Laney Levine

It’s New Year’s Eve 2018, and this time last year I was making lists and action plans for how I might once-and-for-all get to the bottom of my digestion problems. “This will be the year,” I would think as I would set out at the top of that willpower mountain only to make a steady trail downwards and backwards. I would tell myself, I will drink more water than ever, I’ll eat kale, collards, and spinach, I’ll cut down on meat to once a week max… I’ll have my plate be mostly vegetables. I tried soaking my grains, slow cooking my food, juice fasts, bone broth fasts, water fasts, I tried yoga postures for digestion, a regular evening walk, going vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten free, grain free, paleo… I did the Whole Life Challenge three times, the Whole30 several times a year, I tried staying on the Whole30 for 100 days… I did the GAPs diet, I tried eating only once a day; eating 3 times a day; grazing all day; not eating after 4pm, I tried the Low Fodmap diet, the SCD, I saw doctors and specialists, I had abdominal x-rays, ultrasounds, a colonoscopy… I worked with a nutritionist (for a year!), received regular acupuncture, took Chinese herbs, went to naturopaths, did colon cleanses, saw Mayan Abdominal massage therapists… At one point I tested positive for SIBO and stuffed myself with supplements like goldenseal, oil of oregano, bitters and all manner of digestive enzymes, Berbercap, 5htp, ABD5, Interphase, Floradix. I did two rounds of Rifaximin and Neomycin but the SIBO kept coming back.

I was “being so good”, doing everything I was supposed to be doing! I’d see slight improvements but eventually all of my symptoms would return. Nothing was actually healing me. And not only was I chronically constipated, I had all kinds of mysterious health issues about which doctors would always shrug and say, “Let’s just watch it and see”. I was always getting “benign tumors” including a lump under my arm, a lipoma on my shoulder blade, an enchondroma in my finger that caused the bone to fracture, a uterine fibroid, fibrocystic breast tissue… I had mysterious skin rashes, rosacea, vision problems, and constant whooshing (tinnitus) in my left ear. I had problems falling and staying asleep, I had bizarre inflammation flare-ups in my joints including one in my knee that was so debilitating that I could not walk without a cane for several months. I had interstitial cystitis, irregular cycles, headaches (including ocular migraines), and I was also depressed, anxiety-ridden and anemic. There were days when I could manage to go to a barre class only come home and sit parked in the driveway for half an hour or more trying to muster the energy to walk to my front door. I was miserable. I was red-faced and so bloated that I looked 5 months pregnant. I would wake up with a day planned and by 10 in the morning I would have to start cancelling things because I was so inflamed/in pain/bloated/exhausted and emotionally drained. I was missing out on time with my kids, with my husband, my friends, my life.

I felt I had tried everything and I was miserable. And then I tried going keto. I started seeing a slight shift in regularity, I started having more energy and better moods, I was sleeping better… I started learning everything I could about ketosis and macros! I was tracking and peeing on sticks and trying amazing keto recipes like graham crackers with cream cheese frosting!! Then I heard about micronutrients and slammed on the breaks. The fear set in and I was worried that I might not be getting what I needed if I wasn’t eating my greens and other “superfoods” so I added collards back in and immediately the tinnitus came back. I added in berries and avocado and I became constipated again, my energy dropped, the moodswings returned. Then one night I was listening to Anthony Gustin’s podcast and heard Dr. Shawn Baker talking about carnivory. I thought, you know what? I have tried EVERYthing else… What have I got to lose by trying one more thing? So, I threw my hands up and went carnivore.

That was September and now, 4 months later, every single one of those symptoms I mentioned above have disappeared. In six weeks went from 156lbs to 127lbs (and have now stopped weighing myself because I couldn’t care less about the scale). I went from CIC (chronic idiopathic constipation) to having several -at least two- bowel movements every day. I can make plans with confidence because I am no longer a slave to mysterious physical and mental health issues. Today my diet is simple. There is no guesswork, recipe scouring or fretting over whether this dish is “legal”. I eat mainly beef, pork, elk, and fish. I can have small amounts of cheese but I don’t do well on eggs or yogurt. I do not miss anything that I used to eat. I do not feel left out when others partake in things I cannot eat because I have my health back and that is way more delicious than anything else imaginable! Find me on Instagram: @healing.highway

Annie S.

Annie – 31 year vegetarian now carnivore

Let me tell you a bit about myself, I live in just outside of Brisbane, Australia, I’m 45 years old, have 4 daughters ranging from 19 to 11 years, I work five days a week and am studying a health sciences degree full-time online. I decided to do a Bachelor of Food and Nutrition, after I became obsessed with using food for medicine and good health. I want to help others regain their health as I have gained mine back since starting a ketogenic diet over four years ago, I’m now carnivore.

