Mark Hannigan

You are what you eat

When you live with pain for so long it becomes the norm, you have no idea what a pain-free healthy life is. This is my story.

They say you are what you eat!

One of my first memories, when I was 7 years old, of attending our family doctor was because I had an abscess that was from hip to knee and wrapped almost completely around my thigh. I suffered from these regularly although this was the worst one to date and it was excruciating to say the least.

The memory has faded over the years until recently I remembered something the doc said to my mum at the time, he said “You need to stop him eating sweets”.

As a kid I completely dismissed this, as did my mum…

At 12 years of age I had suffered a life of constant abscesses and ear infections (Otitis externa) that regularly meant I was admitted to hospital for intravenous intervention and surgeries due to sepsis and the need for pus drainage from both ears and abscesses.

I was attending a Haematologist because of my health issues and was diagnosed with a completely unknown Neutrophil disorder and had to accept that I was going to live my life with constant hospital visits because of my health issues and that my immune system would never work.

Life went on and I accepted the cards I’d been dealt because medical professionals had said I had no other choice.

At 20 years old I was rushed into hospital with a fever from sepsis caused by a cold sore on my middle finger of my right hand and it was a true sign of how weak my immune system really was. This became my next frequent symptom of my bad genetics, as I was led to believe.

A year later I suffered a major trauma to my left wrist, with a comminuted fracture to the distal end of my left radius as well as a broken Ulna and Scaphoid. This really took my health on a downward spiral as my body tried it’s best to heal the injury and I couldn’t physically work or use my left hand for 4 years.

This event was the start of my weight issues in life and I rapidly gained pound upon pound of body fat as I went through depression and ate highly processed foods, they were all I could afford whilst living on benefits, for comfort.

Fast forward 20 years and I was almost 40 years old in November 2014. I wasn’t the most pleasant human being alive and hated the world and most people in it. I’m truly surprised my wife put up with me and eternally grateful for her constant love and support.

Strangely, another accident was the turning point in my life.

Due to my health issues I had lost consciousness whilst driving my work vehicle and my driving license was revoked.

I had Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea and Mrs H would tell you I had a serious case of ‘Grumpy husband syndrome’

The conditions to regain my driving license were to have a BMI under 30 and be a non-smoker.

My BMI was 43 and I smoked 40 a day.

Using a weight loss program with over 30 years of proven history and evidence based results I lost 9 stone (126lbs or 57.15kg) in 7 months and reversed all of my health issues and quit the smokes!. My wife joined me on the journey and lost an amazing 6 stone 2lbs(86lbs or 39kg).

The weight loss was the easiest thing I’d ever done in my life to improve it in every aspect, but I now had to learn to maintain that health for life.

As we were already following a low carb plan, we decided to try living a low carb lifestyle and never really introduced the carbs back into our life. Against all common beliefs and official health guidelines we were not only maintaining our weight loss, but my health was constantly improving!

We spent over 2 years living a ketogenic lifestyle and I personally noticed that after a while I was slowly gaining weight and suffering from signs of inflammation in the form of psoriasis on my head and face. The Otitis externa, a form of eczema, in my ear canals was still a regular issue although they had reduced in severity. I also lived with Tinnitus due to the ear issues. I also found I was regularly constipated. On top of that I was constantly hungry.

Late 2017 I was reading about the Zero carb/carnivore lifestyle and through reading some amazing stories of people who had cured so many ailments and illnesses by changing their diet I decided to give it a try, what did I have to lose, and set myself to try 30 days of meat and water only.

I’ve never looked back and my health has continued to improve in that time. Here’s a list of my health issues I no longer suffer from in any way due to a complete change in my diet.

  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Sleep apnea
  • Constant abscesses in groin and under arms
  • Neutrophil disorder
  • Psoriasis
  • Herpes Simplex
  • Otitis externa
  • Tinnitus
  • Depression
  • Aggression
  • Constipation
  • Bloating
  • Lowered libido

I’ve had over 40 surgeries in my lifetime for many different reasons but mostly to drain abscesses or even go so far as removal of my pilonidal sinuses at the base of my spine to prevent further abscesses recurring.

