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Stephen improved blood sugar, dental health, digestion on carnivore diet

I am 25, 175lbs, stronger, happier, with better skin and digestion, than I’ve had since I was 17. Growing up, my family, in an attempt to chastise me or tease me, gave me a sort of nickname regarding food: “cookies, cakes and candies.” I loved sweets, and was known to eat all my brothers’ winter oreos or popsicles, cereal, or what have you. In high school and college I would legitimately have cereal as 1/3 of my diet (or more), along with bagels, bread, ice cream, etc. In high school some of my best friends made fun of me because I would sometimes even come prepared with a bagel in my pocket.

 Then in college, everything started hitting the fan and my world started spinning: I began to have constant, I mean constant, stomach pain all day long, from the morning I awoke to going to sleep. Some friends in college persuaded me, along ethical lines (not nutritional) to try vegetarianism and veganism, so I was the former for a year and a half and the latter for 8-10 months— it was horrible. I ate tons of fruit, granola, cereal, soy ice cream, cider— I was rail thin, weak, tired, and eventually became very sick.

In Summer 2014, after a year of veg/anism, I went abroad and returned with a fever that stayed and left me almost bedridden for over a month; the apartment I was living in had black mold, and I didn’t have much energy each day. I brushed it off and got back to school, but friends around me realized I wasn’t myself— my energy was gone, I was becoming more irritable and withdrawn, I had panic attacks and my stomach constantly hurt all day long. 

It eventually got so bad that I needed an ice pack strapped to my chest just to sleep, had various GI tests, got my gallbladder removed, and had constant searing back pain as well (which I also needed an ice pack just to sleep too). It was the worst couple years of my life, and I felt like there was no way out— praying and meditating alone and with friends, celebrating Eucharist at Church, being with friends, playing music, hiking and reading poetry were the only things that gave me solace as I became sort of a recluse.

Problems:

  • Hypoglycemia (probably pre-diabetic)
  • brain fog, poor memory, low mental acuity
  • low energy, chronic fatigue
  • intense anxiety, panic attacks (was medicated) for years
  • depression and mood swings
  • GERD
  • IBS
  • diarrhea for years
  • chronic stomach pain
  • failed gallbladder
  • Skin eczema/rashes (sometimes bled)
  • low libido (hormonal imbalance)
  • chronic back pain
  • headaches
  • lip sores
  • eye inflammation
  • easy sunburn
  • some random tumors/cysts
  • anemia
  • poor dental health

My mom and brother had been off of gluten and sugar for years by the time I was in college, they were nominally following Robb Wolf and the Paleo movement, but they did not know or practice a Keto or Carnivore Way of Eating. By 2017 I started eliminating foods and keeping a food journal, starting with gluten, then all grain, then cruciferous veggies, then nightshades, legumes, and on and on.

 By December 2017, I was in shambles, and my roommate told me about one of his best friends who had Crohn’s and reversed it with the ketogenic diet. I was desperate, and had been addictively reading about nutrition, fasting, and ketosis (I did just barely come across carnivore at this time, but I brushed it off because it seemed too intimidating, I loved sugar). 

After fasting all day Christmas Day 2017 and feeling much relieved, and then jumped into keto, hands to the plow no looking back. I starting feeling better and better, every week, month, and quarter I would keep saying, “Man, I haven’t felt this good since I was 18!” By around October 2018, after reading about Carnivore for a couple months, I was yearning for something more streamlined, easier, nutritious, and satiating, to get me to the next place (still had some residual anxiety, tiredness, skin issues, etc)— so I went to Carnivore and it just got better and better. My strength, mental acuity, and skin got even better. (Before keto- 2 pull ups, on Keto- 7 pull ups, on carnivore- 18 pull ups).

Improvements:

  • No digestive issues whatsoever
  • Best mental focus, attention, and mood since high school
  • no brain fog or headaches
  • best strength I’ve maybe ever had
  • much improved dental health
  • anxiety and depression are gone!
  • normal libido (hormonal balance)
  • little to no sunburn after hours in direct sunlight (first time in my life)
  • tumors/cysts disappeared
  • no back pain
  • no eye inflammation
  • clear and really smooth skin
  • steady energy all day

I am now absolutely loving this WOE and I don’t really see ever leaving it— although I am like 95% carnivore, I have some onions, garlic, mushrooms sometimes, and once a month or two I’ll split a sweet potato or make avocado pudding with friends. Meat does continue to taste better and better (I am soon going to get a quarter of beef!). 

