Dr Kellyann Petrucci’s Bone Broth Diet was a bestseller going into the holidays. In some ways, it’s right up my alley, as I’ve offered similar nutritional info for a very long time, and I’m a big proponent of bone broth: I’ve made it, recommended it to my clients, shared recipes, and written about it in my published column, so nothing new there either.
But Kellyann does something kind of sneaky.
First, you have to understand what Intermittent Fasting is. This concept has been gaining popularity for a while, and I have often discussed it with my client and written about it, like here.
Basically, intermittent fasting, or IF, drastically condenses the hours you consume any food. You stop eating in the evening and then fast 15-18 hours: through the night, through breakfast, and into afternoon the next day, without having anything.
Why do this? It increases autophagy (the self-cleaning mechanism of our cells), and theoretically puts you into mild ketosis, where you’re burning fats instead of sugars for fuels.
Dave Asprey of Bulletproof fame (see review of his new book below) recommends doing this by drinking his coffee with pastured butter and MCT oil, so that you have healthy fats and caffeine that provide some energy and fuel, but no carbs or protein to actually start digestion.
For some people – most of them men – this works. For others – most of them women – it does not. When women fast, cortisol levels tend to spike. And that makes us catabolic, breaking down muscle and storing fat, which is the opposite of what we want. It also makes you grouchy. We’re different hormonally (you knew that, right?)
Asprey, and others, suggests adding collagen (or other proteins) to remedy this, while acknowledging that adding protein eliminates IF’s benefits.
So, back to the book: The first sections tout the benefits of eating real food, the benefits of bone broth, and the benefits of intermittent fasting. Nothing really new here, although, as I said, there are a few very odd nutritional statements. For instance, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a diet, let alone a gluten-free diet, that allows scotch, whiskey and gin. They are certainly not helpful for dieting, and definitely not gluten free. (Did you just put the book on your must-have list? LOL)
Other than that, it’s pretty much what I’ve been teaching people for 2 decades, although I customize guidelines for clients based on individual history, food sensitivities and blood work, and of course you can’t do that in a book. So in my practice, I would tell you to eliminate only foods that are specifically an issue for you, not everything that might in theory be an issue. But still basically good information here.
The fundamental problem with the book is that there is NOTHING in it to support her premise that drinking 6 cups of bone broth twice a week constitutes intermittent fasting.
If you have 2 days a week where you have nothing but bone broth, as she suggests, you may create a sufficient calorie deficit to lose weight. And if you eliminate all processed foods, all gluten, all dairy, potatoes, beans and legumes, and had previously been eating the Standard American Diet, you will most likely lose weight AND feel a whole lot better than you did before. But that doesn’t mean you are doing, or getting the benefits of, Intermittent Fasting.
I contacted Kellyann with my questions. She responded:
Thank you so much for your comments. Both of them have me smacking the side of my head and saying, “Why didn’t I discuss that?”
and then appended a list of studies that discuss various amino acids in extending life span in rodents. Nope. That is not the same thing she touts in her book. She also conceded that perhaps she needed to add a caution that not everyone does fine with whiskey, scotch and gin.
Bottom line: Bone broth is good for you. Eating whole foods is good for you. Intermittent Fasting has benefits, but may not be good for everyone. And I still see no evidence that drinking bone broth gives you the benefits of Intermittent Fasting.
Bulletproof The Cookbook – Dave Asprey
It’s no secret that I’m a Dave Asprey fan. I went to his conference in October, I sell his stuff in my practice, and I am impressed in a major way with his cutting edge work in nutrition, “bio-hacking”, motivation and mindfulness.
I even gave up manufacturing my protein bars when he came out with his, because he did it better, meeting all my specifications for taste and nutrition. (short list of recognizable ingredients, check! sustain you for a few hours in a pinch, check! healthy fats, no junk, check! tasty? absolutely! (want some? order here or from me, a box of 12 bars for $35, in chocolate or vanilla)
So, the cover of the Bulletproof cookbook, like so many, promises “lose up to a pound a day, increase your energy and end food cravings for good”. Again, for most people on a typical American diet, this will be true, even if you don’t do it perfectly. You can’t really go wrong getting off processed foods and sugars.
Dave starts with a good synopsis of Bulletproof nutrition, distinguishing it from Paleo and Atkins, and recommends not only Intermittent Fasting (see above) but also once a week Protein Fast. If it sounds complicated, it kind of is.
But oh… the recipes! They are delectable, and really different from what you find in most health-oriented cookbooks these days.
My own busy woman mantra is “quality foods, simply prepared”. Dave’s recipes are fairly simple yet with innovations both small and large that derive their lusciousness mostly from healthy fats, and herbs. Oh, and bacon. A lot of bacon. For those of you who are fans, this book is bacon bliss.
My favorites are the desserts. I’ve made many of them before, like his Bulletproof cupcakes (divine!) and Bulletproof “Get Some” ice cream (didn’t love it) and tasted others, like Coconut Blueberry Panna Cotta at dinner with Dave, then made it for Thanksgiving dinner, and the whole table swooned in ecstasy! It was easy, different, elegant, healthy and delicious.
I’ve also tried many of the appetizers, which were outstanding.
As always, both Dave and I recommend only using meat from pastured, grass fed animals, clean, wild-caught fish, and organic produce, to the greatest extent your budget will allow; eliminating all sugars (substitute xylitol, erythritol and stevia), and using plenty of healthy fats, such as pastured KerryGold butter (available at many supermarkets), avocados, unrefined coconut oil, etc. All of this is a sound investment in your health and vitality.
Bottom line: highly recommended for its sound nutritional advice and recipes you won’t find in every “healthy” cookbook and website.
The Virgin Diet – JJ Virgin (paperback)
JJ and I go way back. Single moms, starting way before this work was mainstream, we did a lot of the same training, and then took very different paths in our work. I have tremendous respect and affection for her, and appreciate that she has been able to reach millions.
JJ’s 2012 bestseller The Virgin Diet just came out in paperback.
The premise of The Virgin Diet is that food intolerances are the real cause of weight gain, and by eliminating all potential intolerances, you will lose weight.
JJ’s 7 foods to eliminate are gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, corn, peanuts and sugars. She proposes a cycled elimination for both weight loss and health.
Note: I am not helping her with promotional emails any more, as too many of my own followers complained about the massive onslaught of sales stuff that followed, as soon as they were on her list, so you won’t get the promotion from me, but the book is still worth a look.
It is helpful if you are not working with someone like me, who can just tell you in one session which foods you actually need to eliminate. Few people need to get rid of all 7 of these, and many will benefit by eliminating others she doesn’t mention. For instance, I find many people do much better when they eliminate beans and legumes, which she relies on a lot; some need to eliminate nightshades (tomato, potato, eggplant and pepper); some have sensitivities to mushrooms, because of fungal overgrowth. It’s individual.
The book has helpful shopping lists, and recipes.
Bottom line: A good primer if you are getting started, and doing it on your own, but be prepared for a lengthy process of eliminating and testing.