Zero Carb Interview: Chris Cogswell

Chris on the job as a butcher.

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

I’ve been eating zero carb since Jan 2016, so 18 months.

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

I decided to try ZC after years of researching many diets. I was born with chronic Asthma and Allergies that had me in the ICU multiple times a year. Most years I was in every month, sometimes for weeks at a time. I was actually hooked up to life support at age 8 for a severe attack. For many years the doctor told my mother I wouldn’t live long and may need a heart/lung transplant. I’ve also had digestive issues, abdominal pain, vomiting and loose bowels for many years. In my early teens I had severe migraine, anxiety, anger outburst and multiple leg cramps daily. On top of all of this I had nasal polyps that were removed multiple times through surgery.

For years I followed the doctors advice that didn’t help. Following their orders I went down to 100lbs standing at 5’9. I started paying attention to foods I could tolerate and survived for years on white rice, chicken and frozen veggies. I would spend all of my free time reading and researching, until I found vegetarianism, paleo, then keto/lchf, and then ZC. I’ve tried all of these diets. Some helped and some didn’t. Going low carb Paleo seemed to help the best, but I was still feeling my asthma and had gone up to 165lbs being fat for me (I’m naturally a small guy). So long story short, health was my primary motivation.

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

Physically, it took me 2-3 months. The transition was not fun for me. I felt unwell for weeks and my energy was low for months. Mentally it was easier because I had decided it was for my health and this was going to happen. For the first year…. maybe longer, I was tempted to add in carbs after workouts, because I wanted to get bigger. But I’ve come to realize that bigger isn’t better. Healthier is best!

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

I would have to say, Gary Taubes books; I’ve read all of his nutrition work. And Nina Teicholz’s book The Big Fat Surprise.

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

Now I only eat meat. The first year I would have eggs and some dairy, but noticed that I feel better without them.

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

90% of my diet is beef. I also eat chicken and Duck sometimes.

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

I always have my beef cooked blue rare-rare. The closer to raw the better!!!

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

If I’m eating a leaner cut of meat I will melt butter over it.

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

I always eat until satisfied. I should add that most days, I follow a 16/8 fasting/eating window.

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

I eat beef and lambs liver. Sometimes I eat it raw, straight from the animal. I also eat heart, kidneys, lungs, and sometimes lambs brains. I usually have a small piece of liver every day. Heart once a week, and the others I eat once a month or so.

Chris before adopting an all meat diet.

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

No, I don’t drink broth. I have a hard time with rendered fats.

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

I usually eat 2-3 meals a day during my 8 hour eating window.

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

Lots!!! LoL. On average, I eat 3-4lbs a day. Sometimes more. I am very active though.

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

I eat a mixture of both. Luckily, I’m a butcher for a local farmer, so I have access to both kinds of meat at all times.

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

Yes. I drink water mostly, but have a coffee before a workout for boosted performance. I did drink coffee daily, but have recently stopped that.

16. Do you use salt?

I use salt on everything! I love the stuff! But I make sure it’s Himylayan Pink Salts, or Sea Salt. Never table salt. That stuff is horrible!

17. Do you use spices?

I use a bit of black pepper, but nothing else. The longer I’m ZC, the more I realize what I can and can’t tolerate and spices are a no.

18. Do you take any supplements?

No supplements.

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

don’t spend that much money on meat. Maybe $100 (Canadian) a month. Like I said earlier, I’m a butcher, so I get a weekly allowance of meats….. and I get to eat the miss cuts or ugly steaks!

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

Move to the country and become a butcher! Just joking. Truthfully, shop the sales, and buy the cheaper fatty cuts, or organs. They tend to be least expensive. Some places will give away the fatty trimmings.

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

Yes! I lift weights (full body) 2-3 times a week. I have a heavy labour job that I work 8.5-9 hours daily. Lots of lifting there… Nothing like carrying around a 1/4 beef at 200lbs! I walk 5km to and from work daily, in all weather. And I have three kids ages 6,4, and 1.

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.)

Since going ZC, almost all of my health issues have disappeared. Polyps, bad digestion, bowel pain, headaches, anxiety, muscle cramps, all gone!!! And my asthma is 95% better. I haven’t had to use my rescue inhaler since I started ZC, I’ve been taken off of steroids, and only take my Advair puffer if I get a bad chest cold. My mood has stabilized and I’ve become physically stronger. I’ve also lost 25 lbs. of excess body fat, even though that wasn’t a goal.

