May Q&A: Sinuses, Teens, Depression & Dave’s Last Meal on Earth – #312
Why you should listen –
In this episode of Bulletproof Radio, we’ve selected the best questions that Bulletproof fans submitted through our voicemail, Facebook and the Bulletproof® Forums, for a great May Q&A. Listen to Dave and Bulletproof Coach trainer Dr. Mark Atkinson talk about daily eating habits, meals for the last day on Earth, sinusitis and mold, Bulletproof Coffee for teens and more. This episode covers a variety of topics based on your questions. Thank you and enjoy the show!
Follow Along with the Transcript!
Speaker 1: Bulletproof Radio. A state of high performance.
Dave: It’s Dave Asbury with Bullet Proof Radio. Today’s cool fact of the day is that glucose, which is a form of sugar, the one that your body prefers to burn in its mitochondria, it helps to show fructose, which is that fruit sugar, or stuff found in high fructose corn syrup, across your intestinal wall. If you eat a large amount of fructose the way we used to tell diabetics to, actually the way the American Diabetic Association still tells diabetics to do, even though it’s incredibly harmful, if you eat a large amount of fructose without the glucose, it can cause you to get disaster pants.
What’s happening there is the fructose can’t make it across enough, so your body’s like, got to get this stuff out of here. Let’s evacuate it as soon as possible. With that said, why would you want to put a lot of fructose in your body anyway given that fructose raises your triglycerides in a very meaningful way. It contributes to fatty liver, and it’s one of the strongest agents that causes advanced glycation end products, which is basically aging of the tissues where the fructose sticks to your proteins permanently, and sits there and makes free radicals. Creates oxidative stress.
This is why I tell you, you know what? Fruit tastes delicious but fruit is dessert. Fruit is not a vegetable, which is why fruit and vegetable is not a single word. Fruit is one of those things you eat sparingly. You keep your fructose to under twenty-five grams, hopefully substantially under that on a daily basis. Sorry, I want fruit to be a health food too, but it isn’t. It’s a dessert.
Sitting next to me today is Doctor Mark Atkinson, the Bullet Proof medical director and leader of Bulletproof Coaching. We have a training program that you may not have heard about yet. We’re training hundreds of people right now on how to be Bulletproof Coaches, so they can go out and coach people like executives or people in other walks of life, in how to become more bulletproof. How do you do the right things? Or the right things from a personal growth perspective, from a nutritional perspective, just from a performance perspective, and then how do you stop doing the wrong things that make you weak, and how do you round all that stuff out with the right kind of software programming? This isn’t a nutritional certification, it’s very far from that, it’s a human performance initiative. So far, the feedback has been profound from the first wave of people going through the training. I’d love it if you had the opportunity to come and check out the training as well. BulletproofTrainingInstitute.com.
You’ll get to know Doctor Mark in today’s episode. There’s been probably six or so other episodes of Bulletproof Radio where Mark and I just answer your questions. We sit here and before the show, we go through all the social media posts and all the other ways that people submit questions that they’d like to hear us ask on Bulletproof Radio. Then we pick some really, really good ones, and then we answer them here. If we don’t answer your question, that’s okay because there is the Bulletproof forums. Forum.Bulletproof.com. Sorry, Forum.Bulletproofexec.com is where you can go for that. If we don’t get to your question today, there are literally thousands and thousands of other people who live Bulletproof who will sit down and answer your questions and help you figure out whatever your bio-hacking challenge is. It’s an amazing community, and I’m grateful it’s there. Check out Bulletproof Training Institute or Forum.Bulletproofexec.com and let’s get going with questions from our audience. Doctor Mark.
Doctor Mark: Okay, so question number one comes from a Doctor Catherine Zagoney.
Catherine: Hi, I’m Doctor Catherine Zagonoey. Hi Dave. We’re so excited to be here. My question for you is, if it were your last day on earth, what would you eat?
Dave: Wow. I think there’s a sizable number of people who would think about this and be like, girl scout cookies and skittles and stuff like that. Like Oreos or something. I don’t think that that’s what I would do. I would probably eat some grass fed rack of lamb. I’m a huge fan of that. The stuff is so good. There would definitely be Bulletproof Coffee, very, very dark chocolate. I really like those things. I like the taste of red wine, but I don’t like how it makes me feel. I’m not wasting part of my last day on earth slightly drunk. That would be a waste of time, so I would probably skip the red wine.
Let’s see. I would probably eat something like a cherry turnover because what the hell, you might as well have some gluten. I don’t crave them at all but that used to be one of my favorite foods. It would be kind of cool to eat it again. Probably some sort of really, really good rich dark chocolate ice-cream or something like that. I’d have to get some ice cream, but it might be interesting to try the stuff with dairy again, but I’d want to eat that right at the end of the day, because it’s really not worth the impact of milk. If I could back load the stuff at the end of the day, that’s really kryptonite food that might taste good, it would be kind of cool to do that, but I don’t miss any of those foods. I’d pretty much eat what I do today.
My favorite vegetable might be probably a good quality asparagus. I really like that. Mashed cauliflower bacon from Bulletproof It Cookbook would absolutely be there. The stuff is ridiculously good. I think I’d be pretty full after that. What else? Yeah, that’s a pretty good list. I’d feel pretty satisfied if I did that. What about you Mark?
Dave: You got a good question and you know what struck me was that I wouldn’t change much.
Dave: Yeah, exactly.
Dave: There’s two parts for eating for me. There’s just eating great food that just makes you feel great, and eating with people that you care and love with. If it’s my last day, my wish would be I’d be with my children, my wife, we’d be sitting down together. That’s part of the joy of eating. Just eating food that just lifts us and energizes us. My most favorite food is grass fed burgers. That for me, is what I just love. I love sweet potato fries, that kind of thing. We do this great coconut chocolate mousse kind of thing where there’s avocado in there. That’s what we normally eat.
