It’s 4pm. You’re slumped in your chair, your eyelids are drooping, your head is sagging. You’re at work, and any mental activity feels like you’re wading through a swamp of molasses.
Have you ever stopped to wonder why you’re so tired, or why some days you just don’t get anything done?
For even the most successful people in the world, this is not a rare sensation. If you’ve ever felt a little more sluggish, more lethargic, more tired, and less productive than you want to be, you’re not alone. And the good news is, thanks to Dave Asprey’s inroads in the field of biohacking, you won’t have to feel that way for much longer.
When we spoke with the affable Dave Asprey, founder of Bulletproof and author of the just published Bulletproof Diet book, he was the font of all knowledge on productivity, e-commerce, and entrepreneurial innovation.
A millionaire by the age of 26, Dave Asprey is a Silicon Valley investor and entrepreneur who invented the juggernaut of e-commerce. Oh, and he’s also a pioneer in self-directed transhumanism. Simply put, he’s a bio-hacker. He’s spent fifteen years and a quarter of a million dollars hacking his own biology.
He has ‘upgraded’ his brain by more than 20 IQ points, lowered his biological age, and lost over a hundred pounds in weight with minimal exercise. His goal? To maximize the performance of the human body and mind, transcending traditional limits. And his results are startling to say the least.
Dave’s journey began when he was the first person to sell something over the internet. When asked as to whether he was one of the first, Dave corrects:
“I don’t think I was one of ‘the first’, I think I was the first person to do e-commerce.”
Quite a claim, but one that is supported. Dave modestly asserts this wasn’t out of sheer Steve Jobs-like genius or insight. He maintains that his experiments in the formation of e-commerce were out of necessity.
As a student working at ice-cream retailer Baskin Robbins, Dave’s college increased the cost of his computer science tuition by 1500%.
“I realized I couldn’t afford to go to school so I had to do something”, he says. His answer? Start a T-shirt company. “I sold ‘caffeine’ T-shirts to twelve countries out of my dorm room,” he says.“There was no web browser, so this was on a part of the Internet called Usenet.” Asprey claims it was “just a different way of thinking about the whole problem of connecting with your community.”
But if you think T-shirts is how this aspirational computer scientist cracked his first mil, you’d be mistaken. “I would have loved that if the T-shirts made me a million dollars,” he says. “They didn’t come anywhere close to it. But they did pay for my school.” At the time, Asprey had an inkling that the Internet was going to be the next big thing. So he followed his gut and went to the global hub of all things technological: Silicon Valley.
For Dave Asprey, bio-hacking started in his early twenties. Immediately after he’d started the T-shirt company, he completed his degree and scored a dream job at ground zero in the century’s most fertile industry, working for a company that went on to host Google and Hotmail. However, Asprey soon found some major flaws in his productivity and efficiency in the office. “Not only did I weigh 300 pounds,” Dave says, “I felt like my brain wasn’t working. I would have these days where I would wake and just feel like I hadn’t slept. And then I’d go into the office and I was kind of a zombie.”
For most, that sounds just like another day at the office. And for a time, Asprey persuaded himself it was all in his head. Dave continues: “I would try to pay attention in these meetings, but at the end of day I’d be exhausted and have no idea what I did that day. I don’t think I did anything useful, I kind of just stared at my computer screen.” However, instead of just investing in just another box of donuts and soldiering on through the half-conscious waking-life that is office work, Asprey decided to uncover the root cause of the problem. “I started measuring my performance throughout the day,” he says. And from there, it was a slippery slope to completely decoding and revamping his mind and body.
In his spare time, he started quantitative research about how his brain was working, and “I realized I could change it. There were variables in my life that were affecting it.”
He learned that:
“It wasn’t a lack of willpower or drive or motivation, it was lack of physical energy, because I was eating the wrong foods, doing the wrong things. Because I was in environments that weren’t compatible with my biology.”
– His first move in upgrading himself? Nootropics, or smart drugs. These are a range of cognitive enhancers, supplements, nutraceuticals, and functional foods that purportedly improve mental functions. “The smart drugs propped my brain up but I realized that my metabolism was broken,” Dave says.
