Interview with Chris
1. Introduce yourself.
I’m Chris Bement. I live in Pennsylvania, USA. I’m a husband, dad of 2 wild kids, aspiring bodybuilder, and exist from 9 to 5 as an outsourced facility management professional.
2. How did you eat before Carnivore?
Isn’t that a loaded question!? Before Carnivore, I was keto. Before keto I was SAD, and before SAD I was keto a few times, and SAD a few times, and calorie counting, typical bodybuilding diet (before I actually was much of a musclehead) follower. I got my start in eating right back in 2008. A friend was gifted a year-long gym membership and wanted a buddy to train with. I had never seriously lifted a weight in my life, and had just left an unhealthy relationship with a sedentary person. It was the perfect time for it. I trained with him for a few months and ate his 6 meal a day plan for a while – until he took a layoff and stopped going to the gym. I floundered for a few months, following this or that program online (Stronglifts, Starting Strength, the usual suspects).
I then met my future wife- moved to NYC to live with her and started training in a New York gym. By that time strength training was all the rage on the internet (pretty much still is), and I trained 5/3/1 for about a year, bulking on a heavy processed food diet. My bulk was from 175lbs to 200lbs, and then I was to cut. Well, we became pregnant with our second child in 2011 and I followed my wife’s diet of Chef Boyardee ravioli and ginger ale. Needless to say, the bulk became somewhat permanent. I had tried to stick to keto diets for a while after that but never really lost the weight. We moved again, and I was in and out of the gym. This time I followed another powerlifting routine from Chaos and Pain, a 13 out of 14 day heavy training workout that lasted 6 week cycles with 1 rep max testing between each cycle. I was eating a diet prescribed by the proprietor of C and P, Jamie Lewis (shoutout www.plagueofstrength.com NSFW), the Apex Predator Diet. This consists of 6 double protein shakes a day plus a 2lb steak at night. That was it. I saw the most gains on that diet, and hit my all-time best lifts: Squat 385 lbs (low bar), deadlift 405 lbs, bench press 225 lbs. I haven’t yet beaten those maxes. I was 235-250 pounds at that point, and not lean at all.
Anyway, as I said, I burned out. I continued to eat really unhealthily and drink alcohol for a few years. In August 2016, I felt so bad after a hangover that I vowed to quit alcohol and did. I’ve had 1 glass of champagne and 4 or 5 whiskeys since then. During this time, money was short, our family was surviving on frozen meals and other processed junk. Though I did feel better off the alcohol, I still wasn’t happy with how I felt or looked and was certainly on a short path to long-term problems. January of 2017, I learned about extended fasting from Rhonda Patrick, via the Joe Rogan podcast. I had already been well-acquainted with intermittent fasting and was already a practitioner, thanks to leangains. But this had now opened all kinds of doors to me. Joe was keto too, and since I already had knowledge of that diet, I figured I’d go back to it. So, in 2017, I began to eat one meal a day at lunch, which consisted of half a dozen sausage links, some cheddar cheese, a giant, grassy kale shake (thanks Rogan) and some greek yogurt.
3. Why did you try Carnivore to begin with?
I continued my keto/OMAD until August 11, 2017. This was the day someone on reddit, while discussing fasting, linked to a subreddit called “zerocarb”. As a keto guy, I was instantly intrigued. I guzzled the zerocarb Koolaid. I read everything I could find by Bear Owsley, Stefansson, Charles Washington, Kelly Hogan, the Andersens, Shawn Baker, Amber O’Hearn, and many others.
I went from 230ish pounds, down to 155 pounds by the summer of 2017, using the previous protocol. By then I was fasting for about 3 days a week and feasting the rest. Sometimes I would fast up to 5 days. I started doing pull-ups, now that I was getting leaner, and bought a kettlebell to do some other at-home exercise. Not quite sure I wanted a gym membership yet. In November of 2017, I had an injury which severed some tendons in my ring and pinky fingers on my right hand, so I decided to stop fasting altogether and let myself heal. I had my surgery and rehab and by January of 2018 I was ITCHING to get re-acquainted with the iron. So, I bought a gym membership in a chain that had a location near my office, and started going religiously every single morning (and still go). First, I was just doing a full-body routine, not really paying attention to weights or reps, just getting acclimated to my favorite barbell movements again. No real goal in mind other than to get bigger and stronger. I spent the entire year going to the gym every day. After a short time, I was in bed by 9pm and waking up at 3 am to beat the crowds. I still practice this today. I find I require far less sleep on this diet. Anyway, I began to get comments from coworkers and clients about how “buff” I was starting to look. I began to wear tighter clothes, skinny jeans, shirts with shorter sleeves that would show off my arms.
