Zero Carb Interview: Amber O’Hearn

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

I’ve been eating an essentially plant-free diet for almost 7 years, starting in November of 2009.

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

My original reason for trying a meat-only diet was for fat loss. I was at my wit’s end, because my very low carb, but plant heavy diet, even though it had helped me get to into great shape in the past, wasn’t as effective anymore and I was slowly getting fatter and fatter.

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

It’s funny. It took me way longer to adapt to the diet mentally than physically. I spent three weeks planning and giving myself pep talks, and even then, I only felt able to commit to it with the promise to myself that it was going to be of very limited duration. Once I started, though, I felt comfortable within a mere few days.

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

The only guidance I had toward this diet at that time was the Zero Carb forum run primarily by Charles Washington, and the inspiring stories there. I also had read Owsley Stanley’s (aka The Bear) essays on the subject.

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

I eat mostly just meat, but I will eat occasional eggs and dairy. I find that dairy increases my appetite significantly and I have an addiction-like response to fermented dairy in particular, so I’m wary of that.

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

I eat from all the food groups: ruminants (e.g. beef and lamb), poultry, pork, and fish and shellfish, but beef is the base of my food pyramid.

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

I prefer my beef steaks rare, but other cuts I treat individually. To my taste, short ribs are divine roasted for several hours, but ground chuck is best raw or lightly seared.

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

I often eat butter, lard, or tallow either on or with my meat, depending on how lean it is.

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

I have played around with fasting, but my usual mode of operation is to eat once or twice a day when I get hungry, until I feel satiated. Then I stop.

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

Of organ meats, I mostly eat liver, only because that’s what I have easiest access to. I tend to get a craving for it every few weeks. I’ll eat a lot of it for a few days and then I don’t want it again for a while. I’m not very systematic about it.

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

I like bone broth. Just like with the organs I tend to drink it in phases; every day for a few days and then not again for a few weeks. I enjoy bone marrow also.

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

I mostly eat two meals a day, at lunch time and again at supper. I often feel better if my first meal is a little later than traditional lunch, but lunch is a social activity at my workplace, and it’s a trade-off.

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

I eat about 1.5 to 2 pounds of meat a day.

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

I want to support sustainable and humane farming, but the health benefits I’ve received don’t depend on it, so I often eat conventional meat for financial reasons.

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

I do drink coffee and occasionally herbal tea. It’s my plant vice.

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Amber enjoying cold leftovers for lunch.

16. Do you use salt?

I do sometimes use salt, but during my transition to this diet I used none, and so I’m acclimated to the taste of meat without it, and find I often don’t want it.

17. Do you use spices?

When I’m out, or a guest, I will usually not refuse meat that has up to a moderate amount of spice, but I almost never use it in my own cooking.

18. Do you take any supplements?

I have played around with a variety of supplements, but the only ones I take with any consistency are: turmeric and citrus bioflavonoids, to reduce symptoms of endometriosis; and magnesium, just because I think our whole food chain is deficient in it.

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

This is difficult to estimate, because I have children with me part time. Overall, the cost is certainly higher than if I ate grains, but fruits and vegetables are expensive by calorie. I’m probably spending less than I used to.

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Amber’s son enjoying a stick of butter by itself.

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

Buying cheaper cuts and mixing in pork, poultry, and eggs helps keep cost down. Don’t forget that ill health is a major expense. I’ve never missed work due to illness and have seen my doctor only for labs and preventive care.

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

I do a slow-burn style weight-lifting once a week, and walk, run or bike now and then if I feel like it.

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 lost over 60 pounds eating this way, but the most important benefit was that my Type II Bipolar Disorder, which mainly manifested as severe suicidal depression, is in complete remission. I’ve been off all psychiatric drugs since I started eating a carnivorous diet, and the only times I’ve had symptoms are when I have done experiments with plant foods, supplements, or had excessive alcohol consumption.

23. Have you conceived, given birth, or breastfed while on a Zero Carb diet? If so, what was your experience?

My third child was conceived when I started this diet the first time, and I didn’t stay Zero Carb during the first two trimesters, due to severe nausea and carb cravings. By the third trimester I ate very low carb with some carnivorous days. I’ve been essentially plant free since the birth, so that included his entire breastfeeding period. I had better milk supply and better mood and stamina than with the previous two children.

24. 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 youngest child ate almost no plants for the first few years of his life. Now he has just few plants in his diet, mainly carrots and bell peppers. The others have eaten lower carb and even zero carb in the past, but eat high carb out in the world. It is a difficult social navigation for them, even though they understand the benefits.