Dave: Yeah, that’s like a daily thing.
Doctor Mark: Yeah, that’s a daily thing. I think at this stage in your food where it just matters so much. It matters because it has such a big impact on who you are, the way you feel. If you can share that joy with your loved ones, there’s nothing better. Meal times are just so important for that. I probably wouldn’t change that much.
Dave: You surprise me with the answer Mark, because what I really expected you to say was, the flesh of your enemies.
Doctor Mark: Yeah.
Dave: You didn’t even go there. Like you’re not a normal angry … No, I’m kidding.
Doctor Mark: If you ask me at 8:00 in the morning, I may be a bit different, right?
Dave: Before coffee. It strikes me the same thing, where I have grass fed rack of lamb probably once a week because we get our lambs from two houses down. Judy raises them for us, and they’re grass fed, and they’re delicious. Of course, I’m going to have lamb on a regular basis because it’s what makes me feel amazing, and why do I want to feel crappy on my last day on earth?
Doctor Mark: Yeah, and you know there’s also this other thing about just when you’re with really good food, to really just lay down and enjoy it. Just eating mindfully and consciously and just taking time to digest it. I’d want to eat my meal maybe a bit more slowly than I normally would. Sometimes we get great food in front of us, and that makes us feel good, but we rush through it because we want to move to the next thing. Maybe if this is our final day, I think we should just really slow it down, just really enjoy the food, really enjoy the company. That would be pretty good.
Dave: There’s also this idea of a food high. At the Bulletproof Coffee Shop, we have a full menu with a lot of my favorite meals. We’re rotating things from Bulletproof: The Cookbook, each week into this. The whole point of cooking that way, and adding Brain Octane to the different meals, and not using inflammatory proteins, is that I want you to walk out of there the way I do from every meal. I’m like, I got a food high from that. I feel so much like buzzing energy. Like literally, I’m a little bit high. Not dizzy, tripping high, but just full of vigor in a way that’s hard to explain if you’ve never felt it. Most people felt it once or twice, like that was a really good meal, but it wasn’t the taste of the food. That’s part of it. It should taste good, but there was something else in there. It’s getting that something else in there, that’s what makes a meal amazing.
Doctor Mark: Yet for a lot of people, and myself included maybe a couple of years ago, what you just said there was like, what? You mean you can just have that kind of high after food? Normally, it’s like most people eat their food, they feel stuffed, they feel bloated, and their energy’s pretty low. It doesn’t have to be that way. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on making those changes. You just have to add in some extra healthy fats, moderate your protein, kind of remove the processed carbohydrates. The kind of sugar, what we call kryptonite foods, so foods you’re sensitive to, so just some sleight of hand, add in some kind of Brain Octane, which provides you with an alternative fuel called ketones. You can change around the way you feel and your diet pretty quickly.
That for me, when you experienced that yourself, you don’t have to believe anyone, you have to experience it. When you experience that, it’s a game changer. Then you’ve won that for everyone else, because there are way too many people who are tired, who are feeling low, who are operating at a fraction of their potential because they’re eating the wrong kind of food.
When you do start to feel great after your food, it’s just become such a source of joy. That’s what food really is about. It’s about it’s a source of joy that empowers you, expands your energy, and you become a better human being. When I’m fueled and I’m energized, I’m a better person. I’m more effective at work. I’m a better husband and better dad, all that kind of stuff. It kind of sounds sometimes trivial, but it’s core. It’s core to who we are.
Dave: Yeah. It is. In fact our next question from Sharon is really tied in with what we’re talking about.
Doctor Mark: Yeah, Sharon, age 37. Hi Dave. I discovered your show about three weeks ago, and I’m catching up quickly on all of your previous episodes. Love your work. Can you please do a video on what you eat in a day, and perhaps more importantly what Doctor Lana, your wife, eats in a day if that differs. Do you?
Dave: Yeah, the same thing. I hear you. We should do a video like that. I think there’s a video of our refrigerator a while back, and there were a bunch of celebrities that were doing different refrigerators. I was just boring. It was like butter, meat, and then three shelves of vegetables. Kind of like my plate. It’s covered in vegetables and it’s got some meat, and it’s got a few other things on it, but it’s mostly that.
I do Bulletproof Coffee in the morning, every morning. Many days with collagen, some days without. Lana does a smaller amount of Bulletproof Coffee. She’s smaller than I am. She’s in her mid 40’s and she has more protein than I do in the morning. Quite often she’ll have grass fed sausage from a cow that ate grass that grew actually in our front yard. We have a local farmer who comes and cuts the grass in the front of the property and then uses it for his cows. Then we get one of the cows. She’ll do that. Sometimes duck eggs or regular pastured eggs. We’re very fortunate both of those, they’re in abundance around us because we live on a thirty-two acre farm surrounded by other farms. Our food supply is very local and very affordable too, but you can still do that.
A little bit more protein in the morning, as in common for women. I write about this in the Bulletproof Diet. If you haven’t had a chance to read it Sharon, the Bulletproof Diet really goes into this in pretty good detail. The the other thing is, if you go to Bulletproof: The Cookbook, the new book that I just did. This book, it came out even better than I hoped. The photography’s amazing. There’s one hundred twenty-five meals in it. That’s basically six months of meals. This is what I eat. Like exactly what’s in that book.
I don’t always make duck confit, there’s some special, maybe more fancy things in there, but the prototypical lunch or dinner is one of two things. It is a salad made, very finely chopped or shredded, almost like slaw style, tons of vegetables, not much if any lettuce because lettuce is kind of a waste of space. You don’t really get very many nutrients from lettuce, it’s mostly water. We’ll make the salad and then we do something exactly out of the Bulletproof Coffee shop. It’s called The Salad Undressing. You actually blend avocado, Brain Octane, olive oil, salt, spices, and some of whatever’s in the salad. Just blend it up until you have this mushy creamy green dressing. Pour it out back on the salad, and you’re like, oh I’m so happy. You do that and a little bit of grass fed meat or fish. Fish that eat grass are really fancy if you can find them, by the way.
