Mark Strough

May 1st, 2018.

My Four Month N=1 (Self-)Experiment on going Zero Carb 100% Carnivore.

This is a lengthy article. So for just the Highlights:

  1. Meat-only way of eating healed my Rheumatoid Arthritis in weeks.
  2. No veggies, fruits, fiber, grains, nuts & etc.
  3. Just meat & water only. I have done a very limited amount of cheese. Tried eggs at about 6 weeks into my experiment, and it did not affect the RA, but they did not work well for me.
  4. My eating consist of about 90% beef, non-organ meats and the rest pork. High fat ribeyes & high fat ground beef are my mainstay. I only season with salt, pepper & rosemary.
  5. I feel GREAT!!!! Improvement in all areas of life too!!!! Nothing negative at all. PTL 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
  6. No more outbreak of kidney stones.
  7. Yes I am sticking with it!!!! Not because I need to but because I love this way of eating.

Here is a little background on why I chose to go Zero Carb 100% Carnivore(ZC). The reason I shifted from a Ketogenic way of eating is I wanted to see they effects on my Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). I’ve kept it managed well for over 10 years but I had flare ups from over use & cold weather. Keto greatly helped my RA when I changed back to it in a strict fashion a few years ago. I was already about 85% to 95% Zero Carb Carnivore (ZC) while Ketogenic. Curcumin & Hemp/CBD Oil had helped my RA but it did not cure it or put it in remission and it was steadily progressing. After much research & talking to people with RA that had successfully done ZC with great success I decided to give it a N=1 (self-)experiment.

My thumb on my right hand was affected the most. I had lost most use of it, and the pain was horrible at times. I needed to address this soon because it is a progressive, crippling & very painful condition that will worsen with age. I had never taken any prescription or OTC medicines for RA & I did not plan to. My prognosis was not good long term under standard medical care & plus the many horrible side effects from the medicine used to treat RA. My joints all through my body was rapidly becoming less & less functioning and causing more and more discomfort. I had inflammation all throughout my body. I was feeling it everywhere. I tried to hide it & stay as positive as I could but I was feeling like a very old person. I was upset with myself because I am a person very knowledgeable on living healthy & treating issues with natural therapies, but I could not help myself very much with this condition. I knew so many were much worse than I were but I saw where my future was heading & it was bleak. I want to be able to enjoy life to the fullest with my wife & four kids.

I had done so much research on everything for RA. I tried many different things but nothing made a significant difference. I kept reading about a meat only way of eating for autoimmune issues such as Rheumatoid Arthritis & many other conditions.

I had done a Carnivore way of eating years before, twice and loved it. However, I did not do it for RA then, it was before I knew I had RA & before I had any noticeable symptoms. I did it for building muscularity & strength. Since the 1990’s I have been a HIT (High Intensity Trainer). Arthur Jones was the founder of this method. I learned of strength training in the early 1980’s from old magazines of Peary Rader, especially Articles written by or about Arthur Jones, Vic Tanney, Steve Reeves, Larry Scott, Mike Mentzer & Vince Gironda. Vince’s Steak & Eggs Diet really caught my attention. It made sense & I personally was wired to eat that way. I was born a Carnivore I think. So I greatly gravitated to his way of eating and I loved it. It worked for me and I felt great, performed great & looked pretty good. I did this until my Lifting Coaches convinced me I would die from eating that way. By the way Mr. Gironda looked great & lived very healthily in to his 80’s.

I also was exposed to ZC from of all things The Grateful Dead, actually their sound man, Owsley “Bear” Stanley, from the Grateful Dead so that was in the mid-1980’s. I was a Grateful Dead Fan. He was a huge advocate of ZC Carnivore Eating & had been doing it since the 1950’s. A true pioneer in the ZC Carnivore movement.

