Healing Brain Cancer with a Zero Carb Ketogenic Diet by Andrew Scarborough

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May 2015

Two and a half years ago, at the age of 27, I was working as a personal trainer and was physically very active. However, I was forced to stop working towards the end of 2012 because I was experiencing debilitating fatigue and severe migraine headaches. The doctors I consulted told me that my symptoms were most likely due to excessive stress.

At that time, I was eating a high carbohydrate, high protein, low fat diet, and I had a very low percentage of body fat. I ran and lifted weights, and for all intents and purposes appeared to be in great shape. I felt like I was doing everything right for good health based on what I had studied while working on my undergraduate degree in Sports Nutrition a few years earlier. But looking back, I probably wasn’t all that healthy internally.

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November 2011

After quitting my job, I decided to study for a Master’s degree in Nutritional Therapy. As I got deeper into my course work,I was shocked to discover that everything I had learned during my undergraduate studies was either false, misleading, or outdated information.

However, the new information was fascinating and I was enjoying it. This is where I first learned about the Ketogenic diet to manage drug resistant epilepsy and potentially cancer. My lecturer at the time told me that she followed a Paleo diet and I was intrigued and a little skeptical at the same time.

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Andrew with his nephew – October 2012

Five months later in February 2013, following a workout at the gym, I had what I now know was a partial seizure. I became very confused, had a metallic taste on my tongue, was very unsteady, stared blankly into space, and lost the ability to speak. It was scary and confusing, but – as my speech came back a few minutes later – I ignored it and carried on with my day.

There was also a particularly nasty strain of flu going around at the time, and I thought perhaps my weird symptoms were somehow related to that. Additionally, I was traveling around London which was stressful, but – being the stubborn person that I am – I simply soldiered on.

In the weeks that followed, I gradually became more and more fatigued, my balance was getting worse, my ability to concentrate was declining, and I was struggling to find words. I was also starting to get crushing headaches, but I assumed they were just one of the symptoms of this terrible strain of flu!

I finally started taking pain medication for headaches which was a big decision for me because I hate taking drugs. I was also experiencing some weakness around my right eye, so I decided that maybe I need glasses. I went for an exam and a prescription, but – after getting the glasses – the headaches continued unabated and were becoming more and more debilitating. Then, after suffering from serious dizzy spells all day, I rushed to get a train ride home from London.

As I sat down, the crushing headache was becoming unbearable. I felt nauseous and extremely dizzy. I began to have a pins-and-needles sensation in my mouth and on the right side of my face, along with that weird metallic taste I had experienced before, so I quickly scampered to the less busy side of the train clutching my face in agony.

My head felt like it was burning on one side and my right hand started to shake. I made strange yelping noises that I couldn’t control, and my whole body started to convulse. I felt like my head was being crushed until – suddenly – it felt like someone hit me as hard as they could on the side of my head with a hammer. Then, it felt like someone was turning a water tap on inside of my head, and I fell unconscious on the train.

When I finally came around, I was extremely confused and had a lot of injuries. I was immediately rushed to the nearest hospital. Eventually, the doctors determined that I had suffered a brain hemorrhage caused by a highly vascular malignant brain tumor located between the speech and movement areas of my brain. I was misdiagnosed a few times before I received the actual pathology report because there was just so much blood in my brain.

Six weeks after my operation on May 15th, I was told I had an Anaplastic Astrocytoma. It was treatable, but not curable. In other words, they could slow the progress, but ultimately it would prove to be terminal. I reluctantly went ahead with the standard radiotherapy and chemotherapy that my doctors recommended, but I felt extremely depressed.

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May 2013

Based on my previous studies regarding the Ketogenic diet, I began to gradually reduce my carbohydrate intake while simultaneously increasing fat. I read as much information about the Ketogenic diet as my current condition would allow. I was still having seizures on a regular basis, some of which were horrendous and quite traumatic, and I was on a number of strong pain and anti-convulsant medications.

The side effects of these medications were horrible. I asked my oncologist if a Ketogenic diet could help reduce the need for these medications, but I was told that diet would have little-to-no effect. He also stated in a very matter-of-fact way that it would not be a good idea to remove carbohydrates from my diet while undergoing conventional medical treatment because the brain needed glucose to function.

I stopped the chemotherapy and radiation treatments after a few months because they were making me too sick and were not helping to eliminate the cancer. (Sadly, everyone I know who continued with the conventional treatments for this type of cancer is no longer alive.) After all the research I had done, I decided that a ketogenic diet was crucial to slowing the progression of this cancer and was my best hope. Therefore, I adopted a very high fat, very low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet. It included low sugar fruits and vegetables, lots of heavy whipping cream, coconut milk and oil, nuts, cheese, avocados, etc. All the typical high fat, keto-friendly foods.

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November 2013

I was getting decent numbers on my glucose/ketone meter, but I felt absolutely awful. My migraines and seizure activity got so bad that I was bed bound for months and I became very depressed. Eventually, I went to see my General Practitioner, and he prescribed steroids because my arteries had become severely inflamed. I never took the steroids (prednisolone), but decided to start keeping track of exactly when the symptoms became worse.

I decided to lower my carbohydrate intake further and the vascular inflammation improved without drugs. Esmee had read one of my blog posts about my symptoms and suggested that I might be reacting to the salicylates present in coconut, avocado, nuts, and other plant foods I was eating. So, I decided to eliminate them as a trial and see how I felt. The difference was astonishing. The headaches and seizure activity reduced almost immediately. The saddened me because these foods were the primary staples of my Ketogenic diet and I wasn’t yet sure how to replace them.

