Zero Carb Testimonial: Rachel Chamness

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

6 months

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

I was overweight, but it was the better health that I really wanted. I was getting arthritis, I was tired all the time, I had gallbladder stones, I was having a hard time getting pregnant.

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

It took between 2-3 weeks for me to get through the adaptation phase: headaches, bad moods, nausea, spacey feeling, typical adaptation symptoms.

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

I read Eat Fat, Look Thin first by Bruce Fife many years ago, then Gary Taubes book Good Calories, Bad Calories; then right before this diet I read Wheat Belly. I was LCHF from 2008-2011 and grain free since 2008.

I did LCHF for many years, but after becoming a Mom, I had a hard time keeping to the diet. Before, when I had more time, I would make many LC sweets to eat. But once I had a baby to care for, I had less time and energy to make these special treats for myself. So my sweet tooth would get the best of me and I would stray from the diet. Going ZC completely cured me of the cravings, and and I found it much easier to stick to. I became interested in it after reading the articles about the Andersen family, as well as Kelly Hogan’s story. I saw their children, and the fact that their children had been ZC their whole lives. They clearly had the Weston Price markers of true health: wide faces, straight white teeth, etc. That is what truly convinced me, along with their miraculous stories.

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

I eat all meats, seafood, eggs, dairy.

Rachel in one of her Opera costumes pre-Zero Carb…

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

I eat mostly beef. It is what makes me feel the best.

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

Rare for steaks, medium rare for ground.

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

Yes, I buy fatty cuts, and I eat burger meat with cheese and bacon grease. I usually add eggs to everything.

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

I eat the fat first, then the protein until satisfied.

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

No, I hate them, and I just found I am allergic to livers, so I am over it. 🙂

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

Yes, whenever I remember, or get into the mood.

A side-by-side before and after comparison of Rachel…

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

I eat three.

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

I eat 2 eggs and 3 pieces of bacon for breakfast, lunch will be maybe 0.75 lb of ground beef or similar weight leftover dinner meat, and about the same weight for dinner.

Since I eat the fat first, it fills me up a lot. Sometimes I eat more, sometimes I eat less. I don’t measure, I just eat.

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

I have eaten grass-fed/pastured meat for about 10 years; but I have not been able to find beef that is grass-fed that I can tolerate. The grass-fed beef is too lean, which causes me cravings. So, I buy grain-finished local hormone-free beef, but the rest of what I buy, like eggs, is pastured/organic.

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

I drink coffee, wine, perrier, raw milk, water.

16. Do you use salt?

Yes, sea salt.

17. Do you use spices?

I mainly use just sea salt and pepper. In doing this diet, I found nightshades (paprika, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, etc.) cause me terrible problems, so I avoid them completely. So, that makes spices hard. Occasionally, I will use thyme, rosemary, or sage, but usually, I just enjoy salt and pepper.

Rachel today…

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18. Do you take any supplements?

Yes. My thyroid is badly damaged, so I am taking medicine for it until I can heal it. I take magnesium on occasion, and I take B vitamins because I need them (Pyroluria), iodine, Vitamin D3 & K2. I take a supplement for my liver, called Livaplex by Standard Process, which my naturopath suggested I take permanently, even though my gallstones are gone now.

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

This is hard to say. I have two other family members who are not ZC. I used to spend a LOT more on nuts, almond flour, expensive paleo food in general. I calculate that I spend about $250 a month on myself on food (not beverages), but it could be as much as $400.

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

Buy meat, eggs, and dairy from farmers you know and trust, you will have a better safer product for less. Buy in bulk. Eat fat first, and you will eat a lot less total meat. Fat is also lighter and cheaper than the meat itself.

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

No, but I do chase after a 4 year old a bit. I have plans to get into yoga or pilates again one day.

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.)
Before ZC, I was about a size 14-16. In the past 6 months, I have lost 45 lbs. and now wear a size 6. The first week of ZC, my wedding ring finally fit again. I must have been bloated for the past 5 years when it wouldn’t fit. Within a few weeks, the arthritis that had started in my hands had disappeared. I had more energy and felt better over all.

I did have gallbladder stones, so I had some problem with increasing fat in the beginning. So, this is what I did to fix that:

I knew that by reducing my fat intake in order to stop the gallbladder pain, I was actually making the gallbladder condition worse. It’s definitely a use it or lose it problem; and I did not want surgery.

I took HCL (Standard Process Zypan) at every meal, and also tried some ox bile supplements to help digest the fat and keep the pain away. I also took enzymes.

