Back pain & spine
After hearing the podcasts with Steve Austin and Rogan, then tons of research, I decided to try this!
I’m 45 years old, 5-8”. Travel for work and moderate gym exercise 3 days a week. 23 screws and three plates in my right ankle since 2000. C 3-4 fusion in ‘05, 5-6 fusion recommend in ‘11. Arthritis in ankle, neck and both shoulders from heavy lifting.
Since July 11th: down 30 lbs. I have leveled out loss at 195. Holding for 3 weeks. Blood work is top notch. Sleeping 5 hours. No shoulder issues, full range of motion recovered. No neck issues, numbness in fingers and hands gone. Running 1-1.5 miles daily with no ankle problems.
Carnivore saved me Shawn, thanks for speaking out.
I’m a 57 year old male who is physically active. Until three months ago, I would eat anything I wanted A quart of ice cream or a dozen cookies in a sitting? Full steam ahead. Problem was, I had reached 280lbs and began to have knee pain and sciatic trouble, in addition to the sleep apnea, heartburn, diarrhea, and general lethargy I had grown accustomed to.
I decided to ignore the nay-sayers and accept myself for what I am, a carnivore. I am the product of a million years of evolution – the bulk of which time my species ate virtually only meat. It’s only intuitive that we should be awash in type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity when we glut our diet with things we were never designed to metabolize.
I’ve dropped to 254lbs, apnea is much better, heartburn and etc. are gone, and my energy level seems elevated.
I’m free and out of the closet, and all I can say to the flower children who advocate vegetarianism is, don’t let your cat out at night, because if the time ever comes when I cannot lay my hands on a beautifully marbled rib steak, all bets are off.
My whole life, my health has been an enigma to me. I was always skinny as a kid and could, and did, eat pretty much anything I wanted without gaining weight. That included a lot of sugar. Sugar poured over my cereal in the morning, sugar in the juices and sodas I drank, and any candy, ice cream or cake I could get my hands on.
What could possibly go wrong? I was skinny, which means healthy, right?
But I had a variety of chronic maladies that would crop up from time to time – back pains, fatigue, OCD symptoms, infections, joint problems, digestion problems, and increasingly, anxiety. An athlete I was not.
As I got older, the problems came and went, and at times I even became athletic. But my blood tests started getting worse, and symptoms came more frequently. I gained a little weight as I grew through my 30’s into my 40’s but kept exercising and trying to eat what I thought was a healthy diet.
But my A1c, blood pressure and cholesterol climbed anyway. I was already taking statins and blood pressure pills in my early 30’s, even though I looked perfectly healthy. I was, as they say, skinny fat.
Well, my fragile world crashed down about 7 years ago following surgery to remove a non-malignant tumor from a nerve in my thigh. The surgery ‘went fine’ as the doctors told me. But 3 days later, I could not get out of bed. I was crippled by a fatigue and anxiety that left me confused and helpless. Over the following months, my symptoms got worse and worse until I could barely leave the house. It was like living with a migraine that never went away. Among the more notable symptoms:
- Hypersensitivity to light and sound – I literally wore silicon earplugs and dark glasses every time I left the house. Public places overwhelmed me with noise.
- Insomnia – I did not sleep for days and weeks at a time, leaving my waking hour a walking nightmare.
- Asthma – Never had it before, now I was taking multiple inhalers.
- Carpel Tunnel – all of sudden, I started waking, when I could fall asleep, with crippling hand and wrist pain.
- Digestion – swung in both directions.
- Sinusitis/Allergies – my nose was clogged, my eyes teared endlessly.
- Fainting – the falling over without warning and slamming my head into the floor was definitely a low point.
- And CRIPPLING Fatigue. Crippling. That was the worst – sitting almost paralyzed for hours.
I thought I was dying.
Then, a series of chance events led me towards the carnivorous diet I strive to maintain now. I visited every kind of doctor I’d heard of (and some I hadn’t), and eventually settled on the diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and took more medicines and supplements that you can possibly imagine. Some helped.
But it was an encounter with an acupuncturist that started my shifting paradigm on food and diet. He asked me about how I ate. I said I eat pretty well. He smiled and said, “what do you consider pretty well?” Hmmm. What did I consider well and why?
I expected a lecture on plant-based diets and fiber, but was quite shocked when he told me I needed to eat more meat. Meat? Seriously? Last thing I expected from someone I thought of us very spiritual.
