Tom R.

Tom today, after going carnivore

I have 6 children – 6 thru 42 – and the one joke I hear all the time is about my ‘diet’: ‘So what are you eating now, dad??’  All my life, I’ve been curious to try different foods and regimens, to see what works for me and doesn’t. I’d be embarrassed to admit how much time I’ve spent reading and researching over the years; even now, at 65, it continues all the time. Fact is, there wound up being an overall direction to it (if a bit meandering), and it doesn’t change quite as frequently as perceived, but they do have a legitimate critique.

I’ve been through lots of ‘phases’: when I was in my teens I followed some of the early Atkins ideas, then in my late 20’s, early 30’s, I followed a strict vegan regimen: used to make my own bread with organic stone ground wheat. tofu and sprout sandwiches, supplemented carefully with spirulina, brewer’s yeast, etc. After (as near as I can remember) a year or so, I had some trouble with fatigue when I was 30 – I was running 5+ miles every day, and I finally started to add in some dairy. Not sure that was the issue, but things did get better, and then I followed a pretty strict vegetarian diet for several years. One of my children, born during that time, is still vegetarian.

I had struggled with seasonal, then year round allergies since I was 19, and chronic (worsening) headaches in my 30’s, and 40’s. Additionally, my weight fluctuated: I would ‘buckle down’, count calories, or restrict types of food; over those years my weight ranged between about 165 and 220. And I had bad sugar cravings: chocolate, sweets, a genetic predisposition for sure, but I would work so hard to cut it out, and then one evening, I would implode and clean out every sugary treat, every half-opened, age-whitened chocolate bar, or frosted over long-forgotten reduced-to-goo ice cream from the back of the freezer. Why? I always felt helpless, and made up my mind again, till the next binge.

Tom, before going low carb

With a lot of reservations (shifting from years of veggie to red meat?!) , I tried the re-packaged version of the Atkins diet that was popular in the late 90’s – I was well into my late 40’s. It defied everything I had believed for decades, but sure enough, I lost weight, felt better. I shifted to South Beach (a bit hipper version with lean meats, and more ‘correct’ foods), and had the same results. I couldn’t keep my results, though – I would drift back into the weight roller coaster, gird up, lose some weight, then stumble and start again. But I noticed that on the ‘induction phase’ of both these diets – when I was eating NO grains, I always felt conspicuously better. After those initial couple of weeks, as I added back in the brown rice, whole wheat (NEVER processed), that good feeling dissipated.

A few years ago, my wife mentioned a conversation she had about the Paleo diet: no grains, no processed food. I jumped into that, researched everything I could. Dropping the grains was a positive move – can’t speak for one other person on Earth – but for me there was a palpable difference. I generally felt better, much less stomach and gut goings-on, and I was better able to control my weight and my diet. For a couple years, I was doing well.

But I continued to read and explore: I came across more and more about the ‘keto’ diet. As usual, I first thought it was ‘too radical’, and I was just plain afraid to try something that out of the norm. But I was piqued, and in September 2016, I jumped in and followed a rigorous keto diet, no more than 25-30 net carbs per day, huge leafy green salads, and of course no processed foods, no grains, no sugars, etc. I recorded my weight and every ounce of my food every day.

This was the first time, I think, that I was finally able to control my sugar cravings – I don’t think I’ve ever had a ‘cheat’ meal since then. I had started mountain biking with a friend a few years earlier, and I use an app that records every ride, my heart rate, etc.  (I’m ridiculously fastidious about recording things.)  My buddy is a really strong, experienced mountain biker, and 15 years younger, so I can never keep up completely, but it paces me and I managed to improve. I had started at 200/210 lbs., and with the keto diet, careful calorie counting, and meticulous supplementation (electrolytes, vitamins, etc. – about a dozen pills a night, plus electrolyte powders and regular fiber supplements), I managed to methodically drop my weight into the mid 150s by December 2017 – less than I’ve weighed since before puberty. My biking got stronger, and I also got to the gym when I could, so my upper body strength didn’t drop off too dramatically with the weight loss. Along the way I implemented intermittent fasting, which, again, improved my stamina riding, and my health, mood, etc., got better again.

Tom, after 16 months of keto

But I had read about ‘zero carb’ – at first it just had a morbid fascination: here again I was looking at something that defied everything I thought I knew. This created more fear: what about scurvy, would I be painfully constipated, somehow permanently ‘ruined’? I toyed with it, looked into it, but never seriously considered taking that leap.

