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I have been low carb since January 2016. I started with the Ketogenic Diet, and have been on the Contemporary Carnivore Diet since October 2017. I love this way of eating but there are only so many times I can blog about how great I feel. So I decided to get other people to tell you how great they feel instead! Mieken has been through some tough issues, hopefully the Carnivore Diet continues to work for her.

Interview with Mieken

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1) Introduce Yourself.

My name is Mieken and I’m 29 years old. I was born in San Francisco and then moved to the mid-west where I grew up in Kansas City. I then moved to Los Angeles for college and have been here since.

2) How did you eat before Carnivore.

I went through a lot of different phases, starting when I was about 18 years old. During my teenage years I had developed a binge eating disorder connected to chronic anxiety and carb addiction, and started to gain weight. When I was 18 I started to get into health and nutrition and decided to go macrobiotic vegan. I lost ten pounds and felt great the first month, then I started to slip into a more SAD vegan diet. The weight came back on and after some time I developed chronic fatigue. I felt like a zombie all day every day, and was sleeping 12 hours a night. I finally trusted my instincts and added eggs and dairy back in, then eventually meat. I got some energy back. I had been plant-based for two years at this point. A few years later I started to get into weight lifting and found out about paleo and low carb. I did some research and then started eating a more paleo, higher fat diet. I still went back and forth with eating grains and sugar though, and my disordered eating habits were still present. I went through periods where I was only eating 1200 cals per day, training two hours a day five days a week, then I would cave and binge on junk. Eventually, I developed IBS. I tried clean paleo many times with no success. I would eat a lot of vegetables and plant matter because I believed the popular narrative that was telling me fiber was necessary, especially for digestive health. My IBS only got worse and then I developed skin issues like body acne and rosacea. I was constantly bloated and heavily inflamed. Finally, I found the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Diet by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. I had tried other versions of gut-healing diets like the anti-candida diet and low fodmap with little improvement, so I decided to give the GAPS diet a try. It was through reading about GAPS that I first heard that fiber can actually cause problems for people with digestive disorders. After three weeks I realized the veggies I was eating, even after being boiled in bone broth for 30+ minutes, were still causing me issues. That’s when I discovered Mikhaila Peterson and Shawn Baker and learned about carnivore. I was shocked that it was possible to thrive on a diet completely devoid of plants, but what I was reading about how fiber can be harmful to some people made sense for me, so I went for it.

3) Why did you try Carnivore to begin with.

I had developed issues with carbohydrate intolerance and mal-absorption after years of disordered eating and depriving my body of animal foods, not to mention put on weight and developed devastating and embarrassing skin conditions. I also had constant brain fog, mild depression, anxiety and felt irritable on a daily basis. I realized through a lot of trial and error and years of research that the only way to heal my gut would be to cut out all sources of fiber, despite what doctors and mainstream nutrition advice had told me.

4) How do you personally approach the Carnivore Diet.

When I started carnivore I was committed to healing my body (and still am) so I did not limit portions or calories or do any fasting. I allowed myself to just listen to my body and go with my instincts. If I’m craving fat I eat fattier cuts, if I want more protein I eat more muscle. I eat about 95% beef because it makes me feel the best and gives me the most energy, the other 5% is eggs, butter, ghee, organ meats, pork, fish and chicken. I also make my own bone broth and use it to make gravy and stews. I don’t tolerate conventional dairy other than butter. In the beginning, I was eating large meals three times a day because I was starving and would get tired. I could tell my body was crying out for nutrients from animal foods. After about 2.5 months my appetite has stabilized and I’m only eating twice a day most days and smaller meals. I still drink coffee with ghee and collagen powder blended in but want to experiment with cutting it out soon.

5) What benefits have you seen since starting the Carnivore Diet.

