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In this episode of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, we wrap up a series with bio-hacking expert and “Fast This Way” author Dave Asprey. Dave and Tana Amen discuss some of the major takeaways from Dave’s new book, including tips to change your body’s chemistry not by eating certain foods, but also by eating them a certain way.
For more info on Dave Asprey’s new book “Fast This Way”, visit https://www.amazon.com/Fast-This-Way-Inflammation-High-Performing/dp/0062882864
Dr. Daniel Amen:
Welcome to The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast. I’m Dr. Daniel Amen.
Tana Amen, BSN RN:
And I’m Tana amen. In our podcast, we provide you with the tools you need to become a warrior for the health of your brain and body.
The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast is brought to you by Amen Clinics, where we have been transforming lives for 30 years using tools like brain SPECT imaging to personalize treatment to your brain. For more information, visit amenclinics.com.
The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast is also brought to you by BrainMD, where we produce the highest quality nutraceuticals to support the health of your brain and body. To learn more, go to brainmd.com.
Welcome back. We’re on the final episode with Dave Asprey. I’m having so much fun. We are talking about fasting. Who knew fasting could be so much fun? Dave, I learned so much in the last episode about not just like how to fast but these hacks that you have, so how to not make it so miserable. I just had a great time, but I have a couple questions. I know it’s different for men and women. I heard you mentioned that. I have a question about what’s different for women. Obviously, I’m concerned about that, but also, you touched on supplements, and I want you to dig into that a little bit because even I sometimes get a little confused about, can I take my supplements? Is it going to make me sick if I’m not eating? There’s so many thoughts we have around all of that, and you probably have a lot of other things that, myths that people or questions that people encounter when they start to fast. So, can you touch on those two and maybe anything else that you can think of to address?
Yes. Most of the fasting research when you go back in time was done on young white dudes, and the reason for that is because that’s who was in university, right? So, college freshmen are the cheapest guinea pigs you can get who are humans because they’ll do anything for beer money, and that’s why about three quarters of fasting literature was done on relatively young men. Then, you’re like, “Well, what does fastening do as you age? What does fasting do if you’re a woman?”
So, I looked at all the research, and there’s one chapter in the book that’s very specific to women and saying like, “Here’s what we know.” One of the things is that women, oftentimes, doing intermittent fasting every day doesn’t work. By the way, exercise every single day like intense exercise doesn’t work either. Movement everyday works, but if you’re going to go hit it hard every day because that’s the habit you want to do because it’s easier to hit hard every day, you will burn out. You’ll overtrain, and your sleep will go down. Your hormones will get messed up. It’s almost like another … the exercise trap that matches the keto trap and the fasting trap and the vegan trap. More isn’t always better. It’s just the right dose.
Yeah. I mean, I’ve spent an hour and a half a day in the gym, six days a week for 18 months, and I still weighed 300 pounds at the end of that, so I’m like, “Well, maybe that doesn’t work.” What you’ll find for women is that if you’re menstruating, your body’s already under a pretty heavy load like it’s building new tissue, right? That is probably not a time to fast, and it may work for you to fast then. There are a few women who report that, but for most of them, have some protein and some fat in the morning, and you’re going to feel better. Those are days to nurture yourself, not to create the stress of a fast. Fasting is what’s called a hormetic stressor. It’s one of those if it doesn’t kill me, it makes me stronger things. So, there are times when, you know what, this is not the day for that, right? Eat a clean diet that makes you feel good, but eat.
If you’re going through your perimenopause or if you’re just going through stress, it’s okay to eat three meals a day, but eat meals that are so satisfying, you don’t have any desire to snack afterwards. If you eat and you’re hungry two hours later, you ate the wrong stuff or you didn’t eat enough. Many times, people are eating their trigger foods and things like that, but I just think it’s really important for women especially if you’re first getting started, fast every other day. Have breakfast. Just have the right breakfast. You’re not going to go have, whatever, an egg McMuffin for breakfast if you don’t fast, but if you do that, you’re going to realize, “Oh, I can do this on the days when it feels right,” and some days, you’re going to just, “I’m going to do 14 hours without food because that’s what I wanted.”
Some days, you can say, “I’m going to do a 16-hour fast.” Then, when it’s time for lunch, “You know what? I’m feeling so good. I’m just going to wait till dinner. There, I just did a 24-hour fast. Look at me,” but you don’t have to do it on a schedule. You don’t have to do it every day, and it’s better to not do it every day because women are more susceptible to the stress of fasting than men especially, I believe, if you’re in your fertile years or if you’re in perimenopause. There’s a lot of good science and recommendations in the book around that.