For as long as I can remember I have suffered from IBS issues – gut pain and cramping, explosive diarrhoea, severe constipation – first seeing a GP for it when I was 14 years old. I never had a weight issue until having my first baby, but it certainly became a huge issue for the next 15 years. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when I was pregnant with my first daughter and during two pregnancies had gestational diabetes. Over these years I also suffered terrible GORD, repetitive disc bulges, sleep issues, asthma, thrush, recurring chest, sinus and urinary tract infections, major anxiety and depression issues. I had allergy tests done, where I was allergic to 13 of the 16 things I had been tested for and was told I was pre-type 2 diabetic by my overweight GP, who told me I should just expect it as it was in my family.

About 5 years ago, my health was heading south rapidly, with almost daily headaches and weekly migraines. I had a strange turn one day where I blacked out while driving, with my then four-year-old in the car with me. Apparently, I was slurring like I was drunk, but I managed to get my little girl to call the ambulance. I have no recollection of the event, except that I came to with two ambulance officers in my car trying to establish what had happened to me. My husband and police were on the scene when I came to as well, but despite being taken to hospital and tests being done, I never found out what had happened to me – except that they thought the migraine I had, had caused the event.

A few months later I got very unwell with a chest infection, landing myself in hospital for 12 days. My asthma was in a very bad way and I could hardly walk the corridors in the hospital without bringing on an attack. I gained about 5 kilograms during my hospital stay and was referred to a dietician to try to get my weight and health under control. I followed her recommendations religiously as I hated what was happening to me, but all I managed to do was gain more weight. She made me feel like I couldn’t possibly have been following the guidelines she’d set for me and that I was cheating myself.

I’d heard cutting sugar from your diet was good, so I stopped adding sugar on my morning oats and cutting it back substantially from my home baking, which gained me a small win with a couple of kilos weightloss. In November 2014, I then saw a documentary that literally changed my life, featuring Dr Maryanne Demasi, Dr Peter Bruckner, Professor Tim Noakes and Dr Steve Phinney. It was about the low carb, high fat diet and so, fuelled with the small win I’d had from ditching the sugar from my diet, I thought I’d give it a go.

My weight dropped incredibly quickly and majority of my health issues all but disappeared. I haven’t even had a head cold in the four years since starting. Everyone at work gets sick over winter, but I have not as yet. LCHF cured my GORD, disc bulges, asthma, allergies, thrush and I never experienced any more chest, sinus or urinary tract infections. I got stricter with my food choices and went VLC/strict keto, all the while my weight was still slowly creeping off.

At this point I should say I had been a lazy vegetarian for 31 years. I say lazy, as I had eaten fish very occasionally for a few years but never too regularly. I had however been doing a lot of research, reading lots of studies and following some very intelligent people on Twitter. All my research had me concluding that although I was way healthier in my food choices now eating keto, I had to eat a lot more protein than I was. I introduced fish regularly and, much to the shock of my family, I started eating chicken again – it had been 31 years. I started feeling so much better almost immediately, stronger. I then caught wind of Dr Baker’s carnivore study, which, both research and my own curious nature, had me very interested in. Crazy right, as I was only eating chicken, fish and eggs? But I did it, very strictly, ditching coffee, cream, cheese and only eating the chicken, fish, eggs and drinking water. I had it in my head though that I wanted to be brave and try red meat and so set a personal goal to achieve that before the end of the study – I knew for optimal health it was for the best, but I had a lot of mental hurdles stopping me. It came to the last week of the study, I felt amazing but disappointed in myself for not giving red meat a go like I wanted, so one day on my way home from work, I bought a rib eye, cooked it and ate the whole thing. I believe I have eaten at least one piece of red meat every day since.

To date my overall weight loss is about 40kg (or 88lb), with a measurement loss of about 120cm (or 47 inch) total. Hormonally, I have re-gained the 4kg loss I experienced during the study, which I intend on shedding again in the new year. Let’s just say, being a woman is unfair sometimes and the one thing that no diet has helped with is my lifetime suffering from endometriosis. I’m having further surgery in the new year, so hopefully I can get on top of the fake hormones currently circulating my body causing these adverse effects.

So, what happened when I went completely carnivore? Whilst LCHF/Keto helped the majority of my conditions, I was still suffering bouts of IBS issues, some arthritic aches and anxiety. Since going carnivore, I have been able to ascertain that it was vegetables still causing my residual IBS and occasional arthritic soreness. I am physically so much stronger than I have ever been and the recovery from exercise is outstanding. Where I once would have been sore for days and in some instances great pain, I have minimal soreness and generally only the following day, if at all. My mental clarity has been the overwhelming improvement which has me off my medication for the first time in about 10 years. Mentally, I would never have been able to take on such a gruelling schedule of fulltime study, working 5 days a week and four kids before, but carnivore has allowed me that. The first-wave carnivore study began in August 2017, for a three-month duration but I have remained carnivore ever since. I intend on staying this way for the foreseeable future as well for the outstanding health effects it has had on my body and mind.

