Interview with Kelsey
1) Introduce Yourself.
My name is Kelsey (@carnivore.kelsey on instagram) and I’m loving the carnivore diet so far as it has improved my life an incredible amount. I love learning about the topic and creating recipes that fit within the parameters. My husband has struggled with health issues for over 4 years – I have watched him go from seemingly healthy to almost dying. It was terrifying because doctors could not help, everything that was suggested made it worse. We had to take his health into our own hands, and I’ve been researching about the carnivore diet constantly since January 2019 to see if it would be right for him. After we saw that it is possible for him to thrive without carbs I figured why not? It would be easier to support his new way of eating if I joined and I’ve got some nagging health issues of my own such as migraines, cystic acne, pre-diabetes risk, exercise induced asthma. As well as some old injuries like an old slipped disk in my lower back and pain at the base of my neck and I also still had some weight to lose.
2) How did you eat before Carnivore.
I’ve had so many different stages of my life regarding my food habits. Growing up my family followed the Canada food guide, and we would always demand the fun processed foods and lots of sugar. I was so addicted to junk food, I would sneak it whenever I could. As I started to work, I found I could support my own bad habits and eat whatever I want. I was working in bakeries, or coffee shops. Unlimited sweet drinks and discount treats and I was so happy getting fat. People would always tell me that I was going to give myself diabetes but I never listened. When I moved in with my husband we continued to eat badly, drinking and eating out often, especially because it was the first stage of our relationship and we lived blocks from Main street in Vancouver with the best restaurants. It did inspire me to learn to be a better chef and I definitely became a foodie. I was determined to cook and master every one of my favorite foods at least once. Let’s just say I had a lot of favorite foods. We tried multiple diets: Vegetarian for a bit, then Paleo for the most part, as well as Keto, and AIP -Auto Immune Paleo protocol. Before carnivore I was trying to lose weight for a year so I was trying lowish carb paleo without dairy. I was able to lose 49 lbs on those diets over 3 years but I had plateaued, and carnivore helped me with the last 10 lbs I needed to lose. I was able to reverse prediabetes and don’t get me wrong – I love fruits and vegetables, but they aren’t worth it to me anymore. I started the diet thinking I would use it as an elimination diet tool but I don’t feel the need to introduce anything yet because I’m so happy with how I feel. I don’t believe in calorie in calorie out, or calculating net carbs. When I was keto I had too much lower quality dairy and I would try to replicate all my old favorite desserts with keto recipes and I went overboard. Any form of sweet seriously messes with me now, I know that this is realistically the only thing I can’t compromise on – carbs are poison to me and I have never been able to control myself.
3) Why did you try Carnivore to begin with.
My husband already had eczema then he got gastroenteritis which I think started the severe leaky gut issues – he gradually became allergic to most foods it seemed. His eczema was worsened by the dermatologist’s recommendations and his health spiraled out of control (his story is much more interesting than mine, he suffered for many years but has found incredible progress on this diet . His instagram @itchydan has it all documented over the years so there are extensive progress pics). When he was given high strength topical steroid creams with instructions that said “apply liberally as needed” of course he did just that. However these creams stop working, they end up chasing eczema all over and then it spreads fast. Some people go through topical steroid withdrawal, a painful process usually lasting between 3-5 years of pure suffering – constant cycles of flares and terrible side effects from those steroid creams. We were 4 years in and the end did not seem near, things were just as bad as ever so this was literally our last ditch effort we were out of ideas. Dan wishes he found this way of eating years ago as it could have prevented all of this.
After seeing how many legitimate health professionals advocate for this way of eating I investigated. I learned more about how our government’s health recommendations are bogus thanks to the work of Nina Teicholz who does a great job at exposing how corrupt nutrition science and policy has been lately. I was also convinced after seeing the digestive systems of other carnivores compared to our own, it just clicked in – why are we fighting our own biology? We know what we have been doing with low fat has been wrong – why have we not embraced high fat? After I learned about Dr Zsófia Clemens and how the Paleomedicina clinic is having so much success healing people with autoimmune issues with the Paleo Ketogenic Diet it was clear that we needed to try something drastic that goes against western medicine since the Canadian medical system has failed us.
I’ve been following the reddit community r/carnivore and r/zerocarb as well as people on instagram. I love carnivore aurelius’ webpage as it goes over so much of the important information in a way that is both scientific and easy to digest. One of the most inspiring things I found was just reading about how others have fixed their health. I honestly never thought that I would be approached and be considered a success either. Now with all the results we have seen we can’t help but put it out there so hopefully the more people see it maybe we can prevent someone else’s suffering.
4) How do you personally approach the Carnivore Diet.
My husband, Dan is on a more strict version of carnivore – meat and water only (including non ruminants like fish and chicken, but mostly beef). I believe it is best to stick with this for at least the first month, from there try introducing egg yolks, then whole eggs, dairy, etc. The more healing you have to do the more likely it’s best to stay on basic carnivore (it is very important to supplement with raw grassfed liver) until your health is under control again so you can really tell when you’re getting a negative reaction from the food. If you do this in a controlled way while documenting any negative effects it will be the best thing you will ever do for yourself. At the end of it all – all we truly have is our body so prevention is very important, even if you don’t have as much healing as us to do.