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July 2014

After cutting these foods out, however, and utilizing more animal fats like butter and tallow instead, I was able to gradually reduce the anti-convulsant and pain medications I was taking. Meanwhile, my brain scans continued to show improvement which both surprised and encouraged me.

I began to read more academic journals, text books about nutrition, and studied Neurology (because my neurologists were unhelpful) in more depth. I scrutinized my diet some more and realized I could get all the nutrients I needed strictly from the animal kingdom if I included bone broth and organ meats. I then took things to a whole new level by adding insects to my diet.

The diet I designed for myself – based on everything I had read and learned – made a lot of sense nutritionally, and I was amazed at how well it worked on a practical level. I was able to completely eliminate my medications, and I started to feel better and better.

I do take some supplemental vitamin D3 (I have photo-sensitivity and cannot be in the sun for long), and a good quality natural sea or rock salt. I also use some MCT oil which – unlike coconut milk and oil – does not cause migraines or seizures in my brain. I suspect that the salicylates are removed during processing, and this is why it does not bother me.

Of all the different Ketogenic diets I have tried over the past two years, the Zero Carb “Carnivorous” Ketogenic diet is the only one that has given me near complete symptom relief. I am doing things in an unorthodox way, but I firmly believe that this type of Ketogenic diet is the most efficacious for brain cancer management and improved seizure control. Except for some mild fatigue, I feel better than I have felt since this whole experience began.

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May 2015

My current diet is 85% fat, 15% protein. I have 70-75 gms of protein per day, and over 200 gms of fat. The only real difference between the recommended Ketogenic diet and what am doing is that I am eating only foods that come from the Animal Kingdom. I do not include any plant foods or the oils derived from plant foods. I am still very careful about my macronutrient ratios (protein/fat), but counting carbohydrates is no longer an issue for me since I eliminated all plant foods. The only beverage I drink is water or bone broth.

Each day, I eat 2-4 eggs, liver, lambs brain (from a local sheep rancher who raises his animals with care) or sardines/mackerel, bone broth, crickets or other insects like wax worms (either whole or as a flour) mixed with eggs, herbs and animal fat cooked in a frying pan or in the oven, and bacon or red meat with cheddar cheese. I also rotate in a variety of other organ meats like sweet breads. Sometimes I drink heavy whipping cream on its own if I’m on holiday because it’s an easy way to get the fat, but it tends to make me sleepy so I don’t do that very often! Basically, I’m experimenting with new foods all the time and continually learning and expanding my options.

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Sheep’s Brain

 

I have also been doing regular short intermittent fasts over the past 2 years, but – now that I am off all of the medications – I feel even more benefit from these fasts. The euphoria and energy I experience is incredible on my fasting days.

I consistently aim for 3-5 mmol/L of blood ketones, 3-4 mmol/L for of blood glucose. Without much effort both my blood ketones and glucose numbers are consistently in the optimal therapeutic range. I can improve both numbers even more with mild exercise, which I am once again able to do and is – in itself – an incredible thing for me.

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May 2015

My most recent brain scans taken earlier this month (May 2015) show no disease and even the scar tissue is healing. I have a new oncologist – Dr. Kevin O’Neil – that I found through a Ketogenic diet conference last year who is completely supportive of the approach I am taking to treat my cancer and rebuild my health. He is one of the few oncologists who supports metabolic diet therapy for cancer management, and I am blessed to have him on my team.

In fact, he is so impressed with my results that he has offered me an opportunity to work and study at Charing Cross Hospital and Imperial College London to push forward the research on this type of metabolic diet therapy.

I would like to express my deep and sincere appreciation to Thomas Seyfried, Dominic D’Agostino, Adrienne Scheck, and many other scientific pioneers who are conducting studies and carrying out research on the therapeutic benefits of a Ketogenic diet, as well as to the Non-Profits groups The Charlie Foundation and Matthew’s Friends. I have had the wonderful opportunity to meet with these amazing people and organizations in person, and they have all been enormously helpful to me on my journey back to Well-Being.

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December 2015

To read an update and watch an interview with Andrew, please go to Dr. Jeffry Gerber’s page:

http://denversdietdoctor.com/ancestral-ketogenic-diets-and-brain-cancer-the-scarborough-protocol/

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Please visit my Testimonials page to read the stories of others following a Zero Carb diet.

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

 

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My First 3 Months on Zero Carb by Isabel

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Isabel’s Chihuahua Pup Portia.

I was on a LCHF diet for a year before I started a Zero Carb way of eating. I was eating lots of fatty cuts of meat, cheese, and fats from butter. I was also eating plenty of vegetables, especially greens and raw salads. I lost a great deal of weight over that year, about 90lbs!

However, I was still experiencing irritable bowel syndrome side effects. I experienced bloating, cramping, and abdominal pain from inflammation and irritation of my gastrointestinal tract (as explained by my doctor).

My Primary Care Physician prescribed probiotics, anti-depressants (in case it was stress causing my IBS), stomach acid pump inhibitors, and antispasmodic medications… all with little improvement.

I heard about the Zero Carb diet and I wanted to see if eating only those foods from the animal kingdom – like beef, chicken, pork and eggs – and drinking only water, would make a difference in my IBS symptoms. So, I decided to give it a whirl, and I was not disappointed.