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

It’s hard to think of anything better about carnivorous eating than the freedom from living with Type II Bipolar Disorder and suicidal depression. However, one thing I love about my diet is that I trust my appetite completely now. My body stays in a range of about five pounds no matter what I do. That’s freeing. I also love that I’m especially resistant to disease now. I never worry about the latest viruses going around. I feel robust.

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

My advice to a beginner is to commit to going into it as completely as possible for at least three weeks. You want to eliminate as many confounding factors as possible and stay at it long enough to start seeing changes. Please see my and Zooko’s blog post “Eat Meat. Not Too Little. Mostly Fat.” for our full advice on starting.

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

Not that I can think of.

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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.

This interview has been translated into Hebrew by Tomer Aviad and may be read here:

ראיון אפס פחמימות עם אמבר הואירן

Why Do You Eat Your Meat Raw?

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Why Do You Eat Your Meat Raw?

It seems like almost every week that a new person who has stumbled into our Zero Carb Facebook group Principia Carnivora asks this question. Since it comes up so often, I have decided to take some time to articulate my personal reasons for choosing raw meat over cooked meat.

When I first started a Zero Carb diet 21 months ago on January 1, 2015, I began with a wide variety of animal foods: eggs, cheese, butter, cream, bone broth, chicken, pork, and beef. All of it cooked. I really struggled with Zero Carb in the beginning because I simply did not feel that good no matter what I ate. Removing all plant foods from my diet certainly helped, but I was still experiencing a lot of negative symptoms from the animal foods I was eating. The biggest symptom with the most impact on my quality of life is chronic migraine headaches.

About 6 months into my Zero Carb journey, I finally discovered that I am histamine intolerant. Histamines are in all aged and fermented foods, as well as eggs and any foods that are slow-cooked, and this is why I have continued to struggle with chronic migraine headaches on a Zero Carb diet. One-by-one, I removed everything from my diet except for beef. And even with the beef, I have to make sure that I get it as fresh as possible and use it immediately. The longer beef – or any meat – is aged, the more histamines it will contain. The longer a steak sits on the shelf after being cut off of a main primal piece by the butcher, the more histamines it will contain.

All last winter (2015-2016), I was eating very lightly pan-fried fatty beef chuck roast steaks. And when I say lightly, I mean 30-60 seconds per side, leaving the meat blue-rare inside. This was working to some extent, but I did not feel all that good. In fact, I got a terrible cold virus last winter that came back three separate times! I literally never get viruses, so to have the same one three times in just a few months was both very worrisome and very unpleasant. The last time I had a virus prior to this was in the winter of 1999-2000, when – incidentally – I was also eating a fair amount of cooked meat (one of my earlier attempts to escape veganism, LOL!).

So, I knew I should be eating my meat raw, but the cold, wet winter and the state of my mind at the time, were really making it difficult for me to do this. Once the weather warmed up a bit, however, I decided to give fresh raw ground beef another try. After a few weeks, I got used to it and then the taste of the cooked meat wasn’t all that enticing any more. Nevertheless, I continued to have a cooked meal here and there, very rarely. But each time I did this – I noticed that 1) I did not feel as well after eating the cooked meat as I did after eating the raw meat; 2) I did not digest the cooked meat as well as I digested the raw meat; and 3) I could tolerate much more fat when I ate it raw verses cooked.

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LEM Big Bite #12 All Stainless Steel Meat Grinder

One of the things I have personally found very helpful on my Zero Carb Journey is periodic fasts. I have completed three separate 16-day fasts (each were a combination of water and dry) over the past 21 months. Each of these fasts has helped me quite significantly. Histamines build up in the body over time and fasting is the single most effective method I have discovered to allow my body to eliminate them from “storage.” When the meat I can normally eat without issue begins to give me migraine headaches, then I know my histamine “bucket” is full so-to-speak and it is time for another fast.

I just completed my most recent 16-day fast a week ago. It went really well. But coming off the fast has been both challenging and enlightening. First, I decided to experiment with Fiji water and it gave me a migraine headache and caused me to feel generally crappy. This tells me that the company adds minerals to the Fiji water, which is implied but not directly stated on the label. I am 100% certain of this because I felt exactly the same way as I always feel after taking any supplements of any kind. They all make me very very very sick just like the Fiji water did.

After I recovered from the Fiji water debacle, I decided to try cooking my meat one night. I had broken my fast 6 days earlier and – up to that point – I had eaten only raw ground beef according to my usual custom. Although I am kind of unhappy with myself for choosing to cook my meat this night, I gained an enormous amount of clarity about what my body does and does not like due to this unhappy choice. So, ultimately, the experience was an extremely valuable one because of the new knowledge it brought me.

