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.

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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.

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.

Zero Carb Interview: Heather Crimson

eatimg_0973

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

I began Zero Carb May 15th, 2015 after reading articles on your website.

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

I’ve had health issues most of my life, primarily GI, and later weight, hormonal, mood and sleep issues among others. I’ve always been searching for something to help me feel better, but this is the first thing that has actually made a significant difference. I ate the macrobiotic diet from 1992-1996, and I think that’s what really compromised my gut function and set me on a path of problems for many years. I’ve tried so many other “diets,” too, such as Weston A. Price, the Zone, Blood Type, and even raw food vegan… I just kept searching and trying different things and refused to give up and eat the SAD (Standard American Diet).

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

It took me quite a long time–at least a year. It was very rough for me as far as digestion goes. I think because of the dysbiosis/irritable bowel/SIBO issues I’ve had for such a long time, my gut was in transition for months. I had tended towards constipation with the SIBO, and during the transition, I tended the towards the opposite, so that was pretty stressful with work, etc. At this point, my gut is very calm and I don’t worry about bathroom issues any more at all. Psychologically, I am usually fine now, but I do still struggle occasionally at times such as during holidays and I miss going out to eat sometimes, but it is definitely losing its appeal over time.

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

My biggest resource has been your website Esmee website was my number one inspiration, and the Principia Carnivora Facebook group you help to moderate. When I have time, I’d like to read the books recommended on your Resources page here on your website and in the group.

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

I began with meat plus eggs and cheese and sometimes cream. I realized over time, though, that I do not tolerate dairy well (I think I was in denial here, as I suspected this for a while, but dairy is very alluring), so I recently completed 30 days water and beef only, and I really felt even better on this regimen. It’s hard because I like pork and dairy, but I find they are too trigger craving and don’t digest as well as beef.

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

I mostly eat just ground beef and steaks now, so I’d say 90% beef and 10% occasional sausage and bacon and eggs. The exception would be butter for dairy as it doesn’t seem to bother me.

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

I like my beef medium rare. Sometimes I’ll eat raw hamburger if I’m traveling and can’t cook or don’t have time to cook. I don’t mind it at all, but I tend to like the taste of cooked more. Raw steak isn’t as appealing as raw ground beef.

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

Since I buy fattier ground beef (80/20), I don’t usually add butter. I do add butter to steak. I also like to eat extra lightly cooked beef fat along with steak.

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

I eat until satisfied.

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

I eat liver about once a month. I prefer chicken liver but I’ll eat beef, too. I recently felt weak and had a strong craving for liver, so I ate a pound of chicken liver and immediately felt much better! I really try to follow my body’s messages.

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

I love bone broth and had made it for over 15 years, but I’ve noticed since becoming ZC that I do not tolerate it well, and I think it’s because of the histamine content, even when cooked in the Instant Pot for under an hour. I keep trying every so often to see if I tolerate it better because I do think it could be helpful for healing my gut.

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

I eat about two meals per day. I am moving towards one per day which I would prefer to give my gut a break and just have less hassle of cooking, but I can’t eat enough in one meal yet to go that long.

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

I typically eat one medium-large hamburger patty and one steak with butter per day.

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

I’d prefer grass-fed, but it’s too expensive for me to eat daily, so I mostly eat “hormone-free” that’s not 100% grass-fed.

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

I drink only water. I don’t tolerate coffee at all–it makes me feel ill! I quit drinking tea altogether because it’s high in fluoride. I was never a big tea or milk drinker anyway.

16. Do you use salt?

I do use salt. I have always had too low of blood pressure, so salt helps me with that.

17. Do you use spices?

I like a little bit of pepper and will use a drop or two of hot sauce a couple times per week.

18. Do you take any supplements?

I take different supplements experimentally targeting specific issues. Currently, I’m taking DIM for hormonal issues. I used to take digestive enzymes regularly but now I find I do not need them at all. I plan to try the iodine protocol soon as I sense it will be helpful for me with a number of issues including insomnia, digestion, thyroid function and hormone balance. I don’t eat much seafood at all because it’s very expensive in California to get good quality.

