My journey to health began in 1999 at the age of 70. That summer, Margaret and I registered to send our bicycles to Australia and ride with over a thousand others in the Big Ride New South Wales 2000, an 800-mile route from Brisbane to Sydney. The event was scheduled for the spring of the millennial year. My five-foot-eleven frame weighed about 230 pounds with a big belly and I knew I had to lose 50 pounds to have a chance to participate.
I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but figured it would happen if I got out and rode my bike a lot and cut down on how much I was eating. And that’s what I did. Well, guess what, it didn’t happen. After a month of trying, the scales didn’t budge!
Then my birthday came along, and my oldest daughter presented me with Dr. Robert Atkins book and I began to read it that night. I didn’t have to get very far into it when I realized that it told me exactly what I was looking for. Cut down the carbs, and so I did. No more bread, pasta, pizza, potatoes, just low-carb veggies and a little fruit.
I began to weigh myself every morning before dressing and writing it down. Wow, my weight started dropping like a rock. Fifty pounds was lost before the ride, and I completed it along with the others and felt great.
Atkins wrote that after reaching your goal weight, you can add back a few carbs slowly until the weight starts to rise. He was wrong and here’s why. Post-ride, I kept recording my weight every day. As we all know, our weight varies every day. Mine was up and down a pound or two with each measurement. But, after several months, I noticed that it only seemed to be going up.
I figured that if I eat a little less, my weight would stop going up. But it didn’t, and I realized that I should be graphing these scribbled numbers. Now it was obvious that I was gaining weight, but how fast? When I drew a line thru the dots, I calculated a rate of 1/2 oz per day. With weight varying one or two pounds a day, how could anyone detect 1/2 oz per day? That’s the flaw in Atkins’ advice. But adding only 1/2 oz per day adds up to one pound a month and that’s twelve pounds a year!
Fast forward from 2000 to 2015. What’s taken place? Well, Gary Taubes with his book Good Calories, Bad Calories and now Nina Teicholz with her book The Big Fat Surprise have both helped immensely to clarify how our bodies process nutrients and to expose the fallacies of the low fat recommendations.
And the Internet with social media forums such as Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, along with Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low Carb website, as well as Tom Naughton’s Fat Head documentary. These and many other authors have done tremendous work to help us understand just how damaging a high carbohydrate diet can be for some folks.
In my case, I jumped on the low-carb bandwagon and slid into keto without a whimper. But I always thought that veggies and fruit were essential, even though Gary Taubes had written that a good steak provides all the vitamins and nutrients we need.
And, although I had read Weston A. Price’s Nutrition and Physical Degeneration (1939) and Vilhjalmur Stefansson’s The Fat of the Land (1960) – both of which describe the incredible health of Native and Traditional societies who eat diets high in animal foods – it wasn’t until I happened upon Kelly Williams Hogan’s blog and The Anderson Family interview that I realized that fruits and vegetables were apparently not necessary for good health.
My transition to Zero Carbs about three-months ago went very smoothly, I dropped another thirteen pounds rapidly to reach the 168 lbs. I weighed as a young man in my early 20s. My body fat percentage dropped from about 26 to 23 percent and is still dropping. My pant size is once again a 32, exactly the size I wore in my early 20s!
Additionally, the skin itching I’ve had for several years that my Dermatologist proclaimed was eczema, saying “we don’t know what causes it, you can’t get rid of it, here’s a prescription for cream to use”, is now completely gone all by itself. It must have been an allergic reaction to something that I was eating.
My experience is such that my body seems to tolerate not only meat, but also eggs and cheese. We make pizza about once a week. Crust is mozzarella cheese and cream cheese with egg and pork rind dust. Toppings include a risotto cheese base with sausage, pepperoni, shrimp, and cheddar or mozzarella cheese. I also eat ribeye steaks, burgers with bacon and cheese, pork chops, etc.
I also drink coffee with heavy whipping cream, as well as a couple of glasses of dry red wine each night. For a snack, I’ll have some cheese or pork rinds with sour cream. Basically, if it is from the Animal Kingdom, I will eat it. I do not miss fruits or vegetables and I have absolutely no cravings for any carbohydrate foods. As far as I’m concerned, I eat like a king!
It’s been quite a journey, these past 16 years, but I finally made it, and just in time. I’ll be 85 years young in a month and time is precious to me. I’m fairly active, doing short high-intensity workouts at the YMCA 6 days a week. I enjoy riding my motorcycle and keeping in touch with my five children and twelve mostly adult grandchildren, all of whom – I’m extremely proud to say – are healthy, active and take good care of themselves.
My youngest child, 45, is also member of the Zero Carb Facebook group “Principia Carnivora” that I belong to and follows it regularly. She isn’t ZC yet, but is looking into it. My oldest, 58, also keeps his carbs under control and is physically super active despite being a full-time 4th generation electrical engineer. I am glad that I have been able to share this journey with my family and be a good example for them to follow if they choose.
Please visit my Testimonials page to read the stories of others following a Zero Carb diet.
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