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

I get to eat meat all the time! I seriously enjoy every meal, and never get bored of eating the same things Over and over.

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

Just buckle down, find what you like and eat that! At first it may be hard, but it’s worth it. Don’t listen to all of the little tweaks that people use or make it more complicated than it needs to be; listen to your body and be patient.

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

My wife is used to my dietary experiments over the years, so she is ok with it. At first she was a little worried, but after receiving my blood tests… which were perfect, she’s supportive. Other parts of my family aren’t as accepting, but they are all eating SAD and have issues, so I just let them be, and stick to what works for me.

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

Listen to your body! Your body will change, so be aware and be patient. Some foods you can’t eat upfront, but your body might adjust and accept them. It could also go the other way. Don’t force feed what doesn’t work for you. Learn to love yourself and your body. This WOE may change your shape or size, but you’ll become the real (healthy) you, and you’re beautiful!!!

Chris today, enjoying his love of music.

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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 Carbers.

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

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Zero Carb Testimonial: Peg

Raw Ground Beef & Raw Suet

Hello Esmee,

Reading through the testimonials on your blog helped me a great deal when I decided to take the plunge into zero carb eating and, if you are open to it, I would like to share my experience thus far with your readers as there are some aspects that are quite different from other people’s experience and may help others going through similar issues as me.

I prefer to remain anonymous so no photos. You can call me Peg.

Some background:

I have chronic fatigue, and have been struggling with it for over two years (self-diagnosed; I have never been to a doctor as I didn’t believe they would be able to help me–and I can’t afford it!). It started with a complete digestive system crash and the sudden onset of a lot of food intolerances.

Basically it went like this: In the winter of 2014 I was 220 pounds (I am a 5’8” woman in my late 30s) and decided I needed to improve my health and physical fitness. I cut out sugar, processed foods, caffeine (except green tea), grains and beans and lost 30 pounds throughout the spring. In the summer I started doing bodyweight exercises and moved into weight training by fall. I had dropped 70 pounds total, gained muscle I never had before and basically felt the best I ever had in my life.

After I started seriously weight training I got cocky about my progress and robust health and returned to eating some of the things I had previously given up, telling myself that it was ok, I would just work it off in the gym. It started with ice cream a couple times a week and moved into bread, cookies, pie, cake and other treats. For brevity; over the winter I began to experience more and more fatigue and frequent bouts of constipation and bloating (that became so extreme I looked three months pregnant!). I wrote this all off as the effects of winter, being cold, less sun, etc. and wouldn’t even have noticed a pattern to it all if I hadn’t been journaling my workouts and day-to-day feelings at the time (and even then, I only recognized the pattern when I re-read them months later).

In February, after a family celebration where I said “screw it” and ate whatever I wanted because I was feeling pretty crappy already (bloated, constipated, run-down) my entire digestive system crashed. I will omit the details for brevity sake, but suffice it to say, I was suddenly struck with major food intolerances and had an extremely limited diet for quite a few weeks until I was able to have a somewhat-less-limited diet that has subsequently remained pretty limited these past 2+ years.

I had to sleep early at night and nap during the day. My mind was foggy and unclear most of the time. I lost all the muscle I had build up as any exertion at all exhausted me for days. Over the past couple of years I have gone through waves of improvement and then crashes. I took supplements, herbs, teas and amino acids by the boatload. With all the supplements I wound up feeling good this past winter (it is early May as I write this) and got cocky again and thought I could eat sweets. I crashed badly and set myself all the way back to the beginning, giving me a really bad summer and a difficult winter struggling to pull myself back out of the pit of fatigue and weakness.

In late January I decided I would reset my digestive system by fasting, which turned into a fresh juice fast for 2 weeks (because my body simply couldn’t tolerate having no food at all). It helped considerably and I started feeling better but started to experience some extreme hunger so started eating again. I tried to add food back slowly but soon found myself overeating and consuming around 3000-4000 calories a day. And my digestion was failing again.

