Zero Carb Interview: Michaelanthony

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

Since September, 2017.

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

I stumbled into this way of eating during a severe bout of depression. It began in the middle of that month. At age 34, I had been living with major depressive disorder for at least two decades. Then my cat, who had been suffering with tumors, died at age 13.

To me, pets are family. So it was existentially painful to see him in that condition, let alone lose him. He was the first animal I took in myself, and he was a kitten. In a non-supernatural way, he was my familiar. He was and is a part of me.

My depression had been relatively manageable for some time at this point. I wasn’t down on myself, and never really had been. The depression I experienced was more like an Eeyore cloud over my heart, casting its shadow over every thought, every mood, and even every joy.

That period is a blur, but I remember about a week of barely eating. In retrospect, this was accidental fasting, which may have triggered ketosis. Within a couple of weeks, my appetite really started kicking in again. But instead of the usual desire for carbs, I craved fatty foods ― especially meat and cheese. Nothing else was appealing, and I had to eat something to prevent starvation. So I gave in.

At the beginning, I wasn’t following any kind of diet. For maybe another couple of weeks, I ate a lot of processed, but mostly animal-based foods: pepperoni, pasteurized cheddar, beef jerky. At some point, I started to feel a little better. That prompted me to search Google for the answer to something along the lines of, “Will eating fatty foods kill me?”

The first site I remember reading is Zero Carb Zen. Skimming through the information and interviews, I began my journey down this rabbit hole. Suddenly, my natural cravings pointed toward the potential for improved health! This was unexpected, but welcome news, and sparked the motivation that blossomed into my new life as a healthy carnivore.

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

Again, my adaptation period occurred during one of the most distressing periods of my life, so I can’t remember how long it took to transition. But I do know that by Halloween, just two months later, I was looking considerably slimmer and feeling great. By that time, I was on track as a fledgling carnivore.

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

Esmée La Fleur got me started with the concise information and interviews on Zero Carb Zen. This continues to be a valuable resource, especially for comparing experiences with other carnivores. This site helped me to establish a solid foundation of dietary habits.

Then I listened to the audiobook of The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet, by Nina Teicholz. It blew my mind! Learning about the industry-obfuscated science and scandalous history of nutritional propaganda, I felt everything from excitement to outrage. It awakened my head and heart to the reality of diet and health in today’s dietary climate.

My next book was Good Calories, Bad Calories: Fats, Carbs, and the Controversial Science of Diet and Health, by Gary Taubes. This fatter, more academic tome augmented my newfound commitment, saturating my brain with enough data to drown out any nagging doubts about my new lifestyle.

Those were the books that inspired my conversion. The two people who influenced me most were L. Amber O’Hearn and Dr. Shawn Baker. They are both highly pragmatic, and have distilled complex information that goes over my head into simple, straightforward messages. Amber has a way of clarifying the scientific nuances, while Dr. Baker reminds me to “Just eat a damn steak!”

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

For the first year and a half, I usually included eggs and dairy. I quickly slowed down with eggs when they began to upset my stomach. Even duck eggs make me nauseous after a couple.

I also enjoyed a lot of heavy cream near the beginning. Pasteurized dairy was less problematic for me as a carnivore, but still made me feel suboptimal.

I now eat grass-fed and raw dairy ― specifically, grass-fed butter and raw-milk cheese. Raw cheese was a revelation, as I’d always assumed I was sensitive to dairy. Turns out I was “allergic” to the unnatural results of pasteurization! Reintroducing cheese in its raw form has been wonderful on every level.

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

My diet is 75% to 90% beef. The rest is mostly seafood, and sometimes other meats like lamb. I rarely eat poultry.

I used to eat a lot of pork. But bacon was another migraine trigger, along with pork rinds. When I cut those out, I stopped eating pork altogether and felt even better.

I think that commercial pork and poultry can be risky, depending on the quality. Ruminant meats are much better for health, in my opinion. Even grain-finished!

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

This has changed a few times over the past couple of years, and depends greatly on the cooking method.

Deep frying was my favorite until Dr. Paul Saladino’s work convinced me to limit the advanced glycation end products (AGEs) formed when meat burns.

Now I seem to be gravitating toward slow-cooking, which has been a past favorite. The “wellness” is less defined in that case, but I try to keep the temperature and duration as low as possible.

At a good restaurant, I’ll order steaks rare.

When I eat grass-fed beef liver, it’s raw!

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

I’ve been adding grass-fed butter. When I was avoiding dairy, I used tallow.

It has become increasingly important to me to choose the highest-quality fats possible, especially when I can’t afford grass-finished meat.

One of my latest experiments has been to pair lean conventional meats with grass-fed fats.

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

I usually eat until satisfied. Fasting was a helpful practice for the first year. Now, I eat a few times a day, with two full-size meals on most days.

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

Every day, I eat up to about 4 ounces of raw, 100% grass-fed liver. In the past, this has been on and off. Now, it’s an essential part of my day.

I also enjoy beef heart, which I try to incorporate every so often.

I’m frequently on the hunt for other organ meats, and enjoy trying new ones. I recently tried tripe, which was good. Back when I was eating eggs, I enjoyed an occasional scramble with pork brains.

My increasing focus on nutrient density keeps me researching, shopping, and cooking my way from nose to tail. I prefer to eat grass-finished beef organs.

And while it’s not an organ, I have to mention salmon roe. If I could find it cheap, I’d eat it by the shovelful!

I think organ meats are essential for optimal health, and that most people who feel fine without them would feel even better with at least some daily liver.

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

I’ve never been a big soup guy, so I sneak bone broth into my meals through slow cooking. The meat is swimming in it! The result is more like a stew, and I get a bit of broth even if I just eat the meat.

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

I usually eat two meals per day. For a long time, it was basically lunch and dinner. More recently, I’ve been experimenting with breakfast. I may continue that and skip lunch instead.

I work overnight, so these meal names are relative!

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

I don’t measure my meals anymore, but probably average 2 to 2 ½ pounds of meat per day. That includes any organ meats and seafood. I rarely eat less, and sometimes eat much more!