I am eternally grateful for the work of Shawn Baker, especially Joe Rogan hosting Mikhaila Peterson (my first major exposure to Carnivore), the Zero Carb subreddit, Dr. Darren Schmidt, and countless others for making this possible, as well as friends and family, who have supported me through this hard time and brought immense healing. I’ve now been on keto for a year and a half and on zero carb for 9 months and am so filled with awe and so thankful.

Peace

Chris improved his diabetes and mental health with a carnivore diet

On Christmas day 2016 I was admitted to the hospital with an infection on my left arm. It turned out to be necrotizing faciitis, which required numerous debridement surgeries and skin grafts. I spent 7 weeks in the hospital and a year recovering. In my research on the condition, I discovered how much metabolic health contributes to this condition. I was nearly 300 pounds, and a type 2 diabetic. I wasn’t taking care of myself at all and felt miserable. Medications were ineffective and I was getting worse.

In April of 2018, I finally made the choice to make a change. I did a lot of research and found the ketogenic community. I dove right in. I quickly began losing weight while eating very low carb and incorporating intermittent fasting. I forced myself to eat some vegetables (traditional dogma pressured me to) but quickly found the carnivore community after seeing Dr Shawn Baker on the Joe Rogan podcast. Since then I’ve been on an all meat diet and felt better and better month over month. Today I am in the best shape of my life, am no longer diabetic and enjoy living and my family more than ever.

Starting date: April 7th 2018
Starting weight: 294 lbs
Current weight: 178 lbs

Conditions resolved:
* Type 2 diabetes
* High blood pressure
* Sleep apnea
Allergies/hay fever
* Skin tags
* Low energy
* Frequent headaches
* Brain fog

Former medications: metformin, glyburide, atorvistatin, Lisinopril, gabapentin, Claritin and ibuprofen
Current medications: none

The picture on the left is Christmas morning 2016, staring at some Reece’s product I was about to devour just before heading to the hospital. On the right is me now, fueled by steak. Lots of steak.

Annie improved her arthritis and diabetes on a carnivore diet

Annie – 31 year vegetarian now carnivore

Let me tell you a bit about myself, I live in just outside of Brisbane, Australia, I’m 45 years old, have 4 daughters ranging from 19 to 11 years, I work five days a week and am studying a health sciences degree full-time online. I decided to do a Bachelor of Food and Nutrition, after I became obsessed with using food for medicine and good health. I want to help others regain their health as I have gained mine back since starting a ketogenic diet over four years ago, I’m now carnivore.

For as long as I can remember I have suffered from IBS issues – gut pain and cramping, explosive diarrhoea, severe constipation – first seeing a GP for it when I was 14 years old. I never had a weight issue until having my first baby, but it certainly became a huge issue for the next 15 years. I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis when I was pregnant with my first daughter and during two pregnancies had gestational diabetes. Over these years I also suffered terrible GORD, repetitive disc bulges, sleep issues, asthma, thrush, recurring chest, sinus and urinary tract infections, major anxiety and depression issues. I had allergy tests done, where I was allergic to 13 of the 16 things I had been tested for and was told I was pre-type 2 diabetic by my overweight GP, who told me I should just expect it as it was in my family.

About 5 years ago, my health was heading south rapidly, with almost daily headaches and weekly migraines. I had a strange turn one day where I blacked out while driving, with my then four-year-old in the car with me. Apparently, I was slurring like I was drunk, but I managed to get my little girl to call the ambulance. I have no recollection of the event, except that I came to with two ambulance officers in my car trying to establish what had happened to me. My husband and police were on the scene when I came to as well, but despite being taken to hospital and tests being done, I never found out what had happened to me – except that they thought the migraine I had, had caused the event.

A few months later I got very unwell with a chest infection, landing myself in hospital for 12 days. My asthma was in a very bad way and I could hardly walk the corridors in the hospital without bringing on an attack. I gained about 5 kilograms during my hospital stay and was referred to a dietician to try to get my weight and health under control. I followed her recommendations religiously as I hated what was happening to me, but all I managed to do was gain more weight. She made me feel like I couldn’t possibly have been following the guidelines she’d set for me and that I was cheating myself.

I’d heard cutting sugar from your diet was good, so I stopped adding sugar on my morning oats and cutting it back substantially from my home baking, which gained me a small win with a couple of kilos weightloss. In November 2014, I then saw a documentary that literally changed my life, featuring Dr Maryanne Demasi, Dr Peter Bruckner, Professor Tim Noakes and Dr Steve Phinney. It was about the low carb, high fat diet and so, fuelled with the small win I’d had from ditching the sugar from my diet, I thought I’d give it a go.