Now his diet recommendations were based upon the Weston Price work and foundation. Naturally raised meats, raw dairy, and traditionally prepared plant foods – ferments, soaking/sprouting, stewing, etc. Not carnivorous, but certainly not vegetarian.
In the coming years, I found, researched and tried all the usual lower carb suspects – paleo, primal, bulletproof, keto, intermittent fasting, etc. I read the books and blogs – all of them taught me things. They made me rethink all I thought that I knew. And not just about which foods to eat, but when, how much and why.
And then the fateful day I stumbled upon the story of the Andersens, the family happily raising a family of 4 on nothing but ribeyes. I was stunned. It seemed impossible. What about a balanced plate with lots of colors and macros and such? What about disease and cholesterol and heart attacks?
A bigger challenge was trying to explain to my wife, who had quietly suffered through my illness and countless doctors, pills and potions, that I was now going to eat steak for breakfast, lamb burgers for lunch and more steak for dinner. Now she was convinced I was going to die, and while I thought she might be right, I felt better than I had in a long time. Digestion was simpler. I slept better. I stopped wearing ear plugs and could go in the sun without bursting into flames. I cut back on medications, I started doing more around the house, I was increasingly productive at work.
I know I don’t have all the answers. I still have health challenges and take some medications. But the simplicity and consistency of carnivory is a huge help. I don’t know if it will change my life expectancy in the long run, but it has increased my quality of life tremendously right now.
I’ll sum it up simply by saying I am blessed.
I am blessed that I am not dead.
I am blessed that I can work full time and even travel.
I am blessed that I can still learn new things.
And I am blessed that I get to eat a ribeye any time I damn well please.
I’m a 34 year old male. I used to weigh over 400lbs. After getting my life together and doing BJJ, Muy Thai Kickboxing, and intermittent fasting I lost 165lbs. The past year I had a rough year and blew back up 50lbs.
When I heard about the Carnivore lifestyle I decided to give it a try. It’s been about three months with a couple of backslides but I’m back down to 235lbs. I’m still overweight but I can’t begin to tell you how much better I feel. My back that I had surgery on 12 years ago feels better. My joints, especially my bad knee, have been slowly improving. And any time I’ve been weak and eaten outside of the diet I feel like I have a hangover the next day as well as joint pain and inflammation. I’ve been strict carnivore again for two weeks with no plans to stray anymore.
I’ve learned my lesson. Humans are meat eaters.
Hi, my name is Travis. I am only like 3 weeks into this WOE, but the difference is pretty incredible. I will get into all the issues that this has helped, but first, some backstory.
Injury and PTSD
I was Air Force as part of a Combat Communications unit, and deployed (a few times). I will not go into a lot of details here, but came back injured. My back was in constant pain, my knees became inflamed, my body ached from my head to my toe. I had issues concentrating, couldn’t really reason well. The real issue was the PTSD, anxiety, and the depression. I was fighting an enemy that wasn’t there all the time, and going out in public caused issues that I nearly couldn’t deal with. So, I stayed inside a lot, which only made the depression worse.
Off the pills, onto veganism
At first they wanted to treat my problems with pills. Then the pills had side effects, so they gave me pills for the side effects, which led to more side effects. So, after a year or so on their pill program, I got off. I stopped taking all their pills, and just decided I would deal with my pain, depression, and PTSD.
So, for years, I hid in my apartment, never really went many places, and basically waited for my life to be over. But, sometimes time can be a good motivator, and I finally decided I was fed up with the way I was eating and how sick I felt, and decided I would take control.
I read about veganism, but didn’t like some of the messages they were espousing – we’ll just leave it at that. I didn’t particularly like veggies, but I moved to a more plant-based, whole foods diet (the SAD, in all it’s glory) and felt a tiny bit better. I had a little more energy, but nothing I would term incredible. I thought that if this is as good as it gets (the way the US government makes that diet sound, I thought it was), I might as well be completely unhealthy and eat what I want. I wasn’t ready to give up yet, however, and decided to jump onto Google and see if anyone had come up with something that would be better.
It wasn’t long before I found the keto diet. I was watching all these people doing keto professing how good it was eating bacon, butter, and some broccoli. It wasn’t long before I was researching nutrition, biochemical pathways, and how in the world a bacon cheeseburger could be good for you as long as it has no bun. Surprisingly, the science was solid. So, a couple months ago, I started it.
