Hi, I’m Amy and the carnivore diet has healed my fibromyalgia, asthma, issues from hysterectomy and pelvic reconstruction, menopausal problems, chronic migraines, disposition for easy injury, and immunity issues as well as further enhanced my recovery from food addiction.
I have had issues with food addiction and body dysmorphia from as far back as I can remember. Growing up I was a normal body size despite sneaking sugary foods as often as I could. I went on my first diet at age 9 and dieted frequently from about age 13 until age 32. Once I hit my early 20s, I started having real issues with weight, though, and proceeded to take my seat on the weight gain and loss roller coaster. After more than a decade of this hell, I found a 12-step program where I walked in at over 300 pounds (136 kg).
After joining the 12-step program In 2002 I started on a food plan that eliminated all sugars, artificial sweeteners, wheat, caffeine, alcohol and excess dietary fats. This plan also called for me to weigh and measure everything I put in my mouth and to eat three set meals a day with one snack at night. I ate a *lot* of vegetables, a decent amount of fruit, a good bit of grains, and minimal protein and fat. I lost 140 pounds (63.5 kg) in my first year or so of the program and have maintained that general amount of weight loss ever since. My food plan between 2002 and 2008 changed a number of times; I went through a period where I tried to reincorporate wheat back into my diet (that didn’t go well) and I added back and took out caffeine & dairy too many times to count.
From an early age I had a poor constitution – I was sick with bronchitis, ear infections, and other upper respiratory illnesses multiple times per year every year. I was hospitalized for pneumonia once and developed that disease multiple times in my life. If there was any type of illness going around, I was sure to catch it.
In 2008 I also started developing physical health issues. They were mild and seemingly random at first: heel spurs, plantar fasciitis, and a frozen shoulder were the first things to occur and I took care of each of those through physical therapy. But then I was in a car accident late that year and after that the physical ailments started piling up. I was in and out of doctor’s offices and my journey to find better health began in earnest. After trying pain management, acupuncture, chiropractic and physical therapy, I started to look towards my diet with the first stop at an ayurvedic medicine clinic. That didn’t seem to help so I tried a vegetarian diet for 6 months. I didn’t notice any improvement, but I didn’t get worse so I went vegan. After about 6 months of being vegan, I felt considerably worse – to the point where I didn’t have the energy to get out of bed some days. It was around this time that a doctor diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. I was also seeing a neurologist for an issue with frequent migraines and was put on a preventative medicine for those. My instincts told me to add animal products back to my diet and I felt better almost immediately after doing so, but I still didn’t feel as good as I thought I should for a woman in her 30s.
That period of trial and error lasted about 3 years and in 2011 I discovered the Paleo diet. I felt somewhat better following that plan, but I still had many physical issues as well as all my regular upper respiratory illnesses throughout the year and continued to seek solutions without success. Then in 2015 I was diagnosed with adult-onset asthma and began a regiment of medication for that disease. My frustration with all of my health issues really peaked here. I wasn’t sure what else I could try and basically decided that it was just my constitution – I thought I was just the type of person who was meant to get sick and frail at an early age.
In late 2017 I had a hysterectomy, pelvic reconstructive surgery and a bladder sling put in. By mid 2018 I had gained at least 10 pounds (4.5 kg) and was feeling horrible physically. The urge incontinence the bladder sling was supposed to have fixed was still there, I had discomfort in my entire pelvic region, and I was exhausted. My menopausal symptoms also intensified: hot flashes & flushes, wild mood swings, swollen and painful breasts, vaginal dryness and discomfort. Once again, I decided to look at different food plans and began earnestly searching online. Thankfully, the ketogenic diet was gaining in popularity around this time and I came across some resources that seemed promising. I decided to try it. Those 10 pounds came off quickly and my husband was inspired to try the diet with me. He had much more weight to lose and rapidly lost 40 pounds, but was worried that we were going to give ourselves heart attacks with all the meat and fat we were eating. I found a low carb doctor in our area and made appointments to see him to help put my husband’s mind at ease.