If only my mum had listened to that doctor in 1982 who seemed to realise my ill health was down to my diet and the foods I was eating…

Before: 300 lbs; After: 174 lbs

Morwenna Palmehn

“Before”, July 2016; “After”, March 2019

‘Before’ was right around the time I was getting really sick in July 2016. I thought I was healthy. I ate mostly whole foods, no grains or beans or nightshades and very little sugar. I was really trying to push the vegetables thinking that I would soon feel great. Instead, I descended a dark road that led to chronic fatigue, brain fog, depression, general anxiety, social anxiety–napping daily and feeling generally crushed and done with life.

Enter a post on FaceBook by a dear and respected friend. She had some of the same issues and had been on a very strict diet that was making her feel amazing. I immediately decided to start the next morning. This was June 2018. I removed ALL plant foods from my diet, with the exception of coffee–I didn’t think I could function without it.

I had been no-fat vegan for over 2 years between the births of my 1st and 2nd children. When pregnant, I craved meat badly and so added that to my diet. After that pregnancy, I began to experience food and other allergies/intolerances. First was broccoli, then bananas, latex, hay fever, hazelnuts, and last was chestnuts not that long ago–to which I reacted with throat and tongue swelling that really scared me. I did not understand why I would be collecting these intolerances–I was so ‘healthy’!

I now know that I am extremely sensitive to plant toxins. Removing plants from my diet immediately gave me more energy–right away I didn’t need the daily naps. I was feeling really good, brain fog lifted and mood got better–but I wouldn’t class the feeling as ‘great’. Then, in October last year I weaned myself off of coffee and all of the sudden, getting up in the morning was no longer the worst thing anyone could ask me to do! I actually liked getting up in the morning and started making breakfast for everyone (my husband had been doing it for years).

Next, in November I discovered the art and science of fasting. I would do 72 hours fasts back to back (with one meal in between) for a couple of months and I started feeling AMAZING! I even lost weight–32 lbs that I didn’t know I even could/should lose. Come to find, I have small bone structure. I also hadn’t read a book for over 2 years, and reading used to be the love of my life. Now, I am collecting a large mass of books to read. I feel positive about life–I want to DO things. I am no longer hiding in the car and letting my family do all the shopping. I literally had no idea that I was suffering from depression and social anxiety until it was gone.

In January, I joined the gym and I go there most mornings (early!!) to get fit and grab back my life. Sitting and sleeping for over 2 years left me totally out of shape, but that is changing now.

So, I know I can’t eat plants (at least not for now), dairy, or eggs. I have added in green tea and that’s going wonderfully, feel great drinking my daily tea now. I don’t know what the future holds, but I know it’s going to be good. I am going to pursue some sort of education, cure myself of my fear of heights, and hike Mt. Snowdon in Wales.

If you’ve actually made it this far, bless you for caring <3 I hope this story helps someone out there recognize perhaps some of the same things in themselves or a loved one and provides help and inspiration!

Erika Ruiz

My name is Erika, I’m 34 years old, 5’6” and my highest weight was 278lbs. I began the carnivore lifestyle September 17, 2018.

I was keto (20g net carbs) for three years prior. I went off the keto rails early in 2018 due to frustration. Keto is wonderful, but in hindsight I just didn’t optimize for my body correctly, like I am now. This was tough, so many things were significantly improved on keto I was struggling to comprehend why I wasnt feeling my best. The things that improved were, my mental health, some weight, and hormonal regularity (PCOS), but I was struggling with inflammation. My CRP came back at 6.1 two years in a row and this really bothered me, something was off. My doctor suspected it was due to my chronic UTIs but to me the UTIs just seemed like another symptom of a larger issue.

As a child, I was constantly on antibiotics due to chronic UTI’s and ear infections. I must have done at least three courses a year from ages 5-12. I’m certain gut damage has contributed to my inflammation issues.

