My First Four Months on Zero Carb by Esmée La Fleur

Sasha & Me

Me & My German Shepherd Dog “Sasha”

I have explained a lot of the following details on my About Me page, but I feel it is important to include some of them here as well so that readers unfamiliar with my history may better understand just how much appreciation I have for discovering the Zero Carb, or All-Meat way of eating…

As some of you already know, my reasons for trying an All-meat diet have nothing to do with weight. I have been very sick for a very long time and most of my issues revolve around extreme food intolerance. Pretty much everything I put in my mouth makes me sick, and has done so for the better part of the last 20 years. I believe these troubles resulted from a combination of a gastrointestinal infection I acquired in India when I was 16 and the vegan diet (high in wheat) I chose to follow shortly there after. Both of these factors damaged the villi of my small intestine and lead to the manifestation of celiac disease, specifically the skin version known as dermatitis herpetiformis (a very itchy rash experienced by approximately 20% of those diagnosed with celiac disease).

Because I was ideologically committed to a vegan diet, the high fiber foods I ate (even after wheat was removed from my diet) continued to assault the already severely compromised condition of my small intestine. I gradually became sensitive to everything I ate and was miserable all of the time. I was eventually diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome based on the constellation of bizarre symptoms I experienced, and the fact that I was so tired most of the time that getting out of bed to take a shower took extreme effort.

I reached a low point in 2001, weighing only 87 lbs., and was sure that I was going to die from starvation. Out of desperation, I had tried adding animal foods back into my diet beginning several years earlier, but I was still eating lots of plant foods which continued to irritate my gut. But I was brain washed into believing that plant foods were necessary for health, so I persevered in my consumption of them.

I finally found a goat milk yogurt that did not make me feel horrible after eating it, and I ended up living on a mono diet of only goat milk yogurt and raspberries for 2 years straight. It saved my life. I then was able to move over to a diet of raw ground beef, olive oil, and leafy greens. I was still convinced that plant foods were essential to good long term health. This way of eating worked fairly well for another two year period. However, I started experiencing negative symptom from it more and more as time went on. I now know that this was due to an increasing intolerance to both salicylates (olive oil and greens) and histamines (aged beef).

I then went off on a crazy tangent of low fat vegan fruitarianism promoted by Doug Graham known as the 80/10/10 diet. I did this for another two years, but continued to feel even worse. I was continually in a state of sugar highs and lows, which made me irritable and angry a lot of the time. I was having trouble thinking straight, and I was painfully bloated all the time. Fortunately, this was around the time Dr. Robert Lustig gave his excellent presentation on fructose metabolism, explaining in detail why too much fructose is not a good thing. Please see his YouTube video SUGAR: THE BITTER TRUTH for the complete explanation.

So, my next dietary experiment was a low carb high fat (LCHF) raw vegan diet heavy on avocados and green leafy vegetables. This stabilized my blood sugar and kept my energy pretty steady. But I was still bloated all the time and experiencing other unpleasant symptoms from the food I was eating. Then, I was severely bit by a dog, and – between the antibiotics and the energy needed for healing – my digestive issues just got worse. The avocado salads just weren’t working anymore after that.

I eventually returned to goat milk yogurt and raspberries because I had no idea what else to do at this point. However, even the yogurt and raspberries didn’t work as well as they had in the past. Again, I now know that this was due to my increasing sensitivity to both salicylates (raspberries) and histamines (yogurt). Nevertheless, I remained on yogurt and raspberries exclusively for another full year. I experimented with rice before and after that, but all of it made me feel bad. While doing a 63 day green juice fast (using the only two vegetables low in salicylates: celery and lettuce) – which felt good, but was certainly not sustainable – I stumbled upon Jimmy Moore’s book Keto Clarity.

I had read about the Ketogenic diet many years earlier and knew that it was used to control seizures in epileptic children. I was intrigued at the time and even experimented with Atkins’ approach, but I was always including plant foods in my dietary trials, which I now realize was the reason I did not experience the benefits so many others did with this type of diet. As it turns out, I am not only sensitive to carbohydrates, I am also sensitive to salicylates which are present in almost ALL plant foods. As long as they were in the mix, any diet I tried was doomed to failure. The time I spent on goat milk yogurt and raw beef was the closest I came to removing most plant foods from my diet, but it still wasn’t enough. Please read my page on Salicylates for more information.

Jimmy Moore’s book re-kindled my interest in the Ketogenic diet and I proceeded to devour all of the podcast interviews he has done with Ketogenic diet scientists and doctors over the past 8 years.  What a wealth of information he provides for free! I know many people in the Zero Carb community are off-put by Jimmy’s promotion of Keto “junk” or “Frankenfoods” as they like to call them. But for me, Jimmy Moore’s audio and video library was a lighthouse beacon of hope. I had no idea how much information was now available on the Ketogentic diet compared to when I first encountered it 20 years ago. For those who are interested, I have links to many of his best interviews on my Resources page.

