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.