Entering my teen years was no fun, my cycles were never regular and of course I was just put on birth control to regulate them. I remained on that until my early 20’s when I learned more about the risks and was digging deeper into health and wellness. It wasn’t until then that I was diagnosed with PCOS. In early 2016, about 3 months after starting keto my cycles started to regulate somewhat. Now that I am carnivore, I am almost to a perfect 28 day cycle for the first time in my life. I actually ovulated 18 days into carnivore. This is perfect timing as I hope to have children soon.

Today, my inflammation is decreasing day-by-day. I have not retested my CRP but weight is just pouring off of my body. I’ve lost 10lbs. a month for the past 6 months. This is unheard of for me, dropping weight has always been a struggle. Just when I think “OK, next month my weight loss will slow down a bit” it just stays consistent… amazing. I’m down to 210lbs today, it has only been 6 months! My mental health has also improved further, over the past months I’ve noticed my anxiety and worry have substantially decreased, I used to go over and over situation or problem in my head, now I just let things go without even trying. I had been experiencing psoriasis on my scalp for about 6 years, this has almost completely vanished! It flares a bit during hormonal changes with the onset of my cycle but it is 80% better than before. It’s hard to explain…I just feel content, like someone cleared the drain, I was clogged and now I’m clear in every sense.

Some interested things I’ve noticed since going carnivore:

  • No muscle pain: I used to despise exercise. Before, I would get up enough motivation to go for a walk and my leg muscles would start aching instantly. I thought this was normal; it’s not. Three months into the carnivore diet I started a stepbet as I really was having the urge to move more. I was a mile in when I realized the pain wasn’t there. I thought I wasn’t trying hard enough so I accelerated my pace, the uncomfortable aching did not return. I’m now walking around four miles/day/5-6x week.
  • My skin is very fair and I no longer burn in the sun. I may get a bit red initially but it quickly turns into a tan. (it’s also very clear and smooth)
  • In the past I had an aversion to heat, I couldn’t tolerate it. Now it’s no longer uncomfortable and I am far more tolerant.
  • My teeth are no longer sensitive to cold, my gums no longer bleed when I floss, and my dentist visits are easy. My teeth and gums are healthier than ever.
  • 16 days in my toes ached unbelievably, I still have no idea what the hell that was.

Henry Klassen

Before I began the low carb, high protein meat diet, I ate a standard diet. I was 198 pounds (I’m 5’11”). Symptoms included:

  • Alcohol addiction
  • Weed dependency
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Low Energy
  • Teeth pain
  • Big gut
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Tingling in my feet and fingers
  • Hands fell asleep often
  • Headaches
  • Mood disorders
  • Always gassy

Today I weigh 152 pounds and I began working out again. All the above symptoms have gone away completely or improved significantly.

Currently consider myself a “loose carnivore”. I eat mostly beef, pork, chicken, eggs and cheese with the occasional fruit, dark chocolate or momma’s homemade pie.

Matthew S.

I shared my testimony with you a while ago but I have an even better testimony from my hubby. Back in November he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. If you don’t know much about this it’s a very curable cancer but the chemo drugs and regimen is one of the worst there is. He wasn’t on the carnivore diet prior so the day he was diagnosed I forced him into it. He was to start chemo after thanksgiving. 4 rounds of 3week intervals so 12 weeks in total. Week one he went Monday-Friday for 4 hours each day. The second and third week was only once each week. The first week in I asked the nurse when he would start feeling crappy. She said next week, then he would feel “normal” for a few days before it started over again. Well, It never happened. He honestly thought he was just taking the chemo well and decided he was going to eat “normally” at our family’s Christmas on a Saturday. That next Monday after chemo he got to feel what everybody else feels like during chemotherapy. He even threw up. Throughout that week even though he was back on the diet he also developed mouth sores associated with the chemotherapy. After being back on the diet for the remainder of the chemo he never experienced any of the other side effects. No nausea and he didn’t even take all of his nausea meds. His oncologist said and I quote “in my 35 years of oncology, I’ve never seen anyone handle chemotherapy physical as well as you, you’re the best I’ve ever seen.” He’s now in remission.

Mitch V.