By early March I had learned about low carb high fat and started adjusting my diet to cut back on the sugar I was consuming with all the fruit/juice. I ate mostly ground turkey, eggs, cheese (I hadn’t been able to digest beef well for months), chicken fat and skin, bacon and bacon fat, coconut oil and salad greens with occasional small amounts of fruit. I realized the fruit was making me hungrier and causing me to overeat so I did more research and came across some information on zero carb and found Amber O’Hearn’s and Esmee’s blogs, and was especially impressed by the Anderson family (I had to find it using the Wayback Machine!) and Kelly Hogan’s blog. The information I learned in the stories I read struck a chord in me and I knew this is what I needed to do.

Zero carb journey

In the beginning:

When I started a month and a half ago I decided to cut out anything that was not from the animal kingdom (so no more coconut oil). I ate chicken thighs, bacon, rotisserie turkey, ground turkey with chicken or bacon fat pork tenderloin, steak, and a lot of eggs. For fats I ate chicken fat, tallow, bacon fat and ghee. I tried eating cheese for the first couple of days but realized it made me feel more hungry and was screwing with my digestive system and creating mucus (I was so sad!). After about a week I also cut out eggs because I believed they were making me more hungry and giving me a tendency to overeat. I feel better without them (though I miss them sometimes) and I was right; they were making me overeat for some reason.

As time went on I tried to focus on eating more beef. I came to realize that I digest it better when it is not well done and came to enjoy it quite a bit. I was eating mostly cheap steaks and 70% ground beef patties cooked rare and juicy in bacon fat. In fact, after a couple of weeks I started to feel like I was eating the best thing I ever ate every time I had beef! I was still experiencing loose stools and occasional diarrhea but wasn’t too worried about it.

In the beginning I was cooking some of my food in ghee and eating chicken skins fried in chicken fat. After awhile the ghee started to turn me off so I stopped eating it, and I was getting stomach aches and diarrhea whenever I had chicken skin or fat. I would feel really nauseous about an hour or two after eating and have to lay down for a couple of hours. Later on I figured out that seltzer water helped abate this feeling (most of the time) but I didn’t think I should be feeling that way so I eventually cut out poultry.

I then began to realize that any extra fat was giving me stomach aches and diarrhea too.

I was in a conundrum about the fat. On the one hand I knew that I needed to get the majority of calories from fat but on the other hand, too much fat seemed to give me the runs. I can’t afford expensive steaks as I have a budget of about $5 a day (with occasional extras) so i was having to add fat in the form of bacon grease and chicken fat to my food. I came across some information about eating beef raw and fat raw as well so I looked up ideas for raw fat and came across suet.

I got some suet the other night and have been chopping it up and mixing it with raw ground beef (70% mostly) and sea salt and I LOVE IT. I can’t believe I actually like it (the texture takes some getting used to) but my body must be really happy eating that way because it tastes delicious to me. Plus, I’m no longer getting stomach aches an hour or so after eating and I had my first normal bowel movement in weeks this morning!

What I eat now:

After 6 weeks of experimentation I now eat raw beef (cheapest steaks and ground beef), raw suet and low sodium bacon as a treat. I discovered early on that I digested my beef better when it was cooked less and finally got brave enough to try it raw. It changed my life! Raw beef mixed with chopped raw suet makes me feel good, drastically cut down on my stomach aches and regulated my bowels. And–surprise of surprises–I LOVE it. The bacon satisfies my residual desire for snacking but upsets my stomach if I overindulge (regular bacon upsets my system immediately and tastes wretched to me now).

I eat three meals a day, sometimes more if necessary. For all three meals I eat raw ground beef (70 or 80%) or raw chopped/shaved steak with a big chunk of raw suet chopped up and mixed into it, doused with sea salt (I’ve found I can tolerate a LOT more fat now that I’m eating raw suet and it has cut down on my beef consumption, from 2 pounds to about 1.3 pounds). Our grocery store packages ground beef in 1.3 pound packages and, now that I’m adding the suet, it seems to be enough for me for one day. We make low sodium bacon frequently at work, so I snack on this during the day. I’ve been eating anywhere from 2-8 pieces in a day (though today I had 8 and my stomach is a bit upset, so I think I will be cutting back on the bacon). I drink salt water in the morning and at night and sometimes in the afternoon if I feel I need it and regular water throughout the day. If my stomach is upset (or sometimes if I just want the bubbly) I will drink a plain seltzer water. I take 10 mg of astaxanthin a day.