Needless to say, my body had a very negative response to the cooked meat. I started getting a migraine headache within a few hours of eating it and, 3-days later, I am still suffering the consequences. The next morning, lymph nodes throughout my body were incredibly painful. The effects from eating the cooked meat were so bad, that I actually had to go back on a short dry fast to give my body a chance to work through it. I tried eating my normal fresh raw ground beef the next day, but that just made the migraine headache and lymphatic inflammation worse.

This is one of the reasons I am such a huge advocate for both fasting and doing a bare bones version of the Zero Carb diet if you are new to this way of eating. There are so many potential variables when you eat any and all animal foods that there is really no way to tell how you are responding to them if you include them all indiscriminately. If you start with just fatty beef and water, then you have removed all of the most potentially problematic foods in one fell swoop. After you have eaten only beef and water for 30-days, you can then test other Zero Carb foods one at a time to see how you do with them.

Fasting takes this process one step further by eliminating all food for a period of time. This way when you add back a food, whether from a basic beef and water diet or from a fully fasted state, your body can give you a much clearer response to whatever food you are testing. This is what happened to me with this last fast I did. Being away from any cooked meat for a while prior to the fast, and then doing a long fast, made it considerably easier for my body to let me know that it really really really does not like cooked meat.

Prior to this, I was living in a fantasy world that I could sort of go back and forth between raw and occasional cooked – if and when I felt the desire for it – but this experience has shown me just how utterly delusional that idea was! From here on out, I am no longer seeing cooked meat as an option for myself. This was a very powerful transformative “a-ha” moment for me. I will never again choose to eat meat that has been cooked even the tiniest bit. Cooked meat is now in the same category as plant foods: it is no longer a “food” as far as I am concerned.

While some people might find this realization to be even more restrictive than what most would already perceive to be a very restrictive Zero Carb diet, I personally find it quite liberating to have finally reached a very definitive conclusion on this issue. There is no more doubt about it, and it is one less decision I need to make. It is all raw all the way for me!

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Migraines, Mood, and a High Fat Ketogenic Diet

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Since I know many of my readers are not on Facebook and, therefore, do not participate in our Zero Carb group Principia Carnivora, I wanted to share something I posted there that I have recently discovered for myself on this Zero Carb path…

When I first began a Zero Carb diet a year and a half ago, I ate a LOT of fat. But as time went on, I came to the conclusion that ALL of the fats I was using to achieve these high levels were not compatible with my body. I tried butter, ghee, tallow, lard, heavy whipping cream, and coconut oil. All dairy fats give me migraines. Coconut oil is high in salicylates and cause severe low blood pressure and other negative symptoms. All rendered fats make me extremely nauseated. Even eating too much cooked fat attached to a steak will make me nauseated. But if I eat the beef fat raw, I can eat much more without experiencing this horrible nausea. This is the main reason I am currently eating all of my meat completely raw (as homemade ground beef). In spite of the nausea from the cooked and rendered fats that was eating in my early Zero Carb days, however, I did experience a noticeable decrease in my chronic migraines headaches (as long as I avoided all dairy).

At the beginning of April (2016), I did a 16-day water fast. This was the second long water fast I have done since beginning my Zero Carb journey. The first one was about 8 months ago and it made a noticeable improvement in my tolerance for histamines. I was finally able to eat conventional beef sold in Costco or Safeway, as long as I bought if fresh and ate it that day. After this second 16-day water fast I did a month and a half ago, I found that I could tolerate even more raw fat in my ground beef than I could before the fast. But the quality of the fat must be very good. It cannot be outer skin fat which is oxidized and rancid. This kind of fat makes me very sick. Rather, it must be the good thick internal fat like that attached to Ribeye or New York Strip Loin.

It has been a challenge to source enough good quality beef fat to meet my needs. I am still trying to figure this out. If I could buy my meat in bulk without having to worry at all about histamines forming as I work my way through it, then I would be able to buy whole packages of New York Strip Loin from Costco which very affordable are extremely fatty (more fatty and better quality that their Ribeye in my experience). But I cannot go through all the meat fast enough to keep the histamines low enough fir me to tolerate. I need more money and pack of dogs to share it with so that we can plough our way through it in just a few days. 😂

Anyways, the main thing I wanted to share in this post is that since my recent 16-day water fast in April, I have been able to increase the percentage of fat in my diet from about 70% to 80% or more without experiencing any of that horrible nausea. It is hard to calculate exactly, but thevground beef I make for myself is about 2/3 lean to 1/3 fat or what would be called 65/35 by a butcher. So say… 12 oz of lean to 6 oz of fat. It might be a little more protein and a little less fat, but this give you the idea.

Since doing this, I have noticed two very important benefits. I am not as prone to migraines as I was when eating more protein and less fat, and my mood is much more stable now than it was on less fat. I am far less irritable and impatient with more fat in my diet. I feel both physically and mentally calmer. My conclusion is that more fat is definitely better for my brain. I am not saying this is ideal for others, and I am really not an advocate of eating too little protein on a Zero Carb diet. And if you are trying to lose weight, too much fat might prevent this from happening.

