It has been a year since Dawn’s carnivore success story which can be found here
Interview with Dawn
1) How would you currently describe your current way of eating.
I am very much part of the ‘carnivore-ish’ crowd. 99.5% of my diet is meat, eggs and dairy (and I love experimenting with new cuts and bits of organ meat – pork head terrine is lovely!) but I am experimenting with what I can add back into my diet. I’m avoiding gluten and oxalates but haven’t yet found anything that doesn’t trigger a physical reaction (or sugar cravings). Long term, it looks like my diet might be made up of meat, eggs, dairy and the occasional ice cream!
2) What have you learned regarding nutrition over the last year.
Oh… loads! Nutrient density is the most important thing for my own personal nutrition. It is key to satiety, energy levels and keeping my inflammation at bay. Fat is not my enemy and grains are not my friend. More importantly, I learned that other people’s ideas about diet aren’t what keep me healthy. Doing my own thing has always worked for me elsewhere in life so, if ‘eating the rainbow’ isn’t for me, that’s ok, too. Oxalates are, quite possibly, the cause of all of my EDS symptoms and, without them, I can walk. Vitamin C turns to oxalate if we have too much… I could write a book with how much I’ve learned about food this year!
3) What health & Fitness improvements, and/or setbacks have you experienced in the last year.
Adding new foods back into my diet was a little scary and, on the occasions that trying new things led to uncomfortable bloating, joint pain, or headaches, I questioned if it was all worth it… but I feel stronger than I ever have! I will not stop trying new things, but I am comfortable eating meat on its own for long stretches between trials. I am not interested in being in pain or dislocating joints for the sake of fruit or flour. Between nutrition experiments, my fitness has come on leaps and bounds. I have danced, climbed, and run my way through 2020 and hope to keep being able to do new things!
4) What are your health and fitness goals in the year ahead.
I’d like to be able to do a handstand, after getting involved in aerial hammock practice in my garden in lockdown. I love being upside down. That’s a big goal for me, as someone who has woken up hundreds of times with dislocated shoulders….. but I feel like it’s achievable!
5) Anything else to add? and where can people follow your journey?
I can’t quite believe the life that I’m building and how much of it is down to giving up vegetables and grains. When everything I’ve ever been taught is that meat and fat are bad and veg and grains are good…. it’s incredible that I am doing so well with the opposite philosophy.
Ketogenic Endurance – I hoped you enjoyed this post.
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
Ketogenic Endurance – I hoped you enjoyed this post.
My name is Tani, @taniblue_artist on Instagram, I am a 46 yo mother of a 15 yo daughter. Widowed for 10 years this May. I am an artist and dancer, have been an aerialist and am currently retraining in classical ballet with a view to teaching and journalism in dance.
How did you eat before Carnivore.
B.C. Before Carnivore.
I was raised a vegetarian by my parents in the 70’s. I am fairly certain my mother was vegetarian while I was in-utero too. I was born anxious, I was also born with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome but I was not diagnosed until I was 42. It is a collagen disorder. It seems that vegetarianism was probably the worst dietary choice my parents could have made for me, outside of full veganism. As a child I was extremely hypermobile per EDS but I had a myriad of issues not connected with the syndrome. Migraines, I remember having a blinding ‘sore heads’ from about 4. I thought it was normal, because my mum also had headaches. I had insomnia as long as I can remember. I had extreme tantrums that would be accompanied by out of body experiences right through to adulthood. My hands always shook. I would see auras and feel like I was a giant balloon at school, and all sorts of odd hallucinations and imaginings. I had weird learning issues, they thought I was dyslexic, but I was not. I just couldn’t quite remember things right, I guess we now know this as brain fog. I found ingenious ways to keep up with the other kids. I would have extreme wheezing attacks if we did lots of running at school, nobody noticed, I thought it was just normal puffing as I doubled over unable to breath. I had stomach aches. All the time.
Sanitarium (the 7th day adventist company) is big in Australia, I remember, pre-primary school, eating sloppy weetbix soaked in reconstituted powdered soy milk. I would have the worst tummy aches. My mum would make the most amazing home made stone milled whole wheat bread, it was nearly indigestible for me and made my tummy hurt. But I ate it. We fortunately ate home grown veg so that was toxin and glyphosate free. My favourite food was egg yolks with salt. I hated eggwhites. My little brother liked the whites so we would swap.
When I was between 9 and 11 my parents split. My mother was diagnosed as anemic and so we started eating some lean meat, mostly skinless chicken. We were veg focused though and had nuttelex (margarine) as our bread spread. By 14 I had pretty severe depression. I didn’t really know why. (we did have some very bad life experiences but still it didn’t make sense). I had constant bouts of conjunctivitis, mouth ulcers, and chronic hay fever. My stomach was always a bit bloated and I was nearly always constipated in my teens. I was diagnosed by a friend at ballet (I started dancing at 3, on a doctor’s orders for the hypermobility) with scoliosis. At 16 I had a spinal fusion and had to quit ballet. This saw a rapid decline in my physical and mental health. At 17 my eyesight began to rapidly deteriorate (I was studying fine art) so I had to get glasses. In my early 20’s I developed cystic acne, still had constant migraines and started to seek help for my stomach which was switching between diarrhoea and constipation. I was self medicating (alcohol mostly) to try to deal with the migraines and depression and insomnia and pain.
