Interview with K
Hi, I’m K. I’m 36 years old and I grew up in Southern California. I currently live in Melbourne, Australia with my boyfriend.
How did you eat before Carnivore.
Growing up, I ate the Standard American Diet. I was never a big vegetable eater and I rarely met a carbohydrate I didn’t like. Hence, I was always overweight. Eventually I became an obese adult.
I started a Ketogenic Diet in February of 2016.
I went Carnivore in November of 2018.
Why did you try Carnivore to begin with.
I followed a Ketogenic Diet for a year and saw a lot of improvements: I lost about 70 lb (32 kg), my amenorrhea resolved itself, my dandruff/psoriasis improved (though didn’t completely go away), I felt better, and became more active.
One of the activities I took up was yoga, particularly to alleviate some of the ongoing sciatic pain I was experiencing due to a previous back injury. Unfortunately I fell down the hole of re-injuring my back, becoming less active, and then struggling to maintain my diet.
In the end, I gained about 40 lb (18 kg), my skin was starting to flake everywhere again, and I injured my back a third time. This time, it got a lot worse.
I was in constant pain, I couldn’t straighten my back while standing, I needed to use a cane to walk, there was occasional tingling in my feet, and I couldn’t sleep without pain killers. I eventually got an MRI at the behest of a chiropractor and we discovered I had a severely bulged disc in my lower back. The recommendation was to see a neurosurgeon about a discectomy.
While all of this was happening, I restarted a Ketogenic Diet in a bid to lose weight and alleviate some of the pressure on my back. And I lost about 30 lb (14 kg), but my back wasn’t improving. Then I discovered something I didn’t know: all the pain in my back was due to inflammation. The main purpose of disc surgery would be to prevent potential nerve damage and pain relief wasn’t necessarily a guarantee.
I’d been interested in the Carnivore Diet since some time towards the end of 2017 because there were so many dramatic and varied success stories. Since I was getting the results I was looking for on the Ketogenic Diet (mainly weight loss and skin improvement), I didn’t bother to make the switch.
In the end, I started a Carnivore Diet in a last ditch effort to heal my back.
How do you personally approach the Carnivore Diet.
I’m probably what some would call a ‘relaxed’ Carnivore. I eat mainly animal products with a few minor caveats.
I eat beef, lamb, pork (lots of bacon!), eggs, and chicken. I make sure I eat all the fat, skin, cartilage, and connective tissues. I try to eat mainly beef and lamb since they tend to be more satisfying and satiating.
I do dairy on occasion, mainly butter, cheese, and greek yogurt. I still eat some sausages and cured meats. I’m pretty liberal with spices.
I drink water (sparkling preferred) and black espresso.
I haven’t felt the need to incorporate organ meats, but I’m not opposed to trying some in the future.
What benefits have you seen since starting the Carnivore Diet.
- My back is significantly better, no neurosurgeon required. I started to see some improvement about a month into Carnivore and it’s been improving ever since. Currently, I am pain free, I can stand straight, I can walk, I can lift, I can bend, I can twist, I can swim, and I can ride a bicycle. I still have occasional stiffness at the end of the day, but even that is becoming less frequent. I’m not sure I can entirely attribute this to diet, I suspect it had a large part in reducing my inflammation that allowed me to recover.
- My ongoing sciatica pain is completely gone.
- I’ve lost an additional 27 lb (12 kg) in the last 5 months.
- My skin is doing better and even improved beyond what I experienced on a Ketogenic Diet. I think the last few patches of psoriasis are finally starting to resolve.
- By eliminating all sweet things, I broke my sweet tooth. Diet soda and Keto desserts were keeping that desire alive.
- I’m a lot less hungry and intermittent fasting is practically automatic. I eat 1 to 2 times a day, but I was able to do this on Keto as well.
- Carnivore is simple: shopping and cooking don’t take that much time. Keto can easily get quite unwieldy with the variety of different recipes made with difficult to source ingredients.
- I experience an observable mood boost, particularly when I eat beef or lamb.
What negatives have you found with the Carnivore Diet.
- When I stray from animal based foods, my body complains. Usually in the form of digestive rumbling/bathroom time or migraines.
- Sometimes it’s hard to constantly say no to people when they’re offering you food you don’t want to eat. I also think some people offer it on purpose because they don’t agree with your diet. I’ve heard a lot of ‘you can’t just eat meat’ from the peanut gallery.
- This negative is location specific: Carnivore generally seems harder to do in Australia compared to the USA. Especially on a budget. The meat Down Under tends to be leaner and it costs more. This goes for eating out as well, something I enjoy but have a hard time doing due to portion sizes and cost.
Do you exercise on the Carnivore Diet, if so how do you find it and what do you do.
I don’t exercise with any kind of regularity. I do ride my bicycle on occasion and have been trying to re-introduce yoga slowly into my life. Other than not having back problems while doing either, I haven’t noticed anything else worth mentioning.
What piece of advice would you give someone who is interested in trying this diet, but hasn’t taken the leap yet.
I think being fat-adapted would make the transition easier, so I’d recommend doing some version of a Ketogenic Diet for a set amount of time first.
A Carnivore Diet isn’t as hard to do as you think. A lot of people (including myself before I started) consider this to be a very restrictive diet. In some ways it is, but a lot of the anxiety you feel about removing certain foods is just your addiction to that food.
Also, make your life easier and focus on what you can have rather than what you can’t. Sometimes it even helps to cull certain things off of your social media feed. For instance, I used to follow a lot of people who made Keto desserts on Instagram, but it was tempting me to want to make them as well. Now I mainly follow people who photograph meat.
Do you think Carnivore will ever be accepted as a mainstream diet.
No, at least not anytime soon. I think there is a general belief that vegetables are inherently good/necessary and I can’t see that conditioning being broken for people en masse.
I do have hope that more people will incorporate meat as the bulk of their diet as more people share stories about how their health has improved. Perhaps in a few generations that push will eventuate in a mainstream form of Carnivory.
Anything you would like to add, and where can people follow your journey.
Something important I learned on my journey is that all those ‘replacement’ Keto recipes and foods (i.e. desserts, bread, candy, etc.) don’t really break your desire to eat the real thing. This makes it easier to fall prey to carbohydrate cravings and eventually go back to a Standard Diet. I’m mainly on Instagram (@optimizingk) and I have a blog (http://optimizingk.com) where I write about my ongoing self-optimization and interests.
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