Zero Carb Interview: Stephanie Stride


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Stephanie today.

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

Since December 2012

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

Primarily weight. I started on Low Carb (Atkins), then transitioned to ZC within a month.

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

Physically I felt great within a week. The carb detox headaches subsided and I felt better than I ever had. Psychologically I adapted fairly quickly once I went full ZC partly due to loss of appetite. Within a couple weeks I had zero cravings.

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

I did A LOT of reading of various websites, read people’s stories, etc. There was no one specific source…I started out learning by trial and error. It’s definitely not a one size fits all way of eating.

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

I eat meat and eggs. I also allow myself one teaspoon of HWC in my coffee daily. I don’t eat any cheese.

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

Approximately 70% beef.

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

Medium Rare

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

Butter!

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

I eat until I’m comfortably full.

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

No. I tried them but I’m too squeamish!

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

No

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

Usually one meal. I occasionally fast as well (longest fast was ten days, most recent was eight).

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

Anywhere from one-half to one pound. If I eat eggs, I eat 3-4.

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

Grass-fed pasture-raised. I buy a half cow at a time.

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Stephanie with her beloved husband in 2014, part way through her Zeri Cab journey.

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

I drink one cup of coffee per day and occasionally an iced green tea. I also allow myself one diet coke per day, but I typically only drink three per week.

16. Do you use salt?

Yes.

17. Do you use spices?

No. I was very surprised to discover the amounts of hidden carbs in a lot of popular spices. Garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika are some of the higher carb count spices. Occasionally I’ll use one clove of fresh garlic.

18. Do you take any supplements?

No

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

400-450$ (for groceries for two people)

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

Buy in bulk and separate into single portions, hit the meat department when they’re marking down prices, and the best, but not feasible for everyone, buy fresh, locally raised meat in bulk.

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

Not regularly. I used to walk a lot. I keep busy and still walk/jog on my treadmill but not often.

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.)

Huge weight loss (appx. 100 lbs.), skin looks better, teeth appear healthier, and my blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose levels are all perfect, no more joint pain from a past injury, overall happier feeling, tons of energy.

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

It’s so easy. I never have to figure out what to make for dinner! I take meat out of the freezer and toss it on the grill.

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

Stick with it and measure yourself!! I regret not taking measurements at the very beginning. There are times when my scale doesn’t move but I know I’ve lost inches.

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

In the beginning they were not. They thought if I ate just meat that I would get sick. They constantly tried pushing veggies on me. Once they saw how healthy I was becoming they wanted to be a cavewoman too!

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

Give it a try. Research it. There are SO many health benefits to this WOE. Diabetics no longer being dependant on insulin, stomach issues that disappear, blood pressure lowers, etc. It’s amazing!!

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Stephanie today.

Please visit my “Interviews” and “Testimonials” pages linked at the top of this website to read the stories of other short and long term 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.

 

Optimal Fat Intake on a Zero Carb Diet

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Sometime back I wrote a two-part article on Optimal Protein intake on a Zero Carb diet. Please click links to read:

Part One https://zerocarbzen.com/2015/09/29/optimal-protein-on-a-zero-carb-diet/

Part Two https://zerocarbzen.com/2015/10/04/optimal-protein-on-a-zero-carb-diet-part-2/

I still feel pretty good about the protein recommendations in those articles, though it does seem that some people do indeed feel better on more protein than I discussed. On average, 100-150 gm of protein seems to be about right for most people, but I know that some do feel better with more like 200 gm a day. So, keep that in mind when you read those posts.

The key thing to understand is that you want to be careful to not eat too little protein on a Zero Carb diet. Since you are not eating any carbohydrates on a Zero Carb diet, you can eat more protein than you can on a Low Carb diet. There is a lot of fear-mongering going on in regards to eating too much protein, and I (and many others in the Low Carb-Zero Carb-Ketogenic community) feel that this advice is very misguided. You want to eat as much protein as your particular metabolic state will accommodate without raising fasting blood glucose. For some who are diabetic or very insulin resistant, that may only be 80 gm of protein per day, but if you have a healthy metabolism, you will likely be able to eat twice that amount without any negative repercussions.