Vastly improved energy and cognitive function. I used to have daily hypoglycemic episodes and now I have sustained energy all day. I no longer get irritated by small things like I used to, I feel calm and content most of the time. I dropped all of my water weight and my bloat and inflammation disappeared in the first week. My digestive symptoms have almost completely disappeared and my skin has started to clear up. All food cravings have disappeared, and hunger feels different. It’s no longer urgent. I can put eating off if I need to, and am perfectly content eating the same thing over and over. I know I’m still healing and have a ways to go but I feel like I’ve done a complete 180 from how I used to feel. I also weigh about 20 pounds less than my heaviest, when I was heavily inflamed and eating a lot of plants.

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6) What negatives have you found with the Carnivore Diet.

Adaptation was really hard on me. I had the “low carb flu” for a couple weeks while I was doing the GAPS diet, before starting carnivore, so by the time I went carnivore I was pretty much fat adapted, but that didn’t stop me from coming down with other adaptation symptoms. I got a few bad migraines, one in particular left me with peripheral neuropathy in my face, hands and feet. I went to the hospital because I was very dizzy and I thought the numbness in my face meant I was having a stroke. It was about 3 weeks into carnivore and I got scared and started eating a few plants again. But the doctors could not find anything wrong with me, all of my bloodwork and tests came back normal. Then my digestive issues started to come back from the plants I had added back in, so I re-committed to carnivore. I realized I hadn’t been eating enough so I upped my food intake. The numbness cleared up after a couple of weeks and I haven’t had any more headaches. A few weeks later I started to get random dizzy spells throughout the day, but I just made sure to eat a lot and those went away as well. Now I’m feeling great and my appetite has regulated itself.

7) Do you exercise on the Carnivore Diet, if so how do you find it and what do you do.

No. I would like to start incorporating some gentle exercise like yoga, walking and maybe some functional movement weights soon, but I was intentionally avoiding over-exerting my body in order to give it enough rest to start healing. Since adaptation was so hard on me, I had to focus on getting adequate sleep and rest whenever I could.

8) What piece of advice would you give someone who is interested in trying this diet, but hasn’t taken the leap yet.

Do your research, and transition slowly. Listen to your body. Ask yourself why you want to do carnivore and what you want out of it. If you’re just looking for quick weight loss, this might not be the diet for you. Carnivore is a healing way of eating, not a weight loss diet, though weight loss is common. Some people gain weight at first because their bodies are desperate to cling to the nutrition they are getting from the animal foods, and it can take some time for their bodies to relax and realize they don’t need to store all of it in case it gets deprived again. Make sure you are committed to healing. Also, healing can be uncomfortable at first, it was for me, but the more uncomfortable it is, the more your body probably needs it.

9) Do you think Carnivore will ever be accepted as a mainstream diet.

I hope so. There has been a lot of attention drawn to the myths about cholesterol and saturated fat and heart disease recently, and diets like paleo and keto are gaining popularity. However I feel like vegan and vegetarian diets have also made a huge comeback in response. We just need to keep educating people and encouraging everyone to look into the science for themselves, not just trust what is mainstream or who we think are “authorities” when it comes to nutrition.

10) Anything you would like to add, and where can people follow your journey.

I just want to stress the importance of doing your own research and experimenting. What works for one person isn’t necessarily going to work for another. HOWEVER, we are all humans and have the same digestive systems and nutrient needs. Experiment, and find what feels best for you. Some people prefer to eat mostly beef, while others do well on pork or chicken. Some people like more fat while others thrive on more protein. Some people need to eat three times a day while others can do just one meal a day or less. Some people can eat small amounts of plants here and there, others, like me, can’t tolerate any. Whatever your individual preferences are, it won’t change your basic systems or nutrient requirements. Carbohydrates are non-essential. For everyone. Saturated fat and protein are essential. For everyone. Do your own research. I found websites like zerocarbzen.com very helpful, and have been reading some of the books on their resources page. I’ve also joined a few carnivore Facebook groups and have found them helpful for sharing knowledge and experiences.

You can find me on Instagram @carnivore_babe.

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I hoped you enjoyed this interview post. If you haven’t already, check out Mieken on Instagram.

You can find the below T-Shirt and others on Etsy.

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