I recently quit caffeine, and found that my hitherto suppressed appetite has been readjusting. That’s probably why breakfast is back in the picture!

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

Most of my meat is grain-finished. It fits my budget, and I enjoy the taste. However, I would prefer to support regenerative farming practices. For now, I am thriving on standard meats from supermarkets and butchers.

I have tried one full week of meat and dairy exclusively from grass-fed, pastured beef. I found it fulfilling, but also found my wallet emptying!

Both grass-finished and conventional meats feel healthy to me. However, I consistently include grass-fed fats to support and benefit from healthier farming as much as possible.

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

I only drink water: tap, purified, sparkling, and spring.

Coffee tended to upset my stomach. I used to take a caffeine supplement instead, but decided to remove that final plant toxin from my diet altogether.

I also enjoyed tea, especially oolong. However, it gave me congestion that began as a sniffle and eventually made it difficult to breathe. As a carnivore, it was relatively easy to single out this otherwise unsuspicious element.

I experienced a similar problem years ago and figured it was an environmental allergy. Thanks to experts like Sally Norton and Drs. Georgia Ede and Paul Saladino, I understand that it was probably due to the oxalates and other phytochemicals accumulating in my body.

Within about a day of quitting caffeine entirely, my mind and emotions were already calmer. My energy was almost the same. By day three, I wondered why I ever “needed” it! Caffeine is a plant-based, neurotoxic pesticide, and I’m glad to be done with it.

16. Do you use salt? 

I use and enjoy plenty of sea salt, but avoid table salt.

17. Do you use spices?

For over a year, I did use spices in my carnivorous diet. The last to go were curry and cayenne pepper. Eliminating them was part of a slow recognition of the potential dangers of ingesting any plant material, including spices.

18. Do you take any supplements?

I don’t supplement with anything, but seek out sources of micronutrients in meat, seafood, and spring water. The natural balance of bioavailable vitamins and minerals in actual food is far superior, in my opinion. I would only supplement in a medically-diagnosed emergency, and that has not been necessary!

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

I think I spend about $200 per month on food. It varies, but I find carnivory much more affordable than omnivory!

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

I think it’s already affordable to be a carnivore. People spend way more than they realize on fruits and veggies that spoil, all kinds of snacks, and even coffee! Anyone interested in carnivory can probably afford something healthier than the food they’re buying today. Even if it is more expensive, you’re choosing to pay with either your wallet or your health.

With that said, I do have a few practical tips:

1. Eat the meat that brings you pleasure and health without breaking the bank. If necessary, seek out sales. A great resource is https://www.mygrocerydeals.com/.

2. Organ meats can be an acquired taste, but are often more affordable and nutrient-dense. Eat some liver, save some money, and feel even healthier! Even grass-finished organs are priced lower than the muscle meat, so that’s a good way to sneak in some small-farm goodness on the cheap.

3. Walk around! Meet your local butcher, check the other shops, and talk to people. You may find unlisted bargains, discover new stores, and unlock secret menus. Regardless, you’re getting exercise! You can’t lose.

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

Since I dislike gyms and find long exercise sessions boring, I just try to stay active in daily life. I walk briskly through New York City, taking the sunny side of the street when possible. Almost every day, I walk for at least two hours. At work, I take the stairs most of the time, avoiding the elevators. On my days off, one of my favorite activities is yet more walking! According to my smartwatch, I average well over 10,000 steps per day.

Other than that, I’ll take an occasional spin on my little rowing machine, play with weights or resistance bands, or experiment with other exercises.

I’m interested in heavy weights, and plan to start lifting heavier at home when I can find and afford the right setup. But my current physique suits my needs perfectly. The rest is for experimentation and optimization.

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.)

This could be its own interview! For the sake of brevity, I’ll list as many conditions I’ve overcome as I can remember:

Obesity
Major Depressive Disorder
Pre-Diabetes
High Triglycerides
Hypothyroidism
Knee Pain
Seasonal Allergies
Frequent Colds
Tooth Sensitivity/Decay
Halitosis
Athlete’s Foot
Excessive Sweating

While I can’t prove that carnivory cured all of the above, I have either reversed or kept these conditions from returning by eating meat and avoiding plant foods.

I started this lifestyle at over 230 pounds and a waist over 40 inches wide. My height is about five feet and ten inches. My appearance didn’t bother me much, but I was very heavy and had a huge gut. Now I average just under 160 pounds, and the waist under my unprecedented six-pack is 10 inches smaller! All with nearly no loose skin.

My weight loss was accompanied by an elevated mood and many other improvements that I now attribute to decreased inflammation. From clinical depression to the common cold, I am now free of inflammatory maladies that aren’t usually recognized as such. Along with others that are, such as the knee pain I experienced from my mid-twenties until I healed at 34. Going on 36, I feel younger than I did as a teenager!

Since going carnivore, I haven’t caught a single cold! That’s one of the most surprising benefits for me. It could probably still happen, but hasn’t yet! In the past, I had them all the time, and they tended to last a week or more. What a difference! Now I don’t even worry when someone sneezes nearby.

Carnivory has been very good to me!

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

My favorite aspect of Zero Carb is its roots in ancestral living.

As I continue to learn more, I am increasingly convinced that this diet is healthy precisely because we evolved to eat animals, with the flexibility to resort to plants as backup foods or medicine.

Humans are animals, too, and this lifestyle brings me closer to that truth on every level. Other animals seem to know who they are. It’s time for humans to catch up. I feel the carnivore movement can help to get us there again. Even if we just serve as an example.

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

Enjoy yourself! It can be hard to believe that some of our favorite “naughty” foods are actually healthy. It can be even harder to admit that plant-based foods and beverages, ubiquitous and upheld as the saviors of mankind, may be inherently toxic! But if you really give this a proper try, chances are something good will happen. One symptom will probably clear before you know it. Then another. And another, until you see improvements where you didn’t even know you had a problem! This happens every day to all types of new human carnivores with many different conditions.