When I happened to watch Shawn (Dr. Baker) on the December Joe Rogan podcast, it suddenly felt down to earth, not so scary. I made up my mind to try it and started December 11, 2017. I wanted to be very clinical about it, and not confound my results, so I determined to drop, on that day, all my vitamins, supplements, psyllium husk (i.e. fiber supplement), and I also decided to drop my long time nasal spray, which I had taken for decades to address my chronic headaches (I have NEVER been able to stop that without vengeful headache repercussions). The only things I continued, at first, were my morning coffee, and my Claritin. I’d taken the Claritin for decades, year round – for headaches and allergies, and had never been able to stop it. A few days without it in the past caused severe itching all over my body, and I just assumed I’d take it till I died.

I continued and participated in the January study on Track-Well.com, and then just kept going. I tapered the coffee completely, as well as the Claritin. As of today (2/19/2018), I have been free of the Claritin for about 4 weeks. I tentatively planned to go back to my keto diet – I still have fat bombs and low carb, homemade bread patiently waiting for me in the freezer (which my family probably won’t eat) – but as of now I have no plans to stop the carnivore WOE (way of eating).

I eat mostly beef, occasional pork, a little chicken, eggs every few days, occasional cheese, but I’ve felt better when I drop the cheese entirely. Aside from that: water. I eat when hungry, surprisingly never get tired of the steak (or hamburger for economy), and it usually happens about twice a day.

I realized that, generally speaking, as I cut out carbs at every ‘phase’, I just felt better. Suddenly it didn’t seem unreasonable to cut them out entirely, and just see what might happen. Of the three ‘macros’ (carbohydrate, protein and fat), only protein and fat are ‘necessary’. Hey – tomorrow I may decide on a different route, but as long as it goes this well, I’m staying on track.
Here’s what I’ve noticed:

  1. Weight: my weight dropped in the first couple weeks from 153 to 147, but since then it’s slowly built back up to 162. Most is muscle weight, not fat – my waist, etc., hasn’t really changed.
  2. Joints: I’ve had some chronic problems with neck/shoulder pains since my 40’s, but those really disappeared almost immediately after I started keto. I’ve had occasional twinges in knees and joints since, nothing to complain about, but since starting carnivore, these are rare and temporary.
  3. Headaches: these diminished pretty quickly, and the minor ones I’ve had seem now to be associated with dairy, especially cheese. This is a kind of ‘elimination diet’, and as such, it becomes easy to isolate ‘trouble’ foods.  (I’ve had multiple MRI’s and CAT scans, as well as several types of doctors working on this issue for me over the years. If this diet eliminates that lifetime issue, it’s really huge for me. Allergy season could be an issue, but I’m going into this spring sans meds and willing to see what happens.)
  4. Stamina/strength: Within the first few days, my energy jumped considerably, even over the keto diet – I just wanted to go work out. When I could make the time I was sometimes working out in the gym, followed by a pretty strenuous kettlebell or rowing workout, and then, in the evening, a couple hard hours of mountain biking. Since then the energy has settled somewhat, and I realized I was doing TOO much for an old man, but I still feel as good as ever, and my biking and workouts are all improved. I track all my weights in the gym, and they’ve steadily improved since I started, and much faster than any time since college. My recovery time seems shorter as well. In terms of cardio shape and stamina, I can climb familiar hills, gulleys, etc., that I sometimes couldn’t climb before.  ‘Burst’ (anaerobic) energy is just as good or better, not just aerobic exertions.
  5. Intestinal: whereas I had been supplementing with psyllium husk to get a consistent 30 grams of fiber a day and a daily bowel movement, I suddenly cut this out entirely. Now I am very regular, though less frequent, and the bloating, rumbling, and gas I always had before is pretty much gone. I never feel constipated – I’m never aware of my digestive track at all, really. It just works. I spend a fraction of the time I used to in the bathroom (stopped even bringing my phone in…. 🙁 ).
  6. Coffee: In the past I had given up coffee for stretches, but I had to taper over a few weeks because I’m very sensitive to caffeine withdrawal. It seemed much easier on this diet, and just took a few days.
  7. Skin: I notice I usually don’t need deodorant now (could change as summer approaches, I’m open to friendly feedback), and I also notice my skin is generally just a little better hydrated. I rarely use (or need) soap on my skin anymore. I have always had some chronic skin breakouts on my chest and back, dermatologists had tried to address over the years, but early on I noticed this was entirely gone. Some things happen that you aren’t expecting, and it’s a pleasant surprise.
  8. Mood: I noticed that I generally had become a good bit calmer and less reactive (my family’s observations may vary..), even on the keto diet, and that continued on the zero carb regimen.

