Bulletproof Diet For Women: The Top 5 Food Hacks to Kick Even More Butt
By: Dave Asprey
November 17, 2014
The Bulletproof Diet is for people who want to be strong, powerful, lean, and toned; who run their own empires, raise healthy families, and will not allow their diets (or anything else) to destroy their performance. This means women!
I want my daughter to grow up to be a Bulletproof woman too. I am fortunate to have married Dr. Lana, who is such a woman and also a Karolinska Institute–trained medical doctor. Before we married, Lana was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome and was declared infertile, so we used biohacking techniques to restore her fertility and have a healthy family. Now Dr. Lana spends her days as a natural pregnancy and fertility consultant using Bulletproof techniques, and this experience has helped evolve specific Bulletproof Diet recommendations for women.
Men and women do have different hormone levels and different bodies, and they respond to diets quite differently as a result. Both men and women thrive on using the Bulletproof Diet roadmap, and the book includes these important modifications women can make to get even better results.
Hack 1: Use Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting to Hack Your Epigenetics
Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting (“BPIF”) is meant to be easier on the body than “traditional” 18 hour intermittent fasting, allowing both women and men to realize the benefits of intermittent fasting without the same risks to their health. Most women feel better when they avoid plain intermittent fasting and practice Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting, instead. That said, several world-class women athletes have been on the podcast, and they succeed on plain intermittent fasting. They’re the exception in my experience, not the norm.
- Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting is when you drink Bulletproof Coffee (with no protein and no carbs) instead of breakfast to push your body into ketosis.
- Plain intermittent fasting, in contrast, is when you skip breakfast altogether and fast for a large portion of the day. Plain intermittent fasting can work great, but it is more biologically stressful and hard to manage if you have a demanding career and family.
A significant number of women find that plain intermittent fasting causes problems including sleeplessness, anxiety, adrenal fatigue, and an irregular menstrual cycle, among a myriad of other hormone deregulation symptoms.
In contrast to plain intermittent fasting, Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting hacks your gut biome to put it in fat-loss mode faster than just skipping meals because butter and especially Brain Octane suppress bad bacteria more than just not eating. Instead of going 18 hours without any calories, you get to have Bulletproof Coffee in the morning. Blended with a nice big hunk of grass-fed butter and Brain Octane oil, this makes a satisfying breakfast for both sexes.
Instead of sending a stress signal to your meat that you are starving, Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting basically tells a woman’s body that it’s time for autophagy (cellular cleanup) and rapid fat burning (ketosis). And it tells her gut bacteria that there’s no starch, so it’s time to trigger fat-burning via fasting-induced adipose factor (FIAF). (You’ll learn all about how to manipulate FIAF in the book!) Because there’s no “famine stress” signal, it preserves adrenal function better than plain intermittent fasting. Since you actually use adrenal hormone epinephrine (adrenaline) that is made in your adrenal medulla to burn fat, this really matters more for women than it does for men to avoid the stress signal that will cause adrenal burnout.
Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WyJftLghVw
This makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. Women evolved so they can remain fertile and reproduce. Even if you’re not interested in having a baby, it’s important to consider your fertility because one of the best indicators of your biological performance is being able to conceive and grow a healthy child. In both women and men, caloric or healthy fat restriction sends environmental signals that can impact how our genes are expressed. Infertility is a sign of deeper biological problems.
The science behind this is called epigenetics— the study of external forces that modify changes in gene expression—and one effect can be changes in fertility. From an epigenetic perspective, fasting or eating a low-fat diet tells our bodies, “There’s a famine! Lack of food! Don’t reproduce!” The female body responds much more dramatically to these signals for reasons that should be pretty obvious.
Hack #2: Add More Sea Salt To Your Diet
There is a reason that stressed women crave fatty and salty foods—adrenal exhaustion. Like with hunger, it’s important not to just ignore these cravings or try to use willpower to overcome them.
Remember, the adrenals produce the hormone that balances sodium and potassium levels—critical for proper cell function—so if you are stressed, consuming enough salt will help ease the burden on your already taxed adrenals. Your body is craving these foods for a reason. Listen to it and add more Himalayan sea salt to your diet. And if you crave fat, skip the potato chips and make it the good kind.
Protocol: add 0.5-1 teaspoons of sea salt to a glass of water and drink it when you first wake up.
Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSHACmZX1Lo
Later in the day, if your body wants salty foods, eating some delicious Bulletproof protein and veggies soaked in butter and coated with high-quality sea salt is not just a good idea—it’s vital for your health. It will help you be a fierce, amazing woman who feels and looks good. And it will help you to safely practice Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting without harming your adrenals, your fertility, or your brain.
