Back pain & spine
My name is Nathaniel. I’m 24 years old.
Similar to some of y’all, I was first introduced to Dr. Baker on JRE. My first inclinations were that this guy was a complete nut job. All meat? What about healthy people 2020 and MyPlate guidelines? I shrugged it off, but began following Dr. Baker on Instagram because I wanted to see all the heat he was going to get.
At this time in my life, I was eating a light breakfast and 2 solid meals consisting of 3-4 cups of vegetables (high variety, mixed organic/non-organic), 1 cup complex carbohydrate, and either baked chicken breast, fish, or pork. Hardly any red meat. I did this all throughout undergrad, very methodical and didn’t miss a beat. My fitness goals at the time were to be as functional as possible (running, swimming, biking, lifting weights). I just cared about vitality and health. I wrestled growing up and never had any problem putting on mass, so my goal was not to put on size, although I felt emaciated on the diets coaches had me on.
I was diagnosed with IBD (Irritable Bowel Disease) when I was a senior in high school (2011). Had a colonoscopy and was put on a low-dose Lialda (Mesalamine) to control the inflammation. For those of you that know about IBD, you know that there are certain “trigger” foods – spicy, fried, large amounts of alcohol, fresh vegetables (if in acute stage). Diet became everything for me. So much that I cut out all meat for 6 months. (There are articles/literature relating processed meats to higher incidences of colon cancer and this was the logic I used – true or not, I was desperate – I just wanted vitality and I already had risk factors). I had labs performed around the same time (insurance does yearly panels) and they showed I was anemic and had high LDL. I remember being very weak and tired all of the time. I concluded that I was taking steps backwards and not forwards – listening to my body holistically. I got back on my meal prep spread and started feeling better. All of this time I was rehabbing a back injury I got in college and was severely depressed because I was in pain every day – doing lots of rehab, diving into regenerative medicine as well. Was back on track for about 4 months until I heard about the carnivore diet.
I began straight carnivore mid-January 2018, about the same time I started a fast-bacc 1 year nursing program down in Houston. Everything was new for me. New city, new curriculum, less time, no social life, less sleep. In my mind, I needed optimal nutrition in order to function at my peak levels and make the grades I wanted in such a fast program. I considered all factors – I knew I was going to be sitting a lot (8-10 hours per day), getting less sunlight, not getting social interaction. At this time I stopped taking my Lialda because the cost went from $10 a month to $250 a month.
It’s been approximately 4 months on carnivore and I haven’t had an IBD flare, I sleep throughout the night, my mental and cognitive functioning have increased (I know this is subjective, but I’m able to sit through 12 hour lectures 2x a week, study 8-10 hours per day on the weekends and do 12 hour clinicals every week as well). I only have time to work out 1-2x per week and when I do, I just get my legs moving as much as I can, lift heavy, and work on mobility. Since I’m in school, I haven’t been able to afford all grass fed, so I just go to HEB or Kroger and pick up steaks, hamburger patties, eggs, and butter. I have not had labs performed, but I plan to do that in June, 2018, but I feel better than I ever have.
What Happened to Me:
In January 2016 I was diagnosed with Cauda Equina Syndrome after suffering a massive central disc herniation at L5-S1. This is a rare syndrome caused by compression of the cauda equina which is the horse tail of nerves connected to the spinal cord in the lumbar spine. Prior to this event I suffered 2 years of severe back pain and headaches after being misdiagnosed and undergoing a very unnecessary spinal tap and subsequent blood patch for a CSF leak in 2014. Prior to this the only time I ever went to a Doctor was for a yearly check-up.
During this time I experienced a decline in my neurologic function from the waist down until I ultimately woke up one morning paralyzed from the waist down, unable to move my feet or legs and with complete loss of bladder control. I was also in suicidal level pain. Rather than go to the hospital network I was dealing with for 2 years, I had a friend drive me to another hospital Emergency Dept where I underwent an Emergency MRI, my first one and was transported to a state of the art spine center for emergency neurosurgery to decompress my cauda equina.
