Liz after 1 year of Zero Carb.
1. How long have you been eating a Zero Carb (No Plant Foods) diet?
Officially my start date was April 1, 2015 but I had been eating pretty much zero carb for months before I had heard there was a word for that.
2. What motivated you to try this way of eating? Weight? Health?
Both. I had a lot of weight to lose and my health was horrible. I applied for disability due to a long laundry list of health problems.
3. How long did it take you to adapt to a Zero Carb diet, both physically and psychologically?
It was a slow process getting to Zero Carb. I started by just cutting out one thing at a time like sugar and bread, and then very slowly lowering my carbs per day so I never had any physical symptoms like Keto Flu. Psychologically it was a bit harder since I live with 5 other adults who are major carb addicts. Every time I walk into the kitchen I have to walk past a whole counter covered with candy, pastries, pies and bread. It was hard at first but once I was zero carb the cravings went away. Now I walk past them with no problem.
4. What books or people were most influential in guiding you to this way of eating?
Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It by Gary Taubes was a really good book, but mostly I read a lot of websites.
My Zero Carb Life
Zero Carb Zen
Zero Carb Health
Bad Ass Carnivore
These are all sites I enjoy.
Facebook groups are also great for daily support.
Principia Carnivora https://www.facebook.com/groups/PrincipiaCarnivora/
Zeroing in on Health
No Carbs LCHF
Principia Fibromyalgia (for Zero Carbers with Fibromyalgia) https://www.facebook.com/groups/645650578871443/
Liz before beginning her Low to Zero Carb journey.
5. Do you eat only meat, or do you include eggs, cheese, and cream in your diet?
I started with meat, eggs, chicken, fish, butter, cheese, and cream. I had a serious sour cream addiction! Slowly I started eating more meat and less chicken and fish. I cut out the dairy after about 5 months. Now I’m down to meat, eggs and butter.
6. What percentage of your diet is beef verses other types of meats?
I eat about a pound of beef a day, 4 eggs and about 8 slices of bacon. So about half.
7. When you eat beef, do you cook it rare, medium, or well done?
I would like to eat it rare but I don’t trust the cheap Walmart ground beef I have to buy due to budget constraints so I cook it well done.
8. Do you add extra fat to your meat? (i.e. butter, lard, tallow)
Sometimes I’ll add butter if I have an urge, but not often. I do like my eggs dripping in butter though.
9. Do you limit your meat consumption or do you eat until satisfied?
I eat till I’m full, no limit, though I really can’t eat much at once.
10. Do you eat liver or other organ meats? If so, how often?
I like liver so I’ll sneak it in once a week. I only limit it because one of the people I live with hates the smell of it.
11. Do you consume bone or meat broth? If so, how often?
Nope, too much trouble to make.
12. How many meals do you eat per day on average?
I usually eat 3 since I can’t eat much at once. Otherwise I wouldn’t get enough food per day.
12. How much meat do you eat per day on average?
About pound of beef and about 8 slices of bacon per day.
13. Do you eat grass-fed/pasture-raised meat, or regular commercially produced meat?
I really wish I could afford to eat grass-fed/pasture-raised meat but I’m on a really tight budget so its Walmart Ground beef for me.
Liz before beginning her Low to Zero Carb journey with her parents and sisters. Liz is on the far left in red.
14. Do you drink any beverages besides water? (i.e. coffee, tea)
I drink a lot of herbal tea and I am slowly weaning myself off coffee, so within a month no coffee.
15. Do you use salt?
Oh yes! It’s my last addiction. I tried to quit salt, but nope, I just can’t right now.
16. Do you use spices?
Pepper on my eggs and some steak seasoning on my ground beef.
17. Do you take any supplements?
Only when I have been exposed to someone sick. I’ll take vit. D, C, K and zinc.
18.How much money do you spend on food each month?
Just under $200.
19. Do you have any tips for making this diet more affordable?
I use high fat ground beef instead of steaks, and I eat eggs every day.
20. Do you exercise regularly? If so, how often and how vigorously?
No. When I started I could hardly walk 1/8 of a mile and I had to use the electric carts in the grocery stores to shop. Even without exercising I’m getting stronger and my stamina is increasing. I am trying to move around more though. Since I’ve lost 50 pounds it has gotten much easier to move my body. I’m pushing myself to do a little more each day.