After college I gravitated back to my Zero Carb Carnivore roots. I loved it because I was single at the time & working long hours and it was simple to eat just meat. I can cook hamburger patties. I can order a McDouble & eat only the patties. I had less Decision Fatigue. This worked great until I met & married my future wife, Lori. She also “knew” I would die without veggies, fruits, whole grains, fiber & etc. So by 1997 I was back to large amounts of vegetables, fruits, whole grains & not near the amount of meat. Within a few years from then I started feeling the affects from my Rheumatoid Arthritis. It was getting worse and worse. I tried many natural herbs & therapies and some did help but only limitedly.

Around 2013 my right thumb had become almost totally non-functioning. The pain was horrible and getting worse every day. I was now having trouble doing one of my favorite hobbies, Combat Pistol Shooting. I was having an incredibly hard time loading bullets into my magazines & to press the magazine release button on the gun to be able to quickly drop a mag & replace it.
I was also having a very difficult time buttoning my shirts, holding anything, twisting caps off, practicing Martial Arts, playing guitar and etc.

As a Personal Trainer it was harder & harder to load plates, change weights & to assist my clients. It was even harder not to show the pain to my clients. My own training was incredibly difficult because of the high levels of inflammation I had & the excessive pain I had to go through to achieve Full Momentary Muscular Failure that I needed to get the proper intensity level for an effective session. My recovery post workout was horrible. I had to keep extending my time between workouts to be able to recover and to be able to function post workout. Most that do a HIT protocol workout one to two times per week. Some with less recovery ability or circumstances workout once every 10 days to 14 days. I went from a couple of sessions per week to once a week to eventually every third week. That extreme infrequency worked by far the best for my optimal strength levels, body composition & how I could function at my other activities. I also had to start using gripping aids such as straps & hooks to do my lifting especially with the Deadlift, Shrugs Rows & Pull Downs. My fingers would not allow me to grip effectively. As a person schooled in Old School Powerlifting I was ashamed I had to use these grip aids. Because of my experiences I had Confirmation Bias that everyone needed gripping aids when they did not. I am correcting this now with my clients that I inadvertently hampered them in full development of their grip & forearm development.

So my results have been beyond stellar and way beyond all my expectations!!!!! My Rheumatoid Arthritis is what I would classify in full 100% remission. My pain is totally gone. My movement is back to normal. My inflammation is gone throughout my body & in particular my hands & elbows. My long term Tendonitis (Tennis Elbow)is gone. My Hip pain is gone. My knee pain is gone. My energy levels are incredible. I am sleeping better than ever, except when I have too much energy. My cognition is vastly improved. My recovery rate is better than it has been since I was in my late 20’s and I am 49 years old. My strength numbers have increased. My body composition has gotten better. My digestion is perfect. My bowel movements are the best ever. My dry eyes are not a problem. My allergies have been so much better than in years past. I have not had any sickness since 2013 so I have a great immune system & since going ZC still no problems. I avoided the dreaded cold & Flu this season that was going around this winter. No outbreak of Kidney Stones which have been plagued with especially when eating plants containing Oxalates such as Collard Greens & Spinach. I’m now almost supplement-free. I will continue to supplement with Vitamin D & some minerals if I need them. My Super Supplement is called Ribeye 🥩 & Water!!!! Nothing got worse from this way of eating. It has all been positive!!!! I look forward to continuing this way of eating indefinitely. I truly enjoy this way of eating. PTL 🙏🏻🙏🏻

I want to thank the people & groups who have helped me in doing this way of eating the right way through advice, insight, testimonials, education & support.
Thanks to Vince Gironda, Owsley “Bear” Stanley, Joe & Charlene Andersen, Dr. Shawn Baker, Dr. Paul Mabry, Lawrence Neal, Corporate Warrior Podcast, Zeroing in on Health, Zero Carb UK, Zero Carb Doc, World Carnivore Tribe, and Zero Carb Zen. Especially grateful for my wife, Lori, in supporting this decision and trying it herself with amazing results too and being a great steak maker!!!!!!

To Everyone’s Healthspan,
Mark W. Strough

Mim R.

