Interview with Rachel
1) Introduce Yourself.
Hi. My name is Dr Rachel Brown and I am a consultant psychiatrist working within the NHS in Edinburgh, Scotland.
2) How did you eat before Carnivore.
I’ve been low carb for years, probably for around 10 years continuously, but I also dabbled with low carb around the time Atkins came out circa 2000. I followed a primal style diet (been a huge fan of Mark Sisson for years) until around 2 – 3 years ago when I went keto. So pretty standard keto, with the inclusion of dairy, nut butters, dark chocolate etc. I didn’t do much in the way of sweeteners.
3) Why did you try Carnivore to begin with.
I was curious. I thought it sounded mad at first, but after watching Shawn Baker’s interview at Carnivorycon, and Michaela Peterson’s story from that same event, I was curious and set out to try it for 30 days. I didn’t really have any major health issues.
4) How do you personally approach the Carnivore Diet.
I eat mostly red meat – beef in the form of ground beef, burgers or steaks, and lamb. I eat bacon most days. I eat chicken from time to time (but don’t enjoy it nearly as much as the red meat), and include some fish in my diet. I try to focus on A2 dairy, so will have some goats cheese when I feel like it, and I also include eggs. I’m fairly relaxed carnivore, so I use spices and herbs from time to time. Mostly I just use salt – pink himalayan or real salt. I eat 2 meals per day and tend to intermittent fast 16:8 or 18:6.
5) What benefits have you seen since starting the Carnivore Diet.
My immune health has improved noticeably – I haven’t had a proper cold since going carnivore, and usually that would be an issue a few times a year. It’s great to never feel bloated or uncomfortable. One of the biggest benefits for me personally has been finding food freedom. I don’t have to deal with cravings – I consider myself to be a sugar addict, but in retrospect there were other foods too that caused issues, like nut butter, as one example. I love the simplicity of carnivore, and being able to eat until satisfied, then not think about food at all until the next meal. Since giving up coffee my energy levels have been much more stable, and despite never having had problems with mood or anxiety, I know now what ‘Zero Carb Zen’ is – it’s hard to explain but the closest I can say is having a sense of optimism and wellbeing.
6) What negatives have you found with the Carnivore Diet.
The only negative I can think of is eating out – it can be tricky to get enough food in a restaurant, due to their reliance on side dishes that I don’t eat now. That and the funny looks you get when you tell people you only eat animal foods!
7) Do you exercise on the Carnivore Diet, if so how do you find it and what do you do.
I do bodyweight exercises and also lift weights and kettlebells. I do HIIT training most weeks but prefer to work out when I feel like it, rather than having a rigid schedule. Within a week of going carnivore I noticed that I could do more push-ups than ever before. Strength has improved noticeably. I’m lifting heavier weights than ever before. I also find myself wanting to exercise more / feeling like I need to.
8) What piece of advice would you give someone who is interested in trying this diet, but hasn’t taken the leap yet.
If you’re coming from a standard diet with plenty of carbs and fibre, you might want to ease in slowly over a number of weeks. You might want a strategy for sugar cravings, if those are an issue for you. I tend to be an abstainer rather than a moderator, so once I decided I was doing it I went ‘all in.’ I had been keto for a while and still had transition symptoms for 2-3 weeks. Probably because I was still including a fair bit of fibre on keto (e.g chia seeds). I would also say commit to the first 30 days – there were times when my transition symptoms made me wonder if I was doing the right thing, but once you get over that hurdle it’s likely to be straightforward. I’ve never looked back. Also make sure you’re eating enough at the start. It took me a while to include enough fatty meat in my diet, and once I did everything was so much better. I’d say it also took a while to get the taste for eating so much meat – in the beginning I wasn’t sure I would manage it, and now I can’t imagine doing anything else! Follow like-minded people on social media, it really helps to keep perspective.
9) Do you think Carnivore will ever be accepted as a mainstream diet.
I think it could eventually be more accepted, but I can’t see it being mainstream in my lifetime. There’s far too much investment in processed food, and generations of people are addicted to that food, and unlikely to be motivated to change.
10) Anything you would like to add, and where can people follow you.
I’d just like to mention how encouraged I’ve been to read people’s success stories when it comes to mental health. There are some amazing transformations out there, if you know where to look! You can find me on Instagram as @carnivoreshrink
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