Zero Carb Testimonial: Rachel Chamness

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1. How long have you been eating a Zero Carb (No Plant Foods) diet?

6 months

2. What motivated you to try this way of eating? Weight? Health?

I was overweight, but it was the better health that I really wanted. I was getting arthritis, I was tired all the time, I had gallbladder stones, I was having a hard time getting pregnant.

3. How long did it take you to adapt to a Zero Carb diet, both physically and psychologically?

It took between 2-3 weeks for me to get through the adaptation phase: headaches, bad moods, nausea, spacey feeling, typical adaptation symptoms.

4. What books or people were most influential in guiding you to this way of eating?

I read Eat Fat, Look Thin first by Bruce Fife many years ago, then Gary Taubes book Good Calories, Bad Calories; then right before this diet I read Wheat Belly. I was LCHF from 2008-2011 and grain free since 2008.

I did LCHF for many years, but after becoming a Mom, I had a hard time keeping to the diet. Before, when I had more time, I would make many LC sweets to eat. But once I had a baby to care for, I had less time and energy to make these special treats for myself. So my sweet tooth would get the best of me and I would stray from the diet. Going ZC completely cured me of the cravings, and and I found it much easier to stick to. I became interested in it after reading the articles about the Andersen family, as well as Kelly Hogan’s story. I saw their children, and the fact that their children had been ZC their whole lives. They clearly had the Weston Price markers of true health: wide faces, straight white teeth, etc. That is what truly convinced me, along with their miraculous stories.

5. Do you eat only meat, or do you include eggs, cheese, and cream in your diet?

I eat all meats, seafood, eggs, dairy.

Rachel in one of her Opera costumes pre-Zero Carb…

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6. What percentage of your diet is beef versus other types of meats?

I eat mostly beef. It is what makes me feel the best.

7. When you eat beef, do you cook it rare, medium, or well done?

Rare for steaks, medium rare for ground.

8. Do you add extra fat to your meat? (i.e. butter, lard, tallow)

Yes, I buy fatty cuts, and I eat burger meat with cheese and bacon grease. I usually add eggs to everything.

9. Do you limit your meat consumption or do you eat until satisfied?

I eat the fat first, then the protein until satisfied.

10. Do you eat liver or other organ meats? If so, how often?

No, I hate them, and I just found I am allergic to livers, so I am over it. 🙂

11. Do you consume bone broth? If so, how often?

Yes, whenever I remember, or get into the mood.

A side-by-side before and after comparison of Rachel…

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12. How many meals do you eat per day on average?

I eat three.

13. How much meat do you eat per day on average?

I eat 2 eggs and 3 pieces of bacon for breakfast, lunch will be maybe 0.75 lb of ground beef or similar weight leftover dinner meat, and about the same weight for dinner.

Since I eat the fat first, it fills me up a lot. Sometimes I eat more, sometimes I eat less. I don’t measure, I just eat.

14. Do you eat grass-fed/pasture-raised meat, or regular commercially produced meat?

I have eaten grass-fed/pastured meat for about 10 years; but I have not been able to find beef that is grass-fed that I can tolerate. The grass-fed beef is too lean, which causes me cravings. So, I buy grain-finished local hormone-free beef, but the rest of what I buy, like eggs, is pastured/organic.

15. Do you drink any beverages besides water? (i.e. coffee, tea)

I drink coffee, wine, perrier, raw milk, water.

16. Do you use salt?

Yes, sea salt.

17. Do you use spices?

I mainly use just sea salt and pepper. In doing this diet, I found nightshades (paprika, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, etc.) cause me terrible problems, so I avoid them completely. So, that makes spices hard. Occasionally, I will use thyme, rosemary, or sage, but usually, I just enjoy salt and pepper.

Rachel today…

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18. Do you take any supplements?

Yes. My thyroid is badly damaged, so I am taking medicine for it until I can heal it. I take magnesium on occasion, and I take B vitamins because I need them (Pyroluria), iodine, Vitamin D3 & K2. I take a supplement for my liver, called Livaplex by Standard Process, which my naturopath suggested I take permanently, even though my gallstones are gone now.

