Life caught up with me in my 30’s – like it threw a rope around me and yanked me to the ground. I went from blissfully eating whatever I wanted on the SAD diet to desperately searching for the answers I hoped would save my health. I’ll explain.
Living in NYC gave me access to some of the most ‘exciting’ and tasty treats. I say exciting because eating and drinking is like a sport here and I bought right into that culture. Food became the first thought on my mind each morning as I anticipated that DOUGH Donut or Brooklyn Blackout Cake slice I was going to allow myself to indulge in. That initial excitement would quickly turn into panic, anxiety and inner pleading within myself while I desperately tried to find ways to talk myself out of making bad dietary choices, or, at least delay them as long as I could. In the end the craving always won. I was horrified and frankly scared at what was becoming my inner food landscape because it was worsening year by year and I realized I was powerless to say no to sugar.
No one else was worried about me. In fact, friends and family would giggle at me when I admitted I would sometimes down 3 pints of B&J’s ice cream in a week saying, “You’re tall and thin don’t even worry about it.” or “It’s okay, you deserve a treat sometimes. You work really hard. Maybe it’s stress or hormones.” But this was not okay; I knew I must be hurting my body massively with every bite of refined sugar. I actually wanted someone to flip out and humiliate me about my habits because I thought perhaps that would be some sort of catalyst to finally make me stop.
So here I was at the ‘young’ age of 32 battling a raging sugar addiction, watching my once clear complexion develop into a non-stop rotation of cystic acne and losing my youthful look as I visibly began aging more rapidly. I could no longer control myself around foods I knew were detrimental to my health. I woke up exhausted every morning no matter how many hours of sleep I got and I felt stiff and creaky. I began noticing new aches pains that seemed to come out of nowhere – just me living my normal life. Things felt bad and on top of it all, I was horrified to realize that my body just wasn’t healing at it’s normal rate – things were taking months and months to heal.
Naturally, I found myself trying to justify it, “Oh well, this is what happens as you age.” Honestly, since when is 32 considered old? I thought if this is my life now how could I possibly enjoy the rest of my life as my health continues to deteriorate?
I discovered Intermittent Fasting which led me to the Keto and LCHF diets. I jumped into fasting pumped that this would be my magic bullet – fasting just made complete sense to me. Using IF, I was finally able to steer my diet in a better direction for the first time in many years. I began enjoying eggs, dark-meat chicken and bacon drowning in olive oil, avo oil, coconut oil or butter with lots of low-carb veggies cooked in these delish Keto-approved fats.
The weight began melting off and I was ecstatic. I dropped so much weight I had to buy new clothes -”Yay!” I thought, “This is the answer I’ve been looking for!” Still my sugar addiction roared on but in a slightly muted fashion.
I was careful to only eat whole Keto foods keeping it simple with cheese, veggies and meat cooked in fat, I stayed clear of processed foods and carb-mimicking creations like cauli-pizza or Oopsie bread or fat bombs of any sort. I was fasting obsessively and fully intended to maintain this lifestyle, no problem. I convinced myself that I actually enjoyed fasting and the hungry feeling. Looking back this may not have been the healthiest thing for me but I figured it would be a short amount of time before I became fat adapted and then fasting would become easy and natural and provide the healing I was looking for.
Finally, I moved out of a stressful living situation and into my own apartment happily keeping up with Keto and daily OMAD – I was often hungry and wouldn’t allow myself to eat outside of my eating window. I did more research and decided that I simply needed to up my fats and incorporate bone broth – still I never felt as though I achieved the elusive fat adapted state everyone was writing about. I never felt truly satisfied. My skin had improved but not by much. I took another honest look at my inner food landscape and sadly admitted to myself that this wasn’t working as well as the testimonials I was reading seemed to talk about. Though I thoroughly enjoyed all the Keto foods in each and every meal I had to resort to leaving my credit cards at my apartment to stop myself from buying desserts on my way home.
As the months passed I noticed that I was still waking up exhausted, foggy, irritated, achy and full of pain in my joints. I wasn’t as enthused about fasting because, quite honestly, it did not seem to be healing me as much as I expected and I was tired of feeling hungry but forcing myself to power through. To my dismay, slowly my weight began creeping back up despite daily OMAD and strict Keto. I couldn’t motivate myself to go on the 2 to 3 day fast I knew it would require to get my weight back down again.