I have had an electrolyte imbalance for quite a while that manifests itself in scary heart palpitations so I put sea salt on everything I eat and drink warm salt water three times a day. I am hoping that as my body acclimates more to this way of eating that things will balance out and I will eventually be able to do away with the salt. I purposefully stopped taking all supplements as my intention and hope is to be able to heal my body enough that it is producing what it needs (the one exception is the recent addition of astaxanthin as it is getting close to summer and it prevents my fair skin from burning in the sun)

Difficulties and things I’ve learned:

I really struggled with the fat ratios. I knew that I needed to eat more fat than I was eating, but every time I tried to add more fat it would nauseate me, give me bad stomach aches hours later and give me diarrhea. I recently realized that it is rendered fat I have an issue with. Once I started adding chopped raw suet to my raw beef all that changed.

Hunger has also been–and still is–an issue. On the one hand I can handle long periods of time without eating much better than I ever could–when it’s necessary. But I still think about eating constantly and partially plan my day around my three meals. I believe this is partially due to craving too much protein as a consequence of eating too little fat. I understand that too much protein can cause a glycemic response and I think that has been my problem as, up until 2 days ago I wasn’t able to tolerate much fat (because it was cooked/rendered). I am hoping that as I go longer eating the way I’m eating now my hunger will even out and I won’t feel the need to eat so much protein in a day. I also haven’t lost any weight since eating this way (in fact, I gained a few pounds, but I think it’s water, or glycogen as it drops off after a bout of diarrhea).

In the beginning I didn’t notice if I suffered any “keto flu” symptoms as I felt pretty crummy already. I had a runny nose up until about 3 weeks ago (that got worse when I ate, for some reason) but got better as I restructured my diet and removed some things. For the first month I was really wondering if this was going to help me because things weren’t getting better as quickly and dramatically as they seemed to for most of the other people who submitted their stories.

The thing that kept me going was that, despite how awful I felt, my mind was becoming clear and focused and it hadn’t been that way for many months so I knew something had to be right. Plus, I kept reminding myself that I was starting over from scratch; no supplements at all, just healing through diet, and had to constantly remind myself that it was likely to take longer for me to feel better as this was something that I had been going through for years.

The other thing that helped me stick to it was that I kept a journal of how I was feeling throughout the day in an app on my phone so I have been able to go back and see subtle improvements I didn’t notice as they were happening. This has been vital to my sticking with it! There are a lot of changes I never would have noticed if I hadn’t recorded them and been able to look back and see the patterns.

The entire process thus far has been figuring out what works for me in conjunction with what I am able to buy. Over the course of about 6 weeks I went from having a semi-varied diet to having a very limited one (raw beef and raw beef fat) but I am surprisingly happy with that! This way of eating feels so good to me and I feel happy every time I eat my bowl of pink-and-white mush!

Things I have noticed have improved:

I have NO cravings for sweets, not even fruit! (this is mind-boggling to me. I could never imagine my life without fruit)

My tastes have changed–I don’t just tolerate raw beef, I really enjoy it!

My sense of smell has changed–I can enjoy the smells of foods I used to love without craving them (that, in and of itself, is nothing short of miraculous to me!).

I can enjoy baking (I work in a bakery!) without even wanting to try anything I’m making

My mind is clear and focused in a way it hasn’t been for many months

I have motivation to do things I didn’t/couldn’t before (like household chores)

The ways of eating that work for healthy people did not work for me and I think this is important for others who are coming from a place of compromised health when they embark on this way of eating. I can’t have any dairy or eggs. Any kind of rendered fat gives me diarrhea if I eat more than a couple of teaspoons of it at a time. Because of my current electrolyte issue I require vast quantities of salt to keep my heart beating normally. Even though I require a lot of salt, I need to eat low sodium bacon instead of regular bacon because it makes me feel ill. Raw beef with raw fat seems to work well for me, even though it’s the cheapest stuff at the store and not the fancy grass-fed stuff (though I would surely eat that if I could afford it!).