My one caveat is that an adaptation phase may be necessary. I was too severely depressed to notice any transitional symptoms, but you might not feel great right away. I have learned that this may be due to oxalate dumping and other processes by which the body eliminates stored plant toxins. If you eat a lot of plant foods, or even drink a lot of tea, you might need to decrease your intake gradually. Otherwise, you might feel terrible at first! Sally Norton explains this best.

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

Friends, family, and co-workers have been very supportive for the most part. At first, their concerns ping-ponged between my rapid weight loss and all that red meat. But I’ve kept the weight off and continued to look and feel healthier. Now the naysayers are silent while others ask me for advice!

Luckily, I haven’t experienced any extreme reactions to my lifestyle. When disagreements arise, I don’t argue or debate. This stuff didn’t make sense to me at first, either!

Everyone has to learn the truth about nutrition at their own pace. Especially in a world that tells us to eat those deceptively toxic veggies for good health, but also to “live a little” with processed junk that provides fleeting entertainment while slowly killing us.

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

I could go on forever, so I’ll stop here. But I will say that sharing our stories is the most important thing we can do as carnivory establishes itself amid this “Beyond Meat” madness.

Zero Carb Zen was central to my transformation and continues to aid my personal research. It feels good to share my story here, and I encourage others to continue doing the same wherever the opportunity arises. One story at a time, we are changing each other’s lives!

You can follow Michaelanthony’s Zero Carb journey via his YouTube channel. In this video, he shares how the diet has profoundly affected his mind for the better:

 

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Zero Carb Interview: Charlie Lyon

Please note: “Charlie Lyon” is a pseudonym, as the interviewee prefers to remain anonymous.

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

Eight years, went full on with it in 2010 and for the first three years ate only fatty ground beef and the occasional ribeye. Sometime in year four I started branching out and testing other meats, incorporating them into my daily supply to see what happened. It was fine.  

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

In 2007 I had a massive coronary event that killed me (yes yes, they brought me back so as Miracle Max said, I was only mostly dead) At the time I was also pre-diabetic, weighed over 210 pounds (I’m 5’9″), had severe IBS, severe arthritis, had lost most of my teeth (no idea I was unable to metabolize plant-sourced calcium) and had chronic GERD and chronic tendonitis, among other less obvious health issues. 

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

Couple different points on this – I had been a strict vegetarian for over 40 years. Others might call me vegan but I never thought of myself in that way. And when I say vegetarian I wasn’t merely plant-based, I was very knowledgeable about it. I worked in health food stores for years, read nutrition books, did the math for complete proteins, avoided fat, watched calories, avoided sugar as an ingredient, ate only whole grains and lots of raw fresh fruits and veggies and so on. I wasn’t a junk food junkie at all. Vegans have often tried to tell me I must have been “doing it wrong…” I have to agree – I was eating plants instead of meat and that is NOT the response they were looking for. oops… 

For me the vegetarianism was a byproduct of a meditation path that had an ethical and moral objection to the killing of animals. Psychologically it was very very difficult for me to take that first bite of meat. It was bacon from a neighbor’s farm, and given our friendship it was probably a pig whose name I knew, that I had fed on occasion, and petted. I hadn’t cooked, smelled, or eaten bacon since I was in my late teens. Let me tell you, I felt like one of Pavlov’s dogs at the bell – that first bite was an amazing experience. I licked it and there was a deluge of saliva in my mouth – I took one bite and – CLICK/THUMP – the plate was empty. A half pound of bacon devoured faster than I could blink, and then I sat on the couch in a state of post-prandial bliss that was as good as any sex I’ve ever had. I had no idea how starved my body was for those nutrients. That experience – the complex ecstatic sensations throughout my entire body and the impact on my attention and awareness – was utterly astonishing, especially since I had expected to get sick from my first exposure to meat. That experience immediately demonstrated to me the error of my ways: in fact, and contrary to 40 years of belief in an ideology, meat and fat are very good for the body.

So part one in answer to that question, after the first bite of meat I knew what the reality was and have never had trouble eating it since, regardless of the particular source – beef, pork, lamb, goat, any of the birds, seafood, and so on. Without exception meat always tastes amazingly delicious to me, and the fattier the better. A big thick chunk of pure pork belly fat properly cooked tastes better than candy to me.

Part two in answer to that question is more complicated – I was extremely insulin resistant, and looking back I would say I was actually diabetic instead of only pre-diabetic, although I didn’t have those distinctions at the time. It took me nearly three months of seriously difficult body issues before I converted. I was tired all the time, really exhausted, full of muscle cramps, my bowels were giving me no end of grief, I had headaches, I wasn’t sleeping well and so on. 

On the other side, my chronic GERD vanished within 3 days of starting to eat only meat and drinking only water. I had been on and off meds for that for 10 years. Within 3 weeks my chronic arthritis really got small and it was completely gone within 6 weeks. I started losing lots of weight but I didn’t really notice that specifically other than that I kept having to tighten the belt on my pants. I wasn’t doing this to lose weight anyway so I paid little attention to that. My heart arrhythmias vanished. My blood pressure dropped significantly. My blood glucose normalized. 

Right around the start of the fourth month I was done with feeling lousy, and was just about to give zero carb up as an unworkable solution. I went to bed one night, zonked out completely in the best night’s sleep I’d had in months, and woke up the next morning feeling great. The odd thing was that I didn’t notice immediately how good I felt. I just got up, started my day, and was halfway through a mid-morning session with a client when it suddenly dawned on me that nothing was wrong. In fact, I felt flat out terrific. I was wide awake at 10 AM still – didn’t need a nap. Didn’t feel like resting or distracting. Nothing hurt, I was full of energy. I felt fully alive physically for the first time in decades. That was another watereshed moment much like the first time I ate bacon. Everything was suddenly really different. Later I realized my metabolism had shifted to the new regime. I had fully adapted to the meat-only diet and my body LOVED it. 

