Stephanie Holbrook

I hope someone reading this will learn from my trials. I will have succeeded if one person takes action. I don’t want anyone to experience the pain and struggles that I have gone through. Since I was 12 years I have been on a perpetual diet. I hit puberty and plumped up. My family had an obsession with being thin and my mom was always on a perpetual diet. At 12 I started that rollercoaster too.

My parents thought they were being helpful when they told me that they didn’t want me to get fat. According to the 80’s nutrition advice that meant I needed to cut the fat from my diet. I took the USDA’s advice and avoided ALL FAT. I have a family history of heart disease, so I avoided red meat and especially saturated fat. I ate cereal in the morning, sandwiches at noon, and pasta at night. I never reached my goal of being thin but I held of being super fat out of sheer will and determination. My whole life I never remember feeling good. I didn’t even know what feeling good felt like.

I stayed on that trajectory through college. I was always watching my weight. I was on a ROTC Scholarship and in the Army National Guard. The thought of of losing my scholarship was terrifying. After my commission I joined the National Guard. I didn’t want to lose the GI Bill that was paying part of my tuition. I stuck to the low fat diet and counted calories.

I met and married my college sweetheart. When I found out I was pregnant I decided to leave the National Guard. I didn’t have to watch my weight. I ended up gaining quite a bit of weight being pregnant. After having my son I never got down to where I was before becoming pregnant. Four years later I had my second son. I was even heavier than after my first child.

When my youngest started school I decided to train for a marathon. I believed that running a marathon would make me thin. Life would be perfect if I could run myself thin. I trained for the marathon and followed the prescribed carb rich diet. I didn’t end up losing any weight during my marathon training.

After the marathon I thought that I needed to do a triathlon, then I would end up thin. Nope, I was still fat. The triathlon training made me realize that I liked riding my bike. I took up cycling. I rode my first century bike ride. I was able to cover the distance but I was still fat.

I enjoyed endurance training. I made many friends and loved training with them. I figured that I needed to ramp up my training. Of course, that must by why I was still fat. I wasn’t training hard enough. I started training for the 70.3 distance triathlons, then I worked up to an Ironman. After the Ironman I was STILL FAT… UGH! WTF!

If the calories in/calories out model worked, I would be super thin. I was training 20 hours a week and eating less than 1500 calories per day. I had mild asthma that soon became chronic and uncontrolled asthma. I felt cold and exhausted all the time. I developed reactive hypoglycemia. On top of all that I still FAT.

It became clear to me that I was doing something wrong. Hours and hours of endurance training and eating a low fat, high carbohydrate diet was not making me thin. I must be doing something wrong. I started reading about Scott Jurek, and ultra-marathon runner and vegan.

I thought that was the answer, I needed to eat a vegan diet and train for ultra-marathons. The vegan diet was the last straw that broke the camel’s back. The vegan diet made my health worse. My asthma and allergies were worse. I added to my health issues horrible gas, injuries, and giant boils started erupting on my face. The one thing that stayed the… I was STILL FAT!

At that point, I sought alternative medical help. According to my regular doctor I was completely “normal” and nothing was nothing wrong with me. It is “normal” to have chronic asthma, a poor complexion, chronic injuries, and to be fat after doing an Ironman.

A concerned friend referred me to Naturopathic Doctor (ND). She order a slew of blood tests. I was almost afraid she would say that there was nothing wrong with me. I thought if she said that I was healthy like my primary care doctor, then I must be crazy. I didn’t think it was normal to feel as bad as I did.

The ND didn’t think I was healthy or normal. She measured my hormones, and informed me that I didn’t have any. My hormone levels were so low that they were not readable in the test. I hadn’t had a period in about year, and I thought that was from my birth control. But it was more likely from my poor diet and excessive training.

Thought this process I became obsessed with learning how the body works. I became a ACE Personal Trainer, and read everything I could on health and nutrition.

I gave up on endurance sports and tried Crossfit. That is where I learned about about the Paleo Diet and Robb Wolf. I also learned that Crossfit was doing nothing for my health. My hormones were still a mess. After 18 months I still felt like crap and decided to ditch Crossfit.

