Zero Carb Interview: Keidren Devas

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

Almost a year now.

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

I remember as a child I was very sensitive and from an early age I had eczema, a plethora of environmental allergies and asthma, all of which I was on multiple medications for. I also had an extremely compromised immune system and always had seasonal bouts of bronchitis or pneumonia; it seemed I was always on antibiotics and at the doctor’s office. When I look back it’s a wonder I survived my childhood at all!

As a teenager I ate the common SAD and suffered from fatigue, weight gain, anxiety and depression…If only I had known at that time what I do now about healing the gut and eliminating carbs and sugar…my life experiences within the world would have been so very different!

Then onto college and the whole fat free trend had just started! So I jumped on that bandwagon, eating all the processed and fat free foods, basically a 100% full-on sugar diet.

Then I transferred out to the west coast, and I quickly realized there was another way to eat other than the SAD diet. I began to read about alternatives, I started eliminating processed foods, started eating whole foods learning about a macro diet and began working at a health store and learning about supplements and alternative ways of healing…this was a very pivotal time in my life and my health did get a little better, way better than it was on a SAD diet!

I started fasting, doing different cleanses, losing weight, etc. My quest in life had begun and that was to feel good, and since I have never felt good I was always seeking to feel better. I then became a vegetarian, then a vegan, with these new ways of eating I suffered from fatigue, feeling cold all the time, depression, anxiety, very low blood sugar, sugar cravings. I ate this way on up to when I had my first child at age 24.

The actual birth was fine, but my body would not produce milk (low serotonin as I know now) and I dealt with postpartum depression, etc. My second birth a year and a half later was the same.

I then became a single mom of two, suffering from stress, severe chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, super low immunity, low blood sugar, low basal body temp, getting a different virus every other week, and an aching body that hurt so bad it was hard for me to function (fibromyalgia). I did somehow function though and no one really knew the inside hell that I was in fact dealing with and feeling.

In my 30’s, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and low adrenals, I began to take thyroid meds for awhile and saw numerous natural doctors and tried so many natural remedies, as well as diving into my own studies, discovering and learning as much as I could about low thyroid, hypothalamus function, adrenal exhaustion, etc.

I then began working for a naturopath who was really into the Raw Food movement, so I decided to try this and ate a raw food diet for almost two years. My ailments did not go away really though, and I can see now that I was just under a constant sugar high, but I felt stuck and did not want to ever go back to the other ways that I had been eating.

I started then to have a lot of digestive issues and pain in my gut in the morning and fatigue after I ate breakfast. So I began researching healing the gut and things like the GAPS diet, etc. I will never forget the day a friend of mine offered me some bone broth, this was such a profound moment in my recovery. With the first sip, I could literally feel the nutrients filling my body from within, warming me and relieving my aches and pains instantly.

I then started researching bone broth and began drinking it daily, and started learning about the Paleo and Primal diets, and began the shift of incorporating some meat and cheese and eliminated grain, and began to eat low carb. I started feeling so much better, my body became warm, my energy increased, joint pain was diminished, my digestion improved, my blood sugar and mood swings improved dramatically. My immune system was still very low though and I still didn’t feel completely at my optimum.

Looking back I was still at this point a sugar addict, having small bits of dark chocolate at night and I was still eating veggies. Into about my ninth month of low carb/Paleo/Keto, my dear friend Sondra Rose who had been coaching me and who also was on the same way of eating, told me she was eliminating all carbs including veggies from her diet and was only eating meat and occasional cheese, and lots of fat.

My first reaction was no way could I do that! How could that even be healthy…but I quickly caught myself remembering that I still wasn’t feeling at my optimum and was just lately pondering what I needed to shift next. So with Sondra’s encouragement, I decided the next day to give it a try. If you want personal one-on-one assistance in making the transition to a Zero Carb diet, you can contact Sondra through her website: http://www.sondrarose.com

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

In the beginning during the adaptation period, I increased my fat intake, sodium and drank bone broth daily and that really helped ease my symptoms of sugar withdrawal. I experienced some mild fatigue, headaches, and muscle cramps mostly.

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

A good friend of mine who is a nutritional coach and on this WOE. Also the Facebook group Principia Carnivora and this website Zero Carb Zen.

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

My daily intake consists of mostly ground beef, ribeye, tri tip steak, salmon, lots of eggs, small amounts of cheese/lard/chicken and LOADS of butter and occasionally bacon.

I drink only water, and I will occasionally mix gelatin with hot water to make a warm drink.

I keep it simple with protein and fat consistent.

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

85% Beef

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

Ground Beef I cook well done, but steaks I cook blue rare.

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

Sometimes I add extra butter or lactose free sour cream.

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

Both, I measured my daily intake for a few weeks, and now I just eye ball it.

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

No liver, just don’t like the taste, but I will eat hearts when I can get them fresh and local.

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

No, just Geletin powder now.

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

Three

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

14 to 20 ounces

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

Both

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

Just Gelatin powder in hot water.

16. Do you use salt?

Yes, in my ground beef and salted butter.

17. Do you use spices?

Some in my ground beef only. Garlic powder and pepper.

18. Do you take any supplements?

Magnesium at night every other day, 10,000UI of Vit D daily.

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

About $400.

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

Eat your ground beef and shop sales and stock up.

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

My work is physical and also yoga, and plank twice daily

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.)

Literally after only ONE DAY of eliminating ALL veggies and all plant material, my whole being felt better. I was calm, peaceful, strong, and energized. I instantly lost 10 pounds of water retention, all inflammation vanished, and I began to witness my body becoming muscular and strong. My energy is completely even throughout the day and it doesn’t seem like a day goes by that someone doesn’t comment on how I look like I am 25 when in fact I am 41! My Immune system has never been stronger, and my body, mind and spirit have never felt this strong!

The biggest “Ah-Ha!” moment for me was realizing how sensitive I really was to sugar, all carbs, and the plant kingdom in general. I realized that this is what had been aggravating my health all those years. Any amount of plant foods is just too much for my system, plain and simple.

For the first time in my life I feel FREE, ALIVE, and full of LIFE! This way of eating has absolutely by far been a lifesaver and a life regained for me. I have been able to really reflect the last few months on how I used to be and feel, and cannot believe I made it through. I am so thankful to have discovered a Zero Carb, All-Meat Diet.

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

Simplicity and how I feel!

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

Yes, take it slow, trust your body. Increase your water, fat and sodium intake in the beginning. Read and ask questions for support and wisdom from the folks in the Principia Carnivora group.

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

Yes, my kids know to set the table for me always with a steak knife!
26. Is there anything you would like share about this way of eating that I have not already asked you?

Yes, I have just recently had the opportunity to be of assistance and lend my guidance and wisdom to two beautiful women who were suffering from very similar health ailments from years of eating a plant based diet. They too felt stuck like I had and did not know how to move forward.

It felt so good to share with them all that has healed for myself since shifting my diet to ZC. It also gave me an opportunity to reflect and see how far I have come and remember all the ways I used to feel.

They were in fact the catalysts for helping me realize how important it is to share my health story to help others on their journey to optimal health!

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

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

 

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Zero Carb Testimonial: Stephany

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

I stated on January 1, 2016 and, after just 45 days, I feel fantastic! After going low carb/low fat (HCQ) in March of last year 2015, then low carb paleo and keto after that, I have finally found what really works for me: Zero Carb aka All animal foods and zero plant foods.