My weight dropped incredibly quickly and majority of my health issues all but disappeared. I haven’t even had a head cold in the four years since starting. Everyone at work gets sick over winter, but I have not as yet. LCHF cured my GORD, disc bulges, asthma, allergies, thrush and I never experienced any more chest, sinus or urinary tract infections. I got stricter with my food choices and went VLC/strict keto, all the while my weight was still slowly creeping off.

At this point I should say I had been a lazy vegetarian for 31 years. I say lazy, as I had eaten fish very occasionally for a few years but never too regularly. I had however been doing a lot of research, reading lots of studies and following some very intelligent people on Twitter. All my research had me concluding that although I was way healthier in my food choices now eating keto, I had to eat a lot more protein than I was. I introduced fish regularly and, much to the shock of my family, I started eating chicken again – it had been 31 years. I started feeling so much better almost immediately, stronger. I then caught wind of Dr Baker’s carnivore study, which, both research and my own curious nature, had me very interested in. Crazy right, as I was only eating chicken, fish and eggs? But I did it, very strictly, ditching coffee, cream, cheese and only eating the chicken, fish, eggs and drinking water. I had it in my head though that I wanted to be brave and try red meat and so set a personal goal to achieve that before the end of the study – I knew for optimal health it was for the best, but I had a lot of mental hurdles stopping me. It came to the last week of the study, I felt amazing but disappointed in myself for not giving red meat a go like I wanted, so one day on my way home from work, I bought a rib eye, cooked it and ate the whole thing. I believe I have eaten at least one piece of red meat every day since.

To date my overall weight loss is about 40kg (or 88lb), with a measurement loss of about 120cm (or 47 inch) total. Hormonally, I have re-gained the 4kg loss I experienced during the study, which I intend on shedding again in the new year. Let’s just say, being a woman is unfair sometimes and the one thing that no diet has helped with is my lifetime suffering from endometriosis. I’m having further surgery in the new year, so hopefully I can get on top of the fake hormones currently circulating my body causing these adverse effects.

So, what happened when I went completely carnivore? Whilst LCHF/Keto helped the majority of my conditions, I was still suffering bouts of IBS issues, some arthritic aches and anxiety. Since going carnivore, I have been able to ascertain that it was vegetables still causing my residual IBS and occasional arthritic soreness. I am physically so much stronger than I have ever been and the recovery from exercise is outstanding. Where I once would have been sore for days and in some instances great pain, I have minimal soreness and generally only the following day, if at all. My mental clarity has been the overwhelming improvement which has me off my medication for the first time in about 10 years. Mentally, I would never have been able to take on such a gruelling schedule of fulltime study, working 5 days a week and four kids before, but carnivore has allowed me that. The first-wave carnivore study began in August 2017, for a three-month duration but I have remained carnivore ever since. I intend on staying this way for the foreseeable future as well for the outstanding health effects it has had on my body and mind.

Cheers,
Annie

Emma improved her eating disorder and pain on a carnivore diet

At the age of fourteen in the late sixties I became self-conscious of my weight. This was the time when models like Twiggy were popular, fashion and TV made us aware of how fabulous it is to be slim and so trendy. I had to sew my own clothes and copied the short dress styles. I looked cool and that’s when the eating disorders began, lasting for seventeen years.
I worked as a Dental Chair Assistant from age 16. My front teeth were knocked out in an accident and replaced with crowns and then the rest just rotted away to be all extracted by the age of 23.  

When seventeen, wearing one of those dresses at a local dance in the country, I met my husband, the handsome farmer who killed sheep for us to eat but I never really ate them because I would binge and vomit for the sake of staying slim. Another 17 years later with husband number 2, in the city, still with dreadful eating disorders and having the bravery to tell my story to a doctor who had no clue and said nothing. This was in 1980. One day I decided to just stop it myself. Some how I had the discipline to carry this out alone and have never gone back to that particular pattern of self abuse since. 

Fast forward 39 years, 2 husbands and 3 children later, aged now 67 my BMI is 24. For all of those years, food has been the focus of family and social life, having to be the Chef extraordinaire, also known as the Salad Queen.

My skin was always unhealthy with acne when young with thick makeup to hide it and Retinoic acid in the 80’s being very helpful. Small pimples still at my age, dry skin, bleeding gums, muscle aches, joint pain in one knee and hands and oedema in feet and ankles and headaches. My diet has been low fat, high fibre, 10% meat, 90% vegetables.