Within 72 hours of beginning a Zero Carb diet, I quickly noticed my bloating was gone. After just 3 weeks, I was no longer experiencing any abdominal cramping and pain. By week 5, I was having regular bowel movements without bleeding. I had formerly suffered from severe constipation. I have now been on a Zero Carb diet for 12 weeks, and I have been totally off any IBS medications for a full 3 weeks. I also have lost an additional 27 lbs!

I eat all animal meats and eggs on the occasion. I usually will eat the same thing for a week, and switch it up. Maybe I’ll have beef burgers for my meals one week, then chicken or pork the next week, just to give the illusion of variety. I eat no dairy products. I also do use kosher sea salt, as well as black pepper, and once in a while I add some cajun spices on my meat.

I cannot imagine going back to my former way of eating. This is the only “therapy” I have tried that has ever worked so completely on my GI track to calm the IBS. It’s either this diet or gut wrenching pain. That makes the diet easy for me to follow. I still need to lose about 40 lbs more anyways, so i’m excited to continue on my weight loss journey as well.

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Isabel’s Pomeranian Pup Chanel

Please visit my Testimonials page to read the stories of others following a Zero Carb diet.

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

 

What Must I Do to Get Well? by Elma Stuart

What Must I Do to Get Well by Elma Stuart

This is a book about Dr. James Henry Salisbury’s Beef and Hot Water Diet Therapy for healing. It was observed to help everything from diabetes to epilepsy to rheumatism to gout to migraines to insomnia to asthma to cancer. This is the 25th edition of the book and was published in 1898. The first edition was published in the mid-1880s and each edition was larger and more comprehensive than the last. This is the most complete edition that I have found. It may have been the final edition.

The author was bedridden for 9 years with what today would be labeled Fibromyalgia or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. She went to 43 doctors in an effort to regain her health. None of their recommendations worked. She learned about Dr. Salisbury’s diet through an ad in her local newspaper and ordered his book The Relation of Alimentation and Disease.

A good neighbor helped her to do the diet by purchasing, grinding, and cooking all of her meals every day for 7 months until she was strong enough to do it for herself. All of the meat was purchased daily (from animals slaughtered that morning) and ground fresh just prior to cooking. Interestingly, this would have prevented any significant formation of histamines in the meat. Elma says it took her about a year on Dr. Salisbury’s diet to regain her health. At the time of publication, Elma had eaten beef and hot water exclusively for 11 years.

The main difference between Dr. Salisbury’s diet and what the Zero Carb community recommends is that it prescribes lean beef, rather than fatty beef.  Elma says that she has witnessed hundreds, if not thousands, of people recover from very serious illnesses using Dr. Salisbury’s diet. The book is fascinating and has many funny passages.

To read the free PDF version of her book, please click on the link below:

What Must I Do to Get Well? And How Can I Keep So? by Elma Stuart

 

On a side note, those of you who like nineteenth century English literature will enjoy discovering that Elma Stuart was very good friends with the well-known feminist and philosophical novelist George Eliot (a.k.a. Maryann Evans). They wrote many letters back and forth over an 8 year period, from 1872 to 1880.

To read the free PDF version of the exant letters, please click on the link below:

Letters from George Eliot to Elma Stuart

 

My First 30 Days on Zero Carb by Kim Knoch

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Prior to discovering the Zero Carb way of eating, I had been following a Ketogenic diet for about two years. I experienced good results with the ketogenic diet and so I started a blog about my experience of eating that way called Eat Fat Lose Fat. I also wrote an eBook about how to implement a Ketogenic diet called Kick the Weight with Keto. As you can see, I was a big fan of of the Ketogenic diet.

But then one day, I came across The Andersen Family interview that was published through this website and was introduced to the concept of Zero Carb for the first time. When I read their interview, I was like WHAT? THAT’S CRAZY! Who can eat only meat for 17 years?! But then I read the personal blogs of Amber Wilcox O’Hearn and Kelly Williams Hogan. Both of these women had eat an all-meat diet for over 5 years. After that, I was interested enough to check out the Facebook groups Zeroing in on Health and Principia Carnivora as well as the Reddit Zero Carb subforum. The more I read, the less bizarre this way of eating sounded, and I finally decided that I had nothing to lose by giving it a try.

The reason that I was interested in trying a Zero Carb diet is because I was still experiencing significant cravings for carbohydrates and I found myself letting more and more carbs creep back into my diet. I was really into creating and sharing recipes for Ketogenic “fun” foods, which only served to keep my sweet-tooth alive. This caused me to eat more than I wanted to and regain some of the weight I initially lost. Prior to adopting a Ketogenic diet, I weighed 400 lbs and opted to have bariatric surgery. I lost 190 lbs. as a result of the surgery, but then I gained back 50 lbs.

By the time I discovered and started the Ketogenic diet, I weighed 260 lbs. I was able to lose the 50 lbs I had regained after a year and a half of following the Ketogenic diet. The weight came off, but the process was painstakingly slow. Then, as the carbohydrate cravings started to get the best of me, I regained 20 lbs. which was really frustrating. So, when The Andersen Family interview came through my Facebook feed, I was definitely open to exploring new ideas. On April 6, 2015, I introduced the Zero Carb diet to my blog readers and embarked upon this unique dietary adventure. I have written a total of 5 posts for my own blog about my first 30 days: 1) Beginning, 2) Days 1 – 4, 3) Days 5 – 9, 4) Days 10 – 22, 5) Days 23- 30.