I’ve learned, over the years, that ‘conventional wisdom’ is often 99% convention, and 1% wisdom. The money and resources spent these days on persuasion, the stakes being high as they are – it’s more important than ever to avoid confirmation bias and the emotional sort of ‘cult’ identification (‘I’m a CARNIVORE!’  ‘I’m a VEGAN!’). I try to avoid ‘us-against-them’, whether it’s carnivory, or veganism, or any labeling that artificially divides us by point of view, or way of eating, etc. And there is SO much conflicting ‘research’: I can support any view now by simply Googling the results I want, and the ‘debate’ is endless. I don’t have the time to spend or interest in researching why that’s so (I have theories ;-), but I responsibility for my own personal health rests with me, and I’m reluctant to cede that authority blindly to another person or institution. When possible, I test for myself; I prefer ‘evidence-based’ knowledge over authoritarian-certified dogma. Trust, but verify – rather than trust alone. If one option makes sense, but the other is based on a ‘study’ I opt for the one that makes sense – and when possible, test. I trust implicitly the true scientific method, but I don’t automatically trust every claim paraded noisily about as ‘science’. Sadly, I know so many people who could possibly be helped by changes in diet – with joint issues or autoimmune conditions, but who are intimidated by the shrill, alarmist voices out there, scaring them off. There’s a treasure chest of good information supporting the carnivorous and LCHF diets out there now, enough to help a reasonable person ask good questions, if they have a true interest in open minded learning.

Thanks to Shawn and Matt and everyone else who’s made this interesting, and a bit humorous at times, but mostly for giving people confidence – without arm-twisting – to experiment for themselves and share. It’s all fun to try new things, and learn.

Greg Pay

I’m a few weeks from turning 42 and I have never felt better in my life. I’m a little over a month into this carnivorous journey, and I’m still in shock how my mind and body have responded to this diet.

I was an overweight and depressed teenager. I knew nothing about exercise or diet. Sick of not getting any attention from the girls, I decided to basically starve myself when I was 20 to lose the flab. A few years later I started lifting weights and I fell in love. Over the years I put on some decent muscle size but always struggled with body fat, especially the “spare tire” I could never shake.

Over the years my weight was like a yo-yo and I tried all the different diets… low carb, high carb, Atkins, Keto etc. with little success. I figured I’d be stuck with this “donut” forever.

About 5yrs ago I started having reactions to all kinds of different foods out of nowhere. Veggies, fruits and grains were provoking crippling pain and causing me to throw up. Believe me, I would have preferred it to go out the other end lol. I underwent some tests but Doctors couldn’t do anything for me. I learned to live with it and stayed away from certain foods but sometimes I would eat the wrong thing and boom. Smoking a joint was the only thing that saved me from the pain.

2018 hit and I decided to do a modified Keto. I never felt right and I kept thinking back to that meat eating Doctor that was on Rogan. I said f@&k it…I’m gonna give this Carnivore thing a shot. Best decision I’ve made! Within days my body started to change as well as my mind state.

Here is what has been happening:

• Mood – I feel amazing. Confidence way up. Was on cannabis CBD oil for anxiety, no longer needed. I look forward to each day!
• Fat loss – down 10lbs, waist down almost 3”. Spare tire disappearing by the day!
• Performance – I’m an animal in the gym. Strength waaaay up. Crushing PRs. Putting on muscle. Lots of energy during the day.
• Digestive health – never better! Bloating gone. No gas. Regular bowel movements with very little waste. Feel great!!
• Joint pain – annoying tweak in shoulder and elbow… gone.
• Skin – I live in Calgary, Alberta so it is very dry this time of year. My skin is soft and glowing… so my wife tells me 🙂
• Libido – let’s put it this way, I feel like a teenager again.
• Alcohol – would have 2-7 drinks a week, now it doesn’t appeal to me much. I’ve drank once in 5 weeks.

