My First 30 Days on Zero Carb by Sarah Muma

Sarah Muma1

I came across this way of eating quite randomly. While perusing Facebook, a friend recommended a friend to me, and – while checking out his profile – I saw that he had recently joined a group named Zeroing in on Health. The cover photo for the group is a huge bloody slab of beef, needless to say, I was intrigued and started reading through the board. Within minutes I was sold. It was an easy sell, let me explain.

After getting into health and researching various things, I came across all the information pertaining to the benefits of plant-based diets. On the surface it seemed to be the healthiest diet, I mean, everyone was saying anyway. So, after removing pretty much all processed foods from our family’s diet, we started leaning towards a plant-based diet. We spent a few years on the fence, cutting back our meat consumption drastically and upping the starch and vegetable intake.

My husband and I felt good at first. I lost the weight I had gained during my third pregnancy and my husband lost a bunch of weight too. But then things started to take a turn for the worse. The green smoothies that we were eating for breakfast and lunch were no longer satiating, no matter how much protein or fat we added to them. We started having sugar highs and lows quite noticeably and here I will mention that the cravings for sweets were ever present. Needless to say we started adding back in some animal products, like eggs and raw milk, eating meat in about 2-3 dinners per week. My husband gained back a little weight, I stayed the same, and then I found out we were expecting our fourth child.

I hired a midwife and planned for (and ultimately had) a successful home birth. The first few months of my pregnancy I craved fruit (let’s be honest, sugar) and I felt good eating all that fruit and nice hefty salads, thinking I was giving my baby the best nutrition. My body, however, started to tell me otherwise. Towards the end of  my second trimester my belly almost completely stopped growing. I was measuring 5 weeks behind where I should have been and the midwife was getting concerned. She advised that I should up my protein intake to at least 100 grams a day and handed me a reference sheet to follow listing foods and their protein content.

I was blown away when the reality of what this meant finally hit home. If I was ever going to meet those requirements for the sake of my baby’s health, I was going to have to eat a LOT of animal products. You can get protein from plant foods, but you have to consume significantly more plant foods compared to animal foods to get the same amount of protein. So, I started eating tacos with cheese, ground beef, and sour cream. I had very little room for anything else, and I was actually a bit concerned about not being able to fit in any fruits or veggies. “Surely,” I thought, “this can’t be good for me or my baby, can it?” But I trusted my midwife and followed through with her experienced recommendation.

After the first month of eating this way my tummy gained 4 centimeters and after the second month 5 centimeters, essentially catching me up to where I needed to be. This growth continued for the remainder of my pregnancy. I felt great and I consider it to be the healthiest of all my pregnancies. I walked 1-2 miles a day up until one month before I gave birth, had no migraines during this time, and had loads of energy. I also felt very confident and strong during birthing, and I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl in the comfort of my own home.

I found this all to be perplexing and started looking into the downside of plant-based diets and I found a lot of the claims about them were false and unsubstantiated. I was also in the midst of studying biochemistry for my studies to become a certified traditional Naturopath. As we came to realize that humans suffer a lot of deficiencies when they remove animal products from their diet, we started eating more meat.

However, our diet was still quite rich in carbohydrates from grains, vegetables, and fruits. While I now understood that removing animal products from our diet was a bad idea, I was not yet aware that whole plant foods might not be all that good for us. After giving birth, I also returned to my sugar addiction and was eating chocolate almost every day.

I did manage to lose the weight I had gained during my fourth pregnancy, but I was still carrying extra body fat which I could not seem to lose no matter what my activity level. Since the birth of my third child 4 years ago, I had been plagued with migraines on a monthly basis. They went away during my fourth pregnancy, but then returned soon after I gave birth.

I also started developing joint pain in my legs which extended from my hips all the way down to my shins. Some mornings I felt like I was 80 years old as I struggled to get out of bed. And since I was only 32 years old at the time, I knew that this state of affairs wasn’t normal. Admittedly, I was a huge sugar addict, and while cutting down on my total consumption did help, it didn’t eliminate the issues.

So, as I said, I came across the group Zeroing in on Health and was stunned by the information I found. I spent hours sifting through the posts, links, and files concerning this way of eating, but my intuition immediately said, “This is it!” Every question I could think of had an answer and all the answers made sense based on what I had come to learn. Despite having two weeks worth of produce for the entire family in our refrigerator, we decided to start a Zero Carb diet immediately.

Sarah Muma2

Sarah and her husband Tony.

We have been eating two big meals a day. One at brunch time and another in the late evening. Sometimes we snack lightly in between depending on what’s going on, but by the end of our first 30 days our need to snack had lessened quite a bit. When we began, we included regular green tea, but after the first week had no real desire for it. I also lost my desire for the decaf green tea I was in the habit of drinking. Honestly, water has never tasted so good; it is the only beverage that feels truly satisfying.