Okay, so with that prelude, the subject I really want to address here is fat. In light of some recent discussions we have been having in our Facebook group Principia Carnivora, the recommendations for fat intake that I made in those posts on protein needs to be revisited, as they are geared more towards weight maintenance levels of fat rather than weight loss. As mentioned in the above articles on protein, Stefansson ate a 2:1 ratio of fat to protein, i.e. 2 gm of fat for every gm of protein or 120 gm of protein to 240 gm of fat on average.

Many people who adopt a Zero Carb diet are obese and have decided to try this way of eating in order to lose unwanted excess body fat. Many also come from the Ketogenic diet world where they have been eating lower protein and higher fat (both in terms of total grams and percentages), and then they try to apply that knowledge and experience to their new Zero Carb diet. But the result is that they often do not lose any of their excess body fat which is, understandably, very frustrating for them.

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The basic advice that has been give by all of the successful long term practioners of a Zero Carb diet is to simply eat fatty meat. Don’t make it more complicated than it is. In other words, don’t try to manipulate your macronutrient ratios to meet the Ketogenic standards you have been following (that were no longer working for you anyways and which is why you ended up deciding to try Zero Carb in the first place!).

What this means is: don’t limit your meat (lean portion) in order to restrict your total protein consumption and add extra fat in the form of butter or whatever to create a “perfect” Ketogenic ratio of protein to fat. You also do not want to drink so-called “fat bombs” like coffee with butter, coconut oil, etc. added to it. All this does is prevent you from burning your own body fat for energy and impede weight loss. You only need to do this sort of thing if you have epilepsy or cancer or some other serious life-threatening illness.

If you have a lot of body fat to lose, you want to encourage endogenous fat-burning. Eating too much dietary fat prevents this. Drs. Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek have discussed this in their excellent book The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living, as well as many of their video lecture presentations widely available on YouTube.

Therefore, the general rule of thumb is to eat about 2.0 gm of protein per 1 kg of lean body mass, and then to add as much fat as you need to provide satiety from your meal. This usually works out to around 30% of calories from protein and 70% of calories from fat. Now, interestingly enough, that is almost exactly what you will find in a piece of fatty beef like chuck roast or ribeye or New York strip or 80/20 ground beef (if all fat that that is cooked out is eaten and not discarded).

This also equals a 1:1 ratio of fat to protein in grams, i.e. one gram of fat to one gram of protein. For example, 100 gm of fat to 100 gm of protein. This is basically perfect for facilitating the loss of excess body fat in someone who is obese. So, the tried and true and very simple recommendations of experienced long term Zero Carb practitioners to eat fatty meat to satiety whenever hungry works for a reason!

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Now, for those of you, like myself, who are not obese and do not need to lose excess body fat, might be wondering what This means for you. If a person starts out on Zero Carb at at a normal healthy body weight, or once a person reaches their ideal body weight after losing their excess fat according to above recommendations, it is then necessary to add more fat to your Zero Carb diet.

This can be done in several ways. Many people add butter to the meat they eat, but you can also eat the fat on your steaks preferentially. Michael Frieze has been doing this for the past 5 years. Read his interview here:

https://zerocarbzen.com/2015/03/07/zero-carb-interview-michael-frieze/

He cooks up a steak and eats the fat first until he feels satiated, then he eats as much of the lean as he feels like eating. If there is not enough fat on the steak to reach his fat satiety level, he will then eat butter straight until he feels like he receives a “stop” signal. He eats an average of 2 lbs of steak per day and weighs 135 lbs. He says that no matter how much he eats, he never gains body fat.

If you are following a Zero Carb diet and are struggling to lose weight, I hope this explanation has helped to shed some light on how you can adjust your current diet to find better success. Finding the right fat to protein ratio is a bit individual, but this is a great place to start. If you do this and find that you are still not losing the unwanted body fat, you may need to lower the fat a little bit more.

We have a few women in our group who have found that a 1:2 ratio of fat to protein was necessary for them to start dropping weight. This would mean eating only one gram of fat for every 2 grams of protein, or say 100 gm of fat to 200 gm of protein. While this is not the norm, I share this story to demonstrate that all bodies are not created equal and there is not a one-size-fits-all approach to Zero carb and successful weight loss.

