My carnivore diet update after two years of eating no plants.
My carnivore journey started May 23, 2018. Two years ago today I made a decision that cost me more than just a change in health. My first blog post about my carnivore diet which you can read about here entails what I did during my first year. My second year of carnivore proved less challenging. Although not much changed in terms of my weight or body compostion, my mental benefits excelled those of the physical ones.
So what was different and what stayed the same? Read on for my two year carnivore update!
Carnivore Isn’t for everyone
If you don’t know what a carnivore diet is, you can read about that here. The basics of a carnivore diet follows the simple rules of ingesting only products from the animal kingdom. No grains, sugars, fruits or veggies. My staples included eggs, bacon, steak, ground beef, chicken wings, pork shoulder, pork belly, pork tenderloin, fish, sashimi, roe, beef ribs, pork ribs, sausages, cheese, high fat cream and high fat yoghurt and occasional chicken.
Let me emphasize by saying that I have NOT consumed a single piece of lettuce, broccoli, carrot or grain product in the last two years. No breads, no pastas, no quinoa, no rice, no beans. I have also eradicated my sweet tooth for chocolate, candy or my previous vice, Nutella.
Although, there are many in the community who also dabble in eating and incorporating high fat fruits like avocados or fermented veggies. I am not one of those people. This way of eating is a all-in-type of diet for me personally. Having been highly carb addicted in the past I feel that I must refrain from all non-animal products if I am to succeed in abstaining. Having been on this path for some time I have developed a sense of what works and what doesn’t for me.
As I have mentioned before, this is not a one type fits all diet, you must try different combinations to see what works for you. Hence, this being a N1 experiment. Some can get away with indulging once in a while with some veggies or fruits. Others do well with dairy and eggs. Nonetheless, I’ve noticed my urges coming back in the last few months in terms of cravings for fruit. That is why I have started to experiment with going dairy free in the last month.
Different Types of Carnivore
There is no guide book for being carnivore. Nothing is straight cut in the world of nutrition. Even “experts” can’t say for certain what works best and what doesn’t. Due to the fact that we are all different, different approaches may work better for me than for you. The whole beauty of an ongoing N1 experiment is that it is an experiment and it’s individual. Below are the top 5 types of carnivore I have come across in the last two years:
- Lion Diet – meat and water only
- Nose to tail carnivore – meats, fish, including organ meats and water
- Zero Carb – all meat, fish, organs, eggs, dairy and coffee/tea
- Dirty Carnivore – mostly meat, fish, eggs, cheese, dairy, coffee/tea and occasional low glycemic fruit (ie. berries)
- Keto Carnivore – mostly meat, fish, eggs, cheese, dairy as well as high fat fruit (ie. avocados), fermented veggies, healthy non animal oils (ie. olive or avocado oil)
- Weekend carnivore – Dabble if you will, but unless you can commit to at least a minimum of 90 days you aren’t following a carnivore diet. Worse yet, if you continue to eat sugars you will never get over your carb addiction.
Carnivore Diet Cravings
First off let me start by saying I love cheese. I crave it almost daily and love adding cheese to my burgers and my ground beef or just snacking on it. My love for cheese runs deep but I did start to notice that in the last year my cheese cravings were out of control. Often times my cheese cravings would lead to cravings for other dairy products like cream cheese and high fat whipped cream. Eating these foods is not out of the realm of carnivore as they are animal products. But I noticed that this over consumption would leave me feeling bloated and inflamed. Which is not a comfortable feeling at all. Not to mention feeling gassy which you seem to almost eradicate when you go all meat.
Following what others in the carnivore community have noticed I may have some irritability with diary. The constant bloating and skin irritations is an indicator. This is my next step in my journey. Just like everything else you try you have to give yourself a chance at making the change to see if it does affect you. Even after a week of abstaining from cheese alone I noticed a change in bloating at night. Then when I ate cheese again (over a long weekend while camping) the bloating came back stronger than before.