Somehow, someway, through a path that can no long remember exactly, I found my way to Amber Wilcox-O’Hearn’s website on The Ketogenic Diet for Health, and then to her personal blog Empirica where she delineates her experience of eating a totally carnivorous diet for over 5 years. I was fascinated! I had no idea that was even possible. Yes, I knew about the traditional diets of the Inuit and Masai tribes, but their diets utilized many parts of the animals they raised or harvested from the wild. Amber was simply eating muscle meat without much in the way of organ meats, bone broth, etc. I wanted to know more, that was for sure.

Some anonymous person added me to the Facebook group Zeroing in on Health (ZIOH) started by long time Zero Carb veteran Charles Washington. I suddenly entered a whole community of people eating this way, many for over five years. Naturally, I had a few concerns about eating this way which were quickly answered and put my mind at ease. I had been on a Ketogenic diet for three weeks (started on December 7, 2014), but I was still eating some low carb plant foods like sauerkraut, leafy greens, etc. I was also eating animal foods like cheese and eggs, chicken and turkey, and sour cream. Even though I was in “ketosis” and feeling some benefits from this – mostly related to blood sugar stability – I was still having negative reactions to ALL of these foods.

Eventually, thanks again to Amber Wilcox-O’Hearn, I finally figured out that I was sensitive to histamines in the same way that I was sensitive to salicylates. Histamines are present in all aged foods. Ironically, most of the Keto-friendly foods I was eating were either fermented or aged and – therefore – high in histamines. Egg white are also high in histamines. So now I was ingesting both salicylates and histamines.

Every time I ate, I experienced severe GI bloating, hours of burping, a migraine headache, a racing heart rate, and low blood pressure that made standing upright for even short periods quite difficult. So, in spite of eating a Ketogenic diet, I was feeling quite miserable. Therefore, an All-Meat diet seemed like the next logical step to explore. I figured that if others have not just survived, but thrived, on Zero Carb for five or more years, then a 30-day trial certainly would not kill me. So, I began my carnivorous adventure on January 1, 2015.

However, what I soon discovered is that ALL meats sold in U.S. supermarkets are aged to some extent, either intentionally or by default, and – consequently – are high in histamines. Every type of meat I tried made me sick with all the symptoms described above. The only animal foods I could safely eat were raw egg yolks and heavy whipping cream, so I ate 2 dozen egg yolks and 16 oz of heavy whipping cream every night for the first month and a half while I worked to find a source of histamine-free meat. This felt like my only hope, and I was not going to give up.

I finally located some unaged fresh-frozen grassfed veal that produced no negative reactions. The difference in how I felt after eating it was truly remarkable. I almost felt like a normal person. Most people eat and feel good, but – for over two decades – my experience has been to eat and feel utterly bad (and when I say bad, I mean so bad that I often just wished I was dead). So, I knew I was on to something. I finally understood what the problem had been all these years, and this knowledge has moved me from a place of hopelessness to one of great hope. I finally have direction and know what I need to do.

After a month and a half, my source of veal ran out and I had to go back to the eggs and cream for a week or so until I located another source of histamine-free meat. I eventually found some local humanely-raised pork that could be processed within two days of being slaughtered. The company that sold this pork – The Meat Shop in Phoenix, AZ – also had beef that was only aged for 10 days (most beef is aged for a minimum of 21 and usually much longer by the time it reaches the retail shelf). I tried their beef, but – sadly – it still contained to many histamines for me to eat. Everyone’s tolerance for histamines is different, and mine appears to be zero, at least for now. Maybe, as the villi in my gut heals, I will regain my ability to properly metabolize histamines. That would be truly awesome and that is the vision that I hold for myself.

The pork, however, has been working pretty well. As soon as the animal clears inspection, the butcher processes it for me and freezes it immediately in order to stop the histamine formation as quickly as possible. I have been eating 1 lb. of ground pork with 4 oz. of butter once a day for the past month. Right now, I find that if I eat more than 1 lb. of meat at a time, or if I eat more than one time per day, I feel tired and inflamed. I am hoping that as my digestive system heals, I will be able to eat more meat and less added fat. Time will tell. Most women on this diet consume about 1.5 to 2.5 lbs. of fatty meat per day. But, for now, what I am doing is working pretty well.

The Zero Carb veterans generally discourage people from adding extra fat to their meat – unless it is super lean – because there are more nutrients in the meat than in the added fat, and too much added fat can cause some folks to gain unwanted body fat. Many people who come to Zero Carb from a Keto background often make the mistake of adding a lot of extra fat to their meat and then wonder why they are gaining weight. Since I was underweight to begin with, I was not overly concerned about this problem for myself.

In addition to the pork and butter, I also make and drink bone broth. I have personally found bone broth to be a very beneficial part of my transition to this diet. I believe it prevented some of the more severe symptoms that can occur during the initial period of metabolic Adaptation to a Zero Carb diet. None of the Zero Carb veterans that I have interviewed include bone broth in their diet, so it is clearly not necessary for long term health.

However, I strongly feel – based on my own experience, as well as the experience of others who are following a Zero Carb diet for complex health issues like me – that bone broth can be a real asset. My position on this subject, and my insistence on sharing my experience with others who are newly trying this diet, actually got me ex-communicated from the ZIOH fold. (Really? Yes, really!)