During that appointment, the doctor mentioned the carnivore diet – not as a suggestion, but in passing – and my first reaction was, “Who would want to do that??? I could never just eat meat. How boring!” When I went home, though, I began researching to see what the carnivore diet was all about and why people would go on it. I discovered a lot of online resources and began reading some of the success stories and started to wonder if a carnivorous diet could help me fix my health issues. By this time, I had been on keto for 2 months and although I felt pretty good (after the initial carb flu), I still was suffering from asthma pretty badly. I stewed on the idea for a couple of weeks and finally on October 18, 2018 decided to take the plunge for 30 days to see if a carnivore diet would help my asthma and fibromyalgia. I felt so good after 30 days that I decided to extend the trial to 90 days. And after 90 days, I felt even better so there was no reason for me to go back to eating any other way.
I have not taken asthma medication since late 2018. Right around two months after starting the carnivore diet I noticed my breathing was improving so I stopped my maintenance inhaler and decided to just use my rescue inhaler as needed. Well, I haven’t needed it. I also have not had any “fibro flares” in all this time. None!! I am no longer exhausted, achy, foggy-headed and miserable from that dreadful autoimmune condition. Another fibro-related issue I suffered from was IBS-type symptoms (I was never diagnosed with IBS nor did I ever mention those symptoms to a doctor). But I suffered from intermittent constipation and diarrhea as well as issues with gassiness for many years. After the initial adjustment to carnivore, those issues have gone away.
Since going carnivore, this girl who was deemed to have a poor constitution has had one mild cold. ONE! I no longer walk around in fear of contracting whatever the latest illness is that is going around. Additionally, sometime in the past 5 years or so I started developing cherry angiomas all over my body. My dad has a lot of these so I thought I just inherited that trait from him and there wasn’t much I could do about them except burn them off (shhh, don’t tell the dermatologist!). My husband asked me if I had burned off the ones on my back because he noticed they were gone. I had done no such thing – they had all disappeared on their own! I then realized that other ones I had in different areas were also gone. Every website I have read about cherry angiomas says the cause is unknown. Well, I still am not 100% certain of the cause, but I definitely know the cure.
My urge incontinence has disappeared and I no longer feel the pressure and discomfort in my pelvic region that I did for the first year after my surgery. My menopausal issues have also mostly resolved (so far) since going carnivore. I no longer have hot flashes or flushes, my mood is stable, and I don’t suffer from vaginal dryness. I do still have some minor vaginal discomfort (which happened from the surgery) and breast tenderness, but both are issues that don’t affect me too much.
On a different tack, but equally (or possibly even more) impactful than the health issues resolving is how the carnivore diet helped me to recognize my satiety point. Ever since joining a 12-step program for food addiction, I was basically taught that my satiety meter was broken and could not be fixed nor trusted. And I saw the truth in that while I was eating the traditional food plan that is followed by many in that organization. If I didn’t weigh and measure my meals, I could easily overeat at every meal. As I progressed in my recovery and felt safer not weighing or measuring my food while eating out, I noticed that I would often end up overfull after meals having eating more than my body needed. While I was eating, though, I had no signals that told me to stop eating. I could have easily kept going if I wasn’t being mindful and trying to eat reasonable portions. Eating carnivore, though, changed all that. It is just about impossible to overeat because my body physically won’t let me eat any more. I find I naturally lose interest in eating or put my fork down without even thinking about it. In extreme cases, I start to get nauseated as my body sends clear signals that it has had enough. This is something I don’t remember experiencing once in my entire life prior to eating a carnivorous diet. And as a recovering food addict, this is downright mind blowing and awe inspiring.
The carnivore diet has given me such a freedom – I thought I knew what freedom from food obsession was when I joined my 12-step recovery group, but the freedom I experience on a carnivore diet has surpassed that. It is a much more natural way of being and living and has brought my recovery from food addiction to the absolute next level. After almost 50 years of suffering with multiple types of health issues and resigning myself to getting old, sick, and frail, the carnivore diet has brought me a whole new hope and perspective. I now look forward to growing older and getting stronger and healthier as I go. I continue to see improvements in my physical and mental health all the time. I’m excited to see how much better things will get as I continue to regain health by eating an all-meat diet.
My pictures chronicle how I looked at my heaviest (prior to a 12-step program), then at a healthy weight but still with persistent health issues to today where I’m still at a healthy weight (although I’m continuing to lean out) – the biggest difference is now I’m healthy inside and out!