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When it comes to daily routines, small details matter, and no one knows this more than bio-hacking authority Dave Asprey. Minor tweaks and changes in how you perform your daily tasks can have a huge effect on how you feel and how you function. In this episode of The Brain Warrior’s Way Podcast, Dave and Tana Amen discuss some of these “bio-hacks”, including some additions you can add to your coffee to make it a much healthier part of your morning routine.
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
Welcome to the Brain Warriors Way Podcast. I’m Doctor 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 Warriors 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 Warriors Way Podcast is also brought to you by Brain MD, 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, I’m still here with Dave Asprey. We are going to talk about fasting hacks. But Dave, can you hold up the book for me really fast? I want to make sure everybody sees it. Excellent.
There we go.
It’s Fast This Way by Dave Asprey. And where can they find it?
You can find it anywhere you like to buy books, but if you send your receipt to FastThisWay.com, there’s a little upload form, I’ll spend two weeks teaching you the things in the book. And I’m going to lead thousands of people through getting started in fasting. And if you’re an experienced faster, it’s still worth it. I’m going to teach you how to do a fast on a day when you don’t feel like fasting. And the final two days, I will lead you through a spiritual fast, where you actually decide okay, I’m really going to feel the hunger, but I’m going to own it. And you’re going to use it as a practice of awareness, which is super cool. And this is missing from the world of fasting today, is that it can be spiritual. It doesn’t have to be spiritual, and it’s not just like you’re a meat robot either. There’s a middle ground.
No, that’s so cool. And to have someone like Dave Asprey be your mentor and walk you through this process, that’s worth its weight in gold right there. I mean, I actually think I’m going to sign up for this.
I would love to see you there.
Yeah, no that’s really cool. I want to hear about these hacks. Because I’m still stuck on the mice don’t have espresso machines. Talk to us about hacks.
If you were to be a laboratory mouse and they were to say you can only have water, in about two to four days, usually starting around day three, your body … You feel really bad for the first couple days, you think about food all the time. And then you get listless and cold. And then you say, “Okay, I’m going to switch over into fat burning mode,” and you get ketones. And those ketones work really well for the brain, as you’ve talked about. The neurons in the brain likes ketones more than they like blood sugar even. This is why every spiritual tradition that I write about in the book, there’s kind of a whole chapter on that, they’re like, “You have to fast for some period of time because it brings clarity.”
Now, that’s really good. But normally two to four days of fasting in a cave isn’t that available for most of us, most of the time. Including me. You could fast and go to work and all that, but it’s a little bit of a different thing. What do we do to get that day three, day four experience where you stop caring about food and you have mental clarity? How do you get that on the first day you fast? That means raising ketones in a safe and effective way. There’s three hacks that shut down hunger hormones, and ketones is one of them. Here’s how that works. There’s a study from UC San Diego that shows that drinking two small cups of coffee, or more specifically the amount of caffeine contained in two small cups of coffee. So, you could use caffeine pills if you don’t like coffee or something. But that doubles ketone production in the morning.
So, if you have an early dinner, which is much better than a late dinner. Let’s say you eat at [6:00], you go to bed at [10:00], you’ve already fasted for four hours. You sleep for eight hours, you got 12 hours. You have a cup of coffee, now you’ve amplified the ketones your body’s wanting to make. And then you wait until lunch and you’ve just gone 18 hours without eating. And it really just felt like you skipped breakfast, even though you went a pretty good amount of time. For me, I’m about 24 hours into a fast right now and I’m not even the slightest bit hungry. I’m just not caring about it because I understand these hacks. So, the first hack, black coffee. The second hack … Go ahead.
That’s a really interesting point. Because I kind of have the opposite problem of a lot of people, I tend to forget to eat. I know, it irritates people. But I’ll be busy. I’m busy and I forget to eat. But I have Bulletproof coffee for breakfast. I mean, I’ll sit and have coffee. I don’t have a ton of it, but literally I’m full by the time I’m done. Is that why? I never really thought about that.
That’s part of it, is the caffeine. It’s funny because you hit the second hack, which is Bulletproof coffee. And there’s some people that are like, “You can’t have Bulletproof coffee, it has calories.” I’m like, “I’m not a mouse.” And here’s what’s going on. Okay, I wrote this in 2011 about protein fasting and how it triggers something called mTOR. Actually it doesn’t trigger it, it suppresses something called mTOR, which is something that happens during a fast. As long as you don’t raise insulin and you don’t eat any protein, you can have moderate amounts of the right fats during a fast and you still have Autophagy, which is the cellular clean up in the brain. You can have Mytophagy, which is in the mitochondria inside the cells clean themselves up or just kill the weak ones and grow strong, young ones.