Even though I had been eating a very low carbohydrate diet for 2 years, I still experienced a fairly rough transition to Zero Carb. I felt really lousy for the first 5 days, but it took about 2 full weeks before I started to feel normal again. To learn more about this, please read the page on this website which explains The Adaptation Process.

When I first began Zero Carb, I included meat, eggs, and full fat dairy products. However, by the end of my second week, I discontinued all dairy products and began limiting my egg consumption because they caused my blood sugar to rise. When I eat them, my fasting blood glucose level will increase by 20 points the next morning.

After a full month on Zero Carb, I have settled into a diet comprised of about 60% beef, 20% fish/seafood, 15% chicken, and 5% lamb. However, I am planning to do less chicken and more lamb into the future. I am experimenting with organ meats, like heart and liver, but I am not sure yet how often I will be including them. I also eat some bacon.

I used to need 3 meals and 2 snacks every day because I was always hungry. Now, I am usually only hungry for two meals a day. I no longer have any desire to snack after my evening meal which is practically a miracle. I eat when I am hungry, and I eat until I am completely and utterly satisfied. I consume between 1 – 2 lbs of meat each day. I cook my beef medium rare, but I am also experimenting with raw steak tartare. I eat as much fat as I want from my meat and only rarely add extra.

One of my favorite aspects of Zero Carb is the incredible freedom from food! I just don’t think about food nearly as often. I love the simplicity of this way of eating. I am free from constant thoughts of eating for the first time in my life. Being someone who likes to cook, I must admit that this is a bit weird for me. I’m used to spending time with the planning, shopping, preparing, eating cycle of my food. Obviously, the health benefits are very important too, but the freedom from food I think is the foundation of the benefits for me.

I love bone broth! When I moved away from home for the first time in my early 20s, my dad showed me how to make bone broth. I have been making it ever since. I find it funny that it has now become a sort of “fad.” I do not consider it a necessary part of my Zero Carb diet, but I enjoy it and will make it whenever I have an upset stomach or just feel a desire for it. I did find it particularly helpful during the the first two weeks while I was adapting to this way of eating. I like to add broth to my meat while it is cooking also, as it seems to help my digestion.

The ground beef I buy is grass-fed and grass-finished, but the rest of the meat I currently purchase is grain-finished. I do add salt to my meat, either Himalayan pink salt or Celtic sea salt. I used a lot of salt during the first two weeks of Adaptation, but then my desire lessened somewhat. I just use as much as I want according to taste. I still enjoy being creative with my food, so I have continued to experiment with different spices. I often use the Montreal steak seasoning, as well as a variety of different Penzey brand mixtures that do not have sugar.

As far as nutritional supplements are concerned, I am not currently taking any. I am planning to go for new blood work after completing my first 60 days. If anything shows deficient, I will consider adding supplements. But, if everything looks good, then I will continue on with just real food.

I know a lot of people are concerned about the cost of eating this way, and I estimate that my monthly food expenses for me alone are around $500 a month. I am sure it can be done for less money, but I consider my health to be important and am willing to spend a little extra to purchase the meats I prefer. Interestingly, I am now spending less per month on food than I was during my last two years on a Ketogenic diet. This discovery surprised me, but with and all-meat diet there is little-to-no waste. I am no longer buying fake Keto “specialty” foods which are actually quite expensive and not very healthy in the long run.

I also use some strategies to keep costs down. For example, I purchase all my ground beef directly from a local rancher, and I watch for sales on meat and then buy it and freeze it for future use. Additionally, I have a Costco membership and I belong to a local buying co-operative that allows me to purchase certain meats in bulk. Costco has excellent prices on certain seasonal items like Copper River Salmon, as well as regular items like beef roasts.

On the subject of exercise, I have always hated “working out” and never got into the gym environment. I always felt judged and very out of place. Plus, when I was at my sickest I just didn’t feel good while exercising, and it didn’t make me feel good afterward as well. Right now, I do better with walking and general activity – cooking, working around the house and yard, taking a brisk walk at work when I feel good and I need a break.

I feel society has been very punitive against heavy people always telling them to “eat less and exercise more” – which for me turned out to be the worst advice ever. My goals in this area are many though. I used to do Volks-walking, which are 5 – 10k arranged walks that take in local scenery and are all over the world. I also want to get strong enough to do some backpacking. One goal of mine is to hike the length of Oregon on the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail).

I’ve had a lot of improvements in just 30 days!