But it is best not to over think it too much and just start with the basic recommendations of those who have been following a Zero Carb diet for many years and start with good ‘ole fatty steaks. Eat when hungry. Eat to satiety. Wait until you get hungry again and repeat. And most of all…Don’t worry. Be happy!

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***Special thanks to all of the long term Zero Carbs peeps for their consistent message and the interviews they have so graciously provided for me to share. Thank you also to Jamie Moskowitz, Jeff Cyr, Raymund Edwards, and Mike Juiluan from the Low Carb Ketogenic world for helping me to grasp this issue at at a deeper level. I think I am finally getting it! And additionally, I wish to thank all of the members of our Facebook group Principia Carnivora for experimenting on themselves in good N=1 fashion and sharing their results with the rest of us, so that we call all learn and profit from them. I love you all.

Zero Carb Testimonial: Reza Wahyu Ismail

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Hi, My name is Reza and I am from Indonesia (South East Asia), I used to eat every meal with rice. Breakfast with rice porridge, coconut milk steamed rice, rice cake, lunch and dinner with rice as a staple food beside fish, meat, chicken, eggs, and vegetables. I would eat fruit occasionally. I was skinny in my childhood and teenage years. Then I gain weight after I started working and got married. I ate snack foods a lot and drank so many sweet sodas. My highest weight was 105 kilograms (230 lbs.), and my triglyceride level was at 279. I knew I had to do something because my late mom died from kidney failure due to her decades long struggle with diabetes. Our family had also has a history of heart attack and strokes.

I know I must take care of my health as a family man for my wife, my son, and my parents in law. I live with them and must be healthy enough to take care of them. And I don’t want to end up like my mom and my grandparents, suffering from strokes and diabetes. So I read a lot and tried many diets, from high protein, vegetarian, juice fasting, etc. Actually, I gained weight when I was vegetarian, and I hate fasting with raw vegetable juice. I thrive whenever I eat steak.

Once, I was successfully losing weight by doing water fasting for a few days in a row periodically. But sometimes I felt nauseous and had a thumping headache. Then I heard about dry fasting. As a Moslem, we dry fasting from dawn until dusk for a month every year during Ramadan, but I did not know it had therapeutic value for one’s physical health. I find dry fasting to be much easier than water fasting because I am less cold and I don’t get dizzy during the fasting period. Then I try to search about dry fasting and I found Esmée’s Zero Carb Zen blog. This is how I discovered the “Eat Meat Drink Water” way of eating, and so I decide too give it a try. I had already heard of low carb eating and was practicing that, but zero carb or all meat was a new concept for me. I had also been doing one day fasts here and there.

My transition to Zero Carb was wonderful, as I enjoy eating meat and steak everyday. Sometimes I eat chicken, eggs, and fish, but mostly it is beef. What I don’t like about it is whenever I try to explain this way of eating to my colleagues, they are not that receptive even ridiculed me a lot. Luckily my family and close friends try to be more understanding and some want to hear about this Zero Carb thing.

Now I have had tremendous results from Zero Carb in a very short period of time. My blood test showed improvement and my triglyceride are back to normal. I had been following a low carb diet, along with occasional intermittent fasts, for about a year or so, and I had lost about 8 kilograms doing that. But since I started the Zero Carb diet 2.5 months ago, I have lost an additional 10 kilograms of weight and 10 centimeters off my waistline. I also notice the I have not been sick, felt bad, or gotten a headache during this time. Usually I have headache every two weeks or so. I don’t know why, but it probably has something to do with the carbs I was consuming, even on a low carb diet, before I went to a total Zero Carb way of eating.

Everyday I eat steak (I seared the steak on my iron skillet or dining in at the restaurant). I also make meat soup with my slow cooker. I eat beef, chicken, fish, oxtail, and liver. I don’t eat vegetables at all anymore, but I do use butter and sometimes milk or heavy cream whenever I feel it has been a long time to squat in the toilet 😉

For Zero Carb newbies like me, I strongly recommend trying Zero Carb for a full 30 days. Even better…try everyday, choose to be Zero Carb for this hour to the next hour, every single day decide to go Zero Carb. If you stumble and fail (I’ve been there), just get up and get back to Zero Carb. I hope I can be Zero Carb moment-by-moment, and someday when I look back, I will find that I have been Zero Carb for years and eventually for the rest of my life (I hope).

