Zero Carb Interview: Reanna Percifield

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

Since mid-July of 2015.

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

To improve health and fitness. Originally I started out eating low carb high fat, and after almost 2 years of experimenting with that I stumbled upon the idea of zero carb while reading in a health forum. After doing some more research I decided to give it a try, and after the first day my energy levels were better than how I felt most of the time on low carb. Sure, low carb was great, but zero carb made me feel exponentially better from day one, despite some mild adaptation symptoms. I suspect various plant foods were giving me issues that I was previously unaware of.

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

Physically, it took me about 3 months. Thankfully, since I was previously low carb and intermittently fasting, my body already had experience being in a ketogenic state. This made adaptation fairly easy for me. For the first couple of weeks I had some manageable energy fluctuations, and the first 3 months or so I had some digestive issues. However I believe these issues were mainly caused by Candida overgrowth, resulting in leaky gut syndrome (which I had for years, but didn’t realize it at the time – I assumed it was allergies until it finally died off thanks to this diet).

Psychologically, it took me a very short time to adapt… maybe a week or two. I felt so great overall that I was completely happy with eating only animal products. Occasionally I did have mild cravings for treats I ate while on low carb such as dark chocolate. But upon trying them again out of curiosity, I did not like how they made me feel and they did not taste as good as I remembered.

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

Media:
This website and the Facebook group Principia Carnivora of course!
Alan Savory TEDtalk: How to fight desertification and reverse climate change
Barry Groves: Homo Carnivorous What We are Designed to Eat video lecture
The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith
Eat Meat and Stop Jogging by Mike Sheridan

People:
Anyone who is long term zero carb really! I recall the first people I learned about when I came across this way of eating were Owsley Stanley and Derek Nance.

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

For the most part, I only eat meat and eggs. On occasion I might have butter/ghee or cheese, although I am no longer a big fan of dairy. However when I first started zero carb, I did include butter and cheese quite regularly.

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

About 90%. It is certainly my main meat, although I also have pork, lamb, chicken, and fish. This may drastically change in the future, as I plan to eventually obtain all of my food from wild game.

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

I prefer it very rare, and have had it raw a few times out of curiosity.

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

When I first started zero carb I did all the time, but now I rarely do because I don’t crave fat as much. Only if I think the meat is too lean will I cook it in extra fat such as lard or ghee. I mainly do this with fish because I tend to get fatty cuts of meat such as ribeye, chuck, and new york steaks.

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

I eat until satisfied.

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

I almost never eat organ meats, but only because they are not very accessible in my area. Otherwise I would certainly include some, although I am not a big fan of liver.

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

I no longer consume bone broth, although I did a few times in the beginning.

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

I always have one meal per day.

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

I eat about 2 pounds a day on average, but my appetite can vary so it is not uncommon for me to eat between 1.5-2.5 pounds.

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

I eat both, but the majority is commercially produced for now.

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

Only water. I used to have tea but no longer desire it. Occasionally I will have plain sparkling mineral water.

16. Do you use salt?

Yes, I use as much salt as my palate happens to want at the time.

17. Do you use spices?

Yes, primarily pepper and granulated garlic.

18. Do you take any supplements?

I often take fish oil for Omega 3’s because I don’t get to eat much seafood (often pricey in my area) and Vitamin D3 when I don’t have adequate access to the sun.

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

$250-$300 per month.

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

Keep an eye out for meats on sale/markdown. Get to know a butcher – sometimes you can get less popular cuts or perfectly good meat trimmings for a low price. If needed, most people could probably do just fine on only ground beef and eggs – that would likely make your food bill almost half of what mine is. I just enjoy having steak when I can!

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

Yes, almost every day I do moderate to intense resistance exercises that works most or all of my body to a degree (such as pushups, dips, hanging leg raises, squats, lunges, etc.). I commonly add weight or intensity if it feels too easy because this way of eating gives me a lot of energy. I also walk and hike on a regular basis.

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.)

