Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Dave Asprey’s Head Strong: A Book Review

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When I saw Dave Asprey’s Head Strong on a list of books for potential review, I jumped on the opportunity. Having heard Asprey on multiple podcasts and having read sections of The Bulletproof Diet, I was intrigued about what Asprey would present (beyond buttered and oiled coffee). Head Strong provides a detailed breakdown of Western society under the premise that the vast majority of humans are living in a fog of light, mold, chemicals, and diet. With a compelling dossier of evidence, he presents a nuanced case.

The center of Asprey’s quest rests in mitochondria. He details in a fixed, straightforward manner the incorporation of the cell organelle into our evolutionary makeup and then proceeds to reference the cell powerhouse throughout the remainder of the text. Written with accessible prose and with many of the scientific references footnoted, Asprey discusses the damaging effects of our lives on first mitochondria, then our brains, and finally on our longevity. Some of these assertions tie together observations many of us make: when we sleep in a hotel room with a funky smell and then struggle to think the next day, we were most likely exposed to mold and the resulting toxins. Everyone has dealt with this problem at least once in their life, but here Asprey discusses first the why and then how to fix it. With food, he advocates a Paleo style approach high in grass fed meats and fats, but once again confronts mold head on. Asprey notes that when we ingest moldy coffee or grains, the mold damages our mitochondria and sends us into a debilitating brain fog. He ties mold to our no pastured raised meet, noting that when chickens, pigs, and cows are feed moldy, cheap corn and grain, we ingest the toxins with our meals.

Further Asprey discusses exercise, water, light, and sleep. Each of these segments are well cited and ring with his personal experience of moving from an overweight, overstressed Silicon Valley Venture capitalist to one who feels that he can live to be over 180. While his longevity goals may seem outlandish, putting to practice some of the simple steps he lays out results in easy changes. Adding Brain Octane Oil (which is tasteless) and Grassfed butter to my breakfast was easy, and this change has quashed carb cravings and resulted in a satiated feeling that extends all morning. Covering led light indicators in my bedroom is not hard, nor is turning the Wifi off at night (it saves power anyway). Some of Aspery’s suggestions may ring with more difficulty, but in the end he is aiming to hack into your life and make you Head Strong. A strong recommended read here for anyone who wants to fix their life and the way they feel.

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