I still have the fatigue, but I can see and feel myself getting better (and have proof of it from what I have recorded in my journal). My energy has improved over the past few weeks. I used to nap for 2 hours every day and now I don’t. I used to have to lean on my husband walking to work and home because I was so weak and wobbly and now I can walk unsupported. My mind was so foggy and unclear that I couldn’t do much of anything at home other than watch movies or sleep (after a shortened workday). Now I am back to reading, journaling, studying a language, doing brain-improvement exercises, watching documentaries and even having the motivation and energy to do chores around the house. I have also started to be able to do a bit more physically. I have started practicing Tai Chi again and have even been able to dance with my husband a bit. I am able to interact more with family and pets and friends.

My advice for others starting out on zero carb:

One way of doing things is going to work for every body! Just because the majority of zero carbers eat bacon and steaks and cheese and eggs and lose weight and get strong and feel great two weeks into it does not mean you will. It took me 6 weeks to start feeling noticeably better. It took me almost 5 of those weeks to figure out that my body doesn’t deal well with rendered fat. A lot of things that help other people didn’t help me and I had to pay very close attention to my own body and go against convention sometimes.

Keep a journal of what you’re eating and how you’re feeling every day. You will be surprised at the changes and patterns you don’t notice while they’re happening.
Learn to listen to your body. Just because something works for most people doesn’t necessarily mean it will work for you. Experiment and learn as you go.
Don’t expect immediate improvement. Some people notice dramatic improvement right away. But if you’re coming from a place of compromised health it might take awhile for things to get better. Some things will get worse. Pay attention and readjust accordingly, but don’t give up just because 2 weeks have gone by and you’re not feeling fantastic (this is where keeping a journal REALLY helps).

If you’re committed to improving your health you will find what works for you. Just keep at it!

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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 Carbers.

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.

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: Liz Spencer


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Liz after 1 year of Zero Carb.

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

Officially my start date was April 1, 2015 but I had been eating pretty much zero carb for months before I had heard there was a word for that.

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

Both. I had a lot of weight to lose and my health was horrible. I applied for disability due to a long laundry list of health problems.

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

It was a slow process getting to Zero Carb. I started by just cutting out one thing at a time like sugar and bread, and then very slowly lowering my carbs per day so I never had any physical symptoms like Keto Flu. Psychologically it was a bit harder since I live with 5 other adults who are major carb addicts. Every time I walk into the kitchen I have to walk past a whole counter covered with candy, pastries, pies and bread. It was hard at first but once I was zero carb the cravings went away. Now I walk past them with no problem.

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

Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It by Gary Taubes was a really good book, but mostly I read a lot of websites.

My Zero Carb Life
http://myzerocarblife.jamesdhogan.com/wp/

Zero Carb Zen
https://zerocarbzen.com/

Zero Carb Health
http://www.zerocarbhealth.com/

Bad Ass Carnivore
http://badass-carnivore.com/

Empirica
http://www.empiri.ca/

These are all sites I enjoy.

Facebook groups are also great for daily support.

Principia Carnivora https://www.facebook.com/groups/PrincipiaCarnivora/

Zeroing in on Health
https://www.facebook.com/groups/zioh2/

No Carbs LCHF
https://www.facebook.com/groups/NoCarbsLCHF/

Principia Fibromyalgia (for Zero Carbers with Fibromyalgia) https://www.facebook.com/groups/645650578871443/

Liz before beginning her Low to Zero Carb journey.


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

I started with meat, eggs, chicken, fish, butter, cheese, and cream. I had a serious sour cream addiction! Slowly I started eating more meat and less chicken and fish. I cut out the dairy after about 5 months. Now I’m down to meat, eggs and butter.

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

I eat about a pound of beef a day, 4 eggs and about 8 slices of bacon. So about half.

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

I would like to eat it rare but I don’t trust the cheap Walmart ground beef I have to buy due to budget constraints so I cook it well done.

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

Sometimes I’ll add butter if I have an urge, but not often. I do like my eggs dripping in butter though.

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

I eat till I’m full, no limit, though I really can’t eat much at once.

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

I like liver so I’ll sneak it in once a week. I only limit it because one of the people I live with hates the smell of it.

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

Nope, too much trouble to make.

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

I usually eat 3 since I can’t eat much at once. Otherwise I wouldn’t get enough food per day.

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

About pound of beef and about 8 slices of bacon per day.

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

I really wish I could afford to eat grass-fed/pasture-raised meat but I’m on a really tight budget so its Walmart Ground beef for me.