I’m 27 and I was suffering from so many autoimmune disorders since I was a kid including eczema, horrible rashes that covers my entire body, never-ending itchiness, severe acne on my face, cystic acne on my buttocks, vaginal area, and armpits (Hidradenitis suppurativa), back pain, extreme PMS, bladder inflammation (always feeling like I have to pee), extreme depression, crying, anger, and suicidal attempts (took anti-depressants since I was 15, but didn’t help), constant bloating, weight gain, intense sugar cravings, arthritis in my ankles and wrists, vaginal infections due to candida overgrowth, ovarian cyst, IBS, acid reflux, allergies, early graying of hair, and many more…

All of that is completely gone since I went carnivore. After elimination I found out that I severely react to gluten, dairy, soy, legumes, nuts, eggs, and grains. I tried low carb, but I was never 100% symptom-free until I gone full carnivore. If I eat something bad those symptoms come back. Ever since I fixed my diet I advanced so much in my career and personal life. I never knew it is possible to feel this amazing.

Michelle S.

I have quite a history with food and diets. Since Junior High I have maintained a 30 lb weight range (118-148 lbs) which fell into the “normal” range for my 5’5″ height. I struggled with anorexia in my early teens, and then in the 80-90’s, I ate low fat/low calorie, exercised, and was bulimic. Through 7 pregnancies and nursing I would eat “normal low fat SAD” and then return to calorie restriction and bulimia & over the counter diet pills/supplements.

In 2003 I tried Atkins, eating mostly low fat/low carb/low calorie and was able to maintain my weight without bulimia, but I still exercised regularly. Being hypoglycemic I had times I would pass out or even have seizures from blood sugar drops. In 2007 I turned to Paleo, but I was at my highest weight and didn’t feel comfortable/confident. In 2012 diagnosed with breast cancer & had a double mastectomy with reconstruction. I then began Keto/HFLC and chased ketones for several years!

In 2013 a rash developed on my shins, I saw numerous doctors and specialists with no answers (family doctor diagnosed scabies :/, dermatologist tried numerous topical creams and I ended up with the strongest steroid cream and living on Benadryl for itch). After some research, in 2015 I did a 21 day water fast – my skin began to clear after a week and by the end of 3 weeks I was free of rash & inflammation. I returned to eating Keto, and the rash returned. A naturopath ordered several tests & discovered I was gluten/dairy/nut/corn intolerant, my hormones were all over the place, thyroid wasn’t functioning optimally, and I had developed an autoimmune disorder. I then began AIP, which was very difficult as most of the veggies I liked were nightshades or on the “no” list. The rash and incredibly itchy, inflamed, red, alligator like skin was consuming me again – even the cream (could only be used 2 weeks then off 2 weeks) wasn’t working.

I listened to Dr. Shawn Baker on a podcast and decided to join the N=many experiment. I began carnivore 9/15/17 and within a week my rash was gone, and inflammation was greatly reduced. After 3 months I had no rash/achy joints/headaches/sniffles/inflammation, and my blood glucose is much more level. I would love to have dairy again someday, but at this point I’m just hoping to heal my body of the years of mistreatment. If only I had discovered Carnivore 35 years ago!!! I’ve continued to run half and full marathons and Pikes Peak since Carnivore, practice Yoga & feel fabulous and confident with Carnivore. 🙂

Kari Moldenhauer

I first heard about the carnivore way of eating from my son, who had heard Shawn Baker on the Rogan podcast. I really thought he was nuts. At the time though, I had just been dealing with the start of Adhesive Capsulitis aka Frozen Shoulder… such horrific pain I was dealing with and no end in site.

I am a determined person and face things head on. I decided to research more and then after reading about the carnivore diet being anti-inflammatory, jumped in. This was February 10th 2018. Frozen shoulder can take years to resolve. I am now in the last stage of it, thawing out they call it. No more pain and range of motion returning. I did have a saline injection and some PT which also helped, but I am recovering much much much faster than a normal case.

I have also lost a solid 10 lbs, am losing inches, fitting into pants and buckling belts tighter. These are also good side effects! I love the simplicity of this woe [ed: way of eating]. I truly think it has helped heal me. 48 yrs old.

Mary Hamilton

I am a 59 year old female.