21. 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 guess I should tell you I was a complete mess in 2013. I was 100 pounds overweight. I had Fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, Peripheral edema, Depression and Anxiety, Severe PMS, Migraines, Restless Leg Syndrome, and Irritable bowel syndrome. Basically, I felt like Crap!
I did a long, slow transition from low carb to very low carb to zero carb, so it’s hard to remember exactly what happened when.
I started low carb in early 2013. My focus was just weight loss since I never thought I could heal all my issues. I lost weight pretty quick at first, going from 225 down to 200 in early 2014. (Ya, that’s fast for me.)
Then the weight loss slowed down, but I noticed other things happening like my High Blood Pressure normalized and I was able to go off HBP meds. Additionally, the Migraines, Restless Leg Syndrome, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome slowly Improved and went away.
I freely admit that I fell off the wagon frequently those first couple of years. I was going through a divorce after 28 years of marriage, and I had to move in with my parents. So, I was a tad bit stressed.
Then menopause hit, the weight loss slowed even more, and – oh boy! – the hot flashes, but at least there was no more PMS!
By the beginning 2015 I had transitioned to very low carb. I noticed that I wasn’t as tired as usual, but I was still having problems with Fibromyalgia, Peripheral Edema, Depression and Anxiety.
In Late March of 2015, I found the Facebook group “Zeroing In On Health.” I was pretty much already Zero Carb with rare exceptions, so I decided that I might as well go the whole distance.
I officially started Zero Carb on April 1, 2015. That’s when I really noticed the big changes. Over the first 6 months my Fibromyalgia pain, Depression and Anxiety slowly faded and I was able to move more easily.
In the last 3 months, I have been able to go shopping without using the electric carts that they have in the stores. I feel human again!
In early January of 2016, I didn’t take my HCTZ for my Peripheral Edema for a couple of days, and my feet and ankles didn’t swell up into huge sausages! I’m slowly weaning off of it now too.
I’m currently down to 172 pounds, and I actually feel some muscles under that last 50 pounds of fat I want to lose. I feel so much stronger now and I’m actually looking for a job! I’m have been helping my parents out at their office for free. It’s quite a work out filing and lifting boxes. But I can work!!!!
23. What do you enjoy most about eating a Zero Carb diet?
It’s so filling that I never feel hungry. I can also go longer between meals if I have to without feeling hungry and weak.
24. Do you have any advice for someone who is just beginning a Zero Carb diet?
Read everything you can get your hands on about it. Start slow. Don’t give up. If you fall off the wagon, just jump back on. Don’t tell anyone unless you have to. They will just look at you like your crazy then lecture you about health. You can tell people once you have been doing it for a while and have results you can show them.
25. Are your friends and family supportive of your Zero Carb lifestyle? If not, how do you handle this?
They are now. At first they thought I was crazy, but they can see how much weight I’ve lost and how much healthier I am now. Unfortunately I still have to walk past their junk food constantly.
26. Is there anything you would like share about this way of eating that I have not already asked you?
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.
Great interview, Liz! I especially appreciated your including what web resources you use.
I admire your persistence in keeping to your plan in the face of all the carby, sugary temptation you had daily. How long did it take for your carb cravings to go away?
You really look great, and more importantly, it’s fantastic how your health problems are resolving.
Thanks for the interview, Liz and Esmee!
PS: I just love your “zebra” skirt!
Thanks Tante! The carb cravings weren’t really too bad after about month. Within a couple of months I could walk past anything and barely notice it. Of course I had lots of practice because every time I walk into the kitchen I walk past a counter covered in cookies, pastry, chocolate, cake, etc. Its a really good thing I love meat and I’m really stubborn! : )
When you are low carb as I am (up to 30 grams per day) or zero carb You need more salt not less as our bodies without carbohydrates excrete more water and salts. Use sea salt liberally in your diet. It is only the sodium chloride type of salt that is deleterious to our health because man touched and as usual perverted nature.
Hi Carl – sea salt is sodium chloride. Many long term zero carbers do not use any salt at all and do very well. There is less potassium in a zero carb diet, than in a low carb diet, and it is easier to upset the sodium-potassium balance if too much salt is used. The need for extra salt is part of the adaption process and usually subsides the longer a person follows a zero carb diet. Owsley Stanley ate a salt-free zero carb diet for 50 years with no deleterious effects.
Great Interview Liz,, I love tat you have healed your Body and are on the road to recovery , best wishes and Congrats to you.
Thanks Tamarah! : )
Liz Spencer, How are you doing now ? Could we get a follow up ?