When you do this right, and yes, I’m not trying to sell Bulletproof coffee, I’ve sold lots of Bulletproof coffee. It won’t change my life if anyone does or doesn’t drink Bulletproof, it’ll change theirs. What you’re doing is you’re putting a little bit of butter, it doesn’t have to be a lot, it doesn’t have to be tablespoons. It can be if you need it to be, to get through the day. And you put this C8 MCT oil, the stuff that I call Brain Octane. And there’s other people who have copied it, there’s various sources of MCT out there, just make sure it’s the C8, not the full spectrum MCT because that stuff doesn’t work. You put it in there and you blend it. And it’s vitally important that you blend it.
Here’s what I’ve never shared before Tana. When I had the idea for Bulletproof coffee, I was on the holiest mountain in the world at 18,000 feet drinking Yak butter tea, which is a blend in a land of no blenders. They would go to the work of blending this by hand. I’m like, “Why would you do that?” Well, I funded research at the University of Washington on basic water biology. And they found out that when you blend droplets of butter fat and MCT oil in just water, especially warm water, and you’ve got to blend it for 20, 30 seconds, it changes the structure of the water to mimic the structure of water that’s inside our cells. And this isn’t one of those woo-woo crystal water. This is, “Look, you can see it on the microscope. See that band of water that’s different viscosity?”
They found that the largest, it’s called an exclusion zone they’ve ever seen was based from what water does around droplets of butter fat. So, when you do this, when you drink that during a fast, even with just a quarter-teaspoon in there, as long as you blend it a lot you’re changing the structure of the water. Otherwise, when you drink a glass of normal water, your body has to make body heat to transform the water. Not just to heat it up, but to change it into usable water. Well, you’re using a blender to do that for you. Then during the fast, you don’t get the cold and chills and you can actually go to the trouble of doing the things inside yourselves that your body wants to do during a fast, it just can’t do.
That Bulletproof coffee is really interesting during a fast because a very small amount of calories in there works really well. And the MCT oil raises ketones in a similar way to caffeine, but it does four times more. So, caffeine doubles production and this gets you four times more. So, there’s … two times four, eight. Here’s why ketones matter. If you’re a keto bro and you’re like, “Yeah, I got my ketones up to six, I’m really big.” You stick a little thing in your finger to measure it. Well, the studies show that at levels slightly below .5 there’s two hormones that matter greatly. One is called CCK, it’s a Calvin Klein hormone, also known as Cholecystokinin.
This is one that makes you feel full. Another hormone that makes you feel hungry is Ghrelin, which you guys have talked about before. Well, Ghrelin makes you feel hungry. You get your ketones up to a little bit below .5, Ghrelin drops. So, the hunger hormone goes away. And the fullness hormone goes up. This is why you don’t care about lunch when you have Bulletproof coffee for breakfast. As long as you don’t put collagen or any other protein or any other fake sweetener, you can do monk fruit or stevia if you want, but no NutraSweet, any other brand, toxic things like that. If you do that, you drink the coffee and you don’t use any willpower throughout the day. Someone puts a muffin in front of you or croissant or something you really like and it’s [10:00] in the morning, what goes through your mind?
Well, normally you’d want it. But honestly, I wasn’t even doing it for that reason. But I’m not hungry. I’m just satisfied. I’ve been doing this … Also, I heard, answer this for me. I feel super satisfied after I have coffee in the morning. I just am busy, I do it partially because I know that I won’t be hungry and I’ve got a lot to do. That’s why I do it. I do have to remind myself to eat later sometimes, if I know I’ve got a long day I’m like, “All right, I should have a little snack because I’m going to forget.” But is it true that MCT oil is not as hard on the liver? It’s much easier to digest?
It depends which MCT oil. The cheapest and most abundant MCT oil is called Lauric Acid, and some brands actually promote that it’s in there. Lauric Acid hits the liver just like corn oil or any other oil and it has to be processed by the liver. The C8 MCT oil does not get digested in the liver and it cannot be stored as fat in the body, it has to be burned as energy and it will be burned before everything else. It’s a source of exogenous ketones, which means that it actually transforms into ketones in the body in a way that I believe is much safer than ketone salts or ketone esters, although there are people who use those as well.
Because I think I used to put coconut oil in my coffee, but then I read research that said that the C8 MCT oil actually doesn’t burn your liver.
Yep, that was probably something I wrote.
