Zero Carb Interview: Tiffany Dalton

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

It has been a year, as of April.

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

Because of my hypoglycemia and inability to lose weight and keep it off. I was already eating a whole foods diet, and had attempted to eliminate processed food, grains, legumes and added sugar (essentially primal/paleo). I was having trouble sticking to it, so I explored a ketogenic version of the paleo diet. What I discovered was that the more I reduced my carbs, the better I felt. Eventually I eliminated all plant matter, and felt better than I ever had.

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

I think the adaptation was slightly easier since I had already been eating ketogenically, but there was still an adaptation period. I would say that the worst of it was over after a month, but my energy surged even more at the three and six months marks.

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

Originally, I learned a lot from Gary Taubes’ writings, the information shared on Zeroing in on Health by Charles Washington and others, the writings of Stefansson and the Bear.

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

I sometimes include eggs and dairy, but overall I find that I do best without them, so I attempt to omit them as much as possible.

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

I eat mainly beef. I would say that it’s generally 75-90% of what I eat. I occasionally eat chicken or seafood, etc.

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

I tend to like it cooked to medium-rare.

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

I do not generally add any extra fat to my meat.

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

I eat intuitively, until satisfied.

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

I enjoy chicken liver occasionally. Sometimes I try a bit of beef tongue, and I love oxtail.

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

I really don’t consume bone broth, no. I did at first, but found it to be unnecessary and too labor intensive.

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

I normally eat twice per day.

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

I generally eat anywhere between 1-2 lbs. a day, depending on hunger and activity level. Sometimes it’s more, but not usually.

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

No, I just eat regular commercially-produced meat. I prefer the taste and price of it. Grass fed is often too lean for me, and I don’t like they gamey taste it can sometimes have.

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

I mostly drink water or mineral water. I sometimes drink herbal infusions and rarely coffee or black tea.

16. Do you use salt?

I feel better without salt, so I do not generally add it to my food. If I am out and happen to eat something salty, I don’t worry about it.

17. Do you use spices?

Not generally. I don’t find them to be necessary.

18. Do you take any supplements?

I do not take any supplements.

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

I probably spend about $400 on my own food per month.

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

I just look for the best prices on the meat I like. I shop at Aldi almost exclusively these days, and I buy a lot of skirt steak and 70/30 hamburger patties. Occasionally I buy ribeye if I can find it a good price. My town is getting a Costco soon, so I am contemplating getting a membership so I can save money by buying meat in uncut slabs.

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

Up until recently I did not exercise regularly, or really at all, beyond occasional gentle walks. I have started to exercise a bit more, as my energy level seems to warrant it. In addition to walking, I do yoga, Pilates, and kettlebell workouts. I also got a road bike recently, so I have started to bicycle a bit.

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 no longer suffer from hypoglycemia, my immune system is strong (I rarely get sick and if I do, I recover very quickly), my digestive system operates more smoothly (no stomach cramps, gas, no need for probiotics, etc.), my body feels strong and toned, I sleep more soundly and fall asleep more easily, my moods are calm and even, my pms is less severe. In general, I just feel much more balanced – mentally, physically, hormonally, metabolically, etc.

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

The thing I love most is the simplicity and the fact that food is no longer something I have to concern myself with really at all. I eat when I am hungry, my food is simple to shop for and prepare, and the rest of the time I really don’t even have to think about food. I love not having to worry about what or when I will eat, for fear of an imminent blood sugar crash.

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

I would say to just keep it very simple and stick to it. Avoid all sweet tastes and plant matter, stay hydrated (but don’t over hydrate), rest as much as possible, and trust your body to develop the right hunger signals as you continue to nourish it well and optimally.

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

Most of my close friends support me, though some at first thought it was a little strange and even possibly dangerous. As they have seen me increase my health and well-being, they are less concerned, and some have even joined me.

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

I can’t think of anything at the moment.

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Please visit my “Interviews” and “Testimonials” pages linked at the top of this website to read the stories of other short and long term Zero 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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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.