I wanted to figure out how to feel better. I started listening to podcast. I found Ben Greenfield’s podcast. He talked following a low carbohydrate diet with endurance training.

I joined Ben Greenfield’s Become Superhuman Coaching program. I took courses and certifications with the C.H.E.K. Institute. The C.H.E.K. Institute and Ben Greenfield’s message was quite a bit different from the USDA advice. I switched to a Paleo Diet, then a low carb Paleo Diet. My body started to heal. My gas subsided, my face cleared up. Over time my allergies went away and then my asthma disappeared. I went from a size 16 to a size 12 with the Paleo diet. I dropped from a size 12 – a 10 following a low carb Paleo diet.

At the Become Superhuman Conference and met Peter Defty from Vespa Power. We soon became great friends because of our obsession with nutrition research. Peter referred me to Esmee La Fleur’s website Zero Carb Zen. I started an on again/off again Zero Carb/Carnivore Diet. I started to feel better and dropped to a size 8.

Even though I had good results with a zero carb diet I had problems sticking to it. I had such a hard time saying ‘NO’ to food in social settings. I felt like I was being rude. It wasn’t until I participated in the Carnivore Study that I felt empowered to say no. I dropped from a size 8 to a size 6 during the 90 day Carnivore Study. I also felt WONDERFUL!!!

I returned to my my love of cycling. I train every year with a group for Tour de Tucson. The bulk of my training this year was during the Carnivore Study. I didn’t want to mess up the study results so I stuck to Zero Carb. I used meat sticks during the longer ride. I added Sports Legs, electrolytes, and salt to combat leg cramps.

The lack of carbohydrates didn’t hurt me. I had a personal record at the last Tour de Tucson. My average pace in 2017 for 54 miles as a Carnivore was 18.45 mph. My average pace while still using carbs in 2012 for 60 miles was 10.06 mph.

On a carnivore diet, Stephanie is hitting new personal speed records.

Over the holidays I had a relapse. I ate too many chips, salsa and margaritas on a trip to Mexico. My size climbed back to a size 8. But what was most pronounced was how horrible I felt after my trip. I couldn’t believe how fast I went from feeling amazing to feeling like crap.

I am back to a Carnivore/Zero Carb way of eating since January 2nd. Since then I continue to get faster on my bike. My functional threshold power (FTP) when I was low-carb/Paleo was 135, now my FTP is 201. My FTP keeps going up!

The carnivore diet is a miracle for my health. I went from wearing a size 16 to now wearing a size 6. I had no readable hormones and no menstrual cycle to having a regular 28 day cycle. As a high carbohydrate athlete I was spending $80 a month on asthma medications. I am not on any medications now.

Stephanie is down to a size 6 and in the best physical shape of her life, thanks to carnivory.

I am 48 years old. I don’t have six pack abs… yet. I have never felt better in my life. I still have extra fat to lose and more healing to do. I went from a lifetime of struggling with my health and weight to feeling good each and everyday. Soon, I expect to see those six pack muscles to show up. MEAT HEALS no matter how old you are or where you start.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sholbk
Website: https://ketoendurance.co/
Email: coach@ketoendurance.co

Rick B.

Carnivore WoE [ed: way of eating] for 5 months.

Cardiovascular: My blood pressure dropped from 130/90 to 95/65 (lowest). Triglyceride to HDL ratio 1.42, down to 1.17

Joints: Knee pain gone.

Nerves: Tremor in left little finger gone, depression and anxiety gone.

Energy up: Doing push ups and cycling.

Skin: Finger nails not ridging.

Celina Garcia

I’ve suffered with stomach problems my entire adult life (about 23 years). I’ve seen a number of doctors who prescribe medications or remove body parts, including my gall bladder, hysterectomy, appendix, but have all refused to tell me WHY I had been so sick and nearly dead for so long. The illnesses range from acid reflux to IBS-C and includes a myriad of food allergies and sensitivities, painful bloating, painful gas, and distended stomach/intestines. I subsisted off OTC and RX medications several times a day for decades.