Then for dinner, the other meal, is often times a soup. Then you steam a bunch of veggies or you cook them in a little bit of water. Then you throw some of the veggies with butter, Brain Octane, salt, spices, in the blender. Blend them up. Dump them back over the rest of the vegetables and now you have a creamy, delicious filling soup. You add collagen protein to it. You add grass fed meat, you add a little bit of bacon, chopped avocado, olives, whatever you like. That’s pretty much it. Meat is a moderate amount of the calories from the meal. Fat is most of the calories, and vegetables is most of the mass. You just repeat that cycle over and over and over.
Lana eats more carbs than I do because she’s a woman and often times women just sleep better with more carbs. For our evening meal, we’re very likely to have butternut squash, sweet potatoes or white rice, or potentially something called Mochi, which is like pounded Japanese rice, which is a little bit more like bread. We pretty much rinse and repeat that model quite a lot.
If we’re going to have dessert, we have blueberries that we froze at the height of the season, which is kind of cool since they also grow in the back yard. Those are really delicious. The frozen berries this time of year are usually very low quality, and they can actually make you not feel so good. Especially the bulk market kind of berries. I’ve had so many batches of moldy berries that I quit buying them. If you don’t get them at the height of the season where they’re very, very fresh, there’s a lot of problems with them. The Chinese vegetables and berries, we avoid those pretty religiously.
Doctor Mark: Yeah, just on the berries side. One thing you have to watch with frozen berries is the quality tends to be pretty low. Also, the level of pesticides on them is really high as well
Dave: It’s terrible.
Doctor Mark: Sometimes you can think you’re doing yourself a favor by maybe having a smoothie with loads of berries inside of it, but actually you’re getting this kind of moldy pesticide high dose, and it’s not so good.
Dave: You can’t really see the mold in berries, but I’ve gone to … I won’t name them to call them out, but in one of the very large wholesaler kind of markets, and you buy these three pound, five pound bags of berries, I’ve never had a bag that wasn’t moldy. I’m sensitive to mold because I’ve lived in several moldy houses, and I’m one of the one in four people who’s genetically susceptible to that stuff. I can feel it when I eat it, because it goes to my brain. I’m like, oh. I quit doing that. When I eat berries that are fresh or berries that are frozen during the on season, I’m totally good to go. They’re fine. They’re really good for you. Quality really matters when you’re going to be doing stuff like that.
Same thing goes for sweet potatoes. You get the kind of mangy looking sweet potato. You should expect to feel like crap if you eat that thing. They should look good. When you peel it, if it’s all black and weird underneath it, actually then just cut out the black spots, probably just toss them and you’ll be all right.
Doctor Mark: You can do this thing. I’m sure you’ve maybe done the same thing Dave, where when you’re shopping just take a moment to be present to the vegetables and fruit you’re about to buy. Take a moment to really look at it. Look … Is there any sign of mold? Is it soft? Do you energetically get … Does it expand your energy? Sometimes you look at some vegetables and your energy just shifts down a couple of gears.
Really, when you purchase it you can think, wow I’m doing great. I’m eating all these vegetables and some fruit and it’s all great. That can be good, but I think there’s a whole another level where you pay real attention to quality, and of course cooking methods, and all the things you talk about in your cookbook.
Dave: It’s funny. Animals will do this. You give them a pile of genetically modified corn and a pile of non-genetically modified corn. Like nine out of ten times, they’ll walk up, they’ll look at both, and they’ll eat the fresh stuff. They just know. We just know too, but we tell ourselves, shut up. That’s not how it is.
You can see this with a one or a two year old. Probably up until maybe three or four. I used to do this with my kids. We’d cook some vegetables that were maybe a little off. Then you put it in front of them. They’re like, “I don’t want to eat that.” You go, “No really, you have to eat your vegetables.” Then they eat it, and then like, oh I’ve got hives. You know babies respond in all sorts of weird ways. You see it behaviorally. You’re like, you know what I’m not feeling very good after that meal either. Those actually weren’t fresh vegetables. They sense it, and then they’ll still eat it. If you tell them, “Don’t trust your senses.” What it comes down to is if you pick up a piece of food, and you’re like, I really don’t want that, just fucking don’t eat it. Like, it doesn’t make you a good person to eat stuff you don’t want to eat. It’s okay.
Doctor Mark: Okay, the next question. Francis52. I suffer periodically from depression and low mood. I was on SSRI’s, a type of anti-depressant for six months, but wasn’t convinced they helped, and do you have any advice?
Dave: This is a tough one. If it didn’t help, you need to talk to the doctor who gave them to you and say they didn’t help. It turns out there’s probably six different types of depression. Doctor Amen has done some wonderful writing about this kind of problem. Daniel Amen from Change Your Brain, Change Your Life, who runs the Amen clinics. He’s been on Bulletproof Radio a couple of times, spoke at the Bulletproof Conference, and was in Moldy, the documentary.
I would say if it’s not helping, one of two things is going to be going on. One, it may not be helping. The other one is you may not know whether it’s helping. What you have to do is you have to talk to your best friends, or your spouse or your family, and people who know you really well, and ask if it really helped. You may not have the self awareness to know that they helped. If no one else can tell that they helped, and you don’t think they helped, they probably didn’t.
