I wanted to share my success story thus far. My life has changed and improved drastically- and I wasn’t sure I was going to be alive less than a year ago.
My name is Rebekah. I’ve always had a passion for health, nature, Fitness, and holistic nutrition / medicine.
I was diagnosed with osteoporosis in 6th grade. In seventh grade, I ran into chronic pain. I was rushed to the emergency room with severe chest pains, and left with a diagnosis of costochondritis and degenerative disc. I was then diagnosed with OCD, anxiety, depression, insomnia, Narcolepsy, and a myriad of digestive issues such as gastroparesis, IBS, IBD, slow transit colon, Celiac and diverticulitis. I started regular Chiropractic treatments to address scoliosis and chronic pain. I went through multiple rounds of physical therapy, but symptoms continued to worsen. Shortly after graduating high school, I ran into chronic adrenal fatigue, crippling anxiety and pain so bad that I was bed bound. I had difficulty breathing, with frequent episodes of near- suffocation.
Desperate and afraid, I knew that I needed to dig deeper. I ventured to uncover the root of my issues, working with multiple functional medicine doctors, and embarked on a more strict/ personalized version of the ketogenic diet. I was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease, colitis, Addisons, Hashimotos hypothyroid, CREST scleroderma, and a central nervous system disorder called Central Sensitization Syndrome (see youtube video by Dr. Sletten of Mayo Clinic). With Keto, various supplements, and support I was able to get off of Adderal, Clonazepam, and Ambien after being dependent on them for 13 years. I gained energy and focus, and reversed Hashimotos! My cystic acne also cleared completely. I was only just beginning to break free from the cage that I became burrowed into after years of quick “fixes” and excessive rounds of antibiotics ordered by traditional med doctors. I have continued to strip off the band-aids to uncover the sources and contributors to systemic disease that almost took my life, and more importantly my hope and joy.
After losing a severe amount of weight, I was diagnosed with chronic chlostridium difficule (C-Diff). I am resistant to all of the antibiotics, and have now had 3 fecal transplants. I was told that I should consider removing my colon, and that I needed a feeding tube. I refused and instead decided to commit to the one thing that I avoided trying for so long… Nothing brought relief or nourishment back into my body until I started the carnivore way of eating.
I have gained back 30 healthy pounds of mostly muscle, and have overcome almost all of my autoimmune issues. I have broken up deep layers of scar tissue that was taking over my body and limiting mobility; now there is new, strong, healthy muscle. My mood has never been more stable, and I am mentally resilient. No more swollen ankles or strange skin rashes/ hives. My energy is steady and dependable, and I’m sleeping the best I have in my entire life. I have gained so much freedom in this journey thus far and I am passionate and thrilled to help others overcome their battles, and reach their goals -beyond expectation!
I’m so grateful for all that you are doing. You are such a refreshing voice amongst the sea of noise out there. Thank you!
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.
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.
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!
Perfectly healthy until 32, then my immune system went off the rails.
I have found that eating only meat or fasting stabilize my condition, and remove the immune cytokines that cause flares. I was told I had Lyme’s, I have POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), and other autonomic damage due to inflammation.
I had brain damage and memory loss, and was disabled for years. I use doxycycline as an anti-inflammatory and nicotine gum to suppress my immune response and those help a lot, but if I eat anything other than meat I have edema all over my body.
I’m not entirely sure Lyme’s is the answer to CFS and the all meat improvement, but I do know my immune system is overreactive. My fasting experiments prove that. All the symptoms are from inflammation, long term. Going back to the 1970s you’ve got people with auto immune diseases who go into remission when put on an elemental diet, meaning pure glucose, amino acids, fats, but no proteins that could flare them. No fibre.
We’re all on this spectrum, and unless people go through it, or their spouse goes through it, they will never understand the freedom eating only meat gives. It saves our lives. I need to be more consistent, I’m tired of being tired and nauseated all the damn time.