  • Lost 17 pounds (it took me 4 months of keto to lose this same amount).
  • Lost 3.7% of my body fat.
  • Lost 3.5 inches off of my waist (sadly, I didn’t take any other measurements).
  • Cravings are non-existent, however I’m still sensitive to pictures of foods and the mention of certain foods. I can see that this sensitivity will gradually disappear the longer I’m on Zero Carb.
  • Reduced thyroid medications from 120 mg Armour to 60 mg (at day 15).
  • Fasting blood sugar down to 90 consistently (it was 100-120 before).
  • My joint and muscle pain has reduced by 90%. I was always at a pain level of 2-3 before and took 6 Advil at least 3 times/week. I only took Advil twice since beginning Zero Carb and they were both in the first two weeks.
  • I relied on caffeine for mental clarity before, but now I barely need any caffeine
  • My digestion was very bad before (diarrhea and malabsorption of food) – this area has improved by 50%. Also I used to have bad gas, now I hardly have any! My family loves this benefit, haha!
  • I used to be fatigued most of the time, but now my energy levels are stable, I can wake up in the morning and get up right away, and I don’t take naps any more.
  • Sleep – I used to sleep 9-10 hours a night, now I only sleep 7-8.
  • Depression – I had bouts of depression before, but these have been reduced by half, and they don’t last nearly as long when I do have them.
  • Headaches – I used to get what I call headaches but were like shoulder/neck/head throbbing tension. They completely knock me out until the next day. I had only two occurrences of this in 30 days (75% reduction), and I recovered from them quicker than before.
  • Allergies – it’s an early spring here, everyone has allergies even when they’re taking medications. Most of the time I don’t even need medications, but when I do feel a need for them, they work really well.
  • Physically – I’m more energetic, able to move around more without getting tired. Getting a lot of stuff done at home without procrastinating.
  • Eyesight – night blindness and evening vision has improved by 20%. I don’t wear glasses currently and am trying to avoid having to wear them.

My family and friends are very supportive. My husband said on the celebratory evening of my 30th day of this WOE (while we were eating prime rib) – “It’s like you finally found the way you should have been eating your whole life!” With the health results I’ve had, how could anyone close to me argue? They see the changes. With other people in my life, I’m not as open in talking about it yet, but I imagine that will change in the future as people notice my weight loss. I’m sure I’ll be blogging on this topic as I figure things out. Right now I just say I’m eating low carb if anyone comments on me just eating meat only.

Just commit to it for 30 days. If you don’t think you can do just meat and water at first, don’t worry, just start with meat, full fat dairy (sprinkles of it, not hunks) and eggs and your body will lead you in the right direction. Your abilities will surprise you! Be prepared for your life to change – and not just in the physical sense. My brain has changed too. During these 30 days I was grieving for food. I wasn’t having any physical cravings, but it’s like muscle memory – I wanted to eat at certain times (like in the evening) for comfort. You’re going to have to live with your feelings and not have a way to comfort yourself. But it’s worth it – the bad feelings do not last long. If I can do this, so can you!!

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Kim with her supportive husband and daughters.

Please visit my Testimonials page to read the stories of others following a Zero Carb diet.

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

 

My First Four Months on Zero Carb by Esmée La Fleur

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Me & My German Shepherd Dog “Sasha”

I have explained a lot of the following details on my About Me page, but I feel it is important to include some of them here as well so that readers unfamiliar with my history may better understand just how much appreciation I have for discovering the Zero Carb, or All-Meat way of eating…

As some of you already know, my reasons for trying an All-meat diet have nothing to do with weight. I have been very sick for a very long time and most of my issues revolve around extreme food intolerance. Pretty much everything I put in my mouth makes me sick, and has done so for the better part of the last 20 years. I believe these troubles resulted from a combination of a gastrointestinal infection I acquired in India when I was 16 and the vegan diet (high in wheat) I chose to follow shortly there after. Both of these factors damaged the villi of my small intestine and lead to the manifestation of celiac disease, specifically the skin version known as dermatitis herpetiformis (a very itchy rash experienced by approximately 20% of those diagnosed with celiac disease).

Because I was ideologically committed to a vegan diet, the high fiber foods I ate (even after wheat was removed from my diet) continued to assault the already severely compromised condition of my small intestine. I gradually became sensitive to everything I ate and was miserable all of the time. I was eventually diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome based on the constellation of bizarre symptoms I experienced, and the fact that I was so tired most of the time that getting out of bed to take a shower took extreme effort.

I reached a low point in 2001, weighing only 87 lbs., and was sure that I was going to die from starvation. Out of desperation, I had tried adding animal foods back into my diet beginning several years earlier, but I was still eating lots of plant foods which continued to irritate my gut. But I was brain washed into believing that plant foods were necessary for health, so I persevered in my consumption of them.

I finally found a goat milk yogurt that did not make me feel horrible after eating it, and I ended up living on a mono diet of only goat milk yogurt and raspberries for 2 years straight. It saved my life. I then was able to move over to a diet of raw ground beef, olive oil, and leafy greens. I was still convinced that plant foods were essential to good long term health. This way of eating worked fairly well for another two year period. However, I started experiencing negative symptom from it more and more as time went on. I now know that this was due to an increasing intolerance to both salicylates (olive oil and greens) and histamines (aged beef).

I then went off on a crazy tangent of low fat vegan fruitarianism promoted by Doug Graham known as the 80/10/10 diet. I did this for another two years, but continued to feel even worse. I was continually in a state of sugar highs and lows, which made me irritable and angry a lot of the time. I was having trouble thinking straight, and I was painfully bloated all the time. Fortunately, this was around the time Dr. Robert Lustig gave his excellent presentation on fructose metabolism, explaining in detail why too much fructose is not a good thing. Please see his YouTube video SUGAR: THE BITTER TRUTH for the complete explanation.

So, my next dietary experiment was a low carb high fat (LCHF) raw vegan diet heavy on avocados and green leafy vegetables. This stabilized my blood sugar and kept my energy pretty steady. But I was still bloated all the time and experiencing other unpleasant symptoms from the food I was eating. Then, I was severely bit by a dog, and – between the antibiotics and the energy needed for healing – my digestive issues just got worse. The avocado salads just weren’t working anymore after that.

