Interview with Dawn
1) Introduce Yourself.
I’m Dawn and I’m from the North East of England, where it’s starting to get cold. Usually at this time of year, I’d be pretty unwell. I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, which is a connective tissue disorder. It’s meant that I’ve spent a lot of my life on crutches and, until recently, had never not been in pain. My joints are very lax and dislocate easily, as well as EDS causing some issues with my teeth, organs and skin. Three years ago, I had my gallbladder removed and bile ducts reconstructed in an open operation. I broke my neck in a car accident when I was 16.
2) How did you eat before Carnivore.
Immediately before carnivore, I was eating a traditionally ‘healthy’ diet made up predominantly of vegetables, lots of green veg in particular. I also ate organic eggs, plant milks and high welfare lean meat. A few months before that, I’d given veganism a go but only stuck it out for about 6 months, because my health started to deteriorate and I couldn’t afford that when my baseline health was already fairly low. Until I tried veganism (which was haaaard) I was sugar free for a few years, after discovering Robert Lustig and David Gillespie online. I knew giving up sugar had a huge impact on my pain levels, but found it difficult to be sugar free and vegan as, generally, sugar is used heavily in foods without animal fats.
3) Why did you try Carnivore to begin with.
A rheumatologist told me about the diet existing and I was sceptical (as were they!) so spent some time looking into it for myself. I spent about 3 months researching all of the different reasons it might work and the mechanisms in human anatomy and nutrition which might explain the benefits and lack of death I’d seen reported on social media and through emerging carnivore supporters. I saw Mikaela Peterson on The Joe Rogan Experience and her life sounded a lot like mine, with a life limiting illness and I decided that I had nothing to lose. I didn’t set out to make it a way of life and started with a 30 day experiment. I started a separate Instagram account so that I could follow lots of carnivore specific accounts and decided to keep track of my experiment online. I’m still going 8 months later.
4) How do you personally approach the Carnivore Diet.
I eat meat, fish, seafood, cheese and eggs and drink milk and water. Generally, I feel best eating beef and lamb, but I do enjoy bacon! I’m not a huge fan of chicken since going carnivore. I don’t find it very satisfying and it doesn’t make me feel great… but I do enjoy duck. I eat whenever I am hungry and track my fasting periods rather than fasting for set amounts of time. I’ve tried ‘cheating’ on carnivore but it’s not for me. I was a big beer fan before I started to eat this way, but now I don’t drink at all! Beer started to make me feel hungover almost immediately after my first pint (and therefore got much less fun!), so I go without. If I’m out socially, I’ll ‘treat’ myself to a fizzy water, instead of drinking it straight from the tap!
5) What benefits have you seen since starting the Carnivore Diet.
This is a huge question! I’m still in disbelief about the changes to my health (and the impact of that on my life) since I started to eat this way!
The most obvious benefit is that I haven’t used crutches since April (which was only a month into my carnivore experiment) and have used them fairly consistently since I was 13. I’ve certainly never gotten into November without relying on them to get around! My pain levels are much less on a day-to-day basis and I’ve stopped taking the gabapentin tablets that I’d take every 4 hours earlier this year. I’ve also stopped taking anti-inflammatory medication and tolterodine, which I used to need to regulate my bladder, but no longer do! I dislocate less often (Once a week instead of every day) and have lots of hope for the future after starting to walk (and even run!) more regularly. I’ve set myself a goal for fitness and enrolled in the Great North Swim for summer of 2020, when I’ll swim 2 miles outdoors. That was a big deal. Committing to future activity has never been a good idea for me, but I’m confident that my health gains will last and that I’ll continue to be able to swim. My gut health is better and I have lost 5.5 stones in weight since March, taking me from a British size 18 to a small 12 (A US 22 to an 8). My anxiety still catches me unawares sometimes, but attacks don’t last anywhere near as long and I no longer have a background level of anxiety which is looming all of the time. I’m calmer and don’t feel that I’m running on adrenaline.
6) What negatives have you found with the Carnivore Diet.
I had a small blip earlier in my journey when figuring out carnivore without a gallbladder, but now that I’ve found my stride, there are no downsides for me! I feel amazing, look great and my food is incredible tasting. I don’t miss the things I don’t eat at all… and that’s brilliant in and of itself! I wish the diet and it’s benefits were more widely publicised / less critically viewed, so that I could eat more easily when travelling, but it’s been a great 8 months!
7) Do you exercise on the Carnivore Diet, if so how do you find it and what do you do.
I do! More than I ever have before (which was none!). I probably don’t exercise very much by ‘normal person’ standards, but it’s loads to me, as I’ve been ill and sedentary for all of my adult life (and most of my teens). I walk and have started a couch to 5k training programme (It motivates me with a story, where I’m running for a settlement after the zombie apocalypse!). I swim during my lunch breaks at work a couple of days a week and have invested in a small kettlebell, a hula hoop and a brightly coloured swimming cap (so that I can start swimming in the sea!)
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 do it half-heartedly! Jump right in! For me, a lot of the magic in this diet and its results has been from the removal of plant toxins like oxalate and lectins from my diet, as well as the increase in protein and fat. If you’re worried about how it’ll affect you, take it slow and set a defined period to try it in its entirety. I started with 30 days 8 life changing months ago and haven’t looked back.
9) Do you think Carnivore will ever be accepted as a mainstream diet.
I’d love it to be, but I don’t think we’ll get there for a long time. There’s too much funding and propaganda on the other side!
10) Anything you would like to add, and where can people follow you.
I’m still figuring stuff out and finding wins, but I share my journey and wins on Instagram as @common_carnivore and Twitter as @CarnivoreCommon
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