1. How long have you been eating a Zero Carb (No Plant Foods) diet?
I started back in 2011, so it’s been about four years now. I had first learned of this diet through my boyfriend, Michael Frieze. When he first told me that he was going to eat nothing but meat I thought he was crazy. I naturally have a harder time gaining weight, and I loved my junk food, so I saw no reason to give up my Ben and Jerry’s or Reese’s Cups.
2. What motivated you to try this way of eating? Weight? Health?
It never was for weight issues. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t gain weight very easily. Right around the time that Michael started switching over his diet. I was constantly fatigued with a daily runny nose. I just never seemed quite right. My breaking point came when I developed a rash that stretched from the middle of my chest and wrapped all the way around by back. I still have no idea what that was about, but it was the push I needed.
3. How long did it take you to adapt to a Zero Carb diet, both physically and psychologically?
It took a few months to adapt physically and mentally. When Michael and I started the diet together (he failed the first time), we went cold turkey. “Keto Flu” hit us hard. There is one day in particular that I look back on and just have to laugh. We were both completely drained of energy and had serve hunger pains. At this point, even the sight of meat was enough to make me nauseous. We decided to break our diet for some Subway. I was too tired to even leave the house so I made Michael go out alone. When he got back we had to take a nap before we could scrap up enough energy to eat them. After that failed attempt we decided to do a low carb diet for a few months, and then we made the switch to zero carb.
4. What books or people were most influential in guiding you to this way of eating?
My boyfriend Michael was the most influential person. He usually does the research and all the reading, then relays everything he’s learned back to me. For both of us Owsley Stanley (a.k.a. The Bear) was the first person from whom we heard about this diet, and whenever we have a question we try to look through what he has written on his website for advice. We have also gotten a pretty amazing chicken recipe from him.
5. Do you eat only meat, or do you include eggs, cheese, and cream in your diet?
A mix of all. I always start my day with a cup of coffee in which I add a tbsp. of cream. After that my daily breakfast usually consists of eight eggs and three pieces of bacon. I will only occasionally eat cheese however.
6. What percentage of your diet is beef verses other types of meats?
I would say the majority of my diet is beef. Steaks are just too delicious and easy to cook. However, I have noticed a correlation between eating ground beef and a flare up in IBS symptoms. If our budget allows we always try to stick with steak. We will mix in other meats for some variety.
7. When you eat beef, do you cook it rare, medium, or well done?
Rare. I’m finding the longer I’m on this diet the rarer I want my steaks to be.
8. Do you add extra fat to your meat? (i.e. butter, lard, tallow)
Generally, no, but I have noticed that right before I start my period, instead of craving chocolate, I now crave fat. I will find myself adding butter to my food, or eating a slice as I’m cooking.
9. Do you limit your meat consumption or do you eat until satisfied?
In the beginning, I wasn’t sure how much to eat or how large my meals should be. I obviously wasn’t eating enough as my weight dropped pretty quickly, and my menstrual cycle came to a halt. Since that experience, I have always eaten until I am satisfied. I listen to my body, and I can feel when it’s time to put the fork down.
10. Do you eat liver or other organ meats? If so, how often?
I’ve tried liver once and I was not a fan at all.
11. Do you consume bone broth? If so, how often?
I have yet to try it.
12. How many meals do you eat per day on average?
Just two meals. I will eat in the morning and that keeps me satisfied through work and my night classes. When I get home at night I will then eat dinner. On my days off I sometimes will snack on a couple of eggs.
13. How much meat do you eat per day on average?
Two to three pounds generally.
14. Do you eat grass-fed/pasture-raised meat, or regular commercially produced meat?
No, only commercially produced meat, as I’m living on a college student budget.
15. Do you drink any beverages besides water? (i.e. coffee, tea)
I do drink coffee. I try to restrain myself to one cup a day, but a second cup will sometimes sneak its way in.
16. Do you use salt?
No, I don’t add any extra.
17. Do you use spices?
When we cook chicken we use “chimichurri” seasoning. I will occasionally sprinkle it on other meats as well though.
18. Do you take any supplements?
Living in Michigan I try to take a Vitamin D on a daily basis, but more often than not I don’t remember to take it.
19. How much money do you spend on food each month?
20. Do you have any tips for making this diet more affordable?
Our grocery bill has dropped since we started this diet. No more money wasted on junk food and snacks. There are plenty of cheap meal options available, eggs, bacon, ground beef, etc. I would just say pay attention to the meat sales and know what all your options are in your area.
21. Do you exercise regularly? If so, how often and how vigorously?
I work at a store where I’m solely responsible for stocking our weekly truck deliveries, so that’s quite physically demanding. Lifting cases of water and bags of dog food sure has added some muscle on my arms. Other than that, I just don’t have the time to go to the gym. Which is a shame because I do have access to one in my apartment complex.
22. What benefits have you experienced since beginning a Zero Carb diet? (i.e. recovery from illness, overall health, body composition, exercise performance, hormonal, mental or psychological, etc.)
I have never felt better. I hardly ever get sick. I have way more energy now and feel more productive. I didn’t realize what bad shape my body was in until I started this diet. It’s also improved other aspects of my life. Even though I’ve never had weight issues I still struggled a bit with body image. This diet has been a huge confidence booster. I would also say that it’s made me more adventurous in try new things and also questioning information that’s presented as “fact”.
23. Have you conceived, given birth, or breastfed while on a Zero Carb diet? If so, what was your experience?
No children yet.
24. Have you raised children on a Zero Carb diet? If so, what has been their experience? How difficult is it to keep carbs out of their diet in today’s world?
Not yet, but this is something I’m excited to do and also nervous about all at the same time.
25. What do you enjoy most about eating a Zero Carb diet?
Feeling healthy, not wasting time in grocery stores deciding what to eat, and getting to eat a lot of steak.
26. Do you have any advice for someone who is just beginning a Zero Carb diet?
You can do it! I’m so tired of people saying and thinking that they can’t do this diet. Yes it will be hard in the beginning but once you stick with it, trust me it gets easier. At this point I could not imagine going back to a carb-based diet. I’m slightly ashamed that I ever did that to my body in the first place, but I did not know any better.
27. Are your friends and family supportive of your Zero Carb lifestyle? If not, how do you handle this?
My family is very skeptic and thinks I’m crazy. I have a brother-in-law who is a vegetarian, and they are more willing to listen to him than me. I gave up trying to explain or prove my diet to people who isn’t willing to listen and just wants to argue.
28. Is there anything you would like share about this way of eating that I have not already asked you?
Nope, I think I pretty much covered everything.
Please visit my Interviews page to read the stories of other long time Zero Carb veterans.
If you are interested in meeting others who practice an All-Meat diet, please feel free to join us in the Facebook group Principia Carnivora for support.