Then, I tried this method of dissolving the gallstones that I adapted from this page: http://www.karenhurd.com/pages/healthtopics/specifichealthconcerns/ht-shc-gallbladderdisease.html instead of eating the recommended beans (which are clearly not ZC!), I substituted psyllium husk powder pills (which someone else had reported good results with). Every time I felt pain, which was about 6-10 times a day, I would take a few capsules.

I did this until the pain stopped, and eventually I discovered that I didn’t need the ox bile anymore. I slowly reduced the HCL – it is easy to find HCL doses because too much causes burning in the stomach. So, I followed my body’s cues for reducing it and now I find no problems, the stones are gone.

Rachel today…

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

It is so easy. It takes almost no time to make something delicious. I don’t feel guilty anymore about not eating my vegetables. Who knew that most of them were making me more sick anyway!? I feel great without the extra weight I was carrying around. I have more energy, and just feel calmer in general. I have less cravings, it is so much easier to stick to than LCHF. I don’t obsess about food all the time anymore.

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

Just try it for 30 days and see how you feel. Don’t focus on how much you weigh. According to my BMI, I am overweight by 5 pounds, which is ridiculous. I am 5’6” and a size 6. Now, I have more muscle and probably bone mass than I did before. Don’t weigh yourself. I don’t even own a scale. I measured my inches every week (at the time it was because I was trying to order a dress to fit me and was losing weight so fast). It was very encouraging to do it that way. The Principia Carnivora Facebook page is an excellent non-judgmental group that helps with questions you may have and troubleshooting if you find the diet isn’t working as well for you.

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

My immediate family is ok with it. They know I research everything to death, and don’t do things lightly. But, people aren’t, on the whole, supportive. They don’t understand the science behind it, and are convinced I will get scurvy or something, which is kinda funny actually. Usually, when people ask me how I lost so much weight, I just tell them I eat low carb and I don’t eat anything sweet. I will tell a few people, occasionally, but really I am not trying to convince anyone to eat the way I do. I do it for myself, and honestly I don’t feel like the long discussion it always prompts to tell people I am Zero Carb and don’t eat plants except for medicine.

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

This way of eating is totally and completely freeing. I was a complete foodie and totally obsessed about food, what I would eat next, what I could make (even low carb – I have a low carb food blog). Now I just eat when I am hungry and it takes 2 minutes to cook myself something. I can go for long periods without being hungry. I like the way it makes me feel.
I intend to eat this way for the rest of my life.

Rachel 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.

 

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Zero Carb Interview: Christine Scholtes

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Christine and her two healthy children.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Medium, but moving more towards rare.

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

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

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

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

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Christine after her initial 5 months on Zero Carb.

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

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

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

Yes, once or twice a week perhaps.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coffee & tea, but I do not overdo it.

16. Do you use salt?

Yes, pink Himalayan.

17. Do you use spices?

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

18. Do you take any supplements?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

24. Have you raised children on a Zero Carb diet? If so, what has been their experience? How difficult is it to keep carbs out of their diet in today’s world?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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A recent picture of Christine with her two children.

Please visit my Interviews page to read the stories of other long time Zero Carb veterans.

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

 

Zero Carb Interview: Kelly Williams Hogan

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Kelly with her very healthy – almost Zero Carb – son and daughter.

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

I began a very low carb diet a little over ten years ago, but I switched to a NO carb diet in 2009.  So, for about five and a half years, I have only eaten from the animal kingdom.

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

I originally started eating a low carb diet, because I was obese and my doctor said that I needed to lose at least 100 pounds. After five years on a low-carb diet, I realized that I felt better when my carb intake was at its lowest. I was also growing weary of constantly trying to satisfy my sweet-tooth and having to workout two hours per day just to maintain my weight-loss on a low-carb diet. I was hungry and tired, and I also knew that climbing the “carb ladder” always resulted in weight-gain for me. So, I started reading about the possibilities of eating a Zero Carb diet. I found an online forum of Zero Carb-ers who all seemed quite healthy and claimed to have no more cravings and were able to stay fit without working themselves to death in the gym. I was intrigued and decided to try it out for myself.

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

I had already been eating a very low carb diet for five years, so it wasn’t a major change to drop those last 10-20 carbs per day. It was a challenge in social situations, because those last 10 carbs can certainly help you fit in at a party! But otherwise, I was very ready to abandon the low-carb “franken” foods and just stick to my favorite foods: steak, burgers, bacon, roasts, etc. (Note: For more detail on Kelly’s experience moving from low car to Zero Carb, please read her blog post: Three Reasons Zero Carb is Easier than Low Carb.)