19. How much money do you spend on food each month?

This is hard to say. I have two other family members who are not ZC. I used to spend a LOT more on nuts, almond flour, expensive paleo food in general. I calculate that I spend about $250 a month on myself on food (not beverages), but it could be as much as $400.

20. Do you have any tips for making this diet more affordable?

Buy meat, eggs, and dairy from farmers you know and trust, you will have a better safer product for less. Buy in bulk. Eat fat first, and you will eat a lot less total meat. Fat is also lighter and cheaper than the meat itself.

21. Do you exercise regularly? If so, how often and how vigorously?

No, but I do chase after a 4 year old a bit. I have plans to get into yoga or pilates again one day.

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.)
Before ZC, I was about a size 14-16. In the past 6 months, I have lost 45 lbs. and now wear a size 6. The first week of ZC, my wedding ring finally fit again. I must have been bloated for the past 5 years when it wouldn’t fit. Within a few weeks, the arthritis that had started in my hands had disappeared. I had more energy and felt better over all.

I did have gallbladder stones, so I had some problem with increasing fat in the beginning. So, this is what I did to fix that:

I knew that by reducing my fat intake in order to stop the gallbladder pain, I was actually making the gallbladder condition worse. It’s definitely a use it or lose it problem; and I did not want surgery.

I took HCL (Standard Process Zypan) at every meal, and also tried some ox bile supplements to help digest the fat and keep the pain away. I also took enzymes.

Then, I tried this method of dissolving the gallstones that I adapted from this page: http://www.karenhurd.com/pages/healthtopics/specifichealthconcerns/ht-shc-gallbladderdisease.html instead of eating the recommended beans (which are clearly not ZC!), I substituted psyllium husk powder pills (which someone else had reported good results with). Every time I felt pain, which was about 6-10 times a day, I would take a few capsules.

I did this until the pain stopped, and eventually I discovered that I didn’t need the ox bile anymore. I slowly reduced the HCL – it is easy to find HCL doses because too much causes burning in the stomach. So, I followed my body’s cues for reducing it and now I find no problems, the stones are gone.

Rachel today…

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23. What do you enjoy most about eating a Zero Carb diet?

It is so easy. It takes almost no time to make something delicious. I don’t feel guilty anymore about not eating my vegetables. Who knew that most of them were making me more sick anyway!? I feel great without the extra weight I was carrying around. I have more energy, and just feel calmer in general. I have less cravings, it is so much easier to stick to than LCHF. I don’t obsess about food all the time anymore.

24. Do you have any advice for someone who is just beginning a Zero Carb diet?

Just try it for 30 days and see how you feel. Don’t focus on how much you weigh. According to my BMI, I am overweight by 5 pounds, which is ridiculous. I am 5’6” and a size 6. Now, I have more muscle and probably bone mass than I did before. Don’t weigh yourself. I don’t even own a scale. I measured my inches every week (at the time it was because I was trying to order a dress to fit me and was losing weight so fast). It was very encouraging to do it that way. The Principia Carnivora Facebook page is an excellent non-judgmental group that helps with questions you may have and troubleshooting if you find the diet isn’t working as well for you.

25. Are your friends and family supportive of your Zero Carb lifestyle? If not, how do you handle this?

My immediate family is ok with it. They know I research everything to death, and don’t do things lightly. But, people aren’t, on the whole, supportive. They don’t understand the science behind it, and are convinced I will get scurvy or something, which is kinda funny actually. Usually, when people ask me how I lost so much weight, I just tell them I eat low carb and I don’t eat anything sweet. I will tell a few people, occasionally, but really I am not trying to convince anyone to eat the way I do. I do it for myself, and honestly I don’t feel like the long discussion it always prompts to tell people I am Zero Carb and don’t eat plants except for medicine.

26. Is there anything you would like share about this way of eating that I have not already asked you?

This way of eating is totally and completely freeing. I was a complete foodie and totally obsessed about food, what I would eat next, what I could make (even low carb – I have a low carb food blog). Now I just eat when I am hungry and it takes 2 minutes to cook myself something. I can go for long periods without being hungry. I like the way it makes me feel.
I intend to eat this way for the rest of my life.

