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Bulletproof, Paleo & Overtraining – Hormones Don’t Lie

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The last 15 years of biohacking have convinced me that everyone has an amazing opportunity to live a life full of energy and wellness, but figuring out how to do that isn’t always so easy. The information on this blog is here because I was fortunate for a brief period early in my career, which gave me resources to figure this stuff out. Now it’s free because if someone had bothered to tell me this stuff, I’d have saved an awful lot of time, money, and suffering. Struggling to earn my success wasn’t fun when I weighed 300 pounds and had brain dysfunction.

So when you share how becoming Bulletproof has made your life better, it motivates me to keep writing, and shows others what is possible to improve in their lives as well. A Bulletproof reader just sent in an awesome story, which illustrates how hormones and fertility – in men and women – are major markers for health and performance, and how exercise, even with a paleo diet, wasn’t enough to bring fertility back.

So what is the story?

Ashley, a vibrant woman with two healthy kids, wrote in to share how going Bulletproof allowed her and her husband to have the second child they never thought they could have after 3 years of trying. Even though Ashley ate paleo, looked healthy, and exercised a lot, she was having difficulty getting pregnant. Within just weeks of discovering and following a Bulletproof® Lifestyle, Ashley and her husband were amazed to find out her body had shifted back into fertility mode and they got pregnant! Given how amazing and informative her write up was, it’s a major part of this post, along with the pictures, as an example of what the right diet can do for your hormones.

For both women and men, fertility is a marker of an optimized system that is running well. Even if you have no interest in kids, if you’re of childbearing age, being fertile and having healthy hormones is important for a number of health and performance reasons. My wife Dr. Lana, a physician who runs a global fertility coaching practice, and I co-authored The Better Baby Book (paper version sold out temporarily on Amazon but still available on Kindle), in which we explain the many ways you can optimize your health and fertility.

Please add your questions, stories, or tips in the comment box. Ashley is generously giving her time to help answer questions too! Ashley can also be reached at her own blog here

Ashley’s Story

ashley_pregnantThis post is about how Dave Asprey played a huge role in getting me pregnant. The Bulletproof Executive has greatly impacted my life in ways I could’ve never imagined.

I started my journey to ‘get fit and healthy’ in Summer 2005. Unfortunately, that summer was also the beginning of my irregular (sometimes non-existent) menstrual cycles and infertility issues.

To look fit, I started eating little snacks throughout the day and running off every sexy curve and muscle I had on my body. I was thinner than everyone else and I liked it. I liked spending more time in the gym and feeling like I had more control over my food than anyone else. It became my pride; my identity.

The downside to this “fit identity” was that it stole my menstrual cycle; my womanhood. When half the men in America probably had a bigger chest than I did, I finally realized how far down the rabbit hole I had gone, and I slowly started to come around. I became ‘healthy’ by most people standards because I could run a 5k at the drop of a hat (even though I’d begun to loathe it), but I felt tired, rundown all the time, and my period had gone away. I would catch a glimpse of her sometimes and proclaim ‘victory,’ but she would steal away from me again. I was living life to the tune of ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ by Bill Wither’s.

This is where our first ‘miracle baby’ surprised us. My Mom was like, “I thought you couldn’t even get pregnant!” And I’d thought so too. So when the second line on the pregnancy test turned pink, you can imagine how surprised and elated we were.

In July 2009, we welcomed our healthy son, Turner, into the world. Although I looked like I was the ‘picture of health’ throughout my entire pregnancy, truth was I was exhausted and starving the entire time. Following the ‘Best Odds Diet’ and exercise guidelines in my What to Expect When You’re Expecting book wasn’t cutting it.

Motherhood began to drain me. Every ounce of energy I had left between my constant cardio and low-fat diet plan was being squeezed out of me like a sponge. Between the nursing, the late nights, the exercising, and keeping up with the housework, I was spent. My husband commented as to how I was ‘walking around like an old lady.’ I knew I had to make a change. My baby needed me.