– Next on the list was his diet, which has become a major focus of Asprey’s highly successful blog, The Bulletproof Executive. “I started changing my diet,” he says. “I lost 50 pounds in three months without changing my exercise. Before that, I’d exercised an hour an half a day but I could not lose a pound.”
After seeing some marked changes in his behavior and productivity, his bio-hacking grew ever more ambitious, with a desire to upgrade his entire physiology. According to Asprey, upgrading yourself comes down to good diet, good sleep, prudential use of nootropic smart drugs, and the odd cybernetic device.
Cracking the first two weren’t as simple as they might seem.
The Bulletproof Diet is largely a variant of the ketogenic diet. With high-fats and low-carbs, it was developed by medical researchers in the 1960s to treat epilepsy in children. (The Atkins belongs to the same family). The Bulletproof Diet consists of avoiding sugar, gluten, most carbs and dairy, and eating grass-fed meat and organic vegetables in mammoth quantities. And, counter-intuitively, increasing levels of fats from butter, ghee and coconut oil.
It was this continual desire for added productivity and efficiency that spurred Asprey’s career into a new direction. He decided to turn his experiments into a hugely successful business with one of the world’s top ranking websites, blogs, and podcasts.
“I started Bulletproof while I was working full time as a vice president at a publicly traded company,” he says. (With Asprey at the helm, Trend Micro rose to be the number-one player in cloud computing security). And Bulletproof has been receiving some prominent media attention: their products have been covered by Rolling Stone, Vogue, and Men’s Health to name a few.
Asprey has now built a global platform based on the understanding that much of modern advice about health, nutrition and exercise actually encourages you to perform poorly. “With the help of more than a hundred experts I met as the chairman of an anti-aging research group,” Asprey says, “I found that aged 41, I could perform at levels that way exceeded what I could do when I was 20.” And he’s not the only one. Hundreds and thousands of people have visited the Bulletproof Executive website and have posted similar types of stories about how in only a few days, they felt like they got a Level up in a video game.
And don’t get Asprey wrong, this isn’t your average health fad. “It has nothing to do with just being healthy,” he says,
“It has to do with being able to bring it everyday, and having all the energy you need. If what you’re doing everyday makes you weaker, you’re going to do less of the things you want to be doing and that’s what had happened to me.”
Now it would be remiss of us to write an article about Dave Asprey without mentioning his trademark coffee. Online, this strange buttered beverage seems to go hand-in-hand with the Bulletproof brand. Asprey’s recipe is fast becoming the perk-up drink of choice for thousands globally, with self-confessed bio-hackers downing this coffee-butter concoction daily. And many swear by it.
“There’s 2.5 million references to Bulletproof coffee on Google right now,” Asprey says. “That’s how popular this recipe is, because its changed people’s lives and I don’t say that lightly or humorously.” To the skeptics, Dave invites them to try it for themselves (recipe included at the end of the article).
But one might ask, what’s the endgame here? Asprey reminds us that ultimately all this is not about becoming superhuman for the sake of it or dominating anything. “It’s about serving, and helping other people”. With an upgraded attitude, he continues: “Everything I am doing here is to help other people and that’s why I’m successful as I am,” he says.
“Do what you do because you love it and because you are helping the world and you’re helping other people and it’s easy. That’s the trick. It’s the opposite of domination.”
If you want to get started on Bulletproofing yourself, here are some actionable steps:
1. Try waking up to Bulletproof Coffee
Two cups of brewed coffee made from Bulletproof coffee beans: single origin, low-mycotoxin beans.
Two tablespoons of unsalted, grass-fed butter.
Two tablespoons of Brain Octane Oil (18 times stronger than coconut oil). Blend and enjoy.
2. Fix your sleep
That means bed by 11, and no LED lights or screens visible within an hour of bedtime. And making sure your room is completely dark.
Any lights affect your brain’s melatonin production.
3. Upgrade your diet
Thumbs down: sugar, margarine, pasta, bread, tofu.
Thumbs up: Grass-fed Butter, avocados, white rice, organic vegetables and grass-fed meat.
To learn more about going Bulletproof and upgrading your performance, read more:
Download the free Bulletproof Diet Roadmap here
Order the recently published Bulletproof Diet book here
Listen to the iTunes podcast, Bulletproof Radio, here