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

First off was Lierre Keith’s marvelous book, “The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability”. I’ve told her directly that she literally saved my life. I didn’t recognize that at the time, but it’s clear from this perspective now.  She was the first awakening for me after the heart attack – another person who shared my experience of a plant-based diet being catastrophic for human health. Then I read Dr. Mary Enig’s great book, “Eat Fat, Lose Fat” which killed off the lipid hypothesis for me. That was one of the most difficult aspects of this for me – realizing that there is no correlation between cholesterol in the diet, serum lipid levels, and cardiovascular disease. None. Zip. Zero. The Weston Price Foundation was helpful but they were a transition stage for me on the way to the all-meat diet. Certainly Charles Washington and his group ZIOH on Facebook, but we connected long before that group got so crowded and crazy. Eventually I encountered folks like Nora Gedgaudas and Esmée. 

It took me about 3 years of reading, talking, researching and testing foods through inclusion and exclusion to discover the effect on my body and health – from the cardiac event to full metabolic conversion. I love warm fuzzies, but at heart I’m a science guy – show me the data – what’s the evidence for your assertions? I’m not going to just believe something because you say so. Prove it to me in the real world.

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

I eat anything from an animal. I’d love to eat more cheese and dairy if I could but it doesn’t agree with me. My partner does. We eat tons of eggs we get from a neighbor who has chickens – four to six eggs per day each. I do eat butter. We also eat seafood. We live in a state with a huge commercial fishery so we eat lobster, scallops, fresh fish, clams, crab. These are mostly easy to catch or easy to forage. Clams, crabs, striped bass, bluefish and so on, all free for the taking with a little time and effort. Smelts in the spring, venison, wild turkey, goose, bass, trout and so on. I have some friends who have fishing boats or lobster boats so I can get those direct and fresh off the boat for a reasonable price. We consider these fairly expensive purchased seafoods to be treats and only have them occasionally.

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

I don’t really keep track of percentages, but we do eat lots of beef, probably mostly beef. When we have the money we will buy half a cow (or a steer). We also buy whole chickens, half a pig. We have a couple freezers that we keep rotating. 

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

Rare – seared well on the outside and bloody in the middle. Beef is far and away the most filling, satisfying and nutritious food we eat. It is always tasty and always filling. When I eat a ribeye for instance, I won’t get hungry again for a long time. 

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

Yes, frequently – especially if we’ve got a very lean animal. Unfortunately lots of growers believe the low-fat nonsense so calves born in March or April get butchered sometime in Oct/Nov. Nine months is not sufficient a lifespan for an animal to build healthy fat reserves. We prefer very fatty, marbled meat but too many times we see extremely lean, young beef. We would rather buy fatty grocery store meat than too-lean grass-fed. The ideal is slaughter somewhere between 24 and 48 months. That gives the animal a reasonable experience of life and provides exceptional fatty meat on grass. We often add either butter, tallow or bacon fat when we are cooking. All eggs are cooked in bacon fat, or if they are poached, then they are drowned in butter. 

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

Just like The Lady says (winkwink) When hungry, eat meat until full. When thirsty, drink water. Rinse and repeat. 

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

If they are included when we buy half a cow or steer yes, beef heart, liver, tongue and etc. but we don’t seek them out. 

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

Not usually. We have some frozen but I suspect it’s been in there a couple years. I prefer water. 

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

Usually two, but occasionally three. It usually depends on physical activity. If I’m doing a lot of work, say cutting, splitting and stacking 6 cords of firewood for the winter then I may get hungry in the evenings. I just listen to my body. If it wants more I give it more. 

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

I eat about 2 pounds, maybe a little less. My partner typically eats about a third more than I do per day, but she has a high-burn metabolism. We find this both interesting and amusing. I’m in my late 60s and she is in her mid-50s. I out-mass her by maybe 3 inches and 20 pounds and I do a ton more physical labor than she does. She’s a writer, so that bizzy brain of hers is shredding calories far more efficiently than my big ole manly muscles are. LOL

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

We prefer to buy locally sourced whole animals (in either halfs or quarters) from farmers we know. Most of our meat is raised within about 20 miles from our house, and much of it within 5 miles. However if we run short we will absolutely buy grocery meat. Our complaint isn’t so much about grass-fed or not, it’s about oil for transport and the damage to animals and environment from CAFOs. 

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

She drinks lots of teas and tons of water. I drink nearly all water except for one cup of black coffee in the morning. If I could tolerate it I would gladly drink a couple quarts of raw whole milk per day but it raises hell with my GI system. 

16. Do you use salt? 

Yes, to taste. Sometimes that’s not very much, other times lots. I tend to use more when working outside in hot weather. Here again I trust my body.

17. Do you use spices?

Occasionally – very occasionally – maybe only a few times a year, but they are all things grown here at the house – thyme, rosemary, dill, basil. I view plants as either medicines or garnish, and only useful in very small amounts. 

18. Do you take any supplements?

I don’t take dietary supplements but she does – magnesium. I do take cannabis tincture occasionally at night to help with sleep. I have a medical card for PTSD. I grow my own plants and make my own tinctures. I use MCT oil as the carrier. 

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

I haven’t done the math and I don’t really keep track. Half a cow is about $1,500, and we buy maybe 3 a year. Eggs are 4 bucks a dozen and we go through 6 dozen a week between us, but we often trade eggs and some cheeses for her for work. I’m guessing an approximate average is between $220 and $250 a month each, but that can vary year to year. Bulk beef can run between 3.75 a pound and 4.25 a pound. Pork in bulk is similar. 

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

No idea. If you buy grocery meat then watch for sales and buy in bulk then and freeze it. Ground beef is usually less if you get them to add more fat. For instance we do a 2 to 1 ratio at our butcher’s place. 15 pounds of ground beef made from 10 pounds meat to 5 pounds fat trimmings – offcuts from other meat they sell to the low-fat customers, added in and mixed well. That’s often as low as $3.45 a pound. If you buy from farmer folks you know then barter is a real lifesaver. But if you know farmers personally then you know how hard they work. They deserve to be well paid for what they do. Be fair. 