I eventually returned to goat milk yogurt and raspberries because I had no idea what else to do at this point. However, even the yogurt and raspberries didn’t work as well as they had in the past. Again, I now know that this was due to my increasing sensitivity to both salicylates (raspberries) and histamines (yogurt). Nevertheless, I remained on yogurt and raspberries exclusively for another full year. I experimented with rice before and after that, but all of it made me feel bad. While doing a 63 day green juice fast (using the only two vegetables low in salicylates: celery and lettuce) – which felt good, but was certainly not sustainable – I stumbled upon Jimmy Moore’s book Keto Clarity.

I had read about the Ketogenic diet many years earlier and knew that it was used to control seizures in epileptic children. I was intrigued at the time and even experimented with Atkins’ approach, but I was always including plant foods in my dietary trials, which I now realize was the reason I did not experience the benefits so many others did with this type of diet. As it turns out, I am not only sensitive to carbohydrates, I am also sensitive to salicylates which are present in almost ALL plant foods. As long as they were in the mix, any diet I tried was doomed to failure. The time I spent on goat milk yogurt and raw beef was the closest I came to removing most plant foods from my diet, but it still wasn’t enough. Please read my page on Salicylates for more information.

Jimmy Moore’s book re-kindled my interest in the Ketogenic diet and I proceeded to devour all of the podcast interviews he has done with Ketogenic diet scientists and doctors over the past 8 years.  What a wealth of information he provides for free! I know many people in the Zero Carb community are off-put by Jimmy’s promotion of Keto “junk” or “Frankenfoods” as they like to call them. But for me, Jimmy Moore’s audio and video library was a lighthouse beacon of hope. I had no idea how much information was now available on the Ketogentic diet compared to when I first encountered it 20 years ago. For those who are interested, I have links to many of his best interviews on my Resources page.

Somehow, someway, through a path that can no long remember exactly, I found my way to Amber Wilcox-O’Hearn’s website on The Ketogenic Diet for Health, and then to her personal blog Empirica where she delineates her experience of eating a totally carnivorous diet for over 5 years. I was fascinated! I had no idea that was even possible. Yes, I knew about the traditional diets of the Inuit and Masai tribes, but their diets utilized many parts of the animals they raised or harvested from the wild. Amber was simply eating muscle meat without much in the way of organ meats, bone broth, etc. I wanted to know more, that was for sure.

Some anonymous person added me to the Facebook group Zeroing in on Health (ZIOH) started by long time Zero Carb veteran Charles Washington. I suddenly entered a whole community of people eating this way, many for over five years. Naturally, I had a few concerns about eating this way which were quickly answered and put my mind at ease. I had been on a Ketogenic diet for three weeks (started on December 7, 2014), but I was still eating some low carb plant foods like sauerkraut, leafy greens, etc. I was also eating animal foods like cheese and eggs, chicken and turkey, and sour cream. Even though I was in “ketosis” and feeling some benefits from this – mostly related to blood sugar stability – I was still having negative reactions to ALL of these foods.

Eventually, thanks again to Amber Wilcox-O’Hearn, I finally figured out that I was sensitive to histamines in the same way that I was sensitive to salicylates. Histamines are present in all aged foods. Ironically, most of the Keto-friendly foods I was eating were either fermented or aged and – therefore – high in histamines. Egg white are also high in histamines. So now I was ingesting both salicylates and histamines.

Every time I ate, I experienced severe GI bloating, hours of burping, a migraine headache, a racing heart rate, and low blood pressure that made standing upright for even short periods quite difficult. So, in spite of eating a Ketogenic diet, I was feeling quite miserable. Therefore, an All-Meat diet seemed like the next logical step to explore. I figured that if others have not just survived, but thrived, on Zero Carb for five or more years, then a 30-day trial certainly would not kill me. So, I began my carnivorous adventure on January 1, 2015.

However, what I soon discovered is that ALL meats sold in U.S. supermarkets are aged to some extent, either intentionally or by default, and – consequently – are high in histamines. Every type of meat I tried made me sick with all the symptoms described above. The only animal foods I could safely eat were raw egg yolks and heavy whipping cream, so I ate 2 dozen egg yolks and 16 oz of heavy whipping cream every night for the first month and a half while I worked to find a source of histamine-free meat. This felt like my only hope, and I was not going to give up.

I finally located some unaged fresh-frozen grassfed veal that produced no negative reactions. The difference in how I felt after eating it was truly remarkable. I almost felt like a normal person. Most people eat and feel good, but – for over two decades – my experience has been to eat and feel utterly bad (and when I say bad, I mean so bad that I often just wished I was dead). So, I knew I was on to something. I finally understood what the problem had been all these years, and this knowledge has moved me from a place of hopelessness to one of great hope. I finally have direction and know what I need to do.

After a month and a half, my source of veal ran out and I had to go back to the eggs and cream for a week or so until I located another source of histamine-free meat. I eventually found some local humanely-raised pork that could be processed within two days of being slaughtered. The company that sold this pork – The Meat Shop in Phoenix, AZ – also had beef that was only aged for 10 days (most beef is aged for a minimum of 21 and usually much longer by the time it reaches the retail shelf). I tried their beef, but – sadly – it still contained to many histamines for me to eat. Everyone’s tolerance for histamines is different, and mine appears to be zero, at least for now. Maybe, as the villi in my gut heals, I will regain my ability to properly metabolize histamines. That would be truly awesome and that is the vision that I hold for myself.