So far I have not been sick once since I started this diet. My energy levels are fantastic and my overall health is great, close to its optimal state I think. I also healed a pretty tough case of Candida overgrowth. I had it for years thanks to the standard American diet + antibiotics, but didn’t realize it because all of my symptoms were insidious and allergy-like (mainly chronic skin-flare ups and digestive problems). When it started to die off from this diet it became much more obvious what the problem was. Upon completely eliminating dairy (even butter) and restricting eggs for a couple of months, my gut lining was finally able to heal. Although I was never really overweight, there has been quite a big change in my body composition: I started out at about 25% body fat, now I’m around 18% and it still seems to be slowly but surely creeping down. My exercise performance is better than ever and strength is always improving. I don’t require as much sleep as I used to: I usually don’t need more than 6 hours now, when previously I would need 7-9. Zero carb has also greatly improved my mental clarity and overall stability. Gone are the days of my mood and behavior being negatively influenced by what I eat!

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

Definitely the simplicity. And despite the simplicity, I’m not even remotely bored of what I eat! It’s great to truly enjoy something so simple and know you’re doing your body good. I no longer desire non-animal food at all. Saves me plenty of time too.

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

Don’t overcomplicate things. Don’t count calories, the notion of calories-in-calories-out is a proven myth – you’re just stressing yourself out without reason. Don’t track macros unless you have a good reason to (such as if your energy levels are still off after awhile or if you have certain health problems). This isn’t a fancy fad diet, it’s a simple way of life based on human history. Treat it as such!

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

Most of my friends and family actually are not aware. It’s not something I really talk about unless I’m asked about it or I think I might be able to help someone. However, those that are aware tend to be either supportive or apathetic. When it comes to those who are negative, I either try to inform them if they’re genuinely curious, or I pay no mind to them if they clearly have no interest in my view.

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

I just want to emphasize how easy and simple this way of eating really is once you get used to it. No overthinking needed here. I believe too many people are scared away from this diet because it seems so difficult and off-the-wall. But it is very doable and backed by loads of legitimate information. You must have some determination in the beginning, but with time it only becomes easier. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I’m never going back. Zero carb helped me decide where I want my life to go and what really matters to me.

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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.

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Zero Carb Interview: Daniel Fredenthal


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

For a year, graduated from living Keto/LCHF for two years.

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

A little bit of weight. To start, I have always been a very active kid growing up, I had so much energy I could sell extra. I might have invented ADHD, so to keep my focus, I have always been involved in martial arts, gymnastics, weight-lifting, professional dance, and chasing women (haha!). After high school I began searching for the perfect diet, blindly reading flex and muscle magazines and trying to be the know-it-all in fitness. At one point, I almost enrolled in science and nutrition. I have naturally always wanted to know the answer and help ANYONE who needed dietary advice on how to be healthy or how to look sexy. As I got older, I found that eating oatmeal in the morning, counting calories, and shoving chicken breast down my throat stopped working, and I was really sick of it.

I finally admitted to myself that I HATE “eating clean.” I announced to myself that I will not leave the bookstore until I find out how the body works. I searched books on medicine, sports-medicine, Arnold lore of weight training, and nutrition-science, yet nothing made sense. I remember passing by some lonely red spine paperback book over and over, and I finally grabbed it and read the title, “Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It.” I read the back of the book and it looked promising and convincing. After I took it home and spent some time reading it, I’ll be honest, I almost threw it out the window in rage. The information went against EVERYTHING I had learned up to that point and thought I knew. However, I kept reading and eventually was enthralled and hooked. I was glued, in fact, and did not put the book down till it was finished that very day. As I put the book down, I felt like I was floating in the air, as if I had just woke up from the MATRIX.