Liz before beginning her Low to Zero Carb journey with her parents and sisters. Liz is on the far left in red.

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

I drink a lot of herbal tea and I am slowly weaning myself off coffee, so within a month no coffee.

15. Do you use salt?

Oh yes! It’s my last addiction. I tried to quit salt, but nope, I just can’t right now.

16. Do you use spices?

Pepper on my eggs and some steak seasoning on my ground beef.

17. Do you take any supplements?

Only when I have been exposed to someone sick. I’ll take vit. D, C, K and zinc.

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

Just under $200.

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

I use high fat ground beef instead of steaks, and I eat eggs every day.

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

No. When I started I could hardly walk 1/8 of a mile and I had to use the electric carts in the grocery stores to shop. Even without exercising I’m getting stronger and my stamina is increasing. I am trying to move around more though. Since I’ve lost 50 pounds it has gotten much easier to move my body. I’m pushing myself to do a little more each day.

21. 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 guess I should tell you I was a complete mess in 2013. I was 100 pounds overweight. I had Fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, Peripheral edema, Depression and Anxiety, Severe PMS, Migraines, Restless Leg Syndrome, and Irritable bowel syndrome. Basically, I felt like Crap!

I did a long, slow transition from low carb to very low carb to zero carb, so it’s hard to remember exactly what happened when.

I started low carb in early 2013. My focus was just weight loss since I never thought I could heal all my issues. I lost weight pretty quick at first, going from 225 down to 200 in early 2014. (Ya, that’s fast for me.)

Then the weight loss slowed down, but I noticed other things happening like my High Blood Pressure normalized and I was able to go off HBP meds. Additionally, the Migraines, Restless Leg Syndrome, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome slowly Improved and went away.

I freely admit that I fell off the wagon frequently those first couple of years. I was going through a divorce after 28 years of marriage, and I had to move in with my parents. So, I was a tad bit stressed.

Then menopause hit, the weight loss slowed even more, and – oh boy! – the hot flashes, but at least there was no more PMS!

By the beginning 2015 I had transitioned to very low carb. I noticed that I wasn’t as tired as usual, but I was still having problems with Fibromyalgia, Peripheral Edema, Depression and Anxiety.

In Late March of 2015, I found the Facebook group “Zeroing In On Health.” I was pretty much already Zero Carb with rare exceptions, so I decided that I might as well go the whole distance.

I officially started Zero Carb on April 1, 2015. That’s when I really noticed the big changes. Over the first 6 months my Fibromyalgia pain, Depression and Anxiety slowly faded and I was able to move more easily.

In the last 3 months, I have been able to go shopping without using the electric carts that they have in the stores. I feel human again!

In early January of 2016, I didn’t take my HCTZ for my Peripheral Edema for a couple of days, and my feet and ankles didn’t swell up into huge sausages! I’m slowly weaning off of it now too.

I’m currently down to 172 pounds, and I actually feel some muscles under that last 50 pounds of fat I want to lose. I feel so much stronger now and I’m actually looking for a job! I’m have been helping my parents out at their office for free. It’s quite a work out filing and lifting boxes. But I can work!!!!

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

It’s so filling that I never feel hungry. I can also go longer between meals if I have to without feeling hungry and weak.

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

Read everything you can get your hands on about it. Start slow. Don’t give up. If you fall off the wagon, just jump back on. Don’t tell anyone unless you have to. They will just look at you like your crazy then lecture you about health. You can tell people once you have been doing it for a while and have results you can show them.

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

They are now. At first they thought I was crazy, but they can see how much weight I’ve lost and how much healthier I am now. Unfortunately I still have to walk past their junk food constantly.

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

Nope.

Liz today!

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Please visit my “Interviews” page linked at the top of this website to read the stories of other long time Zero Carb veterans.

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

 

My First 3 Months on Zero Carb by Isabel

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Isabel’s Chihuahua Pup Portia.

I was on a LCHF diet for a year before I started a Zero Carb way of eating. I was eating lots of fatty cuts of meat, cheese, and fats from butter. I was also eating plenty of vegetables, especially greens and raw salads. I lost a great deal of weight over that year, about 90lbs!