But, as my own experience is showing, some people might need to eat more fat for therapeutic reasons, even for conditions that are not life threatening like brain tumors or epilepsy. One woman in our Facebook group has stated that it was the high levels of saturated animal fat in her own Zero Carb diet that killed the off the tenacious Lyme bacteria in her body. The more fat she ate, the better she felt; though it still took time to eliminate the Lyme bacteria from her body completely. She, too, eats 80% or more of her calories from fat. 18 years later, she continues to thrive.

My point in sharing this story is to, once again, demonstrate that there is no one-size-fits-all Zero Carb diet. It has taken me a long time and lots of experimenting to figure out what truly works for me and for my body to become a cooperative component in the process. So, if you are having trouble figuring out what percentage of protein to fat is best for you, or what types of meats and other animal foods and fats are best for you, please don’t give up! I know someone who feels great at only 55-60% fat. We are all a bit different and unique in our needs. Just keep experimenting until you find something that feels good and works for you.

~Esmée La Fleur

For help and support, please join us in the Zero Carb Facebook group “Principia Carnivora.”

Zero Carb Interview: Dr. Paul Mabry, M.D.

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

407 days.

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

My weight loss stalled on a Low Carb High Fat Ketogenic diet, eating a mix of plant foods and animal foods. Then I saw the Andersen Family Interview that you posted here last year, and a light went on in my head.

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

Since I was already very low carb, I didn’t notice much change when I switched to meat only. I did continue to crave many of my old plant foods for up to 6 months, but I don’t get the cravings any more even when around my old favorites.

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

I have to list “The Big Fat Surprise” by Nina Teicholz as my current favorite and I think anybody who is thinking of going on an all meat diet should consider her evidence in the decision. I was really brought to low carb by Gary Taubes’ book “Good Calories, bad Calories” which is of course a classic. Unless a person has a scientific background they might be better served by reading his “follow up” book “Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It” which is really a condensation of the first book with a simplification of some of the technical language and a little bit of new information. I also like the work of Dr. Stephen Phinney whose book “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living” is a jewel.

As for the meat only side of it I would recommend the 2 videos that I think clearly prove humans to be primarily evolved to eat meat which are first “The Search for the Perfect Human Diet” which I just found out can be watched on Hulu for free at this URL http://www.hulu.com/watch/691639

And a lecture by Dr. Barry Groves available free on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qn5zdWucv6I

And finally a wonderful lecture by Georgia Ede MD on “The Risks and Benefits of Eating Plants” available on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdRBFiBWQZQ .

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

I eat meat, eggs, aged cheese, and butter. I do not drink any form of milk or cream. Though I think a moderate amount of cream is ok, it does have a carb per ounce and some protein so it can be “overdone” and it’s slight sweet taste could be a problem for some.

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

99% of the meat I eat is beef. It’s cheap available and the highest in fat percentage of the commonly available meats and I tolerate it very well. I occasionally have some pork and once every 2-3 months wind up eating some chicken. Fish is expensive, relatively low in fat and often of dubious origin (farm raised on a high omega-6 diet). Though I feel wild fish are quite healthy if supplemented with enough animal fat like butter or tallow, the logistics of acquiring it would require too much of my time and financial resources and I am doing fine on beef. I am planning to try my had a fishing at some point here in Galveston, TX and eat what I catch but between my new career as a Voice Actor and my RV and Motorcycle touring I just haven’t found the time to get out there.

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

I rarely eat steak, usually only at restaurants when I’m traveling or eating out with friends, but when I do, I prefer it rare. I buy 3 lb chubs of 27% fat hamburger from my local Kroger which fortunately for me regularly puts them on sale for $5.99 to draw customers. I go every day that week and get my 2 allowed chubs and freeze them. I make a casserole with 2 lbs of hamburger mixed with 8 beaten eggs and laid in a casserole dish liberally slathered with butter then I cover it with 4 cups (about 1 lb) of grated Aged Cheddar cheese which I regularly get from Kroger in 2 lb blocks for $7.49 sometimes on sale for $6.49 (I stock up and freeze). I bake this at 325 for 30 minutes and cut into 6 squares. I eat 1 square every day for lunch. For those of you who are interested, this gives me 21 grams of protein in the hamburger, 9 grams of protein in the eggs and 18 grams of protein in the cheese for a total of 48 grams of protein at lunch.

