530lbs, IBS, pinched lumbar 3 nerve, diabetes, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, no will to live.
What do all of these things have in common? No one would want to be even one of them, much less all of them. Up until recently, all of these things defined ME. This was my life, or lack thereof. My name is Jared Reagin. I’m 29 years old, a single father, and a man who has finally found success.
I have tried every diet you can think of, from vegan to paleo to the grapefruit diet. Nothing every worked. My health concerns and weight even increased. At the end of August in 2017, I saw an interview Dr Shawn Baker did with Rogue Health and Fitness that gave me hope. He was talking about a Zero Carb/Carnivore diet. It seemed simple enough and I set out to do it. I lasted two days.
Well, luck would have it that I had friends that were doing keto, which seemed to be low carb enough to maybe work. I started on September 8th, and hoped for the best. It was difficult, but I lost 11lbs my first week. When you see results like that, you start to get very determined. After my first month, I had lost 40lbs. My second month I moved to a Low Carb High Fat/Keto combined diet. On my birthday at the end of October, my doctor told me I no longer needed to take my diabetes medications. My diet was keeping my blood sugar manageable at 120.
My back pain hurt me less every day. After sustaining a pinched nerve, due to a wreck I was in at 16, my weight gain had done nothing but make my pain worse and damaged my back further over the years. Though I was improving with my diet, I was still in physical therapy as late as December 2017.
Two weeks after I started the carnivore diet at the beginning of December, my pain was miniscule. For the last two years, I had to use a cane to get around and couldn’t stand for longer than half an hour. Well, I quit physical therapy after those two weeks and have never looked back. I eat all meats, and sometimes eggs and cheese. I drink water when thirsty. I’m rarely hungry and food (and even water) tastes better than before.
After 1 month Keto, 2 months LCHF, and 3 months Carnivore, I can tell you that Carnivore is the best thing I’ve ever done. My health is so much better. As a matter of fact, do you remember the attributes that I started this testimonial with?
Here are my current updates:
After 6 months (last 3 months carnivore) I am 404lbs; a loss of 126lbs. I have no IBS, and only have pain from my pinched lumbar 3 nerve after 6-8hrs standing (working out and being active lessens pain). My BG is constantly between 95 and 105, and diabetes meds are no longer required. I have no more high blood pressure, between 118/72 and 126/78 consistently. I have only minor anxiety (it was bad enough to send me to the hospital twice), and no depression.
I still have no will to live. That makes me feel like I’m just willing to exist. Instead, I have a craving to live life to the fullest and a need to live the best life I can for my daughter. I will be the best man and dad I can be for her. I will make sure she is taught the truth about health and will make sure she never has to struggle with her weight like I have for 2/3 of my life.
My final thought? Eat meat, drink water, be healthy. It’s as simple as that.
Thank you Dr. Baker. One little video saved a life. Keep going.
My name is Chris Donohue. I am 44 years old, a Licensed Massage Therapist and Herbalist, and the healthiest I have been in decades since adopting a carnivorous diet. I am down around 120 lbs (and counting), and have had many health issues COMPLETELY clear up since going carnivore. I have tried every diet under the sun (was a vegetarian for a year and a half, low-fat, low-carb, keto, ate only cereal, even ate baby food for a few months, etc) and Meat-Only is the only diet that has really worked for me and healed my health problems.
Following a Standard Ketogenic Diet last year took me part of the way, and I was able to lose some weight. But it seemed I was always losing and gaining the same 50 lbs, had long stalls, and frequently gave in to my cravings. Cheat meals sometimes turned into cheat weeks. I was helping to coach some of my clients and friends with Keto but was not having the results I was after. Since going fully carnivore the end of 2017 I have consistently been losing 2-4 lbs a week, with some even bigger week losses! I have ZERO cravings and ZERO hunger. I eat meat when hungry and drink water when thirsty, and I don’t restrict either. My friends and coworkers are amazed my fat is melting away eating ribeye steaks, bacon cheeseburgers, and chicken wings!
Besides the weight loss the health gains have been amazing in so short at time! A Meat-Only diet has cleared up several conditions that persisted even on a standard ketogenic diet. These include:
CARDIOVASCULAR HEALTH: My blood pressure is lower, shortness of breath is gone (used to huff and puff just walking short distances like across the house), and serious leg swelling (edema from venous insufficiency) for which I had to wear compression stockings is GONE!
DIGESTION: Meat-Only cleared up my diverticulitis! I would get frequent serious intestinal infections requiring antibiotics and was once hospitalized for a perforated colon. Doctors said I would one day require surgery to remove part of my colon. I now know that the recommended high-fiber diet I was following was CAUSING the inflammation, gas, bloating, and increased colonic pressure that caused the bulging and subsequent infections. All of that went away when i removed all plants from my diet. Meat is almost completely digested in the small intestine so the large intestine can heal. This is INVALUABLE for people with diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, IBS, etc.
