I was raised by older parents who had gone through a series of health issues, especially my father who had a heart attack at 46. I was born shortly after his heart attack which led him on a health quest which led him to be a vegetarian/vegan and so I was raised on mother’s milk, carrot juice and coconut milk and was a bright orange, skinny baby. I was a thin child until I got older and discovered McDonald’s where my daily order became 6 cheese burgers, a large fry, and coke to wash it all down. Of course this led me down a path of becoming an obese young adult. I tried every diet known to man and just made a lot of companies rich selling me their snake oil treatment of the month. My parents both became obese eating cheap processed vegan foods like bread with margarine, potatoes and pasta.
My older brother had developed type 2 diabetes due to his weight, and I watched them slowing remove his toes and fingers, watched him go blind, undergo a kidney transplant, and then die with early onset dementia. Of course he was eating his recommended 300 grams of carbohydrates each day while restricting healthy proteins and fats. He was constantly upping his insulin dose to keep up with his rising glucose levels due to all the carbs and being disabled due to all of his health issues, which pretty much kept him bedridden.
I finally decided it was time to try being a vegetarian/vegan since that was the way I started life and was thin. When you go from a SAD diet to eating more veggies you feel better for sure, but it was not long before my weight began to climb due to all of the carbs. After years of weight gain and topping the scales at over 300 pounds, I refused to get on a scale after 306 showed up. Having a Dr. tell me that I would eventually need a knee replacement due to my weight, along with a consistently rising blood sugar, I decided to give Paleo a try. Paleo was a godsend, and my weight started to drop, but I quickly learned that I could still eat a lot of “healthy carbs” in the form of sweet potatoes, rice and sour dough bread, so the weight loss stalled pretty quickly. Some of my Paleo friends started talking about the success they were having going to a high fat, low carb diet called keto. Since I was stuck at around 250 pounds I decided to give it a shot. After all of my vegetarian/vegan training, the idea of eating more animal products took me couple of months to get over, but I was determined to get to my natural body weight so I ordered some grass fed beef and found a local source of true free range eggs, and I was off and running. I quickly lost another 30 pounds and felt much better but was still experiencing some joint pain, especially in the knee the Dr. has suggested be replaced.
A couple of months ago as I was fixing breakfast, and I was listening to a podcast, and there was this Dr. talking about the benefits of an all-meat diet, my first thought was this is nuts, but at the same time I was intrigued after my keto success. So I listened to every podcast that Dr. Shawn Baker had done and started researching, and I liked what I found. I have been carnivore for over 2 months and have never felt better. I currently weigh 195 pounds, have a six pack, zero joint pain, an A1C of 5.1, blood pressure is 115 over 68, and my resting heart rate is 62. On my next birthday I will turn 60, and I am in the best shape of life.
What can I say, Meat Heals!!!!
I have hesitated for some time to submit my story. I think in part because I began a very low-carb diet in May 2017, prior to hearing about the Carnivore Diet challenge. I was aware of Amber O’Hearn and others avoiding plant foods. My husband and I had been vegan for just over 5 years prior to adding animal foods back in our diet in March 2017. By May, our plant food consumption had greatly diminished. This was quite a switch for me, as I have long been an advocate of ‘eating your dark leafy greens’ and always promoted eating lots of veggies.
So that is where this story begins!
I think what most people don’t realize is that nearly every single person in the Western countries is eating a plant-based diet. The average protein consumption is only about 12-15%.
Since age 4, I developed pretty bad allergies. While still young, I had an episode of my knees buckling in while getting off the couch. We did eat meat (and potatoes) growing up, yet I was diagnosed anemic, and given iron pills.
I think I long had a sugar addiction, something I thought I had gotten over years back. Funnily enough, as a vegan, I ultimately was consuming an entirely sugar-laden diet, even if I avoided refined sugars. However, I was long led to believe the ‘complex carbs’ – whole grains and beans – were good for balancing blood sugar. Fibre too.