Diet: Standard American Diet
Weight: 230 lbs
Health issues:

  • Dyslipidemia
  • Atherosclerotic coronary disease (CAC score: 99)
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Pre-diabetes
  • Arthritis
  • Gout: right great toe
  • Autoimmune Inflammatory conditions
  • Anxiety
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Neuropathy due to peroneal nerve entrapment after left knee replacement
  • 3 Anti-hypertension medications
  • 1 thyroid medication
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Anxiety medication
  • Limited ability to walk any distance due to arthritis.
  • Limited ability to stand longer than 5 minutes due to neuropathy.

I started my carnivore eating in the 90 day Carnivore Challenge in August 2017.

My weight after 90 days: 192 lbs

I have tried so many ways of eating. From Weight Watchers to Nutrisystem to Jenny Craig to Low Fat. I just got fatter and fatter. I was put on more and more blood pressure medication. I had more and more arthritis, swelling and pains. One knee joint was so bad, I had a knee replacement. That set off another series of inflammatory issues and more health issue. Sad indeed.

I followed the Autoimmune Protocol diet to resolve my AI Hepatitis after my knee replacement. I also tried the ketogenic way of eating, but it wasn’t until I only ate meat did my issues start to change. And wow, did they change dramatically! I am no longer on any antihypertensive medications. I take 1/2 of my thyroid medication every other day. No more joint pain in knees, fingers, hips, or great toe, so I am no longer take any anti-inflammatory medications. My anxiety dramatically improved. I can walk long distances again. My left lower leg no longer goes numb. I can actually stand without worrying of falling or stumbling when I walk. My post Carnivore 90 Day blood work showed some improvements in a few of the lipids.

A1C level:

  • 7/17/2017 – 5.9
  • 11/17/2017 – 5.1

I am no longer pre-diabetic. I am tracking the dyslipidemia and coronary calcification. I will have additional testing for both next August.
I will continue to eat meats, drink water, coffee and an occasional wine.
My health journey continues and I will keep you updated as to my cardiac improvements!

Patricia J.

I grew up in a family where the dad ate protein, and the family ate potatoes, vegetables, and bread, and drank dehydrated nonfat milk. As a child I was chubby, had digestion and elimination problems, and was always taking medication for ear infections, sore throat, or hay fever.

In 1992, I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, later changed to psoriatic arthritis. In 1998, I discovered Atkins (low carb) and learned that if I ate carbs, I woke up the next morning feeling like I had been run over by a road paver. After about six months, I realized that my hay fever was gone. Seemed strange but didn’t ring any bells. I spent years living on Ibuprofen while my hands and feet turned into weird gnarled sticks that hurt a lot and were unusable.

On February 14, 2017 I got the best Valentine’s gift ever when a Joe Rogan interview with Dr. Shawn Baker appeared on my iPad. I listened to it, and it made sense. My son was in the room, and he heard it too. At the end, I said I wanted to try it, and my son said he would also. He went and got us steak for dinner that night and we haven’t looked back.

Bacon & eggs for breakfast and steaks for lunch and dinner every day. Six days in, I had more energy, no swollen joints, and my feet didn’t feel like someone was holding a flame thrower on them. I started wearing shoes again. At 22 days, I realized that psoriasis had disappeared from my shins and forearms, and I could move the fingers on my left hand individually. At 30 days, my right fingers and toes were showing signs of life. We’re currently 34 days carnivore. The other day my son asked me if I remember what it was like to feel good (not sure I remember, if I ever did), and my answer was that I didn’t know, but that I am happy feeling nothing. I sleep well and wake refreshed. I have no digestion or elimination problems, no aches, pains, headaches or gut issues. Meat heals. I am perfectly happy feeling nothing, and I plan to be a carnivore as long as possible. By the way, I am a seventy year old female stroke survivor.

Sabine B.C.

Sabine has overcome a lifetime of allergies, eczema, and more, by going carnivore!

