For the last 5 years I have been on a serious journey to become healthier, happier, and more productive. I have tried several diets and have experienced some real successes, some backsliding, and some side effects.
A couple months ago after no longer being able to lose the weight I wanted to using the diet I had been using for almost 5 years, I was introduced to and switched to the Bulletproof Diet (BPD). One of the key components is Bulletproof Coffee (BPC). I felt very different in several areas of my life since switching, including my weight, energy, focus, emotional stability, and my relationship with coffee. The work trip I just completed to China is a perfect example. I took all my supplies to be Bulletproof in China including my ground coffee beans, Aero Press, one and a half pounds of Kerrygold unsalted butter, MCT oil, and my hand held Cuisinart.
Before I go into details about my experience being Bulletproof in China, let me tell you about my traveling over the last 8 years training Professional Life and Business Coaching skills in 11 countries including Brazil, Singapore, Kazakhstan, the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic, France, and Estonia most recently. For the last 5 years I followed Tim Ferris’s 4 Hour Body (4HB) and had good results with my weight, but over time I couldn’t maintain it, and always slipped back into bad habits. I really appreciate everything I learned and the results I got from 4HB, but after 4.5 years I could no longer get my weight down even when I was home and strict with myself, let alone when I traveled.
The importance of this comparison is that this is how I earn my living, and my ability to do a good job related to how much work I get in the future. I usually travel internationally for 9 to 18 days once a quarter. The health pattern has almost always been the same. I arrive in country and it takes several days to get over the jet lag. I have tried quite a few methods and usually could do pretty good, but I could feel the effects for 4 to 5 days. Not a good way to start.
A normal training day went like this. Wake up tired, blow off exercising because I was too tired, and eat breakfast at the hotel doing my best to avoid wheat. Most places I went beans weren’t an option and they are integral to 4HB as they replace carbohydrates which are used for energy. I typically would end up eating some bread simply because no matter how many eggs I ate, I was still hungry. Breakfast also would usually consist of at least 2 cups of coffee.
I would head out to the training location, and upon arrival I would have another cup of coffee as I was feeling a little stressed. Some of the locations had wonderful croissants, donuts, or local versions of sweet treats. I couldn’t resist. I felt like I needed it. Then I would teach till the morning coffee break, at which time I would rush to get to the coffee machine, and of course, by this time I was craving carbs, so more sugar was often the solution.
Lunch was typically a struggle, but most of the time I would do a salad or some selection that wasn’t pasta, sandwich, etc. Meat and veggies were often the best I could do followed by another cup of coffee before teaching again. The afternoon break would usually consist of another coffee, and more sweets because by this time I was running low on energy. By the end of the day when I got back to the hotel I was running on empty. As a trainer I always felt like I needed to bring a very positive, and high energy presentation and be an example of what I was teaching. I am realizing as I write this, that I was sometimes drinking 10 cups of coffee during a training day, and I can only imagine what that did to my adrenal gland.
Now my latest experience, my Bulletproof experience. I took a opportunity to train in Chongqing, China. I arrived one day early, and went straight into my BP routine. I had no jet lag whatsoever. For 8 days this was my routine. I would wake up at 5am, sometimes I ran between 2 and 3 miles (as much for sightseeing as exercise), or lifted (to get the juices flowing), and some days I just stretched in my room. Then I would make my BPC. As soon as I drank the coffee I would feel full and satisfied.
I would do a couple hours of answering emails, writing, and Skyping my family. Then at 8:30am I would head down to teach. I would teach from 9am till 10:30. The temperature in Chongqing, China was anywhere between 95 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit almost every day with 50%-60% humidity. The large meeting room we were in, even with the air conditioning cranked was often about 80 degrees and I would be quite hot the entire time, and as I normally do I drank a lot of water. When I taught in Almaty, Khazakhstan last year in similar temperatures I thought I was going to die.
Then the class would take a “Coffee break”. I would walk over to the snack and coffee table. They had wonderful little cakes, sweets, and pastries, all bite sized and tempting to the eye, and a nice espresso machine. It all the looked very good, but I didn’t feel like having it at all. I would pass it up, and drink a bottle of water. The strange thing is that I simply didn’t want it. No hunger, no craving, it simply looked nice, but my I felt completely neutral about it.
I had plenty of energy to give my presentation my full energy. What really surprised me was how clear my head was. I found myself remembering almost every word that was said during the training. This was wonderful because I could recall questions that students had asked 3 days prior and link it to the current material to reinforce the lessons. I could remember what was said is jest 4 days ago, and make a joking reference to it today. I found myself very focused on the moment, and this is important because I normally have a bad case of Shiny Thing Syndrome even when teaching.
It reminded of the time when I was around eight years old and I got glasses for the first time. The first moment I slipped on my first pair of glasses I was shocked! I could see so far, I could see details that I could never see before. I was nearsighted, so seeing things much further was such a surprise, you don’t know what you don’t know, and when you never had glasses before you don’t know what you can see till you see it.
At lunchtime I would eat with the group. The meals were traditional southwest Chinese served family style. So I ate lots of veggies, a little meat, and stayed away from the carbs. I will admit that the food available to me fit BP almost perfectly. The only suspect foods were some of the sauces and broths. How I felt was the real difference. I was only slightly hungry. I ate a reasonable amount because I wanted to try the dishes and enjoy the local cuisine. I can tell you to watch out for the Tofu in the dark red oily sauce, it is what I now refer to as Death Hot! I couldn’t taste anything else for 24 hours.
I think there were only 2 days where I had a second cup of BPC, and on both occasions it was because I decided not to eat lunch because I was feeling so good, and wanted to enjoy the AC in my room. As I returned to teaching after a two hour lunch break, which was new to me, I felt great and still full of energy. It was very apparent to me, like I had on a brand new set of glasses that my mind was clear and focused. My ability to articulate words, which is very important when working with an interpreter, to answer questions concisely, remember a vast majority of the content that the students brought forth, and overall to deliver the content was better than I could remember.
The level of focus and attention I was able to maintain was noticeably better for me. Sometimes when I teach, I would find that near the end of the day, especially as the trip get further along, that I would sometimes get very frustrated with certain students. It was an internal struggle that I hope none of my students noticed. I do remember over the course of 8 years teaching, I do remember a couple of times that it did become apparent. These moments are ones that I am not proud of, and wish I could take back. My ability to focus and to maintain my flow state was severally challenged. On the 4th day of training I got the news that an old friend of mine who had valiantly battled cancer for 7 years had passed away. To compound that, three days later I got the news that another friend had received a diagnosis of Stage 4 breast cancer. Both situations impacted me strongly, but when I got in front of my students and began to teach it didn’t draw me off
I am now home, and although my level of clarity isn’t quite the same as while I was in China, I am feeling great, and working to more fully integrate the Bulletproof Diet into my life, and feed my children based on what I am learning. If you want more information about the how to improve your performance, check out Dave Asprey on his Bulletproof Executive Website.