The pork, however, has been working pretty well. As soon as the animal clears inspection, the butcher processes it for me and freezes it immediately in order to stop the histamine formation as quickly as possible. I have been eating 1 lb. of ground pork with 4 oz. of butter once a day for the past month. Right now, I find that if I eat more than 1 lb. of meat at a time, or if I eat more than one time per day, I feel tired and inflamed. I am hoping that as my digestive system heals, I will be able to eat more meat and less added fat. Time will tell. Most women on this diet consume about 1.5 to 2.5 lbs. of fatty meat per day. But, for now, what I am doing is working pretty well.

The Zero Carb veterans generally discourage people from adding extra fat to their meat – unless it is super lean – because there are more nutrients in the meat than in the added fat, and too much added fat can cause some folks to gain unwanted body fat. Many people who come to Zero Carb from a Keto background often make the mistake of adding a lot of extra fat to their meat and then wonder why they are gaining weight. Since I was underweight to begin with, I was not overly concerned about this problem for myself.

In addition to the pork and butter, I also make and drink bone broth. I have personally found bone broth to be a very beneficial part of my transition to this diet. I believe it prevented some of the more severe symptoms that can occur during the initial period of metabolic Adaptation to a Zero Carb diet. None of the Zero Carb veterans that I have interviewed include bone broth in their diet, so it is clearly not necessary for long term health.

However, I strongly feel – based on my own experience, as well as the experience of others who are following a Zero Carb diet for complex health issues like me – that bone broth can be a real asset. My position on this subject, and my insistence on sharing my experience with others who are newly trying this diet, actually got me ex-communicated from the ZIOH fold. (Really? Yes, really!)

It is a long story and too complicated to try an explain here, but basically the Admins of that group did not like me promoting the benefits I have experienced from bone broth because they felt that I was somehow confusing people into thinking that it was an essential part of the diet, rather than just an optional addition. Perhaps I just have more faith and trust in the intelligence of individuals, and expect them to be able to read information and determine what the best course of action is for themselves, without needing others to make the decision for them.

Those of us who have chosen to include bone broth as part of our Zero Carb diet are at a complete loss to understand the ZIOH stance, especially since bone broth is clearly a food from the “animal kingdom.” I mean, it is not like we were singing the praises of Coke Zero or something, for heaven’s sake. I think the misunderstanding arises from the fact that none of the ZIOH Admins have ever suffered with the severe gastrointestinal issues or complex health problems that result from this. The only long term Zero Carb-er I have interviewed who had similar issues with food intolerances and might possibly be able to understand and relate was Charlene Andersen. But, she is not an active member of ZIOH. To read why I think bone broth can be beneficial for some people, please see my article Can Bone Broth Be Used as Part of a Zero Carb Diet?

After The Andersen Family interview went viral and was shared on William Davis’s Wheat Belly Facebook page and several other pages, ZIOH experienced an influx of many new members with Lyme Disease, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and similar very severe illnesses. This was a completely different crowd than ZIOH had formerly attracted. Most people who get interested in Zero Carb do so for weight loss reasons. But that was not the case for many of the new people – arriving via The Andersen Family interview – checking out this unique way of eating.

It has been my experience that it is virtually impossible for someone who has not experienced these types of complex health and GI problems to understand even remotely what it is like. And to forbid us to talk about bone broth – which has been shown to be so helpful for people with these kinds of issues – in the group is not only totally ridiculous, but terribly short-sighted in my opinion. What is the point of being part of a group if we are not allowed to share information and experiences? They pushed a lot of people away from learning more about a diet that has the potential to significantly improve the lives of so many very, very sick people.

Fortunately, however, this is a mostly free internet world, and we (with the support of 5-year Zero Carb practitioner Michael Frieze) simply created a new group called Principia Carnivora for ourselves where everyone is free to openly discuss any and all ideas that we feel may be beneficial to us on our journeys back to well-being. We had almost 400 new members requests in just 4 days, so I guess that says a lot about the need for a group like this with a more relaxed and free-thinking environment. If this sounds like your kind of group, please come join us and check it out. Our main objective is to have fun while supporting one another.

So, I will just end by saying that while I personally enjoy bone broth and feel better when I drink it, this may or may not be true for you. Like eggs and dairy, bone broth is secondary in importance to meat on a Zero Carb diet. It is important to keep in mind that not everyone reacts to it the same way. A small percentage of people who are sensitive to MSG can turn the glutamine in bone broth into glutamate and experience all the same symptoms they do from MSG. This is most often seen in children with Autism, but it can happen in anyone with gut issues. The only way to know how it will affect you personally is to try it.

I drink 1-2 quarts of bone broth per day. I remove the fat so that it does not interfere with my natural appetite and hunger signals. Essentially, it is the Zero Carb version of an electrolyte replacement beverage. Many people find it really helps to prevent the muscle cramping that can occur during the Adaptation phase of beginning this way of eating. For more information, please see my page on Bone Broth.