My father was a tall slim man with a moderately big tummy in his last 5 years, died at 91 in 2014 with an enlarged heart and terrible oedema in his legs. The water was coming out of the skin on his thighs 2 weeks before he died. I found him sitting at his table with a pool of water around him with a worried little dog sitting at the edge of that pool. I bandaged up his legs and got him to hospital. His diet was mostly grains, cooked vegetables with some meat with a small desert and one orange from his tree daily. One glass of red wine in the evening. I am so grateful that I will not suffer my oedema again and die the way my Dad did.

I accidentally saw some ex-vegan videos and Shawn Baker then began the carnivore way of eating in mid February 2019 and will always eat only meat for the rest of my life as all of my ailments have gone in those two months. The oedema of the last 5 years has disappeared and all my aches and pains gone. I eat about 350 grams of steak per day, chicken livers and some cheese and coffee with a dash of milk. I don’t exercise.

This amazing and fundamental knowledge that meat heals, needs to be spread all over world.

Maria heals from allergies, joint pain, and migraines on a carnivore diet

During mid-January of 2018 I switched to a carnivore diet out of desperation because despite all my attempts I could not lose weight. I was then 189 lbs. and willing to do anything to stop gaining weight, and to that point all my attempts had failed regardless exercising 2+ hours a day and eating as “healthy” as I could with the information I had at that time. I was following a low-fat diet, heavy on organic plants that kept me always hungry and frustrated with myself; depressed and ashamed. I suffered from chronic joint pain, migraines, severe environmental allergies, and I thought I had to get used to these “normal” changes of my aging body. Working as a Canadian health provider I had never been exposed before to other health preventative measures other than those politically correct, and accepted by the American Heart Association and the Heart and Stroke Canada; which (I thought then) were unquestionably and unanimously viewed as solid institutions where health practitioners and the public go safely to get educated on the “ultimate” guidelines and get answers to stay healthy.

I discovered the Ketogenic diet and decided to try it, and as I really don’t like to measure macros, ratios or any of the such, in a few days I naturally drifted into a meat-only diet. I discovered soon that many others around the world were recovering their health and naturally losing weight by avoiding plant-based food and eating only meat and drinking water.

When the student is ready, the teacher appears and I found Dr. Ken D. Berry and Dr. Shawn Baker. I discovered the carnivore community and I continued to get educated on how mankind evolved and our original diet and I continued to read about the formidable results of many brave and desperate men and women from around the world, from diverse age groups, ethnicities, and genetic propensities were healing from many illnesses.

Today, 6 months later I’m 50+ lbs. lighter eating steaks to satiety when I’m hungry and drinking water to thirst. My workouts are much shorter: 45 minutes of moderate weight kettlebells almost every day and rowing three to four times a week for a few minutes.

I’m full of energy and I feel better than when I was on my twenties, and I’m on my fifties. I feel alert and focused all day. My chronic joint pain and migraines are gone. My outlook on life is much more positive and my mood has been very stable, regardless of changing life circumstances. My allergies are gone: I haven’t needed any bronchodilators, antihistamines or NSAIDS for these last six months! I’m no longer bloated, after years of chronic bowel pain.

After eating my delicious steaks, I experience a deep sense of peace and contentment, a solid sense of wellness that encompasses body mind and spirit. #meatheals <3

Vancouver, BC Canada, July 2018.

Maria lost over 50 pounds in 6 months on a carnivore diet.

Tom improved cardiovascular health, digestion, fitness on carnivore diet

Tom today, after going carnivore

I have 6 children – 6 thru 42 – and the one joke I hear all the time is about my ‘diet’: ‘So what are you eating now, dad??’  All my life, I’ve been curious to try different foods and regimens, to see what works for me and doesn’t. I’d be embarrassed to admit how much time I’ve spent reading and researching over the years; even now, at 65, it continues all the time. Fact is, there wound up being an overall direction to it (if a bit meandering), and it doesn’t change quite as frequently as perceived, but they do have a legitimate critique.

I’ve been through lots of ‘phases’: when I was in my teens I followed some of the early Atkins ideas, then in my late 20’s, early 30’s, I followed a strict vegan regimen: used to make my own bread with organic stone ground wheat. tofu and sprout sandwiches, supplemented carefully with spirulina, brewer’s yeast, etc. After (as near as I can remember) a year or so, I had some trouble with fatigue when I was 30 – I was running 5+ miles every day, and I finally started to add in some dairy. Not sure that was the issue, but things did get better, and then I followed a pretty strict vegetarian diet for several years. One of my children, born during that time, is still vegetarian.

