise. If you do that, you’re achieving the vast majority of the benefits of a fast.
There are other benefits you can get from tweaking other things but that’s what’s going to let you get to the point where you can go 24 hours without really caring whether you eat or not. By the way, I broke my 24-hour fast right before this, because it aligned with the time of day. I did that. I was on camera for eight hours straight before this. I stopped, I ate, broke fast, and I’m back on. So, that resilience with no food, oh, my God, that can never happen. Except it can because your tissues learn.
Step one, if you want to maintain those two things, which is the definition of maintaining a metabolic fast. You can have black coffee. Now, some women are saying, “But black coffee doesn’t make me feel good.” Then have some matcha already, it’s okay. However, I will tell you that most people I know who have a problem with black coffee, I gave up coffee for five years because I had the same problem, it’s because there’s other stuff in the coffee that isn’t just coffee. It’s because of coffee and ochratoxin A, it’s a mold toxin that is not even regulated in the US. If coffee is illegal to sell in China, Japan, and Europe, they send it to us. We drink it, and then, we get jittery, anxiety, and we want to punch people.
Clean coffee might be different for you but some form of caffeine, here’s why. The amount of caffeine, two small cups of coffee will double the production of ketones. Ketones are what happens when you fast, so, it happens when you go on the bacon diet, things like that. A small rise in ketones blocks two hormones that control the voice in your head telling you to eat everything. Those hormones are ghrelin, which is the hunger hormone, and the other one is CCK or cholecystokinin. I like to call it the Calvin Klein hormone, if you can’t remember how to say that, CCK. That makes you feel full. Just a little caffeine for some people, it’s enough. Usually not for first time fasters, but it helps enormously, and this is why most people, even the fasting purists are like, “Well, I had coffee this morning, but it’s really I shouldn’t,” because coffee makes us feel good. If you have GI issues with it, you can put a bit of baking soda in it, and that usually solves the problem. You’re going to be short on sodium anyway when you’re fasting, it’s okay.
Then, you get to level two, where I’m very well known for this. It will not change my life. If you do or don’t try bulletproof coffee, and you could probably come close to it if you don’t buy my stuff. So, I’m not selling here, just very specifically. But if you put grass-fed butter, not organic butter, it’s okay if its grass fed and organic, but it must be grass fed or it simply doesn’t work. I spend a lot of time figuring that out. It can be a half a teaspoon. It can be more. You do that and you put some MCT oil, and you want it to be C8 MCT. My brand is called Brain Octane. There are people who have copied it and make other brands of C8. C8 is shown in studies that came out five years after I launched it that show it raises your ketones four times more than the cheapest form of MCT oil that you can buy. It still says MCT oil on the bottom, because that you got to get enough details right.
MCT oil raises the level of ketones pretty dramatically, enough that for most people, it’ll shift your hunger hormones to the point where instead of using your willpower to think about the doughnut that your kids are eating in front of you and you’re somehow going to have the willpower not to eat, it’ll actually allow you to just not think about the food. Literally, it’s this blissful silence that most of us don’t even know. That’s because in the book, 15% of the thoughts the average person has per day, that’s an average person not in perimenopause, not with weight to lose, just an average person, it’s about, “When am I going to eat to my next meal?” If you get 15% of your thoughts back all morning long because you’re not thinking about food because you change those two hormones, you totally won because you got a 15% power upgrade that morning. That’s a bulletproof coffee does. So black coffee, coffee with butter and MCT, and people say, “But there’s calories in there.” Yeah, there’s calories that don’t change mTOR and don’t affect your insulin at all according to third party studies. In fact, there are 300 possible breakfasts studied, bulletproof coffee, which isn’t even a breakfast, but it had the least effect on insulin of anything you could put in your body, including celery juice or anything else. So, it works for that but mostly it’s because it just turns off hunger.