You should tell your doctor, I want to try to get off these things, I want to try something else. That something else may be a different meal, different nutritional supplements. You might want to talk with a functional medicine specialist, and certainly do a neuro-transmitter test and see if you need to boost your acetylcholine or your dopamine, or you’re low on norepinephrine or something like that. Those are relatively easy to fix, to be honest. For some people it’s as simple as taking some Tyrosine or some thyroid hormone in the morning, and all of a sudden they’re like, holy crap I got my life back, and that was it.
That’s very interesting, but the source of your depression, the source of your low mood, you need to work on what those are, and work with your doctor on this one. What do you think?
Doctor Mark: Yeah. At least for the first ten years in private practice in greater medicine, I worked with many people with depression and stress, anxiety. This is something that I really am passionate about as a field, because there’s so much you can do to help yourself. That’s the first thing to realize. You can massively impact the way you feel by making some simple changes.
It really starts with diet. A lot of people with depression use a lot of sugar to self medicate, self soothe. Even what I’ve found is over the years, that coming off sugar and excessive amounts of fruit, will lift mood in about 70 to 80% of the people. For some people who are sugar sensitive, and we’re on the spectrum, so at one end you can just take it or leave it, no impact. On the other end there’s this deep sensitivity to sugar, and it kind of hijacks your brain. You get these cravings and stuff. Coming off sugar’s really important.
Transitioning to healthier fats, which are the building blocks of the brain and the nervous system as well, really important. Food sensitivities. I see that a lot. Oh my gosh. You have food that you’re sensitive to. The number two way it shows up is low energy and low mood as well, so you want to look at your diet. We talked in a previous podcast about food and tolerance testing. That could potentially be an option for you as well.
Then there’s other things such as learning how to work with stress. You may be adrenally fatigued. Maybe you’ve been under stress for a prolonged period of time, and your adrenal gland’s no longer functioning optimally. It means you have no energy, no motivation. You can have that diagnosed by a functional medicine doctor through some saliva testing. Put on some herbs and some vitamins and minerals. That may help. Learning how to work with your stress, really important.
It could also be … Sometimes depression is relating to the way we live our life. I don’t know about you Dave, but if I was stripped away of things that I’m passionate about, and I no longer look to the week ahead and I wasn’t excited by that, and I thought I wasn’t being challenged and there was very little meaning and purpose, then I could easily tip back into depression. We are creatures that need meaning and purpose. We need to be stretched, and challenges. Finding work or hobbies or meaning in your life is really important. That’s hard to do when you’re tired.
What I tend to find with people with depression is, focus on the physical things first. Start exercising. Move the energy inside of you. Improve the health of your diet. Come off sugar. Add in healthy fats. Take some basic nutritional supplements. You’ll see the list on the Bulletproofexec.com.
Dave: Especially krill oil for this.
Doctor Mark: Particularly krill oil, and we know EPA particularly, which is a component of omega-3 fatty acids, is particularly important for people with depression as well. Start with the physical first. Attend to your sleep. A lot of people with depression sleep too much. If you’ve got into the bad habit of sleeping too much, that looks like nine, ten hours. Wow. What I’d recommend to you is, you have eight hours maximum. You set your alarm, and you won’t want to get up, but you get up. You start retraining your brain to sleep the right amount.
Dave: Oh, and light exposure? Bright lights in the morning. Super important.
Doctor Mark: Yeah.
Dave: No bright lights at night. That alone can fix depression and low mood.
Doctor Mark: Yeah. Stay away from TV that is uninteresting, over-stimulating TV.
Dave: Don’t listen to podcasts.
Doctor Mark: Don’t listen to podcasts whatever you do. Keep good company as well. If you’re in a life situation that’s very stressful and putting you under a lot of pressure, then you’re going to have to make changes around that. Start with the physical because that’s the most easy thing to influence. Learn how to work with the emotions and the stress. We covered that in other podcasts as well.
Definitely work with a skilled therapist. Maybe not a therapist … There’s a role for psychological therapy. A huge important role. Sometimes when depression is biological, you can be talking until the cows come home about the past and your childhood and stuff like that, which may or may not be relevant. We don’t know. That may not be the answer to you.
Sometimes it’s about changing your biology through your diet. By taking the right supplements. Engaging in meaningful work, and that can come lift you out of it. We wish you well with your recovery and the hope that that’s of help to you.
Dave: There’s two or three other little nuances I’d love to add on this one. One is more sex. That actually really can lift you out of depression. That’s worth considering. The other one is a really cool story. From one of the first people who was pioneering in environmental science. This guy was taking people, and these are people in mental institutions, and putting them on extreme diets, as in things like white rice and water. Just for ten days. Putting them in very clean rooms with no cigarette smoke. He found one patient who, when he was exposed to cigarette smoke, thought he was Jesus Christ. Literally like full on, like padded wall kind of scenarios. After seven, eight days on a diet without allergens, and an environment without physical allergens, he was like, oh. He was completely normal. This was a profound reaction to this.
There’s another guy. Twenty years, huge problems including depression and anger and irritability and skin conditions. He ran out of aftershave, and got better. It was the fragrance of his aftershave that was causing his whole life to be wrecked. Sometimes there are these triggers that you wouldn’t think of.
It’s your job to play hacker. Like how do I get control of this? Why was today an awesome day? What happened an hour, a day, two days, three days, four days, five days, a week, ten days before I hit a low mood. What could it have been and how do I pull myself out of it really quickly when I feel it happening? How do I ask for help? Those are things that are really important. There is a cause of this happening.
Now I’m going to say something that’s going to piss everyone off, and it’s your fault. It’s your fault, not because you did anything wrong, it’s your fault because you do have control of it even if you haven’t figured out the levers. It’s your job to work with your care providers to figure this out so you have control of your own biology. That’s fundamental to bio-hacking. All of us have control, and unfortunately we lost the instruction manual. We weren’t born with it, but we should have been and there is control for every one of these things.
