Zero Carb Interview: Jennifer Dodds

Jennifer Before & After her weight loss journey, using both a standard low carb diet and then a zero carb diet.

1. How long have you been eating a Zero Carb diet?

Over three years now, I started  April 23, 2015.

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

My entire life I was morbidly obese. I remember being very young at the doctor, maybe kindergarten checkup, my mother was asking about my weight. He told her to watch my portions and I would grow into it. Growing up, we tried everything!  Portion control, Slim Fast while I was still in daycare, Fen-Phen in middle and high school, Atkins, low fat, food pyramid, diabetic, just everything. I saw dietitians multiple times and followed their plans as well but I was never successful and never  was able to stick to anything  very long. 

By the time I was 15, I weighed 350 lbs. I  was a type two diabetic with migraines, PCOS, depression, and social anxiety. I would count every single carb, exercise, take my medications and was on insulin. I did all of this and my blood sugar was still out of control with readings in the 2-300’s sometimes higher. It was bad. After I graduated high school and I was more on my own, I ignored it all together. I also ballooned up to 420+ lbs. I wanted to have gastric bypass but insurance wouldn’t approve and I needed to lose weight for them to even consider me. I’m not exactly sure what happened then, but I just started losing weight without trying. I had my appendix removed and after that I steadily lost, but my blood sugars remained out of control. I did eventually diet again and got myself down to around 250 lbs. by my late 20’s, mostly by watching carbohydrate intake. 

Then an accident that nearly took my life really shook my world. I remember very little of the following years besides highlights, like getting married and buying our house. I slept nearly all the time, ate what was convenient and gained back 75 pounds of what I had lost. Then in January of 2015, weighing in at 325 lbs. after two days of no food and cleaning my bowels out, I had surgery to remove a fibroid from my uterus. It was a rough surgery. I lost a considerable amount of blood and it took a lot longer than anticipated. Afterwards I was just sick. I needed multiple blood transfusions. I had a home health nurse coming in to pack my huge open wound. She was putting a roll and a half of gauze in my abdomen every day! I wasn’t healing at all.  

Then the bad news hit. As I was lying on a trauma table in the local ER, where I had to meet my OB for him to clean my wound, he told me that the pathology had come back from my fibroid. He was wrong, it was a tumor. He explained that it was called a STUMP tumor and that it was very rare. STUMP stands for smooth muscle tumor of uncertain malignant potential. In other words, it is cancer without quite being cancer.  And because it is so rare they haven’t done much research on it. Laying there looking up at those bright lights, after all I had been through I just lost it. He says quit crying  Dodds!  Your going to live!  

A week later my husband and I made the trek to the oncology department two hours away. His news was just as grim. There is no way my OB could have gotten all of the cells from the tumor and I would have to have my uterus removed. I was devastated!   always thought that someday I would be a mother  I called my OB on the way home and he came on the phone and told me that having my uterus removed was my decision to make. That it was ok to ask questions and research before I made a final decision. So that’s exactly what I did!  

My aunt had a friend who had lived decades with cancer. I started researching and I decided that the best thing I could do for myself was to get rid of all sugar. So I started with a low carb high fat diet sometime in February of 15. But I could not get my blood sugars where I wanted them to be. I think it was around this time that I found Esmee’s website Zero Carb Zen and began reading all the information here. I was doing an egg fast when I decided to never go back to carbohydrates. And that’s it. Something clicked. It only took a few days and I knew this was the magic key I had been searching for my whole life! I had never felt satisfied before, and now I was. On a carb-based diet, I was always full, but still hungry! I was morbidly obese, and yet malnourished. 

Jennifer’s mother, little sister, and herself when she was about 6 years old.

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

It was still a serious mental struggle. Overcoming a lifetime of using food as comfort in every situation isn’t easy. I didn’t realize just how much I ate in social situations like family parties. I just ate constantly because of nerves! I remember having a panic attack and wondering what the heck was going on and it was because I wasn’t allowing myself to eat for comfort that evening. The physical adaptation was a lot quicker than the mental, probably 6 months initially although I continue to heal. Mental adaptation took a lot longer, probably a full year. Lifetime mental habits are hard to break. I still look in the fridge whenever I walk into my parent’s house!

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

I remember reading the Anderson Family interview, probably sometime in late 2014. I had already resolved myself to lose weight before I went in for surgery and was already doing some research on how to fix my hormones. I remember thinking, low carb yes, but there is no way that can be healthy! Like what I was doing to myself was healthy! I remember finding Esmee’s website fairly early on in my journey. I also read about Owsley Stanley (a.k.a. “The Bear”) and Vilhjalmur Stefansson. If you’re reading  this with the same skepticism I had, one month isn’t going to hurt you! Give it a try!

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

It has varied over the years. I ditched the eggs fairly early on. I did try and add them back in a couple of times. I even tried fresh from the farm eggs, and yolks only, but my body still reacts. I was eating butter, bacon and occasionally cheese for about a year until I realized they were contributing to my headaches. For the first six months or so, it was all fare game! Then naturally over time, I went to beef only. At first, I was fine with ground beef, even frozen beef patties. Now my husband calls me a “meat snob” because I will only eat fatty, fresh beef. I will eat leftovers if absolutely necessary but they have to be made from super fresh beef and eaten the next day.  If I am going on a day trip, I cook my meat let it cool then vacuum seal it. But only if I’m going to be eating it the next day.

