I have been low carb since January 2016. I started with the Ketogenic Diet, and I have been on the Contemporary Carnivore Diet (eBook) 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!
A great in depth post from Tracy here.
If you have a Carnivore Diet success story you would like to share. Please get in touch with me.
Interview with Tracy
HI! My name is Tracy Minton, age 55, married for 7.5 years to Don Matesz. I’m an author and health & personal development coach, holding several certifications, including as a Holistic C.O.R.E. Counselor, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, among others. I have a Masters in Oriental Medicine, however, I am currently no longer a state licensed acupuncturist. I focus instead on helping people overcome the obstacles that keep them stuck, and live more in alignment with their authentic, core desires.
How did you eat before Carnivore.
I grew up in the Midwest. My earliest days were a typical Midwestern meat and potatoes type of diet. We did have salads and vegetables; however, the quality was not great. We often consumed canned vegetables, which are pretty mushy and bad. If we did have rice or grain products, it was in a very refined form. Cold cereals, quick cooking grits or oatmeal, white bread, Minute Rice. I did love fruit, and I actually enjoyed plant foods since young. My mom was born in Belgium. She used to make me sandwiches with white bread, butter, and dark chocolate. It’s a French/Belgian thing! (Think Nutella, and chocolate croissants). While it was a treat, I had several times in my life where sugar addictions were a problem.
Later in life, I experimented with more vegan/vegetarian diets. I was very keen on getting adequate vegetables, long before anyone really cared for them. I would eat everybody’s parsley garnish when going out to eat as there was never enough ‘real’ vegetables for my tastes a couple decades ago. When I first tasted whole ‘natural’ foods, including the dryer, denser whole grain breads, brown rice, beans, sprouts, avocados, and fresher greens, I fell in love with their textures and tastes.
I have pretty much eaten a wide variety of foods most of my life, always including lots of greens and vegetables, fruit, nuts, whole grains mostly as a hearty porridge in the morning, and depending on what phase of my life, either eggs and other animal foods, or tofu, tempeh, and more beans. I also went through a period of several years where I focused on food combining, having big plates of salad and vegetables doused in olive oil with a 4 ounce or so lean cut of meat, like white turkey breast, ostrich burgers, chicken breast, buffalo, etc., with smaller amounts of lamb and beef.
Why did you try Carnivore to begin with.
Don and I were fully whole-foods plant-based for five plus years prior to returning to a more Carnivorous diet. We consumed lots of brown rice, steel cut oats, sweet potatoes and winter squash, beans, greens, and a variety of other land and sea vegetables. We also had some fruit, nuts, seeds, sprouted breads, and nut and seed butters.
Don and I were having increasing frustration with our macrobiotic, higher protein plant-based diet, as we were not feeling satisfied, despite consuming a much more protein-focused diet than the vast majority of vegans and macrobiotic authors and counselors who mostly downplay the consumption of protein-rich foods. We had hoped our plant-based diet would resolve many issues, and initially, it did. However, over time, other deficiencies emerged, and certain conditions began to worsen. After five years of eating whole-foods, plant-based diet, we threw in the towel. I was feeling anemic, fatigued, ashen and pale, and having a difficult time getting motivated to go help clients, which caused me to feel bad, as I’m in health care, but was not feeling like a good role model for our allegedly healthy diet. My hair was also falling out, and quickly turning grey.
How do you personally approach the Carnivore Diet.
We first began a low-carb diet in May, 2017. We steadily decreased carbs, and increased the fat and protein. We then heard about Shawn Baker’s Carnivore Tribe group that was to begin the following January. While I did join the FB group, and we were already eating minimal plants, we never officially went full strict carnivore. We continued to have some onion or tomato cooked into foods, and other nominal amounts of plant foods. Some of the people in the FB group seemed as dogmatic about avoiding all plants, as the vegans can be, which was to us a turn off. We didn’t feel that the change of eating how little plant foods we were eating would be significantly different, nor necessary, just to say we were doing it. We have extended periods of time where we are pretty much plant free, however, we believe in trusting yourself, rather than trying to eat according to anyone’s rules. Hence we eat a hypercarnivore diet with “plants optional”.