Right now I’m eating: beef, pork, chicken, eggs. I am prioritizing grassfed/pastured meats (mostly in the form of ground beef and liver because grassfed cuts are so expensive). I do like white meats but they are not as filling, so I make sure to eat ruminants daily. I try to ensure that I’m eating a rotation of various beef cuts focusing on fatty options, and if I’m having a lean meat I will add some extra fat to it.
At the beginning of carnivore I overate conventional cheese and monitored how my skin healed over a few weeks with an adjustment of switching to a2 dairy and had raw frozen grassfed liver on a daily basis. It was apparent then how important liver is for healing as it really sped up as soon as I introduced it. I found that even the a2 switch didn’t help with my acne in the long run unfortunately. Cheese is great if you can tolerate it but I’ve been in denial and I can’t. I have seen a lot of improvement since cutting it out. I still have grassfed butter, I don’t think it affects me too much but I can cut it out if I notice I’m not progressing.
I don’t find that I have many cravings, I haven’t been tempted to cheat other than testing out to see if coffee and wine were ok to introduce but both did not work out. I found incredible results after adopting more of a nose to tail type of eating with broth daily, combined with intermittent fasting these are great tools for healing. I’m not completely healed but I can see that grassfed liver as a multivitamin is way better than any other supplement I’ve tried. Most people say you don’t need supplements on this diet but I take ox bile pills with fatty meals, Great Lakes collagen hydrolysate, and Green Pasture fermented cod liver oil. I really like Ancestral Supplements organ meat capsules – my skin was great when I was taking 6 of these a day but they are expensive so I just trained myself to not be disgusted at the taste of liver. I consider servings of marrow and frozen raw liver to be important supplements to a carnivore diet. I really love drinking snake juice as well, it’s something new that I’ve introduced but it feels like it really quenches my thirst how a nice cold coconut water used to.
I’m trying to do this on a budget – It’s probably still cheaper than spending money on all the supplements prescribed by naturopaths as well as other medical costs. If you rearrange your budget and don’t eat out ever it can be doable – you just have to think hard about what your priorities are. If you try to do your own cooking, butchering, and packaging it will really help make this affordable. Think of a whole chicken for example – it’s cheaper to purchase 1 whole chicken rather than get chicken breasts because you have to pay someone extra to process and package it. My gadgets save me a lot of money like my foodsaver vacuum sealer, deep freezer, dehydrator, instant pot, sous vide, blender, and sodastream.
5) What benefits have you seen since starting the Carnivore Diet.
- 10 lb weight loss
- I have way more time – spending less time grocery shopping, meal planning and prepping, cooking, and cleaning on this diet.
- Energy to exercise
- I’m happier
- Reduction in migraine attacks – it’s easier to diagnose and prevent them now rather then letting it build into a full blown 1-2 day event.
- Reduction in cystic acne
- Skin tone is clearing up and redness is going away
- Scalp eczema patch at the base of my skull that I’ve had all my life is gone
- My nails would always flake and break but now they grow fast and they’re strong
- Better sleeps and I’m able to go to bed earlier and will tend to wake up at around 6-7 am naturally.
- Reduced neck and back pain
- Stable mood and energy
- I learned discipline
- Working out is easier and I feel more powerful
- Haven’t had an exercise induced asthma attack since starting (but also less cardio).
6) What negatives have you found with the Carnivore Diet.
- Social stigma
- Too hard to eat out, but I just pack lunches and fast if I need to.
- I avoid a lot of the things I used to enjoy, but my old hobbies fostered an unhealthy lifestyle and were mostly revolving around food rituals.
- I had to purchase a new wardrobe, some people would say this is a positive though (LPT: if you’re a lady and losing weight, invest in stretchy comfy dresses as they will last you longer than pants will, and also- get lots of yoga pants)
7) Do you exercise on the Carnivore Diet, if so how do you find it and what do you do.
I have way more energy and time to dedicate to exercise – I love swimming, yoga, jogging, as well as nature walks, and I hear how great resistant training pairs with this diet so I’m trying to learn more about how to do that properly. I have been doing a lot of infrared yoga lately as well .
8) What piece of advice would you give someone who is interested in trying this diet, but hasn’t taken the leap yet.
Don’t wait until your health is so bad that you have to be desperate about it – prevention is key. If you have any autoimmune type problems please dedicate some time and research into learning about the carnivore diet. Instead of snacking I distract myself by doing research which inspires me to not poison myself with carbs.
If you are going through carbohydrate withdrawal early on make sure to have enough electrolytes, quality salt (redmond real salt), lots of broth, beef and sugar free bacon. Stay full and don’t bother with fasting early in the diet just listen to your body’s hunger signals which will regulate over time and you’ll find the best eating pattern for yourself. Don’t cheat, the only one you’re cheating is yourself. Find other hobbies or projects to distract yourself so you don’t miss the ritual of your old food habits.
9) Do you think Carnivore will ever be accepted as a mainstream diet.
Yes, Its essentially a strict form of keto and keto is becoming mainstream despite the suppression of information regarding this topic and various people/corporations spreading misinformation and lies. I think though word of mouth and the thousands of anecdotal results from this the information can spread once people see it for themselves. We are in a health crisis and we can either acknowledge that what the government recommended doesn’t work or we can continue to get sick. If you’re desperate enough you will take control of your health.
10) Anything you would like to add, and where can people follow your journey.
Instagram – @carnivore.kelsey and my husband:@itchy.dan
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