I have absolute faith that you have the ability, and that we as a species have the knowledge in order to help you connect the dots so that you can completely own your mood and you can feel the way that you want to feel.
Doctor Mark: That’s empowering, and you know what it is? Once you hack the issue you have, because we’ve all had different issues, then you pass it on.
Doctor Mark: That’s what being part of the earth community is, is you’re here to work through your own challenges, then from what you learn, pass it on to help other people. One final thing. I’ve talked about depression for a while, but if you are drinking alcohol at night time, please do not drink alcohol for a good number of weeks because that ruins your quality of sleep. A lot of drink to feel good, but that could be in the way as well. We wish you well
Dave: Alcohol affects your GABAB receptor, which is one of the things that is tied with depression. Your GABA receptors are things that cause neuro inhibition that help you go to sleep. You can take GABBA amino acid, but alcohol does things that we didn’t recognize around what it does. Specifically to that path way that could be affected.
Doctor Mark: Good.
Dave: All right, let’s move on.
Doctor Mark: Okay, Janelle, age 28. Hi Dave, my husband suffers from long bouts of chronic sinusitis. This last one has lasted so far about three months, and has been characterized by sinus headaches, frontal sinus pressure, and fatigue. Especially exacerbated by physical activity or working out.
Dave: I already know this one. Keep going.
Doctor Mark: Yeah. He had the balloon sinuplasty. So do I. Two years ago with some great success, however, he had a bout of acute sinusitis several months ago, that he just hasn’t been able to completely recover from. We’ve tried everything we can think of. Sinus rinses, antibiotics, Zytol rinses, allergy medications, natural supplements like Bromelain, Oregano oil, you name it. All to no available. We both eat a paleo type of diet with some dairy, and are exploring removing all dairy and eggs as potential inflammatory triggers. Is there anything else you can recommend?
Dave: All right. First thing I recommend you do is you go to Moldy Movie. That’s M-O-L-D-Y movie.com and you watch Moldy. It’s a documentary. I filmed it. Your husband either lives or works in a moldy environment. Based on the severity, I’d guess he lives in it. Your house probably has water damage from condensation, flooding, roof leaks, or a pin hole leak in a pipe somewhere. It’s probably in your bedroom. Look in your closet. People who have chronic sinusitis when it won’t go away, like I did. For fifteen years straight I was on antibiotics every month for either strep throat, or after they pulled my tonsils out when I was sixteen, then it became chronic sinusitis, and it would never quite go away.
I was literally five days away from having the roto-rooter surgery where they go in, when I read a book called Sinus Survival, that at least taught me how to wash my sinuses out. One of the things you can do as a short term thing, other than getting rid of your moldy house, and we’re going to tell you how to fix that in a minute.
You can do this thing. It sounds gross, but it’s relatively simple. You take a bowl of hot, but not hot enough to burn you, water. You mix in a teaspoon or two of sea salt, and one to five drops of Lugol’s iodine. Any iodine will do, but Lugol’s is best. Stir it all up. Don’t use a chopstick, it will absorb all the iodine. You want to stir it up with a metal or a glass stirrer.
Then, this is going to sound gross, but it’s not that bad. Set it next to the sink, and then play dippy bird. Remember those dippy bird things where the bird would down and drink the water, and then dip up and then dip down. If you don’t remember that, bend at at the waist, do not tip your head back. You’d have your eyes looking straight at the floor, and you stick your whole face into that bowl of water. Blink your eyes three times, the iodine and the salt is going to sterilize around your eyes, it’s going to kill all the microbes that are around your eyes.
Then, this is where it sounds gross. It’s not so bad. You take a deep breath. You go … through the nose. Yes, you drink the water through your nose like a straw. Instead of going down your throat and making you hurl, which is what normal people would do, because you’re forward so much, the water drains through your Eustachian canal, and you fill your mouth with water. Then when your mouth is full, you spit the water out, and you do it two or three more times. You are doing way more than you could with irrigating your sinuses with a Neti pot or something like that, because you have suction involved. This is an old yogic technique. I used to do that ten times a day until I got over my sinus infections.
The root cause here, there is something going on in your environment that’s triggering this. It’s probably fungal, and it may not even be a bacterial infection of the sinuses. It could easily be fungal. In fact, I know several sinus specialists who just say it’s always fungal when it’s chronic. I would consider going on Fluconazole which you have to work with a doctor to get. This is an anti-fungal medication.
You’ve got to get this test of your house. Address your house and see if it’s the house or workplace, or maybe your car or gym. It’s probably, given his severity, it’s probably the house not the workplace. You can go to a local mold inspector. You can say, I want to get an Ermi test. That’s E-R-M-I. If you don’t have a local mold inspector, or if it’s too expensive, you can get a test called My Ermi. That’s M-Y-E-R-M-I.com. I’ve been working with that company, and I want Ermi tests to be much more affordable. What they’re going to do is they’re going to go in, not MyErmi, but the mold inspector will, or you can do it yourself with the do it your home thing. What you do then is you go in and you get an air sample from your bedroom, from your kitchen, from your living room, and you get an air sample from outside. You test the relative amount of mold.
One of the houses where I used to live had 88 times more penicillin toxic mold in the kitchen than it did outside. That house was making me, in fact my whole family, very, very ill and we just didn’t know it. A leaky dishwasher caused it. This isn’t your fault. It isn’t his fault. It’s normal to know that you may not feel this, but your husband does.
What gives this away, especially as he has this profound fatigue that goes with it, and he has it exacerbated by working out. He’s developed basically exercise intolerance. He probably has completely exhausted adrenals, and he’s dealing with these toxins that his body deals with differently than yours.
You’ve got to figure out what’s going on in your environment because this can turn on auto-immunity for the rest of your life. It can trigger food allergies that you didn’t have before, including specifically dairy and wheat allergies. This is a major thing. You have every sign of toxic mold in your environment, and you need to deal with it.