The third fasting tool and that’s in the fastest way is something called prebiotic fiber. This really pisses off fasting advocates. [laughs] Here’s the deal. This is a kind of fiber. It comes from plants but it’s not like the sawdust, psyllium husk, Metamucil. This is something your body cannot digest. But the good gut bacteria in your stomach will love it. When they get it, they turn on their production of something called butyric acid, which turns up the level of ketones in the body. Soluble fiber also makes you regular, which is a major problem for people when they go keto or when they’re fasting. It’s also something most of us don’t get enough of, and it’s correlated with a reduction in all-cause mortality. In fact, it’s a major part of my anti-aging book about how to stay younger. Get a lot of soluble fiber. “What do you mean? I can have this fiber in the middle of a fast?” Yeah, you can. When you do, there’s no one on earth who can take a bulletproof coffee with 20 grams of soluble fiber. There’s two scoops in there, Blend it up, drink it, and I’m so full. I couldn’t eat that doughnut if I wanted to. But your body thinks you’re fasting. You just turn off the hunger hormones by– Your mTOR is where you wanted it, your insulin is where you wanted it, and you just totally power through the morning with no distractions. That is a great way to get started fasting.
Over time, you know what? This morning, I didn’t really want to– I’ll just have the black coffee. But it might take you three to six months of doing that a few mornings a week in order to teach your body. Oh, there’s always ketones present because there’s this MCT oil that makes ketones and there’s caffeine that does– I guess I should always have my cells configured to burn fat and to burn carbohydrates. That’s the hallmark of metabolic flexibility. Guess what metabolic flexibility does for you? When you’re having a hot flash, when you’re really energetically low, you’re getting a migraine and things aren’t working right, if you can call on two different power sources as needed, your resilience goes up. It doesn’t mean you won’t have those symptoms. It means you can manage those symptoms better. You can manage someone yelling at you, you can manage being pestered by your kids better. Whether or not you’re fasting that day or not, your human flexibility goes up, your immune system works better. So, if you do get a cold or any other thing that happens to be going around, your odds of noticing that you got it go way down, and your odds of having serious side effects go down always, whether or not we’re dealing in the land of coronavirus or we’re just like, “Oh, my kids are back to school. All the other moms got sick. I didn’t. I wonder why?” It’s because you had cells that worked, that powered your immune system.
Cynthia Thurlow: One thing that I often forget even as a clinician is meeting patients or clients where they are and that’s really what you’re identifying. Meeting people that are new to fasting where they are. I’m curious, is there an indication how much MCT oil because I say this because I speak very openly about this. Some people don’t tolerate as much MCT oil as ours. I can do about a teaspoon, my husband can do a tablespoon, no problems. But based on the research that you’ve looked at, is there a minimum amount that is effective at facilitating this ketone production and also satisfying the satiety hormones? I’m just curious if you’ve seen anything specific to that.
Dave Asprey: I would guess you’re referring to disaster pants, when you’re talking about–
Cynthia Thurlow: [laughs] Yeah.
Dave Asprey: That’s a medical term. They tell you that in medical school, right? [laughs]
Cynthia Thurlow: Yes, and in fact, anytime I talk about it on social media, all the women are like, “Oh, my.” I’m like, “Trust me when I say. It’s never happened to me, but we don’t want that to happen.”
Dave Asprey: Yeah.
Cynthia Thurlow: That’s [crosstalk] we to debate.
Dave Asprey: What you do is you start slow. I suggest that someone who’s never experienced MCT oil at all, in bulletproof coffee, start with a teaspoon. Most people handle that really well. If you are doing what I recommend with the butter, you will tolerate it much better. If you have a hard time tolerating it, try the prebiotic fiber, and you’ll almost certainly tolerate it. If neither of those work, try a teaspoon with a meal after your fast and you’ll almost certainly tolerate that. So, it’s a question of what is it with. There aren’t that many people who can blend straight MCT into coffee or tea, and then tolerate that nearly as well as if they add a bit of butter. The reason you add the butter isn’t what you think. It does make it creamy and delicious, and it just feels a little bit naughty to be like, “I’m actually putting butter in coffee Oh, my God. Can you believe this?” It is like walking over coals at Tony Robbins but it’s with your blender.”
