Cereal Grains: Humanity’s Double-Edged Sword by Loren Cordain

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This one of the very best papers detailing why cereal grains are neither a necessary nor a desirable part of the human diet. Click on the link below to read Dr. Cordain’s article:

Cereal Grains: Humanity’s Double-Edged Sword

 

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My First 3 Months on Zero Carb by Tricia Weber

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Tricia’s Beloved Scottie.

I wanted to share with you that I have now been PAIN-FREE for over 30 days in a row.

Being pain free is hard to describe, as I have been in chronic severe pain for almost as long as I can remember. I have had 17 major surgeries so far, 3 of the last 5 were back surgeries. It has not been fun.

The spine surgeries were for a condition known as spondylolisthesis, a forward displacement of a vertebrae which puts pressure on the spinal cord that results in severe nerve pain. Since the first event in 1998, I have not been able to stand in one place – such as fixing a meal or simply waiting in line somewhere – because it quickly creates an astonishing degree of pain, extending from my lower spine all the way to the bottom of my feet. I would rate the level of pain as an 8 on a scale of 1-10. Once the pain was triggered, there was little relief for days, even with strong pain medications.  I stopped all pain meds in April 2014 and was pretty much housebound.

I started Zero Carb on December 26th after reading blog posts by long time Zero Carb practitioners Kelly Williams Hogan and Amber Wilcox-O’Hearn. Then, I joined the Facebook group Zeroing in on Health and read everything I could.  I love the support from other Zero Carb veterans like Dana Spencer Shute, Caitlin Tilton, and Charles Washington. I began eating ground beef, ribeye steaks, other cuts of beef, bacon, and roasted chicken, and drink beef bone broth after each meal. I eat no dairy and few eggs because they do not agree with me. I eat an average of about 2 pounds of meat per day. My transition to an all-meat diet was relatively uneventful. I did not experience any unpleasant symptoms, other than some nausea when I ate more fat than my body was accustomed to metabolizing.

During the first month and a half I was on Zero Carb, there was a gradual reduction in pain levels, so gradual that I hardly noticed it until I noticed that I didn’t notice it! Then, on February 16th, I fell and triggered a severe pain event. I had a few martinis as needed to take the edge off but stuck to the diet and continued eating only meat.  It was not perfect solution of course, just the best I could do in this situation (fired the pain doc) and I gained weight quickly. I was not in the mood to tangle with doctors.

On March 11th, while standing in line at an event, I suddenly realized that I had been standing for almost 30 minutes with no pain. I was floored. I remained standing there in the same place for another 15 minutes just to see if the intense burning was going to begin, but it never did. I have tested it almost every day since, and still there is no pain.  It was so amazing that I was afraid to believe it. I finally told my husband about it on March 22nd and he is just as astonished as I am. He decided to jump on the Zero Carb path with me on April 12th.

I am not sure why this way of eating has made such a dramatic difference in the pain, but I suspect it has something to do with the increased saturated fat and its effect on chronic inflammation. I will discuss this with the surgeon in June. There is such need for clinical studies regarding a Zero Carb way of eating and the benefits that are possible. I would love to be involved in further research.

What I do know, however, is that I am thrilled. The benefits are truly amazing. While there isn’t much I can do about the structural damage that already occurred, finding a way to alleviate the pain, the inflammation, has been critical to my overall physical and emotional well-being.  My husband and I are simply over the moon about all the positive changes. Zero Carb has literally given me back my life.

I have known for a long time that carbohydrates were not my friend. I have had trouble with hypoglycemia since my teens and will experience severe blood sugar swings whenever I eat any significant amount of carbohydrates. I began following a low carb/low fat diet in 1972 and eventually moved into a very low carb/low fat diet. I found through trial and error that the less carbohydrates I ate, the better I felt. However, even with the small amount of carbohydrates I was eating, I was still experiencing episodes of low blood sugar. Since I have completely eliminated all plant foods from my diet via Zero Carb, I have not experienced anymore low blood sugar episodes. This too is huge for me.