I currently am enjoying small amounts of fruit, especially seasonal berries, and/or half a peeled apple (with a pinch of salt) every few days. I enjoy having coffee most mornings, adding heavy cream, and even at times a half tablespoon of coconut oil. I avoided the coconut oil initially, but I find it helps me with focus, and being able to feel fine without eating for a while. We mostly eat two meals per day. Which could be chicken breast, a thin burger, bacon and eggs, or leftover chili or meatloaf. Second meal is often slow roasted beef, and grilled steaks on weekends. I have a little cheese, and small amounts of milk, heavy cream, and Kerrygold butter. Sometimes I have yogurt mixed w/ sour cream. Lately I’m enjoying Trader Joe’s Goat Cheese logs, rolled in dried blueberries or cranberries as a sort of dessert after my steak or roast. We also eat raw frozen and thawing liver a few times per week, and homemade bone broth. During the warmer months, I drink eggnog instead of cooking eggs ~ eggs blended w/ milk and possibly a little cream. I do enjoy small amounts of 100% dark chocolate most days. Like 5-10g tops. I would say it took me a bit to find my sweet spot of the right amount of protein and fat, and having some carbs here and there, mostly fruit, but second choice is tubers. I go with what I crave.
What benefits have you seen since starting the Carnivore Diet.
I noticed first and foremost, like I became myself again. I started to feel more timid and moody while vegan. I can only say that in retrospect. It’s hard to describe how one feels when finally getting real nourishment, in the brain and body.
- Better muscular development
- Change of body composition
- Skin color and tone much improved, less greying of hair
- Hair no longer falling out as it was prior to going carnivore
- Sinus congestion and phlegm issues which plagued me while vegan are nearly non-existent
- Less joint pain ~ I often had tendinitis issues that never resolved while still vegan
- Way better moods, more upbeat, focused
- I feel more in my ‘right alignment’
- Have yet to get really sick as I was every winter while vegan
- I can go for way longer between meals
- My cravings are very simple ~ I very strongly will crave chicken breast, then I won’t; I really want bacon, or I don’t, I know I want eggs, or I have no interest ~ like that
- The easiest way of eating, ever ~ meal prep is a breeze
What negatives have you found with the Carnivore Diet.
The negatives to me are less about the diet, more about dogma. People need to learn to trust themselves and their own direct experience over following rules. I don’t think everyone needs to completely avoid all plant foods, however, I do think there are many who will benefit from at least a 30-day abstinence. I also think it is important to make sure to get adequate calcium. We make eggshell calcium. I take 1 tsp. of the eggshell calcium, and 2 400mg tabs. of Mg, and sometimes Vitamin D3 and K2, plus a digestive enzyme. I used to be more of a minimalist. However, as much as I feel way better eating this way than eating only plant foods, I still have a few health issues I am working on, including improving my vision, and the health of my physical eyes, which often feel very strained. However, beyond that, I find this way of eating to be very simple and satisfying ~ providing I do include some dairy foods, and small amounts of plant foods. When I first was eating this way without dairy foods, I often felt dissatisfied, wanting something else, like a juicy fruit to balance or cleanse my palate. That could be just part of the transition from eating a produce-rich, entirely plant-based diet, to nearly plant-free. My tastes have definitely changed.
Do you exercise on the Carnivore Diet, if so how do you find it and what do you do.
Don and I do a strength/resistance + calisthenics routine 3 times per week. I have also done a little sprinting here and there. I can train while fasted, or after just having my coffee, and feel fine. It is so much easier to see good results while carnivore. Recovery time quick too.
What piece of advice would you give someone who is interested in trying this diet, but hasn’t taken the leap yet.
One month goes by fast. It’s the best way to determine which foods are helping you thrive, and which may not be. That being said, if you are having a really tough time with giving up all carbs, have some in small amounts. Consider them like condiments. Slowly wane off, or continue based on how you are feeling. Getting off all plant foods for a spell is like hitting a re-set button. Afterwards, you will be better able to trust what you crave. Make sure to get adequate sodium. Take a digestive enzyme w/ HCL if you have not consumed meat in a while. A little bitters prior to fattier meals may also help those who have been eating very low fat. Magnesium is deficient in most people’s diets, so get a general lower dose, and take one to two per day, increasing if needed for helping with constipation, backing off if stools are too loose.
Do you think Carnivore will ever be accepted as a mainstream diet.
I think it will continue to grow in popularity among more free-thinking individuals. However, people are pretty attached to their notions of a ‘balanced diet’ and can’t even fathom giving up their whatever ~ regular consumption of salads, broccoli, smoothies, fruits, pastas, potatoes, desserts ~ you name it. People are pretty addicted to carbs in all its forms. The manufacturers of all the foods that fill the center aisles of grocery stores have powerful lobby groups, and deep pockets, so they will do what they need to hold their market share. Ultimately, results are what will turn the tide. I do believe the Carnivore Diet will help buck the beliefs that meat is bad. Hopefully Shawn Baker’s site will provide needed information and research to open the minds of more medical professionals, which then will help influence people who still put all their trust in authorities.
Anything you would like to add, and where can people follow your journey.
