1. How long have you been eating a Zero Carb (No Plant Foods) diet?
For the better part of 7 years.
2. What motivated you to try this way of eating? Weight? Health?
Despite my healthy appearance in my late teens / early twenties, I was plagued with health problems. Chronic heartburn, IBS, and unexplained fatigue. I’ve had heartburn since I was around 12 years old! However, the most severe of my health issues were Premature Ventricular Contractions (PVCs). PVCs are essentially premature heart beats that cause the sensation of your heart beating erratically.
The PVCs got so bad that I was about to have a Cardiac Ablation procedure performed. I asked my Cardiologist if any lifestyle changes could be made to decrease PVC frequency. I really wanted to avoid having an invasive procedure. He offered prescriptions, typical.
When I adopted a very low carb diet, I noticed my PVCs went away 100%. I found this instantaneous symptom abatement so puzzling, but I was incredibly grateful.
In order to see if my new Zero Carb diet was the cure, I went on a 100% vegan diet. What better way to test than to eat exactly the opposite of Zero Carb? This was a terrible mistake. After a few days the PVCs got so bad I ended up in the Emergency Room. While hooked up to the EKG machine we found my heartbeat was comprised of over 35% premature beats. They gave me an intravenous beta blocker to reduce the PVCs. All my labs appeared normal despite the dramatic onset of PVCs.
I have tested my theory of carbs causing PVCs a few more times over the years and I end up with PVCs in a matter of a day. I’m not foolish enough to go vegan anymore for these experiments though!
I’ve informed my cardiologist of this phenomenon. He is admittedly puzzled but open-minded. We cannot pinpoint the exact biological cause. I feel it’s either a downstream effect of systemic inflammation, symptom of histamine intolerance, irritation of the vagus nerve, or an undiagnosed hiatal hernia exacerbated by bloating do to maldigested carbohydrates.
I’ve grown to care less about the exact cause. All I care about is how great I feel and how grateful I am for this diet.
3. How long did it take you to adapt to a Zero Carb diet, both physically and psychologically?
Physically the adaption phase for me was unpleasant but short lasting. I had insomnia and low blood volume due to the diuretic effects of first entering ketosis. If only I had known how helpful sodium supplementation would have been! The “keto flu” as people call it lasted about two weeks.
Psychologically the transition into Zero Carb was more about shaking all the misinformation we have been brainwashed into believing for so many decades about nutrition. Every fat-rich meal I ate at the beginning of the transition made me feel guilty. Those of you starting this type of diet in 2019+ should be grateful for the plentiful research and media support these diets have garnered over the past few years. Seven years ago, when I started this diet I was really going against the grain of conventional wisdom.
4. What books or people were most influential in guiding you to this way of eating?
While in early college I was a silly vegan and was dealing with a host of health issues. I soon found myself in a place of open-mindedness to change. I stumbled upon Mark Sissons blog (marksdailyapple) and it changed my views on the proper human diet almost overnight. As a result of this I went very low carb.
I now follow Dr. Shawn Baker, Mikhaila Peterson, and Dr. Paul Saladino on social media. Their content is great.
But honestly, I feel that after a certain amount of time on this diet you don’t really need help convincing yourself that what you’re doing is right through books or low carb health educators. You’ll soon have symptom improvement, better labs, maybe even some weight loss. No amount of fear mongering from vegans or misinformed physicians will make you change your mind.
5. Do you eat only meat, or do you include eggs, cheese, and cream in your diet?
I eat beef, lamb, chicken, seafood, butter, and eggs. I react terribly to pork so I avoid it like the plague.
Pork is honestly in my opinion trash meat. Most pigs eat garbage food and are filthy. Their meat is full of histamine and terrible polyunsaturated fat ratios. Don’t take my word for it though. Eat nothing but beef for a few days, then eat nothing but pork for a few days. See if you notice a difference. Most people will find that pork is suboptimal at best and utter garbage at worst.
6. What percentage of your diet is beef verses other types of meats?
70% beef I would say. I would eat more lamb and other ruminant animals if they were more widely available. The lack of availability of other meats is such a shame. I absolutely love lamb. The gamey taste of deer is like spiritual experience as well. I toss in chicken or seafood from time to time just to change things up. Ruminant meat is by far the most satiating.
7. When you eat beef, do you cook it rare, medium, or well done?
Depends on the cut. Ribeyes and NY Strip get a light sear in a cast iron pan and nothing more. Beef short ribs and brisket get cooked low and slow (well done). I live in Texas so I eat my fair share of fatty beef brisket!
8. Do you add extra fat to your meat? (i.e. butter, lard, tallow)
I add lots of butter when the meat is lean. I also add butter to the pan when making eggs.
9. Do you limit your meat consumption, or do you eat until satisfied?
10. Do you eat liver or other organ meats? If so, how often?
I occasionally take some beef liver capsules. They’re probably unnecessary.
11. Do you consume bone broth? If so, how often?
Not really. I’m not a fan of stews or liquid meals. I prefer grilled meats. I do have some collagen powder on a regular basis though which provides some of the nutrients that bone broth typically would.