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

Health. And curiosity! As I said before, I discovered lowcarb in March last year. I was suffering from many health issues: obesity, extreme fatigue, bouts of depression, allergies, asthma-like symptoms, migraine attacks, panic attacks to name just a few.

I did some research, and soon found out that I was probably pre-diabetic – if not yet type 2 diabetes. I did not dare go to the doctor because I knew he would just give me drugs. Also, food became more and more of a problem. No matter what I ate, I felt miserable afterwards, extremely tired and I’d have the strangest allergic reactions.

At that time I was eating a high carb low fat diet: masses of whole grains, lots of fruit and veggies, no butter, some meat and fish. Coffee with sugar and mostly low-fat snacks to finish. I did not understand it because I thought I was eating a healthy diet. I never thought of questioning my diet choices and I thought it was just me.

At the end of February I was at my deepest point and looked for help. I asked my pharmacist if he could recommend a nutritional expert. He smiled and said, he was just working on something new and asked if I could wait a couple of weeks. I thought, why not? I really trust him because a couple of years before he helped me heal my gut. Back then, we both did not know about the benefits of lowcarb.

Anyway, mid-March 2015 my journey started. First of all, let me be clear about this: I did not expect to lose any weight and weight loss has never been my first goal. I wanted to be fitter and healthier. I never felt really bad about being obese – at least not until I started developing the above mentioned symptoms.

First I did HCQ: 3 weeks of low carb and low fat to reset the body, then 3 weeks of low carb and high fat. The idea of HCQ is that you can return to your normal eating pattern eating after 6 weeks because the body has been reset.

Well, the first 3 days of HCQ were hell. I had such a headache, and I was so nauseous and dizzy I thought I would faint. But I stayed the course and lo and behold: After 3 days I felt like new. Within a week many of my health issues were gone. Just like that! I was energized, had no more brain fog and simply felt fine. I remember waking up one morning and feeling awake and not tired. That was a completely new experience after years of being tired all the time. Also, the weight simply dropped off.

Picture: Before Beginning My Journey and Today

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It was soon clear to me that I would not return to my old way of eating. So I started reading books and searching the web. I was so surprised when I saw all the information on low carb. It did not take me long to stumble across paleo and keto. I did a couple of months of low carb paleo. When I re-introduced the so-called safe starches, many of my health issues came back.

At around that time I also discovered your blog for the first time and was really fascinated. But somehow, I did not really go for it and instead went keto. However, on keto I stopped losing weight and I noticed that I was returning to bad eating habits: lots of keto treats and so-called “healthified” keto food (e.g. coconut cookies with sweetener, coconut pancakes with sweetener, etc.).

Also, I started to obsess over food. I was counting macros and weighing my food. And I developed a funny kind of rash and some allergic reactions again (probably because of all the nut flours). So, at the end of December I decided this was getting out of hand and did the full monty: zero carb – all animal and no plants. I have not regretted it one second.

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

Psychologically: right away. I knew instinctively that this was the right way of eating for me.

Physically: The first 2 weeks I felt a bit weak and had some keto flu symptoms which surprised me because I thought I was keto-adapted. Looking back I now realize I probably was not really adapted yet.

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

In the beginning of my lowcarb experience I read a lot of books by Dr. Strunz (a German doctor) and a lot of the paleo books.

I liked Chris Kresser’s “The Paleo Cure” a lot, even though I do not agree with all his views (e.g. on safe starches – I think for some people like myself the body is so broken that even safe starches are not an option anymore. In fact, I think there is no such thing as a safe starch). But his 30 day reset really helped me. I did a very strict version of the 30 day reset: lots of meat, fish, good fats and veggies. No fruit, no nuts, no seeds, and other stuff that was allowed. In fact, this 30 day reset was better than the crap I ate afterwards on keto.

Another good source for getting started was Mark Sisson. I know many people do not like him because he is too commercial but his basic ideas are pretty ok: lots of fat, enough meat, some veggies, some fruit and nuts. The thing is, he wants to reach as many people as possible so he is very lenient. But I’m ok with that.

I also read this Zero Carb Zen blog from beginning to end and back again, as well as both of L. Amber O’Hearn’s blogs (Empiri.ca and Ketotic.org), and Keto Clarity by Jimmy Moore. Even though I was really fascinated by the zero carb concept I could not yet bring myself to try it. I’d have a couple of zero carb days and then I’d eat a keto treat or lots of veggies again.

Right now I’m reading Primal Body, Primal Mind by Nora Gedgaudas. Next on my reading list is The Fat of the Land by Vilhjalmur Stefansson. I guess I should have started with those, but well, it is a journey and I learn every day.

When I decided to go Zero Carb, I also joined the Zero Carb Facebook group Principia Carnivora. This group has been a blessing. The people in this group are the kindest, most helpful and most intelligent people ever! I am learning constantly from them.

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

I eat porc, beef, chicken, fish, rabbit, eggs, and butter. In the beginning of zero carb I went a bit wild on dairy, esp. heavy cream and cream cheese and also on bacon and ham. After two weeks I cut those out and felt an improvement again.

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

Hmm, I do not really know. I’d say 50% beef, 50% other meat. But I want to eat more beef. I notice that on pure beef days I feel even better.

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

Steak is rare to medium. I used to eat ground beef well-done but meanwhile I have tried some raw ground beef and absolutely loved it.

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

Yes, most of the meat I get is pretty lean, so I slather it in butter. I use the beef fat that I get from my meat broth to cook my steaks and I use lard for porc.

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

I eat until satisfied. But it was something I had to learn: to eat enough, not to over-eat and not to stop too early. It is a pity how we forget to listen to the signals our bodies give us.

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

Yes, once or twice a week: liver, tongue, heart, lung. I believe in the concept of eating the animal from nose to tail. I find especially beef tongue very nourishing.

Do you consume bone or meat broth? If so, how often?

Yes, once a week I cook a meat/bone broth. I do not drink it that often anymore. I use the fat for cooking steak and my husband uses the broth for cooking his veggies.

Picture: Delicious, healing broth.

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How many meals do you eat per day on average?

I’m down to two meals, but my aim is to eat one meal a day. However, I have learned not too hurry anything. On keto I tried to do intermittent fasting but it did not work out (so much for the idea of thinking I was keto-adapted). On Zero Carb it just happened. I’d have breakfast and a late lunch and at dinner time I found out I was not hungry so I did not eat. I notice now that I’m not even really hungry in the morning, but I still have breakfast. I think this is more a psychological thing. But as I said, I’m not hurrying anything. I trust that I’ll know when the time has come 🙂

How much meat do you eat per day on average?

No idea. I do not count any calories, do not weigh any meat, do not worry about macros. I did that on keto and it drove me crazy. I’m no longer occupied with “healthified” treats and carb substitutes. The credo is indeed simple. Eat meat. Drink water. Be happy 🙂

A normal day looks like this: breakfast (at about 6.30 a.m.) is some eggs, and/or some steaks, and a very weak coffee blended with butter. Lunch (at about 2.30 p.m.) is meat with butter, sometimes some extra eggs. I no longer need dinner – I cannot believe this myself.

Picture: Beef is very lean so I slather it in butter.

imageDo you eat grass-fed/pasture-raised meat, or regular commercially produced meat?

Both. Porc is mostly from my local butcher, beef is mostly from a local farmer, rabbit and chicken are self-raised. Except for the butter, I do not buy or eat anything with a barcode anymore.

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

I drink one cup of freshly ground coffee blended with lots of butter in the morning. I have not been able to drink coffee for a long time, so I am very happy I can drink this one cup again. I am forever grateful to a good friend who gave me a coffee grinder as a Christmas present.