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

Probably around $250.

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

Unfortunately, I don’t! i don’t feel comfortable shopping at certain bargain stores and buying the cheapest meat possible; sometimes I wish I did, but I doubt that will happen unless I fall upon hard times and am forced to. If I had more money, I’d probably just buy half a cow since I have a used stand up freezer.

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

I used to exercise regularly before I got chronic fatigue beginning around 2007. I used to jog and hike and ride a bike, but my energy crashed and I could barely walk up my office stairs without getting winded at the worst point. It was awful and I couldn’t figure out what the heck was wrong with me. I thought I was just depressed. I tried seeing many different health practitioners, experimented with many different diets (GAPS for 1.5 years; SCD; Ray Peat, etc.). I thought I’d always eaten fairly healthy for so many years, how could I become so debilitated? I believe stress was what contributed to this decline in my health, as I had a lot of challenging experiences over a several year period. The crash led to a 40lb. weight gain, fatigue and weakness, debilitating insomnia, increased hormonal imbalance, and a lot of brain fog, all of which led to even more stress. I had always been quite thin before this, so the weight gain was a major challenge for me physically and psychologically and I never was able to reconcile with it which made me feel even worse!

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.)

It has been a slow healing process for me because even though I didn’t have a major illness like diabetes (yet), my gut was so debilitated that it caused me many different issues and overall ill health. I was usually very bloated for hours after eating, had a lot of pain in my gut at times, gas, constipation, all the typical GI problems. Now, I am never bloated, have hardly any gas at all, and go to the bathroom with ease! It is such a relief to not have to feel so uncomfortable and worry about my gut looking like I’m six months pregnant!

I used to have to take sleep medication or several OTC meds just to sleep until 4-5am, and sometimes even those didn’t work and I’d often be up for two to three hours in the middle of the night. Now, I just take one or two OTC and sleep all night. I hope that by next year, I can sleep through the night with NO meds!

I no longer have chronic muscle pain and soreness in my neck and back. I no longer have joint pain that used to occur often. My skin has improved–the severe flushing from histamine intolerance has disappeared and I have less acne. The chronic nasal drip has greatly decreased. The debilitating dysmenorrhea I had all my life has gone. There are other hormonal issues now because of peri-menopause, but I think they’ll continue to improve now that I’m ZC. The eczema I always had a touch of is completely gone. I also experience less anxiety.

Additionally, I lost 35 lbs. which has been a huge relief for me: I can now walk with ease whereas before I felt very encumbered. I don’t’ have blood sugar imbalance any more and can go for up to eight hours without eating and be totally fine. I can walk a little more vigorously, but more intense exercise will take more time for me.

There’s probably more things that I’ve forgotten since it’s been a while now. All I know is that I am so grateful for these improvements and feeling like when I was younger, that I don’t see myself ever going back to eating carbs. I would just go back to feeling horrible; it doesn’t make sense and is just not worth it.

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

The simplicity and ease, the satiety, and the freedom it gives me to not feel like I’m a slave to cooking.

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

The most important factor for me was patience–it took me over a year to go through the transition due to my severe gut issues. So, you may not know what the positive benefits will be until you give it as much time as your body needs, not how much time you think it needs. I’ve really learned to follow my body’s intuitive sense of what it does and doesn’t need, whereas before I looked more outward for information. It’s all there inside me already!

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

Yes, my husband is very supportive although he’s not interested in it for himself. My friends are very supportive as well. I actually don’t hesitate to tell people at all that I only eat meat as it works best for my digestion. After all I’ve been through and all the suffering of my poor gut, I don’t care what anyone thinks anymore!

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

I am so grateful for your website Esmée! If I’d not come across it, I don’t know where I’d be healthwise right now.