That evening I cut the Standard American Diet cold turkey and never looked back. I ended up losing 27 pounds in first three months, 37 in 6 months. Last year I found the Facebook forum Principia Carnivora, this website Zero Carb Zen, read all about Stanley Owsley (aka The Bear), and all the amazing interviews you have shared. After learning vegetables are absolutely useless, I fell in love with this way of eating and living. Think about it – It’s so much easier and less confusing. I never have to think of another meal plan or recipe, I just EAT MEAT. POW!

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

One day because was already fat adapted from being Keto/LCHF. Even when I first went Keto, it only took me 24 hours to adapt physically. I felt like crap for one day only. I found the diet very easy to adapt to psychologically as well.I am much happier eating this way.

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, “Keto Clarity” by Jimmy Moore and all the rest of the low carb keto top sellers, plus reading the writings of The Bear took me the rest of the way.

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

I eat eggs and cheese at work for convenience, but not at home. I don’t mess with cream.

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

90%, it’s mostly beef and BACON, I don’t bother with chicken or fish.

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

Rare, but someday I would like to try it raw.

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

Butter, I’d pour it all over my body if I could (hehe!).

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

I always eat until satisfied. Whatever I don’t finish, I save for the next meal. I am on a budget and cannot afford to waste food.

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

Ewww! Nope.

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

Not yet, sounds like a lot of work.

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

Two or three. I hold off as long as I can for the first meal which is past 10 A.M and that often carries me until evening.

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

2 pounds.

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

I eat commercially produced, but I have plans to raise my own cows to eat after they deliciously ripen.

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

Water and coffee. That’s it.

16. Do you use salt?

Only on eggs.

17. Do you use spices?

Only on steaks and ground beef.

18. Do you take any supplements?

No, I used to. After I weaned off, I did not feel any different. So I guess they were useless to my needs.

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

$300 between the wife and I.

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

I start by saying, all diets are EXPENSIVE, whether it’s veggie, vegan, gluten-free, organic, doesn’t matter what it is because you are no longer buying college food and cheap grains like you did on SAD. It all boils down to buying cleaner more wholesome products which inevitably cost more. I put it in this perspective: with ZC the food choices will be higher in price, but you eat less often and stay fuller longer, so your food bill should not be significantly higher. It sort of evens out in my experience.

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

I run 3 miles 5 times a week, and do push-ups and sit-ups to stay above physical fitness standards in the Military. My workouts take about 1 hour. Oh, and I practice my gymnastics in the backyard when bored.

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.)

The main benefit I gained is the loss of the extra 37 pounds I didn’t need. Also, I used to have acne in my chest and back and went away with ZC. Additionally, I no longer have migraines. My fingernails look cleaner too. However, I did not start ZC to fix anything; I just wanted to find the healthiest diet.

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

Eating everything the world is afraid of and knowing that I am in top notch health because of it. I feel like I have discovered the Holy Grail.

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

Read books stupid! The only way to keep yourself on track is to understand why you are eating this way. This will give you the motivation to persevere if you hit a rough patch during your adaptation to the diet. It takes a special kind of person to stick to this on his or her own.

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

Most of my friends bust me on this all the time with no mercy. My family though is absolutely supportive, but too afraid to embark. My wife is supportive and knows this lifestyle works and has seen it work on others that I have coached. While my wife is not yet ZC, she has reduced the carbs and sugar dramatically in her own diet. I have managed to convert one family member to ZC and she had lost over 50 pounds. AMAZING! Hopefully, this will be motivation for them to stick with it. But most people, even when they know that what they are eating is not working for them, they still do not want to let go of their favorite foods. Sad, but true.

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

This is the only dietary life-style that will allow you to control your weight or lose excess fat and keep it off, especially if you are insulin resistant as so many of us are today. This is true even for people who are physically incapacitated due to some type of injury and cannot exercise. Exercise is not necessary to maintain a healthy body weight because this diet addresses the hormonal imbalance that is at the root of our current obesity epidemic.

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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.

 

Zero Carb Interview: Charles Washington

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Charles with the baby of a Zero Carb friend – taken during a Zero Carb get together in Los Angeles.