Do you use salt?

Yes, but less and less.

Do you use spices?

No. I have never liked them.

Do you take any supplements?

I do, but I’m ready to let them go. I take a multi-vitamin, omega 3 and magnesium. But as I said, as soon as I find fattier cuts of beef, I’ll let them go. Again, I trust that I’ll know when the time has come.

How much money do you spend on food each month?

Not as much as when I was eating high carb and low fat.

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

I do not think this way of eating is expensive at all. I’d say: Buy the fattier cuts, try to buy in bulk. I live in a rural area where I can buy high-quality food at a reasonable price. I am grateful for this every single day.

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

Yes, 3 to 4 times a week since going zerocarb. Not because I have to but because I want to. Nothing big, but it is fun and I am becoming more muscular. In the beginning of Zero Carb I did not workout because I felt a bit weak but the last couple of days I had so much energy that I started some body weight lifting.

In this respect I noted an interesting development with my blood ketones: when I was on keto and in the beginning of Zero Carb I’d have blood ketones at 1.1 but my FBG would still be at 85 to 90. The last couple of days my blood ketones dropped to 0.6 to 0.9 but my FBG also dropped to 75. I feel much alerter and awake than ever before 🙂

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.)

LowCarb stopped many allergies and gave me more energy and mental clarity, but I still felt bloated and constipated most of the time.

With Zero Carb, I have no more allergies, stronger muscles, no fatigue, absolute mental clarity, and a deep calmness. Oh yes, I sleep wonderfully every night even though I have a lot of stress going on at work. Also, no more bloating and constipation.

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

The simplicity! And it is so delicious. The few people who know I am eating this way often ask me, if it does not get boring. I can say: No, it does not. I enjoy every meal without obsessing over it beforehand or afterwards. My taste buds get better and better.

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

Eat meat. Drink water. Be happy. Be patient. Trust the process. Your body needs time to heal. I’ve been Zero Carb for one month, before that keto for about 2 months and low carb for about 8 months. My body is still healing and sometimes I think I’m still adapting.

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

My husband was a bit worried in the beginning, but now he is okay with my choice. My closest relatives and friends are also ok with this. I do not really worry about what others think or say – I never did and I am not going to start doing this now.

If people ask me what I did to lose so much weight, I tell them that I went low carb. Depending on their reaction I might or might not say that I’m completely zero carb. I’m not being militant or anything about this way of eating. Everybody has to find what is correct for them. For some people it is enough to go low carb, for some primal or paleo is the solution, and for some it is zero carb. I did a lot of reading and research, and now even arguments about the moral aspects do not get me off track.

In fact, I think this way of eating is more sustainable for the planet than other diets. Which does not mean that I favor mass meat production, not at all. But I no longer believe that going meatless will save the planet. I recommend Ash Simmonds’ site highsteaks.com, the excellent book The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith, or Allan Savory’s project savory.global for more info.

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

No, I can only advise to everybody who is having health problems or feeling stuck in lowcarb limbo: Try zero carb for 30 days. I do not regret many things but I do regret that I did not start Zero Carb when I first learned about it which was last August when I discovered this blog. Instead of listening to my gut I listened to the voice of reason which said I would perish if I stopped eating veggies and fruit and that it would be boring to eat only meat. I was so wrong! So from now on, I’ll listen to my healthy gut. Others can eat veggies, I’m happy with meat and water 🙂

Not all of my health issues have been solved yet and I still have some weight to lose but steak by steak and egg by egg I’m getting there. This WOE rocks!

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

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

 

Zero Carb Interview: Liz Spencer


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Liz after 1 year of Zero Carb.

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

Officially my start date was April 1, 2015 but I had been eating pretty much zero carb for months before I had heard there was a word for that.

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

Both. I had a lot of weight to lose and my health was horrible. I applied for disability due to a long laundry list of health problems.

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

It was a slow process getting to Zero Carb. I started by just cutting out one thing at a time like sugar and bread, and then very slowly lowering my carbs per day so I never had any physical symptoms like Keto Flu. Psychologically it was a bit harder since I live with 5 other adults who are major carb addicts. Every time I walk into the kitchen I have to walk past a whole counter covered with candy, pastries, pies and bread. It was hard at first but once I was zero carb the cravings went away. Now I walk past them with no problem.

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

Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It by Gary Taubes was a really good book, but mostly I read a lot of websites.

My Zero Carb Life
http://myzerocarblife.jamesdhogan.com/wp/

Zero Carb Zen
https://zerocarbzen.com/

Zero Carb Health
http://www.zerocarbhealth.com/

Bad Ass Carnivore
http://badass-carnivore.com/

Empirica
http://www.empiri.ca/

These are all sites I enjoy.

Facebook groups are also great for daily support.

Principia Carnivora https://www.facebook.com/groups/PrincipiaCarnivora/

Zeroing in on Health
https://www.facebook.com/groups/zioh2/

No Carbs LCHF
https://www.facebook.com/groups/NoCarbsLCHF/

Principia Fibromyalgia (for Zero Carbers with Fibromyalgia) https://www.facebook.com/groups/645650578871443/

Liz before beginning her Low to Zero Carb journey.


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

I started with meat, eggs, chicken, fish, butter, cheese, and cream. I had a serious sour cream addiction! Slowly I started eating more meat and less chicken and fish. I cut out the dairy after about 5 months. Now I’m down to meat, eggs and butter.

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

I eat about a pound of beef a day, 4 eggs and about 8 slices of bacon. So about half.

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

I would like to eat it rare but I don’t trust the cheap Walmart ground beef I have to buy due to budget constraints so I cook it well done.

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

Sometimes I’ll add butter if I have an urge, but not often. I do like my eggs dripping in butter though.

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

I eat till I’m full, no limit, though I really can’t eat much at once.

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

I like liver so I’ll sneak it in once a week. I only limit it because one of the people I live with hates the smell of it.

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

Nope, too much trouble to make.

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

I usually eat 3 since I can’t eat much at once. Otherwise I wouldn’t get enough food per day.

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

About pound of beef and about 8 slices of bacon per day.

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

I really wish I could afford to eat grass-fed/pasture-raised meat but I’m on a really tight budget so its Walmart Ground beef for me.

Liz before beginning her Low to Zero Carb journey with her parents and sisters. Liz is on the far left in red.

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

I drink a lot of herbal tea and I am slowly weaning myself off coffee, so within a month no coffee.

15. Do you use salt?

Oh yes! It’s my last addiction. I tried to quit salt, but nope, I just can’t right now.

16. Do you use spices?

Pepper on my eggs and some steak seasoning on my ground beef.

17. Do you take any supplements?

Only when I have been exposed to someone sick. I’ll take vit. D, C, K and zinc.

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

Just under $200.

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

I use high fat ground beef instead of steaks, and I eat eggs every day.

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

No. When I started I could hardly walk 1/8 of a mile and I had to use the electric carts in the grocery stores to shop. Even without exercising I’m getting stronger and my stamina is increasing. I am trying to move around more though. Since I’ve lost 50 pounds it has gotten much easier to move my body. I’m pushing myself to do a little more each day.

21. 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 guess I should tell you I was a complete mess in 2013. I was 100 pounds overweight. I had Fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, Peripheral edema, Depression and Anxiety, Severe PMS, Migraines, Restless Leg Syndrome, and Irritable bowel syndrome. Basically, I felt like Crap!

I did a long, slow transition from low carb to very low carb to zero carb, so it’s hard to remember exactly what happened when.