FITNESS: Able to walk longer distances, workout often, and engage in many activities I used to not be able to do or enjoy.
MOOD/MENTAL HEALTH: My mood is greatly improved and more stable. My depression is largely gone.
RESPIRATORY: Shortness of breath gone, chronic cough and congestion gone.
SKIN: The serious rashes and infections (sometimes requiring ER visits and antibiotics) that accompanied my leg swelling is gone, as is frequent boils, athletes foot, some lipomas and skin tags.
WEIGHT LOSS: Losing 2-4 a week, down 120 lbs and counting!
UNCATEGORIZED/OTHER: Pre-diabetes gone, blood sugars normal and stable, prostate issues (pressure, urgency, etc) cleared up, and lifelong anemia resolved.
Truly… MEAT HEALS!
If anyone has any questions, or I can help in any way, please feel free to reach out to me. My passion is to share the benefits of a Carnivore Keto diet with people, especially with those struggling to lose weight. You can find me at:
2013: Age 32 living on a high carbohydrate low fat diet, mainly; noodles, rice, potato, chicken breast, tuna and all the vegetables I could handle. Started experiencing massive digestion issues, bleeding from the rectum, mucus discharge, incontinence going to the toilet 30 plus times a day. Eventually diagnosed with ulcerative colitis: first 35cm of colon badly inflamed and ulcerated.
Put on standard of care mesalamine in tablet and enema form was told diet had nothing to with the disease by an IBD “specialist”. The medication only seemed to make me worse so was later put on steroids, they offered temporary reprieve but as soon as i stopped taking them the the disease would come back stronger. IBD “specialist” informed that the next stage of action to get the disease under control would be to take immunosuppressive drugs. I did some research on them and thought holy shit I’m not taking them and started looking into diet.
2014: Discovered paleo diet – made my symptoms 75% better but still not great. Still had to take steroid medication periodically.
2016: Started meat only diet… Jump to 2017 – I am 99% symptom free and feel fantastic and a side effect is losing 2 stone [28 pounds] in weight and having abdominal definition again at the age of 36. I haven’t taken any medication in 2 years and have good my life back.
The rise of veganism is genuinely scary for me… I think that type of diet would most likely kill me in the end.
I have 6 children – 6 thru 42 – and the one joke I hear all the time is about my ‘diet’: ‘So what are you eating now, dad??’ All my life, I’ve been curious to try different foods and regimens, to see what works for me and doesn’t. I’d be embarrassed to admit how much time I’ve spent reading and researching over the years; even now, at 65, it continues all the time. Fact is, there wound up being an overall direction to it (if a bit meandering), and it doesn’t change quite as frequently as perceived, but they do have a legitimate critique.
I’ve been through lots of ‘phases’: when I was in my teens I followed some of the early Atkins ideas, then in my late 20’s, early 30’s, I followed a strict vegan regimen: used to make my own bread with organic stone ground wheat. tofu and sprout sandwiches, supplemented carefully with spirulina, brewer’s yeast, etc. After (as near as I can remember) a year or so, I had some trouble with fatigue when I was 30 – I was running 5+ miles every day, and I finally started to add in some dairy. Not sure that was the issue, but things did get better, and then I followed a pretty strict vegetarian diet for several years. One of my children, born during that time, is still vegetarian.
I had struggled with seasonal, then year round allergies since I was 19, and chronic (worsening) headaches in my 30’s, and 40’s. Additionally, my weight fluctuated: I would ‘buckle down’, count calories, or restrict types of food; over those years my weight ranged between about 165 and 220. And I had bad sugar cravings: chocolate, sweets, a genetic predisposition for sure, but I would work so hard to cut it out, and then one evening, I would implode and clean out every sugary treat, every half-opened, age-whitened chocolate bar, or frosted over long-forgotten reduced-to-goo ice cream from the back of the freezer. Why? I always felt helpless, and made up my mind again, till the next binge.
With a lot of reservations (shifting from years of veggie to red meat?!) , I tried the re-packaged version of the Atkins diet that was popular in the late 90’s – I was well into my late 40’s. It defied everything I had believed for decades, but sure enough, I lost weight, felt better. I shifted to South Beach (a bit hipper version with lean meats, and more ‘correct’ foods), and had the same results. I couldn’t keep my results, though – I would drift back into the weight roller coaster, gird up, lose some weight, then stumble and start again. But I noticed that on the ‘induction phase’ of both these diets – when I was eating NO grains, I always felt conspicuously better. After those initial couple of weeks, as I added back in the brown rice, whole wheat (NEVER processed), that good feeling dissipated.