What’s happening with the butter, I did not understand this, it drove me crazy. You can’t eat a bite of butter and then drink a cup of coffee or tea. It doesn’t work. The reason it matters, I funded research at the University of Washington to figure this out. Gerald Pollack who figured out that one of the things we do and we drink a glass of water is our body puts the water near our cell membranes because we’re made out of cell membranes, and then our body heat also known as 1200 nanometer light, if you want to sound a little biohacker-y, we heat up the water in the presence of a little bit of fat, which is what our cells are made out of. After a little bit of time in that environment, the water changes and you can see the change on microscopes. This isn’t magic fairy water. It’s called exclusion zone water. Your body has to have that water to make ATP to fold proteins. Every biological process in your cells is done with this form of water.
Well, when you put the butter in the blender and you hit blend in the water, Dr. Pollack discovered that, butter fat makes the largest exclusion zone of anything he’s ever seen. As I was testing this stuff a long time ago before I wrote the first book, if you blend it for at least 20 seconds, it works better than 10 seconds. What’s happening is, okay, you’re in a fast, and when you drink this strange sounding but delicious concoction, your body’s like, “Oh, I can use all that water to burn fat right now, because I don’t have to heat it up first. Oh, and there’s a little bit of this MCT oil that cannot be stored as fat and must be burned for energy.” So, now, I’ve got the water, I’ve got the substrate that’s required for the mitochondria to suck up that water, suck up that MCT, make me some energy, and it’s like the lights come back on in 15 minutes. This is a pretty good explanation of the mechanism that I didn’t understand. But that’s why the butter matters, plus, it lets you handle the MCT well. If you start with a teaspoon, almost everyone does it, and there are a few people who are like, “A half teaspoon is good for me.” I know a few people who start really low, and then have to work up. This leads us to a prediction thing.
If you’re listening to this, and you’ve had chronic problems with yeast, one of the other names for this brain octane oil is caprylic acid, which is a widely known treatment for candida. Now, I do not use it for that and this is sold as a food because it’s the same type of fat that’s predominant in mother’s milk, even there’s a very large amount. So, it’s the most common MCT. It’s part of our normal diet, but it’s nicely antifungal. But if you have a bunch of yeast in your body and you drink this, you might need to go slow, because you could even have a die-off of the yeast. This is great, the yeast will die but if they all die at once, you’re probably not going to like I feel. That’s why the other big fasting hack that’s in the book is activated charcoal.
Since you’re already in the middle of detoxing during a fast because all the energy that your body was going to use to eat the meatloaf, it’s now you’re going to burn up stuff inside yourselves cells, extra cellular debris and toxins in a process called autophagy. Well, that makes extra toxins plus your gut bacteria, the bad guys, they make a really potent toxin that you study in med school called lipopolysaccharide or LPS. Funny enough, activated charcoal 10,000 years of use in humans. It’ll also absorb your medicines. Don’t take it with drugs and things like that. But you can take a couple capsules in the middle of your fast, and magically, you don’t get the brain fog, you don’t get the die-off, and in fact, I believe that if everyone took activated charcoal in the middle of a fast, they would get better results, and they live longer, and there’s good science to back that up. But if you’re feeling a little bit wonky, activated charcoal is an amazing way to remove the toxins instead of just having some ice cream, which also makes you feel better even though it doesn’t remove the toxins.
Cynthia Thurlow: Absolutely fascinating. So, this prebiotic fiber, is it like acacia gum, what are [crosstalk] sure you probably have a preference?