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

Yes, I try to walk at least 45 minutes every day. This is in the country, so it’s uphill and over dale. I practice Irish Stick fighting with a heavy bag (and other close-infighting combat skills) at least 4 times a week – 1 hour sessions. I literally chop wood, carry water, mow lawns (often with a scythe which I flat out love), shovel driveways and 4 times a week lift free weights. My partner does Tai Chi four times a week, lifts free weights, is a part-time lifeguard at a rehab pool so she swims several times a week, and we try to do our daily walks together whenever our schedules match. 

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.)

Yeah, all that and more. I haven’t been this healthy since I was in my late teens and early 20s. Mentally and physically I feel unbelievably great all the time. Mood is good, mind is clear, lots of physical energy. On those rare occasions when I injure myself I heal very quickly. It’s so sad how for most of my life I had no idea that one could feel such physical joy day-to-day and be in a body this way. 

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

Never having to waste time or energy thinking about what to eat. It’s simple and direct. Takes 10 minutes to prep and maybe another 10 to eat and – done. Unless I’m doing a roast or something, but even that, do maybe 15 minutes of prep, into the oven, out, let it rest – carve and eat. It always tastes amazingly delicious and I never get bored. 

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

Your body is the lab – do your homework, do the reading and research, do the science and figure out what works best for you, but when you finally do commit – just do it. Listen to your body, not your mind. You cannot do this by halves. Go thirty days and see how you feel. Then another thirty. And so on. Before you know it two years will have slipped by and you will feel great. 

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

Pretty much, I guess. I’m not particularly plugged into the opinions of others. If folks ask I explain. If they are resistant I shut up. If they are curious I will explain more and point them to other resources. 

To add to that, I’m a fairly public figure, so I’m doing this questionnaire as an anonymous contributor. The reason is that I’m too visible and I have no interest in fielding a ton of crap from radical vegans. It’s just a waste of my time, attention, and energy. I don’t really care what others eat unless it’s damaging ecosystems. Most people have no idea that holistic managment of grazers on grass sequesters more carbon in the soil faster than any other technology we know, even more than replanting entire forests. You wanna fix climate change, increase ecosystem resilience and species diversity? We cannot accomplish that without millions of grazers on grass. I do what I can, but you know, I’m mortal and I’ve got work to do. I want to get as much done as possible before I’m gone. What’s the old joke? Lead, follow, or get out of my way. 

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

Yeah, couple other pieces that I think are relevant. I live in a particular place with it’s own local ecosystem. Many things grow wild on this land including micro-life. There are wild strawberries, wild raspberries, wild blueberries, wild grapes, and many kinds of edible mushrooms. In season I will eat several handfulls of each of those. Wild foraged foods are nothing like what we buy in a store – for starters they have very little sugar and are usually tart enough to pucker your mouth. However I eat these things with specific intent. 

The surfaces of these local plants living on my place are covered with wild yeasts and beneficial bacteria that are specific to this ecosystem – just like me. I want those wee beasties living in my gut as part of my natural microbiome. With the berries, I usually only get a handfull or two before the berry eaters like the cedar waxwings show up and gobble them all down. The strawberries are insanely tiny, very tart and amazingly flavored. Two of them are about the size of my pinkie fingernail. One day this summer I was walking down to the river when I noticed they were ripe and I had about 20 of them. Before I got back from the canoe ride a large flock of waxwings had come and eaten every one. Never saw another berry there this year. LOL 

I also will gather and eat mushrooms. The interesting thing about those is that they are not plants, but are their own separate kingdom – one of the five great kingdoms of life – bacteria, protoctists, plants, animals, and fungi. I suspect they are the symbiotic ancestors of all complex life on land. I know many of them have psychotropic and entheogenic value, but I also suspect all edible species have medicinal qualities just as they are. Nothing on the planet is quite as delicious to me as sliced mushrooms sauteed in butter on a perfectly cooked ribeye. I only get them in season, only from my own land, and only a few times a year. Some years there are none to be found. 

Those are my only exceptions and I consider them not as food, but as good medicine. If you are a purist and wanna argue then please feel free to take that up with Gaia herself. I don’t mind, and I’m not suggesting that you do what I do. Figure out what works best for you and do that more. LOL!

Best to you all. Thanks for listening. 

Live Long and Prosper.

 🙂

Thus sayeth me… 

Zero Carb Interview: Stephanie Stride


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Stephanie today.

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

Since December 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Approximately 70% beef.

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

Medium Rare

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

Butter!

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

I eat until I’m comfortably full.

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

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

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

No

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16. Do you use salt?

Yes.

17. Do you use spices?

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

18. Do you take any supplements?

No

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

400-450$ (for groceries for two people)

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

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

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

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

22. What benefits have you experienced since beginning a Zero Carb diet? (i.e. recovery from illness, overall health, body composition, exercise performance, hormonal, mental or psychological, etc.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Stephanie today.

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

If you are interested in meeting others who practice an All-Meat diet, please feel free to join us in the Facebook group “Principia Carnivora” for support.

 

My First 30 Days on Zero Carb by Kim Knoch

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Prior to discovering the Zero Carb way of eating, I had been following a Ketogenic diet for about two years. I experienced good results with the ketogenic diet and so I started a blog about my experience of eating that way called Eat Fat Lose Fat. I also wrote an eBook about how to implement a Ketogenic diet called Kick the Weight with Keto. As you can see, I was a big fan of of the Ketogenic diet.

But then one day, I came across The Andersen Family interview that was published through this website and was introduced to the concept of Zero Carb for the first time. When I read their interview, I was like WHAT? THAT’S CRAZY! Who can eat only meat for 17 years?! But then I read the personal blogs of Amber Wilcox O’Hearn and Kelly Williams Hogan. Both of these women had eat an all-meat diet for over 5 years. After that, I was interested enough to check out the Facebook groups Zeroing in on Health and Principia Carnivora as well as the Reddit Zero Carb subforum. The more I read, the less bizarre this way of eating sounded, and I finally decided that I had nothing to lose by giving it a try.