Jennifer as a teenager with her little sister.

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

100%

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

Very rare. I sear my meat then put it in the oven at 270 degrees until warm through, the opposite works too. Lately, I have been eating a bite or two raw. I like it, it tastes very sweet! But I’m not quite ready to eat a full meal like that!

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

Not currently, but I have been toying with the idea of finding a constant source of beef trimmings. The meat around here seems to be getting more and more lean and I have been hungry.

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

I eat until satisfied, but I do realize when I am eating more than I should and then try to see if there is a reason. I typically eat only once a day unless I feel I am truly hungry.

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

No, but I  do enjoy it. There is something in it called tyramine which can cause increase in pressure and the brain and lead to headaches for some people. I realized I was reacting to beef liver as well as cheese and bacon because of the tyramine.

Jennifer and her little sister as young adults.

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

No, I have never liked it.

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

One, sometimes two. I do really well on one meal a day unless my pain is flared up, then I tend to eat more.

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

 I’d say roughly 2 lbs. Some days it’s a lot more, some a lot less.  I eat to hunger.

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

Regular grocery store meat. I am interested to see what locally raised beef would do for me, but that is costly!

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

I only drink water. We purchased a reverse osmosis filtration system for under the sink. I was seeing an oily surface on my drinking water and when you boil it there was a lot of sediment. My husband drinks coffee and I was having to clean the build up on the coffee pot nearly every week. I noticed a difference as soon as I quit drinking the tap water and my husband also noticed a difference! I did have a couple brief flings with coffee that turned out bad for me. If you haven’t tried giving it up yet, I highly suggest it!

Jennifer’s little sister and herself after they had both lost significant weight on a very low carb diet.

16. Do you use salt?

Yes, I have several different kinds of salts I use! My favorite is grey Celtic sea salt. I also use pink Hawaiian and have some others.  

17. Do you use spices?

No.

18. Do you take any supplements?

Magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K and small amounts of calcium and vitamin C

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

Roughly $200-$250

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

I managed to find a source of whole New York Strip for $3-4/ lb. That is what I have been eating lately. Otherwise it is the fattiest chuck roast I can find.

My husband eats what I call “Crappy Keto,” so here is what I have found to keep it less expensive. Chicken thighs are $.99 a lb on average. I cut the bone out and fry them skin side down in bacon grease till brown and crispy. They are the best! I always have chicken thighs ready to go in the fridge.

Liver is super cheap and is packed with nutrients.

Chuck roast tends to be the best priced beef with good fat and fries up good in chunks. I buy a couple big roasts and cut it into strips.

Salting beforehand also makes cheaper cuts more tender and flavorful.

If you have an Aldi’s, it is your friend!

Get yourself a vacuum sealer and buy when sales are good. Summer sales are great for doing this! Meat prices tend to go up in January when everyone is trying to “diet.” Then I tend to only find lean meats on sale and what I really prefer is super expensive. That is when the frozen stuff comes in handy.

Make friends with the dairy/deli/meat department!  They will sell you the past date stuff super cheep!  

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

I have physical therapy routines that I have to do in order to keep moving but nothing strenuous. I also do a bit of light yoga. I also walk quite a bit but not as much as I feel I should. 

Jennifer today after a total weight loss of 270 lbs.!

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 noticed improvement in the time it takes wounds to heal and I just don’t pick up bacteria and viruses like everyone else. 

I do still occasionally have seasonal allergies but nothing like before.  

After my surgery, I went through three months of little to no improvement and being on constant antibiotics. But within a week of switching to Zero Carb, both my home care nurse and I noticed a huge difference in the healing of my incision. The infection cleared up soon after.  

Zero carb also made my blood sugars steady for the first time and got rid of the estrogen dominance that had plagued me my entire life.  

It took quite a few months for my weight to go down. I even gained back 10 pounds of what I had lost between surgery and my time on a low carb high fat diet.  In fact, it was a good six months before I started to see steady weight loss. But now I am down to 150 lbs. which is 270 lbs. less than my all-time high of 420 lbs. I do, however, still have a fair amount of excess skin to deal with, but I am not surprised since I was so over weight all my life.

I also suspect I have a connective tissue disorder holding me back. After two severe traumas to my head and neck, I have developed some pretty severe symptoms that have continued to increase. I have been diagnosed with Arnold Chiari malformation and told that I have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome of the head and neck. But I suspect otherwise and am sending my information to yet another specialist. But I am still trying my best in physical therapy and at home to avoid any serious surgery. 

Before I lost the weight, it was hard to find a doctor who would take my symptoms seriously. I heard from most of them that I simply needed to lose weight and that my MRIs were completely normal — which they weren’t. (Side tip: always ask for the report and a CD of any tests you have done.)  

