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.

 

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21 thoughts on “Zero Carb Interview: Sebastien Fortier

      • The only way to know if something raised insulin levels would be to eat the food and then test post-prandial insulin response through a hospital or doctor’s office. Perhaps you meant blood sugar which can be tested at home?

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      • Like Esméelafleur have mention,you probably meant blood sugar.In my experience,any amount of proteins is gonna raise your blood sugar to a certain degree,this can’t be avoid.After 2 years in ketosis,i can “get away” with 200gr of proteins per day and still have my fasting blood sugar in the 70’s range,of course this is mainly related to my weight training,if i stop my weight training,am gonna have to lower my proteins intake in order to stay in ketosis.

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    • Hi Sebastian. If you would like another whey protein powder recommendation that is as simple (unflavored, no additives at all) as I have ever found, and lowest in sodium (52 mg sodium per 30 gram scoop of protein), Novus Life Solutions makes batches of 5, 10, 25 and 100 pounds of whey protein concentrate. They also sell isolate, but my digestion cannot tolerate that form of protein powder. This brand of whey protein concentrate is the only protein powder I can digest well. Here’s the link where I last bought it.

      http://www.mysupplementstore.com/bulk-whey-protein-concentrate-powder-5lbs.html

      All Natural, Undenatured & Unflavored
      No additives, sweetners, fillers or preservatives
      Made in the USA
      Gluten Free
      Diabetes Safe and Bariatric Approved
      Kosher

      Ingredients / Bulk Whey Nutrition Facts (5lbs)
      76 Servings Per Container
      122 Calories
      1 Gram of Fat
      3mg of Cholesterol
      3 Crabohydrates
      27 Grams of Protein
      330mg of Potassium

      Best of luck to you.

      Bonnie

      Like

      • Hi Bonnie and thanks for the info.
        If i was living in the USA,the shipping would be free and the it would be a good deal.
        I’ve just check and unfortunately the shipping cost to Canada is a “deal breaker”.

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          • I did try their unflavoured protein back when i was looking for a Whey protein that would “work” with my guts and i got severe diahria at each try,can’t explain why exactly,my guess would be some gluten cross contamination even if it’s suppose to be gluten free.
            Anyway,i’ve been lucky enough to find one brand that seem to work very well so i don’t really looking for something else at the moment but thanks again for the suggestion Bonnie!!

            Like

  1. As far as energy/mood goes, do you feel 4 meals a day works best? I seem to go back and fourth with IF and 4 meals a day. Would love to here your opinion on the subject.
    John

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    • Hi John

      I did experiment to know how many meals would be best for me,i’ve try from 1 meal per day up to 6 meals per day,always the same total amount of food daily but equally divided by the number of meals per day.I think for me,the main reason why 4 meals seem to be optimal is mainly related to my overall weak digestion.I’ve notice during my test that the smaller my meal was,the easiest it was to digest/process without heavy stomach.So let say my total amount of food for a day weight 500gr,if i split this in four meals,i got four meals of 125gr which i seem to process well,if i would go for 2 meals per days,that would give me 2 meals of 250gr which would be much harder for me to process,i would be sluggish for the first 3 to 4 hours and one meals per day knock me down for at least half of the day.I’ve a average of almost 300gr of fat per day,eating all that fat in one meal is “neutralizing” my poor digestion for a while and i can’t function at all after that.
      So long story short,4 small meals per day kinda give me a more stable energy without overwhelming my digestion.
      6 meals per day was even better but i had hard time to fit those 6 meals into my daily schedule.

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      • Hi Sebastien,

        Do you use any potassium supplements since you propably don’t get much from your diet? Since you do bodybuilding I would think that would require lots of potassium.. Let me know please.

        Sam

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        • Hey Sam!!
          You’re right about my diet not containing a lot of potassium but for some reason,potassium supplement make me dizzy at time,i can’t explain the “exact medical” reason why but i think it as something to do with the electrolyte balance and/or maybe a low adrenal condition that potassium intake seem to exasperated.
          Anyway,long story short,i’ve try many form of potassium supplement and they only seem to make my condition worst,so in the end,am listening what “my body is telling me”.

          Like

          • Wow, that’s really interesting. You look really strong, do you feel that being on a low potassium diet has affected your strength levels? How much water do you drink every day and do you add any salt to your water or just meals?

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          • Because i went from extreme chronic fatigue(almost bed ridden) to really strict keto
            diet “overnight”,i didn’t notice any of the potential drawback that most peoples get
            when starting a really low carbs/keto diet,by that i mean that i was already so tired
            from my previous condition that even the “worst symptoms” associated with the
            adaptation period were almost a improvement in my situation.
            And because of that,i can’t really answer you about potential lost of strength
            that a low potassium level might have create.
            Someone who is already training for a while and decide to cut is potassium
            intake overnight would certainly notice something.
            When i’ve restart my weight training program,i had to restart at the very
            “bottom of the latter” in term of muscle development but also in term
            of strength level so i kinda had nothing to compare with.
            I drink about 2 quarts of water per day,nothing added to it.
            All my salt intake is in my meals.

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          • Hi again Sebastien,

            One last question about electrolytes. Do you supplement any calcium and magnesium and how much? I’m going to try to get by without potassium supplements too because I too have some strange feeling in my head after potassium supplements.

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          • Am taking 1 tsp of Magnesium Glycinate powder per day ( from Hard Rhino )
            split thru the day.It give about 450mg of Magnesium.
            And for calcium,am taking 2 tablets per day of (MyKind Organics Plant Calcium)
            from Garden Of Life,it give a bit more than 500mg of
            organic calcium which is suppose to be more bioavailable
            than any inorganic form of calcium.(ex: Calcium carbonate )
            Now i don’t know if it’s necessary to supplement with those
            minerals but i’ve use them since i’ve start my keto “journey”.

            Like

  2. Hey Sebastian…on a diet such as you are on, either now or during the transition period to your diet did you experience constipation and/or insomnia? how did you handle it? People say to add carbs to combat insomnia for keto diet…for constipation i suppose most would say take magnesium.

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    • Hey Man!!
      I did experience some period of insomnia at some point and i never find anything to help with that,i’ve try high dose of magnesium glycinate before bed time,nothing really seem to have work for the insomnia,they were “leaving” on there own and come back a month later.Maybe it’s a part of the adaptation cause i didn’t had this problem since at least a year if not more.
      But i did notice that the insomnia were more frequent and intense when my blood ketone level was quite high,like in the 3 to 5 range.
      For the constipation,i’ve start a detox program about a year before starting my zero carbs diet and this detox was including one coffee enema per day,it’s been about 4 years now and i still do my daily coffee enema.I’ve heard that some peoples had great result using magnesium oxide has laxative.
      Good Luck And Take Care Man!!

      Like

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