I had struggled with seasonal, then year round allergies since I was 19, and chronic (worsening) headaches in my 30’s, and 40’s. Additionally, my weight fluctuated: I would ‘buckle down’, count calories, or restrict types of food; over those years my weight ranged between about 165 and 220. And I had bad sugar cravings: chocolate, sweets, a genetic predisposition for sure, but I would work so hard to cut it out, and then one evening, I would implode and clean out every sugary treat, every half-opened, age-whitened chocolate bar, or frosted over long-forgotten reduced-to-goo ice cream from the back of the freezer. Why? I always felt helpless, and made up my mind again, till the next binge.

Tom, before going low carb

With a lot of reservations (shifting from years of veggie to red meat?!) , I tried the re-packaged version of the Atkins diet that was popular in the late 90’s – I was well into my late 40’s. It defied everything I had believed for decades, but sure enough, I lost weight, felt better. I shifted to South Beach (a bit hipper version with lean meats, and more ‘correct’ foods), and had the same results. I couldn’t keep my results, though – I would drift back into the weight roller coaster, gird up, lose some weight, then stumble and start again. But I noticed that on the ‘induction phase’ of both these diets – when I was eating NO grains, I always felt conspicuously better. After those initial couple of weeks, as I added back in the brown rice, whole wheat (NEVER processed), that good feeling dissipated.

A few years ago, my wife mentioned a conversation she had about the Paleo diet: no grains, no processed food. I jumped into that, researched everything I could. Dropping the grains was a positive move – can’t speak for one other person on Earth – but for me there was a palpable difference. I generally felt better, much less stomach and gut goings-on, and I was better able to control my weight and my diet. For a couple years, I was doing well.

But I continued to read and explore: I came across more and more about the ‘keto’ diet. As usual, I first thought it was ‘too radical’, and I was just plain afraid to try something that out of the norm. But I was piqued, and in September 2016, I jumped in and followed a rigorous keto diet, no more than 25-30 net carbs per day, huge leafy green salads, and of course no processed foods, no grains, no sugars, etc. I recorded my weight and every ounce of my food every day.

This was the first time, I think, that I was finally able to control my sugar cravings – I don’t think I’ve ever had a ‘cheat’ meal since then. I had started mountain biking with a friend a few years earlier, and I use an app that records every ride, my heart rate, etc.  (I’m ridiculously fastidious about recording things.)  My buddy is a really strong, experienced mountain biker, and 15 years younger, so I can never keep up completely, but it paces me and I managed to improve. I had started at 200/210 lbs., and with the keto diet, careful calorie counting, and meticulous supplementation (electrolytes, vitamins, etc. – about a dozen pills a night, plus electrolyte powders and regular fiber supplements), I managed to methodically drop my weight into the mid 150s by December 2017 – less than I’ve weighed since before puberty. My biking got stronger, and I also got to the gym when I could, so my upper body strength didn’t drop off too dramatically with the weight loss. Along the way I implemented intermittent fasting, which, again, improved my stamina riding, and my health, mood, etc., got better again.

Tom, after 16 months of keto

But I had read about ‘zero carb’ – at first it just had a morbid fascination: here again I was looking at something that defied everything I thought I knew. This created more fear: what about scurvy, would I be painfully constipated, somehow permanently ‘ruined’? I toyed with it, looked into it, but never seriously considered taking that leap.

When I happened to watch Shawn (Dr. Baker) on the December Joe Rogan podcast, it suddenly felt down to earth, not so scary. I made up my mind to try it and started December 11, 2017. I wanted to be very clinical about it, and not confound my results, so I determined to drop, on that day, all my vitamins, supplements, psyllium husk (i.e. fiber supplement), and I also decided to drop my long time nasal spray, which I had taken for decades to address my chronic headaches (I have NEVER been able to stop that without vengeful headache repercussions). The only things I continued, at first, were my morning coffee, and my Claritin. I’d taken the Claritin for decades, year round – for headaches and allergies, and had never been able to stop it. A few days without it in the past caused severe itching all over my body, and I just assumed I’d take it till I died.

I continued and participated in the January study on Track-Well.com, and then just kept going. I tapered the coffee completely, as well as the Claritin. As of today (2/19/2018), I have been free of the Claritin for about 4 weeks. I tentatively planned to go back to my keto diet – I still have fat bombs and low carb, homemade bread patiently waiting for me in the freezer (which my family probably won’t eat) – but as of now I have no plans to stop the carnivore WOE (way of eating).

I eat mostly beef, occasional pork, a little chicken, eggs every few days, occasional cheese, but I’ve felt better when I drop the cheese entirely. Aside from that: water. I eat when hungry, surprisingly never get tired of the steak (or hamburger for economy), and it usually happens about twice a day.