After surgery my pain and chronic 2 year headache was gone. I was left barely able to walk, my legs very weak and with right foot drop. I was unable to feel most of my right leg and right foot. My injury was incomplete and a combination of sensory and motor dysfunction. Although my neurosurgeon and the spine center were amazing and restored my faith in the Medical system, there was little research about Cauda Equina Syndrome, and they were not quite sure what to do with me.
Having a background in healthcare myself (I am a nurse and a pharmacist), I took massive drastic action because I had nothing to lose by trying. The first of which was getting myself discharged from the spine center with home services and this is where my experiment began.
My Full Recovery 2.5 years later:
After reading PubMed daily and over 500 papers and books during my 2 year recovery, I started implementing the science I was reading. I started a ketogenic diet 80/15/5, hydrating with a gallon of water a day so my discs were getting the raw materials they needed to heal via diffusion during restorative sleep. The next thing I did was start training everyday with the rehab exercises to correct my gait, muscle imbalances and build my endurance. Everyday I spent time visualizing my nerves regenerating and using what I learned about epigenetics from Bruce Lipton. I kept my mindset strong and positive at all times in a state of unwavering faith and determination.
The strange thing I noticed myself doing was intuitively gravitating towards eating a more meat based diet. The past 5 months my carbs have reduced dramatically and I have more carnivore days. I truly believe providing my nerves with an alternative fuel source in the form of ketones is the reason they recovered and for the full recovery I was fortunate to have. I also believe this way of eating generated the stem cells in my body I needed to repair L5-S1. My injury was a peripheral nerve injury which is more forgiving than a spinal cord injury. There is no way anyone can tell me that nerves can not regenerate or recover. It is possible and it is a slow process.
The final result of my recovery experiment:
- Pain Free
- Medication Free
- 20 pound maintained fat loss and overhaul of body composition.
- Increased flexibility
- Complete resolution of right foot drop
- Complete return of motor and sensory function in my legs and feet minus 2 toes on my right foot (still have hope) and my saddle.
- Complete return of bladder and resolution of saddle anesthesia.
- Correction of gait and able to walk normal
- Ran a 5k in under 35 minutes
- Able to train like Arnold in the gym with weights again
- More endurance in training
- Return to my full-time pharmacy job
- As a side benefit cured from PCOS, eczema resolved and glowing wrinkle free skin.
- A spine that my neurosurgeon said looks better than the general population
- Resolution of hypertrophy and inflammation at L5-S1 facet joint
- Improved glute and core strength resulting in increased lumbar spine stabilization.
- In the best shape of my life at 40 years old
I shared my story in the hope it will add value and be of help to someone dealing with a neurological condition. Don’t be afraid to empower yourself and work outside the healthcare system to find your cure. Thank you Dr Baker for the knowledge you have shared on your platforms and for your role in my continued recovery and health transformation.
May 5, 2018
Starting weight: 154 lb
Partial list health issues:
- CVD-meds: 20mg simvastin, 1/4 aspirin, plavix, atenalol
- Thyroid, goiter-meds: 1/2 smallest does WP thyroid and 200MCG Selenium 3X/week
- High fasting glucose: 110 in December and A1C 5.7 April 2017
- Gum disease
- IBS from “healthy” high fiber diet
- Back and shoulder pain
It seems like when I turned 50 everything started downhill. Up until then (and after) I tried mostly low fat, high fiber diet which included vegetable juicing.
I was 125 pounds in high school and went from about 135 to 185 from 45 years old to 55.
I tried a LCHF diet in 2012 but was scared out of it by my doctors even though my weight went from 184 to 125 in about 6 months.
My reason to go low carb this year was:
1. Gum disease progression: a lot of deep pockets and getting close to losing a back molar.
2. A1C was 5.7 last April and my morning, fasting glucose had been creeping way up to 110
Four month SUCCESSFUL results:
- 4 years of gum disease reversed as of check up May 3. No more deep pockets, no bleeding and teeth in great shape. Gum recession will not grow back
- April, 2018 A1C was 5.2 from 5.7 last April. Fasting morning glucose at 94 form 110 in December
- Had IBS, bleeding anal fissure, internal hemorrhoids and terrible gas. 99% gone. Unreal!!!!!