Yeah. That makes sense. That makes sense. Lord knows we don’t want women walking around more stressed during those times than they need to be.
Exactly. We don’t want anyone more stressed, but men, it’s similar especially if there’s a lot of weight to lose, but men don’t have a monthly cycle, right? So, for us, it’s like you probably didn’t get enough sleep or you overdid something the other night, and today, you’re not in a good place. If you’re fasting to avoid eating toxins, maybe it’s okay, but if you’re just like, “I’m going to have breakfast.” If I wake up and like, “Oh, something isn’t right,” I’ll put 30 grams of collagen in my coffee there. I broke my fast. I got a lot of protein and fat in the morning, and I’m okay and-
[inaudible [00:05:33] tastes great. It actually tastes [inaudible [00:05:35] to me.
It totally tastes good, and it’s still, it’s the same amount of work. You’re going to blend your coffee anyways. So, if I’m kind of lazy in the morning, I don’t want to go prepare breakfast.
[crosstalk [00:05:45] go, meal wise, go out, leave early in the morning to go to the gym, it’s so satisfying and complete.
Yeah, and then you’re kind of bursting with energy from those MTTs.
Now, let’s talk about supplements though. This is an area that’s hotly contested in the world of aggressive water-only fasters. You got to have supplements, and it’s because it’s complex. First thing I want to share is there’s a section in the book called The Barfy Four, and these are four things, if you’d take those during a fast, you are going to hate your life, okay? Now, the first one is B vitamins. You are going to taste those all day, and you might taste them twice because they literally are really not something to take without food. If you’re saying, “Oh, I’m going to take my normal vitamins while I’m fasting,” that one might not be advisable. The second one is multivitamins. I mean, you guys have a very high quality multivitamin that you make, right?
[inaudible [00:06:43]. Yeah.
When I’m fasting, I don’t take that one either, right, just because your stomach isn’t going to like it because it contains B vitamins and it contains another thing that’s on the list, which is minerals. Usually, zinc can be okay on an empty stomach, but a multi-mineral or anything containing iron is really going to make you not feel good on an empty stomach, so then, just skip that during the fast. Have that when you’re done with the fast unless you’re doing Bulletproof coffee or if you’re doing the prebiotic fiber because those are enough protection. You can take vitamins with that.
Then, the final one is fish oil. Don’t take that on an empty stomach. You’re just not going to like what happens, right? Even if it’s a super high quality fish oil, it’s good for the brain in moderate amounts. You don’t need to like drink a whole bottle of it. That also is like wait till you eat, but if you’re going to have Bulletproof coffee or you’re going to have the soluble fiber, you probably will tolerate fish oil as well. So, these are for when you’re having black coffee or water or tea during a fast only or water if you’re one of the hairshirt fasters. Well, it’s okay to be a water faster, but you don’t have to be a water faster to get the benefits. In fact, coffee is almost always better than water during a fast except at night.
Now, if those are the things you don’t take, what should you take to get more benefits from a fast than you normally would? One of my favorites there is something called proteolytic enzymes. Now, when you fast, your pancreas is like, “Oh, I guess I don’t have to make digestive enzymes. I can make other enzymes.” What enzymes do in the body is they allow chemical reactions to take place with much less energy than if we were doing physical chemistry reactions so that they make things very efficient. You can take proteolytic enzyme, these things like serrapeptase and nattokinase and other types of protein digesters, and when the body says, “Oh, I have no protein for them to digest in the gut. Maybe I can use those to break down scar tissue, to break down unneeded proteins, waste proteins in the blood,” and it’s a very powerful thing to take during a fast. I take those every night anyway on an empty stomach, but I take them when I fast in the morning too.
Oh, that’s so interesting. I did not know that.
Yeah. You’ll find, over time, massive changes. Even scars that you’ve had for a long time like if someone’s had a C-section or a car accident or something, those scars get softer because the body’s like, “I got nothing else to do with all this stuff. Let me break down stuff I don’t need.” They even break down autoimmune molecules that are in your body, which is really cool.
Wow. That’s so cool.