I started low carb in early 2013. My focus was just weight loss since I never thought I could heal all my issues. I lost weight pretty quick at first, going from 225 down to 200 in early 2014. (Ya, that’s fast for me.)

Then the weight loss slowed down, but I noticed other things happening like my High Blood Pressure normalized and I was able to go off HBP meds. Additionally, the Migraines, Restless Leg Syndrome, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome slowly Improved and went away.

I freely admit that I fell off the wagon frequently those first couple of years. I was going through a divorce after 28 years of marriage, and I had to move in with my parents. So, I was a tad bit stressed.

Then menopause hit, the weight loss slowed even more, and – oh boy! – the hot flashes, but at least there was no more PMS!

By the beginning 2015 I had transitioned to very low carb. I noticed that I wasn’t as tired as usual, but I was still having problems with Fibromyalgia, Peripheral Edema, Depression and Anxiety.

In Late March of 2015, I found the Facebook group “Zeroing In On Health.” I was pretty much already Zero Carb with rare exceptions, so I decided that I might as well go the whole distance.

I officially started Zero Carb on April 1, 2015. That’s when I really noticed the big changes. Over the first 6 months my Fibromyalgia pain, Depression and Anxiety slowly faded and I was able to move more easily.

In the last 3 months, I have been able to go shopping without using the electric carts that they have in the stores. I feel human again!

In early January of 2016, I didn’t take my HCTZ for my Peripheral Edema for a couple of days, and my feet and ankles didn’t swell up into huge sausages! I’m slowly weaning off of it now too.

I’m currently down to 172 pounds, and I actually feel some muscles under that last 50 pounds of fat I want to lose. I feel so much stronger now and I’m actually looking for a job! I’m have been helping my parents out at their office for free. It’s quite a work out filing and lifting boxes. But I can work!!!!

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

It’s so filling that I never feel hungry. I can also go longer between meals if I have to without feeling hungry and weak.

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

Read everything you can get your hands on about it. Start slow. Don’t give up. If you fall off the wagon, just jump back on. Don’t tell anyone unless you have to. They will just look at you like your crazy then lecture you about health. You can tell people once you have been doing it for a while and have results you can show them.

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

They are now. At first they thought I was crazy, but they can see how much weight I’ve lost and how much healthier I am now. Unfortunately I still have to walk past their junk food constantly.

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

Nope.

Liz today!

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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.

 

Zero Carb Testimonial: Rachel Chamness

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

6 months

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

I was overweight, but it was the better health that I really wanted. I was getting arthritis, I was tired all the time, I had gallbladder stones, I was having a hard time getting pregnant.

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

It took between 2-3 weeks for me to get through the adaptation phase: headaches, bad moods, nausea, spacey feeling, typical adaptation symptoms.

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

I read Eat Fat, Look Thin first by Bruce Fife many years ago, then Gary Taubes book Good Calories, Bad Calories; then right before this diet I read Wheat Belly. I was LCHF from 2008-2011 and grain free since 2008.

I did LCHF for many years, but after becoming a Mom, I had a hard time keeping to the diet. Before, when I had more time, I would make many LC sweets to eat. But once I had a baby to care for, I had less time and energy to make these special treats for myself. So my sweet tooth would get the best of me and I would stray from the diet. Going ZC completely cured me of the cravings, and and I found it much easier to stick to. I became interested in it after reading the articles about the Andersen family, as well as Kelly Hogan’s story. I saw their children, and the fact that their children had been ZC their whole lives. They clearly had the Weston Price markers of true health: wide faces, straight white teeth, etc. That is what truly convinced me, along with their miraculous stories.

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

I eat all meats, seafood, eggs, dairy.

Rachel in one of her Opera costumes pre-Zero Carb…

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

I eat mostly beef. It is what makes me feel the best.

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

Rare for steaks, medium rare for ground.

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

Yes, I buy fatty cuts, and I eat burger meat with cheese and bacon grease. I usually add eggs to everything.

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

I eat the fat first, then the protein until satisfied.

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

No, I hate them, and I just found I am allergic to livers, so I am over it. 🙂

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

Yes, whenever I remember, or get into the mood.

A side-by-side before and after comparison of Rachel…

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

I eat three.

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

I eat 2 eggs and 3 pieces of bacon for breakfast, lunch will be maybe 0.75 lb of ground beef or similar weight leftover dinner meat, and about the same weight for dinner.

Since I eat the fat first, it fills me up a lot. Sometimes I eat more, sometimes I eat less. I don’t measure, I just eat.

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

I have eaten grass-fed/pastured meat for about 10 years; but I have not been able to find beef that is grass-fed that I can tolerate. The grass-fed beef is too lean, which causes me cravings. So, I buy grain-finished local hormone-free beef, but the rest of what I buy, like eggs, is pastured/organic.

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

I drink coffee, wine, perrier, raw milk, water.

16. Do you use salt?

Yes, sea salt.

17. Do you use spices?

I mainly use just sea salt and pepper. In doing this diet, I found nightshades (paprika, peppers, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, etc.) cause me terrible problems, so I avoid them completely. So, that makes spices hard. Occasionally, I will use thyme, rosemary, or sage, but usually, I just enjoy salt and pepper.

Rachel today…

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18. Do you take any supplements?

Yes. My thyroid is badly damaged, so I am taking medicine for it until I can heal it. I take magnesium on occasion, and I take B vitamins because I need them (Pyroluria), iodine, Vitamin D3 & K2. I take a supplement for my liver, called Livaplex by Standard Process, which my naturopath suggested I take permanently, even though my gallstones are gone now.

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

This is hard to say. I have two other family members who are not ZC. I used to spend a LOT more on nuts, almond flour, expensive paleo food in general. I calculate that I spend about $250 a month on myself on food (not beverages), but it could be as much as $400.

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

Buy meat, eggs, and dairy from farmers you know and trust, you will have a better safer product for less. Buy in bulk. Eat fat first, and you will eat a lot less total meat. Fat is also lighter and cheaper than the meat itself.

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

No, but I do chase after a 4 year old a bit. I have plans to get into yoga or pilates again one day.

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.)
Before ZC, I was about a size 14-16. In the past 6 months, I have lost 45 lbs. and now wear a size 6. The first week of ZC, my wedding ring finally fit again. I must have been bloated for the past 5 years when it wouldn’t fit. Within a few weeks, the arthritis that had started in my hands had disappeared. I had more energy and felt better over all.

I did have gallbladder stones, so I had some problem with increasing fat in the beginning. So, this is what I did to fix that:

I knew that by reducing my fat intake in order to stop the gallbladder pain, I was actually making the gallbladder condition worse. It’s definitely a use it or lose it problem; and I did not want surgery.

I took HCL (Standard Process Zypan) at every meal, and also tried some ox bile supplements to help digest the fat and keep the pain away. I also took enzymes.

Then, I tried this method of dissolving the gallstones that I adapted from this page: http://www.karenhurd.com/pages/healthtopics/specifichealthconcerns/ht-shc-gallbladderdisease.html instead of eating the recommended beans (which are clearly not ZC!), I substituted psyllium husk powder pills (which someone else had reported good results with). Every time I felt pain, which was about 6-10 times a day, I would take a few capsules.

I did this until the pain stopped, and eventually I discovered that I didn’t need the ox bile anymore. I slowly reduced the HCL – it is easy to find HCL doses because too much causes burning in the stomach. So, I followed my body’s cues for reducing it and now I find no problems, the stones are gone.

