Zero Carb Interview: Sebastien Fortier

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

I started my ketogenic diet on December 17 2013, at the age of 36. I did about 6 months of no carbs, then i tried to re-introduce some carbs. I tried many forms of carbs from veggies, fruits, grains, and even certain kinds of sugar like dextrose, but after about another 6 months of experimentation, I realized that i was reacting negatively to all types of carbs. So i decided to give them up completely at the end of last year. So, now I have been completely zero carb again for over a year.

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

Health. I started to realize that there was something going on with my overall health in 2005. I had noticed that i was constantly tired. At that time, I was doing weight training every day. But I was not sleeping a lot, so it was normal for me to feel tired.

However, I felt that there was sometime more than just tiredness going on because I started to develop some skin rashes and some foods intolerances. After many eliminations diets, i discovered that all my skin rashes were food related. I began my real “diet journey” in 2009 and my goal was to find the perfect diet for me. So, from 2009 to 2013, i tried all the available diets. Sometime i tested two different diets at the same time by using the foods allowed from one diet that were also allowed in another diet.

During all that time, my health condition was getting worse. So i decided in the beginning of 2013 to try the “healthiest diet in the world” (at least according to some), and I adopted a completely vegan diet with absolutely no animal products. It was also a very low fat, low protein, high carb diet.

For the first 3 months I ate only fruit, a regimen highly promoted by Dr. Robert Morse. i bought his herbs and i follow his protocol. Big mistake! My blood work was horrible, my teeth were rotting from the inside out. It caused some sort of mineral deficiency or overwhelmed my body with too much sugar. And i was constantly hungry. I had to eat every 2 hours and i was hungry again 30 minutes after eating even if my stomach was still full.

Then, I switched to Dr. John Mcdougall’s high starch diet, a bit of veggies and rice, my teeth stopped rotting after about 1 week and started to heal on this diet. But I was bloated all the time. Half of my food intake was cooked (mostly grains like quinoa and amaranth), and half of it was raw.

At the end of 2013, I was 30 lbs underweight at only 140 lbs. (I am 5′ 8”), severely anemic, almost bed ridden. My bathroom is located on the first floor, and it was too physically demanding to climb 1 set of stair to go to the bathroom. So, i was peeing in a bucket that i kept in my bedroom. I’ve never been in such bad shape in my entire life. You can’t imagine that kind of weakness until you experience it. “Healthiest diet in the world” my ass…!

In the current picture of me at the top, I weigh 170 lbs. In the picture below, I weigh 154 lbs. I don’t have any pictures of myself when I was at my lowest point of 140 lbs. Prior to becoming ill, I actually weighed 195 lbs. and I was solid muscle.

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Then there was only one diet left on my list: Low Carb High Fat Ketogenic diet. Since i’ve been brainwashed all my life that fats were bad, fats make you fat, etc. i wasn’t expecting too much from this diet. But I had reached a point where I literally had nothing to lose. I was dying anyway. The ketogenic diet not only stopped my downward spiral, it began to reverse my condition. After about 2 months of eating a LCHF/Keto diet, my blood work was much better, my energy was increasing, and i was gaining some weight. That’s when I realized that i was on the right path.

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

It’s hard to put a number on this because i feel like my body in constantly adapting. When I first started my ketogenic diet, I ate no carbs at all and about 50 gm of proteins with about 280 gm of fat. With this macronutrient ratio, I was able to have a blood ketone level of about 1 to 1.5 mmol/dL upon first waking up in the morning. When I tried increasing my protein intake to 80 gm, my blood ketone level was greatly affected. My ketones would drop. But now fast forward to today, my fats intake is 240 gm and my protein intake is 200 gm and I still maintain a blood ketone level of about 1 to 1.5 mmol/dL in the morning. Because I was already so weak and sick to begin with, I didn’t really notice the “keto flu” as many healthier people might when first transitioning to a LC or ZC diet.

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

I didn’t read any books. I just did some research on the web and experimented along the way.

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

A zero carbs diet is already quite restrictive. Mine is even worse. I always had quite bad digestion and because of that i’ve hard time eating any kind of muscle meat. So, i very rarely eat steak, chicken, or bacon. My primary food sources are chicken liver, egg yolk, and whey protein powder. I have an intolerance to most milk products. I even react to organic Ghee. But for some reason, i’ve been able to find one brand of whey protein powder that give me no problem at all.

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

I rarely eat beef due to severe digestive problems.

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

I do not eat beef, but I cook my chicken livers very lightly. I have the heat setting on medium and then I continually stir the purée to cook it evenly for only about 5 minutes. It is hard to tell from the pictures below, but it is still pink.