Dave Asprey: The one that I make for bulletproof is called InnerFuel and I talk about the ingredients in the book. If you want to Google the ingredient deck on that you can, Bulletproof InnerFuel. The reason I’m suggesting that’s the easiest way to find it is acacia gum, which is A-C-A-C-I-A, it’s one of the big three ingredients. This is a basically as sap from a tree in Africa that in many clinical studies is shown to feed the good guts. But there’s two other ones that are really useful. One is hydrolyzed guar gum. Try to spell that, G-U-A-R. This also in multiple studies, it grows a different kind of good bacteria. The third one that I like that I put in that formula is larch arabinogalactan, which is also very easy to spell. All three of these are tree saps that feed good gut bacteria. If you did a search for prebiotic fiber, just make sure it doesn’t have a psyllium husk and coarse fiber in it because during the fast, we’re trying to only feed the good gut bacteria, not add a lot of bulk. This is the way to do it. This is really cool during fasting, and I believe that in the next five years, you’ll see every fasting blog talking about how you can do this during the fast. But I have taken already a lot of hits from the water-only fasters going, “How dare you?” I just wanted it to work.
Cynthia Thurlow: I find it fascinating though, because from my perspective, we’re meant as individuals to evolve, shift, and change. There are definitely tents in this book that have caused me to really think, “Okay, that makes some sense.” That may be something that I need to be teaching my ladies that are following and certainly participating with this. Now, I want you to talk really briefly, if you don’t mind, I’d love for you to talk about why you like using raw honey. I know why you do, but I think it would be interesting for the listeners.
Dave Asprey: This is one of those things where it seems I’m just designed to make sure that I make every constituent who’s on a very fringe, anyone who’s highly polarized, I’m going to piss them off. Even if you’re on a keto diet, what happens with women, if they overfast or they over-keto, in about a four-to-six-week time, the first four to six weeks is heaven. But then you start saying, “I wake up in the morning and I feel I’m hung over, I didn’t sleep.” If you keep doing keto and you don’t use this honey hack that I’m going to talk with you about this, then soon they go, “Wow, this month cycle is not the way it should have been. But that’s okay, I’m probably need to do it even more.” Then, you start saying, “Oh, look. My hair’s getting thin,” which is not something that anybody wants. I just did an episode on Bulletproof Radio about half of women experience female pattern hair loss, but they just don’t talk about it the way guys do because we’re like, “Oh, look. I can’t hide it. I’ve got to show you what I got.” But you guys, you have that long hair, so you can kind of cover it up. I know that’s outside of my expertise. But what I do know is that if you overfast or you over-keto, you’ll do this.
Even if you don’t do either one of those, if you wake up around three, four in the morning with racing thoughts and you can’t go back to sleep, there’s a reason for it. It might be your hormones, but it probably isn’t. It’s your blood sugar. Because when you’re asleep, your brain has things it must do. The most important thing we didn’t even know about until about what, eight years ago? It’s called the brainwash. Your body dehydrates the brain and dumps a bunch of water out of the brain, and it flushes the brain with clean cerebrospinal fluid to wash out proteins that build up during the day. If you suck at doing this, you’re going to get Alzheimer’s. Oh, by the way, when we get Alzheimer’s twice as much as men, it’s probably because kids wake you guys up at night more than men. I’m just saying. I have no idea why. [laughs]
But what happens there is blood sugar crashes, and the body says, “Hmm, what’s my built-in mechanism to raise my blood sugar quickly? Cortisol and adrenaline. Hey, here you go.” Now, you wake up because your brain is like, “I just wanted to wash myself,” but to do it, it’s scored a bunch of these stress hormones to raise your blood sugar level and you aren’t going to go back to sleep, because you’re running on adrenaline and you’re thinking about all the stuff you have to do tomorrow. So, you’d want to stabilize your blood sugar.
If you take one, two, maybe even three teaspoons of raw honey– and news flash, if you put raw honey in hot tea, you’ve made cooked honey. So, it has to be raw honey. You can also put MCT oil in it, which works really well. But the reason you do this is that raw honey preferentially raises carbohydrate storage in just your liver, not in your muscles. If you’re working on fasting, you’re working on keto, you’re working on losing weight, you don’t want to store sugar in your muscles. You put it in your liver, because the liver will feed the brain first, and it can release glycogen fastest.