12. How many meals do you eat per day on average?
Two. Usually a light lunch and a bigger dinner.
13. How much meat do you eat per day on average?
Not that much! I focus on fatty cuts because I prefer the taste, so I get satiated quickly. I’d say I eat about 1.5lbs a day.
14. Do you eat grass-fed/pasture-raised meat, or regular commercially produced meat?
I do try to eat grassfed meats when I can, but I eat both.
15. Do you drink any beverages besides water? (i.e. coffee, tea)
I have one cup of black coffee every morning. I find tea useless and underwhelming, so I don’t bother. I also enjoy sparkling water.
16. Do you use salt?
Yes!!!!! I find salting liberally necessary to keep my blood volume up and feeling great. I use pink salt. If I feel dehydrated, I’ll chug a glass of water with a teaspoon of salt in it and I’ll feel fantastic in a minute.
17. Do you use spices?
Kinda. With beef generally no. Beef has so much flavor that I just find spices distracting and unnecessary. Fish and chicken (which I eat rarely) I generally add some basic spices.
18. Do you take any supplements?
Just some electrolytes. Magnesium, Potassium, high quality salt. Occasionally collagen powder but I consider that more of a food.
19. How much money do you spend on food each month?
Too much. But I like to eat the higher quality cuts of meat: prime ribeyes etc. This diet doesn’t need to be expensive though. Grassfed ground beef and eggs can be the pillar of this diet and both are very affordable.
20. Do you have any tips for making this diet more affordable?
Fresh ground meats and eggs. I wouldn’t buy almost expired meats to save money though. Older meat is higher in histamine and may be problematic for some people.
21. Do you exercise regularly? If so, how often and how vigorously?
Absolutely not. I maintain around 8% bodyfat with no effort and I’m super busy with my career. I just can’t find the time or desire to do so. I do go on long walks with my girlfriend though if one considers that exercise. Exercise may very well be essential for some people to thrive so don’t let this answer talk you out of exercise if it’s essential for you.
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 benefits I’ve noticed are seemingly endless. Describing symptom abatement doesn’t do the Zero Carb diet justice. This diet has made me feel like I’m living life on an entirely higher plane. However, I’ve outlined some specific health improvements below.
• Much higher energy levels.
• Cured my chronic Heartburn.
• Cured my IBS.
• Cured my Premature Ventricular Contractions.
• My face used to be very bloated looking all the time. This has gone away.
23. What do you enjoy most about eating a Zero Carb diet?
I enjoy my heart not beating erratically and throwing up after almost every meal due to my esophagus being on fire from stomach acid! I also enjoy the simplicity. The diet component of life can really be as simple as drinking water and eating meat.
24. Do you have any advice for someone who is just beginning a Zero Carb diet?
Please avoid over complicating this. This diet is ridiculously simple. Eat meat until your satisfied and live your life. Up your salt intake to combat the “keto flu”. Be cautious with pork and dairy. Give them a try only after trying ruminate meats only first.
25. Are your friends and family supportive of your Zero Carb lifestyle? If not, how do you handle this?
People are incredibly supportive! Many years ago everyone thought I was crazy for eating only meat. However, since the Paleo/Keto craze started people have been more open to meat-based diets. Ironically the most outspoken critics of my diet have been fat people.
My old primary care physician was actually the least supportive person. Every marker of my health after adopting a Zero Carb diet was perfect. Labs were perfect, body mass index perfect, all my old health problems were gone, yet he focused on my slightly elevated LDL and suggested a statin. He has since been fired!
I suggest finding a doctor that stays current with medical science. Many of these goofballs open a practice with the mentality that their schooling is over. Wrong!! There are a ton of fantastic doctors out there. Take some time to find a good one.
26. Is there anything you would like share about this way of eating that I have not already asked you?
Absolutely! I’ve found that a lot of people have trouble coming to terms with carnivory being the natural human diet. Much of this is due to our INSANE disconnection from nature. People think that Frankenfoods like soy burgers are healthy and a steak is an atrocity to health. A helpful exercise many people can take part in is to simply go on a weekend camping trip.
While on your camping trip go on long hikes. During these hikes be conscious of what you see. Birds, bunnies, deer, frogs? Maybe you even find a bird nest with some eggs? Maybe you see a pond; surely there is fish in the pond?
What about what you didn’t see? Did you find any bread by chance? What about a mill to make grass seeds edible? Did you find some chocolate chip cookies? A soybean burger with spouted lentils? What about “healthy” 5 grain gluten free pancake mix?
The environment you see during your camping trip was the environment of our ancestors. This is how we spent millions of years of our evolution. Base your diet on these realities and you will be rewarded.
Editor’s note: Not everyone benefits from salt on a zero carb diet. Please read my page on this subject for more information. https://zerocarbzen.com/salt/
If you wish to connect with others eating a zero carb diet, please join us in the Facebook group Principia Carnivora.