Rachel today…

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Please visit my “Interviews” page linked at the top of this website 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.

 

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Zero Carb Interview: Sebastien Fortier

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1. How long have you been eating a Zero Carb (No Plant Foods) diet?

I started my ketogenic diet on December 17 2013, at the age of 36. I did about 6 months of no carbs, then i tried to re-introduce some carbs. I tried many forms of carbs from veggies, fruits, grains, and even certain kinds of sugar like dextrose, but after about another 6 months of experimentation, I realized that i was reacting negatively to all types of carbs. So i decided to give them up completely at the end of last year. So, now I have been completely zero carb again for over a year.

2. What motivated you to try this way of eating? Weight? Health?

Health. I started to realize that there was something going on with my overall health in 2005. I had noticed that i was constantly tired. At that time, I was doing weight training every day. But I was not sleeping a lot, so it was normal for me to feel tired.

However, I felt that there was sometime more than just tiredness going on because I started to develop some skin rashes and some foods intolerances. After many eliminations diets, i discovered that all my skin rashes were food related. I began my real “diet journey” in 2009 and my goal was to find the perfect diet for me. So, from 2009 to 2013, i tried all the available diets. Sometime i tested two different diets at the same time by using the foods allowed from one diet that were also allowed in another diet.

During all that time, my health condition was getting worse. So i decided in the beginning of 2013 to try the “healthiest diet in the world” (at least according to some), and I adopted a completely vegan diet with absolutely no animal products. It was also a very low fat, low protein, high carb diet.

For the first 3 months I ate only fruit, a regimen highly promoted by Dr. Robert Morse. i bought his herbs and i follow his protocol. Big mistake! My blood work was horrible, my teeth were rotting from the inside out. It caused some sort of mineral deficiency or overwhelmed my body with too much sugar. And i was constantly hungry. I had to eat every 2 hours and i was hungry again 30 minutes after eating even if my stomach was still full.

Then, I switched to Dr. John Mcdougall’s high starch diet, a bit of veggies and rice, my teeth stopped rotting after about 1 week and started to heal on this diet. But I was bloated all the time. Half of my food intake was cooked (mostly grains like quinoa and amaranth), and half of it was raw.

At the end of 2013, I was 30 lbs underweight at only 140 lbs. (I am 5′ 8”), severely anemic, almost bed ridden. My bathroom is located on the first floor, and it was too physically demanding to climb 1 set of stair to go to the bathroom. So, i was peeing in a bucket that i kept in my bedroom. I’ve never been in such bad shape in my entire life. You can’t imagine that kind of weakness until you experience it. “Healthiest diet in the world” my ass…!

In the current picture of me at the top, I weigh 170 lbs. In the picture below, I weigh 154 lbs. I don’t have any pictures of myself when I was at my lowest point of 140 lbs. Prior to becoming ill, I actually weighed 195 lbs. and I was solid muscle.

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Then there was only one diet left on my list: Low Carb High Fat Ketogenic diet. Since i’ve been brainwashed all my life that fats were bad, fats make you fat, etc. i wasn’t expecting too much from this diet. But I had reached a point where I literally had nothing to lose. I was dying anyway. The ketogenic diet not only stopped my downward spiral, it began to reverse my condition. After about 2 months of eating a LCHF/Keto diet, my blood work was much better, my energy was increasing, and i was gaining some weight. That’s when I realized that i was on the right path.

3. How long did it take you to adapt to a Zero Carb diet, both physically and psychologically?

It’s hard to put a number on this because i feel like my body in constantly adapting. When I first started my ketogenic diet, I ate no carbs at all and about 50 gm of proteins with about 280 gm of fat. With this macronutrient ratio, I was able to have a blood ketone level of about 1 to 1.5 mmol/dL upon first waking up in the morning. When I tried increasing my protein intake to 80 gm, my blood ketone level was greatly affected. My ketones would drop. But now fast forward to today, my fats intake is 240 gm and my protein intake is 200 gm and I still maintain a blood ketone level of about 1 to 1.5 mmol/dL in the morning. Because I was already so weak and sick to begin with, I didn’t really notice the “keto flu” as many healthier people might when first transitioning to a LC or ZC diet.