The reason that I was interested in trying a Zero Carb diet is because I was still experiencing significant cravings for carbohydrates and I found myself letting more and more carbs creep back into my diet. I was really into creating and sharing recipes for Ketogenic “fun” foods, which only served to keep my sweet-tooth alive. This caused me to eat more than I wanted to and regain some of the weight I initially lost. Prior to adopting a Ketogenic diet, I weighed 400 lbs and opted to have bariatric surgery. I lost 190 lbs. as a result of the surgery, but then I gained back 50 lbs.

By the time I discovered and started the Ketogenic diet, I weighed 260 lbs. I was able to lose the 50 lbs I had regained after a year and a half of following the Ketogenic diet. The weight came off, but the process was painstakingly slow. Then, as the carbohydrate cravings started to get the best of me, I regained 20 lbs. which was really frustrating. So, when The Andersen Family interview came through my Facebook feed, I was definitely open to exploring new ideas. On April 6, 2015, I introduced the Zero Carb diet to my blog readers and embarked upon this unique dietary adventure. I have written a total of 5 posts for my own blog about my first 30 days: 1) Beginning, 2) Days 1 – 4, 3) Days 5 – 9, 4) Days 10 – 22, 5) Days 23- 30.

Even though I had been eating a very low carbohydrate diet for 2 years, I still experienced a fairly rough transition to Zero Carb. I felt really lousy for the first 5 days, but it took about 2 full weeks before I started to feel normal again. To learn more about this, please read the page on this website which explains The Adaptation Process.

When I first began Zero Carb, I included meat, eggs, and full fat dairy products. However, by the end of my second week, I discontinued all dairy products and began limiting my egg consumption because they caused my blood sugar to rise. When I eat them, my fasting blood glucose level will increase by 20 points the next morning.

After a full month on Zero Carb, I have settled into a diet comprised of about 60% beef, 20% fish/seafood, 15% chicken, and 5% lamb. However, I am planning to do less chicken and more lamb into the future. I am experimenting with organ meats, like heart and liver, but I am not sure yet how often I will be including them. I also eat some bacon.

I used to need 3 meals and 2 snacks every day because I was always hungry. Now, I am usually only hungry for two meals a day. I no longer have any desire to snack after my evening meal which is practically a miracle. I eat when I am hungry, and I eat until I am completely and utterly satisfied. I consume between 1 – 2 lbs of meat each day. I cook my beef medium rare, but I am also experimenting with raw steak tartare. I eat as much fat as I want from my meat and only rarely add extra.

One of my favorite aspects of Zero Carb is the incredible freedom from food! I just don’t think about food nearly as often. I love the simplicity of this way of eating. I am free from constant thoughts of eating for the first time in my life. Being someone who likes to cook, I must admit that this is a bit weird for me. I’m used to spending time with the planning, shopping, preparing, eating cycle of my food. Obviously, the health benefits are very important too, but the freedom from food I think is the foundation of the benefits for me.

I love bone broth! When I moved away from home for the first time in my early 20s, my dad showed me how to make bone broth. I have been making it ever since. I find it funny that it has now become a sort of “fad.” I do not consider it a necessary part of my Zero Carb diet, but I enjoy it and will make it whenever I have an upset stomach or just feel a desire for it. I did find it particularly helpful during the the first two weeks while I was adapting to this way of eating. I like to add broth to my meat while it is cooking also, as it seems to help my digestion.

The ground beef I buy is grass-fed and grass-finished, but the rest of the meat I currently purchase is grain-finished. I do add salt to my meat, either Himalayan pink salt or Celtic sea salt. I used a lot of salt during the first two weeks of Adaptation, but then my desire lessened somewhat. I just use as much as I want according to taste. I still enjoy being creative with my food, so I have continued to experiment with different spices. I often use the Montreal steak seasoning, as well as a variety of different Penzey brand mixtures that do not have sugar.

As far as nutritional supplements are concerned, I am not currently taking any. I am planning to go for new blood work after completing my first 60 days. If anything shows deficient, I will consider adding supplements. But, if everything looks good, then I will continue on with just real food.

I know a lot of people are concerned about the cost of eating this way, and I estimate that my monthly food expenses for me alone are around $500 a month. I am sure it can be done for less money, but I consider my health to be important and am willing to spend a little extra to purchase the meats I prefer. Interestingly, I am now spending less per month on food than I was during my last two years on a Ketogenic diet. This discovery surprised me, but with and all-meat diet there is little-to-no waste. I am no longer buying fake Keto “specialty” foods which are actually quite expensive and not very healthy in the long run.

I also use some strategies to keep costs down. For example, I purchase all my ground beef directly from a local rancher, and I watch for sales on meat and then buy it and freeze it for future use. Additionally, I have a Costco membership and I belong to a local buying co-operative that allows me to purchase certain meats in bulk. Costco has excellent prices on certain seasonal items like Copper River Salmon, as well as regular items like beef roasts.

On the subject of exercise, I have always hated “working out” and never got into the gym environment. I always felt judged and very out of place. Plus, when I was at my sickest I just didn’t feel good while exercising, and it didn’t make me feel good afterward as well. Right now, I do better with walking and general activity – cooking, working around the house and yard, taking a brisk walk at work when I feel good and I need a break.

I feel society has been very punitive against heavy people always telling them to “eat less and exercise more” – which for me turned out to be the worst advice ever. My goals in this area are many though. I used to do Volks-walking, which are 5 – 10k arranged walks that take in local scenery and are all over the world. I also want to get strong enough to do some backpacking. One goal of mine is to hike the length of Oregon on the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail).

I’ve had a lot of improvements in just 30 days!