It is a long story and too complicated to try an explain here, but basically the Admins of that group did not like me promoting the benefits I have experienced from bone broth because they felt that I was somehow confusing people into thinking that it was an essential part of the diet, rather than just an optional addition. Perhaps I just have more faith and trust in the intelligence of individuals, and expect them to be able to read information and determine what the best course of action is for themselves, without needing others to make the decision for them.

Those of us who have chosen to include bone broth as part of our Zero Carb diet are at a complete loss to understand the ZIOH stance, especially since bone broth is clearly a food from the “animal kingdom.” I mean, it is not like we were singing the praises of Coke Zero or something, for heaven’s sake. I think the misunderstanding arises from the fact that none of the ZIOH Admins have ever suffered with the severe gastrointestinal issues or complex health problems that result from this. The only long term Zero Carb-er I have interviewed who had similar issues with food intolerances and might possibly be able to understand and relate was Charlene Andersen. But, she is not an active member of ZIOH. To read why I think bone broth can be beneficial for some people, please see my article Can Bone Broth Be Used as Part of a Zero Carb Diet?

After The Andersen Family interview went viral and was shared on William Davis’s Wheat Belly Facebook page and several other pages, ZIOH experienced an influx of many new members with Lyme Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and similar very severe illnesses. This was a completely different crowd than ZIOH had formerly attracted. Most people who get interested in Zero Carb do so for weight loss reasons. But that was not the case for many of the new people – arriving via The Andersen Family interview – checking out this unique way of eating.

It has been my experience that it is virtually impossible for someone who has not experienced these types of complex health and GI problems to understand even remotely what it is like. And to forbid us to talk about bone broth – which has been shown to be so helpful for people with these kinds of issues – in the group is not only totally ridiculous, but terribly short-sighted in my opinion. What is the point of being part of a group if we are not allowed to share information and experiences? They pushed a lot of people away from learning more about a diet that has the potential to significantly improve the lives of so many very, very sick people.

Fortunately, however, this is a mostly free internet world, and we (with the support of 5-year Zero Carb practitioner Michael Frieze) simply created a new group called Principia Carnivora for ourselves where everyone is free to openly discuss any and all ideas that we feel may be beneficial to us on our journeys back to well-being. We had almost 400 new members requests in just 4 days, so I guess that says a lot about the need for a group like this with a more relaxed and free-thinking environment. If this sounds like your kind of group, please come join us and check it out. Our main objective is to have fun while supporting one another.

So, I will just end by saying that while I personally enjoy bone broth and feel better when I drink it, this may or may not be true for you. Like eggs and dairy, bone broth is secondary in importance to meat on a Zero Carb diet. It is important to keep in mind that not everyone reacts to it the same way. A small percentage of people who are sensitive to MSG can turn the glutamine in bone broth into glutamate and experience all the same symptoms they do from MSG. This is most often seen in children with Autism, but it can happen in anyone with gut issues. The only way to know how it will affect you personally is to try it.

I drink 1-2 quarts of bone broth per day. I remove the fat so that it does not interfere with my natural appetite and hunger signals. Essentially, it is the Zero Carb version of an electrolyte replacement beverage. Many people find it really helps to prevent the muscle cramping that can occur during the Adaptation phase of beginning this way of eating. For more information, please see my page on Bone Broth.

The most significant benefits I have experienced so far include…

  • Food Reactions – I no longer experience unpleasant symptoms after eating.
  • Bloating – I no longer look and feel 6 months pregnant after eating.
  • Blood Sugar – I no longer experience daily hypoglycemic episodes.
  • Energy – My energy is now stable and steady.
  • Teeth – My teeth are no longer sensitive.
  • Hunger – I eat once a day and am rarely hungry in between meals.
  • Cravings – I experience no carbohydrate or other cravings.
  • Mental Clarity – I have greater mental clarity and focus.
  • Mood –  I am no longer irritable all the time.
  • Outlook – I feel much more optimistic about life.
  • Hemorrhoids – I no longer experience pain or irritation.
  • Weight – I was underweight (95 lb) and am now at a healthier weight (120 lb).
  • Blood Pressure – It has increased from 85/50 to 105/95.
  • Skin – My skin has stopped breaking out with pimples.
  • Nails – My nails are much stronger.
  • Hormones – I no longer have menstrual cramps during my period.
  • Headaches – I no longer have migraine headaches as long as I avoid salicylates and histamines.
  • Shingles – The scar I have from this no longer tingles or itches.
  • Sleep – My sleep quality has improved and I need less total sleep.
  • Mornings – I no longer wake up feeling like I have a hangover.

As you can see, I have experienced quite a few positive changes in just 4 short months. The key for me in making this diet a success is to have a continual supply of histamine-free meat. I want to see if I can makes some histamine-free pemmican to serve as a back-up resource, as well as for travelling or day trips. I also plan to explore some therapeutic modalities, like DAO enzymes, which have been shown to assist the break down of histamines that are present in food. I am definitely happy with my progress thus far, and – as long as things keep moving in a positive direction – I fully expect to continue this way of eating indefinitely.

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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.

 

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

 

My First 3 Months on Zero Carb by Tricia Weber

tricia weber

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.