Rachel today…

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

It is so easy. It takes almost no time to make something delicious. I don’t feel guilty anymore about not eating my vegetables. Who knew that most of them were making me more sick anyway!? I feel great without the extra weight I was carrying around. I have more energy, and just feel calmer in general. I have less cravings, it is so much easier to stick to than LCHF. I don’t obsess about food all the time anymore.

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

Just try it for 30 days and see how you feel. Don’t focus on how much you weigh. According to my BMI, I am overweight by 5 pounds, which is ridiculous. I am 5’6” and a size 6. Now, I have more muscle and probably bone mass than I did before. Don’t weigh yourself. I don’t even own a scale. I measured my inches every week (at the time it was because I was trying to order a dress to fit me and was losing weight so fast). It was very encouraging to do it that way. The Principia Carnivora Facebook page is an excellent non-judgmental group that helps with questions you may have and troubleshooting if you find the diet isn’t working as well for you.

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

My immediate family is ok with it. They know I research everything to death, and don’t do things lightly. But, people aren’t, on the whole, supportive. They don’t understand the science behind it, and are convinced I will get scurvy or something, which is kinda funny actually. Usually, when people ask me how I lost so much weight, I just tell them I eat low carb and I don’t eat anything sweet. I will tell a few people, occasionally, but really I am not trying to convince anyone to eat the way I do. I do it for myself, and honestly I don’t feel like the long discussion it always prompts to tell people I am Zero Carb and don’t eat plants except for medicine.

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

This way of eating is totally and completely freeing. I was a complete foodie and totally obsessed about food, what I would eat next, what I could make (even low carb – I have a low carb food blog). Now I just eat when I am hungry and it takes 2 minutes to cook myself something. I can go for long periods without being hungry. I like the way it makes me feel.
I intend to eat this way for the rest of my life.

Rachel today…

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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.

 

Zero Carb Interview: Daniel Fredenthal


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

For a year, graduated from living Keto/LCHF for two years.

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

A little bit of weight. To start, I have always been a very active kid growing up, I had so much energy I could sell extra. I might have invented ADHD, so to keep my focus, I have always been involved in martial arts, gymnastics, weight-lifting, professional dance, and chasing women (haha!). After high school I began searching for the perfect diet, blindly reading flex and muscle magazines and trying to be the know-it-all in fitness. At one point, I almost enrolled in science and nutrition. I have naturally always wanted to know the answer and help ANYONE who needed dietary advice on how to be healthy or how to look sexy. As I got older, I found that eating oatmeal in the morning, counting calories, and shoving chicken breast down my throat stopped working, and I was really sick of it.

I finally admitted to myself that I HATE “eating clean.” I announced to myself that I will not leave the bookstore until I find out how the body works. I searched books on medicine, sports-medicine, Arnold lore of weight training, and nutrition-science, yet nothing made sense. I remember passing by some lonely red spine paperback book over and over, and I finally grabbed it and read the title, “Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It.” I read the back of the book and it looked promising and convincing. After I took it home and spent some time reading it, I’ll be honest, I almost threw it out the window in rage. The information went against EVERYTHING I had learned up to that point and thought I knew. However, I kept reading and eventually was enthralled and hooked. I was glued, in fact, and did not put the book down till it was finished that very day. As I put the book down, I felt like I was floating in the air, as if I had just woke up from the MATRIX.

That evening I cut the Standard American Diet cold turkey and never looked back. I ended up losing 27 pounds in first three months, 37 in 6 months. Last year I found the Facebook forum Principia Carnivora, this website Zero Carb Zen, read all about Stanley Owsley (aka The Bear), and all the amazing interviews you have shared. After learning vegetables are absolutely useless, I fell in love with this way of eating and living. Think about it – It’s so much easier and less confusing. I never have to think of another meal plan or recipe, I just EAT MEAT. POW!

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

One day because was already fat adapted from being Keto/LCHF. Even when I first went Keto, it only took me 24 hours to adapt physically. I felt like crap for one day only. I found the diet very easy to adapt to psychologically as well.I am much happier eating this way.

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

“Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It” by Gary Taubes, “Keto Clarity” by Jimmy Moore and all the rest of the low carb keto top sellers, plus reading the writings of The Bear took me the rest of the way.

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

I eat eggs and cheese at work for convenience, but not at home. I don’t mess with cream.

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

90%, it’s mostly beef and BACON, I don’t bother with chicken or fish.

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

Rare, but someday I would like to try it raw.

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

Butter, I’d pour it all over my body if I could (hehe!).

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

I always eat until satisfied. Whatever I don’t finish, I save for the next meal. I am on a budget and cannot afford to waste food.

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

Ewww! Nope.

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

Not yet, sounds like a lot of work.

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

Two or three. I hold off as long as I can for the first meal which is past 10 A.M and that often carries me until evening.

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

2 pounds.

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

I eat commercially produced, but I have plans to raise my own cows to eat after they deliciously ripen.

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

Water and coffee. That’s it.

16. Do you use salt?

Only on eggs.

17. Do you use spices?

Only on steaks and ground beef.

18. Do you take any supplements?

No, I used to. After I weaned off, I did not feel any different. So I guess they were useless to my needs.

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

$300 between the wife and I.

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

I start by saying, all diets are EXPENSIVE, whether it’s veggie, vegan, gluten-free, organic, doesn’t matter what it is because you are no longer buying college food and cheap grains like you did on SAD. It all boils down to buying cleaner more wholesome products which inevitably cost more. I put it in this perspective: with ZC the food choices will be higher in price, but you eat less often and stay fuller longer, so your food bill should not be significantly higher. It sort of evens out in my experience.

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

I run 3 miles 5 times a week, and do push-ups and sit-ups to stay above physical fitness standards in the Military. My workouts take about 1 hour. Oh, and I practice my gymnastics in the backyard when bored.

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.)

The main benefit I gained is the loss of the extra 37 pounds I didn’t need. Also, I used to have acne in my chest and back and went away with ZC. Additionally, I no longer have migraines. My fingernails look cleaner too. However, I did not start ZC to fix anything; I just wanted to find the healthiest diet.

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

Eating everything the world is afraid of and knowing that I am in top notch health because of it. I feel like I have discovered the Holy Grail.

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

Read books stupid! The only way to keep yourself on track is to understand why you are eating this way. This will give you the motivation to persevere if you hit a rough patch during your adaptation to the diet. It takes a special kind of person to stick to this on his or her own.

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

Most of my friends bust me on this all the time with no mercy. My family though is absolutely supportive, but too afraid to embark. My wife is supportive and knows this lifestyle works and has seen it work on others that I have coached. While my wife is not yet ZC, she has reduced the carbs and sugar dramatically in her own diet. I have managed to convert one family member to ZC and she had lost over 50 pounds. AMAZING! Hopefully, this will be motivation for them to stick with it. But most people, even when they know that what they are eating is not working for them, they still do not want to let go of their favorite foods. Sad, but true.

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

This is the only dietary life-style that will allow you to control your weight or lose excess fat and keep it off, especially if you are insulin resistant as so many of us are today. This is true even for people who are physically incapacitated due to some type of injury and cannot exercise. Exercise is not necessary to maintain a healthy body weight because this diet addresses the hormonal imbalance that is at the root of our current obesity epidemic.

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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.

 

Zero Carb Interview: Matt Shepherd

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

I started absolute zero carb in June 2009, which makes it a little over 6 1/2 years at the time of this writing. Since then, I have not eaten anything from the plant kingdom, although I have occasionally had animal food with a small amount of spices.