Prior to Zero Carb, I ate a very clean low to very low carb/low fat diet. All real food. About 8-10 ounces of chicken or lean meat per day with unlimited vegetables. Some olive oil and butter, but nowhere near as much fat as I am eating now on Zero Carb. From 2001 – 2006, I ate a raw vegan diet with lots of juicing. I was able to maintain a healthy weight eating that way, but it was hard to follow, and it did absolutely nothing to mitigate the pain. I kept dreaming about prime rib.

I have had IBS since my teens, it has improved significantly with the removal of all plant foods from my diet. I have to be careful with how much fat I eat early in the day, so I eat lean in the morning and save the ribeyes for dinner. If I overeat fat, the food will move through me a bit too quickly. I am still experimenting with this and fine-tuning to find the right balance and am confident that it will improve.

Weight is not an issue for me. I am 5’ 7” tall and have always weighed between 125-140 lbs. I have always been physically active, skiing is my love and I plan to continue it (skiing did not cause the spine problems). My reason for embarking on the Zero Carb path was to see if it would improve my overall general health, the alleviation of the pain was a completely unexpected outcome.

I cannot stress strongly enough how important it has been to do just meat and water for those first full 30 days. The longer I do this, the better it gets.  I do not believe that there is only one path that will work for everyone, but for anyone feeling inspired to give Zero Carb a try – I encourage you to give it a fair try.

I have learned that the most important factor in my well-being is how I feel emotionally. I know how important it is to not let my inner happiness be dependent on conditions like physical pain. After about 2 weeks on ZC, my energy levels zoomed and I just felt wonderful, it is truly amazing. I am so glad to have found ZC and that I stuck with it.

ADDENDUM (05-19-15):

22 years or so ago I was diagnosed with Reynaud’s Disease, which is a royal pita but not life threatening unless ignored (in which case my fingers will be amputated). But I like to snow ski (a lot!). Usually, when the temps get below 70, I am indoors and drinking hot water or coffee to keep warm. I live in Southern California, so its a pretty temperate climate.

A couple of days ago I went outside to watch the sunrise at 5 am, its a special treat for me when night temps moderate to 65-70. It was 53 degrees. It took a while to sink in that my fingers were warm and doing just fine. So I did it again yesterday, same result. I did it again today…52 degrees at 5 am, and my fingers were warm and fine. I am befuddled! …and feeling so blessed to have found this woe. I have no clue why, unless this woe naturally raises and sustains a higher body temp.

If ya’all have not heard of Reynaud’s… when my internal temp drops too low the blood veins in my fingers (and other appendages) collapse and my fingers turn white from lack of proper blood supply. It is very painful. Then when I warm them, its excruciating pain for 2 hours when the blood starts to flow back into them. My fingers turn blackish-blue, it is not pretty.

I will be 6 months zc on May 25. I know its not a “big” thing when compared to some of the situations that some of our other members on this board have to deal with on a daily basis, but for me its just incredible.

 

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: Samantha Taylor

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Samantha

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

I started back in 2011, so it’s been about four years now. I had first learned of this diet through my boyfriend, Michael Frieze. When he first told me that he was going to eat nothing but meat I thought he was crazy. I naturally have a harder time gaining weight, and I loved my junk food, so I saw no reason to give up my Ben and Jerry’s or Reese’s Cups.

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

It never was for weight issues. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t gain weight very easily. Right around the time that Michael started switching over his diet. I was constantly fatigued with a daily runny nose. I just never seemed quite right. My breaking point came when I developed a rash that stretched from the middle of my chest and wrapped all the way around by back. I still have no idea what that was about, but it was the push I needed.

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

It took a few months to adapt physically and mentally. When Michael and I started the diet together (he failed the first time), we went cold turkey. “Keto Flu” hit us hard. There is one day in particular that I look back on and just have to laugh. We were both completely drained of energy and had serve hunger pains. At this point, even the sight of meat was enough to make me nauseous. We decided to break our diet for some Subway. I was too tired to even leave the house so I made Michael go out alone. When he got back we had to take a nap before we could scrap up enough energy to eat them. After that failed attempt we decided to do a low carb diet for a few months, and then we made the switch to zero carb.