So, right in the middle of a fast, if you’re having this problem, you can muscle through it, or you can even have a little bit of this. Most fasting experts will say if you have less than 15 grams of carbs, you’re probably still fasting because there’s a lower limit in there. So, try a teaspoon of raw honey. If it changes your life, awesome, and you can do other things to improve your sleep too. Like the glasses I’m wearing and the glasses you’re wearing, you want to block more than blue, I would say, but at least blue blockers. These are the TrueDarks, I wrote the patent for these. They radically improve sleep and when you improve your sleep, your blood sugar regulation during your fast the next day improves as well. So, if you can just sleep better, have dinner earlier. Sleep better, use the honey trick if you need to, wake up, and your blood sugar is going to do better, and you’re going to do better when you fast.
Cynthia Thurlow: That’s a really important distinction because many women when they come to me are already not sleeping well and so that’s certainly a hack that people can utilize. It certainly makes sense. It was interesting. I was listening to your podcast with Matt Madsen who attended– He’s actually a professor at the same university that I went for undergrad and grad school, proud Hopkins Alum. One of the things I found really interesting with regard to liver glycogen which was new for me was that you can store about 700 calories of liver glycogen in your liver and that it actually takes 7 to 12 hours of activity to actually use it up. To give people a sense, our livers are pretty efficient at storing this sugar, this glycogen for us to be able to utilize. But for a lot of people, if you’re really low carb or you’re really overdoing it with exercise, which a lot of my women do-
Dave Asprey: Yes.
Cynthia Thurlow: -they think is more is better, I have to sleep less, I have to do 15 boot camp classes, I have to do lots of HIIT, I have to lift CrossFit heavy exercise every day and I was reminded I’m like, “We have to be a little gentler to our bodies.”
Dave Asprey: Cynthia, I’m seeing a lot of women around 50 needing hip replacements, because of those activities.
Cynthia Thurlow: Yeah. Now– [crosstalk]
Dave Asprey: You don’t have to hit it that. Walking every day is really good and you can do some high intensity stuff two, three times a week. That’s all is necessary. Even like Lana, my wife, I’ll get a little bit personal here. She said, “You know what? I’m going to try this.” She read BJ Fogg’s book called Tiny Habits, Stanford professor. She said, “Well, the thing is build a habit in that serves you and there’s a way of congratulating yourself.” She said, “Well, here’s my new habit. While I’m blending–” She likes bulletproof matcha, “While I’m blending my bulletproof matcha, which takes 30 seconds, I’m going to do squats.” That is the extent of her butt exercises and she grow her [unintelligible 00:50:32]. It took her about three months, but it was so funny because she’s standing at the blender, hand on the top so it doesn’t shoot matcha on the roof, and she’s doing her squats and the kids like, “Ha, ha, ha. Mom.” Then, when she’s done, to filter in the habit, you go, “Yes,” you congratulate yourself, you get that feeling of awesome. You know what? She’s so happy. It made a big difference. But that is it. She didn’t have to go kettlebell swing and just blow herself up. I don’t know that it’s appropriate for women in their 40s, 50s, and 60s to exercise the way a fitness model would exercise in her 20s. It doesn’t seem like that’s how we were evolved, and I don’t think Lana is going to have to replace our hips anytime soon, which is a good thing.