Cheers,
Annie

Maria Schneider

During mid-January of 2018 I switched to a carnivore diet out of desperation because despite all my attempts I could not lose weight. I was then 189 lbs. and willing to do anything to stop gaining weight, and to that point all my attempts had failed regardless exercising 2+ hours a day and eating as “healthy” as I could with the information I had at that time. I was following a low-fat diet, heavy on organic plants that kept me always hungry and frustrated with myself; depressed and ashamed. I suffered from chronic joint pain, migraines, severe environmental allergies, and I thought I had to get used to these “normal” changes of my aging body. Working as a Canadian health provider I had never been exposed before to other health preventative measures other than those politically correct, and accepted by the American Heart Association and the Heart and Stroke Canada; which (I thought then) were unquestionably and unanimously viewed as solid institutions where health practitioners and the public go safely to get educated on the “ultimate” guidelines and get answers to stay healthy.

I discovered the Ketogenic diet and decided to try it, and as I really don’t like to measure macros, ratios or any of the such, in a few days I naturally drifted into a meat-only diet. I discovered soon that many others around the world were recovering their health and naturally losing weight by avoiding plant-based food and eating only meat and drinking water.

When the student is ready, the teacher appears and I found Dr. Ken D. Berry and Dr. Shawn Baker. I discovered the carnivore community and I continued to get educated on how mankind evolved and our original diet and I continued to read about the formidable results of many brave and desperate men and women from around the world, from diverse age groups, ethnicities, and genetic propensities were healing from many illnesses.

Today, 6 months later I’m 50+ lbs. lighter eating steaks to satiety when I’m hungry and drinking water to thirst. My workouts are much shorter: 45 minutes of moderate weight kettlebells almost every day and rowing three to four times a week for a few minutes.

I’m full of energy and I feel better than when I was on my twenties, and I’m on my fifties. I feel alert and focused all day. My chronic joint pain and migraines are gone. My outlook on life is much more positive and my mood has been very stable, regardless of changing life circumstances. My allergies are gone: I haven’t needed any bronchodilators, antihistamines or NSAIDS for these last six months! I’m no longer bloated, after years of chronic bowel pain.

After eating my delicious steaks, I experience a deep sense of peace and contentment, a solid sense of wellness that encompasses body mind and spirit. #meatheals <3

Vancouver, BC Canada, July 2018.

Maria lost over 50 pounds in 6 months on a carnivore diet.

Virgilia Clarkson

Since I was about 10ish years old I’ve had issues with food related illness. At first it was random sickness after eating, or little desire to eat. By the time I was 15, I full on could not eat a solid meal. Two bites in and I was SICK! It was awful because I was hungry and knew I had to eat something, but no matter what I ate it would make me feel like crap. Needless to say, my weight and body composition was changing constantly and rapidly. There were many times where I could not handle eating for days at a time. Often times there were weeks in a row where each day I would consume less than 200 calories. At 15 I dropped 20 pounds in less than 2 weeks. Obviously my parents and I were scared. We sought medical help, which led to me going for scans, MRI’s, ultrasounds (internal & external), and so much blood work it looked like I had track marks. And what did they find? NOTHING!

So here I am, 15 years old and hardly able to eat, lethargic, sleeping close to 18 hours most days, and with no explanation of why.

Fast forward to age 18. I find out I have celiac disease. Hooray! I have an answer. Or so I thought.

I went on a super strict, absolutely no gluten diet. There was absolutely no change in my stomach problems. I was still sick and in pain no matter what I ate.

Now over the next couple years I kept it strict, but also ate very “clean”. I’ve never had a sweet tooth so it wasn’t hard. But I ate mostly lean meats and carbs. I even tried vegan (and felt 1000x worse immediately so stopped after a short time). I had nearly given up on finding anything to help. My chronic pain, daily migraines, sickness, inability to work, and depression were all piling up on me, putting a strain on my marriage and causing me to be dangerously suicidal. I even found out that I nearly never ovulated, meaning if I ever wanted to have a baby, there was nearly no chance.

Then I heard about Keto.

As someone who often thought against the norm, the idea of having high fat rather than high carb didn’t seem outlandish to me. So I researched as much as I could for about 3 months and then jumped into Keto immediately after having a breast reduction surgery at age 20.

In 3 days I had no more bloating. In 5 days I felt like eating. In just over a week I noticed I wasn’t sick when I ate. In 2 weeks I noticed I no longer had migraines. In 1 month I had energy! I used to NEVER have any energy.

Today, I am 21 years old. I am practicing a hybrid of Keto & Carnivore. I’m never sick after eating, meaning I can finally enjoy food! Migraines are gone, as well as most of my joint pain. I ran my first race ever. My cycle is perfect, and I ovulate every month. My skin is clear. My relationship with my husband is better and stronger than ever. I’m working part time as a safety manager.

But best of all, I am finally happy.

Thank you for taking the time to read my story.