A few years ago, my wife mentioned a conversation she had about the Paleo diet: no grains, no processed food. I jumped into that, researched everything I could. Dropping the grains was a positive move – can’t speak for one other person on Earth – but for me there was a palpable difference. I generally felt better, much less stomach and gut goings-on, and I was better able to control my weight and my diet. For a couple years, I was doing well.
But I continued to read and explore: I came across more and more about the ‘keto’ diet. As usual, I first thought it was ‘too radical’, and I was just plain afraid to try something that out of the norm. But I was piqued, and in September 2016, I jumped in and followed a rigorous keto diet, no more than 25-30 net carbs per day, huge leafy green salads, and of course no processed foods, no grains, no sugars, etc. I recorded my weight and every ounce of my food every day.
This was the first time, I think, that I was finally able to control my sugar cravings – I don’t think I’ve ever had a ‘cheat’ meal since then. I had started mountain biking with a friend a few years earlier, and I use an app that records every ride, my heart rate, etc. (I’m ridiculously fastidious about recording things.) My buddy is a really strong, experienced mountain biker, and 15 years younger, so I can never keep up completely, but it paces me and I managed to improve. I had started at 200/210 lbs., and with the keto diet, careful calorie counting, and meticulous supplementation (electrolytes, vitamins, etc. – about a dozen pills a night, plus electrolyte powders and regular fiber supplements), I managed to methodically drop my weight into the mid 150s by December 2017 – less than I’ve weighed since before puberty. My biking got stronger, and I also got to the gym when I could, so my upper body strength didn’t drop off too dramatically with the weight loss. Along the way I implemented intermittent fasting, which, again, improved my stamina riding, and my health, mood, etc., got better again.
But I had read about ‘zero carb’ – at first it just had a morbid fascination: here again I was looking at something that defied everything I thought I knew. This created more fear: what about scurvy, would I be painfully constipated, somehow permanently ‘ruined’? I toyed with it, looked into it, but never seriously considered taking that leap.
When I happened to watch Shawn (Dr. Baker) on the December Joe Rogan podcast, it suddenly felt down to earth, not so scary. I made up my mind to try it and started December 11, 2017. I wanted to be very clinical about it, and not confound my results, so I determined to drop, on that day, all my vitamins, supplements, psyllium husk (i.e. fiber supplement), and I also decided to drop my long time nasal spray, which I had taken for decades to address my chronic headaches (I have NEVER been able to stop that without vengeful headache repercussions). The only things I continued, at first, were my morning coffee, and my Claritin. I’d taken the Claritin for decades, year round – for headaches and allergies, and had never been able to stop it. A few days without it in the past caused severe itching all over my body, and I just assumed I’d take it till I died.
I continued and participated in the January study on Track-Well.com, and then just kept going. I tapered the coffee completely, as well as the Claritin. As of today (2/19/2018), I have been free of the Claritin for about 4 weeks. I tentatively planned to go back to my keto diet – I still have fat bombs and low carb, homemade bread patiently waiting for me in the freezer (which my family probably won’t eat) – but as of now I have no plans to stop the carnivore WOE (way of eating).
I eat mostly beef, occasional pork, a little chicken, eggs every few days, occasional cheese, but I’ve felt better when I drop the cheese entirely. Aside from that: water. I eat when hungry, surprisingly never get tired of the steak (or hamburger for economy), and it usually happens about twice a day.
I realized that, generally speaking, as I cut out carbs at every ‘phase’, I just felt better. Suddenly it didn’t seem unreasonable to cut them out entirely, and just see what might happen. Of the three ‘macros’ (carbohydrate, protein and fat), only protein and fat are ‘necessary’. Hey – tomorrow I may decide on a different route, but as long as it goes this well, I’m staying on track.
Here’s what I’ve noticed:
Weight: my weight dropped in the first couple weeks from 153 to 147, but since then it’s slowly built back up to 162. Most is muscle weight, not fat – my waist, etc., hasn’t really changed.
Joints: I’ve had some chronic problems with neck/shoulder pains since my 40’s, but those really disappeared almost immediately after I started keto. I’ve had occasional twinges in knees and joints since, nothing to complain about, but since starting carnivore, these are rare and temporary.
Headaches: these diminished pretty quickly, and the minor ones I’ve had seem now to be associated with dairy, especially cheese. This is a kind of ‘elimination diet’, and as such, it becomes easy to isolate ‘trouble’ foods. (I’ve had multiple MRI’s and CAT scans, as well as several types of doctors working on this issue for me over the years. If this diet eliminates that lifetime issue, it’s really huge for me. Allergy season could be an issue, but I’m going into this spring sans meds and willing to see what happens.)
