Interview with Yuli
1) Introduce Yourself.
I’m Yuli, born in the Soviet Union, raised in Israel, lived in Germany for 8 years and now living in the UK. The carnivore diet helped me reverse and put into permanent remission; Crohn’s disease, Hashimoto thyroiditis, PCOS, IBS, inflammatory arthritis, depression, brain fog, migraines, and a binge eating disorder. I’ve been exclusively carnivore for about 3 years and recently started adding some non-sweet fruit and veg into my diet with no issues, yet animal products are always the main part of every single meal I eat.
My personal journey may have started with me only trying to change my diet, yet the more I’ve learned about our ancestry the more it seeped into my overall lifestyle. I now have improved my sleep, my focus, my productivity, my creativity, my relationships, and my mindset. All thanks to what started as “a few weeks long” meat only elimination diet.
This way of eating and getting back to more ancestral values has also inspired me to create art as a carnivore, focusing on the beauty of food animals and the nourishing, health promoting products they provide us.
I think art changes how people see the world. I think art informs what is valued as beautiful and admirable. Art has been a part of every revolution, evolution, and social movement throughout history.
There are trends in art just like in any other fashion and while you can walk into any museum and see stunning images of still life featuring meat as a sign of wealth and prosperity in old master paintings – nowadays we have lost it.
Over time, with the rise of processed foods and the vegan/vegetarian agenda we seemed to have lost the beauty of meat and animal products as a society. A person can walk into any design shop and buy pizza pillows, cupcake shaped serving dishes and anything imaginable with a donut printed on it – yet you’ll never see a steak.
I think this shift in visual culture to be more plant based is a part of the propaganda against meat, and I’m trying to do whatever I can to change it, by making it beautiful again.
2) How did you eat before Carnivore.
My diet growing up was full of rice, pasta, and grains. I’ve had bread with pretty much every meal. processed foods were everywhere with treats and sweets. To try and be healthy I spent a few years mostly vegan/vegetarian, though I’d also ‘cheat’ a lot on the diet by going to supermarkets and buying processed carbs.
I could eat two pints of ice cream with some gummy bears instead of a real meal. I didn’t cook for myself or knew how to make a tasty meal until my mid 20’s. I also worked in the food industry in my teens and early twenties and would just eat at work and take leftovers home.
I got more and more unwell as time passed yet didn’t connect it to diet for the longest time.
3) Why did you try Carnivore to begin with.
I’d get extremely ill at least twice a year with a bacterial or viral infection. I’ve always had hormonal issues had quite bad PCOS. I had IBS and was later diagnosed with Crohn’s, after a flair of gastritis. I’ve always had joint pains and swelling in my joints. I suffered from migraines and was depressed and lazy, lacking all motivation.
About 5 years ago I got into a very toxic relationship that caused me a great deal of stress, and the majority of my issues got worse during that time. I was on an extremely restrictive diet and lost a lot of weight quite rapidly which led to me developing a binge eating disorder. I was very unhappy and had brain fog – I felt I wasn’t able to think at the same speed as before, processing words or remembering things became rather difficult.
I was desperate to find some way to stop the binge cravings and through reading online found the keto diet and decided to try it.
I was on keto for about a year and a half and many of the issues I was struggling with got much better, but weren’t gone. The migraines decreased in frequency, my joints weren’t hurting as much, my digestions was a bit more stable yet the binge eating persisted and I felt completely out of control, and each episode brought all the symptoms back.
I started going to doctors who kept sending me to other doctors and each test made them order more tests. My bloodwork came back a mess: I’ve had rheumatoid factor come back positive, inflammatory markers were very high, my thyroid antibodies were extremely elevated, and the thyroid hormones were low, and my calprotectin was over 700 when it should be below 40.
I was put on thyroid meds and steroids, PPI’s and a few other pills with no helps – my wellbeing and quality of life decreased to such a level I got desperate. This is when I started to dive into the literature and research how to ‘fix’ myself. After listening to podcasts with Dr. Shawn baker and Mikhaila Peterson and put myself on a carnivore diet for “3-4 weeks max” only it lasted over 3 years and I’m never going back.
4) How do you personally approach the Carnivore Diet.
I started the diet around July 2017. It took a lot of personal experimentation and data collection until I found what works best for me. I think this is probably the case with most people who start trying to resolve multiple issues. I started by cutting out of plant foods yet still including pork, dairy, eggs and chicken. Over time I realised pork and chicken aren’t good for me, and milk products have to be raw and fermented. I only eat pastured eggs.
Nowadays I eat beef, lamb, venison, goat, organ meats and sea food. I live in a small town in the UK and have an amazing family farm that raises all the previously mentioned animals and at least 6-7 kinds of poultry so variety is never a problem, yet still find myself sticking to the same meals over and over.