Cynthia Thurlow: Well, it’s interesting for me. I actually have a congenital hip issue, which I didn’t know I had until I was probably 40. I was doing a lot of heavy lifting, lots of repetitive use injuries, and I actually have a bone spur. But the way that my femur and my hip joint sit together, they had said, you have this slow-growing– it’s called FAI, and they said, you have this slow growing issue. As long as you’re not doing those activities, you should be fine. You probably will never need that hip replacement. But I think about how many patients I’ve taken care of over the years and I’m very big now at the latter part of my 40s, self-preservation, it’s why I don’t ski anymore. I’m not at all embarrassed to say I let everyone in my house snowboard, I’ve all. I’m happy doing anything other than getting on a ski. But as I’ve gotten older, especially the last couple years, I will go to the gym and I’ll do HIIT– Well, not going to the gym right now. Do HIIT or I’ll do TRX bands, workouts from home. I do a lot of walking outside in nature, and that’s actually when I do a lot of podcast listening, and I enjoy that thoroughly. I’m as lean as I am now as it was before I had kids, and I think a lot of it has to do– Some of its sleeping really well, good nutrition, but I don’t overdo it with exercise. For me, it’s more about the movement piece. For anyone that’s listening, especially women, less is more. What we’re saying is completely the way you want to be. You want to be flexible, you want to ensure that you’re being smart about how you exercise, but you don’t want to end up with a chronic use injury. You don’t want to have a joint replacement at 50. You absolutely don’t want to do that.
Dave Asprey: Oh, there’s even a study, I reference fasting from exercise in the book because you can fast from things beyond just food. I don’t recommend you fast from exercise for a long period of time. But if you think you need exercise every day to survive, go on and exercise faster. People are addicted to the endorphins. Anything that you think you need that you know you don’t need for a long time, you probably should skip that for a few days and just teach your body you don’t need it. That creates a lot of inner peace. This kindness towards yourself with exercise, another word for that is the laziness. I’m just going to say, and this has really irritated people at the very start of the biohacking movement, I’m like, “Look, I wanted to exercise less. I even want to sleep less. I don’t want to force myself to sleep less. I just want to wake up fully rested in less hours,” which I do.
There are now two studies from University of Colorado at Denver showing that on an exercise bike driven by artificial intelligence two 22nd intervals over a seven-minute period of time without any sweating creates more cardiovascular benefits than a 45-minute steady state spin class. Hmm, which is easier on your hips and which freed up more time for you to meditate? So, that’s the stuff that’s really interesting to me, what if we could free ourselves from all the things that we had to do? Like making breakfast every morning. [laughs] There are almost religious behaviors that we do, because we think it’s going to make us safe, or we think we’re supposed to do it, or we think it’s going to make us healthy but the data doesn’t show it. It was very provable is that, when we think we need something and we don’t get it, it creates fear. There are many people out there who are afraid of being tired. The fear of being tired is worse than being tired itself. In fact, my wife, Lana, dealt with that, especially around our first kid. She actually did EMDR and neurofeedback on it. She’s like, “Oh, no. I’m okay to be tired. I don’t like it. But I don’t feel like it’s doom.”
The same thing happens with hunger. For me, the fear of being hungry was a really big deal, because I’m like, “I really don’t want to act like a jerk.” I’ve been working on that for years. I know that I’m just going to lose control of my emotions. If I did, I will just be a jerk. Also at a deeper level, it was like, I know I’ll starve, and I don’t want to go into starvation mode, and I felt so low energy and so crappy so much that it’s like I’m never going back. When I realized, okay, you can be at peace and being hungry. There’s this whole weird thing where hunger means, “You know, I should probably eat in the next couple hours for best performance but if I don’t, I’ll be just fine.” That’s very different from, “If I don’t eat right now, I’m going to have to break off someone’s arm and eat it, or I’m just going to lose it. I am starving.” If you think you’re hungry for lunch, say, I’m starving, you have a craving. You’re not even hungry. To understand through a practice of fasting, through a practice of awareness that hunger is a relatively peaceful thing. If you eat the wrong stuff of big kale salad and whatever else the night before and you wake up, “Man, my stomach is gurgling and I’m so hungry. I have to eat now,” it’s what you ate before. When you do it right, you wake up like, “Oh, I’m not even hungry. If I get hungry, I can just wait until it’s convenient because I’m just not going to–” that cortisol spike, that sensation, that fear. When your cells know that you’re not doing that, they actually become stronger too.