For dinner I almost always eat about 10 ounces of a combination of all beef sausage and hotdogs. Both contain Offal which is “organ meat” which is higher in vitamins and minerals than steak, plus I eat another 3 ounces of Aged Cheddar Cheese. There are 40 grams of protein in the sausage and hot dogs and 21 grams in the cheese for a total of 61 grams of protein in the evening meal and 109 grams of protein for the day. Which is less than 1.5 kg of protein per kg of ideal body weight for me.

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

When I have to go to a restaurant I always carry a small tub of unsalted whipped butter and add ¼ to ¾ teaspoon of it like it was whipped cream to every bite of any steak or other meat or fish I might consume.

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

I have 3 rules: 1) I have 2 meals a day spaced 6 hours apart (usually 2PM and 8PM which works for me but I think any 6 hour or even 8 hour window would be fine); 2) I limit my protein to less than 1.5 grams per kilogram of ideal body weight; and 3) I try to be sure 70-80% of the calories from each meal come primarily from Saturated, monounsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids, avoiding omega-6 fatty acids as much as possible.

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

Regularly in the form of hotdogs and sausage, think “Liverwurst”

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

No, but I think it’s probably fine and quite healthy. Just remember a cup contains 7 grams of protein so someone who is a metabolically damaged as me would not tolerate “going crazy” with it.

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

Twice, spaced 6 hours apart, which gives me a daily Intermittent fast of 18 hours.

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

15 ounces of meat and sausage, 6 ounces of cheese and 1.3 eggs (or 4 ounces of egg)

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

Can’t afford grass-fed, but would eat it if I could. I’m retired on a fixed pension and love to travel and have a large house to maintain along with many hobbies. I choose to spend my money on that. I think the advantage of grass-fed, organic meat is highly over-rated, but someday when we have the data (probably not in my lifetime), I may be proven wrong.

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

I only drink water and carbonated mineral water.

16. Do you use salt?

The only thing I add a touch of salt to is the baking soda I use to brush my teeth. I do not add salt to any food.

17. Do you use spices?

Many of the sausages I eat have spices in them. Otherwise I don’t use them.

18. Do you take any supplements?

None since starting ZC 407 days ago.

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

My lunch casserole costs $1.70 a serving. My 10 ounces hot dogs and sausage in the evening average $2.85 (I can often do better by stocking up. The Nolan Ryan All beef Frankfurters I usually eat are normally $4.99/14 oz but occasionally they go on sale for $1.99 with unlimited quantities, that’s when my freezer fills up). I can regularly find all beef sausage for $4/pound sometimes cheaper on sale. And even at regular price (which I rarely pay), my 3 ounces of Aged cheddar cheese in the evening costs $0.70. I have included the cost of the cheese and eggs in the casserole in the cost of the casserole so my total daily cost is $1.70 for casserole for lunch and $2.85 for my 10 ounces of sausage/hot dogs and $0.70 for the cheese in the evening. For a total daily cost of $5.25 or in a 30 day month $157.50.

When I’m out I almost always eat at McDonalds where I get a triple cheeseburger no bun, just meat and cheese which is 30 grams of protein, and off the breakfast a la carte menu – now served all day – I order a “round egg” (some McDonalds will only serve a “folded egg” after breakfast time), a sausage patty and a slice of white cheddar cheese which comes to 15 grams of protein for a total of 45 grams of protein for the meal which is $4.95 where I live.

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

Stock up when you find meat on sale and throw it in a freezer.

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

I play tennis, both singles and doubles 2-5 times a week. Once a week I lift weights using the “Body by Science” protocol by Dr. Doug McGuff. More on that can be found on my website page here: http://www.borntoeatmeat.com/body-by-science.html

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 think the biggest benefit is the self-respect and self-confidence I’ve gained since returning to my “high school” weight. I was fat for most of my life and that’s kind of like being a leper in our society. Most fat people feel like they have to be “extra nice” and suck up to people or no one would want to be around them. We’re always trying to do that “little extra” like pick up the check or work on that holiday instead of the other guy despite the fact we worked the last 3 holidays. Fat people often become “door mats” to try to get people to like them, I certainly did. This is beginning to fade (though not completely). It’s not that I now want fat people to act like that toward me, though I often detect them doing so, it’s just that I like to demand equal status to anyone I meet now and am very less likely to back down in an argument than when I was fat. I feel good about myself when I walk into a room. You can’t put a price on that.

My highest weight was around 280 lbs, and I am currently now at 180 lbs. You can read the details of the weight loss I have experienced by following first a low carb and now Zero Carb on my website here: http://www.borntoeatmeat.com/i-need-to-lose-100-pounds.html

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My tennis game has improved. I wasn’t really sick or arthritic when I was fat so nothing to improve there.

I did have a recurring skin condition since childhood called hand eczema (dishidrotic eczema) where 2-3 times a year I would have a terrible itchy, blistering red rash break out on my hands and sometimes my feet and last for 4-6 weeks. I have not had an outbreak since going low carb and grain-free 4 years ago, so I can’t totally attribute it to Zero Carb.

