It’s closing in on a year since I changed my diet, moving away from a strict plant-based focus to one that includes animal proteins and fats. I moved in the direction of a Paleo approach for the first nine months or so, increasing my protein intake drastically while still eating a fair amount of plant foods.
The more I experimented and learned about what type of dietary approach works best for me, though, the more I realized that there are indeed risks that come with consuming too much protein. Also, with my history of PCOS and thyroid disease, it’s become evident to me that controlling my blood sugar and inflammation is top priority.
In early February of this year, I was introduced to an offshoot of the Paleo diet that can be described as a low-carbohydrate, high-fat approach. Some may call this the Atkins diet, but the iteration I’ve embraced incorporates high-nutrient, green leafy and non-starchy vegetables as the bulk of what I eat weight-wise and the bulk of the calories I eat coming from healthy fat sources.
I can’t tell you what a huge learning curve this has been for me, especially after devoting so much of my personal research efforts to the health benefits of low-fat, plant-based diets (I even wrote my master’s degree thesis on it). The good news is that all that energy spent was not wasted, as I’ve greatly re-increased my vegetable intake these past few months, consuming at least the amount that I ate while vegan and swapping quite a bit of my protein for healthy fats, all the while doing more research to ensure that this approach fits my personal health goals.
The other good news is that there are some wonderful resources available that help with the transition to eating a low-carb, high-fat way, one of which is the new Bulletproof Diet book that I’m reviewing today (plus hosting a giveaway, scroll to the end of this post for the entry link). Full disclosure: while I was sent a copy of the book for review, all opinions are my own. Also, please note that there are some affiliate links within this post.
Maybe you’ve heard of the Bulletproof Diet created by Dave Asprey? Many people are probably familiar with the butter coffee part of it, but it goes so far beyond that. A fair summary would be that this approach embraces the idea of cyclical nutritional ketosis with high nutrient, low-carb, low to moderate-protein, and high healthy fat choices (that’s a mouthful, no pun intended, but it’s captures the idea pretty well, I think).
The Bulletproof program also embraces the idea of choosing foods that are of the highest quality with the most nutritional benefit, reminiscent of the high-nutrient plant-based diet I used to follow, but with much higher fat intake and from sources such as grass-fed butter, ghee, MCT oil, and tropical oils, to name a few. Animal products are grass-fed/organic/pastured/wild and vegetables are ideally organic or pesticide-free. In fact, that combination of low to moderate protein sources, tons and tons of non-starchy vegetables, topped with a lot of healthy fat to aid with absorption and satiety is pretty much the essence of a Bulletproof meal.
Beyond food choices, though, Dave Asprey is what you would call a bio-hacker, someone who investigates efficient ways to make the body work more optimally, including tackling topics of supplements, sleep quality, and stress management. I identify strongly with Dave in that he has a background with lots of health issues that he’s overcome, but has a really positive, open-minded, and grateful attitude, including a desire to share what he’s learned along the way with his fantastic podcasts, blog, products, and now his incredible book:
Outside of getting past the weirdness of Bulletproof coffee (it’s actually amazing), I will say that I was concerned about the nutritional ketosis part of the Bulletproof Diet which is essentially intermittent fasting. You may remember I’ve had ups and downs with IF and found the last time I tried it in 2014, it triggered some unhealthy behaviors.
Bulletproof fasting is completely different than water fasting, though, because it incorporates the grass-fed butter coffee (with MCT oil to boost ketones) and involves only skipping breakfast while in weight-loss mode; the maintenance mode includes protein and fat for breakfast, along with coffee. This evolution of fasting makes complete sense for someone like me who has a history of insulin resistance and hormonal imbalance. Women in particular might be interested in reading this article about Bulletproof techniques that can protect our fertility and adrenal glands.
In fact, as I’ve been following an increasing adherence to Bulletproof guidelines for just about 8 weeks now, for the first time in my whole life, my PCOS has diminished significantly. Also, my fasting glucose level has decreased dramatically as measured by both a lab and at home with a glucometer; I’ll have my hemoglobin A1C re-tested in a few weeks.
In short, I believe that this low-carb approach with just some nutrient dense fruit and absolutely no refined sugars plus a reduction in protein intake have been the keys to my success so far. I have also noticed a significant reduction in joint pain/inflammation that seemed to occur when I switched from a plant-based diet to a high protein Paleo-ish diet.
Other topics discussed in the Bulletproof Diet book that the nerd in me loved reading about included:
- Fasting-induced adipose factor (FIAF) and how to maximize its effectiveness
- Managing your gut microbiome and how to manipulate the good guys to work for you
- Protein fasting 1-2 days a week to encourage autophagy and decrease inflammation
Don’t worry, you don’t have to be a nutritional scientist to get a ton out of this book. Like any good “diet” book, this one includes a basic outline of how and what to eat, including a description of the best cooking methods to maximize nutrition, along with many easy and delicious recipes, several of which I’ve made already.
As you can probably tell, I’m really, really excited to share my thoughts on this book with you and the folks over at Bulletproof are offering a giveaway of a copy to one of you lucky readers.
May I present my Vanna White impression:
- Winner will receive a hard copy of the Bulletproof Diet book.
- Open to residents over the age of 18 of continental U.S., except Rhode Island.
- One winner will be randomly selected on Tuesday, April 21st, 2015, and notified by e-mail.
I hope you find this post interesting and I’d love to hear your thoughts on what I’ve written. I feel invigorated to share more of my experiences and some of the recipes that have been coming out of my kitchen lately, so plan to hear a lot more on this topic. 🙂
Disclaimer: As always, the information on this blog is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Consult your physician before making any changes to your diet or exercise program.