Generally I eat twice a day and don’t snack. I look forward to and enjoy each meal! I love not being a slave to food. No more constant food prep and eating 4-6 times a day.

Like most people I thought eating only meat was crazy when I first heard about it. Now it all makes sense.

I’m forever grateful for Doctor Shawn Baker and what he has done for me and so many people worldwide. He is the perfect person to lead this revolutionary movement. We’re just getting started!

Thank you Dr. Baker! Now go eat a damn steak!! #meatheals
Instagram: @thepayback55555

Greg before his dietary journey
Greg today, as a carnivore

Mike Altizer

Back in high school I was your prototypical athlete playing football, running track. Best shape of my life, had the ripped six pack, could eat everything and anything. Just like most when high school ended everything changed except the way I ate. I continued to eat everything and anything I wanted. My metabolism kept up for the most part until I hit the dreaded 30 year mark. In 19 years I went from 5’11”-195lbs to 244lbs. I would look in the mirror or see pictures and think “This isn’t you”. That football body is still in there I know what to do and how to work out. Which is true, however between family, work, and just plain life the time and in reality the effort was not there. Every time I went on a diet of some sort I felt miserable and starving.

Then in early December of 2017 I came across the Joe Rogan podcast with Dr. Shawn Baker. I must have watched it 20 times as it intrigued me. Here is this doctor not necessarily pushing his diet, just talking about how for almost a year at that time he had only eaten meat and drank water. Dr. Baker’s results weren’t what intrigued me, it was how he talked about it. The fact he said multiple times different things work for different people do what works for you. I thought to myself, “I love steak!” In fact the only time I ate vegetables or fruits was as a topping on my pizza or burger. So on December 11th, 2017 I told my wife I was going on this carnivore diet. To which she rolled her eyes as if to say here we go again, another diet that won’t last.

In the beginning I found myself hungry as usual. I was eating a variety of chicken, fish, pork, and beef, eating cheese cubes as snacks. Once I hit the third week I found my body only responded to beef. Nothing else gave me energy or made me feel full and satisfied. From that point on it was steaks, steaks, and occasional ground beef. No need or want for cheese cubes anymore, I was feeling the best I have felt in years. I was dropping weight at an amazing pace even though I average eating 3lbs of beef a day. Probably because I was obese for my size and frame. For the first time ever, I saw my goal coming into reach. I sit here today having surpassed my goal of 195lbs. I am 192lbs and have never felt so amazing. I love what I eat (ribeyes) and how I feel. Thank you so much to Dr. Baker for unintentionally inspiring me to try a new way of life!

My advice to anyone thinking about trying this is the same I took. Try it but in the end do what works for you.

Left: Mike, down 50 pounds after only 2 months of carnivory; Right: Mike, before carnivory

Jacob B.

Keep up the good fight, doc.

At 28, I was diagnosed with arthritis in my hands.

At 29, I had my first colonoscopy and diagnosis with diverticulitis.

At 32, I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation.

I powerlifted through my 20’s, but at 35, I couldn’t run or push hard for fear of a-fib.

I got fat.  At 27, I had man boobs and love handles. I couldn’t walk flight of stairs and had very few solid bowel movements.

I began cutting stuff out and realized that every time I cut a grain or veggie, I felt better and got leaner. Exactly 18 months later, I am approaching 37 years old and have 8.5% body fat and run 3.5 miles/day. I have lower blood pressure, higher good cholesterol. Zero a-fib issues. Zero diverticulitis issues. I require less sleep (4.5 hours), and I get more done during day.

And, I’ll tell ya, the benefits in the bedroom with the wife are off the charts.

Go carnivore, live better.

Amy van Oostende

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

Hi!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Instagram: http://instagram.com/amyvanoostende

 

Catarina Carson

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.

Catarina’s face before and after going carnivore. No more acne!

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!!

Keto Endurance

Hello Shawn,

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

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

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

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

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

You can catch me on:

The Carnivore Diaries (Blog)

InstagramTwitterFacebook PageReddit subStrava ClubKetogenic Endurance Clothing

Thanks,
Keto Endurance

Steph S.

Hey there!

I would love to share my story!

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!

Margaret K.

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.

Margaret K.
ZC 6 weeks

December 17, 2017

Chris Cogswell

Chris works as a butcher

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!!

Chris loves DJing in his free time

You can read more about Chris’s journey in this Zero Carb Zen interview.