Interview with Catherine
1) Introduce Yourself.
My name is Catherine Denise Lim. I am 41 years old, mother of 4 – a daughter and triplets (boy-girl-girl)! I am a business owner and a carnivore for about a year now and living in Manila, Philippines.
2) How did you eat before Carnivore.
I had PCOS before I conceived my first daughter. I found this out at the age of 28. My doctor put me on the pill for a year, and then metformin (high dose) when we were ready to conceive. My obstetrician also told me to exercise and to eat fewer carbs. It was also at this time that I was told that I was a pre-diabetic and would most probably be diabetic in the future.
My dad has type 2 diabetes which began at the age of 30, he has had open heart surgery and a kidney transplant. At the age of 67, his glucose levels are still uncontrollable. This posed a lot of questions for me. I have seen my dad follow the Standard American Diet (which is also prescribed here in the Philippines) to no avail. His endocrinologist and nephrologist keeps pushing oatmeal, healthier whole grains, and vegetables. I can see that although my father is on the heavier side, he seems to be always craving and starving and can’t stop thinking about food.
I started trying to control carbs when I was trying to get pregnant, and then again when I was pregnant to prevent myself from getting gestational diabetes (which most of my cousins living in Manila and abroad had whenever they were pregnant). I went very low carb when I got pregnant with my triplets. This astounded my doctor as being one of her few cases of multiple pregnancies which did not require insulin treatment. I gave up grains, fruits and anything with sugar. I learned first about paleo – dabbled in it on and off, then intermittent fasting, then eventually keto. On keto, I lost quite a lot of weight, around 25 pounds easily. My starting weight was around 128 and I ended up being 105 pounds (or less). This was more or less close to my weight when I was in my twenties. I felt healthy, strong and was exercising almost daily. I tracked my macros consistently.
3) Why did you try Carnivore to begin with.
Despite being keto- with carbs coming mostly from vegetables, nuts and seeds, some dairy and a few keto treats. I woke up one-morning feeling pain in my buttocks. I thought it was just some exercise-related injury. I went to an orthopedic surgeon who ordered some bloodwork and subsequently referred me to a rheumatologist. My condition spiralled downwards until all my joints were aching and I could barely move my neck. The rheumatologist then ordered some genetic tests and MRI’s which led to a diagnosis of an autoimmune condition called ankyliosing spondylitis. I was given the option of either managing the pain with NSAIDs (which I knew would ultimately destroy my kidney), or take injectable biologics. I opted for the second treatment. I am currently on monthly injections of Humira. This was also the time when I decided (after much research) to go Carnivore (around June 2018). I read that a Carnivore (elimination diet) may help my autoimmune condition. Although I am not completely off my meds like others are, I did notice that the medication immediately took effect and I was back to normal in less than 3 weeks (my rheumatologist said it would take 3 months or so, 3 to 6 cycles of the treatment to feel its effect). We were all surprised when after one injection, I had little to almost no symptoms. I attribute this to my diet. I probably eliminated a lot if inflammation when I went Carnivore.
4) How do you personally approach the Carnivore Diet.
I started my Carnivore journey with a variety of meats – beef ribeyes, fatty chicken thighs, lamb, fatty fish, organ meats, eggs and a lot of bone broth. I still tracked at the start to know how much fat-protein I consumed in a day. After 4 months of doing this and after listening to so many podcasts- I decided to try and be more intuitive. I also do intermittent fasting. I started this diet doing OMAD, and eventually moved to one main meal at around 3:00PM and some eggs if I am still hungry in the evening. Nowadays I try to be even more intuitive and eat when I feel hungry. I usually do not consume any food at least 4 hours before I go to bed. I still take 2 cups of coffee a day and make olive oil mayo – these three things -coffee, olive oil, pepper- are the only plant-based food I consume.
5) What benefits have you seen since starting the Carnivore Diet.
During keto, I felt bloated after meals. I would look 3 months pregnant. With the carnivore diet, there is barely any bloating. I also feel satiated when I eat fat and meat. There will be days when I would feel supercharged after eating healthy fats and meat. I found that with this diet, my weight seems to be regulating itself. I was very thin when I was doing keto and OMAD. I actually gained 5-10 pounds as I did not restrict on this diet. I also noticed that it is easier to maintain my weight.
6) What negatives have you found with the Carnivore Diet.
Here in the Philippines, keto has become big BUT not as big as in the USA. I don’t know of any physicians here who would recommend keto, much less Carnivore. I am the only Carnivore I know. The only other Carni’s that I know of are in Instagram and are all abroad. I learn through reading books, looking things up online, following the Carni’s on IG, listening to a ton of podcasts. Every person who sees me eat copious amounts of meat (and I’ve never even eaten more than 500 grams of ribeye at one sitting) would pointedly ask me about my bloodwork. My own parents ceaselessly remind me that I have 4 kids to take care of and I shouldn’t eat myself to death with too much meat. Everyone is worried about me. Culturally, Southeast Asia is the rice basin and so keto and Carni does not stick so long. But I have made this my WOE and lifestyle and haven’t looked back.
7) Do you exercise on the Carnivore Diet, if so how do you find it and what do you do.
I do light jogging or walking for 15-20 minutes 5 to 7 times a week (as schedule permits) to soak up the sun. And then I lift light weights for 20-30 minutes also 4-6 times a week at home. I sometimes change this up to do body weight exercises.
8) What piece of advice would you give someone who is interested in trying this diet, but hasn’t taken the leap yet.
I believe in n=1. So the only way one will know if it’s a fit is to try it. I also recommend getting a Functional Medicine Practitioner to help one out at the start. I went to a Functional Medicine Practitioner (and there are only 20 in the Philippines) who is also an internal medicine MD. Through her, I was able to see what I was deficient in and we have tried to make some adjustments from there.
9) Do you think Carnivore will ever be accepted as a mainstream diet.
Not in SEA. Rice is a staple here in our country.
10) Anything you would like to add, and where can people follow your journey.
Thank you to all the brave and inspiring carni’s out there who share all their knowledge and experiences about this way of eating. I look forward to the day when meat heals me completely and I would get off my meds and live vibrantly until 100! my ig is @filipina.karnevore
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