My first impulse had been to just stop watching what I ate altogether. Just eat to fuel the beast, and try not to pay attention to the number on the scale. Around this same time I felt like I was overtraining, but needed Google to confirm that before I’d let myself take a break. This is when I stumbled upon primal and paleo blogs for the first time. Like a lot of people, my first reaction to the information was to be extremely confused, shocked, mystified, and even horrified. Although I wrote off paleo bloggers as looney at first, I was still drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Reading the posts became a secret addiction. My head shaking turned into nods, and before I knew it, I was a paleo gal….but not Bulletproof yet.

Following the paleo lifestyle turned my world upside-down, but oh, it was worth it. My energy blossomed. I started to workout smarter (not perfect, but I was getting there!). I started to just enjoy my food and life. I got to have my steak and eat it, too! I felt more than ready to have another healthy baby! But one very important piece of my health was still missing….it had been almost a year and no signs of the return of my fertility – Still no cycle. She eluded me; DECEIVED me.

My doctors were baffled because my weight was a perfect and test results were great, but they were still clueless as to I had no period. At this point I was done trying to ‘fix’ it. I wanted another baby, darn it! About 10 months after initially trying to get pregnant I started taking Clomid, a prescription that forces your body to menstruate. After 4 months of charting my cycles on Clomid I quit taking the prescription because cycles were not sticking and that stuff was just so unnatural. No baby. What was I missing?

The paleo lifestyle wasn’t providing me with answers to my hormonal and fertility issues, so I became obsessed with figuring out how to get healthier and gain my period and fertility back. I scoured all health blogs, podcasts, and information I could get my hands on.

After actively trying to get pregnant for 2 1/2 years, I finally came across someone that seemed to have the information I needed – The Bulletproof Executive, Dave Asprey. I liked Dave’s message, I can’t quote him, but he had me at ‘Bulletproof ®Coffee’. He described his lifestyle ‘like cavemen with laser beams on their heads’ or something like that. Sort of a nod to how it was like the Paleo lifestyle, only perfected through the use of modern-day science.

During the interview I first heard Dave on, he touched on how his wife was able to have two beautiful, perfect children in her early 40′s. A brief nod to the BP diet and fertility. Sold, I jumped on BulletproofExec.com right away!

Within weeks I was accustomed to the small tweaks on his diet page. I’d adjusted my supplements according to his recommendations and, most importantly, I was hooked on his BP coffee regimen. My breakfast was about 6 tablespoons of unsalted Kerrygold butter with about 1-2 TBS of MCT oil, blended with my morning coffee. I purchased a five pound bag of his delicious, specialty sourced and roasted Upgraded™ Coffee beans to get the most benefits-I wasn’t messing around. The rest of my diet was very heavy on pastured eggs, avocados, grass-fed beef, and low-carb vegetables. Everything was smothered in grass-fed butter, and Upgraded™ MCT oil. It wasn’t long before I was in nutritional ketosis. The only time I would eat something starchy, like a sweet potato, would be following a sprint or heavy lifting workout, or if I was dining out with friends or family.

Like magic, my menstrual cycle came back within a matter of WEEKS! I warned my husband that I thought I might get chunky due to all the butter and fat that I was consuming. In truth, I really didn’t gain much, maybe a pound or two but I actually think I put on some muscle during this time. I was curvy, but I was firm. My weight fluctuated from about 137-141. My body composition was ideal with minimal time devoted to exercise at this point. My energy was stable; my skin was vibrant.

sleeping_babyI ate and lived a pretty solid Bulletproof lifestyle and in a matter of a few short months, we were pregnant!! My husband and I actually got into an argument when I told him because he just couldn’t believe it could be true.

After YEARS of trying, and many more years of not feeling like a true ‘woman’, going Bulletproof worked like a charm. I mean, it worked freakishly fast! Anyone who is skeptical can just read the few dated posts I wrote on the Bulletproof Forum titled ‘Any Ladies Get Their Fertility Back Doing BP?‘-That’s me!