I realized that, generally speaking, as I cut out carbs at every ‘phase’, I just felt better. Suddenly it didn’t seem unreasonable to cut them out entirely, and just see what might happen. Of the three ‘macros’ (carbohydrate, protein and fat), only protein and fat are ‘necessary’. Hey – tomorrow I may decide on a different route, but as long as it goes this well, I’m staying on track.
Here’s what I’ve noticed:

  1. Weight: my weight dropped in the first couple weeks from 153 to 147, but since then it’s slowly built back up to 162. Most is muscle weight, not fat – my waist, etc., hasn’t really changed.
  2. Joints: I’ve had some chronic problems with neck/shoulder pains since my 40’s, but those really disappeared almost immediately after I started keto. I’ve had occasional twinges in knees and joints since, nothing to complain about, but since starting carnivore, these are rare and temporary.
  3. Headaches: these diminished pretty quickly, and the minor ones I’ve had seem now to be associated with dairy, especially cheese. This is a kind of ‘elimination diet’, and as such, it becomes easy to isolate ‘trouble’ foods.  (I’ve had multiple MRI’s and CAT scans, as well as several types of doctors working on this issue for me over the years. If this diet eliminates that lifetime issue, it’s really huge for me. Allergy season could be an issue, but I’m going into this spring sans meds and willing to see what happens.)
  4. Stamina/strength: Within the first few days, my energy jumped considerably, even over the keto diet – I just wanted to go work out. When I could make the time I was sometimes working out in the gym, followed by a pretty strenuous kettlebell or rowing workout, and then, in the evening, a couple hard hours of mountain biking. Since then the energy has settled somewhat, and I realized I was doing TOO much for an old man, but I still feel as good as ever, and my biking and workouts are all improved. I track all my weights in the gym, and they’ve steadily improved since I started, and much faster than any time since college. My recovery time seems shorter as well. In terms of cardio shape and stamina, I can climb familiar hills, gulleys, etc., that I sometimes couldn’t climb before.  ‘Burst’ (anaerobic) energy is just as good or better, not just aerobic exertions.
  5. Intestinal: whereas I had been supplementing with psyllium husk to get a consistent 30 grams of fiber a day and a daily bowel movement, I suddenly cut this out entirely. Now I am very regular, though less frequent, and the bloating, rumbling, and gas I always had before is pretty much gone. I never feel constipated – I’m never aware of my digestive track at all, really. It just works. I spend a fraction of the time I used to in the bathroom (stopped even bringing my phone in…. 🙁 ).
  6. Coffee: In the past I had given up coffee for stretches, but I had to taper over a few weeks because I’m very sensitive to caffeine withdrawal. It seemed much easier on this diet, and just took a few days.
  7. Skin: I notice I usually don’t need deodorant now (could change as summer approaches, I’m open to friendly feedback), and I also notice my skin is generally just a little better hydrated. I rarely use (or need) soap on my skin anymore. I have always had some chronic skin breakouts on my chest and back, dermatologists had tried to address over the years, but early on I noticed this was entirely gone. Some things happen that you aren’t expecting, and it’s a pleasant surprise.
  8. Mood: I noticed that I generally had become a good bit calmer and less reactive (my family’s observations may vary..), even on the keto diet, and that continued on the zero carb regimen.

I’ve learned, over the years, that ‘conventional wisdom’ is often 99% convention, and 1% wisdom. The money and resources spent these days on persuasion, the stakes being high as they are – it’s more important than ever to avoid confirmation bias and the emotional sort of ‘cult’ identification (‘I’m a CARNIVORE!’  ‘I’m a VEGAN!’). I try to avoid ‘us-against-them’, whether it’s carnivory, or veganism, or any labeling that artificially divides us by point of view, or way of eating, etc. And there is SO much conflicting ‘research’: I can support any view now by simply Googling the results I want, and the ‘debate’ is endless. I don’t have the time to spend or interest in researching why that’s so (I have theories ;-), but I responsibility for my own personal health rests with me, and I’m reluctant to cede that authority blindly to another person or institution. When possible, I test for myself; I prefer ‘evidence-based’ knowledge over authoritarian-certified dogma. Trust, but verify – rather than trust alone. If one option makes sense, but the other is based on a ‘study’ I opt for the one that makes sense – and when possible, test. I trust implicitly the true scientific method, but I don’t automatically trust every claim paraded noisily about as ‘science’. Sadly, I know so many people who could possibly be helped by changes in diet – with joint issues or autoimmune conditions, but who are intimidated by the shrill, alarmist voices out there, scaring them off. There’s a treasure chest of good information supporting the carnivorous and LCHF diets out there now, enough to help a reasonable person ask good questions, if they have a true interest in open minded learning.