However, I was still experiencing irritable bowel syndrome side effects. I experienced bloating, cramping, and abdominal pain from inflammation and irritation of my gastrointestinal tract (as explained by my doctor).

My Primary Care Physician prescribed probiotics, anti-depressants (in case it was stress causing my IBS), stomach acid pump inhibitors, and antispasmodic medications… all with little improvement.

I heard about the Zero Carb diet and I wanted to see if eating only those foods from the animal kingdom – like beef, chicken, pork and eggs – and drinking only water, would make a difference in my IBS symptoms. So, I decided to give it a whirl, and I was not disappointed.

Within 72 hours of beginning a Zero Carb diet, I quickly noticed my bloating was gone. After just 3 weeks, I was no longer experiencing any abdominal cramping and pain. By week 5, I was having regular bowel movements without bleeding. I had formerly suffered from severe constipation. I have now been on a Zero Carb diet for 12 weeks, and I have been totally off any IBS medications for a full 3 weeks. I also have lost an additional 27 lbs!

I eat all animal meats and eggs on the occasion. I usually will eat the same thing for a week, and switch it up. Maybe I’ll have beef burgers for my meals one week, then chicken or pork the next week, just to give the illusion of variety. I eat no dairy products. I also do use kosher sea salt, as well as black pepper, and once in a while I add some cajun spices on my meat.

I cannot imagine going back to my former way of eating. This is the only “therapy” I have tried that has ever worked so completely on my GI track to calm the IBS. It’s either this diet or gut wrenching pain. That makes the diet easy for me to follow. I still need to lose about 40 lbs more anyways, so i’m excited to continue on my weight loss journey as well.

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Isabel’s Pomeranian Pup Chanel

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.

 

My First 30 Days on Zero Carb by Lena Kristiansen

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1) What kind of diet were you following before Zero Carb?

At the time I started at Zero Carb, I didn’t follow any diet. However, in the past I have tried Atkins, LCHF, and Paleo diets. The Paleo diet was the one I liked the most since I felt pretty good on it. I think there are three primary reasons why none of these diets worked for me long term.

First, while my IBS was less problematic on Paleo, it never completely went away.

Second, I have never liked any vegetables except for potatoes. I have only eaten other vegetable because it was expected of me. Salad has always turned my stomach, but still I tried to make myself like it.

Third, my inner “sugar monster” was still much alive on all of these diets because of the carbohydrates they included. As a result, I would eventually fall back to eating what is considered to be the normal Norwegian diet.

2) Why did you decide to try Zero Carb?

I first read the interview with The Anderson Family, and it just felt right for me. I have always liked meat. As a little girl, I can even remember “fighting” with my grandma’s dog for the meaty bones left over from my grandma’s soup. I don’t think the dog liked me visiting…LOL.

For many years, I did have the feeling that I could solve the issues I have with my body with the food I eat. This interest started when I was attending a course in the University named “Human Behavioral Ecology.” After that, I started to research and read a lot of books about food and how the body would react to it. I tested an elimination diet, and found out that I shouldn’t eat sugar, diary and gluten. The result just confirmed that my answer to feel good and healthy was in my food.

So why did I do all this? I was diagnosed with asthma and allergy when I was a little girl. My metabolism was low and I had borderline hypothyroidism. Consequently, I always had some extra body fat. I also have IBS, and I get dizzy easily because of the low blood sugar episodes. Additionally, when I eat something, I often feel sick and tired and get heart palpitations. Recently, the doctors discovered that I have anti-phospholipid syndrome which means that my antibodies are attacking my blood cells.

All in all, I knew that I had to do something, and – when I saw the interview with The Anderson Family – I just felt that I must try it. So, I read a bit more about it and satisfied myself that it was safe to do.

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3) What was your transition to Zero Carb like? Easy or hard?

During the first few days on Zero Carb, my energy increased, my stomach calmed down and stopped aching, I was no longer bloated all the time, and the chronic brain fog disappeared. Basically, I just felt good. My body and mind were both much more calm and content. After the first few days, however, I got the “Keto Flu.” I was easily fatigued, had a slight headache, and felt dizzy sometimes. But it was not too bad, and – since I had been through the “Keto Flu” before when I did Atkins – I knew what to expect and was not worried about it. These symptoms lasted about two weeks and then went away. Since then, I have felt really good.