Well, it’s really sad, but since I have lost the excess body fat, the doctors are taking me and my symptoms more seriously. Ironically, though, some of them are now trying to blame my symptoms on the weight loss itself! As far as I’m concerned, I still don’t have an accurate diagnosis, but I feel we’re closer than ever to figuring it out. I will say that a Zero Carb diet has helped tremendously with chronic pain, by eliminating practically all of the inflammation. If not for this, I don’t know how I would have coped. 

During the year and a half following my surgery, I went through a time of severe anxiety and stress. My Zero Carb way of eating was a constant in my life that I could hold on to. It was a way for me to control at least some part of my body when the rest of it seemed so totally out of control. Even though my physical problems often make it hard to think and remember things, Zero Carb provides a clarity in my mind and spirit, like a fog has been lifted from me. Also, I find it much easier to calm myself when I do start to feel some anxiety. Through Zero Carb, I feel that I have come more fully into who I truly am.

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

The freedom!  All my life I felt trapped, not only by my own body, but by the food I ate. I am no longer constantly hungry. I see food for what it truly is, fuel not entertainment.

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

Prepare your food ahead of time. Have snacks on hand like cooked bacon. The time I spent eating a very low carb diet before I started a Zero Carb diet really helped the transition both mentally and physically. Mentally, I was able to see that even on a very low carb diet I wasn’t able to control my eating, even with such strict rules. Physically, I was able to transition from a standard American diet to a very low carb diet to a Zero Carb diet slowly, in stages, making it  a little less jarring to my system. Find a good support system. Even though I was a lurker for the most part, and rarely posted comments, I was a passive participant in various Zero Carb groups on Facebook that kept me going.

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

I believe so!  They have all seen me struggle my entire life with my weight and health, and now they are really happy for me.

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

Do your best to get off of any medications you are taking. One medication I had been taking for years I finally ditched and lost 30 lbs. very quickly. I continued with another and messed up my stomach and digestion. It is healing now that I have stopped it, but I was making myself miserable in the meantime. If you have any chronic health problems, a Zero Carb diet is an excellent way to help yourself  get a grasp of what is truly going on. It helped me connect to my body and truly understand it in ways I have never experienced before.  

Jennifer and her husband who follows a low carbohydrate diet and has also lost a significant amount of weight.

If you are interested in connecting with other like-minded carnivores, please join us in our Zero Carb Facebook group Principia Carnivora.

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Zero Carb Interview: Jeremy Bryant

Jeremy displaying his physical prowess!

Editor’s note: “Jeremy Bryant” is a pseudonym because the interviewee prefers to remain anonymous.

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

Between 3 and 4 years, I’m not exactly sure of my start date. My current WOE evolved from my early experiments with a ketogenic diet.

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

I was interested in increasing my athletic performance and improving my body composition.

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

It took only about 2 weeks to make the physical adaptations, since I had already been consuming mostly meat on a ketogenic diet for 2 years prior to going zero carb.

Psychological adaptation was similar, once I realized how much better I felt it was easy to stick with it.

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

Book – The Fat of the Land

People – Gary Taubes, The Bear

There are others but I can’t for the life of me remember their names, many informative YouTube presentations.

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

I include eggs, cheese, and heavy cream.

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

Close to 70% beef.

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

Very rare.

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

Yes, whenever possible, usually bacon fat

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

Eat until satisfied, sometimes I’ll go up to 12 hours or so fasted, then eat until full. I eat when I’m hungry, and stop when I’m satiated.

The remnants of a juicy, rare prime rib steak.

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

I have before, but not many times and not on a regular basis.

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

I love it when it’s around, but do not generally go out of my way to acquire it.

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

1 – 2

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

Usually between 1.5 to 3 lbs

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

Grass fed and finished whenever possible.

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

Decaf coffee, decaf/herbal teas.

16. Do you use salt?

Yes, regularly.

17. Do you use spices?

Yes, regularly.

An easy meal of salami and cheese.

18. Do you take any supplements?

No.

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

$400 to $800 dollars, but I go out to eat nearly every day. When I worked less and had time to cook for myself, I was usually sub $500 a month.

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

Buy in bulk and cut steaks yourself, be on the look out for sales.

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

Daily vigorous activity for 1 to 2 hours, as well as a physically demanding job 6 days a week.

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.)

Acne and pimples have greatly diminished.

Body composition has improved significantly, with literally zero change to my level of activity.

Able to go long stretches of fasting with little-to-no hunger.

Reduction in anxiety.

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

I love the simplicity! Makes grocery shopping a breeze.

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

Drink TONS of water. I’ve found that my body seems to require a higher level of hydration to avoid muscle cramps and mood issues/irritability.

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

They aren’t exactly supportive, but they’ve come around. I don’t generally make a point of explaining myself to them. If they don’t like it, tough cookies.

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

Not that I can think of.

Thanks for everything you do for us! Glad I could help with the questionnaire!

One of Jeremy’s favorite go-to meals of stirred beef and chicken.

If you are interested in connecting with other carnivores, please join us in our Facebook group Principia Carnivora.