Also there has been a dramatic improvement in my toenails which, since about the age of 30, have been thickened yellow and crumbly, a condition called tenia unguium (fungal toenail infection). This has almost completely cleared up and my toenails though a few still have some thickening which may be from scarring of the growth plates over the years have no yellow color and are not crumbly. You can actually see the pink flesh through them again which totally surprised me. Again the improvement predated Zero Carb, but has continued to improve on Zero Carb.

Also I have multiple aging spots common in people of English/Irish ancestry called Seborrheic Kerratosis which are raised, flat, usually round, moles with a “ground glass” texture that easily scrape off. Mine seem to be regressing in size and I am not developing new ones.

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

The simplicity. It frees me up to do so many other things not having to worry about preparing some fancy, exotic meal. I have begun a career as a voice actor producing Audiobooks in a 5’X7’ studio I built with my own hands. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LL3XBSAamWU My first Audiobook “Escape from Aliens”, read under my “stage name” of Somerset Hamilton is now selling well on Audible.com and in the iTunes store. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB9z8Wl0UTg

I had a blast doing the voices of a Navy SEAL and a female USAF Captain who get captured by aliens and encounter 18 other captive aliens and 5 alien captors all of whose voices I had to create. Not to mention the ship computer and 3 starport controllers.

I do the work on my own car and actually have a video I made on Replacing the Camshaft Position Sensor that has had 65,000 views on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3z43830FQQ .

I try to play the piano as much as possible . I did a Music video of my wife and autistic daughter feeding the ducks at our old house in Bayou Vista, TX with our cat having other plans in “Silent Movie” style and did the accompaniment on the piano myself totally improvising the Cole Porter song from memory using no music. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7YKkBCM4o8

I’ve restored a 2003 Honda Shadow Motorcycle and have added a 140 dB horn, LED headlight, hard saddle bags with a cigarette lighter plug and 4 port USB charger. Still to come is a hard trunk and I am planning to take it on a 10 day solo motorcycle odyssey to New Mexico and Utah in July staying with friends and using a 1 man tent to camp in National and State parks along the way.

I’m currently planning to start “section hiking” the Appalachian trail next summer. I plan to start in Georgia and do 10 days eating only Pemmican and see how far I get then start there the next time I can find time to do some more hiking.

I was playing a lot of tennis tournament and actually got my ranking in my age group up to #5 in the state but I’ve cut back a lot as they have raised the entry fees to $38 for most tournaments and I just have other things I want to spend my money on like a ultralight 1 man tent and a big drone to fly with and take pictures of the Pelicans here in Galveston for a music video about them I’m thinking about creating. I have been a photographer all my life with my specialty of scenic landscapes.

I know it seems like this has little to do with your question but here is where I feel it fits in. I think the cause of the obesity epidemic in America is due to 4 major problems:

First, poor food choices. I think people choose high carbohydrate, low fat foods which in and of themselves are fattening (ZC solves this problem).

Second is “Addictive Eating”. Sugar and probably wheat and other plants like tobacco, coffee and tea are as addictive as cocaine or heroin. In my opinion these should be eliminated from a person’s diet because the best way to beat addiction to a substance is to give it up completely.

Third, habitual eating due to boredom. I think a lot of Americans are just bored because they are stuck in jobs they don’t like which don’t stimulate their minds or allow them to be creative. I think many people “console themselves” with sugar and big meals they don’t really want due to boredom and the stress of their situation. A Zero Carb diet makes it easier not to do this.

And Fourth, bad eating habits. All grazing animals are fat. Most Americans I know who are fat are “grazers” they have little snacks here and there and always get their 3 meals a day in. I think 1 or 2 meals a day is a much better eating schedule. Tim Noakes MD who I love recently got into trouble for saying the same thing. http://businesstech.co.za/news/lifestyle/123305/if-you-eat-every-three-hours-you-are-addicted-to-food-tim-noakes/

In short if a person wants to avoid boredom they need to find a job or at least a hobby that lets them feel they’re being creative and have some control over their situation. Zero Carb, because it works so well with my twice a day eating schedule, allows me the freedom to do all the things I do without obsessing about food, riding the blood sugar rollercoaster that oftens give carb eaters the morning and mid afternoon drowsies unless they carb up again.

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

One thing I’ve learned in my life is that consistency and discipline are the keys to success. I didn’t get to be a “Full Bird” Colonel in the Army without them. If you fall off the wagon, get right back on, don’t give up. Keep your eye on the goal. Hang a dress or pair of jeans you’d like to get back into where you’ll see it several times daily. Hang out with people on Facebook who are having success with ZC like you and me.