- Shoulder and back pain 90% better. Did 130 push-ups on Monday in 4 sets vs. 20 with a week of shoulder pain last year. Now doing deep knee bends and couldn’t ever thing of that last year because of back pain.
- Every morning I would wake up with a runny nose filling several paper towels with mucous. It’s now 90% better and was even better when I did not have dairy but have added some of that back.
- Weaned blood pressure meds to nothing and BP normal first time in over 20 years (was normal only with meds last 8). I had 4 stents in 3 arteries in 2010 with 1 artery clear and one 100% blocked (there are 5 major arteries feeding you heart). My chest pain did not go away after stents and cardiologist tried meds (renexa and long-acting nitro) neither worked so I said forget trying.
10 years of chest pain vanished after about a month of this and I thought at first it was my imagination (even though was getting great results on my new/used Concept 2 Rower).
My GP does a carotid artery scan every April and in 2017 he said the blockage had gotten much worse from 2016 and said I need to do something soon.
What was I supposed to do? Was already following all the stupid bullshit they told me to do.
This April scan showed “significant” improvement over last year!!!!! And that was with 8 months of shitty diet and only 3.5 months of carnivore.
My chest pain is gone and I have not felt this good since I was 30!!!!!!
- Weight from 154 to 136 pounds
Thanks so much to Doc Baker!
I am a 21 year old male. I currently weigh 297lbs. After listening to Dr Shawn Baker on JRE, I was convinced that the Carnivore diet would be worth a try for me… whilst I was overweight this was a very low issue on my list.
At 18 years old I had set 9 powerlifting world records and won 3 classes at the world championships. I was extremely proud that I had maintained a weight below 275lbs (265 was my average weight) despite smashing meals as I wished, priding myself on high consumption levels being offset by my training intensity.
But a year prior I had torn my left glute, I had not let it heal correctly and continued to train. I regularly needed time off in order to cope with the pain level I’d be in, often unable to walk. Thankfully my sport requires standing, laying and standing.
After becoming a world champion, this pain just got worse and worse. Starting a full time job, I suddenly had a requirement to be able to walk to and from work. This was a struggle. I dialed down training intensity until I trained no more and lived every day in pain. My eating continued, both to console my pain and because it was the only thing I could still do. I shot up to 450lbs eventually. Fat, unhealthy, and in pain. Even sitting in my car was a struggle!
After many visits to doctors… many returns to the gym and a lot of pain management… I got decently OK at managing my pain. I was back in the gym daily and once again the pain intensified. No more gym but at least I had started to take some control. I had started to lose weight. Back down to 340lbs… not great, but better than before! To give an idea of what I considered to be a manageable amount of pain: I couldn’t walk 100 yards without physically needing to stop and rest. By the end of the day, crawling up the stairs would usually lead to me crying in pain. I would lie in bed, need the toilet and had to continually decide between spoiling the bed or facing the pain… I’m happy to say I kept what dignity I had left. But that was me every day.
The doctors found I had degenerative disc disease, causing sciatica, and there was nothing they could do. This pain was what I faced for the rest of my life. Up until December 2017. Then carnivore began… now I walk regularly, going from an average of below quarter mile a day to averaging 3-4 miles per day (6,000 to 7,000 steps), including a steep 1 mile uphill walk daily! On top of that, I now cycle places I would often drive to, and I don’t have to make my fiancée take breaks every 20 seconds whilst walking. I’ve lost another 50lb and my muscles feel full and strong despite little to no weight training.
I can visit zoos, go shopping, and most importantly, enjoy life.
A year ago I was 20 years old, severely obese, in constant dire pain and had doubts I’d make it past 50 years old. A life that short would seem like a death sentence, but for me, 30 more years of this… that’s what seemed like a punishment!! Now I look forward to every day! I can’t wait to be in good, healthy shape! To make the most of my life and make the most of it with my beautiful fiancée who I can only thank for being so patient and helping me through this journey.
Thank you Dr Shawn for the new lease of life you have given me, and good luck to everyone else who is looking at this way of eating. The changes it makes to you may be big or small, but I hope they are as positive for you as they are for me!