Please visit my “Interviews” and “Testimonials” pages linked at the top of this website to read the stories of other short and long term 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.

 

Zero Carb Interview: Amy Menke

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

I started on April 1, 2015, so it has been a full year now.

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

I had eliminated (real) sugar from my diet by going LCHF in January, 2015. I also eliminated all caffeine during that same time. Two months later I transitioned to keto. At this point I had all sugar out of my diet, but I was now addicted to artificial sweeteners! I knew I had to do something to get past that addiction. I was already down to eating very few vegetables (no fruit), so giving them up was not a big deal. It was giving up the faux baked goods and fat bombs that was more difficult, because those were what provided my sweet fix on a daily basis. On April 1, 2015, I ran across Kelly Hogan’s blog, “My Zero Carb Life,” and then Esmée’s blog “Eat Meat Drink Water.” From there I found a couple of different Facebook groups dedicated to zero carb eating. I spent about 8 hours reading and researching that day, and by dinner time that night I had nothing but meat on my plate. I’ve eaten that way ever since that meal a year ago. The sweet addiction is gone!

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

From a psychological perspective, I adapted to a zero carb diet immediately. I’ve always loved meat and eggs, so I had no problems adjusting to eating nothing but that. Physically speaking, it was a different story. Coming from LCHF/keto, I had already gone through an excruciating “keto flu” in Jan. 2015 and I was already in nutritional ketosis. I started ZC at a normal healthy weight of 131 pounds. I gained 10-12 pounds between my second and fourth months of zero carb. Around July I decided to try decreasing my protein grams (to around 20% of calories) and increasing my fat grams (to about 80% by calories) to see if that would lead to taking off the weight I had gained in the beginning. My weight remained the same, but my clothes continued getting tighter. I also had severe problems with fat digestion and horrible nausea as a result. By October, I was done with the high fat experiment. I increased my protein grams back to around 120-130 grams and decreased fat grams back to around 100 grams. (I’m now currently eating an average of 140g protein per day). The digestive issues and nausea were gone overnight.

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When I was 9 months into ZC, I had a full physical including a complete blood workup. My HDL cholesterol was 85, Triglycerides were 55, fasting blood glucose was 85, and all of my vitamin/mineral levels were normal. My LDL cholesterol was elevated, which I expected, but I demanded an LDL particle test for follow up. The results were: NO SMALL DENSE (harmful) particles detected! I have ALL LARGE FLUFFY (benign/good) particles! So no concerns there. A couple of my liver functions were slightly elevated, but I believe that was due to my body trying to continue to detox and adapt to processing fat. To assist my liver, I started drinking decaf green tea, rooibos, and some herbal teas (like dandelion), and I also add fennel, ginger, cayenne, and turmeric to most of my teas as well as a vitamin C and selenium supplement. I also added a daily serving of fish (for omega 3), liver (for choline and folate), and eggs (for choline) to my meals. It was also at this point that I started only wanting one meal a day instead of two.

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

By far, Esmée and the Facebook group Principia Carnivora, which she started with Michael Frieze, have been the most influential resources in my journey. I also do a LOT of reading and researching, but the book “Keto Clarity” by Dr. Eric Westman and Jimmy Moore was a very helpful read when I first transitioned to a ketogenic diet. I love reading new articles and studies as they emerge. I love to learn and expand my knowledge.

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

I eat only meat and eggs. I attempted to add cheese back to my diet in March, and I had no issues with it, but I found it just doesn’t appeal to me anymore. I can take it or leave it. So cheese is back out. No dairy. I also do not eat processed or cured meats, only fresh.

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

I eat only about 40% beef (this includes beef liver and heart). Every meal I eat includes 3-6 oz. fish (salmon, oysters, mussels, sardines, herring, cod, or mackerel), 3-5 oz. beef or chicken liver, 2 eggs, and coconut oil. From there, I also usually add 4-6 oz. beef of some kind and 4-6 oz. of chicken OR pork.