ZC/Carnivore tidbits would crop up in my daily search for answers. At first, I thought it was too extreme but as it continued to surface I became mildly curious. I dove in and began Googling. The research and personal testimonials slowly began to cast ZC in a new light: isn’t this what humans are supposed to eat? It seemed stupidly simple and yet completely impossible for food to be this easy. I longed for food to be simple and for my disordered eating to melt away – but come on – every single one of the females in my life struggled daily with food, dieting, weight and cravings. How could it actually be simple?
I knew I had to give it a try. Interestingly I began to feel drastic improvement immediately and it dawned on me that I hadn’t been fully aware of how bad my health actually was.I had learned to sort of push through or ignore pain because it was always there and I didn’t know what it was like to live without it.
So what changed? Well it’s only been around 3 months of a 90% carnivorous diet and I have blown my health out of the water, so to speak:
- Cravings – Mostly gone; if I do have cravings they are now manageable and I walk right past the sweets that used to control me every day. Oh! And I no longer have to leave my credit card at home to keep myself on the straight and narrow. I haven’t touched B&J’s, DOUGH Donuts or Brooklyn Blackout slices since I started ZC. I leave the fries untouched while I dive into my bunless burger at restaurants. This still blows my mind.
- Eyesight – My eyesight was getting more blurry each year. It has now improved and as an added bonus, my eyes no longer tire after a full day of staring at a screen.
- Energy – Steady and stable; I don’t feel tired, depleted or exhausted.
- Hair – Growing more quickly. My stylist recently commented (unprompted) on how soft my hair felt. I have been going to her for over two years.
- Skin – Complete 360! I barely even break out around my cycle. Not only have my breakouts diminished but the quality and color of my skin is beautiful now – I feel radiant.
- Nails – I used to have endless hangnails and painful cuticles that would not heal. My nails barely grew before and if they did, they inevitably broke. Since ZC, my nails have been growing so quickly that I have to file them every few days. I haven’t had a single broken nail and my cuticles are 100% healthy – no more pain.
- Digestion – Perfect – no gas, pain or bloating! #happytummy
- Food Stress – Let’s see I went from 24/7 food obsession and fear of calories to complete ease. Grocery shopping is a cinch: I complete my shopping in one 3-minute swoop through the meat department and I’m done. Cooking is a breazy 10 minute routine and I enjoy every single meal.
- Sprained Ankle – I sprained my ankle at least 8 months ago doing yoga and it simply would not heal. I thought Keto or Fasting would give my body the break it needed to heal-nope. Three months of ZC, and my ankle is completely healed.
- Joint Pain – 95% improved – especially my knees which were bugging me walking up and down the subways steps.
- Foot Pain – I actually forgot I had foot pain until I read my notes because it’s now completely gone.
- Hand Numbness – I used to have pain and numbness in my left hand whenever things would get really stressful at work. Not only is that gone but it doesn’t flare past a dull throb when I’m super stressed. It is noticeably improving still.
- Brain Fog – I went from being easily stressed out and lacking confidence to kicking ass and taking names. I’m now more enthusiastic, clear-headed and productive at work. I’m no longer leaving the office feeling like the life was drained out of me.
- Anxiety and Depression – Literally gone. I always thought my daily struggle with that down-in-the-dumps feeling was just my personality. With ZC the anxiety disappeared and the depression melted away. People keep complimenting me randomly and I know it’s because I’m in a fabulous, chill, happy mood bouncing around and enjoying everyday life. I’ve noticed the direct connection to my diet as this is the first thing to go if I eat sugary treats. Now that I know what affects me there is no going back, is there?
The only (temporary) downside I have had is a bit of initial weight gain, however, I think this will work itself out in time. Looking back on my life knowing what I now know, I realize that I have starved myself of anything nutrient dense for years. I was completely prepared for the possibility of weight gain after reading Kelly Hogan’s story and I was willing to chance the weight gain because I feel so dang good – you can’t bottle this feeling.
Happily – Healthily,
Im 87 years old and have finally gotten my health back, or at least what I could. My diet now consists strictly of animal products. Beef steaks, liver, eggs, and bacon. No foods from plant sources. I have at last returned to my high school physique. Same weight, same pant and shirt sizes, namely 32-32 pants and medium shirts.