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

I read quite a bit of Stefansson’s writings. But I mostly read journals of fellow Zero Carb-ers and learned from their experiences.

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

First, let me explain that I am not currently trying to lose weight.  I’ve been within about 5 pounds of my current weight for many months now and am quite happy at this weight. So, I am not at “strict” as I was when I was wanting to lose weight. For most of my last 5 years, I ate only meat and drank only water. But currently, I drink about 1-2 ounces of cream per day. I very rarely have any cheese. And I usually have some eggs at least once per week. The rest is all meat. If I were still trying to lose weight, I would return to just meat and water. Works every time.

Kelly on her Wedding Day before beginning her low-to-no carb lifestyle

Kelly on her Wedding Day before beginning her low-to-no carb lifestyle.

6. What percentage of your diet is beef verses other types of meats?
I’m guessing that I eat about 85% beef. The remaining 15% is bacon and chicken wings. I only eat other meats if I’m being offered something different, such as when my mother-in-law fixes pork chops or chicken thighs. I certainly take her up on those offers, but those are rare occasions. By and large, I eat beef.

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

I’m not picky, as long as there is some pink in it. I like my beef anywhere from medium to rare. It is truly a taste preference, not necessarily because of its nutritional value.

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

I add a lot of bacon grease when I eat burgers. I don’t add anything to steak, unless it is a VERY lean cut.  In which case, I enjoy some butter, tallow, or bacon grease. Or even some blue cheese crumbles. I definitely enjoy the extra fat on my burgers, though, which my husband fixes on the grill. Burgers with several spoonfuls of bacon fat is a daily staple for me.

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

As I have gotten closer to my desired weight, I have had to become very careful to not over-eat. I have a huge appetite and have a hard time recognizing when I’m full. Granted even if I overeat often, I tend to stay just 5-10 pounds heavier than I am now. But if I want to stay at my current weight, I have to make sure that I stop when I’m merely satisfied, rather than eating until I’m “stuffed.” I don’t go around hungry, but I also try to stop eating when I’m reasonably full. (Please note: Kelly actually gained 20 lbs. during her first six months on Zero Carb. Please read her blog post When Lowering Carbs Causes Weight Gain for more details.)

How Kelly looks today at her current weight.

Kelly today at her current weight.

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

I don’t.

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

I don’t. I would if someone fixed it and offered it, but since that never happens, I never have any.

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

I usually eat three times per day. Plenty of Zero Carb-ers eat only 1-2 times per day, but I enjoy eating when my family eats. I don’t mind having three smaller meals versus one or two larger ones.

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

I currently eat about a pound of ground beef, several (4-6?) thick slices of bacon, and several spoonfuls of bacon grease. But that amount has varied tremendously throughout my ZC journey. I previously ate about 3 pounds per day for quite some time. And I definitely had long periods where two pounds of meat per day served me well. But I currently am enjoying bacon, bacon drippings, and about one pound of beef per day.

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

I eat whatever is cheaper, which is almost always commercially-produced, grain-finished beef.  I have tried eating grass-fed beef, but can’t tell that I feel any difference eating one over the other. The cost difference is pretty considerable, though, so I just buy what is most convenient and affordable.

Kelly creating fun memories with her children.

Kelly creating fun memories with her children.

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

I drink decaf coffee. And until about ten days ago, I drank plenty of regular coffee as well. I love seltzer water and occasionally drink unsweetened tea. I mostly drank plain water while I was trying to lose weight, but I’m a little more lenient with myself these days. I can’t tell that I have any issues or cravings with these extra additions. But if weight became an issue again, I would immediately return to plain water.

16. Do you use salt?

Yes, I do now. I ate completely unseasoned meat for several months and found that I felt no different using salt versus not. But I certainly preferred the taste when I added salt, so I added it back into my diet with no problems.

17. Do you use spices?

Pepper, sometimes. And occasionally my in-laws will use garlic and some spices when they have my family over for dinner. Those don’t bother me, but I really prefer the taste of just salted meat.

18. Do you take any supplements?

No.

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

I have two hungry kids and a husband that is not Zero Carb.  So…I have no idea. I pay about $5/pound for my meat and eat about a pound per day, plus bacon. So, maybe $7 per day for just my own food.

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

Raise your own cattle 🙂 Ground beef is quite cheap, which is why I eat so many burgers, rather than ribeyes all day long. But seriously, once I eliminated all sodas, “sides”, supplements, deserts, etc, eating all meat is quite cheap!