Watch or listen to Rosebud’s interview on the MeatRx.com podcast below:
Listen to Tani’s interview on the MeartRx.com podcast below:
My name is Daniel and I am forty years old from Australia, 183cm (6ft) and 75kg (165 pounds). I have held off writing this story, despite following the carnivore community for some time, as it has taken this long to heal from quite a few ailments, most notably my joint pain and depression. (No photos as most of my issues are internal.)
My mother told me that from a very early age I had an allergy to cow’s milk (I was fed soy “milk” as a child) and a nearly fatal fall (fractured skull and broken collar bone) from a ledge at the age of 2. I can recall always having sore throats and hay fever as a boy. Also looking back now, I believe I experienced some anxiety and depression too. Antibiotics were a regular thing and I eventually had my tonsils removed at the age of nine.
My journey to this carnivore way of eating began nearly 2 years ago when I started to seriously investigate how diet can affect one’s health (particularly autoimmune problems) which I previously just thought were the “bad genetic cards” I was dealt. For example, I thought that I had genetically inherited my father’s bad back and my mother’s hay fever and that was how it was going to be for life and the only way to treat these was with over the counter medications or other alternative therapies.
I have long been a supporter and consumer of alternative therapies for health like chiropractic, acupuncture and energy frequency therapy, having tried to stay away from visiting the GP unless necessary.
I have always preferred fresh foods for cooking instead of processed garbage and the health education I received was the classic “SAD/Western” diet as based on the food pyramid, i.e. saturated fat is bad, wholegrains are good, “2 fruit and 5 veg daily” and meat in moderation. I have loosely followed the “eat a rainbow” style together with high carbs and some meat with every meal. In a sense I knew that diet played a part in health and I had an awareness of additives and processed food, but like many younger folks I took it for granted that I would always be healthy because I never got fat. I would daily consume a pint of chocolate milk or iced coffee and lots of toasted sandwiches, pastries and cakes. I still thought that I had reasonably good health as my weight has never been an issue and have been blessed with an incredible metabolism.
However, inside I was broken from:
- Regular colds, sore throats, congestion
- Tonsilitis as a child (tonsils removed when I was 9)
- Chronic hayfever
- Bad snorer and mouth breather
- Frequent mouth ulcers, cold sores near lips
- Mouth corner sores (angular chelitis)
- Bowel problems (irregular and constipated frequently)
- Bleeding gums/gingivitis
- Poor dental health on left upper side, failed root canal, ongoing infections (related to sinusitis)
- Jaw pain on left side, clicking jaw (TMJ)
- Brain fog and poor concentration
- Mild depression as a child worsening to severe in recent times
- Anxiety from a young age
- Poor sleep in recent times
- Back/neck pain, sciatica, inflammation and chronic groin pain
- Worsening joint pain in hands, elbows, knees and shoulders
- Gout in toe
- General aching on left side and in chest
- Skin tags and bad skin breakouts on back
- Always getting a sunburnt face
- Minor heartburn
- Raynaud’s in my hands
My health took a turn for the worse about five years ago when joint pain was affecting my ability to work (labouring) and my mental health nose-dived, culminating in a mental breakdown followed by a psychotic episode and a six month period in and out of a mental ward about four years ago. I was heavily medicated on anti-psychotics and antidepressants like Olanzapine. At this time, I became increasingly disenfranchised with the medical system, since I had four children who were always sick, and they were always going to doctor’s appointments for one ailment or another and being constantly prescribed antibiotics or some special cream. I managed to get myself of the antidepressants through some alternative healing and improved diet with more nourishing home made meals, however still had depression.
Cycle ahead to about 2 years ago and after watching quite a few Netflix documentaries from the plant-based vegan propaganda videos like “What The Health?” And then “The Magic Pill” and other Youtube video series like “Autoimmune Secrets”, like many folks in the carnivore community I saw the Joe Rogan podcast with Dr Jordan Peterson on Youtube and was blown away. I believed Dr Peterson to be a credible source of information but could not reconcile that the meat only diet was a thing. From there I followed Mikhaila Peterson and then Dr Baker and many others and kept doing the research.