In January 2016, having had enough, I took matters into my own hands and adopted a Ketogenic lifestyle. This cured my acid reflux, inflammation, and chronic hip pain saving me from yet another surgery. Food heals! Although feeling much better, the one thing that still plagued me was IBS-C, bloating, debilitating gas pains, stubborn extra weight. So, November 2016, I decided to give Zero Carb/Carnivore a try. I allowed all forms of animal protein and limited dairy in my diet.

Within the first 3 week’s eating zero carb I had lost 10 pounds and reversed my IBS-C. After decades of using RX and OTC medication, fiber, green smoothies, salads and produce to alleviate my suffering all it had done was exacerbate the problem. Removing the fiber from my diet made me immediately regular and cured me of all my bloating, swelling, inflammation, and painful gas pains.

I’ve been, for the most part, Zero Carb for 16 months and have never felt better, looked younger, had more energy, or mental clarity in my life. Oh, I still like to occasionally dabble in the dark arts of produce or nuts, but my body rejects it immediately and all my symptoms return reminding me why Carnivore is the lifestyle for me.

Thank you. En Paz.

Richard B.

I am 57 years old. On July 17, 2017, I was weighing 270 lbs. I am 5’10”. I started on a ketogenic diet on that day. I started on my carnivore diet on January 1, 2018. At that time I was 223 lbs. During the 6 weeks I have been eating carnivore I have lost an additional 18 lbs and have lost 4 inches off my waist, which is equal to the 4 inches I lost in my 5 months of the Keto diet.

Also I have osteoarthritis in my left hip. It had been painful to get up from a chair and I have not been able to put on my left sock for the last three years. The pain when I get up is gone. I still can’t put on my sock but pull my sock up once I get it over my heal. I’m hoping soon I will be able to put on my sock.

I upped my exercise level when I started keto but felt tired after my workouts. I know workout 3 times a day and have much more energy.

I have been an insomniac for at least 15 years. I haven’t slept a full night in my bed for years. Almost immediately after I started my carnivore diet I have been sleeping all night on my bed. I had been waking up 3 to 4 times a night to urinate. The last 3 nights I have not got up to urinate once. I wake up full of energy and immediately start my morning workout. I usually sleep 5 to 6 hours a night now. I have a Fitbit that records my sleep before carnivore I was sleeping maybe 3 hours a night.

On January 6, 2018 my father died unexpectedly, during this period I did not fall back into stress eating, which had been my habit in the past.

My normal eating is coffee with butter and heavy cream before morning workout at 4:30am. At 9:00am, I usually have about a pound of some type of beef. At about 5:00pm, I will have between 10 oz to 1 lb of beef. Early on I was having pork for dinner about every 3 days it was not filling so I now am almost exclusively beef for dinner. Saturday morning I usually have 3 to 4 eggs and about 3/4 lb of bacon. My intake is constantly changing I eat until full some days I eat more than others.

Thom D.

Shawn,

I found you on Twitter because Amy Berger (@TuitNutrition) mentioned you. I had just been insulted by two friends within 24 hours, both of whom said I was fat.

In addition, I had been told by basketball officiating observers that if I wanted big games and tournament assignments, I needed to lose weight.

One of the big problems for me was the head-spinning, confusing ways of going about it. Paleo and most LCHF diets require an encyclopedic-like recipe book. I HATE that. I want simplicity.

So, I was at a bad point. I was paralyzed into inaction by the complex recipes, going to the grocery to buy a thousand ingredients, but I was also very angry that I not only allowed myself to get so out of shape and wasn’t doing anything about it. Vicious cycle.

Then, I started following you on Twitter. It was a blessing from God, man. So simplistic to eat all meat (in my case eggs, too), yet it seemed it might be effective. I decided to give it a genuine shot. No cheating. No “kind of” doing it. I was all the way IN.

At first, it was weird eating steak for breakfast. But I followed what I saw you saying to others.