Doctor Mark: Yeah, you know when I read this question first time, I was very concerned because it’s like, wow you’re right on the edge there. This is classic. A mold allergy, it’s a fungal infection. You do need to work with a very skilled integrative functional medicine doctor because you need to be on anti-fungals. That’s an important part of it. Everything you just shared there is spot on.
Dave: Thanks, Doctor Mark. I just can’t say that enough. When I hear that, fifteen years. You know what that does to your gut to take antibiotics that much? Then not having it better, like it’s time. I would bet too, that he gets nose bleeds on occasion too because with that level of response, it’s not because there’s an infection there, it’s because your ability to make collagen goes down as your body uses up its glutathione. This is bad news. The good thing is, now you know.
Doctor Mark: Yeah, that’s it. Okay, Tracey, age 45. I’m recently diagnosed with both M-T-H-F-R mutations. We’ll explain what that is in a moment. I saw your interview with Doctor Lynch. Great job. I was wondering, with all that said, can I drink Bulletproof products such as the coffee? Is the Bulletproof diet appropriate for me? I assume so. It sounds like you guys are on the same page on health, but didn’t want to do anything to backslide as my health is just starting to get better. Thanks in advance.
Dave: Why don’t you define the M-T-H-F-R?
Doctor Mark: Absolutely.
Dave: Certainly we’ve talked about it before, but why don’t you define that for everyone listening? Then let’s talk about the question of, is the Bulletproof diet appropriate for me? We can go in on that, so …
Doctor Mark: Okay, so M-T-H-F-R. methyl, tetra, hydrofolate, reductase. It’s a very specific enzyme found in every single cell of your body. It is hugely important because it catalyzes something called methylation. Methylation is a chemical process that takes one molecule, converts it into another, often more useful molecule. If you have a problem with that enzyme, it’s called a genetic variant. There’s over fifty different types of them. The efficiency with which that enzyme works is significantly compromised. Certain variants are worse than others. How that shows up is problems with cellular repair. Problems with detoxification.
If you have this variant problem, you’re going to be over-reacting to the exposure to mold, to allergies, to perfumes, to other senses. We also need it to be build neuro-transmitters as well, so if you have this variant, you’ll have problems with mood regulation as well. Awareness amongst health professionals maybe just over the last couple of years is starting to go up. There’s much more testing. I think 23andMe, they will test for some of the genetic variants as well.
Dave: They won’t tell you if you have it, but the data’s there.
Doctor Mark: That’s right. They’ll give you the raw data, and then you can plug it into other websites that will tell you whether it’s present or not.
Dave: The question is, can I drink Bulletproof products such as the coffee? There’s a really straightforward way to tell that. You got to try it. If you drink the coffee and it completely zombifies you, then no. My guess is that it’s going to help. If you do a search for mitochondrial function coffee, do a search for even some of the methylation path ways and coffee. There’s data out there.
I don’t worry too much about coffee when people have M-T-H-F-R mutations. What I’m concerned about though is, are you getting methylated vitamins? Are you taking the co-enzyme and B vitamins? Whether you’re eating the world’s best diet or not, isn’t really going to make a difference if your path ways are backed up. If you can’t use the sulfur in your protein, because you have trans-sulfation path way issues, it’s not going to work.
Then there are specific forms of nutrients that can unlock those path ways or keep them unlocked. That said, if you go on the Bulletproof diet, it’s a low inflammation diet. It’s got lots of fat, which doesn’t require those path ways to detoxify, especially the Brain Octane oil. It’s not going to have a M-T-H-F-R path way problem, because it’s a fat and because of the way it metabolizes.
That said, you may have an issue with butter and Bulletproof coffee. A very small percentage of people do, which is why I talk about using Ghee if you’re super-sensitive to the very, very small amounts of dairy proteins that are present in cultured butter. There’s now way to say, can I drink it or can I not drink it? The answer is you probably can, and you’ll probably feel better, but you don’t know until you try it. You can try two weeks on, and try it two weeks off, and see what the difference in the quality of your life is. I think I know what the answer is going to be. Especially because you have the mutations. You’re going to want the energy from it. Not the caffeine stimulation energy, but the Brain Octane energy that comes from it.
The Bulletproof diet, there are lots of people including me who use the Bulletproof diet, who have a path way mutations in M-T-H-F-R. I would say you got to give it a shot, but there is no guarantee. The whole middle of the Bulletproof diet info-graphic is suspect foods. You got to know which ones make you weak. Which ones make you strong. You may have more foods that make you weak than make you strong. You could also just get a blood test to start avoiding those, so you can get your inflammation down so you can get your path ways running again.
Doctor Mark: Yeah. Make sure that you listen to the podcast interview between Dave and Doctor Lynch because you’ll learn a lot more about M-T-H-F-R there. Read around the subject. It’s fascinating once you really get into it. It affects such a lot of people. Make sure you take the methylated form of B12 and and folate as well.
Dave: This is interesting too. You may be listening to this going, like I’m a triathlete, I’m a senior executive, whatever. I don’t have this. Actually, have you been tested? Did you spend $99 to get your 23andMe, and another ten bucks to get someone else to look at the data and tell you if you have this? If you’re Bulletproof, actually you’re probably not.
I go back to when I was getting my MBA at Wharton and working full time at a startup that sold for about six hundred million dollars in value. I’m kicking ass in my career. Making it through Wharton. I can’t say that I kicked ass there, but I graduated. I did a brain scan with Doctor Amen at the time, with Doctor Amen’s technology. They said, “Dave, inside your brain is total chaos.” They had two pages of pathological findings on my brain.