  • Lost 17 pounds (it took me 4 months of keto to lose this same amount).
  • Lost 3.7% of my body fat.
  • Lost 3.5 inches off of my waist (sadly, I didn’t take any other measurements).
  • Cravings are non-existent, however I’m still sensitive to pictures of foods and the mention of certain foods. I can see that this sensitivity will gradually disappear the longer I’m on Zero Carb.
  • Reduced thyroid medications from 120 mg Armour to 60 mg (at day 15).
  • Fasting blood sugar down to 90 consistently (it was 100-120 before).
  • My joint and muscle pain has reduced by 90%. I was always at a pain level of 2-3 before and took 6 Advil at least 3 times/week. I only took Advil twice since beginning Zero Carb and they were both in the first two weeks.
  • I relied on caffeine for mental clarity before, but now I barely need any caffeine
  • My digestion was very bad before (diarrhea and malabsorption of food) – this area has improved by 50%. Also I used to have bad gas, now I hardly have any! My family loves this benefit, haha!
  • I used to be fatigued most of the time, but now my energy levels are stable, I can wake up in the morning and get up right away, and I don’t take naps any more.
  • Sleep – I used to sleep 9-10 hours a night, now I only sleep 7-8.
  • Depression – I had bouts of depression before, but these have been reduced by half, and they don’t last nearly as long when I do have them.
  • Headaches – I used to get what I call headaches but were like shoulder/neck/head throbbing tension. They completely knock me out until the next day. I had only two occurrences of this in 30 days (75% reduction), and I recovered from them quicker than before.
  • Allergies – it’s an early spring here, everyone has allergies even when they’re taking medications. Most of the time I don’t even need medications, but when I do feel a need for them, they work really well.
  • Physically – I’m more energetic, able to move around more without getting tired. Getting a lot of stuff done at home without procrastinating.
  • Eyesight – night blindness and evening vision has improved by 20%. I don’t wear glasses currently and am trying to avoid having to wear them.

My family and friends are very supportive. My husband said on the celebratory evening of my 30th day of this WOE (while we were eating prime rib) – “It’s like you finally found the way you should have been eating your whole life!” With the health results I’ve had, how could anyone close to me argue? They see the changes. With other people in my life, I’m not as open in talking about it yet, but I imagine that will change in the future as people notice my weight loss. I’m sure I’ll be blogging on this topic as I figure things out. Right now I just say I’m eating low carb if anyone comments on me just eating meat only.

Just commit to it for 30 days. If you don’t think you can do just meat and water at first, don’t worry, just start with meat, full fat dairy (sprinkles of it, not hunks) and eggs and your body will lead you in the right direction. Your abilities will surprise you! Be prepared for your life to change – and not just in the physical sense. My brain has changed too. During these 30 days I was grieving for food. I wasn’t having any physical cravings, but it’s like muscle memory – I wanted to eat at certain times (like in the evening) for comfort. You’re going to have to live with your feelings and not have a way to comfort yourself. But it’s worth it – the bad feelings do not last long. If I can do this, so can you!!

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Kim with her supportive husband and daughters.

Please visit my Testimonials page to read the stories of others following a Zero Carb diet.

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: Christine Scholtes

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Christine and her two healthy children.

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

I started Atkins around April 2010, just after finding out I had Type 2 diabetes and got orders from the hospital to get a prescription for the drug Metformin. I told the doctor I was probably diabetic for quite a few years without knowing it, so giving it a few months to try and take care of it without drugs wouldn’t change anything. I saw that even salad made my blood sugar (BS) rise, so after stumbling on info about Zero Carb in May 2010, I decided to give it a try.

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

Health, to take care of my diabetes, and I’ve always been overweight and obese, so if something can solve both problems at the same time… 🙂 Let’s go for it!

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

I think it went pretty fast physically. Psychologically, I’d say it takes YEARS to get rid (or master) of the brainwashing we have been subjected to by the medical industry and the “government guidelines” (which are the same in Belgium as in the US). I still sometimes feel “guilty” for enjoying fat, butter, or a good piece of meat.

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

Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, of course, and Eat Fat, Get Thin and Trick and Treat by Barry Groves, Fiber Menace by Konstantin Monastyrsky and The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith. Plus, I read a whole lot of websites.

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

I am still eating eggs, cheese (but not every day), butter,and  cream (in coffee & tea).

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

I would estimate that 80% of the meat I eat is beef.

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

Medium, but moving more towards rare.

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

Yes, butter or tallow if I have any at hand.

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

I eat until satisfied, but because of my diabetes, I try not to overdo the total amount of protein. HOWEVER, I don’t weigh or count anything, but just following my instinct. I try to listen to what my body is telling me.

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Christine after her initial 5 months on Zero Carb.

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

With the exception of Foie Gras, I don’t like organ meats, so I never eat any.

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

Yes, once or twice a week perhaps.

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

I usually eat twice a day, but occasionally three times.

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

Anywhere from 1 to 2 pounds, depending on the kind of meat, and whether or not I fancy eggs for breakfast, etc.

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

Most of the meat here in Belgium is grass-fed, grain-finished, and I usually buy it from the supermarket, but I pay attention to where it comes from. My brother was a butcher, so I know the difference between good and bad quality meat.

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

Coffee & tea, but I do not overdo it.

16. Do you use salt?

Yes, pink Himalayan.

17. Do you use spices?

Mostly pepper, but sometimes Mexican (i.e. oregano, cumin, etc.) or whatever sounds good at the moment.

18. Do you take any supplements?

I sometimes take magnesium & vitamin D3, but nothing regular.

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

It’s hard to say. I used to get lots of meat from my brother’s place either free or at a very good price. But now, I guess it’s about 250 Euros per month.

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

I don’t mind buying tenderized cuts, or cheaper pieces that are just the tips of more expensive ones. That makes it about 10 Euros per kilo as opposed to 15 Euros per kilo. I raid the meat section after the weekend, and I can sometimes buy meat for a whole week at a 30-50% discount.