That was 20 weeks ago. In 20 weeks, I have…

  • Lost 49 pounds *
  • 38-40″ waist to 34″
  • Increased my energy (I used to want to take a nap at about 2:00 every afternoon. Now I feel energy throughout the day.)
  • Better sleep (Used to wake up at about 3:00 AM, and now sleep 7-8 hours straight)
  • Increased my cognitive sharpness (recall, analysis, etc.)
  • Improved my emotional state (Things that used to easily get me down now don’t)
  • Eliminated plantar fasciitis, which had bothered me for two years
  • Eliminated almost all of my knee pain
  • Increased my weight lifting numbers
  • Increased my desire to do work throughout the day

My diet every day is as follows:

  • Breakfast – 4-5 scrambled eggs and as many strips of bacon as I want, water
  • Dinner – 16-ounce steak OR 3 1/3-pound chuck burgers (occasional cheese added) OR 1 pound of roast beef OR a whole chicken from Costco or Boston Market with no sides, water (occasional ICE brand flavored water)

I don’t have to go to the store and buy a lot of things. I don’t have to look up recipes. I turn on the stove top or the grill.

I have no intention of stopping, as I enjoy every meal.

I can’t wait until the “friends” who insulted me see me again. Let’s see if those a**holes are as quick to compliment me as they were to rip me. Same with the basketball officiating observers.

Thank God I found you, Shawn. I appreciate your insight, effort and encouragement to all of us trying to get better.

Thom D.

* Update: This post was written in mid-December 2017. Since then, Thom is now down a total of 57 pounds from his original weight.

Tom R.

Tom today, after going carnivore

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.

Tom, before going low carb

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.

Tom, after 16 months of keto

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.)
  4. 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.
  5. 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…. 🙁 ).
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Greg Pay

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
Instagram: @thepayback55555

Greg before his dietary journey
Greg today, as a carnivore

Amy van Oostende

Left: Amy at 21 years old, 216 pounds; Right: Amy at 43 years old, 120 pounds

Hi!

I’m Amy van Oostende. I’m 43 years old, married with 4 children (4, 13, 21, and 24). I’m a nutritional therapy practitioner (NTP).

Before I became a nutritionist I was a personal trainer. Food and nutrition has been my passion for many years. However, I grew up on the standard American diet. After the birth of my first baby I fell for the “fat free” scam and subsequently became super depressed and gained tons of weight. At which point I got pregnant with baby number 2 and proceeded to gain an additional 67lbs!

I spent the next 6 or 7 years miserable. Counting calories. Trying to starve then binging on food. Laying in bed every night hating myself for screwing up. Vowing “tomorrow would be different!” Exercising the whole time, mind you! Many thousands of hours spent on the elliptical or treadmill!

Years passed. I thought I was “normal” with my daily headaches (there’s a king size bottle of Tylenol at Costco for a reason, right?!), heartburn, knee pain, depression, irritability, PMS, debilitating cramps, awful skin, breakouts, skin tags (eww), gray hairs starting in my 20’s, frequent colds, the flu and an epic string of strep throat (8 times in 15 months! And yes, antibiotics every single time… I shudder at the thought).

I didn’t lose weight in any miraculous or healthy way initially. I tried Metabolife and it certainly worked. I drank coffee all day and starved myself. This went on for awhile, I did give up the Metabolife thank God but kept on counting calories and fat grams and hours at the gym. At 5’5″ I hovered around 140lbs doing this.

Fast forward a few years, I started doing CrossFit and Paleo. I attended a nutrition seminar held by Robb Wolf and committed to “30 days of Paleo”. That was over 8 years ago. And believe me, the early days were full of many mistakes! Cheat days, sugar free popsicles, nasty chemicals, splenda in my coffee, you name it!

Since then I’ve spent most of my years on a keto/paleo template. I did tinker with higher carb paleo for a year. That was awful. I gained about 10 lbs of solid fat. Didn’t feel any better and my strength did not improve one iota!