Hack #3: Eat Protein With Breakfast
If you’re over 40 and/or have significant weight to lose, it might help you in the long-term if you add some protein to your breakfast because it helps to reset your leptin sensitivity. In the Bulletproof Diet book, I go into the details about leptin sensitivity, and even how lectin hurts leptin…
Try mixing grass-fed collagen right into your Bulletproof Coffee. This will make you hungrier sooner than regular Bulletproof Intermittent Fasting because it kicks on your body’s digestion process and effectively ends your fast, but it will also help reset your leptin levels, allowing you to both feel better in the long run and lose weight faster.
Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXB4F6DtMAs
When you’re in maintenance mode, add some Bulletproof protein like pastured eggs or whey protein to your breakfast and see how you feel. Just don’t eat carbs in the morning unless you want your gut bacteria to tell your body to store fat all day long!
Hack #4: Re-feed on Carbs More Frequently Than You Think
Because women’s bodies are more highly attuned to stress signals for fertility reasons, they not only benefit from their morning fat (and often protein), but women also are more carbohydrate sensitive than men on average.
Carbohydrate re-feed days on the Bulletproof Diet Roadmap are days when you replenish your body with carbs by eating more of them than you normally do on the Bulletproof Diet. These carb re-feed days may or may not coincide with Bulletproof Protein Fasting days. Once a week, you’ll replace the protein in your meals with healthy Bulletproof carbs. The Bulletproof Diet Roadmap has a simple free diagram that walks you through all this….
Many men thrive on the Bulletproof Diet when they have carbohydrate re-feed days only once a week. Some men perform their best when they eat carbs even less frequently. Women, however, should test re-feeding with carbs at least once a week. Some women will need to re-feed twice a week or more once they’re in maintenance mode. And having a few carbs (under 30 grams usually, sometimes more depending on your biology) every evening can do wonders for women who need them.
This does not mean that you should go crazy at McDonald’s! On carb re-feed days, you should stick to Bulletproof Diet principles and eat up to 300 grams of Bulletproof carbs like sweet potatoes, carrots, and white rice, NOT gluten, corn syrup, ice cream, and cherry turnovers. This may cause you to feel a bit heavier the next day, but rest assured this is only water weight. Eating junk food on refuel day will cause several days of cravings and lower performance.
In addition, you may want to consider Bulletproof Protein Fasting once a week.
Hack #5: Monitor Your Iron
If you’re following the Bulletproof Diet and eating enough red meat and organ meat, you’re probably getting enough iron. But some women still need to supplement. Unfortunately, many women of childbearing age are anemic because they don’t get enough red meat in their diets, and this can cause complications during pregnancy.
Unlike vitamin D or K2, iron isn’t one of those supplements that you want to take randomly, or no matter what. It’s terrible for your performance to be anemic (low in iron), but taking enough iron to raise your blood ferritin level above about 75 will age you really quickly. The best bet is to get your iron level tested after 2-6 weeks on the Bulletproof Diet to see if you need an iron supplement.
In Conclusion: Just Say No to Counting Calories
This ‘hack’ is so implicit in the Bulletproof Diet Roadmap (get it free here) guidelines that I didn’t list it, but it bears reminding because it is so important especially given how much society and the media pressure women to conform to so-called “beauty” standards.
No matter what she eats, when a woman eats too few calories, her body gets stressed in response to the famine signal and starts having fertility problems like PMS until quality food supplies (or caloric intake) return to levels that support reproduction. This is one reason why women who are suffering from eating disorders often stop menstruating. Their bodies are in famine-panic mode and are attempting to protect the women from the stress of pregnancy by cutting off fertility.
There are tons of reasons calorie restriction is not a generally healthy practice, and I do not advocate intense daily exercise for men or women unless they’re pro athletes practicing intense recovery too. Many female athletes—including “weekend warriors”—also stop menstruating and are no longer fertile because it’s very stressful to the body to combine extreme amounts of exercise with a low-fat, low-calorie diet. This sends a signal to your cellular epigenome that “You run all the time, so a tiger must be chasing you every single day. And there’s obviously no food since you’re not eating. Your life must be under threat from famine and tigers. Yikes! Don’t get pregnant!!” Both male and female bodies respond to these messages with exhaustion, adrenal fatigue, and hormone problems, but women are more sensitive to these problems and feel the effects first.
To wrap it up: a diet consisting of high healthy fats, moderate protein intake, and cyclical low carb intake is extremely healthy and beneficial for women. I have met many women (and men too of course) who have struggled with weight and “dieting” their entire adult lives, only to finally find a sustainable way of eating when they tried eating Bulletproof. Your own “carb threshold” will vary and only you have the power to figure it out using these guidelines.
It’s an amazing and inspirational journey to witness, whether in yourself or in a close friend. What changes have you felt, observed, or measured in yourself?
- Why Plain Intermittent Fasting Doesn’t Work As Well For Women
- 14 Steps to Eating The Bulletproof Diet
- Optimize your supplements
- The Bulletproof Diet (available for order on Amazon)