Stamina/strength: Within the first few days, my energy jumped considerably, even over the keto diet – I just wanted to go work out. When I could make the time I was sometimes working out in the gym, followed by a pretty strenuous kettlebell or rowing workout, and then, in the evening, a couple hard hours of mountain biking. Since then the energy has settled somewhat, and I realized I was doing TOO much for an old man, but I still feel as good as ever, and my biking and workouts are all improved. I track all my weights in the gym, and they’ve steadily improved since I started, and much faster than any time since college. My recovery time seems shorter as well. In terms of cardio shape and stamina, I can climb familiar hills, gulleys, etc., that I sometimes couldn’t climb before. ‘Burst’ (anaerobic) energy is just as good or better, not just aerobic exertions.
Intestinal: whereas I had been supplementing with psyllium husk to get a consistent 30 grams of fiber a day and a daily bowel movement, I suddenly cut this out entirely. Now I am very regular, though less frequent, and the bloating, rumbling, and gas I always had before is pretty much gone. I never feel constipated – I’m never aware of my digestive track at all, really. It just works. I spend a fraction of the time I used to in the bathroom (stopped even bringing my phone in…. 🙁 ).
Coffee: In the past I had given up coffee for stretches, but I had to taper over a few weeks because I’m very sensitive to caffeine withdrawal. It seemed much easier on this diet, and just took a few days.
Skin: I notice I usually don’t need deodorant now (could change as summer approaches, I’m open to friendly feedback), and I also notice my skin is generally just a little better hydrated. I rarely use (or need) soap on my skin anymore. I have always had some chronic skin breakouts on my chest and back, dermatologists had tried to address over the years, but early on I noticed this was entirely gone. Some things happen that you aren’t expecting, and it’s a pleasant surprise.
Mood: I noticed that I generally had become a good bit calmer and less reactive (my family’s observations may vary..), even on the keto diet, and that continued on the zero carb regimen.
I’ve learned, over the years, that ‘conventional wisdom’ is often 99% convention, and 1% wisdom. The money and resources spent these days on persuasion, the stakes being high as they are – it’s more important than ever to avoid confirmation bias and the emotional sort of ‘cult’ identification (‘I’m a CARNIVORE!’ ‘I’m a VEGAN!’). I try to avoid ‘us-against-them’, whether it’s carnivory, or veganism, or any labeling that artificially divides us by point of view, or way of eating, etc. And there is SO much conflicting ‘research’: I can support any view now by simply Googling the results I want, and the ‘debate’ is endless. I don’t have the time to spend or interest in researching why that’s so (I have theories ;-), but I responsibility for my own personal health rests with me, and I’m reluctant to cede that authority blindly to another person or institution. When possible, I test for myself; I prefer ‘evidence-based’ knowledge over authoritarian-certified dogma. Trust, but verify – rather than trust alone. If one option makes sense, but the other is based on a ‘study’ I opt for the one that makes sense – and when possible, test. I trust implicitly the true scientific method, but I don’t automatically trust every claim paraded noisily about as ‘science’. Sadly, I know so many people who could possibly be helped by changes in diet – with joint issues or autoimmune conditions, but who are intimidated by the shrill, alarmist voices out there, scaring them off. There’s a treasure chest of good information supporting the carnivorous and LCHF diets out there now, enough to help a reasonable person ask good questions, if they have a true interest in open minded learning.
Thanks to Shawn and Matt and everyone else who’s made this interesting, and a bit humorous at times, but mostly for giving people confidence – without arm-twisting – to experiment for themselves and share. It’s all fun to try new things, and learn.
I’m a few weeks from turning 42 and I have never felt better in my life. I’m a little over a month into this carnivorous journey, and I’m still in shock how my mind and body have responded to this diet.
I was an overweight and depressed teenager. I knew nothing about exercise or diet. Sick of not getting any attention from the girls, I decided to basically starve myself when I was 20 to lose the flab. A few years later I started lifting weights and I fell in love. Over the years I put on some decent muscle size but always struggled with body fat, especially the “spare tire” I could never shake.
Over the years my weight was like a yo-yo and I tried all the different diets… low carb, high carb, Atkins, Keto etc. with little success. I figured I’d be stuck with this “donut” forever.
About 5yrs ago I started having reactions to all kinds of different foods out of nowhere. Veggies, fruits and grains were provoking crippling pain and causing me to throw up. Believe me, I would have preferred it to go out the other end lol. I underwent some tests but Doctors couldn’t do anything for me. I learned to live with it and stayed away from certain foods but sometimes I would eat the wrong thing and boom. Smoking a joint was the only thing that saved me from the pain.
2018 hit and I decided to do a modified Keto. I never felt right and I kept thinking back to that meat eating Doctor that was on Rogan. I said f@&k it…I’m gonna give this Carnivore thing a shot. Best decision I’ve made! Within days my body started to change as well as my mind state.