Zero Carb Interview: Malaena Medford

You can see the dramatic change in Malaena’s body composition over the course of her journey from how she looked before starting a Ketogenic diet with a weight of 256 lbs., then after several years on a Ketogenic diet with a weight of 179 lbs., and finally today after 15 months on a Zero Carb diet with a weight of 130 lbs. An incredible transformation!

Editor’s Note: You will notice that Malaena has a beard in her most recent photos. This is not because she is undergoing a sex changing and taking male hormones. The hair growth on her face is caused by a condition called hypertrichosis or hirsutism, also known as “werewolf syndrome.” She is a female and capable of procreating like one, and the hair on her face is not caused by a hormonal imbalance; it’s a genetic mutation.

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

I’ve been Carnivore for around fifteen months, a bit over a year now.

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

When I was 25, I was a lacto-ovo vegetarian of 2 years, and I was horrifically ill; I suffered from hair loss, weight gain despite following guidelines for it, my eyes were sunken in with dark circles around them, I always woke up feeling as if I had been poisoned, severe peripheral neuropathy, I was suffering symptoms of early-onset dementia, severe arthritis, hand tremors made it hard for me to draw, chronic fatigue, heart arrhythmia, and other symptoms. Then one day, I had such a severe attack that my intestines ruptured and I nearly bled out. I was on my deathbed.

I came to the conclusion that this was not working, and therefore it must be wrong or it would be fixing my health. I began looking for information online, and it was so very hard to wade through the junk and the good things. Then, I ran into people on YouTube who were praising Paleo and the health benefits. I looked at it with a wary eye, having been duped by the other “diet.” I was shocked at the amount of animal fat I was being told to eat, and some groups even ate raw meat, something I actually enjoy. I went into it, but kept my “healthy whole grains” because I thought I “needed” them. I was still overweight. 

I later began to attend Purdue University in Nutrition and Human Health for a Bachelor of Science degree, and it changed my life. I learned that grains and legumes were clearly poisonous, and sugar was the cause of disease—this is hard scientific fact. Plant foods, not animal foods, cause the chronic diseases of modern peoples (and ancient—Egypt was vegetarian and horrifically ill). I found Tom Naughton, who taught me how to identify bunk science and to be skeptical about everything. I also discovered Georgia Ede, who taught me how to pick apart a study with a fine-toothed comb, as well as Konstantin Monastyrsky, who taught me that fiber is terrible.

With their guidance and having learned basic biology, physiology, and biochemistry, I formulated a diet which would help me. It worked. Then I found out I was practicing the Ketogenic lifestyle. Over a period of five years, I had dropped down to 179 lbs (81 kg) from the 256+ lbs (116 kg or more) I started at (at 5’6″ in height), but I still had a bit more excess body fat I needed to shed off. However, it simply wouldn’t go away. While perusing around Facebook, I found groups labeled “Zero Carb” and thought: “That can’t be healthy!” But, after some research and thorough investigation, I realized that the reality was quite the opposite. I decided to give it a go and some of my illnesses became better.

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

Psychologically, it took me a week to get into it, because I’m a scientist and it took me that long to find all the science to show only benefits and no detriments. This website, Zero Carb Zen, helped a lot when I found it and read all the very useful information it provides on this way of eating. Physically, it was easy, because I was already Ketogenic and close to Carnivore to begin with, and I don’t actually like plants much anyways.

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

I mentioned the three who showed me how to analyze science and were active on social media (Tom Naughton, Dr. Georgia Ede and Mr. Konstantin Monastyrsky), From them, I quickly learned how beneficial an all-meat diet was for the body and mind. Other books I read were Eat the Yolks by Liz Wolfe, Know Your Fats and other works by Mary Enig, I watched the documentary, Fat Head, by Tom Naughton, and I joined several Zero Carb Carnivore Facebook groups, like Principia Carnivora, where I found the writings of Vilhjalmur Stefansson and others. 

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

I include all of the items listed, mostly as a garnish or treat, but I do not eat egg whites because I’m allergic.

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

I’d say beef and other ruminants is roughly 93% of what I eat and everything else is just a garnish. I’m not a fan of poultry except for the skin and I like the bones for various purposes, and I don’t do well with pork but I can have bacon as a treat on occasion; I do enjoy lard. However, pork and chicken both give me headaches if not eaten sparingly and in tiny amounts. I also eat lots of seafood, especially fatty kinds. Elk and bison are my favorite meats.

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

I mostly eat it entirely raw.

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

Sometimes, depending on if I’m craving it or not, and if it’s a lean cut. It’s actually a traditional method to spread fat on lean, and it makes sense to me from a nutritional standpoint.

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

I eat as much as I wish, but because I have a tiny stomach now, my meals tend to extend out over a two hour period. From the outside, it probably looks like I’m just snacking. Once I am satisfied, I won’t eat again for a while.

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

Yes, organ meats comprise up 90% of my food intake. I eat liver about every two to three days.

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

Haven’t tried it, but it looks interesting. I eat the soft part of bones and chew on the hard bits of cartilage. The bones themselves have good calcium which is mostly bioavailable.

