Dave Asprey limped into a village in the mountains of Tibet exhausted and in pain. Years of poor eating choices, arthritic knees, and being overweight had caught up with him.
Though he was there to learn meditation from spiritual leaders, Asprey walked away with more. He returned home with a belly full of pig’s ears, a healed knee, and a renewed passion for neuroscience and health.
Jay Shetty describes Asprey as a man who’s passionate about finding the juxtaposition of wisdom and science, but he wears many hats.
Asprey is the founder and CEO of Bulletproof 360 Creative and Bulletproof Coffee, a two-time New York Times bestselling author, the host of the Webby award-winning podcast Bulletproof Radio, a serial entrepreneur, and a global change agent.
“Dave has dedicated over two decades of his life identifying and working with world-renowned doctors, scientists, and innovators to uncover the most advanced methods for enhancing mental and physical performance,” Jay Shetty said.
Tibet unearthed new worlds of knowledge for Asprey. Not only did he sit with spiritual leaders to learn the art of meditation, but it was the beginning of his dive into the world of neuroscience, biohacking, and a deeper awakening to the part food plays in health and wellbeing.
Putting Bulletproof On The Map
Dave Asprey might not be a household name to many, but it is likely that his products are.
Bulletproof Coffee was the brainchild of Asprey’s Tibetian venture.
“I first had yak butter tea, which was the inspiration for Bulletproof coffee, in Tibet when I was there to learn meditation,” Asprey told Jay Shetty. “And it was like, wait, what? This stuff is more powerful than yesterday. Something just happened with this weird mixing tea or mixing butter and things.”
The power that Asprey discovered within a simple butter-laced cup of joe triggered something within him.
Asprey had always been overweight. He’d attempted to remedy the problem with the standard operating manual of diet culture: less food, more lettuce, and grueling exercise.
It didn’t work.
“I went on a low-fat, low-calorie diet, and at the end of this I still weighed 300 pounds,” Asprey told Jay Shetty. “I could max out the machines, but wasn't 300 pounds of muscle. I was covered in flab. I still had a 46-inch waist. I'm a 33 inch waist right now. I looked around and said, ‘Maybe it's because I'm eating too much lettuce.” That was my math. It's because I'm not trying hard enough.”
Aspey goes on to explain how discouraging the lack of progress was despite his hard work.
“All my friends are getting double western bacon cheeseburgers, and I'm eating the salad with no chicken and no dressing and I'm hungry, just so hungry,” he described to Jay Shetty. “I was putting all my willpower into this, and it became a self-worth problem.”
Asprey said he realized suddenly one day that it wasn’t HIM who was failing. He was doing everything “right” and still not getting results. He concluded that it must be what he was doing that wasn’t working.
His self-study of the body, healing, and what he later termed biohacking, was coming full circle.
Intentionally consuming nutrients that fueled his brain and cells confirmed that life-giving foods are needed for maximum output.
“You have to get your biology in order because if your cells don't make energy, it's subcellular components that drive most of your felt state,” Asprey explained to Jay Shetty.
“If your subcellular components are running at half power, how are you going to have enough energy to wake up, take care of yourself, your family and your community, and still have the time and energy left over to do deep personal work?” he said to Jay Shetty.
His simple answer? You won’t. You weren’t fueling your cells with the nutrients they needed to perform well.
He advised listeners that eating right optimizes cell performance.
Respect Your Body, Respect The Cows
For Asprey, eating right has become a science. It is not just about consumption but composition and stewardship. In his book, Superhuman, Asprey shares the components to eating for health.
He encourages people to eat a moderate amount of plant-based fats such as the ones found in macadamia nuts, avocados and coconut oil. Asprey also stresses the importance of fish oil.
“It turns out the template for this is called the Bulletproof diet,” Asprey told Jay Shetty. “It is a plate covered in vegetables, and it's really important. It's not covered in grains. It's not covered in legumes. It’s not covered in potatoes. It's covered in vegetables. Green stuff. It's probably not covered in kale either. We're talking broccoli, cauliflower, celery, fennel, carrots.”
While that sounds healthy and delicious, Asprey’s secret to health doesn’t stop there.
“Then you cover it in fat,” he continued. “Guacamole, grass-fed butter, things like that. Go nuts with olive oil. I want to say cover it. It's not a little bit of sauce. No, you want to soak it in that fat and then add a moderate amount of grass fed or wild caught protein”.
Asprey and Shetty strongly agree that industrially grown protein is deeply problematic from both ethical and health standpoints. Asprey promoted locally fed and raised protein and sings the praises of permaculture.