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 are strongly addicted to sugar and a few to alcohol. I get the same treatment on the subject as if you were to tell your close college friend who you happen to meet at a reunion and who has become a daily alcohol drinker and is quite happy with it how good you feel because you’ve stopped drinking for a year, a lot of “polite smiles, let’s change the subject”. I think everyone should expect that. Only when they get desperate and see your success will people start asking you questions and become open to advice. You should expect the usual attacking questions when you first begin, “what about your Cholesterol?”, “Where will you get your vitamins”…etc. These fade over time with close family and friends and acceptance has replaced it with most of my close friends and family. I have convinced a few to try low carb, but not Zero Carb.

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

I’ve probably run my mouth too much already. First, I’d like to say to anyone following a Zero Carb diet: I hate seeing my 11 years of college, medical school and Family practice medical residency training wasted. Please feel free to tag me on Facebook in any of the Zero Carb groups if there is a medical issue or other issue you think I can help with.

For those Zero Carb groups that do not recommend limiting protein, I would say that if you have not damaged your liver and pancreas yet with years of carb, sugar or alcohol abuse, I think this approach can work fine and is certainly much healthier than any plant based diet and works very well for many people. I severely damaged my system with 61 years of carbohydrate, sugar (I was addicted to candy bars) and a little alcohol (never really a long term problem for me).

My medical opinion is that if you’re not losing the weight you want, your triglycerides don’t come down under 80 and your Hemoglobin A1c doesn’t come down under 5.5% after 6-12 months on the unlimited protein program you should consider restricting protein as I do and follow the markers I indicated and see if they don’t move in the right direction.

But I don’t claim to be infallible or all knowing and I’m not some kind of power tripper who wants to manage other people’s lives. Whatever your stance on Zero Carb, I will support you. And in forums where this is an issue, I will try to restrict myself addressing the Zero Carb medical question without bringing up the protein issue, as I know what a hot button issue it can become. Both unlimited protein Zero Carb and Keto Zero Carb have so much more in common than differences that I hate to see all the anger this issue can generate.

I hope we will all be able to begin treating each other with respect like we were friends but Methodists and Presbyterians having similar but slightly different dogmas but respecting each other and trying to be considerate about any differences.

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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.

 

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 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.

 

Zero Carb Interview: Keidren Devas

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

Almost a year now.

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

I remember as a child I was very sensitive and from an early age I had eczema, a plethora of environmental allergies and asthma, all of which I was on multiple medications for. I also had an extremely compromised immune system and always had seasonal bouts of bronchitis or pneumonia; it seemed I was always on antibiotics and at the doctor’s office. When I look back it’s a wonder I survived my childhood at all!

As a teenager I ate the common SAD and suffered from fatigue, weight gain, anxiety and depression…If only I had known at that time what I do now about healing the gut and eliminating carbs and sugar…my life experiences within the world would have been so very different!

Then onto college and the whole fat free trend had just started! So I jumped on that bandwagon, eating all the processed and fat free foods, basically a 100% full-on sugar diet.

Then I transferred out to the west coast, and I quickly realized there was another way to eat other than the SAD diet. I began to read about alternatives, I started eliminating processed foods, started eating whole foods learning about a macro diet and began working at a health store and learning about supplements and alternative ways of healing…this was a very pivotal time in my life and my health did get a little better, way better than it was on a SAD diet!

I started fasting, doing different cleanses, losing weight, etc. My quest in life had begun and that was to feel good, and since I have never felt good I was always seeking to feel better. I then became a vegetarian, then a vegan, with these new ways of eating I suffered from fatigue, feeling cold all the time, depression, anxiety, very low blood sugar, sugar cravings. I ate this way on up to when I had my first child at age 24.

The actual birth was fine, but my body would not produce milk (low serotonin as I know now) and I dealt with postpartum depression, etc. My second birth a year and a half later was the same.

I then became a single mom of two, suffering from stress, severe chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, super low immunity, low blood sugar, low basal body temp, getting a different virus every other week, and an aching body that hurt so bad it was hard for me to function (fibromyalgia). I did somehow function though and no one really knew the inside hell that I was in fact dealing with and feeling.

In my 30’s, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and low adrenals, I began to take thyroid meds for awhile and saw numerous natural doctors and tried so many natural remedies, as well as diving into my own studies, discovering and learning as much as I could about low thyroid, hypothalamus function, adrenal exhaustion, etc.

I then began working for a naturopath who was really into the Raw Food movement, so I decided to try this and ate a raw food diet for almost two years. My ailments did not go away really though, and I can see now that I was just under a constant sugar high, but I felt stuck and did not want to ever go back to the other ways that I had been eating.