The other massively important, just massively important thing when you’re fasting, probably the most important supplement that I write about in fast this way is to deal with another problem. When you fast, you generally lose fat, and your body stores mold toxins called mycotoxins. It stores extra estrogen. It stores PCBs, environmental pollutants. It stores heavy metals in your fat. If you melt a lot of fat all at the same time, all of that toxin is going to go to your liver. Your liver can only oxidize so much of it, and then it gets recirculated and sometimes even put into the brain unless there was something present in your stomach that could just stick to those things as they get excreted.
It is one of the world’s oldest, maybe the world’s oldest supplement is called activated charcoal. Activated charcoal sticks to every one of the types of toxins I just mentioned. So, as their research relating through the biliary system, through the bile and your liver, well, the activated charcoal is right there. They’re electrically attracted to it, and then you coop the toxins out instead of experiencing brain fog. The more you fast, the more you’re losing weight rapidly, the more important it is to deal with the toxins, so they don’t go into your brain.
So, what I do is at some point during the day, away from any medications and away from enzymes, I will take my activated charcoal during a fast, and the side benefit of that is it sticks to this bad stuff that gut bacteria make called LPS or lipopolysaccharide we talked about in an earlier episode, and this stuff makes the brain inflamed, and it makes you hungry, and it makes you angry and gives you cravings. It’s a toxin from stress bacteria. Activated charcoal sticks to that toxin, so you don’t have to experience it.
So, if you want to have a super awesome fast, you start out the morning with the most energy possible, do your Bulletproof coffee, put in your prebiotic fiber. Drink that. Wait a little while. Have some activated charcoal, and you’re like, “I am so golden today. This is the best day I’ve had in a long time. I don’t care about food. I’m not distracted. I have super clarity in my brain,” and it’s a very different experience than, “I had a glass of water this morning.” It’ll be a different day, but you’re still going to have the ability to lose weight. You’re still going to burn fat. You’re still going to get autophagy. You’re just going to like your life better.
That’s so interesting. That was so helpful about the supplements. That’s really, really helpful.
I did a lot of research on this, and there’s a handful of … Actually, more than that. There’s probably a dozen other supplements that you can take during a fast, and I just ranked them like this is worth taking. This is not worth taking. You can take this, but you might not absorb as much. We talk about vitamin D, vitamin A, vitamin K2, and all sorts of other things. So, it’s complex, but it’s not that hard to understand. I really worked hard to lay it out in a way that was accessible for people.
So, you [inaudible [00:12:03] all of those in the book?
Each one of them. Yeah.
I love that. Okay, so Fast This Way, it just sounds like it’s just loaded with information. I can’t wait to actually [inaudible [00:12:11]. I think I’m going to sign up for your course. I think that just sounds awesome. I mean, I’ve learned so much in this time, and I pride myself on staying on top of stuff, so this is really, really very thorough.
Yeah. No, this is cool. So, Fast This Way, you can buy it anywhere books are sold, and if you go to fastthisway.com, you get to have Dave Asprey as your coach and his team for a couple weeks. So, I highly recommend that. Also, please go to thebrainwarriorswaypodcast.com, and tell us what you’ve learned. Leave it in the comments section. We’d love to hear from you. Leave us a review, question, comment. If you would tag a friend, take a screenshot, tag a friend tag, tag Dave, tag me and give us your best questions, your best concerns and anything you learned. We love to hear from you. So, Dave, any parting comments before we go about COVID, about what’s going on with you, about fasting?
Yes. There is a part of a chapter in Fast This Way where there’s great research out there about when to eat and when to fast depending on what kind of infection you have. I don’t want to give away all the secrets in there because it’s a little bit more complex than this, but studies show that if you’re dealing with a virus, you should eat and you should eat some carbs but not sugar. I go into all the details about why and where and how to tell which is which. If you have a bacterial infection, the rules are different, so there’s good research there, and fasting can be used to change the time you go to sleep. It can be used to change the time you wake up. It can be used during an illness, and I go through all that. This is what’s missing from the don’t eat for a while, and here’s all the reasons to do it. The nuances are here, and they’re very powerful just so you know what to do.
I love that. That’s fantastic. So, you can take control of your health. You can be proactive. You can take responsibility for where you’re at. Do something positive during this crazy time. Fast This Way. We’re so grateful to you, Dave. As always, you’ve been a good friend. You are just a great colleague and so purposeful and so helpful.
Tana, thank you. I so appreciate your work. I appreciate Daniel’s work. You guys really have changed my life, and I would not have graduated from business school without your work, and I certainly wouldn’t be doing all my Bulletproof stuff and probably be homeless so thank you.
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