In 2012 I tore up my knee pretty good playing rugby. After reconstruction, a few more seasons, and another injury I got the bad news from an orthopedic surgeon in 2016 that I would never run again (at the ripe old age of 25). I struggled with my weight and chronic joint pain for 2 years until I found keto in early 2018. I had a little success but found it hard to stick to the diet. After months of plateauing, gaining, and losing I went carnivore late December 2018 after following Dr. Baker’s story closely.

After 60 days:

  1. Lost 30 pounds, from 250 to 220 and counting, and went straight through the plateaus I had hit in the past.
  2. My joint pain is now only noticeable after strenuous activity, which I couldn’t even do before. My knee actually feels so good that I was able to pursue my career goals, which is in law enforcement, and passed the fitness tests with flying colors. Having tried in the past I know this would have been impossible without this way of eating.

Some things I was pleasantly surprised by:

  1. I create almost 0 food waste, and the amount of trash I create is much lower than ever before.
  2. I stopped having violent parasomnic sleep walking episodes and my sleep is the best it’s ever been.
  3. I was prescribed anti-anxiety meds earlier in 2019 and never filled the prescription. My anxiety is totally gone. I’m the happiest and calmest I have ever been.

In short, it feels like I got my life back from eating steak! Thanks to the whole community who have been so supportive!

Jonathan Kimber

My daily routine for eat the last month has been, 16 hours of intermittent fasting. First meat meal at noon, and then a meat meal at between 5 and 6 pm (1.5 – 3lbs of meat per day). Drinking on average 4L of water per day. One cup of coffee with heavy cream in the morning and occasionally a Jocko White Tea mid afternoon.

After a month of strict carnivore diet here is how it’s affected me:

  1. Has completely eliminated any depressive feelings

  2. My emotional demeanor has leveled out. I feel more in control of my emotional state and have noticed I am much less irritable

  3. After suffering for the last two years from what I would consider terrible hemorrhoids, that has completely reversed and have not had any issues at all for the last 18 days

  4. Since January 2015 when I had my vasectomy I have suffered since from P.V.P.D (Post Vasectomy Pain Disorder). It has been a horrible thing to deal with, living everyday feeling like I had just got kicked in the stones. Over the last year the pain hasn’t been as intense (I attribute this to intermittent fasting and reduced intake of grains) but I still have experienced days where the pain is debilitating. This has affected my sex life, caused me depression, and I had to self medicate with cannabis just to deal with the daily pain. Since going carnivore I have been able to cut out cannabis from my life completely because after only one week carnivore I noticed a massive reduction in pain. Now 1 Month in I hardly notice any kind of pain whatsoever. Sex is better and enjoyable again, and I’m feeling so much more confident because of this. It’s literally the most beneficial thing I have noticed from this. There are still days with slight pain, but I do not feel the need to self medicate to get through and that is amazing for me.

  5. I am 5’9″, I have an ecto-mesomorph bodytype and was weighing 187lbs when I started the diet. At this point I have lost 2″ off my waist, and I’m weighing in at 165lbs. I have also noticed an increase in my muscle mass. I haven’t really done any working out because I wanted to see the results of just eating alone. But the next thirty days I will be working out 5 times a week doing calisthenics, using my total gym and resistance bands. I look forward to the results of that.

In closing, I want to say I feel incredible. My energy levels feel like they did when I was in my teens. I’m happier than I’ve been in years, and it’s rubbing off on everyone I’m close to in my life. I want to say a huge thank you to Dr. Shawn Baker. If it wasn’t for him being on Joe Rogan’s podcast, and Dr. Baker’s Instagram and meat heals site I may have never tried this and been blessed to feel this way. I really believed I was going to have to resolve myself to living a life of chronic daily pain. This last month has been amazing and I will continue on this journey while also spreading the word of this life changing experience. I plan to do another update at the end of the next month documenting my progress.