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

I don’t. I have two young children, that’s plenty of exercise. 🙂

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 starting point was controlling my Type 2 diabetes. There were many “small” ailments that went away when it started to get better. I had monthly ovarian cysts (not PCOS, but regular, painful cysts) which I could feel on one side or the other. I also had a polyp removed in 2007. There was not much chance of pregnancy with all that. But I got pregnant just a year after starting Zero Carb, and – even though I was already 37 years old and it was a first child – it worked immediately (my husband was away for 5 months and I was pregnant just a month after he returned). Body composition was spectacular. Right at the beginning, I had put on at least 5 pounds, BUT I lost one dress size – almost 2 – and even my husband noticed the difference. So more weight, but smaller body size. My overall health changed too. For example, I didn’t get sick that first winter, and my skin got smoother on my elbows – no cream or other treatment needed. Most importantly, all my diabetic symptoms improved – fatigue, eyesight, etc.

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

I had my first baby while eating totally Zero Carb. It was a pretty easy pregnancy health wise, though I did experience a lot of nausea. I actually lost over 35 pounds during my pregnancy, and delivered an 8.8 pound baby girl in perfect health, despite all the warning from the diabetic pregnancy specialist in Croatia (where I was living at the time). I had to spend 24 hours in the hospital every month during my pregnancy for blood sugar monitoring. My doctor wanted to put me on insulin right from the start, even though I had normal BS numbers. She said that my baby would have a normal weight but no muscles – only fat under the skin – because of all the weight I was losing through the Zero Carb way of eating. She told me my baby would be stupid from all the ketones in my blood. Well, I finally give birth in another hospital with different doctors who didn’t understand why the specialist wanted me on insulin with such good BS numbers.

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I breastfed my first child for almost 2 and a half years, but – unfortunately -was not able to maintain a Zero Carb diet during that time because my husband started behaving crazy, left me at home with no money, no car (we lived in the woods far away from a supermarket), not much food besides things like high carbohydrate pasta, etc. This was a very frustrating situation for me, but I just had to eat what was available.

I became pregnant with Baby #2 before my body was ready (i.e. I was still not back to Zero Carb, I had gained 50 additional pounds from the carbs I was forced to eat, and my BS numbers were running high for the same reason). Because I could not bring my BS down through food, my doctor insisted that I had start injecting insulin. That’s hell! And I don’t understand how people can prefer doing that to simply not eating carbs?! I had a second healthy baby girl – just a tad in hypo at birth – but she was okay after a few hours. I’m still breastfeeding her (she’ll be 1 year old tomorrow), and I am planning to continue for another year or two so she has the best start in life as possible. Now, I am finally back on Zero Carb and feeling really good. But it is a delicate balance with my BS, and I have to be very careful with my diet.

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Christine after giving birth to her first child while on a Zero Carb diet.

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?

When I was basically alone with my first child, I was able to feed her a mostly Zero Carb diet. In fact, her first birthday cake was a ham & cream mousse covered in unsweetened whipped cream. But my husband and my mother (with whom we live now) both gave her carbs (bread, soda, etc.) behind my back. She still loves meat but unfortunately, she also loves pasta & potatoes a bit too much now. I would rather she had a piece of chocolate from time to time, rather than regular bread and other empty carbs of the kind. I am hoping I can keep my second child Zero Carb a bit longer. It is very difficult, though, to keep carbs out of their diet when even the school gives them to all the kids – all of the snacks they provide are rich in sugar. But I will still try to teach her to recognize which foods are good for her when she gets older.

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

I used to be a big foodie. I’m a chef, a pastry chef & a catering chef by profession, so my life revolved around food for a long time. And now, I basically can’t be bothered, to do any baking or cooking of complex recipes. It’s freed a lot of time for me to do other things!

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

Stop finding excuses, get rid of the carbs in your fridge & pantry, and jump right in. Eat as often as you feel hungry – five or ten times a day at the beginning if need be – there is no “written plan” that we must all eat only twice or it won’t work. You abused your body for decades because you believed the good doctor and the good advice (like I did). But, give it time – lots of time – to start healing. Maybe you’ll put on weight at the start, maybe you will start losing right away, maybe you’ll stall for a few weeks. We all have a different experience because we have damaged our bodies in so many ways.

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

Because I tried and failed at so many diets, my family is not always the most supportive. My (soon to be ex) husband is not much help. For him, a piece of pizza or cake is “just once.” Nobody around me understands the very addictive nature of sugar and carbohydrates. They think (mostly my mother) that it’s just a question of willpower. She suffers from Crohn’s Disease, and she knows she’s much better without carbs in her diet, but she’s even more addicted than I am. She’ll make waffles or cakes right under my nose! My friends are better, and they are usually willing to find a restaurant where I can get the food I need for Zero Carb, or they’ll try and make me some good meat if they invite me for dinner.

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

I’d like to say that I have tried so many diets – I avoided the craziest ones, but I basically spent 20 years doing the yo-yo thing. Thus, I can easily compare all of that experience with Zero Carb eating. Zero Carb is harder at the beginning. You can get headaches and other unpleasant symptoms of  the so-called Zero Carb “flu” while your body is making the transition to becoming a fat burner. But it’s much easier in the long run, and you will eventually feel so much better that you won’t want to get back to where you were before.

You have to be vigilant, though, because carbs are nasty and they can easily sneak their way back into your diet. So you must keep an eye on them. Don’t try to over-complicate things. It is meat & water. If you have issues, get rid of the cheese, the cream, maybe even the spices. This helps you establish a clear baseline. Then you can try adding them back – one at a time – and see how they affect you. Zero Carb is NOT the same thing as LCHF diet, 10 or 20 gms of carbohydrate from plant foods can really make a difference for the worse.

Also, don’t be put off by a failed attempt. I failed many times and simply tried again. One of my mistakes was to add too much fat too quickly, so I got really disgusted after only a short time on ZC, and fell back into my old carby diet again. Now I try and follow my instinct. Sometimes I add a lot of fat to my meat, sometimes I don’t. We don’t have fatty meat here, like what is available in the US. Sometimes, I even feel like eating cold cubes of butter, and I do. It can take a while to find your true hunger again, or to feel full. You have to relearn so many things, and the body needs time o heal. But in the end, it’s really, really worth it.

christine scholtes3

A recent picture of Christine with her two children.

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 us in the Facebook group Principia Carnivora for support