 

Migraines, Mood, and a High Fat Ketogenic Diet

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Since I know many of my readers are not on Facebook and, therefore, do not participate in our Zero Carb group Principia Carnivora, I wanted to share something I posted there that I have recently discovered for myself on this Zero Carb path…

When I first began a Zero Carb diet a year and a half ago, I ate a LOT of fat. But as time went on, I came to the conclusion that ALL of the fats I was using to achieve these high levels were not compatible with my body. I tried butter, ghee, tallow, lard, heavy whipping cream, and coconut oil. All dairy fats give me migraines. Coconut oil is high in salicylates and cause severe low blood pressure and other negative symptoms. All rendered fats make me extremely nauseated. Even eating too much cooked fat attached to a steak will make me nauseated. But if I eat the beef fat raw, I can eat much more without experiencing this horrible nausea. This is the main reason I am currently eating all of my meat completely raw (as homemade ground beef). In spite of the nausea from the cooked and rendered fats that was eating in my early Zero Carb days, however, I did experience a noticeable decrease in my chronic migraines headaches (as long as I avoided all dairy).

At the beginning of April (2016), I did a 16-day water fast. This was the second long water fast I have done since beginning my Zero Carb journey. The first one was about 8 months ago and it made a noticeable improvement in my tolerance for histamines. I was finally able to eat conventional beef sold in Costco or Safeway, as long as I bought if fresh and ate it that day. After this second 16-day water fast I did a month and a half ago, I found that I could tolerate even more raw fat in my ground beef than I could before the fast. But the quality of the fat must be very good. It cannot be outer skin fat which is oxidized and rancid. This kind of fat makes me very sick. Rather, it must be the good thick internal fat like that attached to Ribeye or New York Strip Loin.

It has been a challenge to source enough good quality beef fat to meet my needs. I am still trying to figure this out. If I could buy my meat in bulk without having to worry at all about histamines forming as I work my way through it, then I would be able to buy whole packages of New York Strip Loin from Costco which very affordable are extremely fatty (more fatty and better quality that their Ribeye in my experience). But I cannot go through all the meat fast enough to keep the histamines low enough fir me to tolerate. I need more money and pack of dogs to share it with so that we can plough our way through it in just a few days. 😂

Anyways, the main thing I wanted to share in this post is that since my recent 16-day water fast in April, I have been able to increase the percentage of fat in my diet from about 70% to 80% or more without experiencing any of that horrible nausea. It is hard to calculate exactly, but thevground beef I make for myself is about 2/3 lean to 1/3 fat or what would be called 65/35 by a butcher. So say… 12 oz of lean to 6 oz of fat. It might be a little more protein and a little less fat, but this give you the idea.

Since doing this, I have noticed two very important benefits. I am not as prone to migraines as I was when eating more protein and less fat, and my mood is much more stable now than it was on less fat. I am far less irritable and impatient with more fat in my diet. I feel both physically and mentally calmer. My conclusion is that more fat is definitely better for my brain. I am not saying this is ideal for others, and I am really not an advocate of eating too little protein on a Zero Carb diet. And if you are trying to lose weight, too much fat might prevent this from happening.

But, as my own experience is showing, some people might need to eat more fat for therapeutic reasons, even for conditions that are not life threatening like brain tumors or epilepsy. One woman in our Facebook group has stated that it was the high levels of saturated animal fat in her own Zero Carb diet that killed the off the tenacious Lyme bacteria in her body. The more fat she ate, the better she felt; though it still took time to eliminate the Lyme bacteria from her body completely. She, too, eats 80% or more of her calories from fat. 18 years later, she continues to thrive.

My point in sharing this story is to, once again, demonstrate that there is no one-size-fits-all Zero Carb diet. It has taken me a long time and lots of experimenting to figure out what truly works for me and for my body to become a cooperative component in the process. So, if you are having trouble figuring out what percentage of protein to fat is best for you, or what types of meats and other animal foods and fats are best for you, please don’t give up! I know someone who feels great at only 55-60% fat. We are all a bit different and unique in our needs. Just keep experimenting until you find something that feels good and works for you.

~Esmée La Fleur

For help and support, please join us in the Zero Carb Facebook group “Principia Carnivora.”