So, if you’re trying to fast though, you want to avoid that.
You want to avoid MCT or you want to avoid other fats?
You want to avoid fats that are burdening your liver. Because the whole point-
Even if the fat gets burned in your liver, it doesn’t activate any of the protease, any of the protein digestion things. And a third party tested hundreds of possible breakfasts and found the number one breakfast for not moving your insulin at all was Bulletproof coffee. So, insulin shouldn’t go up and no protein, because protein changes mTOR and changes autophagy. So, that’s the hack, is zero protein, zero carbs. And even if the liver does some fat digestion, you’re still getting the autophagy benefits of a fast. It’s a really neat hack. Because all the pain of fasting goes away. And if you’re like me at 300 pounds, I couldn’t make it to lunch without breakfast without yelling at everybody. These three things … Well, that’s two of the three hacks, there’s one more. Do we have time to fit it in?
Yeah, go ahead.
Okay. The other hack, and this has never been written about in the world of fasting before and it deserves to be. And it’s prebiotic fiber. Prebiotic fiber cannot be digested by you. It will not raise your blood sugar. It goes into the body and then the guy bacteria, they eat it and they turn it into a short chain fatty acid called Butyric Acid, which is ketogenic. There are many studies that show prebiotic fiber is satiate. Tomorrow Tana, if you were to make your Bulletproof coffee, you’ve got the Bulletproof beans without the toxins that mess with you and cause cravings. Then you put in grass fed butter, MCT oil and you put a scoop or two of prebiotic fiber in and you drink that, you’ll care even less about food. And there’s a neat thing that happens because when you fast, your gut bacteria gets stressed, they make a toxin called lipopolysaccharide that affects the brain, it makes you tired and inflamed.
Well, when you have soluble fiber, they don’t get stressed. Because they got their food, you just didn’t get your food. So, they don’t make as much lipopolysaccharide and you feel better. So, for people who have gut dysbiosis, you needed to feed the good guys anyway. Now you’re like, “This is great. I do this in the morning, there’s no voice in my head telling me to eat the muffin because someone puts it in front of me.” I’m like, “I don’t want that, I’m full.” And it’s so liberating because there’s no willpower for your fast. You’re feeding the good guys, you’re getting into ketosis, you’re making the neurons happy. It’s a seriously big deal. And you can do just black coffee, you can just fast on water. You can go without water for a whole day if you want to, it’s called a dry fast. But you don’t have to when you have a life.
Yeah, I don’t like to suffer that much.
I always add prebiotic fiber to my smoothie, I never thought about adding it to my coffee.
It doesn’t have any flavor, at least most of them don’t. The one that I put together doesn’t do that. Does Daniel make one, do you guys make one? A prebiotic fiber?
We don’t make one. So, I’m going to try yours.
It’s called Inner Fuel, is the Bulletproof one. And there’s three different types in them that are all studied, they’re mostly plant saps. And it’s very different than a Metamucil or a [inaudible [00:12:55]. This is stuff that gets fully digested by your guy bacteria, but not by you.
That’s amazing. I’m going to try that tomorrow in my coffee instead of in my smoothie.
Yeah, this belongs in the world of fasting because it’s better than what the mice could do, they just didn’t have anything else to do. They had little wheels, they ran on those instead.
Well, and we’re all … The studies show that almost every human on the planet is lacking in fiber unless they are intentionally focusing on adding fiber.
Yeah. I get about 40 grams of soluble fiber a day, the FDA recommends 20. And the people that live the longest have between 40 and 60.
Yeah. No, that’s good. That’s excellent. Once again, you can buy the book Fast This Way pretty much anywhere where great books are sold, right?
And then if they go to FastThisWay.com and they enter their receipt number?
You can just post your receipt, however you got your receipt. We’ll take a photo, you can forward your receipt from an online seller. Whatever way you get it, audible counts too. I read my whole audible book. This is the best book I’ve ever read as a professional voice kind of thing. I was so impressed with how it came out, if I do say so myself. But I feel like I did a great job on the storytelling. It’s worth the time it takes to read it because there’s stuff in it that is in no other fasting book. Both the mindset, why we do what we do, and the hacks, and some other things for women.
That’s awesome. But I’m really interested, because if they go to FastThisWay.com and they show you that they purchased this book anywhere, you’re going to spend two weeks with them.