When I was 19 years old, I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. After one clueless doctor after another, I decided the way I was going to get well, was to take matters into my own hands. I was a pizza delivery guy at the time, and I came across Gary Null’s Natural Living radio show. He preached a vegetarian diet, preferably vegan, and cited countless health benefits in living that lifestyle. It made perfect sense to me, so I adopted the veggie life. 2 years into it, I was wondering, what the heck is the deal? This isn’t working like Gary said it would. But at that point, I was so brainwashed by the vegan propaganda, that I knew I’d get healthy eventually if I kept detoxing, cleansing, meditating and exercising. Another year or two later, I decided to go a more drastic route, and became a raw food vegan.
I was eating seeds, nuts, fruits and vegetables in their raw, uncooked state. For the first time in my life, I felt a shift in my health. I started to feel a lot better. The raw food diet made sense. I became so passionate about it, that I would tell anyone and everyone. I started only dating girls who were raw vegan. I went to raw vegan potlucks and events. I was hooked. At one of the events, someone told me about the 80/10/10 diet, and how that was the ultimate form of eating raw vegan. I gave it a try, and was hooked even more! I felt invincible. I was running everywhere I went. Strength was going up. I felt like a kid again. I went and got nutrition certifications, so I could have some credentials when I started teaching people how to eat this way.
My first blow came when I went to the dentist, because one of my teeth literally broke in half one day when I was sitting there. It just fell apart. That was kind of strange. I had 17 cavities at the dentist. 17!!! I ended up having 3 teeth pulled because they were rotten beyond repair. They couldn’t even do a root canal on them. My teeth were rotting out of my skull like I was on meth. What was the raw vegan remedy? Green juice of course! I started juicing the daylights out of greens. 6 glasses a day. Which of course, upset my stomach a great deal. Man is not meant to be drinking green juices.
Anyway, after the dental incident, I started noticing other symptoms I couldn’t ignore anymore. My anxiety and social withdrawal became a BIG problem. I couldn’t go out in public anymore. I started having phobias too. In addition to that, my Lyme Symptoms started coming back worse than ever. I used to be able to watch muscle spasms in my legs and arms like it was an entertainment show. My digestion became so bad that I could only digest fruit. Not even a salad. My body temperature dropped so low that I couldn’t even be outside if it wasn’t 80 out. And I kept the heat on 78 in my house in the winter, while wearing thermal everything. I decided to finally realize veganism was destroying me, worse than the Lyme Disease ever did. Every good thing I experienced on the diet was only temporary.
For about 10 years after veganism, I went from one diet to another. Ultimately, I settled on low carb paleo, because they made me feel best. My problem though, was always intense cravings for sweets. And I always gave in to muffins and cookies. This went on for years. One day on Facebook, I came across the concept of eating a zero carb diet. I didn’t see how this was possible. I actually laughed at and mocked the people doing it. Until I started reading stories and seeing how healthy people looked.
Eventually, I said screw it, and gave it a shot. I felt HORRENDOUS, and gave up after 5 days or so. Then went back to my mostly paleo diet. I bounced back and forth between paleo and carnivore about a dozen times, before finally realizing that carnivore is THE diet. Nearly every ailment or symptom I’ve ever had is completely gone. My digestion is better than it’s ever been in my life. My energy is outstanding, like I’m 18 again. I have absolutely no cravings (except for coffee, because I love it so much). I feel more like a man. I feel strong. Confident. My mental clarity is on point. My sex drive is alive and well. My 10+ year dandruff issue cleared up. My gums stopped being swollen and bleeding, which is a problem I dealt with since childhood. It’s almost miraculous what this meat based diet has done for me.
What do I eat? Mostly beef: steaks and hamburgers. Occasional ground turkey or something in a pinch. Occasional bacon as well. I eat about 1-2 dozen eggs a week. I drink a cup of black coffee a day, rarely two cups. I use kerrygold butter. I’ve tinkered with cheese and heavy cream a bit. They don’t agree with me at all, so I cut them out. I’m pretty much beef, eggs and coffee only. This diet has given me my life back. And if one struggling vegan reads this and decides to make the switch, then this was all worth writing out and submitting!
I, like so many, was taught eat your fruits and vegetables as well as drink your milk and eat multigrain breads and cereals – it’s GOOD for you! Well my whole life I’ve always had one stomach or digestive problem after another.