The first two weeks were some of the worst of my life. I was told about the keto flu, but I could barely get out of bed! Then, one day, I woke up at 4am with more energy than I had ever felt in my life. I cleaned the entire house. I drank my butter coffee. I danced around in my living room (only for a bit though – my back reminded me that I still have pain). Things were better, but over another month, I realized that it wasn’t perfect. I still had pains and aches, and my depression and PTSD were still just as strong (in fact, because of the extra energy, I was more hyper-vigilant). I was better, and thought that maybe this is as good as it gets. I could live with it if it was, but I did want more.
The rebels, Jordan and Shawn
I started to hear about this group of rebels who were cutting out the veggie side of things, and they weren’t tracking their macros, and they were eating only meat. Then, I saw Jordan Peterson on the Joe Rogan podcast talking about the carnivore diet. So, I googled it. Of course, Dr. Shawn Baker came up. So, I watched him on Joe Rogan. Then I started reading more nutrition science. I found out about all the anti-nutrients in plants. I found out that the vitamins and minerals in animal products are more bio-available to us. I read about the stories of people being healed by this, and became convinced.
No pain, no inflammation, nothing
I am 3 weeks into an all-beef diet. Sometimes I salt the meat. I haven’t had pain in my back for about a week. All inflammation is gone. My sleep has gone from good to absolutely amazing. I still set an alarm, but I wake up before it every morning (between 4:30AM and 5:00AM). I wake up and drink some water. I eat a steak every morning at about 6, and every morning I love it. I have a couple of burgers around 11, and am usually done for the day. If I get hungry at dinner, I eat some beef liver.
From ptsd to living
The biggest thing is the PTSD and depression is pretty much gone. I cannot say how much that has affected my life. I can go out in public now. I am looking to different careers I can have now. I had resigned myself to a life lived in an apartment, and suddenly I can have a career. I can take my 9 year old son to the park. Sometimes, I feel the need to look over my shoulder. I had half a day about a week and a half ago where I didn’t want to deal with anything. It’s not perfect yet. But, for the first time, I am hopeful that it could get better. I am also LIVING, instead of waiting to die.
Still progress to be made
I don’t have pictures, as I am still obese. I feel like I have lost weight, but as I don’t own a scale, I have no idea. Weight loss really wasn’t the goal, I just wanted to fix the problems I had. Maybe next year, I’ll come back and do a before and after. This is definitely a way of eating, and not just a diet.
Thank you to the entire carnivore community for giving me my life back! I have no idea what the future holds for me, but I now think that it’s good stuff. If you are on the fence, try it for a month. What do you have to lose?
In 2002 I was diagnosed with a grade 4 spondylolisthesis. I saw a specialist and surgery was discussed. I decided against surgery since I found the prospect quite scary, I had 3 children to look after and didn’t fancy taking the risk. It was agreed that I be put on medication, 1600mg of brufen retard daily along with 150mg of ranitidine daily to protect me from side effects of the brufen.
So that was my life, for the past 16 years I have taken the brufen and ranitidine daily. The brufen helped with my inflammation, I was able to get up out of bed in the morning without too much pain anymore and so long as I didn’t lift anything or stay on my feet for too long, or sit for too long, or lay flat on my back or try to exercise then I was ok, the pain was manageable. I was basically the sort of person that wouldn’t do ANYTHING for fear of setting off the pain.
When I hit 30 I decided that I wanted to exercise, so I began experimenting with what I could do. I bought a crosstrainer & I joined a boot camp, I found that so long as I performed exercises correctly and controlled with little weight then I could cope with the back pain afterwards, sometimes I would take extra brufen to help me to get over working out.
Upon being diagnosed with spondylolisthesis I was also advised to ‘not get fat’ in case this added more pressure to my already weakened spine. So over the past 16 years my eating habits have changed a lot from a junk food diet to basically starving myself and ‘surviving’ on diet pills to then eventually following a low fat diet with lots of veggies and quorn. I’ve never been vegetarian but I did believe that steering away from animal protein was the healthiest option. Mixed in with this was my insatiable appetite for sweet food, especially chocolate, along with the belief that all calories are equal… I would often substitute a day of eating meals for a day of eating absolute junk. These days would be followed by days of guilt and self loathing in which I’d starve myself or stick to ‘healthy’ low fat food.
In January 2018 I began looking into keto and through my research I came across Danny Vega who spoke about the idea of eating an all meat diet, straight off I thought it was crazy but after trying keto for a month or so Carnivore became more and more appealing, I didn’t enjoy counting macros, I found that my binge and emotional eating did not change and I would feel so guilty and down on myself when I went over my calories… plus, who really likes eating veg when you can eat as much meat as you’d like and not worry…?!
