Interview with Alli
1) Introduce Yourself.
Hi! I’m Alli Penn! I am a wife and mother and so much more! I live in the great state of Texas (hello Texas beef!!!) but I love traveling and spending time in Arizona and Idaho when I get the chance. I have two beautiful daughters, and my calling in life is to be the best wife and mother I can be! I am a cheery, gregarious person who loves to be around people, and I’m known for my loud, uninhibited laugh. Every day, I wake up and have fun trying to make my husband and kids laugh. I love to be happy and silly. My husband is my best friend and the most amazing partner I could ever ask for and after 15 years of being together, he knows me better than I know myself. We enjoy what I would call a traditional marriage. I take care of the home, and he works outside of the home. We both love our jobs and are very happy with this setup! I am very focused on raising two strong, confident young ladies right now (my daughters are 8 and 6 years old) but I always find time to have fun and be around people. I will never pass up a girls weekend, karaoke night or a fun vacation! I secretly want to do stand up comedy someday and haven’t given up on that dream just yet. I love to learn, research, work hard and strive to be the best version of myself every day while having fun doing it!
2) How did you eat before Carnivore.
Before becoming a carnivore, I was always going on and off diets to try to lose weight. I would always lose 15-20 lbs. and then my weight loss would completely stall, I would give up, and gain that weight back and then some. When I wasn’t on a specific diet (and I tried them all including keto multiple times), I would eat the SAD diet. One thing that was always a part of my diet was beef and bacon except for the one time I tried veganism and even then, I didn’t fully get rid of bacon so I’m not sure that counts. Ha! I have always inherently understood how much my body specifically needed beef. I innately always sought to eat beef which is so interesting to me now. I think our bodies truly know what to do if we learn to listen. It has always been something subconscious for me. After reading much information from Dr. Jason Fung and Dr. Robert Lustig on obesity, I truly believed and understood that I had to get my insulin and carbs under control. I attempted the keto diet multiple times but never had much success. It was quite frustrating. Through my exploration of keto and low carb diets, I finally ran across Dr. Shawn Baker and read his book, The Carnivore Diet. I was intrigued. It took me a year before I finally took the plunge and started carnivore. I wish I had started sooner but the timing was right in April 2020, and I was able to be as dedicated as possible to make the proper changes in my diet.
3) Why did you try Carnivore to begin with.
I absolutely love beef and bacon. I dislike vegetables. So the diet didn’t seem like much of a stretch for me. I found Dr. Baker and the research he presented really made sense. Most importantly, I was living with significant pain in my life. For 6 months prior to starting carnivore, I had plantars fasciitis pain in my feet that was getting worse and worse. I struggled getting out of bed in the morning. I had to immediately put on tennis shoes just so I could walk, and my pain was severe. I’m 38 years old with two young children, and I was desperate because of my pain. My quality of life was horrible. I couldn’t even get upstairs easily to take care of my kids when they needed me. It was a wake up call. But I had experienced wake up calls before and been very strict on diets but made very little progress in my past dieting efforts so I was getting hopeless. Desperation is sometimes not enough. I needed desperation, my WHY plus I needed the right HOW! The HOW for me was carnivore! I began carnivore on April 23, 2020. In the midst of a pandemic, I knew I would either sit around and eat or I could take the opportunity to try to come out of the quarantine better than before. I am an optimistic person who truly believes in the mantra “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”. And I had done this over and over with multiple failures. I had learned something new with each failure, and I just prayed I was finally on the brink of finally having a success. I knew I owed “one more try” to myself, my children and my husband. I believed there was something different about carnivore, and I had hope for the first time in a long time. I told myself I would be a strict carnivore (plus coffee!) for 60 days with zero deviation from the diet.
4) How do you personally approach the Carnivore Diet.
