Interview with Ralph
1) Introduce yourself.
My name is Ralph Ospina. I’m a Physical Therapist Assistant at Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital in Athens, GA. I treat individuals who have been hospitalized for a variety of conditions or procedures and my main purpose is to help improve their strength/endurance/balance and overall function so that they can mobilize as independently and safely as possible. I am a martial artist and have studied/practiced a variety of arts when I competed briefly in amateur MMA, but I’m most proficient at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in which I hold a black belt under Adam and Rory Singer out of Straight Blast Gym Athens.
2) How did you eat before Carnivore.
I have followed different nutrition protocols and have been very mindful about my diet for about 13 years, although it has taken me some time to find what truly works for me. Before becoming mindful about my diet, I ate a typical standard American diet full of ultra-processed food. I got up to about 200 lbs (I’m 5’6″ so that didn’t work well from a proportional standpoint…) But over the last 13 years I have tried everything from the awful US dietary guidelines, the “bro bodybuilder” diet of chicken and broccoli, vegetarian (very, very briefly), and I’ve tried traditional/targeted/cyclical ketogenic. My approach prior to starting Carnivore was keto with a very plant-based approach, although I still ate about 50% of my diet from animal foods.
3) Why did you try Carnivore to begin with.
I first heard of Carnivore about 1 year ago but didn’t actually start it until late April or early May of this year. I have had some issues with IBS for the last 3-4 years and keto had given me the most relief at that time. I still had several symptoms that I had learned how to live with, and I figured this was as good as it was going to get. I researched carnivore for a bit, but what got me to take the plunge was a podcast in which I heard Robb Wolf discuss how he used a Carnivore-ish approach to improving some nasty gut issues he was having from a recent bug he caught sometime after he moved to Texas. His symptoms seemed similar enough to mine, and I figured I’d give it a try. Since then, I have fully embraced a nose-to-tail carnivore-ish approach to nutrition and I feel great!
4) How do you personally approach the Carnivore Diet.
I eat 95% carnivore with a few non-carnivore foods that I tolerate well. I LOVE organ meats (except for kidney) and luckily, I have access to good quality meat from local farmers in my area and I have several friends who hunt and are very generous (I’m in the process of learning this skill now, but for now, I rely on good friends!). I stick to ruminant animals – mostly beef, venison, and lamb. I eat about 1lb of meat/day and I will pick fattier vs lean cuts based on my activity level (at least 1:1 and up to 2:1 fat to protein ratio). I take an electrolyte supplement and so far my favourite is LMNT. As far as “non-Carnivore” foods, I can tolerate and enjoy avocados, cucumber, berries, and I LOVE Ketobricks. Oh, and I have absolutely no ties with these companies, they are just the products that I personally like.
5) What benefits have you seen since starting the Carnivore Diet.
The main benefit I have experienced is an improvement in my IBS symptoms. My digestion has improved tremendously and going strict carnivore for 6 weeks helped me pin-point a lot of food triggers that I wasn’t aware of. I would say I’m about 90-95% Carnivore, but I also throw in what I can tolerate now such as avocado, cucumber, and some berries – but this isn’t daily. I also used to have issues with satiety and would use fiber/veggies as a means to “fill myself up.” I didn’t realize how much proper protein/fat intake would be more useful for that instead of filling up on fiber (which made my IBS symptoms WORSE).
6) What negatives have you found with the Carnivore Diet.
There was a short period of time where my digestion had to adjust to the lack of veggies and other fiber sources – let’s just say I had a similar experience to Joe Rogan. That resolved pretty quickly though, and I haven’t felt this good consistently since I started having my IBS symptoms. I was used to restrictive diets from my experience with weight cutting and I honestly like having a regimen/protocol to follow. It keeps me on track.
7) Do you exercise on the Carnivore Diet, if so how do you find it and what do you do.
I exercise regularly. I have been practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for about 13 years now and it’s my passion. Right now, I’m only able to train about 3x/week ~1 hour each, which is much less than I was training prior to the pandemic, but it’s better than no jiu jitsu! I also strength train 3x/week and my job is very active as well. I don’t do any extra cardio aside from long distance walks with a weighted back-pack.
8) What piece of advice would you give someone who is interested in trying this diet, but hasn’t taken the leap yet.
If this is something you’ve been thinking about doing, then go for it. Setbacks aren’t failures – they are opportunities to adjust and find out what truly works for you. It’s easy to get discouraged, but if you change your perspective, it’s easier to adhere. I’ve done better since I started looking at this as a fun “n=1” experiment, instead of putting pressure on myself about reaching a weight on a scale or a certain body composition. If you get healthy, everything else will work itself out. Also, always be open minded – the goal is to learn and find the truth, not to be right.
9) Do you think Carnivore will ever be accepted as a mainstream diet.
It’s hard to say. There are a lot of people who are still terrified of red meat, fat, and meat-based diets in general. I think it will continue to grow as people get results. Keto was unheard of 5 years ago in the mainstream. People thought I was crazy for eating under 30g of carbs/day and nobody had really heard of it. Now keto is everywhere. So, you never know. I hope more clinicians start taking interest in this topic.
10) Anything you would like to add, and where can people follow you.
My coaches frequently say, “Always be a white belt.” What they mean is, always be a student. Be curious to learn new things everyday, this way you’re always in a state of growth. The moment you think you have all of the answers you stop learning. It can be easy to get caught up in routine and to become static. Find mentors or people to learn from and look up to.
You can follow me on instagram @ralph_ospina (I need to think of something more creative) – I’m no expert by any means, but I LOVE talking about this stuff.
Ketogenic Endurance – I hoped you enjoyed this post.
If you like what I am about, check out the below.
Carnivore Fit Expanded edition – my eBook and Paperback looking at why meat is good for you, why plants are bad, and how to exercise on zero carbs.
Low Content Books – Carnivore & Keto inspired Journals, Notebooks, Diaries, and Planners.