Thanks to Shawn and Matt and everyone else who’s made this interesting, and a bit humorous at times, but mostly for giving people confidence – without arm-twisting – to experiment for themselves and share. It’s all fun to try new things, and learn.

Charlene improves sleep, cardiovascular health, digestion on carnivore diet

Charlene, Age 44

As per interest and requests I thought I would sit down and talk about my story of approaching and reaching my carnivore diet. Even though I like to never look back or put any focus on my previous ill health, I know that by doing so it may help others. Warning… I’m a number of things, but not a writer. So, read on at your own risk!🤪

I was born March 22, 1973 to an engineer and a physical therapist. My mom’s dad was an M.D. with an emphasis on OB/GYN. He was a great man, but followed the norm of doctoring. He suggested the healthy diet of “cereal and low-fat milk” to snack on in between the standard low fat meals.

I was born quickly without any complications. Things went the way they typically do with hospital births. She nursed me, weaning me off breastmilk completely by the 3 month mark. I reacted to every formula and every food they gave me. They ended with the least reactive combination for me.

Growing up, I always had rashes, asthma and allergies. I was allergy tested at 4 after having a scary breathing situation at nursery school. I was sensitive to almost everything. But my diet was never looked at as an option to cure it all. Instead, I got shots for years. I hated every single one. Never got used it. It always seemed wrong to me.

Because I was an only child, my parents wanted me to have opportunities to do things with other kids as much as possible. So, I went to a lot of camps – which I absolutely loved. However, one of the many camp trips is most likely when I was bitten by a deer tick. I remember tick checks every night and removing them with tweezers when found. I don’t remember having a specific rash or period of flu-like symptoms. I had my share of colds, strep and flu every year and would always catch whatever was “going around”, so nothing stood out when I contracted Lyme.

In the meantime, my health kept deteriorating. Beginning at age 8 I developed trichotillomania. Sores on my eyelids and eyebrow lines made me want to rub/pull at the lashes. I had times when I had no eyelashes or eyebrows. This lasted all the way through grade school, middle school, high school, college and my first couple years working.

Whenever I went over to my friends’ houses (everyone had pets), it wasn’t long before my parents would get a call to come and get me because I was wheezing or developing hives.

Once I started to mature around age 13, the acne I developed was cyst-like and extremely ugly and painful. They would look like craters. I had them all over my face, neck, inside my ears, shoulders, back, chest and arms. Between hardly having eyelashes/eyebrows and having this acne, I was very self-conscious. I was not obese as a kid, but I was always heavier than the norm and carried my weight in a weird sort of way in my hips and butt. I remember having cellulite at age 12.

By age 16 my periods slowed and stopped completely. None of the OB/GYN doctors had any answers. My diet was the typical low fat, high complex carbs, high vegetation and low sugar. So, OBVIOUSLY my diet wasn’t causing it.

College days were fun, but continued my downward health spiral. The extreme fatigue really set in at this point. I started out having a double major of Mathematics and Studio Art. What kept me from successfully majoring in Mathematics is I could not stay awake in class. I would fall asleep after a couple minutes of class starting and wake up when it was over. I needed naps throughout the day and I would always be the first one to sleep in the dorm by hours. Depression and darkness started overcoming me. I pushed friends away more and more due to my fatigue and depression.

I started working out hoping that would make me feel better about myself (and my floppy physique), but it just made me more tired and angry. I didn’t give up working out until years later. (I even became a PT on the side of my professional job.)

I ended up graduating cum laude with math and psychology minors, and studio art major.

After graduating college, I got a job working in the Industrial Design department at Navistar, which was a dream as an Art major, loving automotive design and working at the same company as my dad, cousin and uncles.

The most dramatic downturn in my health happened next. The stress of working and being around clay modeling, paint spraying and all sorts of chemicals quickly sent me downhill fast. Honestly, at this point life is a blur to me still.

My lifesaver was Joe. Wonderful, talented, funny, interesting, 100% compatible with me, Joe!❤ It’s almost as if I was waiting to meet him before my life which was heading downhill fast would make a turn for the better. But it was going to get worse before getting better.