We eat predominantly beef (ground and steak), but we also include chicken, pork, bacon, sausage, pork rinds, eggs, hard cheese, string cheese and cottage cheese (for our children), sour cream, and butter. We have bone broth on occasion, and we use some basic seasonings like salt and pepper. During the first week I ate quite a bit of cheese, but now I only eat it on beef patties.

I did have some small cravings in the beginning and we did slip up once during our first 30 days. It was my son’s birthday 2 weeks in and we had promised that – despite the drastic shift in our diet – we would still do what we planned for his birthday party. This meant cake and ice cream. We each had about four bites of cake and ice cream. We were curious to see how our bodies would respond. As soon as that sugar hit our systems, we were utterly miserable for the next 24 hours. Bloated, crampy, fatigued, and just overall horrible. Needless to say, I’m no longer a sugar addict. Even my children voiced regrets the next day, and my 4 year old – who had been asking for cookies the entire week before – stopping asking for sweets.

The changes we have experienced from this way of eating were immediately apparent. On the very first day, we noticed that we could eat to satiety without feeling lethargic and bloated. On the morning of the second day, both my husband and I noticed that our bellies were already slimmer. I did suffer some “keto-flu” symptoms like fatigue, nausea, and a migraine. I was pretty miserable on days 3 and 4. In contrast, my husband’s transition was relatively painless.

After that, I went through a week or two of extremely ravenous hunger. I couldn’t believe the amount of food I was putting away at each meal! My appetite has calmed down now, though I am still hungrier on some days than on others. I always eat to satiety.

I’m currently breastfeeding my 15 month old, and I noticed that within the first week my milk supply had increased significantly. I no longer needed all the milk-promoting herbal tea I had been consuming to help my body keep up with her appetite. I have observed that eating fatty steak seems to increase my milk supply more than another other type of meat or Zero Carb foods like eggs and cheese. She is also much less fussy because she no longer suffers from gas pains and colic.

My husband has very sensitive teeth and, within a week of eating just meat and drinking only water, he noticed that they no longer hurt. He’s also struggled with his feet for quite awhile. He use to work 10+ hours a day, 7 days a week, on his feet, wearing steel toe boots. His feet were covered in dry skin, corns, and he had cracked heels. After 30 days of eating this way, the bottoms of his feet are almost entirely pink. The dry skin is practically falling off. They’re healing and this is really exciting because we’ve tried everything we could think of over the past 10 years with no success.

My oldest daughter has had eczema since she was a baby, and it has completely cleared up. Additionally, both of my teenagers have a much calmer disposition. They have taken to this way of eating really well and have stated that they are enjoying it. My 4 year old daughter was the biggest carbohydrate addict of our four children, and she really struggled at first. But, we made a big effort to provide whatever Zero Carb foods she desired, and she made it through the difficult transition period and is now doing well.

The joint pain I used to experience during the night is gone and I am able to spring out of bed once again. I have less trouble getting to sleep, I sleep more soundly, and I need less sleep to feel good. Overall, I have more energy than before.

I use to suffer from food boredom, always looking for the next new recipe to try. I hated eating the same thing night after night. To my pleasant surprise, this way of eating has entirely conquered that issue. I have no qualms about eating beef – and only beef – every night of the week. No more extensive meal planning or grocery shopping. It’s all so incredibly simple.

Not only are we feeling great and experiencing these many improvements in our health, we’re also losing body fat. Eating only from the animal kingdom, drinking only water, and watching Netflix is causing our bodies to undergo a rather fascinating transformation. We live in Michigan and the temperatures are just recently coming up above freezing (in mid-April). My husband and I both work from home, and we live in a small town on a tight budget. Needless to say, we have not had much exercise at all during this past month.

In 30 days, I lost a total of 2 pounds. I know this does not sound like much, but I lost 5% of my body fat, 4 inches off of my waist, and 2 inches off of my hips. Clearly, the scale does not tell the whole story. Below is a picture of me “before” starting Zero Carb and then me 30 days “after” starting Zero Carb.

Sarah Muma - First30

My husband actually gained 5 pounds, but he lost almost 6% of his body fat, as well as 2 inches off of his waist.

The most important aspect though is that there is healing going on. We can see it and we can feel it. My husband and I have been so impressed with the changes we have experienced during our 30-day Zero Carb “trial” that we have no intention of ever going back. It has become a way of life for us and our children.

Please visit my Testimonials page to read the stories of others following a Zero Carb diet.

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.

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