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

My boyfriend Michael was the most influential person. He usually does the research and all the reading, then relays everything he’s learned back to me. For both of us Owsley Stanley (a.k.a. The Bear) was the first person from whom we heard about this diet, and whenever we have a question we try to look through what he has written on his website for advice. We have also gotten a pretty amazing chicken recipe from him.

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Michael & Samantha

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

A mix of all. I always start my day with a cup of coffee in which I add a tbsp. of cream. After that my daily breakfast usually consists of eight eggs and three pieces of bacon. I will only occasionally eat cheese however.

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

I would say the majority of my diet is beef. Steaks are just too delicious and easy to cook. However, I have noticed a correlation between eating ground beef and a flare up in IBS symptoms. If our budget allows we always try to stick with steak. We will mix in other meats for some variety.

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

Rare. I’m finding the longer I’m on this diet the rarer I want my steaks to be.

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

Generally, no, but I have noticed that right before I start my period, instead of craving chocolate, I now crave fat. I will find myself adding butter to my food, or eating a slice as I’m cooking.

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

In the beginning, I wasn’t sure how much to eat or how large my meals should be. I obviously wasn’t eating enough as my weight dropped pretty quickly, and my menstrual cycle came to a halt. Since that experience, I have always eaten until I am satisfied. I listen to my body, and I can feel when it’s time to put the fork down.

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

I’ve tried liver once and I was not a fan at all.

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

I have yet to try it.

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Samantha preparing to tackle a juice steak!

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

Just two meals. I will eat in the morning and that keeps me satisfied through work and my night classes. When I get home at night I will then eat dinner. On my days off I sometimes will snack on a couple of eggs.

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

Two to three pounds generally.

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

No, only commercially produced meat, as I’m living on a college student budget.

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

I do drink coffee. I try to restrain myself to one cup a day, but a second cup will sometimes sneak its way in.

16. Do you use salt?

No, I don’t add any extra.

17. Do you use spices?

When we cook chicken we use “chimichurri” seasoning. I will occasionally sprinkle it on other meats as well though.

18. Do you take any supplements?

Living in Michigan I try to take a Vitamin D on a daily basis, but more often than not I don’t remember to take it.

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Samantha dressed in her “Lady Bug” costume for Halloween.

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

Around $400

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

Our grocery bill has dropped since we started this diet. No more money wasted on junk food and snacks. There are plenty of cheap meal options available, eggs, bacon, ground beef, etc. I would just say pay attention to the meat sales and know what all your options are in your area.

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

I work at a store where I’m solely responsible for stocking our weekly truck deliveries, so that’s quite physically demanding. Lifting cases of water and bags of dog food sure has added some muscle on my arms. Other than that, I just don’t have the time to go to the gym. Which is a shame because I do have access to one in my apartment complex.

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

I have never felt better. I hardly ever get sick. I have way more energy now and feel more productive. I didn’t realize what bad shape my body was in until I started this diet. It’s also improved other aspects of my life. Even though I’ve never had weight issues I still struggled a bit with body image. This diet has been a huge confidence booster. I would also say that it’s made me more adventurous in try new things and also questioning information that’s presented as “fact”.

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

No children yet.

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?

Not yet, but this is something I’m excited to do and also nervous about all at the same time.

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

Feeling healthy, not wasting time in grocery stores deciding what to eat, and getting to eat a lot of steak.

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

You can do it! I’m so tired of people saying and thinking that they can’t do this diet. Yes it will be hard in the beginning but once you stick with it, trust me it gets easier. At this point I could not imagine going back to a carb-based diet. I’m slightly ashamed that I ever did that to my body in the first place, but I did not know any better.

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

My family is very skeptic and thinks I’m crazy. I have a brother-in-law who is a vegetarian, and they are more willing to listen to him than me. I gave up trying to explain or prove my diet to people who isn’t willing to listen and just wants to argue.

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

Nope, I think I pretty much covered everything.

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Samantha enjoying a bike ride.

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.