An allopathic naturopath got me off wheat and kept me away from dairy. It helped a bit. At 20 I joined the circus. I trained as an aerialist. I was very strong. But, I injured my ankle and kept performing on it for a few months. I left after a year and had a severe limp for several years. I thought it was normal to take years to heal, it always took me so long to heal from anything (this is partly due to the EDS) At 22 I was medicated for depression, I took the meds for about a year. By 25 I was on crutches from severe hip pain. A specialist wanted to do surgery. I said no. I put it off for 17 years and had my hip replaced at 42. The initial damage to the hip would have been from the scoliosis and the ankle limp, impacting on the hip causing spurs and then osteoarthritis, I treated it with chiropractic. For EDS and scoliosis chiropractic has been an absolute godsend. I was also diagnosed with osteoarthritis around this time, I have it everywhere.
I lived off grid in my late 20’s with my partner, we ate all sorts of hunted foods like hare and rabbit and duck and deer. My gut was quite a bit better and my migraines less and sleep better, but I was still drinking frequently and eating tons of veggies and vegetarian meals.
I had a baby at 30. My pregnancy was perfect, which is astonishing, a drug free and fast delivery (perhaps because of all the dance training and high pain threshold I developed over decades of chronic pain), while I was pregnant I could eat as much dairy and pastries as I wanted with few ill effects bar constipation. All my food reactions came back after delivery. By my mid 30’s my migraines were so bad I would have them 6 days out of 7. I had chronic diarrhea, I was medicated for cystic acne with a type of hormonal pill and had severe PMT. My stomach would swell so bad and the gas was utterly horrific. I was tested for celiac but it was negative. I stopped eating all grains around this stage.
In my later 30s I had a bone test done at a chemist. She said my density looked extremely low and I should get it looked at by a doctor. The doctors refused to believe I could have anything wrong with my bones ‘so young’. So it was 7 or so years more before I got a dexa. When I was finally tested I was diagnosed with full blown osteoporosis in my spine and osteopenia in my hips at 42. I was still eating a ‘whole foods healthy fats low protein’ diet at this stage. My husband (we broke up but were still very close)passed away when I was 36. I developed severe PTSD. I kept a business running, just. But within 2 years my body had deteriorated so much that I had to close my business. I had shingles. I could barely walk. And my gut was getting worse. I was mostly in bed for nearly 4 years.
At one point I was eating Keto, I loved it, no one knew about it then. My brother introduced me to it. My peers told me I was insane, that I needed soluble and insoluble fibre to be healthy. But I felt incredible! For the first time in my life my toilet experience was “normal”.Of course eventually I was convinced to go back to LFHC after about 3 months. HUGE MISTAKE. I was so sick I also dabbled in a bit of juicing, a bit of raw vegan, but mostly just stuck to the usual veg and fruit laden low meat diet. I had got rid of legumes by now though, they would just kill me.
After I had my hip sorted by cutting it out and putting in a metal one, I went to a gp and talked of my stomach ills (by this stage I had been bleeding from my rectum for about a year) and of my concerns about my bones. Miraculously she listened. I was tested. I had pylori, we got rid of that. I had fructose and oligos malabsorption and I was diagnosed with osteoporosis. The bones of a sickly 90 yo. I was put onto FODMAPS diet. It helped, quite a bit. I did FODMAPS for about 2 years. Plus insane meds for ulcerative colitis/proctitis. I had a friend tell me about EDS, I was genetically tested and found to have the syndrome at the same time.
Then I stumbled back on to keto just through looking up foods constantly on the internet.I experienced even more improvements. I did that for about 8 months. Then in November 2018 I stumbled upon and started with Carnivore. I had heard of it years before and thought it was insane but I am pretty much willing to try anything now I am in so much pain and so sick of it.
Why did you try Carnivore to begin with.
So I started ‘dirty’ carnivore. BAM game changer! I had developed rosacea acne after a stressful incident a year before. That was the first ailment to go, in about 3 weeks. I had also developed sjorgens syndrome when I was little, that also went (it is just dry mucous areas, eyes, mouth, privates)I had migrating tongue and severe ulcers even on Keto, gone in a few weeks on Carnivore. All migraines, gone. Insomnia, gone. I sleep solidly for at least 7 hours a night, for the first time in my life. The ulcerative colitis is still healing, and I still have small flare ups but it is so much improved. I am getting rid of egg whites at the moment and this seems to be helping (only been off them 4 days). Severe memory loss, is so much improved. My healing time is improved. Trauma reactions have been reduced. I am still triggered by the same things, filling forms, loud noise, crowds etc but so much less so, I am able to navigate these things so much better, although I suspect there might be a bit of ADHD as well, but of course ADHD can also be treated with HFLC. Depression is gone. That went with Keto. Anxiety and “overthinking” is gone. I think I even need to get a new glasses script, my eyesight seems to be changing. And there is probably so much more, that I will think of after I submit this. Oh and I already look 5 years younger and as a pale redhead, I don’t sunburn at all any more.I literally do not need sunscreen even at the height of Australian summer. This is incredible to experience. I used to burn in 5 seconds of sun exposure.