In 1980, I was put on Tagamet/Cimetidine at 14 years old the doctor said you have ulcers take this and drink milk to coat your stomach! Yeah, lol wow milk, really. Also I’ve downed bottles of Pepto-Bismol, Rolaids, Tums, Beano, Gas-X, milk of magnesia… you get the point. It helped somewhat, but I always had stomach bloat, pains, gas and later diagnosed with IBS and joint pain of some sort or the other.
About 5 years ago it got so bad with acid reflux and loose stool bouts that my GP sent me to an gastroenterologist and then scheduled an colonoscopy and endoscopy (basically a tube with a camera and other little gadgets to look and take sample the GI tract), the end result was moderate inflammation from my esophagus to the business end of the digestive system. The biopsies were all negative, so I was told well it could be from having Lyme’s disease 3 separate times, all treated with a couple months worth of antibiotics each time. We all know that destroys the gut biome, but what choice did I have? That in turn made my stomach issues launch like a Saturn One rocket to the moon. It really can put you in a desperate straits after dealing with this for decades, and not once was I told about cutting out any kind of food choices. Oh I was told to take note of what I ate and the possible reactions, etc., but never a total elimination of 90% of what I eat daily.
That’s until I heard about Doctor Baker and his “Carnivore diet”. I remember when I first found him and his story searching the web I was like, “yeah ok sure,” but something inside me also said, “Hey try it you might as well what have you got to lose.” So after going through a 4 month paleo diet I went to about 80% meat and 20% veggies (and what I thought was very healthy veggies at that), but I was still getting the same ole symptoms. Maybe not as bad, but still there nonetheless. So I kept watching Doctor Baker on Instagram touting the benefits of an all meat diet and being a living example and reading stories from all of you. I said, and excuse my French, “FU$K IT I’M GOING ALL IN!” Know I’d be lying if I didn’t say that my dad, mom and maybe a little my fiancé thought that I was off my rocker, but desperate times call for desperate actions.
Ok… I’m 4 weeks in and heading to 5 weeks, and the difference is very dramatic. I have not taken ONE gas relief pill of any kind ZERO stomach bloating, ZERO IBS, ZERO nausea and acid reflux is nearly gone. I do have a hiatal hernia, so that’s the main cause of acid reflux but it’s down to a 3 out of 8, and that’s a great thing. Trust me, if you’ve ever had that, your throat’s on fire at 3am you know where I’m coming from.
Also eating all meat has given me much better energy very stable all day no ups and downs like before on the “standard Western diet”. My strength has also gone up just pure physical raw strength you can feel. The joint pain is pretty much gone, my old lifetime injures from the contact sports I’ve played in my lifetime don’t even hurt nearly as much as they used to, and my flexibility has really increased to my surprise. Then there’s the obvious outward physical appearance. I have lost thus far about 3 inches off the stomach, 1 inch in the chest, 1 inch in the hips the arms, and thighs either went up about 1/2 inch or stayed close to the same. Neck measurement pretty much the same.
My weight went from 229 pounds to currently 214.4 pounds and dropping. My stomach is a flat as a board compared to 5 weeks prior. I’m 6 feet tall, so that gives you an idea of the weight versus height. I’d say my body fat is around 25%. I had that kinda football player build, strongly built with a bit of a stomach, at the start of this all meat diet, but like I said, it appears that muscle loss is nil but fat loss is dropping like a lead weight to the bottom of a swimming pool, and that makes me a happy camper.
I intend on keeping this carnivore diet thing up no reason to stop with these results. It’s all positive as far as I can see. Also I have no sweets cravings at all. I could care less if you dropped a bowl of my used-to-be favorite ice cream, moose tracks, in front of me with two peanut butter cups, I really don’t have any desire for that type of stuff anymore. But if you lay down a ribeye, or thick cut bacon with some eggs, well I wouldn’t try to take that from me, as it might get a little nasty unless you made enough for two lol.
But most importantly I’d honestly like to thank Doctor Baker for opening my mind, eyes and my body to this way of eating it feels so right eating this way and my body tells me so and so will yours if you give it what it really wants… MEAT!