Olivia Elliott

I started following Shawn Baker around November of 2018 when I started to get serious about weight loss. I’m 29 years old and have been suffering all through my 20s with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and PCOS. I was on a program of supplements and shakes with 4-5 meals a day consisting of only oven baked chicken and vegetables and although I was losing weight I was also miserable with what I was eating and unable to eat so much. I decided to give carnivore a try and I am so happy I did. I went from 250 lbs down to 210 lbs in 3 months. My hair is growing back longer and stronger, my mood is better, my skin is clearer, my inflammation is gone, my energy is up and I feel absolutely amazing. I practice intermittent fasting with 1-2 meals a day consisting of red meat. I’m almost completely off my thyroid medication and I see no need to ever stop this way of eating! Thank you to the whole meat heals community for continuing to inspire and motivate!!

Olivia Elliott

Marc H.

I’m a 73 year old retired family doctor who has been overweight by 20+ lbs with high blood pressure for most of the past 40 years. I was successful with Atkins, weight watchers, & Jenny Craig, but regained the lost weight with interest each time.

9 months ago my wife encouraged me to lose my bulging belly and “tire” around my back. I read and listened to podcasts of Dr’s Tim Noakes, Eric Westman, and Jason Fung and started Low carb/High fat eating, then added ketogenic and lost 15 lbs. But I turned my low carb diet into a high carb one by overeating veggies and almonds and gained back 5 lbs.

Discouraged, I converted to carnivore 3 weeks ago and finally obtained satiety, weight loss, and stayed in ketosis. I work out upper and lower body twice a week. I’ve been on the road for the past week & haven’t weighed myself. I’ll be home in 2 days. I’m feeling good. Bowels are working and have allowed me to stop years of daily Mirilax. I’m sleeping well. Signs of prostate enlargement are gone so I stopped Flomax, but in all honesty I’m using Hytrin for blood pressure which has well known positive effect on urine flow. Also improvement of erectile quality and intensity of orgasm has allowed me to discontinue Cialis with its unpleasant side effects for which I am truly grateful. My LDL & total cholesterol went up on LC/HF, but I paid Ulta Labs for pattern and particle size because my doc said I needed to be on statin or I’d die and my high HDL wouldn’t save me. These labs were fine and I’m not on a statin.

Now I’ve driven 3 hours to establish Ken Berry as my other doctor. I was thinking of deleting the sexual and bowel stuff, but I’m trying to be part of the solution to the problem my ignorance of diet caused me to inadvertently worsen during my years in practice. I’ve poured hundreds of gallons of insulin into the veins of diabetics without giving low carb eating a chance. I think everyone has to experiment on themselves, but the “standard of care” is a low fat/high carb diet with multiple expensive diabetes and cholesterol lowering medications.

I have a cup of coffee with butter in the morning. I arise at 4am. About 10am I have 2 pounds of ribeye steak. Plenty of water during the day. Maybe another 1 lb of ribeye late afternoon for satiety. I use a small George Foreman grill, even on the road. I hope this is helpful to somebody, if only Dr. Baker. Thanks for your sharing also.

Douglas LoBasso

The carnivore diet saved my life, I was on the vegan train to try to heal my colitis that was putting such a stop to my life but after 6 months went keto then started making my plates meat and fermented vegetables. I found relief but it wasn’t like it is today. I went back listening to these idiots saying I need greens and didn’t feel right doing that. I made the decision to go 100% carnivore and I have never felt better. The colitis stopped me from living my life. I was literally withering away when I was sick. I was on 4 pills of Lialda, 40mg of prednisone, suppositories, and 6mp (the low does chemo). My life was an absolute wreak. doctors were telling me there was really nothing more they can do except surgery. Happy I made the connection earlier on my own but once I came across Shawn Baker on the Joe Rogan podcast I went full speed on the carnivore diet and loving it

I have never felt better, looked better, or felt stronger. Please feel free to use this testimonial to show the success of the carnivore diet for other people suffering from ulcerative colitis because this story is not anecdotal and I have the labs to prove it.

Below is my initial diagnosis:

Below are the colonoscopy and pathology reports after being a carnivore:

As you can see they gave me a clean bill of health and even reversed the initial diagnosis. Thank you everyone for the help to bring this way of eating to light. It saved me and will save others.