“If grass fed meat is twice as expensive, eat half as much, which is going to make you live longer anyway,” he said to Jay Shetty. In this way, people are not only stewarding resources for the sake of their bodies, but also for the sake of the environment. For someone who plans to live to see 180, that is a big deal.
Jay Shetty affirmed Asprey’s stance on how the bigger picture of consumption is not just about personal health but the wellbeing of the planet.
“The way we make decisions is often not stretched out enough,” Jay Shetty said. “We're not looking at the societal community,” Shetty said. “We look at things so small in one sense of just how it affects us and the four people around us, as opposed to how things that are affecting [the world]. The idea is that we should eat to feel really good all the time and we should eat to be here for hundreds of years.”
Jay Shetty and Dave Asprey then turned the discussion back to biohacking, or taking control of your own biology.
At first, Asprey admitted, the idea of being in control of the body at such a deep level seemed impossible.
The deeper he dove into the spiritual world and how it intersects with technological advances, however, the more attainable it began to seem.
“You can manipulate it without understanding what's inside,” he told Jay Shetty. “You test inputs and outputs. It's what bodybuilders do. It's what the anti-aging community does. It's what Navy Seals do. So how do we apply that to ourselves?”
The question nagged Aspey. His relentless pursuit of answers led him to biohacking, a phrase he coined, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Asprey will be the first to acknowledge that biohacking is a big world, and knowing where to start can be intimidating. In his book, Superhuman, Asprey explains that biohacking is available to everyone because there are is accessibility on such varied levels.
Food is one of the biggest, and most affordable, changes a person can make. Other options include medically advanced testing and procedures.
Asprey is all in when it comes to new technology. He tells Jay Shetty that he doesn’t want to miss an opportunity to improve his health, and he is willing to take some of the risk associated with this new frontier, including a STEM cell makeover.
“They pull the bone marrow, they pull at your own fat,” he described to Jay Shetty. “They get the STEM cells out of it and then they go through and depending on which part of the body, starting at the toes, every joint, they inject STEM cells into the joints so the joints will stay young.”
STEM cell treatments help cells regrow and regenerate over the next six to nine months, essentially, Asprey claims, de-aging the person. With plans to live to at least 180, youth at the cellular level is very important to Asprey. It isn’t just about looking or feeling young, it is about becoming younger at the very foundation.
These treatments are not without associated risks, however.
“What level of risk are you comfortable with?” Jay Shetty asked. “Have you researched this to so much depth that actually when you do this, you're like, I'm not experimenting at all because there's very little risk?”
“I talk about return on investment as the primary lens,” Asprey responded. He weighs the amount of time and money spent on something versus what he aims to get back. Given the alternative, Asprey believes the risk is worth it.
“The problem is that if you just do what you're doing now, your risk is probably 80% that one of the four killers from Superhuman are going to get you,” he explained to Jay Shetty, “It's cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer's disease or type two diabetes. So you pretty much have an 80% chance of getting one of those. Those all come with 20 plus years of suffering before you die.”
The procedures Asprey chooses are well-researched and professionally administered in safe environments.
There is risk involved – but not reckless risk.
“We'd rather have familiar pain of everything that our ancestors have had or family members who have had it,” Jay Shetty admitted, “but in so many areas of my life, I'm convinced that the way we've always done it is rarely the right way.”
Everyone ages, and Dave Asprey’s mission is simply to age differently. He aims to age strategically.
“If aging is death by a thousand cuts, how do I take less cuts?” he said to Jay Shetty. “How do I make the cuts less deep, and then how do I heal them? That's the roadmap to living to 180 and feeling good along the way.”
Living Forever – Or 140 More Years
Dave Asprey’s work and research has led him to the conclusion that intentional choices and medical and technological advances can ensure that he experiences many, many more trips around the sun.
With his sights set on celebrating his 180th birthday, Asprey insisted to Jay Shetty that this is possible for others as well. He acknowledged that although many of the procedures he has taken advantage of are costly and involve risk, he believes it’s worth it.
He also explained that as these procedures become more normalized, the cost will come down, and they will become more accessible for the general public.
In the meantime, he urges people to take inventory of what they are putting into their bodies. Where does your food come from? Are you strategically consuming to stay young?
Time will tell if Asprey will reach his goal of 180, but given his intense research and pursuit of health and vitality, he has a better shot than anyone.
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode on “How to Build a Young Brain and Body for Life” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.