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

My decision to go ZC was purely for health reasons. I did not have any issues with my health, but I knew that many people come down with various illnesses when they become older. I looked around and saw that people grew increasingly overweight and sick as they aged, especially those over the age of 50. I figured, why not find out how to stay healthy as I grow older instead of doing the usual thing of visiting doctors in my old age for remedies. That thought started me on doing intense research. I did not start out thinking that carbohydrates were bad for me. In fact, I had no idea. However, I let my research lead me without filtering of my preconceived notions of what is healthy. That is how I eventually discovered Zero Carb.

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

I would say that it took me two months to physically adapt to a high-fat zero carb way of eating. In the early stages, my body was not accustomed to the high fat. My liver and gall bladder needed time to adjust. During those early months, the number one issue that I had was loose bowel movements because my body could not handle the digestion of the increased fat. Once my body adjusted, however, it was clear sailing. As for the psychology of it, I adjusted immediately because I absolutely loved all the fatty foods that I was eating. It was amazing to eat bacon and eggs for breakfast without feeling any guilt or remorse. My whole outlook on food changed. I no longer felt that I was harming myself when eating foods that I always loved.

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

I started this journey to zero carb by first reading about the supposed benefits of drinking raw milk. Although I no longer consume dairy products, other than butter, it was my first step toward transitioning to a high-fat, low carb way of eating. I discovered Weston Price and tried eating that way for a couple of months, but gave it up when I became severely constipated. The casein in the milk was not doing me any good.

I didn’t give up and kept reading. I came upon Gary Taubes’s book Good Calories, Bad Calories. That was an eye-opener about the dangers of carbohydrates. I never new that “healthy” grains and other plant matter were bad. I kept reading.

The big breakthrough for me was coming upon Bear’s thread on one of the low-carb forums. Here was a man who was essentially zero carb for 50 years and he was sharing his extraordinary knowledge with anyone who had an open mind and wanted to understand what he was saying. Amazing!

I would categorize the above as the research that led me to the decision to try zero carb. As for the implementation of zero carb, I give credit to Charles Washington and all the people on the former ZIOH website. I joined ZIOH in June 2009, which was toward its early days. It was an exciting time because there were several people on the website posting their daily experiences with their transition to ZC. There were veterans on that site who had been ZC for many years. I learned a lot about the ZC way of eating from all those people. And as “icing” on the ribeye, it was a lot of fun meeting fellow zero-carbers when we would get together for “meat-ups”.

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

I eat meat and eggs mostly, but I will include some butter when having sautéed shrimp or scallops. That’s it. I do not eat cheese, cream, or other dairy products. I’ve literally been eating ribeye steaks and burgers every day for the past 6 1/2 years, with minor exceptions of eating pemmican when I was traveling and could not get fresh meat.

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

I would say that beef is 95% of my meat consumption. Occasionally, I will eat chicken wings or pork and I eat shrimp or scallops frequently, but my mainstay is beef. The chicken wings, shrimp, and scallops are side dishes that do not account for much of my daily consumption. Sometimes I will eat pork in place of a ribeye steak, but I am never satisfied when I do so.

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

I always cook it medium-rare. Having made about 2000 steaks since starting zero carb, I’ve gotten very good at cooking ribeyes exactly to my liking, which is medium-rare. I prefer using a cast iron skillet on the stovetop to grilling when making steaks. I prefer grilling for burgers.

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

I only add butter to my side dishes, such as shrimp and scallops.

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

I basically eat until I’m satisfied, but on average that means one pound of 73/27 burgers and about 3/4 pound of ribeye steak for dinner. For breakfast, I eat two poached eggs in broth.

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

I very rarely eat organ meats. The only time that I eat liver and heart is when I bake a whole chicken. Liver, heart, and gizzards usually come with the whole chicken, so that’s when I eat it. I do not bake whole chickens often, so this is a rare occurrence.

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

For the past year, I consumed about one cup of homemade bone broth with my poached eggs every day. I made the broth with bones and cow’s feet. Recently, after reading your post about glutamine causing some people to fall out of ketosis, I’ve adjusted the way I make broth. I no longer use cow’s feet, so my broth no longer gels up. In any case, I’m still consuming about one cup of broth a day with my eggs.

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

I eat twice a day. My main meal is in the late-afternoon. That’s when I eat the ribeyes and burgers. Breakfast is more of a snack, even though I never feel hunger or the need to eat more than once a day. For a few years, I ate just once a day, but I added the breakfast more because I enjoy eating a snack in the morning. I especially like the bone broth and eggs on cold winter mornings.

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

About 1 3/4 pounds.

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

I eat meat that I buy at BJ’s Wholesale club. I buy 18 pound ribeye slabs and dry-age them in my refrigerator. I use a small USB fan in the fridge to maintain airflow over the slab. I also buy 73/27 ground beef at BJ’s. I have never bought grass-finished meat.

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

I occasionally drink decaf coffee. I often drink non-caffeinated tea, such as robois and a Japanese tea called mugi cha (i.e., roasted barley tea, which is made by placing roasted barley husks that are in a tea bag in hot water). That’s it. I do not drink any alcohol.

16. Do you use salt?

I never add salt to my food.

17. Do you use spices?

Very rarely. At one time, I would make curry shrimp, but now I’m concerned that spices may be doing me harm because they contain many anti-nutrients, such as phytic acid and salicylates.

18. Do you take any supplements?

Generally, none at all. However, on the recommendation of my doctor, I occasionally take vitamin D. When I say occasionally, I mean once or twice a year. Other than that, I have not ingested any supplements over the past 6 1/2 years.

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

My wife is also zero carb. Between the two of us, I would say that we’re spending about $500 a month, which includes ribeye steaks, burgers, and shrimp or scallops every day.

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

If I were on my own and not having to think about another’s preferences, I would eat 73/27 burgers everyday. 73/27 ground beef costs about $2.80 a pound, which means that I could eat two pounds each day for $5.60 or $168 per month. Sometimes it is possible to get ground beef on sale. To my amazement, BJ’s just yesterday had a one-day sale of 73/27 ground beef for just $2 a pound. At that price, I would be able to eat for a whole month for just $120, but such sales are rare (I’ve only seen it this one time). They must have been clearing out stock that was going to expire soon. Keep your eyes open for “manager’s specials” in the meat section. Meat that will soon hit its sell-by date is often marked down.

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

No, not regularly aside from doing a set of push-ups and abdominal planks in the morning. I do not do any regular aerobic exercise, but I do walk a lot and use my bike for local errands.

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.)

The list of benefits include: easy bowel movements, steady energy level, no hunger during the day, clearer skin, a sense of well-being and calmness (i.e., better temperament), high level of alertness, leaner body with muscle definition, much improved lipid profile (e.g., my HDL went from 59 pre-ZC to 114 now; triglyceride went from 113 to 34), much fewer common illnesses (e.g., I have not had a common cold in the last 6 years).

I would add one other major benefit that is not directly related to the physiological or psychological benefits of zero carb: a different perspective about the world around me. Zero carb goes against everything that I was taught as a child. Like most kids, my parents encouraged me to eat vegetables and fruit. In school I learned about the supposed benefits of whole grains. From the government, I heard that I should eat according to the food pyramid, which now has morphed into an equally ridiculous “my plate.” I heard from “respected” nutritionists that I should avoid saturated fats, substitute animal fats with polyunsaturated oils, and try to approximate the ways of vegans.