The best advice I decided to heed in the beginning was to “eat meat like it’s your job!”. This was said by Dr. Shawn Baker, and I believe that advice had a lot to do with my early success. For the first 30-60 days, I ate 2-3 meals a day and kept myself very full from eating meat! Always shooting for no less than 1.5 lbs of meat. For the first 6 months, I simply ate exactly what I wanted at any given time. Sometimes that was steak, other times it was fast food burger patties or eggs and bacon or sausage… and I loved every meal. I am now expanding my palate a bit more to maximize nutrients in my diet… not that I was missing anything before. My bloodwork 3 months into carnivore was perfect. I have recently been making chicken liver pate and adding beef liver and beef heart into my ground beef taco or chili bowls to increase the nutrients I consume. I’m also aiming to eat salmon and shellfish once per week and add more egg yolks to my diet. I’m not a big seafood person but I’m starting to enjoy it. I use Redmond’s or Pink Himalayan Salt to salt my food quite a bit. I do not track macros at all but I do try to loosely ballpark the amount of meat I eat, shooting for 1-2 lbs of meat each day. On the days when I only eat OMAD, I do sometimes push myself to eat a bit more than seems natural for me. Just slightly. This doesn’t work for everyone but has worked for me. I usually eat two meals on the day before my 44 hour fast and 2 meals the day following. Most other days, I eat when I get hungry which is normally only once per day around 2pm. I rarely if ever eat before 12 pm or past 5 pm. Again, this is just naturally what my body tells me to do. I aim to be intuitive. These are not hard and fast rules I am working toward, it’s just where my body has landed by being mindful.
5) What benefits have you seen since starting the Carnivore Diet.
Within 4 days of starting carnivore, my debilitating plantars fasciitis went away completely and hasn’t returned except for the one time I ate some tortilla chips. 🙂 I also had struggled with SI joint pain and knee pain both of which have gone away completely. I have steady moods and feel a peaceful calm in my body. I can easily fast when needed and often choose to fast for about 44-48 hours once per week which equates to about two nights and one full day which is very doable for me and quite beneficial as well especially for weight loss. I didn’t start fasting weekly until about the 4th month of going carnivore. I must be so fat adapted now, it’s very easy. A couple times a day on my fast days, I will get a hunger sensation where I have to have a moment of mindfulness to remind myself that the hunger will pass. It always does, and quite quickly I might add.
When I started carnivore, I was 120 lbs overweight. I have now lost 60 lbs after completing my 6th month of this carnivore way of eating. I have truly taken it one day at a time. I never thought I would be down 60 lbs and feeling so great! Being halfway there, I now have full confidence that I’ll make it all the way. I have no expectations for when I will reach my goal. My goal is ultimate health! I have patience in the process and trust my body. I finally understand how to nourish my body so I know the rest will follow.
6) What negatives have you found with the Carnivore Diet.
If I do not eat enough salt and fat, I can get leg cramps. This is very easy for me to avoid though. I use lots of salt and always eat lots of fat! My digestion is perfect. It was definitely a bit of an adjustment at first. That’s why I believe that my decision to go 60 days full strict carnivore with zero deviations (I did include coffee and some dairy) made the difference in my results. By the time I hit 60 days, I was fully adjusted to the diet, my taste buds had changed, my carb addictions were gone and there was no going back!!
7) Do you exercise on the Carnivore Diet, if so how do you find it and what do you do.
