30 Day Bulletproof Diet Update

Posted by on May 8, 2013 in Blood Sugar, Bulletproof, Diet, Paleo, Performance

It’s been almost two weeks since I started my 30 day bulletproof diet experiment.  Over the last week I feel like I have started to dial things in and it’s brought up some interesting questions that I think necessitate some new experimentation.  Regardless of the ups and downs, this experiment has been a wonderful teacher in demonstrating the power and influence of food on my feelings of well being, focus and energy.

Successes

By far the biggest success of the last week is how amazing I have been feeling.  This week was busy as I spent Tuesday in South Lake Tahoe with my good friend and mentor Melinda Choy.  Usually when I drive long distances I find myself getting very bored and I begin to crave sugar and other stimulants to keep me awake and alert.  On Tuesday morning I had a smoothie with coconut milk, blueberries, a banana, and two scoops of organic grass fed whey protein.  I then made the three hour drive up to Tahoe. I did not experience the usual tiredness and felt very awake and alert the entire drive.  I then worked all day with Melinda felt very focused and relaxed.  I drove back to San Francisco the next morning after having a breakfast of yerba mate tea with about half a tablespoon of Kerrygold butter and a can of Wild Planet sardines.  Again, I felt focused and relaxed on the drive and arrived for my day of seeing patients ready to go.   This general feeling of well being continued throughout the week.  My hypothesis is that when I eat more than 20 grams of protein with each meal I feel good, have suppressed appetite, and high focus.  Two scoops of whey contain 22 grams of protein and the Wild Planet Sardines contain 25 grams of protein per tin.

Cheats

I am definitely guilty of a few “cheats” on the diet so far.  One of my very close friends had a birthday party and his girlfriend mixed me up one of the most spectacular Manhattan’s ever.  I did take one of my alcohol detox pills (I will write a blog on this sometime soon) to head off the damage from the alcohol.  I also ate some homemade lava cake with coconut milk ice cream.  There was a smidgen of wheat in the lava cake and a little bit of sugar and it was phenomenal! I did feel a bit of comedown after that night.

On Saturday I went to another birthday party and imbibed in a very stiff Margarita that got me pretty buzzed.  I also had a couple of handfuls of terra chips along with the carne asada.  The terra chips are a big no no with their refined sunflower oil and I have to tell you I paid the price.  Even after my half hour bike ride home, the combination of the alcohol and the chips put me into a pretty severe brain fog and lethargy for a solid two hours.  Later when I started to feel more energy my stomach still felt bloated and uncomfortable.  I think I will stay away from the cheats for the time being.

Weight

When I began the diet I weighed in at 148 lbs with body fat of 10.8%.  I weighed myself again few days ago I weighed 142 lbs.  I’m fairly lean to begin with and I don’t have much to lose.  I was pretty shocked and was immediately suspicious that the scale wasn’t calibrated correctly.  Then I was out the other night with some friends who I hadn’t seen in several months and one of them remarked that it looked like I’ve lost some weight.  I’m okay with that as long as my face doesn’t start to resemble a concentration camp survivor.

 I think one of the reasons I have been losing weight is that I generally feel very satiated after a meal.  I have been tracking food and exercise via MyFitnessPal and I am often a couple of hundred calories short of the daily caloric goal.  I’ve actually been finding it somewhat difficult to eat enough calories as I feel very satsified.

 Labs

I had a VAP lipid profile done prior to starting the diet.  At the end of the 30 days I will get tested again and compare the results. I wish I had gotten a C-Reactive Protein and Homocysteine test as well but I didn’t.  Here are the numbers when I began.

Cholesterol Total: 227

HDL: 76

LDL: 134

Triglycerides: 61

LDL density pattern: Pattern A

Although my total cholesterol is 227 my HDL/LDl is well above the minimum recommended ratio of .3.  Mine is .56 which is considered cardioprotective.  My triglycerides are low which means I don’t have too much carbohydrate floating around in my blood.  Finally my LDL (less cardioprotective) density pattern is solidly in the pattern A form which means most of the high risk cholesterol is of the large fluffy variety which tends not to create plaques.  Overall I think the test shows I’m at fairly low risk for heart disease.

Overall  I’m very happy with my progress so far and am curious to see what my labs look like at the end of this experiment.   I still plan to add some organ meats and dial in supplements.  More on that to come.