4. How do you personally approach the Carnivore diet?
I try to keep it simple. I eat mostly beef, in fact right now it’s pretty much ground beef 24/7 for cost and ease of advance meal prep. For the longest time I was not tracking calories or macros at all, but as of recently my goals have become specific, and I track everything religiously. However, my typical non-ground-beef meal and ideal meal is steaks. Steaks of any kind, really. I prefer them seared in cast iron in bacon fat. Top round, ribeye, sirloin, chuck steaks, NY strip, you name it, I’ll eat it. I will eat organs if prompted, but I don’t chase them. I enjoy and do eat eggs here and there, and am not opposed to dairy, though heavy cream causes me to gain weight. I may incorporate raw milk after I’m finished with my current short-term goal, which is a test “cut”. I want to see just how lean I can diet down. So right now I’m eating 20oz of ground beef a day, and that’s it. On the weekends I do small refeeds, of 2000-3000 calories on Saturday, and 1800 calories on Sunday. It’s very low calorie for the rest of the week, around 12-1500 depending. Yes, I know no one in the ketosphere is a fan of caloric restriction. I am telling you this because I’m honest. I am not restricting calories for health, I’m doing it for aesthetics to further my goals. I will end this cut within the next two months and begin a “bulk” (carnivorous) once I’m satisfied with my abs, etc. That’s where the raw milk may come in. As far as seasonings, I’ll use Tabasco or other low-ingredient hot sauces from time to time, as I generally tend to tolerate them well. But I won’t cheat, as I have, and when I do I tend to binge. I’m still overweight at heart.
5. What benefits have you seen since starting the Carnivore diet?
Oh boy, this is gonna be good. First of all, I’m a kid that has always had a hard time on the toilet. Chronic constipation, regardless of medication or fiber supplements, how many kale shakes I could choke down in a day, it did not matter, I was always backed up. 34 years of having a rough time going. As soon as I cut plants out of my diet, my seated life in the restroom has been like a dream. You could give me heart disease and I would not care, because this just means so much.
Aside from relief from constipation, I need less sleep, 4 to 5 hours a night, can wake up earlier (was a night owl before), can fall asleep easily, I have energy throughout the day, I no longer crave sweets, I have mental and spiritual clarity and an indescribable connection with the world around me. I also have more confidence than I did before. There could be a long list of other benefits, but I was not seeing any medical practitioners for the entire time I was eating unhealthy, so I’m not sure what else could have been wrong, but I’m positive I was insulin resistant and still may be to some degree.
6. What negatives have you found with the Carnivore diet?
None. Some people would say the social aspect of eating out and going for drinks is more difficult, but I’m more of a homebody anyway and prefer to cook for myself rather than eat out. I still do on occasion but usually for work events or to treat my family.
7. Do you exercise on the Carnivore Diet, if so how do you find it and what do you do?
Yes. As I mentioned previously, I train at the gym with weights 5 days a week. Currently, I am following a routine by Layne Norton, called Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training or PHAT. It’s pretty good. I have an upper body strength day where I hit all the upper body muscles, and a lower body strength day for the same, followed by back/shoulders hypertrophy, legs hypertrophy, and chest/arms hypertrophy on the remaining 3 days. This allows me to hit each muscle twice a week. So far I am enjoying it. I am also a fan of full body routines, as well as your typical 5-day bro split. I spend anywhere from 1.5 to 2 hours at the gym every morning starting at 4 am, and some of that time is in their sauna or tanning. Sometimes I will throw in some conditioning like rowing or pushing a weighted sled.
8. What piece of advice would you give someone who is interested in trying this diet, but hasn’t taken the leap yet.
Just have an open mind and give it real chance. Many if not most carnivores will tell new folks to try it for at least 30 days. I don’t think that’s enough to convince most people. I am more inclined to recommend at least 90 days before giving up, in order to reap as much of the benefit as possible. I have heard of people not adapting fully for a year, in some cases. I think 90 days is a good compromise. In the span of an average human life, it’s not very long. You won’t die by eating only meat for 90 days (I certainly didn’t die after 9 months of only ravioli and soda!).
9. Do you think Carnivore will ever be accepted as a mainstream diet?
I am cautiously optimistic, but I think that would take a lot. If it does become mainstream it won’t happen this year. We are buried under years of dietary dogma, and there’s a growing plant-based movement that’s even more vocal than the carnivores. I do have hope though, and I speak openly and honestly about my experiences in hopes that people will listen, but I refuse to try to force my beliefs on anyone.
10. Anything you would like to add, and where can people follow you on your journey?
Nothing to add, but I wanted to personally thank you for inviting me to share my story. I don’t think I’ve yet had the chance to fully write all of this out.
You can follow me on instagram, twitter, and my facebook page: all of which are @carnivoremuscle.
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