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

August makes 8 years of ZC. I actually began the Atkins Induction Diet in January of 2007 but I never “climbed the carb ladder.” In the interim, I discovered that I didn’t need vegetables and in August, I discarded them altogether. I went on to lose about 32 more lbs., in addition to the 46 lbs. I had already lost on a low carb Atkins-style diet.

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

Prior to carbohydrate restriction, I was obese and diagnosed as pre-diabetic and my doctor threatened medication. I asked for three months to work it out and I went on a low-fat, portion-controlled plan. I began at 221 pounds and went down to 178. I was looking rather “skinny-fat”. I was skinny, non-muscular-looking, and I had love handles. I began lifting weights. The more I worked, out the hungrier I got and the bigger I got. I was gaining about 2 pounds per week. At first, I was told it was all muscle and I did indeed gain muscle, but I still got bigger and bigger. In my initial diagnosis, my doctor said that I ate too much starch but his words didn’t resonate. I traded white starch for brown starch and that helped, but it wasn’t enough. His words came back to me when the scale returned to 208 pounds. I stopped all starches and the weight gain stopped and started going the other way. The workouts stayed the same. I started to look into a starch-less diet and found “low carb” and Atkins. It was very successful beyond my wildest dreams.

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

I took to carbohydrate restriction like a fish to water. I didn’t miss the things I was giving up because most of them made me feel bad after eating them anyway. I was never much of a soda drinker but I tried Diet Coke and became addicted to it. I didn’t like the way I pined after that drink so I gave it up and focused entirely on water. Best thing I ever did. I felt better almost instantly but in terms of running performance, that probably took a couple of weeks to feel comfortable.

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

Two articles changed my life along with two books. The first, was a Men’s Health articled entitled, “The Cure to Diabetes” describing Dr. Mary Vernon and the way she treated her diabetic patients. The second was, “What if it’s all been a big fat lie?” by Taubes. For books, it was “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Taubes and “Not by Bread Alone: The Fat of the Land” by Stefannson. I read many other books, but none had as much impact as those two. I also have credit Jimmy Moore. He made the statement once that if a person follows a particular diet, they should read the book and do exactly what it says. I took that advice and learned as much as I could about Dr. Atkins. That lead to learning about Dr. Blake Donaldson and, eventually, Stefansson.

I was a moderator on Jimmy Moore’s site for the Atkins Diet. There was a man named, Dave who was the moderator of the Zero Carb thread, which was very empty. By the time I understood that his group was not crazy, he kind of disappeared and I never got to really have the conversation with him I wanted to have. No one was particularly interested at the time. I took over that group and we had a single thread on that forum that went on to dominate all the traffic on the board. It wasn’t long before we were kicked out of that forum. That event spurred me to create a group called Zeroing In On Health where our way of eating (i.e. zero plant foods) would be the rule rather than the exception.

I was basically called out by all the low-carb experts of the day who said they did not support my way of eating. It was called “dangerous” and other adjectives. They were fearful because I held the opinion that a healthy woman who was adapted to a Zero Carb diet should have no trouble carrying a healthy baby to term. I was ridiculed and criticized by many. Over the past six years, we have seen several healthy Zero Carb babies born by members of our community. That has been very gratifying to witness.

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

I eat meat. I have cheese very occasionally and I might taste something or other at my wife’s insistence but mostly, I eat meat exclusively and I drink water.

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Charles with his son Meir after a run on Biloxi Beach in Mississippi.

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

If I had my way, my diet would be 100% beef. However, I also cook for my wife so I have to mix it up. My diet consists of beef, pork, chicken in equal shares – and occasionally seafood.

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

I prefer my beef cooked to medium.

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

I do not add extra fat to meat as a general rule. However, there are times when it is appealing to eat from the pan drippings or have a little butter on a steak.

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

I always eat until I’m full. That varies depending on my appetite, but I typically clean my plate regardless of the amount.

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

I eat no organ meats.