I began to slowly make some changes to my diet, cutting out gluten, reducing sugar and dairy but still hung onto my “rainbow salads” and then went down the whole gluten-free alternative rabbit hole of eating. I then heard about all the processed seed oils contained in these gluten-free foods and it dawned on me that take away/restaurant foods also could not be trusted. I never really entertained the idea of giving up meat, but there were certainly some vegans I had contact with who were trying their best to persuade me to do so. Some improvements occurred from these changes, but joint pain and mental health was still an issue. My meat consumption increased, higher fat intake but I also dabbled with some vegan foods at this time like hemp protein and quinoa. I had a wholefoods market nearby with organic produce. This was a very expensive exercise in the beginning, having nearly fallen for the “health food” industry marketing, but as time went on, I started to have more meat, bone broth, bacon, eggs and moved to an animal based keto diet.
My digestion began to improve and with it a whole range of ailments and autoimmune issues went away like hay fever, mouth ulcers and gout. Anxiety, back pain and sciatica began to reduce which I have had for as long as I can remember. I found myself not being hungry for 12-15 hours and saw improvements in my dental health and skin. I continued to spend hundreds of hours watching videos, listening to podcasts like HPO and digesting all the old books/articles linked to Meatheals.com and was absolutely convinced. As to the mechanics of why this works, I believe it is about giving your body what it needs, eliminating what it doesn’t need and then the immune system rebounds and the body heals like it is designed to.
I feel that the joint pain in my hands, groin pain and mental health has taken considerable time to heal, as well as having quality sleep again, but I am extremely grateful to have taken control of my health with 90 % meat and some other very basic lifestyle factors. Every single ailment listed above has seen some improvement or remission of symptoms. I love that it has changed my outlook on life, a sense of calmness and really given me a new appreciation for ancestral traditions as well. I am Above all, a new relationship with food that is more about fuel and nourishment as opposed to entertainment. It seems that my mood is much better on beef and when I stray from this my allergies and sinus issues always seem to come back.
My energy levels have not been as consistent as I would have liked and through recent discussions with personal trainers, I simply have not been eating enough to meet the physical demands of my job and training. I have addressed the food quantity and I have also increased electrolyte intake and I am feeling better for that as well.
The next step for me is to try meat, water and salt only, to iron out some occasional small joint pain issues and Raynaud’s in my hands is still an issue on some cold days. I am very passionate about this movement and am seriously considering a health coaching career in the future to give back and share this simple and effective healing protocol.
Many thanks to Dr Baker and all the carnivore community for making a massive difference in my life and giving me the opportunity to tell my story.
I’m Cory, I was a chubby kid and by 26 I was fat and very unhappy with myself.
I started going to the gym in hopes to “lose weight”. After lifting for awhile I got addicted to the iron and lost touch with how fat I was, because I was getting strong. At 30 years old, I juiced (vegetables) all summer and got down to my lowest weight of 172 lbs. I was weak and following a low fat diet that was completely unsustainable. When I was 36 years old, I listened to Dr. Lustigs Sugar: The Bitter Truth and heard about the ketogenic diet through the JRE podcast. Within a few months I was full blown keto and had dropped 30 lbs before I even realized it.
For the most part I remained keto with some meat only days, up until I turned 38. I was noticing some positive changes besides fat loss that I hadn’t expected. I had previously been diagnosed with arthritis in a couple of my neck vertebrae. Before the gradual change to carnivore I had felt I was turning to stone and a quick movement of the neck could easily ruin my week. After following carnivore for a few months I was not having as much joint pain after suffering for years. I would say I’m now 95% carnivore overall, but I feel better when I’m 100%. I’ve gotten cold sores all my life and haven’t had any since going LC/ZC. I noticed my overall mood and personal interactions with people are better. My adult forehead acne went away. I prefer fasted workouts but my first meal is soon after.
I typically eat twice a day and as much as possible. I do eat organs, dairy, some seafood, eggs, coffee but mostly beef. All my lifts are going up and the general clearheadedness makes achieving goals seem easier.
Success Story Categories:
JOIN the COMMUNITY
Live Q&A with experts, social meetings, exclusive discounts, workout challenges, and much more…