So, when you don’t trigger yourself with untrue thoughts or untrue beliefs, then that saves energy for your system to do what it’s supposed to be doing. I did my very best to put this into a book, it’s a very hard thing to explain. That was why I thought it was worth a book versus the don’t eat for a while, it’s good for you kind of thing, where the emotional and the how to actually do it was my biggest focus. It was one of the harder books I’ve written but I think it’s probably my best books. Not the most science book, I don’t have 1300 references. I have only 800 or something. But that idea of getting through the emotional side of this, which is why most people don’t try fasting. That’s where we’ve got to get as a country, as a world even– 42% of people are obese, something like 88% of people [chuckles] currently are on track to get at least prediabetes as they age. That’s most of us. This is a free way to turn that completely around and if that means being super happy when one of your friends shows up and says, “I’m fasting, but I’ll have coffee with you this morning. I’m not having coffee and bagels.” Instead of being judgmental or because you feel hungry, because your mirror neurons had empathy, and they must be hungry, and trying to force food on him, just be like, “Awesome,” and don’t tell them you have an eating disorder unless they actually do. You’ll know. [laughs]
When someone has anorexia, you can tell, and if someone has bulimia and they are close friends, you’ll probably know. We’re not talking about that here. Those are emotional disorders and need medical treatment for that. But what we’re talking about is support someone who says, “I’m going to eat when I’m hungry,” because the idea that we’re all going to line up at the gas station Monday morning, even if our gas tank is full, and we’re going to just pump all the same amount of gas, and even if it spills out onto the ground, it doesn’t make sense but we’re doing that, because big companies a 100 years ago set up factory schedules where that was most convenient. Now, we think it’s normal. It’s just not.
Cynthia Thurlow: Well, I think that’s such valuable information. A little bit of hormetic stress, a little bit of allowing our bodies to get back to the way that they are optimally supposed to be surviving and thriving.
What’s next? Obviously, you’ve got your new book, but I know you always have things cooking in the background. What is next for you?
Dave Asprey: Well, my big focus now is on teaching. It’ll probably be 30,000 people by the time the challenge starts. I haven’t taught 30,000 people something before. I think the biggest single audience I’ve done is Tony Robbins with 15,000 people, which is pretty darn amazing. So, I’m really all in on, how do I teach this and then, how do I go back? If you spend 2,000 or maybe 5,000 hours writing a book, and I never taught it to anyone, if you went to school, and you only have the textbook, and there was no teacher– this year, it’s all about teaching all the stuff I’ve written. There’s so much of my life’s work, and all this knowledge, from thousands of experts in there. If I can make it so people absorb it a little bit better, that’s probably the right use of my energy right now. This is a year for me of teaching, of welcoming people in where, “Yes, I’ll walk you through it. Yes, I’ll do 30 Q&As this year.” So, I’ve really committed, my whole team is aligned behind that. You just look at the basics. You should go for a walk every day, it doesn’t have to be a big one. [chuckles] Learn how to sleep really well. You probably want a sleep tracker to be good at that. Learn how to skip a meal every now, and then, and learn how to eat so you’re not hungry right after you eat. If you just do those things– oh, and maybe once a week, you do something for 10 minutes that makes you really grunt and sweat a little bit. [laughs]
If we could all just do those and you don’t have to have the cool electrical stimulation, neurofeedback, biohacking, well, there’s all kinds of stuff, they’ll take you to a different level, but none of that’s necessary. Everything I just said was free. Learning how to sleep, maybe blackout curtains will be not that expensive. You can use aluminum foil if you don’t like your neighbors. But these are very accessible for everybody. They’re basic practices, but no one does them, because they fail all the time in doing them because they don’t know how to them right. So, those are the things that matter most if you’re to go, “Okay, I can skip breakfast safely. I’m going to practice playing around with my sleep.” One of the other things that I’m going to suggest for people who are really committed to this that has made a giant difference for me, is this thing, you can’t see it on the back of my arm. It’s a continuous glucose monitor.