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

I don’t consume bone broth. Not because I have anything against it, it’s just not something I waste time with. I like short visits to the kitchen. I might make my wife something exotic but I keep my own eating extremely simple.

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Charles enjoying himself at a running event.

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

I typically eat three times during the work week and once or twice daily on weekends and holidays.

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

I consume about 2 pounds of meat per day, maybe a little more, sometimes a little less.

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

I eat regular, commercially-available meat one would find at a local, American supermarket.

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

I drink water exclusively.

16. Do you use salt?

I use salt occasionally.

17. Do you use spices?

I use spices mostly because my wife likes them. If I’m cooking for us, I will use spices. If I’m cooking for myself, then the odds are about 20 percent that I would.

18. Do you take any supplements?

I take no supplements.

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

For myself, my food bill would probably be about $50 per month, but because I have to buy other things for my wife, it’s higher. She tends to eat out half the time so it’s tough to know what our bill for food really looks like.

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

I like to think of ZC as a way of eating for life. It can be as simple as ground beef and water. One could conceivably spend $20 or $30 and eat three times per day for an entire month.

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Charles dressed up for a night on the town.

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

I enjoy running but I approach it as a boxer. A boxer sits idle until he has a fight planned. He enters training camp for about six weeks and he runs, lifts weight and focuses on his conditioning. Then, a few weeks out, the trainer comes and they begin to work on the technical aspects of the fight focusing on the opponent and the strategy they will employ. They participate in the fight and then they go back to idle, resting and recuperating until another fight. That is the way I believe exercise should be approached. Find an event, train for it, participate, and go back to life. Exercise is the function of a healthy body. One does not get healthy by exercising.

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.)

Zero Carb changed my life. I lost some 78 pounds (unfortunately, I did not keep any “before” pictures of myself), my blood pressure normalized, my lipid profile recovered, my skin cleared up, my libido returned, my hair loss slowed, my lazy eye straitened up considerably, my feet no longer smell, my bowel regularity returned, my strength returned, my abdominal muscles returned, and I can run faster than men half my age. I’m sure I’m skipping many things, but that’s how much of a change this was for me. Zero Carb for Life!

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A mantra Charles often repeats to Zero Carb “newbies” in his Zeroing in on Health Facebook group.

23. Have you raised children on a Zero Carb diet? If so, what has been their experience? How difficult is it to keep carbs out of their diet in today’s world?

My children were raised to eat a low carb diet. They went through the various diet stages with me and adapted very well when meat was their primary option. They noticed how they were no longer hungry and craving snacks all the time. I no longer live with them, but they still report eating a low carb diet. By watching my own transformation, they have the knowledge they need to stay healthy.  If they ever run into trouble with their health, they have told me they would switch to meat-only diet without hesitation.

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

That’s hard to say, but the most rewarding thing has been the interaction with other people who eat like me. They are some of the sharpest, most intelligent, and deep-thinking people I’ve ever encountered. Zero Carb is responsible for many psychological changes as well. Zero Carb people tend to have a better outlook, a more critical eye and they tend to be very direct. I have come to value their opinions more than anyone else in life. If I want a straight-forward, unbiased opinion, I ask a Zero Carb person. I am very thankful for all of my Zero Carb friends I’ve had the pleasure of knowing over the past 7 years. I have eaten at their homes, at restaurants, etc. I have traveled the country meeting these people and I will forever be grateful to them for their counsel.

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

Find a piece of meat you enjoy and eat it until you’re full. Don’t eat again until you’re hungry. Drink water.

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

ZC is not the easiest thing for most people to do. However, there is great reward for the effort.

Charles has a Facebook group called Zeroing in on Health where he and other Zero Carb veterans provide support and information to others who are interested in this lifestyle.

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Charles dressed for the office.

Please visit my Interviews page 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 Charles Washington in his Facebook group Zeroing in on Health or Michael Frieze in his Facebook group Principia Carnivora for guidance and support. These two groups use different approaches, so if you find that one does not suit you, please check out the other one.