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9 Comments

  1. Nice blog entry. Mark Hyman gives a very interesting and complete panel for tracking inflammation that can be ordered through most labs. It would be interesting to see the results of some of these other markers. I have some fairly recent blood work and I was thinking of doing a similar experiment with either the Eat to Live plan or the Blood Sugar Solution plan. I’ve recommended both these diets to patients and seen extremely positive results. But, my 40th bday is next week, so I’ll probably party my way through that before doing anything too strict!

    -duncan

    • That’s great Duncan. I’m curious to see how it goes. I haven’t looked into the Blood Sugar Solution plan but I like the sound of it already.

  2. “On Tuesday morning I had a smoothie with coconut milk, blueberries, a banana, and two scoops of organic grass fed whey protein. ” There is nothing bulletproof about having that for breakfast. Bulletproof Breakfast should be fat, no carbs.

    • Thanks for the comment PJ. Yes, If you are going by strict “Bulletproof Orthodoxy” you are correct breakfast would primarily consist of fats with little to no carbs. However as an athlete I do require some carbs and I have excellent insulin sensitivity so I’m not too worried about metabolic issues. I’m already getting about 60% of my calories from fats and I need to get the carbs from somewhere. I also believe there is a reason that Asprey presented his Paleo diet modifications on a spectrum of preferable to not preferable. Any way of eating needs to be flexible enough to meet the demands of each person’s unique physiology. Not everyone responds the same way to eating 50 grams or less of carbs per day. That’s why I do these experiments in the first place. I want to find out what works well for me.

  3. Just wanted to check in on this, I’ve been following the BPD as well generally (i.e. not perfectly, but pretty well I’d say, and here are my results:

    August December Diff
    Total Chol: 189 221 +32
    HDL 45 52 + 7
    LDL 131 156 +25
    Tri 65 67 + 2
    HDL / LDL .34 .33 -0.1

    As you can see, strictly from the numbers here, I would NOT say that things look better. However, I will need to get a more detailed particle density / size analysis done. I also feel a lot better / have more energy / focus, etc.

    • I have a couple of questions. How long have you been following BPD, since August? What is your definition of following the diet but not perfectly? Also it looks like your HDL increased which is an expected difference of eating more fats.

      • Hi Jonah, thanks for your response. To answer your questions:

        1. Yes, I’ve been following BPD since August

        2. I mean that I travel a good amount for work, and it’s difficult to well while traveling. I’m not sure how to best quantify it, but – if I’m referencing the latest 1-page instructions, and think about the foods on a scale from 0% (all red food) to 100% (all green foods), I would say I score about an 80% (in terms of caloric intake x food rating) when I’m home, and about 50% when I’m travelling. I’d say I spend 20% of my time traveling so I’d give myself an overall rating of (50% x 20%) + (80% x 1-20%) = 74%.

        3. My biggest concern is that my HDL/LDL ratio hasn’t gotten any better but my total levels have gone up, and – strangely – my triglycerides have increased, which I would not have expected. I should mention that I have cut back on excercise too as part of the experiment, but I would not think that would impact my LDL levels.

        • Brendan,
          My clinical experience and personal philosophy regarding compliance is that 80% compliance is the minimum floor in order to do a proper experiment. I would prefer closer to 90% compliance. Have you thought about different strategies for staying compliant when traveling? Are you doing any intermittent fasting or BP intermittent fasting? That can help you by inoculating you against blood sugar fluctuations until you get something of high quality to eat. Secondly, your total cholesterol levels have gone up but if you’re concerned then get a VAP lipid profile to check the particle size. I look at your results and see an improvement in HDL which is very important and a two point increase in triglycerides which is basically nominal. I would say your tri’s are the same. And finally decreasing your exercise levels can absolutely have a negative impact on LDL. So the takeaway is to increase compliance and then retest. I’m guessing markers should improve.

          • Great:
            1. I certainly have tried to stay compliant when traveling, but it’s frankly just not that easy – even staying compliant while home requires a lot of work. Grass fed beef isn’t always readily available, especially when traveling internationally as I do.

            2. I do practice IF, even when traveling.

            3. I do plan to get a VAT panel and will let you know.

            4. I have started to increase my exercise again anyway.

            It’s not clear when you posted this post exactly – how long have you been doing the BPD thus far? It’s very interesting that I haven’t been able to find many posts with data from people who have been doing it for a long time. I suspect because it’s quite difficult (and expensive) to eat the way he recommends. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that, and look forward to seeing your next update!

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