How do you personally approach the Carnivore Diet.
What do I eat at the moment? Mornings I have coffee blended with 2 egg yolks, a huge chunk of butter, a few tablespoons of colostrum and some gelatin. I usually have two of these. Lunch I will have a burger patty, or steak, some sort of seafood and recently added in a variety of cheeses high in K2. When I first added these in a few weeks ago, I had a HUGE oxalate dump. It was intense and painful. I drink lemon water to help with the oxalate overload. For dinner I will have some more meats. I also have a bit of whey protein isolate. Eggs done different ways. LIVER! I have been eating a little raw liver pretty much the whole time, it is incredible. I am coming at this from a very medicalised point of view. I am eating a ton of calories. I dont track, because I think I would be horrified. I suspect I am eating about 2000-2500 cal a day. I am 4’11 (stunted growth plus scoliosis, my mother is about 6 inches taller than me, my daughter is about 4 inches taller) and I weigh 53kg.
I have recently stopped eating – blueberries, cacao, sugar free sauces including tomato sauce, black tea and egg whites and I have very little stevia. This is because of my suspicion that oxalates have been my biggest problem all along. I have only recently found this information. I drink a bit of milk kefir and goats milk and yogurt. I try and get the best quality and grass fed when I can. I am extremely low income so I seek out direct bulk and plan very carefully.
Do you exercise on the Carnivore Diet, if so how do you find it and what do you do.
I do about 15-20 hours a week of dance classes and am studying a certificate in dance, I walk outdoors every day and do a small amount of cross training at home, if I stop training my EDS symptoms – chronic pain etc go nuts. I am looking down the barrel of more surgery, on my foot this time, my ankle is bone on bone and cysts have formed. This was from a twisted ankle 18 months ago (just before Keto). So I am still dealing with extreme arthritic pain in my ankle, my knee is playing up. I still see a range of specialists for EDS symptoms, BUT I am actually in the best health of my entire life. I think that it is going to take a long time to heal 40+ years of damage but it has started and I am so excited, but I am also so sad and angry. I was never ever meant to be this sick. Yes, my genetics have had an impact, but the healing I have experienced this past 6 months had been utterly profound. Life changing. I can now actually start looking at gainful employment as my health improves, because I am not on the toilet all day every day. Telling people you are unemployed because of your bowel movements is pretty bloody mortifying.
Weight has not played any part in any of these choices and changes for me. My weight has been pretty consistent all my life, but my health has always been awful. What I have noticed since carnivore is my muscles are denser and I don’t get tired from exercise and I rarely get sore muscles.I have lost a lot of adipose tissue from my hips and upper arms that I thought I was stuck with due to aging and my boobs have changed shape, still small but firmer. All my skin is looking better!
I also had to nap every day up until starting carnivore, sometimes for hours or even all day. I no longer need naps, another improvement that means I can look at gainful employment. The impact to my capacity to make any kind of living has been devastating. I think this is so important to note. My quality of life as an adult has been severely messed with, and I am seeing this more and more in young adults now, people who should be in their prime!
What piece of advice would you give someone who is interested in trying this diet, but hasn’t taken the leap yet.
My main advice, if you are really unwell and looking at this, is start slow. Go Keto first, gradually remove foods. Oxalate dumping is painful and can be dangerous (I recently found out). The transition is easier too. There was a mild transition period with FODMAPS, then for Keto it was about 3 months of adapting for me (most people it is about 2 weeks) and then carnivore came pretty easy overall from there.
If your gut and skin are playing up, I believe this is a sign of deep underlying damage. You have probably been sick for years but it is starting to show on the surface. Carnivore type diets may not be for everyone, but as far as my ancestral history is concerned, and my reactions to the changes, it is definitely for me. And probably for life by the looks of it.
Do you think Carnivore will ever be accepted as a mainstream diet.
I do think carnivore will end up mainstream. Even as the big multinationals push for more fake food and earth destroying monocropping, I think the pushback is going to be huge soon. Too many of us are getting too sick from the last 60 years of BS food guidelines and crap on the shelves (which I never ate!). They nearly killed me for goodness sakes, which is bonkers! I ate the “healthiest” diet on the planet my whole life and I nearly ended up with bowel cancer (still at very high risk) and mush for bones. I do think that ancestral diets will return with force, maybe sooner than the multinationals can reckon with! I certainly hope so, and this is why I am sharing my experience.
Anything you would like to add, and where can people follow your journey.
I post regularly in my stories and feed on instagram. My focus is ballet, health, diet and art. @taniblue_artist is where you can see what I get up to and how I am progressing.
My final word is please feed your children ample quality meat and animal fats. I was the experiment in the 70’s and the experiment failed, terribly.
Thanks for reading my story.
Ketogenic Endurance – I hoped you enjoyed this post.