Cynthia Thurlow: I have one. I love it.
Dave Asprey: Yeah, and so this is from Levels Health. Levels makes an app that goes with this. They send these things out. What they do is they let you take a picture of your food, and then you just wave your phone over your arm, and it tells you what your blood sugar is. The coolest thing of all is, you’re saying like, “Man, I really need to eat.” You wave your phone of your arm, and it says your blood sugar’s 115. That is not a low blood sugar. 90, 87 is where you want it to be. Wait a minute, my body’s telling me I need energy when it’s got energy coursing through its veins. Maybe I’ll wait a little while longer. Maybe I can adjust that and I can look at that feeling. Is it actually boredom? Is it loneliness? Those are two things that were triggers for me before I went down this path. Is it that I ate something that really has my gut all messed up? Is it thirst? Okay, now, my energy is low. This is actually when I should be refueling, not when I thought.
You also learn, wow, I never realized that if I had that dinner at 8 o’clock that it completely wrecked my blood sugar for that night and the whole next day. So, even as a relatively experienced guy, for me, the feedback from the device has been really, really helpful for fasting, and even for just choosing the right foods, because when you see the results right away like, “Oh, next time, maybe I’ll have one scoop.” Just the feedback loop is so powerful. Levels, and by the way, I recently, as of last week invested in the company, because it’s one of the most exciting things I can think of. So, I have a little interest here, but I’m not getting paid anything. There’s 75,000 people waiting for a device, levels.link/dave puts you at the front of the line. So, it’ll save you any money, they’re not paying me anything, it’s just a way to be an early person. If going down that route works, you’re a medical doctor, you can prescribe them but most people can’t get them without a doctor’s appointment, which makes it– It should be much more accessible to have this knowledge than it is and this is an accessibility play.
Cynthia Thurlow: I just have to plug that. Having a continuous glucose monitor for me has been a total game changer.
Cynthia Thurlow: Oh, okay, so you know what I’m talking about.
Cynthia Thurlow: I do. I do. In fact, I was like, “Oh, I completely get it. I’m obsessed.” I have one that I’ve been wearing for the last month. I’m constantly scanning, looking at it. It’s both validating because it shows how well controlled my blood sugar is. But going out to dinner and there must have been a seed oil in the dressing, and so, my blood sugar spiked, even though, it had never been that high. So, we identified that it was a seed oil, and I was like, “Okay, well, that explains why the next day I was craving crap and all sorts of things.” So, super, super valuable.
Dave Asprey: By the way, the fact you mentioned seed oils, thank you. They’re a major cause of cravings, and they’re certainly in the book. There’s several other big causes that you really want to pay attention to. Just knowing, oh, it’s not that you’re a bad person you have cravings. It’s something you did and having a little monitor that shows you what’s going on is really cool.
Cynthia Thurlow: That’s super powerful for sure. Well, I’m so thrilled that I was able to steal you away from your extra busy things that are going on. We’ll make sure that we are plugging the book and please tell us how best to find you. I know that people in my groups and that listen to the podcast will want to get involved with your upcoming walkthrough with the book. That sounds really exciting.
Dave Asprey: You can go to fastthisway.com to sign up for this. Spend, you get three, three or maybe four now live Q&As with me where there’ll be lots of other people in a Facebook group answering each other’s questions and it’s free. It is just buy the book, read it, use the knowledge. I want to create a movement, not even a movement with me at the head. There’s lots of people I know who are working on great stuff. I just want to create massive global awareness around this as a normal healthy, beneficial behavior, and it will meaningfully change the health, not just of the US but of the world. [chuckles] It’s this big of a thing and it doesn’t cost anything. It’s cheaper than fixing corn oil and making it something healthy. So, we can all do this, and this is about really education. fastthisway.com.
Cynthia Thurlow: Thanks, Dave. It’s been great.
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