I have suffered from hearing loss, eye cataracts, slow heart rate that have been dealt with hearing aids, cataract surgery, and a pacemaker.
Prior to my dietary epiphany nearly 20 years ago, I ate lots of carbs. Pizza, pasta, doughnuts, rolls, buns, toast, cakes, potatoes, corn, beets and everything that was recommended by dietary guidelines. It was a disaster for me. My transition to avoiding all plant foods was gradual as I slowly learned how dangerous to my health they were. Fortunately I caught it before being diagnosed with diabetes. Now Zero Carb for almost 33 months.
These are my health improvements after 1 year of cutting out all plants and dairy from my diet:
- Healed knee: I had a bike accident as a kid and have always felt a slight pain in my knee since then. My knee is now completely healed. The healing process took 6 month and my body performed something akin to surgery on it self: my knee got really swollen during the healing process and I felt something (which I believe was a tiny piece of gravel left from the bike accident) was being pulled out of my knee.
- No more back pain: I would wake up every morning with cramp in my back muscles. it’s all gone now.
- No more stiff muscles: most of my muscles used to be really stiff.
- Better bowel movements, no more diarrhea, no more bloody stool.
- Better digestion.
- No more night sweats. I would occasionally wake up during the night and my pillow would be soaked in sweat. No more.
- Not tired when I wake up in the morning. I’ve become a morning person.
- Not tired after eating.
- Better eyesight: everything is much sharper and colors are really vivid. I used to have to squint on sunny days before. Not anymore.
- Ocular migraine is gone: I think this is due to quitting coffee.
- Cleansed sinuses: my sinuses always used to be clogged up. now they have been cleansed. I have felt my pulse in my sinuses for the last 12 months.
- Regained sense of smell: directly after starting zero carb I noticed that I could smell the perfume of people on the streets. This had never happened before.
- No more anxiety: I used to get stressed out over stupid things. Now I’m the calmest I’ve ever been. I think this is due to quitting coffee.
- Better memory.
- Better cognitive functions.
- Constantly high energy levels.
- Better sleep and better dreams. I have not had a nightmare since I started with this diet.
- No more dry skin.
- No physical fatigue: I feel stronger than I’ve ever felt before.
- No winter cold: this is the first year in +10 years that I haven’t had a cold.
- No more nosebleed: I used to get nosebleeds on a regular basis. It’s all gone now.
- Happier: I’ve never felt this happy in my life before. Now I get sudden bursts of euphoria from time to time.
- Better fine motor skills: playing the piano has never been this easy.
- No more red hands: my hands used to occasionally turn red. Not anymore.
- No more white fingers (Raynaud syndrome): I think this is due to quitting coffee.
- No cravings for food: I used to get cravings for e.g. ice cream and chocolate. Now I only feel hunger.
- No more pain between toes (Morton’s neuroma).
- Gaining weight: I’ve always been tall and skinny and has never been able to gain either muscle mass or body fat. Now I’m starting to gain weight as my body is absorbing the food I eat.
- Quick recovery after physical exercise. I play squash, do TRX, and ride racing bike and recovery has never been this quick. Hardly any muscle soreness.
- More stuff has happened that I cannot put into words: I just know that my body feels better and that something has healed that I don’t know what it is. I just feel that I have increased my life expectancy by many years.
All of this happened just because I stopped eating plants and dairy! Better yet, I haven’t paid a penny for it and haven’t been to an MD The Internet has been my only resource.
That being said, the healing process was quite intense. I certainly got the keto flu and was many time questioning if I was doing the right thing. I want to thank everyone who has gone through this process and has shared their stories on the Internet. Without having access to all these personal stories I don’t think I would have continued all the way through. Heck, I wouldn’t have come across this diet to start with if it wasn’t for the Internet! This is why I want to share my experience with everyone.
DISCLAIMER: I’m not an MD and have no training or education in nutrition whatsoever. This is purely anecdotal information. As such, I do not give any dietary recommendations. You will have to decide yourself what diet you chose to have. I’m an engineer and academic researcher, and as such the only thing I recommend is that you experiment with different diets and listen to your own body and how it reacts to the food you eat.
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