Here is what has been happening:
• Mood – I feel amazing. Confidence way up. Was on cannabis CBD oil for anxiety, no longer needed. I look forward to each day!
• Fat loss – down 10lbs, waist down almost 3”. Spare tire disappearing by the day!
• Performance – I’m an animal in the gym. Strength waaaay up. Crushing PRs. Putting on muscle. Lots of energy during the day.
• Digestive health – never better! Bloating gone. No gas. Regular bowel movements with very little waste. Feel great!!
• Joint pain – annoying tweak in shoulder and elbow… gone.
• Skin – I live in Calgary, Alberta so it is very dry this time of year. My skin is soft and glowing… so my wife tells me 🙂
• Libido – let’s put it this way, I feel like a teenager again.
• Alcohol – would have 2-7 drinks a week, now it doesn’t appeal to me much. I’ve drank once in 5 weeks.
Generally I eat twice a day and don’t snack. I look forward to and enjoy each meal! I love not being a slave to food. No more constant food prep and eating 4-6 times a day.
Like most people I thought eating only meat was crazy when I first heard about it. Now it all makes sense.
I’m forever grateful for Doctor Shawn Baker and what he has done for me and so many people worldwide. He is the perfect person to lead this revolutionary movement. We’re just getting started!
Thank you Dr. Baker! Now go eat a damn steak!! #meatheals
At 28, I was diagnosed with arthritis in my hands.
At 29, I had my first colonoscopy and diagnosis with diverticulitis.
At 32, I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.
I powerlifted through my 20’s, but at 35, I couldn’t run or push hard for fear of a-fib.
I got fat. At 27, I had man boobs and love handles. I couldn’t walk flight of stairs and had very few solid bowel movements.
I began cutting stuff out and realized that every time I cut a grain or veggie, I felt better and got leaner. Exactly 18 months later, I am approaching 37 years old and have 8.5% body fat and run 3.5 miles/day. I have lower blood pressure, higher good cholesterol. Zero a-fib issues. Zero diverticulitis issues. I require less sleep (4.5 hours), and I get more done during day.
And, I’ll tell ya, the benefits in the bedroom with the wife are off the charts.
I started a LCHF diet September 18, 2017 and went ZC (carnivore) November 9, 2017. I currently eat mostly beef and pork with a little lamb, chicken and fish, dairy a few times per week. Black coffee every morning. Red wine one glass per week. Prior to this my diet was very high fiber with the majority of my intake whole grains and vegetables with small portions of lean meats and dairy.
Digestion: In April 2011 I had a routine colonoscopy that went awry, resulting in chronic constipation and abdominal pain. I relied on daily laxatives (near or at maximum dosage) daily for 6 1/2 years and was unable to wean off them. I weaned off the laxatives completely as of November 20, 2017. I now average 4-5 bowel movements weekly. Abdominal pain is gone.
Sleep: I had severe insomnia for >10 years, averaging 2-3 hours sleep 4-5 nights/week. I’ve had one night of insomnia per week since zc and on those occasions have still had 4-6 hours sleep. I now am regularly sleeping 7-8 hours/night.
Headaches: I used to get frequent tension headaches and took ibuprofen almost daily. I haven’t had a headache since I started zc.
Lipoma: I’ve had a lipoma on my back for >20 years. It was about the size of a half-golf ball. Today it is almost gone, just a barely-palpable rise under the skin.
Deodorant: Haven’t used deodorant for the past 3 weeks. Didn’t meant to stop, just forgot and then realized I no longer needed it.
I’m healthy, happy, lean, and strong, but that wasn’t always the case! This is my story on why I’m a carnivore, and the amazing benefits this way of life has given me and could give you, too.
I was a C-section baby to very young parents. Mom was 21, and my dad was only 17. They didn’t know much about nutrition or how to be healthy, but they tried. I was formula fed, and given low fat yogurt and grains by 6 months. I was a sickly baby and child. As an infant, I would never sleep through the night, projectile vomit multiple times a day and was colicky. I had many ear infections and antibiotics through my childhood, as well. At the age of 2, I was diagnosed with Asthma and Allergies. From that point on I was on daily rescue inhalers, prednisone, respiratory machine, and steroid puffers. I was also admitted into the ICU multiple times a year.
By the age of 4 I started vomiting in my sleep and having bowel pain. It turned out that I had to have abdominal surgery to fix a hernia, that my bowels were starting to pass through. (Not sure if that was diet related) so they patched up my hernia, and that healed well, but I continued to have random bowel pain, that would leave me incapacitated for hours. This plus my asthma, and constant colds or ear infections left my parents at a loss.
For a few years we just got by, until one day, I had a little brother come along. Luckily he was much healthier than me. Soon after that my parents split and my mother had 2 young boys and little income.