I really only tried a carnivore diet out of sheer curiosity! (I thought that Baker guy was nuts! Lol) I already felt “pretty good”, or so I thought… however:

    • I had random gallbladder pain
    • occasional heartburn
    • my hair was falling out!!
    • my strength was stalled. I hadn’t improved any of my lifts in years (I do powerlifting. For fun, not competitively)
    • my mood, while better wasn’t great
    • my joints were a little achy especially if I sat in the same position for a long time. Which I chalked up to normal.
    • I was still fairly lean but not quite as lean as I had been previously. I’d pretty much lost all visible abs. Which I attributed to a reduction in exercise. And age.
    • my cycle was ok, although it took takes to “get going” – start, stop, start, stop.
    • I had adrenal fatigue (low cortisol all day)

I actually love veggies (with loads of fat, of course!) So, I figured I would try the carnivore thing and maybe last a week.

Within 8 days (I think) I got my first pullup EVER. Keep in mind I’ve been training seriously for over 20 years and never gotten a pull up before!

This almost surreal zen feeling came over me… I can’t explain it, but I knew I had no desire to stop! I started losing weight and body fat… my abs came back! At 5’5″ I went from maybe 130lbs to 117-120lbs and 13% body fat.

  • My heartburn, gone
  • My gallbladder pain, gone
  • My hair QUIT FALLING OUT
  • My mood and energy shot through the roof
  • Zero joint pain/stiffness
  • My cycle is perfect! Starts like normal, no cramps or PMS at all!
  • While I have not tested my cortisol levels again, all my symptoms of adrenal fatigue are gone!

Cooking and shopping is SO EASY! I have a family of four and we all eat basically the same.

After over 6 months I continue to see improvements in the gym. I eat primarily beef, pork, chicken. A little bit of cheese and eggs. I generally eat twice a day. Around 2lbs a day on average. I drink alcohol a few times a month (tequila). I don’t cheat at all. I have no desire.

For a nutritionist, this is a huge paradigm shift! But, all you need is an open mind and a willingness to experiment!

Amy while on a keto diet eating tons of veggies
Amy on a carnivore diet eating no veggies!

I run a Facebook group, Healthy Curiosity where I post a lot about the carnivore life (among other things!):
https://www.facebook.com/groups/298586013807972/

I’m also on Twitter: http://twitter.com/amyv_ntp

Instagram: http://instagram.com/amyvanoostende

 

Keto Endurance

Hello Shawn,

I am 37. I have been Low Carb for 2 years. The first 20 months probably 80% Keto and 20% LCHF similar to Primal Blueprint. I have been on a Carnivore Diet for the last 4 months.

I have never been obese or had any noticeable metabolic diseases. However by the time I was 35 I was the heaviest I had ever been – 212 pounds which is heavy for me and the weight sat around my belly.

In the 20 months on Low Carb I dropped from 212 to 182 pounds, then from 182 to 171 pounds on Carnivore. Weight is so easily managed on Keto and Carnivore.

I fully respect Keto, and it helped me a lot. I would recommend it to anyone. However I have found that Carnivore is superior in a few way for me personally:

  • Dropped 11 pounds almost immediately from a maintenance weight of 182 pounds on Keto
  • I had chronic ankle joint morning stiffness/arthritis due to soccer injuries for over 10 years, cleared up in 2 weeks.
  • Would get sporadic lower back pain, which I put down to slouching. Experienced no lower back pain in 4 months.
  • No improvement in my running but has not declined either.
  • I do get the urge to lift stuff. So I am going to do a Press Up / Pull Up challenge in January.
  • No cravings for any plants, and I actually like fruit and veg but I have no desire to eat it.
  • It is also really easy to plan as you just buy meat, keto can get a little tiresome at times.
  • Shockingly I have not died of Scurvy and I still poop 🙂

You can catch me on:

The Carnivore Diaries (Blog)

InstagramTwitterFacebook PageReddit subStrava ClubKetogenic Endurance Clothing

Thanks,
Keto Endurance

Charlene Andersen

Charlene Andersen, Age 44

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.

Charlene’s journals tracking every reaction to every meal

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.

Charlene’s favorite food, the glorious ribeye

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!

There is life after illness!! That I KNOW!!

Charlene

Charlene, age 44, enjoying the sun