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

Usually I eat 2-3 times per day unless I am having one of my ravenous days, then I seem to snack all day on cheese and raw meat. Only happens once a month.

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

It really depends, to be honest. I would say about 2 lbs. (0.9 kg) unless I can’t afford it.

A typical meal for Malaena of beef, bacon, and raw beef heart.

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

I cannot afford the luxury of the more nutrient-packed grass-fed, so I raise chickens for eggs and eat the commercial beef. I have elk and bison on occasion which is free from the meat storage for hunters, and it’s superior in flavor to anything I’ve ever tasted in my life.

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

I make a tonic of raw apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, pink salt, and water based on the medicinal aspects of each ingredient. This aids with digestion, helps the gut biome, aids with fat metabolism, and the salt helps with one of my chronic conditions, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). It’s not essential to existence, it’s just something I do. The only time I drink tea is when not feeling well, and it’s just plain mint.

16. Do you use salt? 

Yes, as stated above, for medical reasons. I only consume salt directly until it begins to taste bad, which I take as my body having had its fill. When things taste too salty, I know I do not need salt at all. I listen to this and use it to aid in my disability.

17. Do you use spices?

Yes, but few and only on occasion or for medicinal purposes; I’m a naturopathic botanical practitioner.

18. Do you take any supplements?

Vitamin D3 due to having porphyria which causes a violent sensitivity to light.

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

Only $120 because that’s all I get for food, but my mother knows how to get great deals and organs are inexpensive.

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

Look for sales, don’t pooh-pooh organ meats because they are meat and can be made delicious, don’t be afraid of day-old bin sales—you can find some pretty great deals there, and to be honest, this diet is way more affordable than a carb-based one because I don’t eat massive amounts like when I had my carb addiction out of control.

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

I am 90% bed-ridden but I never stop moving and don’t know why. Regular exercise includes resistance bands and yoga, along with heavy weights, but I cannot do anything rigorous because the POTS doesn’t allow it. My blood pools in my legs and won’t go to my brain, and my heartbeat goes in the range of 150 beats per minute which can be life-threatening. Rigorous exercise isn’t necessary so I’m not all that worried about it. I can run if I need, but I shouldn’t do it just because of the POTS.

Looking at my most recent photo which I took for this interview, I must say that I feel a bit self-conscious about those twigs attached to my hips, and the general atrophy of my musculature. Don’t judge me, please. This is progress so far. As I’m sure you can imagine, I have severe image issues and taking these pictures was hard. My mom cracked jokes to make me smile.

When I was 14, I was benching 200 lbs (91 kg) with my arms and could lift 600 lbs (272 kg) with my legs. Now, at the age of 31, my muscles look really horrible because I’m permanently crippled due to the Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, the hyper-mobility type, so my leg joints slide around and my shoulders constantly pop in and out of their sockets. This is painful and it makes resistance training a real challenge. I walk with forearm crutches, which is why my arms are bigger than my legs. My goal weight is 150 lbs. with increased muscle and bone mass, but unfortunately my legs won’t change much.

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 lost weight and my areas of pudge are gone. 

My neuropathy pains vanished once I completely removed carbohydrates from my diet. 

My gastrointestinal problems went away entirely once I found my balance of meat to fat. 

I don’t like variety. Autism has this thing where we just hate change and flavor/texture is a major part of that. On a mixed diet, I felt compelled to force variety in my diet for nutritional purposes. Now, on a purely Carnivore diet, I am finally free of this stress because there is no need for variety! I love being able to eat only a few foods and know that I am getting all of the vitamins and minerals I need for optimum health.

My cognitive capability has increased and my mental clarity is back. 

I’m no longer angry all the time like I was as a vegetarian. 

I hardly get sick at all. 

My muscles are getting big again and exercise is easier. 

My hormones are balanced and all my hormone-based functions are now regular. 

My hair and nails aren’t so brittle anymore.

My blood panels are fantastic, and I feel great in comparison to how I felt before. 

Basically, everything about my health has improved significantly.

Editor’s Note: I asked Malaena if the Zero Carb diet had any positive effect on her POTS, and so she explained a bit more about the complexity of her medical issues…

POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) is a sub-disorder connected to both my Porphyria and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. My main disorders are porphyria (acute-symptoms match hereditary coproporphyria but tests are expensive); Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, hypermobility type with POTS as a symptom attached to both of those two; hypertrichosis or hirsutism, also known as “werewolf syndrome,” which is excessive hair growth, with mine being male-pattern but not influenced by hormones; and Asperger’s Autism with savant trait.
These are all genetic disorders; I was born with them.
Zero Carb has definitely had an impact in helping the negative symptoms of the Porphyria and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and has made my cognitive function (affected by the Asperger’s Autism) improve, but did nothing about the hypertrichosis because it’s just a defect in my gene code and not caused by diet.
My form of POTS is extreme and severe, and even plant avoidance does nothing to control it, but it’s definitely more manageable. I attempted a 3-month hamburger and butter fast which made me feel fantastic, but it did nothing for the POTS. I still have to take salt, and I am bed-bound 90% of the time. This is because my POTS is not diet-induced, it’s a genetic coding flaw. I was born without the ability to control proper blood flow and this is caused by those two genetic disorders, so diet cannot do anything for it.