Many people believe that ‘everybody is different,’ and some can thrive as a vegan. We are all the same species. How well we tolerate plant foods, and at what levels is what will vary person to person, depending on individual ancestry, and unique adaptations. We do require nutrients that can only be found in animal foods. So it is up to each person to determine their personal sweet spot of the macros, and the quantities and types of plant foods that can be enjoyed and well tolerated. Life is to be enjoyed, however, living in denial can lead to more chronic conditions if signs are ignored in order to follow an ideology. Mostly, I hope people will start to trust their own direct experience, think more independently, and do their own research.
I started a blog when I first went low-carb. It has morphed a bit, but some of the original posts are still up. I can now be found at: www.thehypercarnivore.com; www.thestrongspiritpath.com; www.strongspiritwoman.com; and Strong Spirit Woman on YouTube, and Instagram. I have a series of from plant-based to nearly plant-free videos up with several more before/after photos ~ especially through our plant-based years.
Videos of my journey:
Here is a little more background:
When I met Don, his ex-wife had been dealing with very tender, fibrocystic breasts. She ended up being diagnosed with breast cancer in the fall of 2010. We had all been eating a ‘paleo diet’ at that time. Don and his first wife wrote The Garden of Eating together, and had been following a produce-rich, paleo diet for 10 years. The primary difference for me was giving up all the grains and beans, while still eating plenty of greens and vegetables, berries, nuts, and some sweet potatoes and winter squash.
After about 7 or so months, I had become pretty chubby, reaching my lifetime heaviest. The weight mostly settled in my thighs, but also my lower belly. My constipation worsened, and at a couple points, was pretty bad. I had ongoing lower belly distention and bloating. Worse, I developed excruciatingly tender fibrocystic breasts, just as Don’s first wife, who had a fairly aggressive form of breast cancer.
Don was dealing with prostate symptoms. We had begun to watch several of the Gerson Institute documentaries brought to our attention by Don’s first wife who began juicing as one of her strategies and attempts to heal her cancer holistically. We then watched Forks Over Knives, Earthlings, and many other documentaries. We read books by all the plant-based doctors ~ Barnard, McDougall, Essylstyn, et al. We became convinced that if meat and saturated fat was bad, why eat any, so we stopped eating it. We went full plant based, attempting to make ourselves ‘heart attack proof’ or ‘cancer proof.’ Given that my symptoms totally cleared in three months, I thought we were on the right track. I began to be a real plant-based doctor groupie. I even completed T. Colin Campbell’s Plant-Based Nutrition Certification.
Initially, we seemed to feel great. I lost excess weight. As time went on, however, we experimented with Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Eat to Live plan, and the high-raw, fruitarian plan, before returning to our more protein-rich, macrobiotic approach. The high raw, low protein and fat diet caused me to put more fat back on, and led to my having serious hypotensive dizzy spells where the lights would go out. I would feel myself about to drop, and put myself on the floor or have Don catch me. I had what felt like mini seizures for a minute or two, then could get back up. My blood sugar issues worsened, and no doubt had I tested, I would have been found to be pre-diabetic, at best.
By the end of our five year stint eating a plant-based diet, I was looking very pale, ashen, and prematurely aged looking. I was fatigued and often experienced poor focus, cloudy thinking, and poor retention of information, along with horrible allergies every spring. I was also getting sick each winter, prior to allergy season, causing me to feel pretty crappy the first few months of every year while vegan. Nothing seemed to help me with my ongoing sinus issues.
In my earlier years, prior to meeting Don, I had experimented with a variety of different diets, sometimes leaning more vegetarian, other times eating strict combining type diets of meat and vegetables, or starch and vegetables, but not starch and meat together.
From Vegan to Carnivore ~ A Trip Down Memory Lane – https://youtu.be/LyUgkNFbXsc
Ex Vegan Turned Carnivore Pisto Squats & Push-Ups Progression – https://youtu.be/IJ2RzWgZuIg
Vegan to Carnivore Memory Lane Continues ~ My Message (footage shot when still doing Basic Macrobiotics Channel, but had already begun adding animal foods back into the diet, announcing it, then dealing w/ the barrage of ‘hate’ comments from vegans, who by the way never really gave us the time of day otherwise.
Ex Vegan Turns Carnivore From April 2017 Previous Channel + Final Message at the End – https://youtu.be/ECaBojDAfsM
Encore Memory Lane Video #5 ~ Proof Our Vegan Diet WAS Done Right… – https://youtu.be/4m4sXxJMLJY
Why We Went From Plant-Based to Virtually Plant-Free | The Hypercarnivore Diet – https://youtu.be/JIxU17L2V6Y
I hoped you enjoyed this interview post.
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