Needless to say, I have had pretty severe hypoglycemic blood sugar swings, which of course worsened while on an entirely ‘whole foods, plant-based’ diet – despite all that fibre. My blood pressure is low. I would have orthostatic hypotensive super dizzy spells when I would stand up from sitting. Quite often, I would have to put myself down on the ground, as I could feel the lights going out. Even then, I still had that horrid feeling of falling. I would have mini seizures right after. This occurred more and more frequently while trying to make the vegan diet work. I did it all, from high raw, fruit-based, low-fat, low-protein, low-sodium to grain and bean based, macrobiotic style. I ate tons of greens, sea veggies, and all ‘the right stuff’ (vegans still try to tell me “I didn’t do it right”).
Needless to say, I watched myself age dramatically on a vegan diet. My skin became grey ashen looking. I felt like wrinkles were showing up pretty regularly! I often looked haggard when waking up.
My hair was falling out each time I brushed. My vision was worsening. My memory, recall, and retention were not up to par and I was increasingly feeling more and more fatigued. It was very hard to get motivated in the morning.
All this was happening while being in the ‘holistic/alternative’ health care, trying to do health coaching. What a joke! I even wrote 4 books on eating a whole foods, plant-based, or macrobiotic diet, all of which I have since unpublished.
My husband and I were doing plenty of training. Meanwhile, our progress was seeming to stall. I had constant tendonitis somewhere or another. Elbows, wrists. Knee issues. In fact, I just really had stiffness and pain all the time. It really took a lot of work to loosen up, and feel okay and ready for my day.
While plant based, I ate bowls full of cooked porridge. My husband and I were clearly craving protein more and more as time went on. We were adding beans and nuts to the porridge. I kept feeling like I needed more, yet I was full. By the day’s end, I had that lovely ‘lower belly kangaroo pouch’ ~ my not so endearing term. Bloating, constipation and low moods became more constant as time went on while eating plant based.
Then there were the major sicknesses every single winter. We do treat many people who get sick with acupuncture in our clinic. Sure enough, we each would take turns getting sick as well. One year, while eating mostly raw, I actually had what looked like adult chicken pox. Major chills and fever. Major! I had chicken pox as a kid too. Another year, I had laryngitis so bad, I thought I really damaged my vocal cords. Not a sound could be made! These illnesses lingered for weeks. Once upon a time I worked in a busy tourist restaurant, in Aspen, CO, and I was the one that picked up everyone else’s shifts when they were sick!
By the time the winter illness would finally subside, I was hit with allergies that dragged on for well over another month. I basically began each year sick. I had phlegm that never went away. Sinus problems. Difficulty breathing well. (But I believed dairy caused these problems. Not sure why things were not clicking in my mind, as I had not had dairy in years!)
People may wonder why we lingered so long. It is difficult to break these mental associations, and marketers and pushers of these plant-based diets know this.
The signs were certainly adding up. But, we had watched all the propaganda films (Forks Over Knives, Earthlings, et al.) and read all the plant-based doctor books, and believed these guys. I even took T. Colin Campbell’s Plant-Based Nutrition certification course!
The reason we actually switched from a paleo diet prior to vegan to begin with was because Don’s first wife developed breast cancer. She and he had been paleo for 10 years, the length of time it takes for cancer cells to multiply enough to be palpable. She passed away just shy of turning 50.
I developed excruciatingly tender, fatty, and uneven sized breasts shortly after her diagnosis. This put the fear in me. Don also had prostate issues. His dad has prostate cancer. We were sure that the only thing that could be a problem was the meat and saturated fat. Of course, that is what is pushed, especially by those plant-based doctors. The fact that eating grains and beans again, including soy, after a year or more of abstaining helped my condition to totally subside caused me to be certain we were on the right path once we were vegan. His prostate symptoms also cleared.
Interestingly, while high raw, fruit-based, my fibrocystic tenderness returned, albeit without the enlarged, clearly fatty and unevenness as they were prior. That ended that way of eating.
In addition to the fibrocystic breast condition, I had also reached my lifetime highest weight at 127#. I am only 5 feet tall! We also attributed that to the paleo diet, esp. meat + fat. I mean, how could it be the vegetables and berries, after all! (I get it now, just didn’t then. Carbs + fat = big insulin problem!)
It takes some time to experience the deficiencies, depending on previous diet. So much of these symptoms I had either always had, and hoped to see an improvement, or just kept thinking required more time to resolve.
