Some background: 52 year old male, business owner with an advanced degree, married with two teenage daughters, no health problems, always considered myself fit and health conscious, avid cyclist (around 4,000 miles per year mostly road and some mountain biking, resistance training off and on during the year, mostly body weight over the last several years. Diet-wise I would eat standard stuff, tried to stay away from french fries, eat my greens, etc. but nothing special. Since I ride a lot, I would do things like down a frozen pizza late at night after a hard ride. I have been a beer drinker from the word go so that often went hand in hand with post ride nutrition. Overall, too much alcohol over the last year or two with work related stress. With all that I did pretty well and my weight has always been around 170 lbs with decent body composition, maybe down to 160 lbs once or twice 8 years ago when riding a lot and training to race.
I first heard about Dr. Baker in October 2017 somewhere on the web, maybe referenced in an email from one of many subscriptions, regarding a powerful athlete that only consumed meat and water. This intrigued me and I did a quick search and found a podcast interview that he’d done. After that, I had to try it for myself so the first week of November I pretty much dove in to what was essentially low to zero carb with mostly meat. I also adopted the 100 push ups and cold shower protocols at that time. I started the squats protocol a few weeks later.
The results blew me away from the start. I’m estimating my weight before starting was around 167 and I had been riding a ton – 42 straight days in fact which was a long streak for me. I wasn’t trying to lose any weight on this protocol, but I dropped to about 155 in a week or so – probably some water weight I guess. I measure weight on occasion just for fun, but I believe that all anyone needs is a full length mirror – and after about 10 days I looked as good or better than I ever have, including years ago when I lifted weights for fitness. Anyway, I’ve settled out at around 151 lbs. and 15% body fat according to my home scale, but aiming to add muscle weight from there.
Athletically, there was an adaptation period with some brain fog (pretty sure I wasn’t eating enough) and I would be sort of fatigued on fast group rides but I still hung in there and did okay. Since winter arrived I’m riding less and can’t really determine how this will affect my cycling until spring. I was skeptical about my doing the 100 push ups per day since I thought I would get too sore. Not the case. Overall I cannot believe how rapidly I recover after exercising. There have been many days where I will do the push ups and squats in the morning and then hit the fitness center after work for a full body weight circuit (around 20 minutes) with around 240 total reps of various movements – and feel like I could keep going. For the protocol I’m now adding a weighted backpack, raising my feet for push ups, etc. I don’t believe I could have done that much work that often in the past without breaking down too much physically.
More significantly, my mood, sleep, ability to handle stress, and overall outlook on life have all improved enormously. My work is highly stressful – I’m a business owner and over the past few years I’ve faced a lot of difficulty in the business. I’ve essentially coped by riding my bike and probably drinking too much. Since starting these protocols, my emotional ups and downs have smoothed out, I have a much more positive outlook, and I have embarked on a personal improvement mission.
I am devouring podcasts about health, nutrition, business, etc. I am continuously going to the library to check out the latest book recommendation and have two to three going at any one time. Instead of sleeping until the last possible minute like I usually did, I am getting up much earlier as I have so much I want to do each day. Diet-wise, as Dr. Baker has indicated, I am gravitating toward exclusively toward beef and am finding other foods don’t quite do it for me. Also, alcohol is much less appealing to me. It used to be that one beer tasted like “more” and I might have 2, 3 or 4. Now I can envision myself cutting it our or going to just an occasional light beer or wine/spirit rather than at least 2-3 beers every day. That alone is shocking.
I can’t say enough good things about this WOE. I am sure that the exercise and cold shower protocols are extremely helpful (I will probably continue all of them indefinitely), but for me it all starts with the diet. I truly believe that the carbs, among other things, just messed up my brain and made it difficult to deal with daily life issues and move myself forward like I should. I wish I had found this much earlier, but I’m not looking back. My wife pointed out that one of the likely benefits is that I feel control over this aspect of my life. That, along with the other mental and physical benefits, is an incredibly powerful combination.
My goals for this year are to stick with the program (full carnivore in January) and see how I perform athletically (enter a bike race or two this spring) and just maintain my forward progress overall. Dr. Baker is the perfect person to promote this way of life using an intelligent and measured approach and exhibiting a lot of patience with the same questions over and over. Plus, he’s my age so I seem to identify with him well. I will follow along closely and encourage others as well.
There’s probably a lot more that I could say, but its time for some push ups and squats.
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.
* Update: This post was written in mid-December 2017. Since then, Thom is now down a total of 57 pounds from his original weight.
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
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
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!
I’m a 24 year old woman who has been eating a carnivorous diet for almost 6 months! I eat mostly beef and pork with some dairy, eggs and bone broth. Prior to adopting a zero carb lifestyle I was eating a TON of vegetables on a low carb Paleo Diet. I even went so far as to only eat natural, pasture raised, grass-fed and free-range meats. I ate that way for a few years. Then my mom told me she was switching from keto to carnivore and felt amazing! I was skeptical but sick of having painful cystic acne and mood swings. I was ready to try absolutely ANYTHING.
Within a DAY of eating zero carb I noticed a difference in my mood. Heaps of energy and euphoria! I didn’t know I was lethargic before, but looking back, I certainly was. I woke up the next day with NO new acne and existing acne already improving! This was plenty to get me hooked on meat. That was in August 2017. I started carnivore at about 115 lbs 5’2″ and I now fluctuate between 107-110 lbs.
I have noticed the following improvements: overall leaner body composition, increased libido, CLEAR SKIN, softer skin, more restful sleep, zero cravings for sugar or alcohol, more energy, hair / nail growth, more visible muscles, increased strength, better stamina, confidence, a feeling of being calm or even zen (I would have described myself as panicky and anxious 6 months ago.) My cycle has regulated itself. Two years ago I was diagnosed with irregular periods! I now have a very predictable cycle with next to zero cramping and much milder mood swings. The list grows.
Grocery shopping is a breeze. Hardly need a list! I went from spending 20+ hours a week meal prepping/cooking for my boyfriend and myself, to maybe 8 hours a week. I can go longer between meals! I eat twice a day on average and I still drink coffee in the morning with heavy cream. When I started carnivore I was still occasionally smoking cigarettes and a few weeks in, my nicotine cravings vanished. I quit cold turkey!! My whole life has improved and I completely attribute it to replacing vegetables with a TON of meat. #meatheals and I have to thank Dr. Baker for his commitment to this movement. Without this way of life I’d be surviving but not thriving the way I am now!!
It’s only been 6 months but an all meat diet has changed my me as a person drastically! I came from the keto diet. I have since lost 50 lbs of fat. I still have a long ways to go in the weight department. My mind is what has gotten me through this. I’ve had depression and anxiety since I was little. I was scared to talk to people and had planned out suicide 3 times. I should have been medicated but I hated the numb feeling. I was also bulimic for 15 years. I would binge and purge everyday at least twice a day and never thought that would be something I would ever get rid of. I have not had an emotional outburst or a bulimic episode in the six months of eating nothing but meat. No looking back!
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!