Interview with Damon

1) Introduce Yourself.

I’m Damon, and I’m 36 years old and live in southern Japan where I work as landscaper, handyman, and wedding celebrant (fake wedding minister) for Japanese couples who want a western style wedding but aren’t Christian.  It’s as strange as it sounds.

I was always athletic and relatively skinny growing up.  Despite teaching Jujitsu on campus at CSU in Colorado I fell out of shape in my mid twenties.  I never got noticeably big but the lack of weight training coupled with a poor diet and plenty of drinking at the club I co owned really started to affect my health.  

A friend I knew from martial arts got me into CrossFit and I quickly found out that a stomach full of pasta did not go well with a WOD.  I never threw up after a workout but I hopped on the paleo train pretty quickly. It was a revelation – I dropped weight, leaned out, and the knee pain I’d had since I was 13 disappeared.  What I had learned about nutrition did not line up with my experience.  

My diet went out the window when my business collapsed and I got a job managing a bar on a Marine Corp base in Japan.  Looking back, I have come to understand that I am an emotional eater and losing my business made me very depressed. It was my identity and I had failed.  My first apartment was about a 20 minute walk from the base and like every apartment in Japan, near a 24 hr convenience store with delicious food and a variety of alcohol.  It became a regular routine to grab a cheese burger, piece of cheesecake and a small bottle of whiskey to help me sleep on the way home from work at 2am. Over the next two years I puffed up to 180 pounds at 5’7.  For comparison, when I was eating a strict paleo diet and working out 5 days a week I was 160 – a muscular 160 pounds.

It wasn’t until I heard Peter Attia on Tim Ferriss’ podcast that I decided to give Keto a try.  My daughter had been born with Down Syndrome and like many with her condition had a bad heart and had to be transported to a hospital in Hiroshima which was an hour away from my home so she could have surgery.  It was while I was staying in Hiroshima, sitting in my brother-in-laws apartment that I finally decided that I was sick of being fat. There was nothing else I could control, so I controlled my weight. And it fell off quickly, I lost 20 pounds in 3 months and I stuck to the diet until my daughter passed away a few months later.  She was 7 months old. I remember distinctly coming back from her funeral and stopping by 7-11 to grab some food and thinking about sticking to my diet. I didn’t – I just wanted to feel something good. Cheese burger and cheesecake. And a drink.

Two years later, after hearing Jordan Peterson describe his experience with the carnivore diet I decided to give it a try.  I was working at a Chili’s on the base in middle management and I got an employee meal. Maybe headquarters wouldn’t approve of my daily ribeye but no one said anything so I stuck to it.  I’ve been at it ever since, which has been about a year and a half.

2) How did you eat before Carnivore.

Right before I started the Carnivore Diet I was eating a pretty standard American diet.  As previously mentioned I was a manager at Chili’s so lots of chips and salsa, quesadillas, etc.  I made a few attempts to get back on a ketogenic diet but nothing stuck.

3) Why did you try Carnivore to begin with.

I wanted to get lean and ripped again but I couldn’t get back on track with my keto diet.  I had heard Shawn Baker on Rogan but it wasn’t until I heard Jordan Peterson talk about his diet experience before I decided to give it a try.  What really sold me was when Peterson talked about being able to get up early for the first time. That and he made a very good point about trying it for 30 days saying, “I can do anything for 30 days”.  That really stuck with me – just do it for 30 days. I knew I could do that. The diet is so simple, no macros to count, just eat meat!

4) How do you personally approach the Carnivore Diet.

Steak, ground beef and eggs.  I have had an on and off relationship with cheese.  I think I’m better off without it but when the budget has been slim cheese has been a good way to get some extra calories in.  Beef is expensive in Japan but tongue, liver, and of course fish are pretty cheap out in town so whenever I can’t shop on base I’ll pick up some of those things.  

5) What benefits have you seen since starting the Carnivore Diet.

I lost about 20 pounds very quickly but kept my muscle.  Sleep quality has gotten a lot better, and I feel like I dream better too.  Probably the best part for me has been waking up early. When my diet is strict I wake up about 4:30-5am without an alarm clock and I’m ready to go.  That has never happened before and it’s awesome. I was always a guy who needed 10 hours of sleep to feel half awake. Now I need 6. It’s a game changer.

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6) What negatives have you found with the Carnivore Diet.

It took awhile for my wife to get on board with my strict eating habits.  She’s not on any kind of diet and initially was a bit unhappy I didn’t want to join her for ramen or eat the same food at dinner.  It took some work to get past all of that and it was made more difficult due to a culture that is a bit more likely to listen to authority so when doctors are saying follow the food pyramid and the dude that cuts grass and pretends to be a minister says its ok to just eat meat you can imagine who’s words have more weight.  There isn’t even that much of a debate – guy in white lab coat says fermented beans and rice is healthy. But we did get past it. After awhile, results become hard to ignore.

7) Do you exercise on the Carnivore Diet, if so how do you find it and what do you do.

Lately I have been swinging kettlebells.  I haven’t had any negative effects and the diet hasn’t seemed to impede my progress at all.

8) What piece of advice would you give someone who is interested in trying this diet, but hasn’t taken the leap yet.

Just do it for a month.  It won’t kill you. And don’t trust a fart until you adapt and quit ejecting liquid out of your butt.  Sorry that’s gross but you’ll thank me. Make sure to eat enough too. That definitely hurt me in the beginning.

9) Do you think Carnivore will ever be accepted as a mainstream diet.

I think the stigma around beef and animal fat will lessen, especially in the US.  I would be surprised if Carnivore went mainstream at least in the near future. Unfortunately veganism and environmentalism have become religion and for a certain portion of the population cow farts will always be the cause of all evil no matter what the evidence says.  

Japan will take even longer to change.  The culture changes slower here and beef is just so damned expensive anyway so less people are apt to try a carnivore diet here.

10) Anything you would like to add, and where can people follow you.

Instagram  – meat_and_bells

Facebook – @iwakunikb

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