I was born on March 21, 1973, in Germany. Based on my parents’ accounts of my early years, I had skin issues, constant bloating and digestive problems, constipation in particular, pretty much from the start. By the age of four, I was diagnosed with severe seasonal allergies. From then on, antihistamines, wearing gloves to stop me from scratching, having my arms wrapped up in bandages because my continued scratching led to infections, and not being able to go outside to play during the spring became the new normal. I fell asleep in school because the daily dose of antihistamines knocked me out. Topical steroids in mega strength became the go-to methods of dealing with my constantly itching skin. In high school I was made fun of because my neck looked like that of an old woman.

When I was in my early 20s, I saw an alternative practitioner who told me to avoid wheat and dairy. So I went on my first elimination diet, which did not do anything but aggravate my symptoms. Lacking information and consequently not being strict enough, I was frustrated with this approach and considered her a charlatan. In retrospect, she was the first person who actually had hit the nail on the head with her diagnosis. A dermatologist scoffed at this alternative “crap”, recommended to eat whatever I wanted, and to apply more cortisone to help with the inflammation and itching. I would follow his advice for many years, almost ruining my skin in the process.

I do not recall when I first knew that I was experiencing every month is premenstrual syndrome. For a while, I just assumed it is normal to turn into this vicious hulk without any control over my temper. Breast pain, forgetfulness and mind fog, pimple outbreaks, worsened eczema, water retention, constipation, sugar cravings from hell, and mood swings comprised the collection of my symptoms. Pretty much ten days of each of my cycles were spent like this, every single month, for more than 30 years. Another hint at a serious hormone imbalance was the way I used to store body fat. I have always been lean, but whatever fat I had I predominantly stored around my hips, butt, and thighs. I could train as hard as I wanted – I was an avid step aerobics and dance aerobics instructor – and it would not shift my body composition.

In 2006, I moved from Germany to Los Angeles for my postdoctoral studies, met my husband, and stayed here. I still shudder when I think about all the crap I used to eat after I got here: cookies, fast food, soda; free food was always available on campus and it still is. Over the years, I had times where I paid a bit more attention to my eating habits, but mostly, I just did what everybody else did, until the fall of 2013. Around that time a friend of mine told me about LCHF and her success with it, which led me to start the classic journey from the standard American diet via low carb and keto to eventually zero carb. Over the course of this almost 5-year dietary experiment, I cut out the usual suspects like flour, grains, sugar, and in conjunction seed oils. I of course baked all sorts of low carb bread, cookies, cakes, and other sweet goods and used dairy, coconut oil and low carb sweeteners in abundance.

Over time, I had been able to weed out serious offenders, while still clinging to almond and coconut flour, sweeteners, and dairy. After reading that dairy could be a culprit for chronic coughs, runny nose, and weepy eyes, I performed a dairy elimination experiment. After an entire month of dairy abstinence, I started coughing immediately upon reintroduction. My runny nose and weepy eyes returned as well, putting the nail in the coffin for diary. The following year, I experienced my first spring without seasonal allergies!

With dairy gone and my base line much lower, it was easier to track my skin condition and bloating. Over the course of another 1.5 years, I learned that sweeteners, coconut flour or any kind of coconut products, and almond flour either bloated me or made my skin itch like hell. I also learned that PMS causes eczema flares, especially around my eyes. The next natural step was to eat meat and veggies. At this point, I suspected as much but still did not want to face the fact that all the yummy low carb veggies I liked hated my guts, literally.

When I came across Shawn’s tweets about eating only meat I was at the same time intrigued and disturbed, but mostly intrigued. Following him on Twitter was probably the best thing I could do. Not only was he documenting his progress, but other people who tried it out chimed in with their successes and improvements. Rationally, it all made sense to me. Taking the leap and trying it for myself took until the first 90-day carnivore challenge with Nequalsmany. I knew I did not want to compromise my data collection, so the challenge was a good incentive to keep me on the straight and narrow.

Coincidentally, my period started on Aug 15, 2017, the first day of the challenge. It was a fantastic opportunity for me to observe how my PMS issues would behave. I was blown away with the almost complete lack of any symptoms during the first cycle. Barely noticeable breast tenderness and some eczema around my eyes were the remainder of my symptoms. My hope for reproducibility was not disappointed. Now, six months into zero carb, I have zero PMS. Zero! In addition, I can observe my body composition changing; my thighs are getting more defined, my quads getting visible, and my hips and bum are getting slimmer. I hypothesize that my hormone imbalance has been resolved.