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

The simplicity of the diet and the sense of security I feel knowing that I have dramatically reduced my susceptibility to cardiovascular disease and so many other modern illnesses.

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

You can do it! — just wash away everything you think you know about healthy eating. Eat simply and don’t fret about nonsensical things. Look for good deals and, if you can afford it, get meats from local ranchers instead of supporting the big commercial corporations. The more we buy local, pasture-raised meat, the cheaper meat will become and the more affordable it will be for everyone.

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

Yes, they are, with the exception of my cousin’s family. They are stuck on the government guidelines and think everything the authorities say is absolutely true and based on science. My cousin chastises me and torments me, saying how bad it is for me to eat this way and then offers me some soy product because he’s convinced there’s nothing wrong with it. For the most part though, whenever someone questions me about my unusual diet, I simply open my mouth and scientific and medical jargon flies out, LOL. Then they usually want to know more and ask how they, too, can become healthier. Not all the time, but it’s often the case.

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

This way of eating would be a fantastic community thing for areas which allow livestock. The group efforts of caring for the animals, the preparation of the meat, using animal hides for things, and other such practices would reduce our global impact. Plant cropping, plastics, and fossil fuels have a huge and negative impact on our planet, and one of the things which could help is restorative grazing, which gives us more meat while simultaneously restoring the land to lush forests and meadows. This is not currently part of the Carnivore-lifestyle, but many of the popular practitioners and promoters of a Low/No Carb diet, like Tim Noakes, are pointing out the environmental advantages of a diet based on meat from ruminants that are allowed to graze on the land naturally.

Gregg Sheehan, a member of our Zero Carb community, has made a page on his website devoted to collecting Malaena’s wisdom regarding a Zero Carb diet into one place.

Diet Shack – Malaena Medford

Malaena is also creating her own website on the benefits of a Carnivore diet.

Grove of Wisdom

If you wish you learn more about a Zero Carb, All-Meat diet, please join us in our Facebook group Principia Carnivora.

Zero Carb Interview: Yuri Morgunov

Yuri in his favorite spot!

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

I have been testing and eating it from April 2016 to the present time.

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

Like many other people, I’ve started to have a growing number of chronic, degenerative diseases and health problems related to bad diet and aging.

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

My adaptation lasted 3-4 months.

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

Many books and people were influential on my search and eventually finding this way of eating.

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

I eat mainly raw beef and raw fish on my Zero Carb diet and nothing else. Wild raw sea fish has vital fatty acids and micro-elements that terrestrial meat does not always have enough of at the present times.

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

About 80% beef and 20% fish.

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

I eat only raw beef and fish. Raw because the raw food gives stronger immunity, gradually increases the production of more stomach acid (HCl), breaks itself down with its own enzymes, digests faster and more easily. Actually, genetically we aren’t designed for cooked food and many years of evolution did not adapt us to cooked food completely.

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

No, but I always choose more fatty pieces when I buy beef.

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

Usually I eat the same amount of food daily at almost the same time and don’t think about it. The body and brain can accustom to these changes quite easy during some period of time. They start to get really hungry just before I start to eat. Food is just fuel not entertainment.

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

No, for me it’s quite enough and satisfying to eat only raw meat and raw fish without organs.

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

No

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

I eat two times a day.

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

Now I eat 700-800g daily portions – half at the morning and half at the evening (I’m quite slim – 70 kg weight and 180 cm tall).

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

I eat mostly regular commercially produced meat.

Raw fatty sirloin – with the lean meat on one side of the plate and the fat on the other – cut into 1/2 inch bite-sized pieces.

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

I drink only pure water.

16. Do you use salt? 

No

17. Do you use spices?

No

18. Do you take any supplements?

No

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

It depends on seasonal prices in Costco ($450-$650 CAN).

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

You may buy fat trimmings separately from more cheap lean meat and eat them together.

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

Not regularly. I don’t see too much sense in having a mountain of muscles or to run 10 miles every day in behalf of health if I already have quite good health and live without diseases at all (I’m 66 years old).

However, I will add that with the raw Zero Carb diet your muscles may start to grow and adjust according to your genetically predisposed body type even if you are not active or do not exercise. If you do exercise, the shape of your body can change according to your chosen plan. 

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 experienced many benefits since beginning a Zero Carb diet. After the adaptation, my overall health has been improving gradually. 

I have started to have mostly a good mood, feeling more alive, better sleep (no insomnia at all), good lightness in the body, my memory stopped diminishing and improved, and increasing clearness of my mind. 

My mind became more organized and my mental and physical reactions became faster.

I don’t have any headaches or diseases anymore! 

For long periods of time I can be around people who have the cold or flu and yet stay healthy and not contaminated. 

My back pain, which would last a few days at a time after lifting something very heavy, stopped occuring after half a year of the diet. 

My joints don’t have any pain and aren’t swollen anymore and they have become more flexible without any exercise. 