4. What books or people were most influential in guiding you to this way of eating?

I didn’t read any books. I just did some research on the web and experimented along the way.

5. Do you eat only meat, or do you include eggs, cheese, and cream in your diet?

A zero carbs diet is already quite restrictive. Mine is even worse. I always had quite bad digestion and because of that i’ve hard time eating any kind of muscle meat. So, i very rarely eat steak, chicken, or bacon. My primary food sources are chicken liver, egg yolk, and whey protein powder. I have an intolerance to most milk products. I even react to organic Ghee. But for some reason, i’ve been able to find one brand of whey protein powder that give me no problem at all.

6. What percentage of your diet is beef versus other types of meats?

I rarely eat beef due to severe digestive problems.

7. When you eat beef, do you cook it rare, medium, or well?

I do not eat beef, but I cook my chicken livers very lightly. I have the heat setting on medium and then I continually stir the purée to cook it evenly for only about 5 minutes. It is hard to tell from the pictures below, but it is still pink.

8. Do you add extra fat to your meat? (i.e. butter, lard, tallow)

My liver and my yolks have a total of about 45 gm of fats, and i need about 240 gm of fats per day so i do add a lots of fat. I mostly use lard, tallow, MCT oil, coconut oil, and macadamia nut oil.

9. Do you limit your meat consumption or do you eat until satisfied?

Since my diet is so restricted, I basically eat the very same meals everyday. Four meals per day. I am a kind of freak in this department LOL. I weigh all my foods very precisely and i know exactly how much fat, protein, total calories, etc. that I consume every day. I know that at 3400 calories per day I start to gain body fat, at 3000 calories per day I will lose body fat, and to maintain my weight, i need about 3200 calories per day. I don’t eat until I am satisfied. I could probably eat twice as much food without any problems, but that would give me 6000 calories per day and would make me fat. But I do not feel hungry am not really hungry, and I have stopped thinking about food constantly since I started eating a high fat ketogenic diet.

10. Do you eat liver or other organ meats? If so, how often?

Yes, i eat chicken liver everyday.

11. Do you consume bone broth? If so, how often?

I did a lot of experimentation with the bone broth and unfortunately for me, all bone broth gives me a skin rash.

12. How many meals do you eat per day on average?

I always have 4 small meals per day. Each of my meals weigh 125 gm and fill about a half of a cup. I blend everything in my Vitamix to help my body digest it better.

13. How much meat do you eat per day on average?

I have 200 gm of chicken liver per day and 6 egg yolks.

14. Do you eat grass-fed/pasture-raised meat, or regular commercially produced meat?

All of my chicken livers and eggs are organic.

Here is a step-by-step photo journal of how I prepare my liver, egg yolk, whey, and fat Zero Carb “smoothie.”

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15. Do you drink any beverages besides water? (i.e. coffee, tea)

I react to so much that i decide to stick to water only.

16. Do you use salt?

From what i’ve read, you are supposed to increase your intake of salt on a ketogenic diet, so i am currently adding about 4gr of sodium per day from sea salt.

17. Do you use spices?

Again, because of my multiple reactivity to things, I prefer to not use any.

18. Do you take any supplements?

I do take general multi-vitamins, vitamin D, various amino acids and whey protein powder.

19. How much money do you spend on food each month?

Probably around $300 (Candian)

20. Do you have any tips for making this diet more affordable?

Unfortunately, not really.

21. Do you exercise regularly? If so, how often and how vigorously?

I do weight training 6 days per week, and i try to keep the intensity to the max.

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 more energy, I am way less bloated, I can control my body fats % much more easily, and I am much less sick than before.

23. What do you enjoy most about eating a Zero Carb diet?

The simplicity.

24. Do you have any advice for someone who is just beginning a Zero Carb diet?

Don’t be afraid to experiment, don’t trust everything you read, give it a try and see how it’s working for you.

25. Are your friends and family supportive of your Zero Carb lifestyle? If not, how do you handle this?

Everybody seem to think that I am a weirdo by eating this way, but i don’t much care. I do what i can with what i have in order to get better. In the end, you have to listen your own body.

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Please visit my “Interviews” page linked at the top of this website 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.