From years of such indoctrination, I was convinced that anyone eating a fatty steak was headed for coronary hell. Despite the indoctrination, I broke through and found out for myself that it is all a big lie, whether intentional or not on the part of the indoctrinators. Now, I know with 100% certainty that zero carb is the true human way of eating. I know it not just from reading information about the appropriate way for humans to eat, but primarily because of my own personal experience.

As I mentioned, ZC gave me a different perspective on the world and one that I experienced first hand. This has led me to question other things about our culture and society that I have taken for granted in the past. For example, I have re-examined my understanding of politics, economics, and even history. It is amazing how much garbage is fed to us humans, both in terms of food and ideology. I credit zero carb for helping me to see other things more clearly.

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

I love the taste of the food and I love the simplicity of it. My wife and I do not have to think at all about what we are going to eat. There is no wasted time in preparing or shopping for food. Plus, I save a lot of money because I rarely eat out anymore.

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

Do not give up right away if it does not seem to be working for you. It takes time for your body to adjust to a new way of eating. For example, your gall bladder may now be close to dormant if you’re eating very low fat and high carbohydrate. A fully functioning gall bladder is important for the digestion of fat, so give it time to re-establish. I’m sure there are other organs that also need time to adjust. Be patient. Although you would have to take my word for it, which is not as good as experiencing it for yourself, eating zero carb is a life-changing thing in the best way. Your future self will thank you for chucking the carbohydrates.

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

My wife is supportive and is herself eating zero carb. At first, she resisted my decision, but she soon followed me down this path when she saw the great results. My friends are accustomed to my way of eating. They are neither supportive or opposed. I guess they have found a steady state of accepting that I will no longer dine with them on carbohydrates.

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

I think that I’ve covered it all above. For me, zero carb entailed positive developments in three areas: physiological, psychological, and ideological. All three are important, but I would say that the last of the three is the most unexpected.

***Please Note: Matt Shepherd is a pseudonym, as the subject of this interview prefers to remain anonymous.

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.

 

Optimal Protein on a Zero Carb Diet – Part 1


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Many long time practitioners of a Zero Carb diet have shied away from discussions on macronutrient amounts and ratios in an effort to keep things simple. The general recommendation is to eat as much fatty meat as you want whenever you feel hungry. I understand the pull of this advice. We all want things to be as uncomplicated as possible, and having to the calculate protein and fat content of one’s diet can put some people into a mathematical tailspin. While this basic advice works well for some people, it does not work well for everyone. Therefore, I am going to dive headfirst into this subject and try to explain why this might be the case.

I have been practicing a Zero Carb diet now for 9 months. Not as long as some have, certainly, but long enough to know how this diet affects my body. I have made it through the initial adaptation process that occurs when one eliminates all plant foods and carbohydrates from their diet, and so any unpleasant symptoms I may be experiencing from the diet now are probably not due to that.

I had many challenges when first starting this diet due to histamine intolerance, and it was difficult for me to even find a meat that was low enough in histamines that I could eat without getting a migraine and feeling generally awful. I had only one source of beef that was not aged very long and was low in histamines, but it was from grassfed cows and was also low in fat. When I tried to add other fats to it, I did not feel well. Any rendered fat (such as tallow, lard, or butter) caused serious digestive problems (like hours of nausea and burping).

However, I was experiencing enough benefits from this way of eating that I continued on with the leaner grassfed meat because I could not figure out what else to do. But the longer I ate it, the worse I felt. It did not satisfy my hunger even after eating 2 lbs of it, and I was constantly thinking about eating again. It also made me very tired and lethargic, as well as extremely thirsty. I really didn’t know what else to do.

Then, I decided to do a water fast with my dog to help with some of his health problems, and we ended up going for 16 days. After the fast was over, I found that my histamine tolerance was much improved. I tested steaks from both Costco and Sprouts and found that I could eat them without developing a migraine afterwards. This was a welcome surprise. Now I could eat meat with more fat on it, and I found that I felt so much better. The fat that is part of the meat itself did not create the same kind of digestive upset that rendered fats did.

Throughout all of this, I finally decided to read two classic works by individuals who were very knowledgeable and experienced with eating and recommending an all-meat diet: The Fat of the Land by Vilhjalmur Stefansson and Strong Medicine by Blake Donaldson. Both of these books should – in my opinion – be required reading for anyone who is interesting in trying a Zero Carb diet.

Stefansson was an anthropologist who spent 10 years off and on living with the Arctic Natives and eating their diet. He experienced their way of life first hand and wrote about it in many books. When he returned to civilization, however, his academic colleagues did not believe he was telling the truth about the Native diet, so Stefansson agreed to allow a group of doctors to supervise him for one full year while eating an all-meat diet. The details of this unique study performed at Bellevue Hospital in New York can be read here: “Prolonged Meat Diets with a Study of Kidney Function and Ketosis.”

The upshot of that study was that neither Stefansson nor his colleague Karsten Andersen, who also participated, showed any signs of nutritional deficiencies or other health problems as a result of eating an all-meat diet for an entire year. The most interesting part of this study for me was the macronutrient profile of their diet. These two men both ate an average of 100-140 gm of protein and 200-300 gm of fat, totally 2100-3000 calories per day. That amount of protein equals about 14-20 oz of meat (lean portion) per day. All of the rest of their calories came from fat. There diet derived 75-80% of all calories from fat. Clearly, their meat was much fattier in 1929 than most of the meat we have available to us in supermarkets today.

Stefansson also explains that when one first starts a high fat diet, they have to go through an adaptation period (in the same way that you do when you refuse or remove carbohydrates from your diet). It takes about 3-4 weeks for the digestive system to adjust, and one may experience nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite. He was surprisingly prescient in his understanding of why this occurred and states that the gut bacteria have to undergo significant alteration before we can effectively utilize the higher level of fat in the diet. In other words, he was talking about the GUT BIOME!

So, it is important for people new to a Zero Carb diet, or new to increasing the fat in their current Zero Carb diet, to understand this and be patient with their body. Lex Rooker, a long time raw meat eater, was very nauseated when he decided to up his fat from 65% to 80%. It took his body a while to adjust to the new level, but once it did, he felt much better over all. If you increase your fat percentage slowly over a period of days or weeks, you will experience less negative symptoms. It can be very helpful initially to eat 2-4 smaller meals, rather than one bigger meal, and reduce the amount of fat your digestive system must process at one time. When Stefansson lived with the Arctic Natives, they ate 4 meals per day; and during the Bellevue study, Stefansson and Andersen ate 3 times a day. They never ate all of their food for the day at one sitting.

Donaldson was a physician who practiced medicine from approximately 1900-1960. He stumbled upon the all-meat diet at some point during his career and began prescribing it to all of his sick and obese patients. He recommended 6 oz of meat (lean portion) and 2 oz of fat eaten 3 times per day, for a total of 3000 calories per day. This macronutrient profile is uncannily similar to what Stefansson and Andersen both ate during the Bellevue study. Fat provides about 75-80% of total calories with his recommended ratio of lean to fat. Donaldson said that if his patients ate less than this amount of meat, or skipped meals, their weight loss actually slowed down. He felt that a certain amount of protein was necessary to stoke the metabolic fire needed to burn body fat. He claims to have had a very high success rate with his patients. But since there is no study documenting his results, we can only take his word for it.

Another very interesting doctor who prescribed a mostly all-meat diet for his sick and obese patients was Dr. H.L. Newbold who practiced orthomolecular medicine from approximately 1940-1990. He had the good fortune to work with a brilliant doctor named Theron Randolph who taught Newbold how food allergies can cause serious mental and physical health problems. After many years of practice, Newbold wrote a little known, but very interesting, book called The Type A – Type B Weight Loss Diet. Like Donaldson, he recommended about 16-24 oz of very fatty meat per day, according to appetite. He found that his patients responded best to bone-in ribeye steaks.