Small red spots, acne, and pimples on my body and face, as well as chronic shingles, have disappeared. 

My skin has become better and many brown (liver) spots and keratomas on my head have disappeared.

On my face I have had a big thick flat grey mole that appeared during my experiments with diets. After about year being on the raw Zero Carb diet the mole has started to crack and fell off (all other diets I have used before this diet just helped the mole to grow up). 

Small white lipomas under the lower eyelids have disappeared.

The process of balding on my head has stopped and my hair stopped graying more. 

The feeling of being permanently thirsty, needing lots of water, and then making frequent visits to the bathroom has disappeared.

A hot feeling inside the body after eating sweet fruits no longer happens because I don’t eat them anymore.

All of my allergies have vanished.

My past frequent constipation, diarrhea and bloating do not appear anymore, and I have a normal bowel movement mostly every day. 

My gums and remaining teeth have become clean, healthy, and strong. The dental tartar does not appear anymore after being 1.5 years on the diet. I brush my teeth only with water and use dental floss. I don’t have bad breath anymore and it’s always fresh. 

My sex drive and sexual abilities are increased. 

I do not know how long I will have my great healthy condition, but I hope it may compare to that of wild animals. In the wild, if animals eat the species-appropriate, genetically-proper raw food, they age significantly less visibly than humans do. The wild animals keep their health, energy, and strength until they die from natural causes.

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

Simplicity and affordability, in addition to all of the great health benefits. It’s definitely better than suffering from the myriad illnesses that plagued me for the rest of my life.

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

I encourage you to try the raw Zero Carb diet. At the beginning when you start to eat only raw food you can protect yourself from parasites and pathogens by buying products from reliable sources at least for half a year. 

It’s best to freeze your raw fish and raw meat previously and then thaw it out during 1-2 days in the refrigerator before eating It. This is a precaution to kill any parasites.

You can decrease the symptoms of adaptation if you divide your daily meat or fish into 3-5 small portions because your stomach still doesn’t excrete enough the stomach acid and the acid is still not strong enough for efficient digestion of a large amount of meat or fish. Moreover, it’s better when you first start this way of eating not to use ground meat due to the bad effects it has on digestion. 

Also due to unpredictable results, it’s not a good idea if you continue to use some of your favorite cooked foods and beverages instead of only pure water. 

During this half year your stomach acid will become stronger and its ability to kill parasites and dangerous pathogens will be significantly increased. Your body will be cleaned from collected toxins, build ups of waste, and some collected by-products (which are staple foods for parasites) usually created during cooking.

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

My two daughters have started to eat more meat and one of them now eats part of her meat raw.

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

This way of eating doesn’t decrease your spirituality and sensitivity as many vegans like to claim. My experience has been just the opposite!

For  additional  information about raw Zero Carb diet, please visit my blog: Raw Diets

A meal of wild, raw salmon!

If you would like to connect with other like-minded Zero Carb Carnivores, please join us in our Facebook group Principia Carnivora.

Strong Medicine by Dr. Blake Donaldson

This is a classic low carb book which has been out-of-print for a long time. The PDF is already available on High Steaks – Meat is Life and Just Meat, but I decided to make it available through my website as well. Dr. Donaldson went to medical school in the late 1800s and practiced medicine in New York until the mid-1900s. His book was published in 1961. He had very good success treating his obese patients with an all-meat diet. His general prescription was 6 oz of lean and 2 oz of visible fat three times per day from either lamb or beef. He never recommended pork, chicken, fish, or eggs, but only meat from ruminants. He says that if his patients did not eat enough food, enough times a day, they would invariably stop losing body fat. If you struggle with obesity and cannot seem to lose weight no matter what you do, his approach is definitely worth exploring. I really enjoyed it.

Strong Medicine by Dr. Blake Donaldson

 

Zero Carb Interview: Doug Wright

Doug today after one full year on an All-Meat Zero Carb diet at age 25.

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

One year to date.

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

Curiosity & health. At age 20, I started a ketogenic diet of white lean meat and greens. I followed keto for 4 years before embarking on the carnivore path. While keto was very effective at helping me to lose a lot of unwanted body fat – I weighed 380 lbs. when I started keto and I was down to 223 lbs. at the 4-year mark  – I was always tired and hungry! Consequently, I knew it wasn’t sustainable long term for me because I continually felt deprived. So, I was looking for a way of eating that would help me to maintain and continue my body fat loss, while also improving my energy level and providing greater satiety.

Doug prior to beginning a Ketogenic diet of lean white meats and greens at age 20.

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

One month.

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

The Big Fat Surprise

Good Calories, Bad Calories

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

Predominantly eat red meat, very little else. Once in a while I will have raw egg yolks or raw salmon.

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

95%

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

I prefer raw, but I will eat it blue-rare in social situations. I initially started this way of eating by cooking all my meat. But as time went on, I gradually desired it more and more rare until I was eating it totally raw most of the time, LOL! I have discovered, surprisingly enough, that I feel much more satisfied when I eat the meat completely raw than if I cook it even slightly.

One of Doug’s typical “fast food” meals of raw ground beef and raw salmon.