She was trying her best on a budget, as she couldn’t work because I was to sick. She turned to the food pyramid and made sure that we got lots of grains, breads and pasta, and some frozen veggies, bananas, low fat yogurts,and the little red meat we did have was lean.
At this point, my health started declining again, and I wound up in the ICU even more. 6-10 times a year, for up to 2 weeks at a time. This is when my family doctor told my mother that I was the worst case he’s ever dealt with and informed her that I was going to need to be put on the transplant list for lungs and heart, if my asthma persisted. This was the same year I was put on life support over the Christmas break. I was so sick at this point, 8 years old, that I excepted I was sick, and I made piece with the the fact that I was about to leave this life. 3 times, I can still remember that year, leading up to this, I would think that there was nothing we could do and I was working my way to coming to terms with death.
At this point, my parents decided to move me to my fathers where the climate was much drier, and I moved from the east coast of Canada to the plains of Alberta!
The climate there was much drier and it did help with my breathing. I was still taking all of the same meds, but managed to stay out of the hospital for a few years. I felt a lot better, but still had breathing and bowel problems. I also gained a lot of weight from all of the medications I was on. At this point I started taking allergy shots. Getting them weekly for a couple of years. I don’t think they worked, but at least we were trying something new. This continued until my teenage years.
Once those awkward, interesting, and fun teenage years started, new problems arose. I started having migraines, muscle cramps, anxiety and anger issues. My bowels and asthma were still constant, too. By the time I was 17, I began having GERD, stomach pain, and loose stools. Standing at 5’9″, I weighed only 109lbs. I was diagnosed with IBS and an Ulcer and I was put on drugs, low fat, limited diet, and was sent to a shrink for my anxiety and anger.
For years I followed this new limited diet, and continued with my asthma regiment. This kept things tolerable, and livable for years. But I realized that non of this was right, and I must be doing something wrong. So I started reading as much as I could on diet and health… let the research begin!!!
For the next few years I studied everything I could on diet, exercise and health. I would make tweaks here and there and started doing some cardio and calisthenics. This helped a bit, but I still didn’t feel right. I was still feeling pain and having breathing problems.
By my early 20’s I found body building, and adopted that way of eating and training. One thing I quickly noticed about this way of life was the amount of time spent in the gym, the large amount of food prep and the crazy amount of small meals to eat (6 a day!).
I soon found I was having energy problems and getting colds every other week! I was also getting flabbier. But I continued, because it’s what we are told is healthy.
Gladly a year or so later, I found the paleo and ketogenic diets. I did my research and moved to a paleo way of eating and a more paleo style lifting regime. I continued this for years, while experimenting with keto, low carb paleo, and at one point vegetarianism (bad idea).
While doing all of this, most of my bowel and migraine issues went away. My asthma was still there, and so was my energy issues and random bouts of anxiety. I was also gaining weight for some reason.
This continued for years.
In my early 30’s I decided to buckle down and do strict ketogenic eating with intermittent fasting and a healthy carb up once or twice a week (CKD). This helped even more, and I got down to a healthy weight, with decent muscle mass. It’s funny though, I looked good, but I wasn’t that strong. During this keto phase I felt better, but still not great. I remember almost every day on my walks home, thinking about asthma and wondering why I was still using my inhalers so much… I was also wondering why my bowels would hurt and why I would have bathroom problems after my carb ups? I also noticed that I had toenail fungus in a both of my big toes!
Around this time, I found Vince Gironda workouts and his steak and eggs diet. It instantly made sense to me and I dove in to the meat and dairy research! I read anything I could on this subject for about a year, until I found Zero Carb Zen, then Principia Carnivora and Zeroing In On Health. Read all of the testimonies and talked to a few people online, then decided to jump in cold turkey.
I was a rough 2-3 months of adaption, I felt horrible, but pushed through. The first year or so was a little rough for me as my body adapted, and healed. I also had to figure out how much food I needed and when to eat it. Once I worked all of that out, it’s been amazing!! My bowels no longer have any issues, as long as I stick mostly to beef and avoid teas and coffee. No more headaches, my energy is good, my anger has subsided, and I haven’t taken my asthma meds in 2 years! I stopped my puffers the week I started eating just fatty meat!!!!
It’s amazing what can happen when you figure out the proper human diet! I am now stronger, I’m a butcher and can carry around 100+ sides of pork, and lift/carry side of beef at 220+lbs, and I weigh 140lbs. I can run, keep up with my 3 beautiful children, workout 2-3 times a week and walk 5km to and from work daily, in all weather, while maintaining 8-10% body fat, eating 3+ lbs of fatty beef a day! I’m not supposed to be alive today, and since going strict carnivore, I now use no medications, my lungs function at 92% of a healthy adult male, have the energy I need and the body I want with little to no effort.