Joe and Charlene Andersen have followed a Zero Carb diet for almost 2 decades now and have eaten very fatty ribeyes almost exclusively throughout this time. They also ate a lot of pemmican in the beginning of their journey, and that too is very high in fat. Here is a picture of the ribeyes they buy and eat on a regular basis.

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So, what does all this mean for modern day Zero Carb practitioners who want to thrive on this diet?

It is my opinion, based on what I have read from the above authors, as well as my own experience of eating this diet for 9 months now, that recommending people eat as much fatty meat as they want according to hunger will only be successful if the meat they are eating is actually fatty, and their cooking method preserves the fat. I know that sounds a bit crazy, but there are others – like myself – who have been consuming large amounts (2 or more lbs. per day) of lean-ish meat on a regular basis for many months. The result is that some of them have gained weight, failed to lose weight, are still experiencing inflammation, and feel generally blasé. In short, they are not experiencing the “Zen” of Zero Carb.

I believe the main reason they are not experiencing the results they are wanting and expecting is because – in some cases – they are eating too much protein. Too much protein can raise insulin and prevent weight loss, as I describe in my post “Insulin, Glucagon, and Fat Metabolism.” Chronically elevated insulin can also lead to all kinds of health problems. Amy Berger has explored some of the many illnesses that seem to be a direct result of high insulin levels in her terrific blog post “It’s the Insulin Stupid – Part 2.”

When I was eating 2 lbs of lean-ish ground beef, my total protein intake was close to 250 grams a day. Not only is that amount of protein not necessary, it can even be detrimental over the long term. When protein is broken down during digestion, toxic by-products like ammonia are created. These toxins must be eliminated through the kidneys, and the kidneys need water to do their job. This explains why I was so unbelievably thirsty while eating 2 lbs of lean-ish meat per day. As soon as I reduced my protein to 100 gm (16 oz of meat) and increased my fat to almost 200 gm per day, the fierce thirst vanished almost overnight. So, if someone is eating an all-meat diet and they have already made it through the adaptation period (first 4-6 weeks) and they are still incredibly thirsty, I think they would be wise to take a look at how much protein versus fat they are eating.

For economic reasons, many people use ground beef as a staple food on their Zero Carb diet, and it is not always as fatty as they think. When raw, 80/20 ground beef is 70% fat, but after cooking, the fat percentage drops to less than 60%. If you pour all the fat from the pan back over your ground beef, you will be getting close to percentage of fat recommended by Stefansson, Donaldson, and Newbold. But if you do not add the fat back to your ground beef, then you will fall short. You can also lose a lot of fat from a fatty steak if you barbecue it and the fat drips off the meat during the cooking process. This, not only is the original fat content of the meat important, but so is the cooking method. If you lose a lot of fat during cooking, then you will need to add extra fat to your meal to make up the deficit.

How much protein does a person need for health? This is a very controversial subject. Dr. Ron Rosedale comes down on the side that less is better. He recommends 1 gm of protein per kilogram of lean body mass. You figure that out, you take your weight in pounds and divide by 2.2 and then subtract 10%. I weigh 115 lb —> divided by 2.2 —> 52 kg —> minus 10% —> 46 gm of protein per day to meet absolute needs. For a thorough look at the potential downside of eating TOO MUCH protein, read Rosedale’s post “Protein: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”

Now, it is important to understand that Rosedale is an endocrinologist who treats patients with severe metabolic derangement. The more insulin resistant you are, the less protein you can eat without it converting into glucose. Though many of us today do suffer from insulin resistance to one degree or another, as explained in Amy Berger’s excellent post “It’s the Insulin Stupid – Part 1,” it is unlikely that we all need to limit our protein intake to that low of a level.

In fact, low carb dietitian Franzka Spritzler argues that limiting protein too much could both prevent weight loss and compromise overall health. She has done an outstanding job of laying out the research in her post “In Defense of High Protein, Low Carb Diets.” Interestingly, her recommendations -based on the research she sites – fall somewhere between 100-120 gm of protein per day for most people, and this coincides almost perfectly with the practical experience of Stefansson, Donaldson, and Newbold.

If you simply follow these basic guidelines laid out by these three early Zero Carb pioneers, you will likely do just fine. But if you are very insulin resistant and want to gauge your upper limit for protein more specifically, you can do so by testing your morning blood glucose after a 12 hour overnight fast. If your glucose is higher than 90 mg/dL (5.0 mmol/L), then you are likely eating too much protein for your particular metabolism. You can inch your protein down 10 gm at a time until your glucose comes down to below 90 mg/dL (5.0 mmol/L). This process will help you identify your personal protein limit and tailor a Zero Carb diet in a way that will serve you best.

Many people on a Zero Carb diet are discouraged from calculating their macronutrient ratios. I feel this is a mistake. If one wishes to be successful eating an all-meat diet for the long term, I think it is imperative to have a basic understanding of how much protein and fat you are eating. This is not something that needs to become an all consuming obsession with every single meal calculated and tracked. The joy of a Zero Carb diet is – for many – the freedom it provides in that regard compared to the more complicated Low Carb Ketogenic diets they may have tried previously. But if you do not have epilepsy or cancer or some other potentially fatal illness that you are using a Zero Carb diet to treat, then there is no need to be that specific.

Once you have a concept of how much meat equals 100 gm, and how much fat needs to be added to that meat to achieve a ratio of 70-80% calories as fat, then it becomes very easy. After you do it a few times, you will develop a sixth sense for how much of each you need by the way it looks on your plate and how you feel after eating it. Michael Frieze – who has practiced a Zero Carb diet for over 5 years now – developed an intuitive approach that has worked very well for him. He simple eats all of the fat on his meat first until he is maxed out on fat. Only then does he begin to eat the lean portion of his meat. If there is not enough fat on the meat, he will eat butter straight until he has satisfied his fat hunger before proceeding on to the lean portion of his meat. He says he learned this from The Bear (aka Owsley Stanley) who practiced a Zero Carb diet successfully for 50 years.

Neither Michael nor Joe and Charlene ever track anything with their food. They just eat really fatty meat and place a high priority on the fat, and all three of them are thriving on this diet. So clearly tracking is not necessary if you have access to really fatty meat and can afford to eat it on a regular basis. However, if you are a bit of a nerd like me and enjoy tracking and calculating things, and you find it fun and interesting (rather than complicated and stressful), then of course you are free to do so. I personally use the free online program Cronometer.

In conclusion, while it is important not to eat too much protein, it is also important to eat enough. Based on the above discussion, 100 gm of protein (16 oz of meat) per day is a good place to start, and then you can fine tune – up or down – from there, depending on your personal needs. If you find yourself hungry after eating this amount of meat, then you may not be eating enough fat. Stefansson and Andersen ate 2 gm of fat for every gm of protein. So, if you eat 25 gm of protein (4 oz of meat) be sure to eat 50 gm of fat with it (as part of the meat itself or added extra to make up the difference). There is no hard and fast rule that will be perfect for everyone, but this is the formula recommended and practiced by people who were and are very experienced with this diet.

Related articles:

Optimal Protein on a Zero Carb Diet – Part 2

Is a Zero Carb Diet a Ketogenic Diet?

If you are doing a Zero Carb diet and would like support, please join us in Principia Carnivora on Facebook.