The psychiatrist who looked at the report said, “David, I have no idea how you’re even standing here in front of me. You have the best camouflage I’ve ever seen. Inside your brain is total chaos.” Direct quote. I was just like, well that explains a few things because I am really struggling here. Okay, I’m really struggling. Dude, top three school in the United States, and a startup that was very, very successful. Okay?
Well, if my brain looked like that and I had that level of success, well I’m feeling pretty good. I’m feeling pretty successful, so therefore there’s nothing wrong with me. Right. What’s going on here is you have some thing’s that are kryptonite in your life. Everyone does. You just haven’t identified them.
There’s a structured approach which you can do today. You can work with a Bulletproof coach. You can read the stuff here. Yeah, spend a hundred bucks on 23andMe because it will be cool to know what percent neanderthal you are. Four and one half percent for me, by the way. On top of that, you can figure out whether maybe you are more likely to have a problem with certain foods because of this. It’s information that makes you stronger. It’s not just for people who are sick.
Doctor Mark: When I first realized I had the genetic variant was I had my homocysteine level checked. If you have the genetic variant, sometimes you’re homocysteine levels too high. That’s a problem. It’s a toxic, irritating amino acid, correlates with cardio-vascular disease and stroke. Mine was thirteen, should be under nine. How come? I’m a pretty healthy guy. I was doing the right things. Turns out I have the M-T-H-F-R genetic variant, and I was on the wrong type of supplements.
That’s information to me. I was listening to you there and I thought, well I bet there’s a whole bunch of people who say, I feel okay. I’m doing okay. You know what it is? It’s like if you have these things, they are stopping you from living your full potential.
Doctor Mark: You may be really good at compensating for these innate inadequacies that are holding you back. It doesn’t have to be hard work.
Dave: That’s the whole thing. one of the big things behind Bulletproof is I struggled so much, like every ounce of energy to do what I was doing. It’s not supposed to be like that. I didn’t know ever in my life, until I started bio-hacking. Oh my god, I can actually have energy all day long. I can have enough energy to bring it, to do all the things I want to do, and I don’t have to struggle to do it.
I work really hard, but there’s a difference between struggling and barely making it, and being like, you know what? I worked really hard today. I did it, and I’m satisfied, and I’m not going to just like, okay now I have to crash. Then you’re gone.
Doctor Mark: There’s none of that.
Dave: I don’t do that like I did.
Doctor Mark: Yeah. If you’re just listening to this and thinking, if you have to work really, really hard every single day, that tells me there’s a whole bunch of things that are not right in your biology, your psychology, your environment. If you pay attention to those, take time out to re-think. Okay, what is affecting me? How can I take charge of that? How can I influence that? You’re going to shift into a much more healthy sustainable way of being where you have sustained energy. It’s just like then your passion, your energy, it just fuels you in what you do, but there’s no negative consequence to it. You can perform really well at work, but then the consequence is you have no energy left for your relationships. Or for your hobbies or friends or whatever it may be.
You can have all of that if you take charge of your biology. That’s what I’m really excited about in this kind of field. It’s just like, listen we need information. That’s what these tests are about. It gives us more information. It empowers us to make decisions. Then you’ve got to hang out with other people. That’s why being part of the Bulletproof community is great. Or being a Bulletproof coach is great because you hang out with other people who get you. Who get that you make this a priority.
A lot of people look at this and so, this is just crazy stuff. What is this really all about? You know what? It matters because this brings out the best in people. It does not have to be hard. Okay, I’m on my last question.
Dave: Amen brother.
Doctor Mark: Let’s do it. Okay.
Dave: All right, let’s move on to the last question we have today.
Doctor Mark: Okay, so the next question is from Lisa. She is age 48. Hi Dave. I have two teenage daughters, fourteen and sixteen. They are both athletes. Basketball. Is it safe to encourage them to drink the Bulletproof coffee in the morning? Neither are a fan of eggs or any other protein apart from yogurt, but they continue to eat wholewheat toast for breakfast. Or can you recommend something that I subtly suggest they do for their morning routine to keep them Bulletproof like me? Thank you. I’m a big fan, and thoroughly enjoying your book.
Dave: Thanks Lisa. Is it safe for them to have Bulletproof Coffee? Yes. It’s safe for teenagers to have Bulletproof Coffee. Coffee is an adaptogenic herb. It’s safer than Tylenol, and it’s not a drug. People have this kind of fear of coffee and kids. Almost like it’s alcohol. When you look at the effects of coffee on kids, all of the real negative ones, we’re talking small doses. Like a normal sized cup of coffee. All of the effects of coffee like that, that have been talked about, are from anti-coffee product companies like a hundred years ago.
Postum had this drink. In fact they still make it. It’s very common in Utah today still. It’s like burned grains that kind of look like coffee. They were saying, “Coffee stunts your children and makes you weak. Makes you infertile. Makes you angry, makes you hate your whole family, and all this stuff.” It’s just like the history of bad marketing. There wasn’t data to support that. Kids handle a cup of coffee in the morning just fine. Don’t give it to them at night.
Here’s the reason you might want to consider doing this for some teenagers. Okay, number one, they’re not eating any protein except yogurt which is mostly sugar anyway and probably it’s low fat yogurt if they’re like most kids. They’re eating whole wheat toast for breakfast. Yikes. They’re setting themselves up to not have all the nutrients or fats or energy that their brain needs all day long. I guarantee they go to school, and then at the 10:00 break, they have cinnamon rolls, candy bars, or whatever the heck else junk food their school supplies.
They’re already setting themselves up for this. That also leads to behavioral disorders and, this is important. It gives them acne. We just hit on number one trigger for teenagers. Seriously, you eat that crap for breakfast, you should expect to look like a pimply teenager. You’ll never get a date again, and probably your boobs will shrink. I’m just telling you this is what happens. I’m sorry, I didn’t make this up. This is true. Is this not true Doctor Martin?