Despite all the fiber, I also had constipation. Irritable bowel is probably better description. I was actually beginning to develop hemorrhoids as well.
I am sure once I submit this, I’ll think of even more issues experienced while plant-based, but this was probably excruciating enough to read!
The good news? Since eating a high protein, nearly carnivorous diet, I have regained a sense of myself again. I regained lost vitality. I am developing lean muscle and strength while training, whereas progress seemed hard to notice previously.
I immediately had clients tell me how much better I looked. My skin brightened up. My hair no longer falls out. I don’t have constipation, although I do take magnesium, nearly my only supplement, other than getting adequate sodium. My body composition has definitely changed. I feel like a new person. I now steadily weigh 102#. I essentially lost 1/5 of my body weight. Nobody believes me tho! My excess fat has always been in my lower body.
I have regained my confidence, lost while feeling so bad about myself for feeling so bad, especially when I’m supposed to be reflecting health as part of my profession. I no longer have cravings, mood swings, or lack of focus. My entire outlook and ability to function as a human has so greatly improved, it is truly like getting my life back. The life I was meant to live.
I am regretful for sure of lost vitality. I get nasty comments from vegans on my YT channel. This has all been quite a journey. I now have a new book out, and I know with 100% certainty having been there, done that, that meat + fat is where it is at. I am now bullet-proof to the misleading information and propaganda.
If you’ve read this far, all I can say is don’t go vegan! As we age, we need all the more protein. It’s not as easy to recover either. But, the body is super resilient. I began to feel so much better immediately upon eating meat again. It has only gotten better since. I would say I am still wanting to see certain areas improve, but there are other factors impacting our health besides diet. I trust this process, and I am in it for the long haul. Animal foods are nutrient dense, and there is no doubt that my symptoms were from major micro and macronutrient deficiencies.
Thank the Gods for people like Dr. Shawn Baker who calls it as it is, despite this crazy PC world we live in with a seemingly clear agenda to push veganism. Nearly every one of our clients believes that eating plant foods is healthy. We did too once. It’s a hard belief to break.
This is my video-a follow up: April of this year, 2019, I had blood work done right as I was beginning to transition away from a mostly whole food, plant based diet. Total Cholesterol was 170; HDL was 46; Trigs were 64 and LDL was 111. FAST FORWARD to this week, November 2019, having been low carb since mid-April and then going 80-90% carnivore in July-today. New blood work: total Cholesterol is 186; HDL 66; trigs 55; LDL 109. My heart disease risk ratio went from 3.7, down to 2.8 My Cholesterol numbers have IMPROVED since going mostly carnivore and eating a predominately animal based diet high in fat (including saturated fat). A1c was not recorded in April, my A1c this time was 5.6.
My weight is now stable in the 121lbs-123lbs range, without tracking/counting/weighing. Digestion issues continue to be resolved.
UPDATE: Attached is my recent cholesterol panel.
Blood pressure reading #1 was 100/66; blood pressure reading #2 was 92/64; blood pressure reading #3 was 102/60. Pulse reading was 68. Weight, with clothes on, was 124lbs/BMI of a 20.0
These numbers reflect me transitioning from a mostly ‘whole foods, plant based diet’, to general low carb in April, and then relaxed carnivore starting in July (moved to 80-90% animal based diet at that point). So 8 months low carb, with around 5 of those being mostly carnivore. I had blood work done in April and my numbers have improved since then, especially my HDL. In April that was a 46 and my doctor was not happy with that. Now, after being carnivore for a few months my HDL is a 66. My coronary heart disease risk was a 3.7 in April and is now a 2.8.
Also, the fasting time is timestamped wrong on the form-I started fasting at 6:30pm and had my blood drawn the following morning, at around 10am.
Btw: I’m a 41 year old, perimenopausal female of 3 kids, who’s a stay at home mom and fairly sedentary (no intentional exercise currently).
I started having problems with my blood sugar right after I had my first baby, I was diagnosed as gestationally diabetic while carrying. I was given no advice or follow-up after having her. Within two to three months later, I was constantly dizzy, hot, my heart would start beating out of my chest, shaky, hyperventilating, and I’d feel like I was dying. Went to the ER twice, they told me it was just postpartum depression/anxiety. Followed up with my ob/gyn and family doctors was told the same thing, they were “just” panic attacks.