Bloating after eating is a thing of the past, as is chronic constipation. I seem to be more resilient toward colds. In the past, I used to catch everything that was going around. I am observing no sunburns (in SoCal) and easy and quick tanning, just like when I was a kid. My mood has been even keel; zero carb serenity is truly a thing and keeps the hulk in check. I get less or not sore at all after workouts. My training is more intense. I have explosive speed for kickboxing despite the lack of carbs. My eyesight has been improving recently. I had to start using my previous pair of glasses (-3/-3) because my most current one had become too strong (-3.5/-3.25).

The most recent success is the remission of eczema. As of today, I have no visible signs anymore after 44 years of constant itchiness and severe discomfort. Even my scarred neck is healing, something I had thought not possible (see attached picture, no make-up, no photoshop, no moisturizers). It took about six months to get to this point, with sometimes going one step forward, two steps back. This feels new and fragile. I am fully aware that any kind of missteps, may it be food (chicken is a suspect) or the fabric of new clothes, can trigger a flare; however, I now have the opportunity to really figure out all my triggers and to fight habitual scratching.

Sabine’s 44 years of suffering with eczema… gone!

Thinking back how I had, unknowingly, mistreated my body over the years, I realize a couple of things that might be of help for others who are at the cusp of starting their journey. First off, I wish I had taken the alternative practitioner seriously. I was out for instant gratification, but that is not how resolving decades of health issues works unfortunately, in most cases anyway. Secondly, the human body is an amazing machine that can withstand a lot of dietary abuse, for a while at least. It has incredible repair capabilities if one lets it and gives it time to do what is has been evolved to do with the right nourishment. I am looking forward to discovering what other health benefits this way of eating will bring.

Rob C.

My name is Rob. I am a 35 year old Paramedic in upstate New York. I am a father to an amazing 8 year old son. I also suffer from Lupus, Ankylosing Spondylitis, and Rheumatoid arthritis. Up until January I was a mess. I could barely move. I was depressed. I was medicated for my diseases. Honestly I had given up on life and was going just going through the motions. Life became just about getting through each day with the least amount of pain and suffering both mentally and physically. My job became increasingly difficult and I actually was at a point where I was unsure if I was going to be able to continue. The doctor even talked about putting me on disability. The biggest problem I was going through was because I was so depressed and basically given up… I turned to alcohol. I drank everyday and sometimes made very poor decisions.

Then just after Christmas I began reading up on Dr. Shawn Baker and the Bell brothers who have been doing this crazy ass diet that was all meat! I was super skeptical but after a few days I said, “Screw it, why not!” I mean I didn’t really have much to lose. So January 1st I took the leap. How hard is meat and water I would say to myself.

The first three days were awesome. I was eating steak and eggs and drinking water. Then day 4 hit. The cravings, the headaches, the nausea. I joined the facebook group and immediately reached out for help. The group was amazing and convinced me to the stay the course. I met so much resistance and hate from people in my life but I powered through.

Then week 1 ended and suddenly I felt good. Like is this real life? I had energy. I could move. My mind was clear and I suddenly realized I went a full week without a drink. I powered through and kept going. Days turned into weeks. Suddenly I had no pain. I slept through the night. I wasn’t anxious and depressed. I also realized that because I felt so good I hadn’t taken any of my medications… for anything. The shot I usually took every month for my disease… screw it, I feel great.

Fast forward to today. I have lost 14 pounds. I wear a size smaller pants. I have set PR’s in squat, bench press, overhead press, rows, and deadlifts. I have definitions! Whats that? I can run again. Adding miles every week. The best is that today I saw my doctor. My blood work was amazing. According to him I am the healthiest I have been in a decade. I no longer take any medications. This way of eating saved my life. It gave me my life back. I will continue and now I am focusing on weight loss but also want to keep getting stronger! I am proof positive that meat heals!