It has been quite a journey, but now I am HERE, typing this post with a newborn son in my arms. Turner is now almost 4-years-old and he’s the proud older brother of Liam, born in May 2013. With this pregnancy, not only did I look good, but I FELT amazing. Healthy from the inside out. Thanks to the Primal/Paleo/Low-carb community, that eventually led me to the Bulletproof Executive, I am a new woman and a proud new mother.

I give a huge ‘thank you’ to Dave Asprey, his beautiful wife, Dr. Lana, and the BP staff. Please, keep up the amazing work. You guys are changing lives!!

I hope you all enjoyed my story and were encouraged.

-Ashley

This story totally made my day. Does any part of Ashley’s story resonate with you? How has the Bulletproof Diet changed your life? Comment on this post to share your story with the Bulletproof community…and keep me motivated to keep cranking. Thanks Ashley!

Check out other client reviews to read about what others are saying about The Bulletproof Executive and how it has changed their lives.

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  • Matthew

    Is drinking caffeine a good idea when trying to get pregnant?

    • Ashley

      Instead of focusing on ‘getting pregnant’ I would put the focus on ‘getting as healthy as humanly possible’. Pregnancy seems to follow suit pretty darn fast after that!

      For health, I would focus on the amount of caffeine, the source of the caffeine, and how sensitive you are to the caffeine.

      But that’s me.

  • http://www.smoothlack.tumblr.com Tyler

    “This post is about how Dave Asprey played a huge role in getting me pregnant.”

    Phrasing…

    • BDM

      Ah, you beat me to it.

      http://youtu.be/hyLWrKh2fB0

      • Ashley

        That was me, trying to be funny. lol

    • sarah

      I guess being Bullet-proof doesn’t improve your ability to detect humor.

      • http://www.smoothlack.tumblr.com Tyler

        I guess you are correct because “Phrasing…” is a running gag from the comedy program Archer.

    • ???ds? ???p

      lol I left it as she wrote it, which totally made me laugh. Ashley rocks! :)

      • Kathryn Winterle-Illo

        Surely, the pun was intended!

  • lance

    Based on research caffeine has an effect on birth weight but this is total caffeine consumption not just coffee, although coffee was associated with longer gestational period. The advised amount of coffee was 200mg a day which equates to one cup in USA the recommendation is 300mg.

    Take into consideration the quality of coffee that is considered as they were talking about instant and coffee in general. I have also seen a blog say that its OK to drink soda instead – really? Cola has just as much caffeine, is higher in sugar and the acid level is so low that it cannot do a developing fetus/baby any good.

    http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/11/42/abstract

    On Ashleys’ blog she does say her coffee addiction disappeared but came back after birth.

    • Erebus

      A cup of instant coffee can have anywhere from 60-160mg of caffeine, usually! Depends on many factors, really! A 12 oz. can of Coca-Cola would have ~40-50mg (memories a bit uncertain – I haven’t touched sodas in too long, lol!) Felt the need to clarify…it all depends on the source! Some items at Starbucks even have 300mg of caffeine, which is a lot to consume all at once!

  • Brad Hassett

    My change isn’t as profound as Ashley’s, but the bulletproof diet got rid of my extreme brain fog, poor memory, and low energy, all things that shouldn’t have been there as a ‘healthy’ 27 year old. I’m excited to continue to make myself feel ever more bulletproof. Brain octane, Collagen and Glutathione are next!