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

My liver and my yolks have a total of about 45 gm of fats, and i need about 240 gm of fats per day so i do add a lots of fat. I mostly use lard, tallow, MCT oil, coconut oil, and macadamia nut oil.

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

Since my diet is so restricted, I basically eat the very same meals everyday. Four meals per day. I am a kind of freak in this department LOL. I weigh all my foods very precisely and i know exactly how much fat, protein, total calories, etc. that I consume every day. I know that at 3400 calories per day I start to gain body fat, at 3000 calories per day I will lose body fat, and to maintain my weight, i need about 3200 calories per day. I don’t eat until I am satisfied. I could probably eat twice as much food without any problems, but that would give me 6000 calories per day and would make me fat. But I do not feel hungry am not really hungry, and I have stopped thinking about food constantly since I started eating a high fat ketogenic diet.

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

Yes, i eat chicken liver everyday.

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

I did a lot of experimentation with the bone broth and unfortunately for me, all bone broth gives me a skin rash.

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

I always have 4 small meals per day. Each of my meals weigh 125 gm and fill about a half of a cup. I blend everything in my Vitamix to help my body digest it better.

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

I have 200 gm of chicken liver per day and 6 egg yolks.

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

All of my chicken livers and eggs are organic.

Here is a step-by-step photo journal of how I prepare my liver, egg yolk, whey, and fat Zero Carb “smoothie.”

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

I react to so much that i decide to stick to water only.

16. Do you use salt?

From what i’ve read, you are supposed to increase your intake of salt on a ketogenic diet, so i am currently adding about 4gr of sodium per day from sea salt.

17. Do you use spices?

Again, because of my multiple reactivity to things, I prefer to not use any.

18. Do you take any supplements?

I do take general multi-vitamins, vitamin D, various amino acids and whey protein powder.

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

Probably around $300 (Candian)

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

Unfortunately, not really.

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

I do weight training 6 days per week, and i try to keep the intensity to the max.

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 more energy, I am way less bloated, I can control my body fats % much more easily, and I am much less sick than before.

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

The simplicity.

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

Don’t be afraid to experiment, don’t trust everything you read, give it a try and see how it’s working for you.

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

Everybody seem to think that I am a weirdo by eating this way, but i don’t much care. I do what i can with what i have in order to get better. In the end, you have to listen your own body.

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Please visit my “Interviews” page linked at the top of this website to read the stories of other long time Zero Carb veterans.

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

 

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My First 45 Days on Zero Carb by Lynn Marie Miller

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From the time I was a little girl, I can remember looking around and seeing so much physical pain and suffering around me.  I was so young and healthy and carefree, and I just couldn’t imagine having to live a life like this when I got older.  As a young child, it frightened me.  My Grandmother told me, “This is what happens when you get older and things just start breaking down.“  Then, I was 12 years old when my Grandmother suffered a stroke and passed away at the age of 57.  I also never forgot her nightly eating habits of frozen TV dinners and canned fruit.  I made the connection then, that food must play a very important part of how we feel and thrive, or not! I was only 12 when I made up my mind that I was not going to end up like my Grandma!

Fast forward to 40 years later and taking a very serious inventory of my own health, I could now understand what my Grandmother was talking about.  Although I was a total “health nut” and I was eating all of my “wonderful” whole grains, fruits and vegetables and taking my supplements, I didn’t feel as well as I knew that I could.  I was also overweight. This is when my journey began.  I lived and I breathed my research on anti-aging and longevity.  I was ready for a new lifestyle and I was determined that I would not end up in declining, poor health, like so many other of my family and friends were experiencing!  I would be the change that I wanted to see in a world of sickness and disease.

I joined a gym and I hired a Personal Trainer and I also began consuming more healthy fats, plenty of protein and fewer grains.  I also became a student of Aikido and fell in love with this very graceful, martial art.  After four months, it was while being thrown and doing a roll, that I tore my meniscus.  A short time later, I was training for a 5K race and my meniscus gave out and I fell and suffered two severe sprains to my right foot and ankle. Determined not to give up, I went to the gym with my foot wrapped and in a boot and with my crutches.  I trained as best as I could, 5-6 days a week and I never looked back.  I also began to learn about the many detrimental health effects of consuming grains in the diet and I stopped consuming them.  I became strictly, Low Carb High Fat and consumed only the healthy fats, protein and vegetables.  I would have some wild blueberries on occasion.  I lived this lifestyle for at least six months and my weight loss stalled, and by this time, I was now training and prepping for my first Figure Competition.