Once you’re told something enough, you start to believe it and after that any time my body felt a little bit different or off, I’d panic. This would continue on for years, leading me to 3 separate occasions of complete agoraphobia where I couldn’t even leave my bedroom, let alone my house.
One day, I got fed up with living like that and figured if this “mystery illness” was going to kill me, then it could just go ahead because I wasn’t living anyway. I got in my car and drove and drove until the panic subsided and I was calmed back down. That ended the agoraphobia, for now, but I still struggled with anxiety and panic attacks multiple times a day. Until a friend came in my life then who had diabetic children, during one of my “panic attacks”, she tested my sugar, it was a 29. After eating a whole sleeve of glucose tabs, I felt great. A 5-hour GTT test showed my blood sugar reaching 392 at its peak and a 31 at its lowest point. I was told I was “severely hypoglycemic” “insulin resistant” “late onset juvenile diabetic” and a bunch of other labels that were not helpful. I was told to go on a diabetic diet and to eat sugar when I felt bad. Ugh!!!
So, I started eating tons of carbs every hour thinking I had to keep my blood sugar up. The more carbs I ate, the more carbs I wanted/craved/HAD to have. I was able to keep the low blood sugar monster at bay by eating every hour. But, the panic and anxiety never went away. It was always there.
Fast forward a few years, and I found myself in an abusive (physically, emotionally, verbally) marriage. I finally left him, for good, in April of 2016 when he was arrested for domestic assault against me. So, now on top of the anxiety/panic, I was diagnosed with PTSD and OCD, and my agoraphobia was back with a vengeance. And, at this time, I seemed to be having major reactions to anything and everything I ate. And, I ended up in the ER on two occasions with severe anaphylactic reactions from peanuts/treenuts after eating them all my life.
Between that and the fear from how I felt after eating, I became terrified of every bite I took. I only ate as little as I could only when I absolutely had to, on top of washing my hands so much, they would crack and bleed because I was afraid of allergens on them (not germs). I weighed about 92 pounds at this time, I’m 5’4. I was a walking skeleton.
On Oct 5th, 2016, I made burgers for my kids before we went to my brother’s house for his bday, and something inside of me screamed at me to EAT THEM, and for whatever reason – I did, I ate 6 to be precise. I didn’t end up going to my bro’s, anxiety won that battle, but I did sleep all the way through the night, didn’t wake up with nightmares or drenched in sweat for the first time in two years. The next day, I ate more burgers and felt a bit better. After that day, I never touched any other food than beef, pork, chicken, turkey, cheese, eggs and bacon. They were my “safe” foods. I also did not know ZC was even a thing at this time, they were just what I felt okay on after experimenting.
On my one-year anniversary of eating this way, I sat down and literally googled “how long can I live eating just hamburger patties” because that is all I wanted and was what made me feel the best. And, lo and behold, I found Zeroing in on Health and Zero Carb Zen, and Charles Washington, Kelly Hogan, Shawn Baker, Amber O’Hearn, the Andersens, and so many others who were thriving on this diet. I felt good, but I couldn’t honestly say I was thriving, so after reading about the Salisbury protocol, I decided that day to do beef and water only for the next year. My 2 year anniversary of ZC is also my one year anniversary of beef and water only.
Now, as of today, my symptoms and issues are all healed. My blood sugar (after spreading my meals out) is now perfect. I haven’t had a panic attack in over a year. I have no more anxiety. My OCD tendencies are gone. IBS/Acid Reflux/Digestive Issues, gone. Brain fog, gone. Soul-sucking fatigue, gone. I am still probably a little too bit on the small size, but I don’t feel like a walking skeleton anymore. I have energy, I’m calm, I’m grounded, I have a life again, and I go out and travel and do things I never imagined I could a few years ago.
I plan on eating this way for life because it gave me my life back. I was a disaster, a complete mess slowly shriveling away, and now I’m a much healthier, much happier, thriving person thanks to the carnivore diet.