I am. There’s going to be several live Q and A’s, there’s daily exercises. There’s a video every day where I actually teach this. And we start out, “Okay, here’s the easiest way.” And then we go through different patterns of fasting, the pros and cons. And you’re doing it in a group, so you can share your experience with others in the private Facebook group for it. I’m moderating it, my team is moderating it. We’re answering questions for you and teaching what’s in the book. Because I was a teacher at the University of California for five years. And I just realized I’ve always loved teaching, and one of the reasons I teach is to learn. And one of the reasons I write is to learn. Because you have to crystallize it.
So, when there’s a book that I just have an internal need to write, then I write it. Because I feel like it’s different and it’s of service. But I’ve kind of written them and set them down and said, “Just go read the book.” But now it’s like, “Maybe we’ll teach you the book because it’ll help people more.” So, I’m pretty excited about doing this.
No, that’s fantastic. What I also love is that right now, I know you probably get a lot of this too, but with us with the clinics, we have so many people writing in about how they feel out of control of their lives. COVID has just changed everything this year, they’re depressed, they’re stressed, they’re anxious. I mean, it’s crazy. Our clinics are just slammed. And we’re trying to give them things they can do, it’s like if you turn that around, one thing I learned when I was just feeling so disempowered in my life is I learned to take responsibility, which is the ability to respond. I learned to ask one question, “What’s the opportunity in this situation? What can I do right now?” And this is something you can do right now to take control of your health.
You can take responsibility for your health. You’ve got the time. You have Dave Asprey helping you learn to do something really cool that’s going to help your body and your brain. Which by the way, this really does help your brain, learning how to fast correctly. I’d strongly recommend people do this during this time.
I would too. And thanks for recommending it. I’m not charging anything for this, buy the book so you can learn. This is a lot of time for me and my team. But I just, I feel like it’s made such a difference in my life. I look at where my brain was, look at where my body was: angry, anxious all the time and 300 pounds. And I look at where I am now, and there’s two things that matter. And a lot of this was inspired by the work that you guys do. There’s the amount of energy you put into all the voices in your head, the automatic negative thoughts. And then there’s just the amount of energy you make. Okay, let me show you how to make the most energy possible and that gives you so much energy you can now get in charge of the voices in your head. As you turn those down, that energy returns to your pool of available energy too.
So, you turn off the fear voices, you turn off the hunger voices, and you crank up the amount of raw energy you make and you’re like, “What just happened? I have so much energy, I want to go do stuff.” And that’s resilience. And that’s what everyone really wants.
Well, and there’s one thing I want to say about you and some of our other friends that we spend time with. I’ve always said, I want to be the least intelligent, the least accomplished, the least giving person in my community. Because seriously, people are contagious. So, if I can find people in my group that are purposeful and educated and always doing good things in the world, then that’s going to rub off on me. And that’s how I’ve always felt about that. And you’re a super successful guy, we all know that. But the fact that you’re still focusing on purposeful things, I think it’s part of why you’re doing so well, especially during the pandemic. Maybe I’m wrong, but I-
Do you know how boring it is to just do a job to get paid?
Yes. Especially right now.
It’s so boring.
People are always surprised, I spend hours actually answering questions because I love … It keeps my brain engaged doing something purposeful, and that’s what you’re doing.
Yeah. You certainly know about flow states, you guys have talked about them as well. One of the easiest ways to get into a flow state is to hop on a mountain bike and go 60 miles an hour downhill. Oh wait, except you might die and it’s not that easy to do that. So, the easier way to get into a flow state is actually just to be of service to others. And there’s science that shows when you help other people that you’ll actually go into a flow state. That’s why, it feels good. Because we talked about fear, we talked about hunger. And there’s desire for love in the bedroom as well as the rest of your life. These are all F-words: fear, food, fertility? And then there’s friends. And your cells will do this, this is why bacteria makes yogurt, why it makes kombucha, this is why trees make a forest, deer make a herd. This is why we’re wired in our cells to be nice to each other and support each other.
It’s just hard to do that if all your energy goes to the first two or three F-words. And this is at the core of all of my work. Turn up the energy you have and you have enough energy to teach yourself to be less afraid and less hungry and to put love in your life. And what’s left is a desire to help other people. We’re supposed to be nice to each other.
That’s fantastic, I love it. Fast This Way, go to FastThisWay.com, get Dave Asprey as your coach. I don’t know, I can’t think of anything better to do with this time. We are going to come back in the next episode, and we have one left. But before we come back, I want people to tell us what you learned. I mean, I learned a ton in this episode. So, tell us what you learned, if you would. You can also go to brainwarriorswaypodcast.com, leave us comments, questions. We want to hear from you, leave us a review and post this, if you would. Tag someone, tag a friend and tag Dave and I, we would love to hear from you.
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