Zero Carb Interview: Doug Wright

Doug today after one full year on an All-Meat Zero Carb diet at age 25.

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

One year to date.

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

Curiosity & health. At age 20, I started a ketogenic diet of white lean meat and greens. I followed keto for 4 years before embarking on the carnivore path. While keto was very effective at helping me to lose a lot of unwanted body fat – I weighed 380 lbs. when I started keto and I was down to 223 lbs. at the 4-year mark  – I was always tired and hungry! Consequently, I knew it wasn’t sustainable long term for me because I continually felt deprived. So, I was looking for a way of eating that would help me to maintain and continue my body fat loss, while also improving my energy level and providing greater satiety.

Doug prior to beginning a Ketogenic diet of lean white meats and greens at age 20.

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

One month.

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

The Big Fat Surprise

Good Calories, Bad Calories

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

Predominantly eat red meat, very little else. Once in a while I will have raw egg yolks or raw salmon.

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

95%

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

I prefer raw, but I will eat it blue-rare in social situations. I initially started this way of eating by cooking all my meat. But as time went on, I gradually desired it more and more rare until I was eating it totally raw most of the time, LOL! I have discovered, surprisingly enough, that I feel much more satisfied when I eat the meat completely raw than if I cook it even slightly.

One of Doug’s typical “fast food” meals of raw ground beef and raw salmon.

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

No.

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

Eat until satisfied.

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

Rarely, but plan to eat liver more often.

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

No.

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

1 or 2, but usually 2.

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

2-3 lbs.

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

Mostly conventional beef.

A rare steak while eating out with friends.

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

No.

16. Do you use salt? 

Rarely.

17. Do you use spices?

No.

18. Do you take any supplements?

Not in the form of man-made tablets, capsules, powders, etc., but I do fresh liver – which I consider to be nature’s most nutritious food – whenever I feel the need for something extra.

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

Approximately $360.

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

Shop weekly specials at your discount grocery & get to know your butcher  and find out when markdown meats are put out on the shelf.

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

2-3 days a week of heavy lifting, and I stay on my feet as much as possible.

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.)

Little to no inflammation (I always used to be achy, stiff, and sick); very steady energy; enhanced mood; clear skin; calm and relaxed state of mind; increased sun tolerance; continued body fat loss; increased muscle and lean body mass gains – I now weigh 5-10 lbs. more at 240 lbs. – since adopting an all-meat diet as compared to when I was following a Ketogenic diet of lean white meat and greens; greater mental clarity. In other words, I feel WAY better since removing all plant foods from my diet. I’m just so happy all the time now!

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

The simplicity of it all and how good I feel.

It doesn’t get much easier than this!

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

Eat only meat, preferably beef, for a minimum 30 days. Drown your cravings/hunger/boredom in it. Eat as much fatty beef as you need to feel satisfied. No plants whatsoever, as they will just keep your cravings active. Once you adapt to an all-meat diet, you won’t want to go back.

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

My family and close friends are very supportive, as they have seen the drastic health benefits first hand through me. However, I’m a bit of a social outcast among my peers in general who drink, smoke, and eat junk food. Thus, finding like-minded friends through the many Facebook groups dedicated to an All-Meat Carnivore or Zero Carb way of eating has been a real godsend for me and has prevented me from feeling isolated and lonely on this unusual dietary path.

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

Keep it simple. The more non-optimal foods you remove from your diet, the better you’ll feel.

You can follow Doug on Twitter @Wright_Doug

Life cannot get much better than a plate full of grilled hamburgers enjoyed in a beautiful, relaxing environment!

If you are interested in meeting other Zero Carb Carnivores, please join us in the Facebook group Principia Carnivora.

If you have benefited from the information offered on this website, and you would like to express your appreciation in a tangible way, you can make a donation directly to PayPal via my email: esmeelafleur@gmail.com.

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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.

If you have benefited from the information offered on this website, and you would like to express your appreciation in a tangible way, you can make a donation directly to PayPal via my email: esmeelafleur@gmail.com.