My list of health conditions grew: eczema all over my hands (to the point of second degree burns), tinnitus, worsening depression, worsening fatigue (fell asleep at work all the time, at meetings, at church, and driving a car), lower back/pelvic and sciatic nerve pain (couldn’t sit at all, worked standing up, constant pain with occasional howling-pain spasms; MRI revealed degenerative disc disease in 3 areas), systemic edema, blurry vision (eyeglasses were worn beginning in high school, worsening every year), paralyzation at times in hands and feet working its way into my torso (Joe had to be called to carry me out of work several times), allergies/sensitivities to all things (food, pollens, chemicals), continued amenhorrea, weight gain (at my heaviest 50 pounds overweight), inability to concentrate (couldn’t understand a sentence spoken to me in time to hear the next in a conversation), diagnosed with cervical dysplasia (treated with cryotherapy), migraines, heart pains, indigestion/reflux, bingeing (and at the end, vomiting – luckily only a few times), muscle twitching (over 100 twitches in 1-minute’s time), lumps in my breasts I was too afraid to have checked out, and one of the last but most difficult for everyone around me was my irritation and rage (a complete reversal of my laid back and sweet nature everyone knew me to have growing up).

I literally could go on, but I don’t want to waste any more time or bleed my heart out anymore than I have.

I went the conventional doctor route, with absolutely NO success. Each one made me sicker, weaker and with more symptoms. Most concluded it was all in my head and I was crazy!

Joe was always interested in body building and happened on Vince Gironda. His way of eating to be as strong and sharp as possible intrigued Joe. Almost as soon as he researched this and similar diets (many authors delving into the low/carb free approach to health long, long ago) he started eating low carb/high fat. Instantly it appealed to me and I tried experimenting with low carb foods and recipes (I loved to cook and bake). It was not an immediate win for me, but certain things instantly started to turn around (allergies and asthma in particular as soon as I removed grains). I also started unmasking the low carb foods (vegetation especially), which would send me into terrible fatigue spells.

When Joe and I married August 8, 1998 (this is part of my love of the number 8), it was one of the best days of my life (other than the days of giving birth to my two sons). It was bittersweet though. I felt bad despite the adrenaline. We were the first ones to leave our own reception, not because we couldn’t wait to be together, but because I was so wiped out from the whole thing.

On with the positive turn!

Soon after I was diagnosed with Lyme disease by an alternative M.D. At least that gave us something to focus on and be able to look at as reasons behind some of my issues. I decided to quit my job to focus on getting well and reducing my stress level (I was working, taking MBA classes, finished my PT and nutritionist licenses).

More research quickly led us from looking at low carb to virtually no carbs. We experimented so much in such little amount of time that we realized we’d better start journals of everything we ate, how we felt, what worked and what didn’t. All we wanted was consistency.

The fish and oil diet was the first diet I can remember being the first try at a zero carb diet. It relieved a lot of my symptoms, but not all (still had amenhorrea, edema, trichotillomania, acne, eczema and excess weight). We probably spent about a year experimenting beginning with the fish and oil diet, quickly switching to free range eggs and poultry, and occasional lamb and beef.

Charlene’s journals tracking every reaction to every meal

As SOON as I switched to animal fat as my fat source instead of “healthy” oils, I ovulated and had a period two weeks later. I couldn’t believe it!!! Why in the WORLD didn’t someone tell me years ago about the importance of animal fat?!?😤 I’ve been more regular since then than I ever was as a young teenager. I’ve had two healthy boys (no complications for me; home births too; mid-wife with Charlie and unassisted with George)! ❤😀

We experimented with pork only to find that it activated symptoms. Ground meats, no matter what type also did.

We continued researching and looked at our wins and fails. It led us to Blake Donaldson who suggested a steak and water diet for his patients. That made a lot of sense to Joe and I. We started with pemmican only for some time, introducing steak eventually. Sure enough, as soon as I decided to go all beef, EVERY SINGLE ONE of my symptoms vanished!!! I couldn’t believe it. Whenever I tried to share my success and happiness about this, it was met with more questionable stares, anger, fear, and rolled eyes than you would ever imagine. So, it was our little secret. And that’s how we kept it until we found others with our point of view.

Also, I quickly found the more I ate meat only, my face shape changed and especially my body. I went from needing to work out religiously and strenuously when eating poorly to giving up exercise completely in order to not become too muscular or masculine-looking.

Even when others put our interview out a few years ago, it was met (by some) with so much anger, that we pulled it. It was slated to be run in National Examiner magazine. Boy, would that have been a disaster in many respects.

Charlene’s favorite food, the glorious ribeye

These days we eat ribeye steak, since it’s the fattiest. And we drink spring water. That’s what we do. We don’t think about it. We don’t really even talk about it. To us it’s like talking about why the sky is blue. Yes, there is scientific reasoning behind it. It’s nice to understand, but it’s beauty is really all it comes down to appreciating!

There is life after illness!! That I KNOW!!

Charlene

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