I decided to go for it and on 28 February 2018 my life changed for good!! I ate all the meat, I didn’t count a thing and I’ve been feeling more amazing every day. Within 10 days I was completely off the 1600mg of brufen retard (and the ranitidine) I’d been taking daily for the past 16 years! Since then I have not needed to take the medication despite increasing the amount of weight lifting and general exercise I now do, I quite literally never get back pain anymore!! It’s been 5 months so far and I know this is it, I will never go back. Aside from the miracle of no longer suffering the back pain I’ve had to medicate for the past 16 years I also feel so amazing mentally, calm, happy. I’m leaner, my body composition has changed, I feel so healthy. Another absolutely awesome thing about being on this diet is the overwhelming feeling of freedom.. I love that I no longer feel guilty about what I eat or how much I eat… when I’m hungry I eat, when I’m full I stop.
I can’t believe it’s taken me until I’m 41 to find a diet that works for my entire body & mind… Carnivore quite clearly is THE diet we should all follow.
As a kid I loved meat, fish, cheese and butter. Since I am from Switzerland, I certainly had my share of good quality cheeses. In particular the goat and sheep cheeses were my favourite.
Unfortunately, Switzerland is also famous for its delicious chocolate. I stuffed my face with it daily. I was definitely a sugar junkie.
Fruits and vegetables had little appeal to me. Salad was okay, but only if it was soaked in a creamy French sauce.
What I did not know was that I was actually allergic to casein, wheat and lactose!
This was expressed in high anxiety, depression, and severe PMDD ( PMS with depression and suicidal thinking). I also had Selective Mutism and massive shyness since I was a child. That was such a struggle socially, and I missed out on a lot of things because of it.
Around 1995, age 21, I heard about the bad influence of sugar and pasteurized dairy for the first time from Dr. Max Otto Bruker. But I was addicted to both sugar as well as dairy and could not stop eating them. Dr. Bruker was possibly the first Doctor who went against the sugar and dairy industry. However, he was unaware of plant anti-nutrients and the oxalate issue at the time and recommended sprouted wholegrain.
I was gluten intolerant, so becoming a vegetarian did not improve my health issues. Around age 26 my soy consumption increased. And for about 12 years I consumed a lot.
Around 2007 I had an autistic burnout - from sensory overload, too much activity, after having run 6 marathons on the wrong fuel, too much work, too little rest and solitude. So I weaned off of sugar and dairy after a Chinese-American Natural Doctor told me to.
There was not much change really (I was still eating lots of soy and rice and vegetables) - so I took a break from all my activities and this helped somewhat. The solitude and rest was probably what my body needed most. At the time I was not aware I was an introverted autistic with C-PTSD. I tried so hard to fit in, to be like everybody else.
Around 2014 I became a vegan and in 2016 I even tried the fruitarian and raw food approach, though it was extremely difficult not to cheat with cooked vegan food. My health-issues did not go away as I had hoped. I developed very common vegan malnutrition symptoms: chronic hip pain, back pain, headaches and migraines, massive bloating and digestive issues.
I felt exhausted all the time and tired after every meal.
In the morning I woke up feeling stiff with pain in my hip. At work I had to sit down a lot, not being able to stand longer than 30min without feeling back pain. I had brain fog and it was hard for me to focus, to talk, and I had trouble with sensory overload. Depression was another issue and chronic anxiety.
Dry skin in winter was unbearable, I could not sit cross legged as my skin would start to itch. During the night I would wake up, skin itching and dry no matter how much I tried to oil it!! I had cravings for who knows what, and my hair started to fall out too. Wound healing took ages and I also felt pain in my liver and pancreas area after each meal.
In 2018 I had a massive debate with meat eaters, and it left a big impact but it took me a whole year to decide that I wanted to go back to meat eating myself.
December 2018 I started with eggs. Carefully, not knowing how my body would react. Next was salmon. I always loved salmon. I still felt unsure if this was the right way to go. I felt guilty and when I read the labels on the sausages in the meat section I expected to be jumped on any second by a militant vegan, war hammer swinging!
So I "confessed" my new way of eating to my Somatic Experience Practitioner. She actually congratulated me, saying that she herself had left veganism behind many years ago as well. For nervous system health veganism simply is not beneficial.