All I can say is thank you to everyone who put the zc info out there. I might not be alive without that and I hope my story can help someone else get better!!
As per interest and requests I thought I would sit down and talk about my story of approaching and reaching my carnivore diet. Even though I like to never look back or put any focus on my previous ill health, I know that by doing so it may help others. Warning… I’m a number of things, but not a writer. So, read on at your own risk!🤪
I was born March 22, 1973 to an engineer and a physical therapist. My mom’s dad was an M.D. with an emphasis on OB/GYN. He was a great man, but followed the norm of doctoring. He suggested the healthy diet of “cereal and low-fat milk” to snack on in between the standard low fat meals. She was a good little girl and gained just the right amount of weight, ate her “good foods” and prepared for her new baby in a “June Cleaver” kind of way.
I was born quickly without any complications. Things went the way they typically do with hospital births. She nursed me, with the intention of weaning me off breastmilk completely by the 3 month mark so she and my dad could go to FL and leave me with my grandparents. I reacted to every formula and every food they gave me. I guess they ended with the least reactive combination for me.
Growing up, I always had rashes, asthma and allergies. I was allergy tested at 4 after having a scary breathing situation at nursery school. I was sensitive to almost everything. But my diet was never looked at as an option to cure it all. Instead, I got shots for years. I hated every single one. Never got used it. It always seemed wrong to me.
Because I was an only child, my parents wanted me to have opportunities to do things with other kids as much as possible. So, I went to a lot of camps – which I absolutely loved. However, one of the many camp trips is most likely when I was bitten by a deer tick. I remember tick checks every night and removing them with tweezers when found. I don’t remember having a specific rash or period of flu-like symptoms. I had my share of colds, strep and flu every year and would always catch whatever was “going around”, so nothing stood out when I contracted Lyme.
Because my grandpa was a doctor, medications were easy to access and antibiotics were FREELY given to me. I was destined for constant, health failure.
Because of my tendency toward asthma, my parents didn’t enroll me in what I would have loved the most – dance. Instead, homework and optimal grades were pushed (especially by my mom).
And I did succeed in that. I was always top of my class, getting straight A’s and extra credit whenever it was available.
In the meantime, my health kept deteriorating. Beginning at age 8 I developed trichotillomania. Sores on my eyelids and eyebrow lines made me want to rub/pull at the lashes. I had times when I had no eyelashes or eyebrows. My parents saw it as a bad habit that I wasn’t “strong enough” to overcome. This lasted all the way through grade school, middle school, high school, college and my first couple years working.
Whenever I went over to my friends’ houses (everyone had pets), it wasn’t long before my parents would get a call to come and get me because I was wheezing or developing hives.
Once I started to mature around age 13, the acne I developed was cyst-like and extremely ugly and painful. They would look like craters. I had them all over my face, neck, inside my ears, shoulders, back, chest and arms. Between hardly having eyelashes/eyebrows and having this acne, I was very self-conscious. I was not obese as a kid, but I was always heavier than the norm and carried my weight in a weird sort of way in my hips and butt. I remember having cellulite at age 12.
By age 16 my periods slowed and stopped completely. None of the OB/GYN doctors had any answers. My diet was the typical low fat, high complex carbs, high vegetation and low sugar. So, OBVIOUSLY my diet wasn’t causing it.
College days were fun (time away from my parents), but continued my downward health spiral. The extreme fatigue really set in at this point. I started out having a double major of Mathematics (to please my dad) and Studio Art (to please me). My mom didn’t care as long as my grades were as perfect as possible. What kept me from successfully majoring in Mathematics is I could not stay awake in class. I would fall asleep after a couple minutes of class starting and wake up when it was over. I needed naps throughout the day and I would always be the first one to sleep in the dorm by hours. Depression and darkness started overcoming me. I pushed friends away more and more due to my fatigue and depression.
I started working out hoping that would make me feel better about myself (and my floppy physique), but it just made me more tired and angry. I didn’t give up working out until years later. (I even became a PT on the side of my professional job.)
I ended up graduating cum laude with math and psychology minors, and studio art major.
After graduating college, I got a job working in the Industrial Design department at Navistar, which was a dream as an Art major, loving automotive design and working at the same company as my dad, cousin and uncles.
The most dramatic downturn in my health happened next. The stress of working and being around clay modeling, paint spraying and all sorts of chemicals quickly sent me downhill fast. Honestly, at this point life is a blur to me still.
My lifesaver was Joe. Wonderful, talented, funny, interesting, 100% compatible with me, Joe!❤ It’s almost as if I was waiting to meet him before my life which was heading downhill fast would make a turn for the better. But it was going to get worse before getting better.