Then one day, while I was online doing my usual research on health and fitness, I ran across the amazing interview with Kelly Williams Hogan. The transformation she experienced as a result of the Zero Carb diet captured my attention.  I was blown away that she was living a lifestyle of consuming just meat and drinking only water. Huh? I had never heard of such a thing, at least not in today’s society.  However, I was aware of this in the past with the Eskimos, Inuit peoples, etc. Intrigued, I began doing more research.  I also joined the Zeroing in on Health Facebook group for support and that’s when things really took off for me. I quickly decided to the recommended 30-day trial of eliminating all plant foods from my diet and consuming only those foods from the animal kingdom.

Not even one week into my challenge, I began to lose inches. However, I also began to notice that I was experiencing many overall positive health changes as well.  I was sleeping better, any anxiety that I had was gone, my cognitive function was improving, my vision was improving, and my energy was through the roof! I had zero carbohydrate cravings. All I desired was my animal kingdom foods. WOW!  I was sold and there was no turning back now.  I was totally in the Zen!

By the time my 30-day trial was up, there were so many positive changes from eating this way that I only wished that I would have discovered this lifestyle years ago.  I would love to have raised my three daughters on a Zero Carb diet!

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This is day number 47 of my new meaty lifestyle. For me, the transition was easy. I had no problem, whatsoever, going from Low Carb High Fat to Zero Carb.  In the beginning, I was consuming beef, chicken, pork, organ meats, salmon, sardines, eggs, raw milk and raw milk cheese, bone broth, one cup of coffee per day and some heavy whipping cream included in that. I have been experimenting and I have figured out what works best for me.  I have let go of the pork, raw milk and cheese and eggs.  I will continue to consume beef, chicken, organ meats, bone broth and one cup of coffee per day, with a dab of heavy whipping cream.  I also just recently ordered some crickets and larvets (yes, insects! Thanks to Andrew Scarborough for this inspiration). I plan to try these on top of a nice juicy steak.  We’ll see how that goes.

I have also been facing some health challenges over the past year or so for which I have been under a doctor’s care.  I was diagnosed with anemia, vitamin C deficiency, parasites, candida, black mold, liver stress, mild colon and adrenal stress, and red blood cells stacking.  One of my concerns with going Zero Carb was the fact that I was vitamin C deficient.  However, after doing my research, I learned that I had no reason to be concerned, as I would get plenty from the meat I was consuming. None of the long term Zero Carb Veterans that Esmee has interviewed have needed to take supplemental vitamin C. She explores some of the reason why it is not needed on an all-meat diet in her article titled Vitamin C.

On day 45, I had a live blood cell analysis done and I am pleased to say that I am no longer anemic, no longer vitamin C deficient, there are no more parasites visible, my liver, adrenal, or, colon are no longer stressed, and my red blood cells are no longer stacking.  However, I still face the challenges with the candida and the black mold.  My Naturopath and I have worked on a protocol for those two things and we do know that with my new Zero Carb lifestyle, the candida should naturally be eliminated over time.  My Naturopath fully supports my new lifestyle as well and would like to learn even more about it, especially after seeing my blood test results.

Also, the list of overall positive changes is pretty extensive.  So, let me share them with you…

  • Weight loss of 8 pounds
  • I have lost several inches
  • Anxiety is totally gone
  • Vision has improved
  • Sleep quality has improved
  • No more abdominal bloating
  • Cognitive function has improved
  • Energy has improved
  • Weight training performance has improved
  • Recover after workouts has improved
  • I no longer get sore after weight training.
  • Chronic pain from old injuries has vanished. (This is HUGE for me!)
  • My hair is getting thicker
  • My nails are now unbreakable
  • My skin is softer
  • There are fewer lines on my face
  • I feel much calmer and relaxed overall
  • I have a happier state of mind

I love no longer having to spend my time planning meals and running to various shops for different food items.  I prepare my bone broth only once for the week, and I shop for my meat only once for the week.  This frees up my time to live my life and enjoy the things that mean so much to me.  I now have more time to enjoy my children and grandchildren, to spend time in nature, to climb trees, and to enjoy working out at the gym.  In just a few short months, I will be celebrating my 55th Birthday.  But I know that one’s “age” is just a number!  With the Zero Carb diet, I am no longer worried about falling apart as I grow “older.”  Instead, I am confident that I will age gracefully.  I’m living life and I’m living young!

Thanks for letting me share my story with you.

Lynn Marie posted this update after 60 days on Zero Carb:

I just wanted to share that, I had a Training session and evaluation with my PT and competition coach today and instead of Figure competition, she has suggested that perhaps I compete in Physique now. Almost two months of eating ZC and training with heavy weights has really increased my gains/lean mass. So much for what the critics have to say about not being able to make gains on no carbs… LOL… And also, the recovery from lifting on this lifestyle, simply cannot be beat! There is no pain anymore. Speaking from experience here.

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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.