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

I eat all of my ground beef raw, never cooked. I cook steaks only 30 seconds on each side leaving the middle raw and cold. I like the flavor of slow cooked beef, like chuck roast and ribs, but the well cooked meat and fat do not digest well for me. If I eat well cooked meat, I must limit my portion to no more than 4 oz., or it will make me very nauseous.

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

Anything I cook gets fried in a skillet with about 2 T. of coconut oil. I add no other fat to my meals. (Editor’s note: strictly speaking, coconut oil is not considered to be a “zero carb” food even though it has zero carbs because it comes from a plant. Some people, like Amy, do really well with it, while others, like myself, do not. If you are sensitive to salicylates, it will not be a good addition to your zero carb diet because it is very high in salicylates.)

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

I have found that I feel best if I eat only a certain amount. (See question 13 for further details)

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

I eat beef or chicken liver every single day. I eat about one beef heart per month. I would eat kidney, brains, and other organs if I had access to them.

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

I only consume bone broth when I have cooked a roast or chicken in the crock pot and there is a good portion of resulting liquid left in the pot. This occurs maybe once every 3 months. So, not often.

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

I eat only one meal per day, and I do 1:23 intermittent fasting (eat 1 hour per day and fast for the remaining 23 hours. I usually eat no later than 4 pm, and often much earlier in the day because I sleep better without food in my stomach.

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

I eat 20-23 oz. of meat and eggs per day. If I eat anything less than 18 oz., I’ll want to eat again before bed. If I eat more than 24 oz., I am uncomfortably full and very sluggish. 20-23 oz. of food satisfies my body just perfectly.

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

I eat only commercial, conventional, grain fed, Walmart meats purchased on markdown. Liver and fish are the only thing I’ll pay full price for, because it’s already inexpensive enough.

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

I drink decaf green and rooibos teas on eating days. I have just started do some short 3-4 day fasts for the health benefits, and I drink only water when I do those.

16. Do you use salt?

Yes, I use salt very liberally. I prefer pink Himalayan salt, but Celtic grey runs a close second. I have chronically low blood pressure and I really seem to need it. If I feel tired, that is usually a sign that I need more sodium.

17. Do you use spices?

Yes, but only pure spices without fillers, non-caking agents, or preservatives. I use curry, cayenne, turmeric, garlic, pepper, and fresh ginger (in my tea only).

18. Do you take any supplements?

I take magnesium, potassium, and sodium (salt) due to long-time low blood pressure (as mentioned above) and leg/foot cramp issues. I also take vitamin D3 during the winter. I am currently taking vitamin C and selenium just for liver support, but I will be eliminating those if my liver functions come back normal after follow up blood work is done.

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

I spend about $100-150 per month to feed myself.

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

Buy your fresh meats on MARKDOWN. Otherwise, look for SALES each week.


image21. Do you exercise regularly? If so, how often and how vigorously?

The only exercise I get is 45-60 minutes of walking 5 or 6 days a week.

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 am no longer cold all the time (unless I’m fasting). I sleep much better and more soundly. I am much more mentally alert and more focused. I am no longer enslaved to needing sweets. In fact, I don’t even think about them or consider them to be “food” anymore. I don’t think about food all day anymore. And those 10-12 pounds I gained in the beginning?…..…I lost all those, too.

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

I love that I only feel a desire to eat once a day. It is so simple! I also love that I can fast for several days without much difficulty. And, of course, I LOVE eating meat!!

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

Eat the meats you like, and don’t “force” yourself to eat meats you don’t yet enjoy. Eventually, you’ll WANT to branch out to eating other things. And go very slow with increasing fat in your diet!!!

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

My friends and family are all very supportive, although none of them eat this way.

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

Yes, this way of eating takes a huge amount of determination and resolve in the beginning, particularly if you get hit with issues right off the bat. Keto flu and digestive issues are the two biggest culprits that can discourage people from continuing a zero carb diet. It takes most people a long time (months for some) to adapt to this way of eating. And for some, like me, it takes a lot of experimenting and tweaking until you find the right balance of foods, amounts of foods, fat, and protein that work the best for YOUR body. Everyone is different. Be patient and don’t give up!

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Please visit my “Interviews” and “Testimonials” pages linked at the top of this website to read the stories of other short and long term 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.