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

No, I do not “exercise.” I do move when moving feels good, which usually means playing on a playground with my kids or taking a casual family walk around the neighborhood. I avoid sweating, and I make no efforts to “burn calories.” I find that I stay at a lower weight just as easily without exercise, as long as I avoid all carbs.

Kelly enjoying her ability to exercise comfortably.

Kelly enjoying her ability to be physically active when desired.

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.)

Prior to eating a zero-carb diet, I had no menstrual cycle for years, and now I am quite regular. I also had horrible leg cramps at night, as well as brain fog, high blood sugar, a tendency to catch strep-throat (and other common illnesses), and a history of staph infections. All of that is completely resolved. I regained fertility, birthed two healthy children, sleep well through the night, and almost never get sick at all.  My energy level is much higher now and my moods are far more stable and positive. I feel good and stay healthy.

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

I conceived, carried, birthed, and breastfed both of my babies while on a zero-carb diet.  I had no morning sickness with either child. I was also back to my pre-children weight very quickly after having them. My kids are both healthy and quite intelligent (If I do say so myself!). If I am blessed with more children, i wouldn’t think twice about eating a zero-carb diet during my pregnancy. In fact, I wouldn’t do it any other way! (Note: For more information about Kelly’s Zero Carb pregnancies read her blog post: Should I Eat Zero Carb While Pregnant?)

Kelly during one of her Zero Carb pregnancies

Kelly during one of her Zero Carb pregnancies.

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?

My children aren’t quite zero-carb, but they eat a very low-carb diet. They eat mostly meat, eggs, and cheese, but also have some low-carb vegetables and some granny-smith apples as a treat.  Keeping grains, sugars, starches, and “junk” away from kids is hard. Really hard. But at age three, my daughter wouldn’t take bread or candy if you offered it to her.  She politely says “no thanks” and can fluently explain that sugar and bread would make her feel sick. My kids have never tasted a piece of bread, a cracker, a piece of candy, or even a sweet piece of fruit, such as pineapple. They’ve never had a cookie. They have no sweet tooth at all and eat meat and vegetables quite happily!  They are wonderful eaters and LOVE their low-carb meals. They get excited for every single meal! They don’t feel deprived in the least. (Note: For more information on raising children on low-to-no carbohydrates, please read Kelly’s blod post: Keeping Our Kids Off the Sugar Teet.)

Addendum: Kelly posted this comment in the Facebook Group Zeroing in on Health on March 7, 2015… “Even though my kids do not eat any grains, sweets, or starches, I did allow them to have a small amount of fruit in the morning – mostly Granny Smith apples, honeydew melon, watermelon, and cantaloupe. They ate their fruit along with their eggs, bacon, and sausage. Both of them have experienced mild skin eczema since they were babies. Their dermatologist said this was very common in young child with fair skin. Following L. Amber Wolcox-O’Hearn’s lead, I decided to remove most all of the fruit from my children’s diet. Suddenly, the eczema is completely gone. Seriously! Their skin is perfect for the first time since they were infants. They haven’t missed the fruit or even asked for it, and I certainly haven’t missed hearing them complain of itchy skin.”

Kelly's son enjoying a Zero Carb meal

Kelly’s son enjoying a Zero Carb meal.

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

It’s simple. I like thinking of my food as fuel, rather than obsessing over getting “treats” each day. I love how I feel, too. I have energy and yet, I’m not an emotional basket-case.  I’m calm and have a very even temperament now. I also love that I don’t have to count calories, starve myself, or workout at the gym to fit into skinny jeans.

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

Keep it simple. Eat meat when you’re hungery. Eat fatty meats when it tastes good to you. Eat leaner meats when that tastes good to you. Eat when you’re hungry, and do something else when you’re not. Drink water when you’re thirsty and don’t force it down when you’re not. Think like a lion who happily eats an antelope every day without being bored by it. Food is fuel, not entertainment. If you give your body the proper fuel, you stay out of the way and allow it to function properly.

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

No, but I thank you so much for the opportunity to share!

(Note: If you are interested in following Kelly’s ongoing Zero Carb journey, you can do so through her blog My Zero Carb Life.)

The Daily Mail recently published an article on Kelly: North Carolina Woman Who Couldn’t Fall Pregnant Reversed Her Infertility.

Kelly spending quality time with her children.

Kelly spending quality time with her children.

Please visit my Interviews page to read the stories of other long time Zero Carb veterans.

If you are interested in meeting others who practice an All-Meat diet, please feel free to join Charles Washington in his Facebook group Zeroing in on Health or Michael Frieze in his Facebook group Principia Carnivora for guidance and support. These two groups use different approaches, so if you find that one does not suit you, please check out the other one.