I started then to have a lot of digestive issues and pain in my gut in the morning and fatigue after I ate breakfast. So I began researching healing the gut and things like the GAPS diet, etc. I will never forget the day a friend of mine offered me some bone broth, this was such a profound moment in my recovery. With the first sip, I could literally feel the nutrients filling my body from within, warming me and relieving my aches and pains instantly.

I then started researching bone broth and began drinking it daily, and started learning about the Paleo and Primal diets, and began the shift of incorporating some meat and cheese and eliminated grain, and began to eat low carb. I started feeling so much better, my body became warm, my energy increased, joint pain was diminished, my digestion improved, my blood sugar and mood swings improved dramatically. My immune system was still very low though and I still didn’t feel completely at my optimum.

Looking back I was still at this point a sugar addict, having small bits of dark chocolate at night and I was still eating veggies. Into about my ninth month of low carb/Paleo/Keto, my dear friend Sondra Rose who had been coaching me and who also was on the same way of eating, told me she was eliminating all carbs including veggies from her diet and was only eating meat and occasional cheese, and lots of fat.

My first reaction was no way could I do that! How could that even be healthy…but I quickly caught myself remembering that I still wasn’t feeling at my optimum and was just lately pondering what I needed to shift next. So with Sondra’s encouragement, I decided the next day to give it a try. If you want personal one-on-one assistance in making the transition to a Zero Carb diet, you can contact Sondra through her website: http://www.sondrarose.com

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

In the beginning during the adaptation period, I increased my fat intake, sodium and drank bone broth daily and that really helped ease my symptoms of sugar withdrawal. I experienced some mild fatigue, headaches, and muscle cramps mostly.

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

A good friend of mine who is a nutritional coach and on this WOE. Also the Facebook group Principia Carnivora and this website Zero Carb Zen.

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

My daily intake consists of mostly ground beef, ribeye, tri tip steak, salmon, lots of eggs, small amounts of cheese/lard/chicken and LOADS of butter and occasionally bacon.

I drink only water, and I will occasionally mix gelatin with hot water to make a warm drink.

I keep it simple with protein and fat consistent.

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

85% Beef

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

Ground Beef I cook well done, but steaks I cook blue rare.

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

Sometimes I add extra butter or lactose free sour cream.

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

Both, I measured my daily intake for a few weeks, and now I just eye ball it.

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

No liver, just don’t like the taste, but I will eat hearts when I can get them fresh and local.

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

No, just Geletin powder now.

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

Three

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

14 to 20 ounces

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

Both

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

Just Gelatin powder in hot water.

16. Do you use salt?

Yes, in my ground beef and salted butter.

17. Do you use spices?

Some in my ground beef only. Garlic powder and pepper.

18. Do you take any supplements?

Magnesium at night every other day, 10,000UI of Vit D daily.

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

About $400.

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

Eat your ground beef and shop sales and stock up.

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

My work is physical and also yoga, and plank twice daily

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.)

Literally after only ONE DAY of eliminating ALL veggies and all plant material, my whole being felt better. I was calm, peaceful, strong, and energized. I instantly lost 10 pounds of water retention, all inflammation vanished, and I began to witness my body becoming muscular and strong. My energy is completely even throughout the day and it doesn’t seem like a day goes by that someone doesn’t comment on how I look like I am 25 when in fact I am 41! My Immune system has never been stronger, and my body, mind and spirit have never felt this strong!

The biggest “Ah-Ha!” moment for me was realizing how sensitive I really was to sugar, all carbs, and the plant kingdom in general. I realized that this is what had been aggravating my health all those years. Any amount of plant foods is just too much for my system, plain and simple.

For the first time in my life I feel FREE, ALIVE, and full of LIFE! This way of eating has absolutely by far been a lifesaver and a life regained for me. I have been able to really reflect the last few months on how I used to be and feel, and cannot believe I made it through. I am so thankful to have discovered a Zero Carb, All-Meat Diet.

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

Simplicity and how I feel!

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

Yes, take it slow, trust your body. Increase your water, fat and sodium intake in the beginning. Read and ask questions for support and wisdom from the folks in the Principia Carnivora group.

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

Yes, my kids know to set the table for me always with a steak knife!
26. Is there anything you would like share about this way of eating that I have not already asked you?

Yes, I have just recently had the opportunity to be of assistance and lend my guidance and wisdom to two beautiful women who were suffering from very similar health ailments from years of eating a plant based diet. They too felt stuck like I had and did not know how to move forward.

It felt so good to share with them all that has healed for myself since shifting my diet to ZC. It also gave me an opportunity to reflect and see how far I have come and remember all the ways I used to feel.

They were in fact the catalysts for helping me realize how important it is to share my health story to help others on their journey to optimal health!

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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.