My list of health conditions grew: eczema all over my hands (to the point of second degree burns), tinnitus, worsening depression, worsening fatigue (fell asleep at work all the time, at meetings, at church, and driving a car), lower back/pelvic and sciatic nerve pain (couldn’t sit at all, worked standing up, constant pain with occasional howling-pain spasms; MRI revealed degenerative disc disease in 3 areas), systemic edema, blurry vision (eyeglasses were worn beginning in high school, worsening every year), paralyzation at times in hands and feet working its way into my torso (Joe had to be called to carry me out of work several times), allergies/sensitivities to all things (food, pollens, chemicals), continued amenhorrea, weight gain (at my heaviest 50 pounds overweight), inability to concentrate (couldn’t understand a sentence spoken to me in time to hear the next in a conversation), diagnosed with cervical dysplasia (treated with cryotherapy), migraines, heart pains, indigestion/reflux, bingeing (and at the end, vomiting – luckily only a few times), muscle twitching (over 100 twitches in 1-minute’s time), lumps in my breasts I was too afraid to have checked out, and one of the last but most difficult for everyone around me was my irritation and rage (a complete reversal of my laid back and sweet nature everyone knew me to have growing up).
I literally could go on, but I don’t want to waste any more time or bleed my heart out anymore than I have.
I went the conventional doctor route, with absolutely NO success. Each one made me sicker, weaker and with more symptoms. Most concluded it was all in my head and I was crazy!
Joe was always interested in body building and happened on Vince Gironda. His way of eating to be as strong and sharp as possible intrigued Joe. Almost as soon as he researched this and similar diets (many authors delving into the low/carb free approach to health long, long ago) he started eating low carb/high fat. Instantly it appealed to me and I tried experimenting with low carb foods and recipes (I loved to cook and bake). It was not an immediate win for me, but certain things instantly started to turn around (allergies and asthma in particular as soon as I removed grains). I also started unmasking the low carb foods (vegetation especially), which would send me into terrible fatigue spells.
When Joe and I married August 8, 1998 (this is part of my love of the number 8), it was one of the best days of my life (other than the days of giving birth to my two sons). It was bittersweet though. I felt bad despite the adrenaline. We were the first ones to leave our own reception, not because we couldn’t wait to be together, but because I was so wiped out from the whole thing.
On with the positive turn!
Soon after I was diagnosed with Lyme disease by an alternative M.D. At least that gave us something to focus on and be able to look at as reasons behind some of my issues. I decided to quit my job to focus on getting well and reducing my stress level (I was working, taking MBA classes, finished my PT and nutritionist licenses).
More research quickly led us from looking at low carb to virtually no carbs. We experimented so much in such little amount of time that we realized we’d better start journals of everything we ate, how we felt, what worked and what didn’t. All we wanted was consistency.
The fish and oil diet was the first diet I can remember being the first try at a zero carb diet. It relieved a lot of my symptoms, but not all (still had amenhorrea, edema, trichotillomania, acne, eczema and excess weight). We probably spent about a year experimenting beginning with the fish and oil diet, quickly switching to free range eggs and poultry, and occasional lamb and beef.
As SOON as I switched to animal fat as my fat source instead of “healthy” oils, I ovulated and had a period two weeks later. I couldn’t believe it!!! Why in the WORLD didn’t someone tell me years ago about the importance of animal fat?!?😤 I’ve been more regular since then than I ever was as a young teenager. I’ve had two healthy boys (no complications for me; home births too; mid-wife with Charlie and unassisted with George)! ❤😀
We experimented with pork only to find that it activated symptoms. Ground meats, no matter what type also did.
We continued researching and looked at our wins and fails. It led us to Blake Donaldson who suggested a steak and water diet for his patients. That made a lot of sense to Joe and I. We started with pemmican only for some time, introducing steak eventually. Sure enough, as soon as I decided to go all beef, EVERY SINGLE ONE of my symptoms vanished!!! I couldn’t believe it. Whenever I tried to share my success and happiness about this, it was met with more questionable stares, anger, fear, and rolled eyes than you would ever imagine. So, it was our little secret. And that’s how we kept it until we found others with our point of view.
Also, I quickly found the more I ate meat only, my face shape changed and especially my body. I went from needing to work out religiously and strenuously when eating poorly to giving up exercise completely in order to not become too muscular or masculine-looking.
Even when others put our interview out a few years ago, it was met (by some) with so much anger, that we pulled it. It was slated to be run in National Examiner magazine. Boy, would that have been a disaster in many respects.
These days we eat ribeye steak, since it’s the fattiest. And we drink spring water. That’s what we do. We don’t think about it. We don’t really even talk about it. To us it’s like talking about why the sky is blue. Yes, there is scientific reasoning behind it. It’s nice to understand, but it’s beauty is really all it comes down to appreciating!