    • ???ds? ???p

      Brad, thanks for letting me know. I feel so motivated to keep doing this when I hear I’ve helped even one person avoid the crap I went through! :)

  • anonymous

    I want to say thank you Dave for making all your information public. Since the first time you appeared on JRE I was obsessed with the information you’ve been posting. I am a chemical engineering student with way too much on my plate right now (school, research, projects, job). I was short on sleep aided by redbull and bad coffee, which created an inflamed, tired, and soul-less engineering student. I don’t have a lot of biology background, but I have taken a biochemistry course. And man, everything you were saying about fats, sugars, toxins, etc. just made sense. This diet completely changed my work ethic and quality, as well as making it much easier to stay fit without the energy drain. The diet can be a little hard to follow sometimes on a college students budget, but still possible (currently I’m saving up to do onnit’s Total Primate Care packs on top of upgraded coffee and mct oil). Thank you so much for your information and creating great products and I am blessed to have found this at a young”ish” age. The only thing I ask is that you create a bulletproof late night work session regime (what supplements,food, bp coffee, how to get the most of a few hours of sleep).

  • bjjcaveman

    Wonderful story. Thanks for sharing!

  • http://djuplift.net/ Brandon Richerson

    2 weeks on a steady BP diet and already down 17 pounds.. Suck it non believers!

    • Ashley

      Wow, that’s aahmazing!! I really hope you get the wifey on board, BP babies are AWFULLY cute. ;)

      • http://djuplift.net/ Brandon Richerson

        I bet they are!!!

  • Michaela

    I would be carefull, have similar problem with paleo diet and lifestyle, I have to slow down and only walk a lot and do yoga daily. I add starches to my diet sweet potato, fruit, rice (I did not gain any weight from them) When you want to hel your hormones eat some starches and IF is not recommended at all. Read some post from Paul Jaminet .

    I have found perfect balance with body ecology diet/perfect health diet slow down my workout, eat healthy and baby is on the way:-)

    • ???ds? ???p

      Did you read http://www.bulletproofexec.com/a-bad-combination-for-women-intermittent-fasting-and-paleo/

      Paul has been on my show and he’s quite good. We’re in alignment, but don’t always agree on the fine details.

      • Michaela

        Yes I have rad it and have tried really hardly to keep strong low carb high fat paleo(never for weight loss I am skinny and have never problem with weight ) I live in Europe but spend many years in US and definitelly lifestyle in europe is much more cleaner and food more healthy I have never ate hamburger as child or any china? fastfood, we cooked at home 99%of time when I was child. So I think I have good start, just wanted to upgrade my lifestyle and after year I have loss my period and got it again after 2 years including carbs back. You know everybody is different . What works for me does not have to for someone else. I eat about 30-40%carbs 10-20 protein and rest fats, this is what my body likes more. Sometimes I eat more carbs cause fruits are in season we have wild blueberries blackberries in moutains, many apricots in garden and I can eat 1-2pounds without any problem or with fear of gaining weight. Weight was never problem for me I listen my body and give it the best healthiest food I can especially right now when I am pregnant.

        • Ashley

          My body craving carbs, like sweet potatoes, was one of my first clues that I was expecting. I definitely got back on board the ‘starch wagon’ during my pregnancy. I do believe that Dave does recommend more carbohydrates during pregnancy, which makes total sense. Lol, to be honest, I don’t think I would have listened to him if he recommended otherwise. Life without healthy starches during pregnancy would have been dreadful-definitely not optimal.
          Congrats on the baby!!

  • Kevin W Treadwell

    You know, people will mention Dave Asprey a hundred years from now as being an instigator for this new way of living. I’m so excited for humanity now because I believe that his research, as well as that of many others, is going to help pave the way to a brighter future for our human race. Of course it’s going to take a long, long time, but it will happen because it simply works. Someday this will all be mainstream and people will look back in amazement at how befuddled we were about everything. THANK YOU Dave Asprey.

  • Andrea Russell

    Love the story & thank you Dave for everything! This info has changed my life – My husband and I started the BP lifestyle 8 weeks ago. We both feel amazing and have lost weight. I have been on birth control for over 10 years (Im now 35) due to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. We have decided we would like to try for a baby so I thew out the pills last week. Really excited to see if I will have normal cycles and get pregnant! I have the Better Baby Book and have already read through it once, about to start it again! Love it! Thanks Dave & Lana

  • igabar

    I love this post so much. If she was able to do it so can I!

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