The most significant benefits I have experienced so far include…

  • Food Reactions – I no longer experience unpleasant symptoms after eating.
  • Bloating – I no longer look and feel 6 months pregnant after eating.
  • Blood Sugar – I no longer experience daily hypoglycemic episodes.
  • Energy – My energy is now stable and steady.
  • Teeth – My teeth are no longer sensitive.
  • Hunger – I eat once a day and am rarely hungry in between meals.
  • Cravings – I experience no carbohydrate or other cravings.
  • Mental Clarity – I have greater mental clarity and focus.
  • Mood –  I am no longer irritable all the time.
  • Outlook – I feel much more optimistic about life.
  • Hemorrhoids – I no longer experience pain or irritation.
  • Weight – I was underweight (95 lb) and am now at a healthier weight (120 lb).
  • Blood Pressure – It has increased from 85/50 to 105/95.
  • Skin – My skin has stopped breaking out with pimples.
  • Nails – My nails are much stronger.
  • Hormones – I no longer have menstrual cramps during my period.
  • Headaches – I no longer have migraine headaches as long as I avoid salicylates and histamines.
  • Shingles – The scar I have from this no longer tingles or itches.
  • Sleep – My sleep quality has improved and I need less total sleep.
  • Mornings – I no longer wake up feeling like I have a hangover.

As you can see, I have experienced quite a few positive changes in just 4 short months. The key for me in making this diet a success is to have a continual supply of histamine-free meat. I want to see if I can makes some histamine-free pemmican to serve as a back-up resource, as well as for travelling or day trips. I also plan to explore some therapeutic modalities, like DAO enzymes, which have been shown to assist the break down of histamines that are present in food. I am definitely happy with my progress thus far, and – as long as things keep moving in a positive direction – I fully expect to continue this way of eating indefinitely.

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Please visit my Testimonials page to read the stories of others following a Zero Carb diet.

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

 

My First Two Months on Zero Carb by Anastasia Neucoon

Anastasia

One of Anastasia’s Beloved Cats

I am 47 years old, and I have two boys, ages 14 and 17 years old. I also have 4 cats, 2 chinchillas, and some quail that provide fresh eggs for us every day. I am half Danish and half Mexican, with a dash of Native American thrown in. I am a Graphics Designer and was educated as Dietitian as well.

  1. What kind of diet were you following before Zero Carb?

I was on a Ketogenic Diet for 6 months and had been experiencing really good results.

  1. Why did you decide to try Zero Carb?

I decided to try this way of eating because of arthritis. I have tried many diets before, including vegan and vegetarian, both of which made me feel worse than ever. I was told, my body had to adjust. I always missed meat which I loved dearly. But while I was following a Ketogenic diet, I realized something interesting. On some days, I forgot to eat veggies and I noticed that I felt better on those days and had much less pain.

So, I began to intentionally skip veggies. I soon discovered that when I left out the protein powder, I also felt better. Eventually, I came across information about the All-Meat, or Zero Carb, way of eating and it made so much sense to me. This was the last bit of encouragement I needed to drop the nuts I was still including in my diet. With each food elimination, I felt an improvement in my overall well-being. For my first 3 weeks on Zero Carb, I was still including dairy products. But once I let them go, I again noticed that I felt even better.

  1. What was your transition to Zero Carb like? Easy or hard?

The transition from Low Carb to Zero Carb was really easy for me. I love meat and eggs. I felt so free eating this way. I didn´t have to count any carbs, or other macros anymore. I didn´t have to measure for ketones. Best of all, I stopped having cravings for unhealthy foods. I just wonder why I didn´t realize myself years ago?

  1. What benefits have you noticed so far?
  • Overall – I feel so good.
  • Arthritis – I have no more pain.
  • Pain Killers – I no longer need them.
  • Skin – It is so much healthier.
  • Tinnitus – It has completely disappeared.
  • Asthma – I have not experienced an attack.
  • Allergies – They are almost totally gone.
  • Sex Drive – It has become stronger.
  • Hair – It is already showing improvement.
  • Teeth – They are no longer sensitive.
  • Gums – They are no longer sore.
  • Energy – It has improved significantly.
  • Sleep – the quality and quantity has improved.

I just wanted to add that prior to Zero Carb I was on daily pain medication for the arthritis for the past 4 years. I never could have imagined that removing all plant foods from my diet could make such a dramatic difference. I was also told that the tinnitus I suffered with was incurable. Also, the dairy seemed to be the main culprit in the allergies and asthma, so for me it was important and necessary to eliminate everything except meat. I did not decide to try Zero Carb for weight loss, as I am already at a healthy weight. However, I find it easy to maintain a stable weight through this way of eating.

  1. What does your daily food intake look like?

It depends on what is available at a good price. I often will buy a half pig at one time because it is less expensive that way. So, I eat a lot of pork roasts and ground pork. I do love beef, too, and eat a lot of steaks. I also enjoy ground beef patties, fish, lamb, and venison. I go through phases where I really want salmon and will eat a lot of it for a period of time. I love to make my own broth and bacon, and I have even started to make my own Pemmican which I used to eat while living in native Dinetah, Navajoland. I eat an average of 1.5 to 2.5 lbs of meat each day.

Please visit my Testimonials page to read the stories of others following a Zero Carb diet.

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

 

The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Kieth

vegmyth cover third reviewThis book is by far one of the most powerful and important books I have every read in my entire life. It is my opinion that it should be required reading for everyone before they are allowed to graduate from high school. Everyone who eats food needs to read this book.

 

Here is the link to the free PDF version.

The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith

 

If you need more convincing, please read:

Dr. Michael Eades Book Review