Once again I have decided to cut out all dairy from my diet for a minimum of 30 days. Knowing and witnessing your own changes far outweighs what you hear from others. There are key points to follow while transitioning over like avoiding sugars and grains 100%. Avoidance is necessary for most as to not trigger cravings from your previous WOE. Many have struggled, like myself, to get over an addiction to food. If you constantly dabble in “cheat days” and trying to re-create a carnivore take on bread for example, you will never cure your addiction.
In the end the whole point of going carnivore and ditching the highly processed sugars and grains from your diet is to heal. Be it internally or externally. My motivation at the beginning was to cure my internal being which I accomplished in the first year. I lost the weight, I cured my ailments like chronic fatigue, adult acne, chronic lichen planus and more. The second year provided an easier grasp of my diet and lifestyle change.
Carnivore Diet Update
Not only has this diet had a positive affect on my physical health but my emotional and mental state continue to thrive. Focusing on tasks at hand is easier when you no longer are fighting cravings all day. I no longer take walks to my pantry when bored or make spur of the moment decisions at the grocery store. My life has been simplified beyond belief. Grocery shopping for one is easier and cheaper in the long run. Not to mention less trips to the grocery store too. As I write this post we are currently into our 3rd month of the covid pandemic in Canada. I won’t get into that here but not having to venture out to the grocery store all the time has been a saving grace. Not because I’m scared of venturing out but because I can avoid the massive hysteria that has overtaken the world.
Having the strength over food is powerful. You never realize how strong your cravings are unless you stop craving food. Having lived this way for two years has had more positive changes than negative ones and I cannot imagine living any other way. But what are the negatives of living this lifestyle?
Negatives of Carnivore
If I’m being honest I have to represent both sides of this lifestyle change.
I love this WOE and I love how I feel internally and externally. However, there are a few aspects of this lifestyle that have not been so positive. The main one is my social life.
Back in 2018 when I first decided to try this diet I had many in my close circle question my change. Mainly close friends tried to plead with me to stop trying to “kill myself”. The constant judgment that I was going to harm my life and my kids life proved to be too much to handle. I understand their perspective but I could not live my life based on the opinion of those who have never tried it themselves and knew nothing about it as well. Not to say that I had a plethora of expertise in the area, but I knew having a science background it all made sense in a theoretical way.
There is no way of knowing something until you try it yourself. My need to change was stronger than my desire to stay the same. However, my friendships suffered greatly because of my change. Not only did I lose friends, my husband and kids did too. It was an unfortunate side effect of trying to better my own health all while losing those closest to you.
When I look back it makes me sad that I could not keep friendships alive but at the same time I’m grateful. I learned who mattered most in my life and that was a hard lesson to learn.
Social Carnivore then and now
Although i’ve never been keen on large group settings, I’ve always enjoyed the company of a small group of close friends. Since starting this WOE that aspect has also shifted greatly. No longer are dinners out appealing. First, because I cannot justify spending $40 for a steak the size of my fist. Not when home cooked meals far exceed any restaurant. It’s true. Once you take away the sauces and the sides, the meat is the king of the plate. Plain and simple and pure.
Second, I save over a couple hundred dollars a month by not eating out. Although the occasional trip to Five Guys or A&W is not always a bad thing. Before this WOE eating out meant at least $500/ month for a family of 4. Do you know how much beef I can buy for $500? Those savings alone is enough to save for a family trip to Hawaii. Gotta take the good with the bad.
True, I no longer get invited to dinner and that’s ok. I’ve learned to take the good with the bad. But in this situation the good far outweighs the bad. So what if I can’t taste the new perogy joint in town? My health and my well being are far more important to me than any need to try the new craze.
This month I’m going to try the Lion Diet, all beef and water. No eggs or cheese. No sausages, no chicken wings, and no bacon. Have I gone mad? Entirely bonkers, but I hear all the best people are.
meraki [may-rah-kee] (adjective) word used to describe doing something with soul, creativity, or love — when you put “something of yourself” into what you’re doing, whatever it may be