4) What does your daily food intake look like?

Normally I eat about 2 to 3 times a day, and it would normally be 2 eggs with 5 slices of bacon for breakfast and 1 lb. of meat for dinner. If I get hungry during the day, I would eat some extra meat. I prefer to eat beef, but I will eat all different kinds of meat. I also drink bone broth, and occasionally eat tripe.

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Ancient Scottish Dunnottar Castle with Rainbow that Lena visited on one of her trips abroad.

5) What benefits have you noticed so far?

  • Heartburn has become less.
  • Hypoglycemia and dizziness is gone.
  • My allergies and asthma have already improved.
  • I no longer feel sick, tired, or experience heart palpitations after eating.
  • I have lost 13 lbs. during this first month.
  • I have much more energy to do things.
  • I sleep really well and feel more awake/alert during the day.
  • My teeth feel newly polished all the time.
  • There is no unpleasant underarm odor as long as I eat just meat. However, if I add sauces or eat sausage, then I notice an unpleasant underarm odor.
  • My sense of taste and smell has changed dramatically. Things that used to smell and taste good no longer do, and vice versa. It is like my taste buds have been “re-set.” For example, I have noticed that commercial eggs taste strangely sweet, so I only buy organic eggs now. And my desire for salt has diminished considerably.
  • The sugar cravings have totally disappeared! Now I can pass by sweets, cookies and – my biggest monster – ice cream without any problems. Before Zero Carb, I would almost always eat something. This is actually the first time in my life that I have no sugar cravings. Usually, I have to use enormous willpower not to eat sugary treats. It is so freeing not to have these cravings any more.
  • My ability to walk the stairs where I work has become easier and easier. I feel like I have developed more muscular strength already. I can even see more definition in my legs.

I like to take long hiking trips, but I always find myself progressively more and more worn out as the journey continues. Now, I feel confident that I will be able to remain strong throughout the length of my hiking trips which excites me.

For me Zero Carb is simple and nutritious, and it is the best I can do for my body. Based on all the positive aspects I have experienced so far, I plan to continue eating this way indefinitely. Why eat something else when I feel so wonderful!

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Lena during one of her hiking trips.

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.

 

 

Dr. H. L. Newbold on Ground Meat

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I consider Dr. H. L. Newbold to be one of the great medical mind of the last century. To learn more about him, please read my page H. L. Newbold.

This is an excerpt from the above pictured book. I do not recommend buying this book, as it was a precursor to his later and better volume The Type A / Type B Weight Loss Diet.  Nevertheless, he does share some interesting ideas and observations in this older book, as quoted below.

Dr. H. L. Newbold:

Do not eat ground meat. I know hamburgers are right up there with motherhood, milk, and the American flag, but we must face facts. Patients in my practice to not feel good after eating ground meat. Off-hand, it does not make sense that patients seem able to eat steak and not react to it, but have a reaction to ground beef. Still, I have checked my observations on hundreds of patients and must stand firm on what I have seen.

I don’t know why, but…my theory deals with rapidity of absorption. If you eat foods that still are relatively bulky, even after chewing (like steak), then the digestive enzymes must work on them a long time before they are broken down enough to pass through the intestinal walls into the bloodstream.

On the other hand, ground meat is rapidly digested and rapidly enters the bloodstream. We know that if you have a mild allergy to food, you will get a much stronger allergic reaction if that food is quickly digested and passed on into the system. Some people who have a mild allergy to beef do not react to steak (slow absorption), but do react to the ground beef (quick absorption). Patients are also more likely to react to other forms of commercially-ground meats, such as lamb, for example.

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I do not think this is an issue for everyone, but it is certainly good to be aware of the possibility. Most long term practitioners of Zero Carb appear to do just fine with ground beef. However, Samantha Taylor – who has followed an all meat diet for over 5 years now – has reported experiencing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) every time she eats ground beef. So, as always, the best thing to do is experiment and see if you notice any difference in the way your own body responds to whole meat verses ground meat and then do whatever feels best to you.

Another thing to keep in mind is that for people with histamine intolerance, ground meat is much higher in histamines. Once meat is ground, histamines form much more quickly. So, if you do have histamine issues, it is important to have the meat ground fresh and then get it into the freezer as quickly as possible to stop histamine formation.