Doctor Mark: Yeah. I’m with you on this. Also I’m thinking well, is that you say to your kids, “Do you want more energy? Do you want your skin to look more beautiful? Do you want to feel good throughout the day? Well, listen you need to change what you eat.”
Dave: Do you want to be fat? Do you want muffin top? This is what we’re talking about. Kids who eat yogurt and whole wheat toast. That’s what happens. Pimples and weight gain. Right? They can say, “I feel fine right now. I’ll just exercise more.” Sorry, that’s not how it works.
Here’s what happens if you give them Bulletproof coffee. Number one, it tastes really good and kids like it. My four year old, he’s not four anymore, he’s six. My six year old and eight year old, they drink it. They started drinking it when they were one. Little, tiny cubs. Don’t worry, I didn’t over-caffeinate my kids. The first thing that happens is stable energy, freedom from blood sugar, and they should expect their skin to look better. They’ll glow at that age when they get this kind of fat. It tastes good.
You want them to get protein? Here’s how to get protein into kids in the morning. If they drink Bulletproof Coffee. You make the Bulletproof coffee, and then go get some upgraded collagen, and you can add a couple of scoops of upgraded collagen. They’re going to get somewhere around fifteen grams of collagen protein, which is entirely missing. When you’re a teenager, you’re still building bones and muscle. You need collagen as the foundational building block for those tissues. They’re going to have the raw materials to grow better bodies. They’re going to have better looking skin. They’re going to have more energy, and now I’m going to get a little bit gross here, but they’ll fart less. When you’re fourteen, try farting in class and living that one down. How do I know? Don’t ask.
Now I don’t know if that was enough info for you Lisa, but that’s a huge thing. They’re not going to eat eggs or anything like that, they’re just going to drink a cup of coffee. You cannot taste upgraded collagen in the coffee. It goes away. It’s invisible. That’s pretty cool. I would seriously consider just like, “Guys for a month, we’re going to go gluten free in our house. I want you to be gluten free at school too. Just for a month. Like it’s a special experiment.”
There’s a reward at the end of it, and one of the things they’re going to see is profound changes in their energy levels, and they’re going to see huge changes in how their skin looks. When you’re that age, nothing matters more than how you look, because you’re going through the stages of development where you’re so interested in that. It’s all about your friends and all about you, and there’s so much of just that stress and all. It will go down.
How do I know this? One of my neighbors a while back, she was sixteen, and had problems with bio-toxin exposure actually. She had gained some weight and was having energy problems like this, and was going to miss a trip to Europe because she had to quit playing soccer. She had an infection in her femur, which is really, really bad news. They were getting ready to aerate her femur, just to drill holes throughout it, okay? She could lose her leg, and she’s sixteen.
We took her off gluten, and off irritating proteins like dairy protein, and casein. I said, “Do whatever you’re doing with your doctors, but just try this.” She did it for ten days, and the infection went away. Her friends were like, “Oh my god, your eyes are glowing.” They literally called out, “Why are your eyes so bright white?” She healed. She was able to go on her trip. Ten days. That’s how fast a fourteen, sixteen year old person can recover.
One of the more touching things that actually I’ve come across in Bulletproof is this family, just insisted on meeting with me in Austin. They gave me a photo. I still have it somewhere. On the back it was, Dave thanks. Here’s a picture of our family. The entire family had gone Bulletproof at all once, including a couple of teenagers. The most touching photo was of a girl. She was fourteen. There’s a picture of this pimply, fat kid. Then there’s a picture of her sixty days later. She’s a normal body weight, clear skin, perfectly healthy girl. I’m like, man if someone had told me that when I was sixteen. I have stretch marks all over my thighs, all over my sides. I started getting those when I was sixteen. I’ve got a six pack covering the stretch marks, yeah lucky me. That’s because I didn’t understand all this stuff back then.
Your kids may look really healthy right now, but if they’re eating that way, they’re not going to be able to hold on to it, and they probably don’t look nearly as good as they could look. If they want to get better grades, if they want to have more emotional regularity, less mood swings, better skin, and their breath won’t smell as bad either. All of those are true.
Doctor Mark: It’s a no-brainer, right?
Doctor Mark: Okay, I think that’s great.
Dave: Cool. Awesome. That’s it for today’s episode with Doctor Mark. If you love this kind of content, let me know. Leave a review on iTunes. You might want to check out Bulletproof Training Institute.com because Doctor Mark and I are putting together, sorry have already put together, we are teaching this program about how you can help people with human performance. How do you make them actually feel better? How do you make them get more energy?
It’s not about reversing disease. It’s not about telling people how to eat. It’s telling people how to, in a structured way, how to show up more in every way you can do that. Bio-chemically, biologically, psychologically, emotionally, physically, spiritually. All of them in a structured way. We do that for you first, and then we teach you how to do it for other people. It will absolutely change your life. I’m having a blast teaching this. It’s part of my core Bulletproof mission to just make everything better.
Mark, thanks for showing up at Bulletproof Labs. We’ll do this again soon.
Doctor Mark: Sounds like a plan.
What You Will Hear (note: timestamps represent audio, video may differ)
- 0:00 – Cool Fact of the Day
- 1:41 – Introducing Dr. Mark & The Q&A
- 3:33 – Dave’s Meals on the Last Day on Earth
- 9:51 – Dave and Dr. Lana’s Daily eating habits
- 16:40 – Tips for Depression
- 25:35 – Sinusitis hacks
- 31:37 – Bulletproof Diet & MTHFR
- 40:31 – Bulletproof Coffee for teens
ERMI Testing (We have removed myermi.com, our previous source, because their website has been taken down. The company we used to recommend has gone out of business and we are looking into new options.)
Questions for the podcast?
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