So I tried the paleo and autoimmune paleo protocol, at first. I watched many Ex-Vegan videos and Lierre Keith's book The Vegetarian Myth was a true eye opener. I realized how similar my symptoms were, which helped me tremendously and gave me the confirmation I needed.
But somehow I just did not feel as good as I thought I would feel with the autoimmune paleo diet. Then an ex-vegan friend told me about the carnivore approach. She reversed her fibromyalgia and many other issues and said she felt amazing.
So after trying autoimmune paleo for 3 months I decided it could not hurt to go carnivore and see if it would heal my body. I also started to watch many youtube videos and read many books about the topic.
To my amazement, my body started to heal. After only 4 months Carnivore (April - August 2019):
- back pain gone
- more energy
- I can stand for hours now
- hip pain gone
- morning stiffness gone
- more mental clarity
- better cognitive function
- better stress resilience
- sensory overload less pronounced
- better verbal interaction
- brain fog gone
- digestive issues completely gone
- no more gas
- depression gone
- PMDD gone, menstruation is regular and very mild
- less anxiety in particular from Omega 3 intake
- migraines are less often
I highly recommend the carnivore way of eating. It is amazing. Give it a try! But do it gradually. Give the body enough time to adapt. Don't go cold turkey. Do a baby steps approach. No need to rush.
In August of 2017, about 5 weeks before my 52nd birthday, I wrote an email to Dr. Shawn Baker to ask for help.
A few months before, I was in the emergency room for what I thought was sciatica. The pain shooting down my leg was so debilitating that it was impossible to stand without being doubled over.
But the ER physician’s x-rays noted no deviations in my spinal column, such as bulging or herniated discs. This would likely rule out sciatica.
Although she did see that I had arthritis. When I registered surprise, she told me that she would have been more surprised if I didn’t have it. Apparently, arthritis is the rule, not the exception, for men in their fifties.
When I followed up with my primary care physician, he reaffirmed that I had arthritis and the leg pain was caused by it. He was not pleased when I told him I lift weights every day. And when I told him that my weight-training included squats, he actually looked horrified.
He informed me that I would have to give up weight training and take up swimming. And basically consigned me to a diet of boneless, skinless chicken breast and vegetables for the rest of my life.
When I suggested taking up the Atkins diet, he insisted that the Atkins diet didn’t work, and as a testament to that “fact,” he claimed that Atkins had died of a heart attack.
When I attempted to correct him (since Dr. Robert Atkins died of a traumatic brain injury after falling on some ice), he maintained that Atkins died of a heart attack and that he had known Dr. Atkins personally.
Maybe he did know Atkins, but that doesn’t change the fact that he was wrong about how Atkins died.
Reluctantly, I resigned myself to do as he said. But unsurprisingly, after a few days of forcing myself to go to the gym, bypass the weight room on my way to the locker room to reach the pool and slog around in the water for an hour or so, I stopped going to the gym altogether.
And my PC also put me on an anti-depressant regimen. (Imagine that! I was depressed, too!) I also got a prescription for the NSAID Meloxicam for the pain, although he informed me that the benefit of Meloxicam for arthritic pain wouldn’t be great.
I love lifting weights. There’s such a sense of gratification as you exert yourself to the limit, as the weights crawl upward, squeaking out that last rep. And it was a gratification that splashing around back and forth in a swimming pool just couldn’t match.
With the diet, the drugs, the pain and not being allowed to lift weights, I found the joy had been sucked out of my life. The things that I enjoyed most and looked forward to every day had been taken from me.
I don’t know how I happened upon Dr. Shawn Baker’s Twitter feed, but I’m glad I did. Here was a man about my age, who sure as hell didn’t look like arthritis was keeping him down, and obviously did more than swimming to keep in shape.
After inundating him with questions via Twitter, I decided to give Dr. Baker’s approach a try. (At this point, what did I have to lose?) So, I wrote Dr. Baker my story, about what my doctor said, including the diet, the drugs and the exercise, and he was kind enough to write me back.
An excerpt from his response to me: “Just in general terms (and not to be taken as medical advice) a stronger joint is a healthier joint and is relatively more resistant to arthritis. In my view, diet plays a huge role in joint pathology, with meat being the least likely substance to contribute to it.”
After a few false starts (as a nearly incorrigible carb-addict), I embraced carnivory.
Fast-forward to today: Since January, I no longer take Meloxicam (because I don’t need it) or anti-depressants, and I am back in the weight room, doing full squats, without pain.
I cannot adequately express my gratitude for Dr. Baker’s guidance.