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

No.

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

Eat until satisfied.

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

Rarely, but plan to eat liver more often.

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

No.

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

1 or 2, but usually 2.

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

2-3 lbs.

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

Mostly conventional beef.

A rare steak while eating out with friends.

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

No.

16. Do you use salt? 

Rarely.

17. Do you use spices?

No.

18. Do you take any supplements?

Not in the form of man-made tablets, capsules, powders, etc., but I do fresh liver – which I consider to be nature’s most nutritious food – whenever I feel the need for something extra.

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

Approximately $360.

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

Shop weekly specials at your discount grocery & get to know your butcher  and find out when markdown meats are put out on the shelf.

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

2-3 days a week of heavy lifting, and I stay on my feet as much as possible.

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.)

Little to no inflammation (I always used to be achy, stiff, and sick); very steady energy; enhanced mood; clear skin; calm and relaxed state of mind; increased sun tolerance; continued body fat loss; increased muscle and lean body mass gains – I now weigh 5-10 lbs. more at 240 lbs. – since adopting an all-meat diet as compared to when I was following a Ketogenic diet of lean white meat and greens; greater mental clarity. In other words, I feel WAY better since removing all plant foods from my diet. I’m just so happy all the time now!

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

The simplicity of it all and how good I feel.

It doesn’t get much easier than this!

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

Eat only meat, preferably beef, for a minimum 30 days. Drown your cravings/hunger/boredom in it. Eat as much fatty beef as you need to feel satisfied. No plants whatsoever, as they will just keep your cravings active. Once you adapt to an all-meat diet, you won’t want to go back.

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

My family and close friends are very supportive, as they have seen the drastic health benefits first hand through me. However, I’m a bit of a social outcast among my peers in general who drink, smoke, and eat junk food. Thus, finding like-minded friends through the many Facebook groups dedicated to an All-Meat Carnivore or Zero Carb way of eating has been a real godsend for me and has prevented me from feeling isolated and lonely on this unusual dietary path.

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

Keep it simple. The more non-optimal foods you remove from your diet, the better you’ll feel.

You can follow Doug on Twitter @Wright_Doug

Life cannot get much better than a plate full of grilled hamburgers enjoyed in a beautiful, relaxing environment!

If you are interested in meeting other Zero Carb Carnivores, please join us in the Facebook group Principia Carnivora.

The Type A-Type B Weight Loss Book by H. L. Newbold

Dr. H. L. Newbold is one of the original low carb thinkers, although that is not how he would have described himself. He was a man before his time who was able to think outside the box. As a physician in New York, he catered to a very wealthy clientele that primarily wanted to lose weight. However, the value of his book lies not in its focus on weight loss, but rather on the insight it offers to people with food and environmental sensitivities and intolerances. He observed initially in himself, and then in his patients, that certain foods and chemicals caused uncontrollable cravings for carbohydrates and subsequent disordered “addictive” or “binge” eating. Through trial and error, he came to the conclusion that some people simply cannot tolerate what he termed “new foods,” i.e grains, vegetables, fruits, and even dairy and eggs; in other words, any food that became a major part of our diet after the Agricultural Revolution was capable of triggering cravings for these sensitive people. Interestingly, he also discovered that many man-made chemicals commonly in use around us today are also capable of triggering these irresistable cravings. He includes a long list of all the different chemicals he identified that might be a potential issue. His solution to this problem for himself and his clients was to: first, remove all the “new foods” from the diet and return to the foods of our pre-agricultural ancestors, namely meat, but more specifically beef; and second, to reduce our exposure to the many chemical poisons that surround us in our modern environment. Like many in the Zero Carb Carnivore community today, he found that fish, chicken, and pork were all far from being able to satisfy his patients appetites, and many of his patients also experienced negative reactions, like fatigue, after eating them.

Unfortunately, his unique and insightful book is out of print and there seems to be no interest in republishing it, and used copies are prohibitively expensive. Therefore, I have taken the liberty to create a high quality PDF version and make it available for free here on my website. I originally read it when it first came out in 1991 and I have revisited it many times throughout the past 25+ years. I encourage everyone who struggles with weight management or food and chemical intolerances to make the time to read this largely forgotten classic on the value of a diet based predominantly on red meat. A word of caution: He is very sexist and some of his comments may offend female readers. Additionally, keep in mind that he was a pioneer forging a new path and did not have any one else to fall back on for experience in eating an all-meat diet. Consequently, he tends to err on the side of caution by including an array of vitamin and mineral supplements, as well as a very small amount of vegetables and/or fruits simply because he did not know is meat alone would provide himself and his patients all the nutrients needed for good health. However, there are many others since the time his book was published who have decided to adopt an all-meat diet for health reasons, without the addition of any plant foods or supplements, and have remained perfectly healthy for many years and even decades. Nevertheless, please pay attention and listen to your own body which may have special needs and follow whatever path feels best to you. If you wish to meet and converse with other carnivores, please join us in our Facebook group Principia Carnivora. May your journey be blessed!

The Type A-Type B Weight Loss Book by H. L. Newbold