Since now I’m trying to lose some fat, I eat two meals a day, about 300-450g of meat per meal depending on how lean it is, and use beef tallow, goats’ butter or ghee to cook with. In the last two months I’ve also been adding some non-sweet fruit, vegetables, eggs and some fermented dairy with no adverse reactions. About 85-95% of my calories are coming from meat and animal products.
My favourites are all the various cuts from the rib area, beef tongue, lamb chops and salmon.
5) What benefits have you seen since starting the Carnivore Diet.
Within the first few weeks my digestion got much better and became regular. IBS and Crohn’s were gone within about two months at most, my sleep improved, my PCOS normalised and I started getting my period again, my joints became less inflamed, walking and then going back to exercising became easier. I was off all steroids and PPI’s within less than 8 weeks.
After a year on the diet my thyroid antibodies were back to normal, yet my thyroid levels themselves were low, so I was still medicated for it. Two years after starting the carnivore diet I was able to get off all thyroid meds as well.
My body composition improved and I was able to gain and maintain muscle, increase my bone density and get rid of my brain fog and all mental health issues. No migraines, no weird aches and pains.
On the carnivore diet I feel calm, happy, content, a lot less agitated, I’m never anxious and can handle stress very well. It’s as if this way of eating was a facilitator of internal zen.
6) What negatives have you found with the Carnivore Diet.
It did require a lot of patience, consistency, tracking, and trial and error to finally find true health. I had to do a lot of experimentation with my food to figure out pork and chicken weren’t good for me, to figure out that if I overeat I have issues even if I’m only eating foods I normally do very well with. I had some issues with histamines which took experimenting and tracking to figure out, I had to experiment with my fat to protein ratio to find what I do best with. The Crohn’s and the steroids depleted a lot of my vitamins and minerals some of which I had to supplement. My progress wasn’t always linear and was made much slower by the fact that I also battelled the binge eating craving despite being fully carnivore. It helped make the binge eating more manageable, yet I wasn’t truly recovered and it was extremely discouraging hearing experts on podcasts time after time state “you can’t overeat on steak and eggs” because I was living proof you very much can and that no matter how much eliminate – even the excess of good foods can lead to problems or prevent healing.
It wasn’t until I added stearic acid to my cooking fats (a la Brad Marshall) that I saw the cravings diminish until they were completely gone.
It was also harder on my social life with regard to eating out and eating with people, but I made it work and my real friends/family don’t mind it and are used to it by now.
7) Do you exercise on the Carnivore Diet, if so how do you find it and what do you do.
I love exercise. I do resistance training. I used to work out 3-4 times a week and do long gym sessions, yet this year I transitioned more into home workouts and invested in resistance bands, kettlebells and a cast iron dumbbell set. I now do shorter, more intense functional training.
I recover very well from my workouts; I am very strong and find building muscle relatively easy.
8) What piece of advice would you give someone who is interested in trying this diet, but hasn’t taken the leap yet.
This is an extremely powerful intervention that can change your life and health for the better, however it’s not magic. You may still have issues that other people in the community say cleared for them within 3 days, and it can be very discouraging and lead to a feeling of being broken, but it just takes dedication.
Every change has a transitional period where things feel unfamiliar or strange and you miss your old ways but remembering why you’re doing it helps so much. You can get used to anything and anything can seem normal, no matter how foreign the idea was when you heard it first. If your current normal is inflamed, in pain, struggling to think clearly or get motivated – carnivore will 100% help. It’s an extremely simple diet which isn’t easy to implement but you overcome the initial hurdles it’s worth it.
9) Do you think Carnivore will ever be accepted as a mainstream diet.
I think that in the future more and more doctors will use it as a healing tool for their patients, which will help legitimize it in the eyes of the public.
This way of eating is essentially fighting the way in which big parts of our society and economy are founded on, so there will be resistance and pushback throughout the way. I do believe that evidence speak for themselves and the voices of people in the community are reaching larger audiences now. There are doctors educating other doctors on low carb and carnivore as treatment modalities which means it’s growing. The obesity and chronic disease epidemic took decades to develop and I think that we now have the power of the internet to speed up the timeline in which carnivore will grow. I hope that by then the cost of entry and price of meat won’t be a limiting factor for population in poor areas which arguably need this diet more than others.
10) Anything you would like to add, and where can people follow you.
For me the carnivore diet opened up so many things. I did a butchery class, went to live and volunteer on a farm for 6 weeks, started making meat based art, did a nutrition certification and am a much better and more resilient person for having been through all of this.
I am on instagram as @healthy.craft and am about to launch a new store for my meat-based art on nosetotail.org, in collaboration with the maker of the ‘Food Lies’ film, Brian Sanders.
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