Let me be vulnerable for a minute and completely honest. I have two fears regarding exercise. The first fear is that it will hurt. Because it used to cause me pain. It doesn’t anymore but I’m still working toward not being worried about that. The second fear is that it will make me hungry and that hunger will undermine my results and progress. This has actually happened quite a bit in the past. My hunger increases considerably when I exercise so I am giving myself some time to continue the weight loss without stressing over starting a serious exercise routine. I enjoy exercise, specifically strength training (in the past I’ve even done crossfit and olympic lifting) and hope to get back into exercising as more of a routine soon. Schools and gyms being closed has put a damper on things as well. But for now, I focus on being active with my kids. I am a homemaker so I rarely if ever sit down. I am always doing something. I now have the ability to go on bike rides with my kids, run to the park with them, etc. While we are at the park or anytime around the house, I will do little calisthenics exercises here and there. I take the stairs a lot. I keep moving! I exercise in the garage with my very fit husband on the weekends! I look forward to growing in my fitness in the next year! 🙂
For anyone who is curious, I was not a fat kid or adolescent. I was always the tallest girl in my group of friends at 5′ 6″ and weighed more than my 5′ 2″ friends and always a bit more curvy so I thought I was fat but wow, I was not at all. I went to cheerleading practice at 2pm on school days which included strenuous conditioning and stretching, then home for dinner and headed to tumbling/gymnastics or dance. After that, I would then go walking, running or to the gym to lift weights with friends. I was super active in a fun social way without really even trying or being conscious of it. The activities I did were fun to me. Then when college hit and all of that went away, I quickly gained weight. After college, my desk job and following the horrible eating habits of corporate America, caused weight gain. I thought I was just doing what was normal and what everyone else did. Staying up late, getting sugary coffees on the way to work and having big lunches out to get a break from work. Turns out that going against the grain and being different and thinking for myself has been one of my main keys to success now. Next came pregnancies and little knowledge on my part on how to lose weight after baby. I ended up 120 lbs overweight after my 2nd baby.
8) What piece of advice would you give someone who is interested in trying this diet, but hasn’t taken the leap yet.
I always say this diet is not for everyone. I think there actually needs to be a bit of desperation and a solid understanding of WHY. That’s not to say it can’t be an incredibly enjoyable experience following this way of eating. My husband certainly wasn’t desperate in any way — he was already healthy and fit. But after watching my success, he quickly became mostly carnivore because he wants the best health possible and he sees now that comes by eating mostly meat but he varies his diet a bit more than me. I don’t have a choice. If I deviate from carnivore, I wake up in pain. I’m actually quite thankful for that because it keeps me consistent. This is not the diet for those people wanting to lose weight before an event and then go back to “normal” eating. This is a new way of life and mindset. This is the proper human diet (thanks Dr. Ken Berry!) that will heal your body from the inside out and give you a quality of life that is almost unimaginable. But you have to wake up every day and be different from everyone else. I have had multiple friends worry about me not eating vegetables. When I tell them my pain is gone and my bloodwork is perfect (my triglycerides went from 235 to 105 within 3 months of starting carnivore and my C-reactive protein is 0.5; HbA1c is 4.7% and fasted glucose is 89), it’s almost as if they don’t care because they simply cannot imagine avoiding vegetables. They think I must be on the verge of a major depletion of nutrients despite my explaining to them that liver is the new kale. 🙂
9) Do you think Carnivore will ever be accepted as a mainstream diet.
I don’t think enough people are okay with being different and thinking for themselves. This diet requires it. Between that and the incredible about of power that Big Food and Big Pharma have on the mainstream media and within the government, I have every reason to believe that red meat will continue to be more and more vilified. I am optimistic though and think that sharing our individual stories is powerful so thank you for allowing me to share mine! 🙂
10) Anything you would like to add, and where can people follow you.
The carnivore way of eating has given me LIFE CHANGING FREEDOM!! Freedom from pain, freedom from dieting, freedom from worrying about my weight, freedom from shame and humiliation from trying another diet that didn’t work, freedom from overeating, freedom from obsessing over my next meal. It’s also given me simplicity. An easier life. A happier life. I just wake up every day and eat fatty meat when I’m hungry. Each month with very little effort and eating lots of amazing food (1-2 lbs of meat per day), I lose 8-12 lbs per month. It’s effortless, It’s enjoyable. I have no more issues with joint pain or foot pain. I feel incredible. I have not felt deprived even once. My life is changed in every way for the better! I am celebrating so many wins. I believe in this way of life. I am never going back. My instagram is @beefandbacongirl which I created in order to take part in the amazingly supportive and uplifting carnivore community. I do not edit my pictures or try to make my pictures look pretty and perfect. I just try to show a raw, real example of what living a carnivore lifestyle can do for a regular girl like me and make some meat-eating friends along the way! Thanks for letting me share my story here!
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.