A few days ago, I reached the huge milestone of being one year into my carnivore journey.
In this year I’ve experimented a lot and have come up with a list of things I have learned in this adventure that has gone from just an experiment to a lifestyle choice. I went carnivore for health reasons experiencing everything from issues with diabetes and blood sugar to heart issues and more. From what I can tell my only lingering issue I would like to fix is my skin, which flares up from stress.
One can say all humans are different but one can also say we’re all human, one species with somewhat similar nutritional needs. I’m not really interested in having the “should we do this” debate, I’m more just sharing what I’ve learned in my own journey for those who may be considering embarking on this lifestyle.
1) If you’re going to do it, commit fully in the beginning: I dealt with a lot of depression over the idea that my body seems to only thrive on only meat. Once I woke up to how much of an energy and quality of life difference between being carnivore and eating carbs it was hard to ignore. I’ll admit that I didn’t want to commit for a whole plethora of reasons both personal and social. Had I committed more, sooner, I would have experienced a shorter recovery time from what was my life before the diet.
2) Don’t be afraid of giving things up. Giving up tasty food so I can have a better quality of life isn’t technically giving something up, its a trade for something that makes me a more productive human being. I was afraid to drop everything from cheese to butter to bacon and at this point I don’t eat any of those things and I’m perfectly happy, actually more so in some regards. I’ve eaten primarily ribs for the last month and I look forward to every meal. Eating is still one of my favorite things, I just feel better afterwards.
3) Change my mindset or fail. Somewhat playing off the last one, much of what I battled this year was my mindset. My unwillingness to admit that I didn’t need to eat things like candy, cookies ect. My only cravings are junk food which tell me that lies in addiction so it’s been a constant process of telling myself “I don’t need that” to this day. I needed to start to look at it less like a restrictive lifestyle and more like an enhanced lifestyle. I have way more stamina and drive than most people due to the diet.
4) Follow My Gut: Partially because of my unwillingness to “restrict” myself I ignored lots of gut feelings with the diet (sometimes literally) and experimented. I kept trying to add things back into my diet (generally fruits or candy, some experimentation with vegetables), always suffering sometimes for days on end for things like a bite of avocado or a small amount of potato. My body was telling me it liked beef best from the beginning but I allowed myself to become obsessed with variety and I suffered for it.
5) Ignore People! This one seems harsh but somewhat plays off the last point. People have their opinions on my diet either morally or otherwise and it took a lot to remind myself that their claims didn’t line up with my reality. Despite vegans insinuating that I would quickly make the leap to cannibalism because of my lack of regard for animals, my respect for animals has grown. I eat only beef partially because it takes way less lives to feed me from a one cow than it does say one chicken, especially when you consider nutritional density. People keep telling me I should be dying eating like this but I feel alive for the first time literally in my life. I’ll keep at it until I stop feeling this way. Honestly even still a year later how I feel improves with things like how I respond to hunger. I can go much longer without eating now without feeling awful, something I really have grown to enjoy.
6) Do it for yourself. You need the right reasons for embarking on a diet like this. Having vague reasoning will make it so you don’t really commit to it. If you’re going to bother at all with the carnivore diet I suggest you give it your all, no seasonings or anything for a month to 6 weeks before you determine your true thoughts on it. If you do what I did, you’ll waste most of a year experimenting before actually just giving only meat a go. I finally went only meat (primarily beef) 3 months ago and I’m still noticing improvements in things like my skin and energy levels on a daily basis. It doesn’t happen overnight.
7) Do research: There was a lot of guesswork and research in this last year with this diet as my situation is unique compared to many others. I have my own concerns I’ve been addressing with this diet and have my own successes and weaknesses. I wish I would have done more research in the beginning to have less guesswork in the process. If you give this way of eating a go, do some research. There are excellent presentations on primal diets like this that explain the science behind why the diets work as well as credible sources behind the claims.
8) Trust the Process. While some people really do experience total remission of all of their symptoms in a month, that is not the norm. The healing process is a long roller coaster of ups and downs and it takes recognizing that especially when it comes to things like oxalate dumping. Part of why I experimented so much was I was too afraid to commit to the diet completely and just give it the time to work. It takes more than one month to undo 25 years of damage, realistically speaking. I also was scared that it wouldn’t work, deep down. Now that I’ve committed fully, I realize I was just scared of the unknown.
It’s been a long year and the process has not been straight forward but even with all my bumps and mishaps I’ve had this last year has been one of my better ones as far as my health is concerned. Even with everything that I’ve lost with the murder, the diet was one of the things that kept me strong through the recovery process since. I feel in many ways it saved my life. Now, as my life starts to improve, it becomes the ultimate tool for living my best life.
Even feeling “at my worst” now is still way better than I felt on a literal constant basis before. I used to be the type of person who had to sit still for a half hour after eating because of nausea, now I can eat a steak and hike a mountain if I want without even thinking about it. My idea of a bad day now is one where I take an hour nap, before a bad day was one where I woke up every morning with a migraine, digestive issues and more. The majority of my days now are good, where I struggled to have one good day a week in my life before.
So yes while conventional medicine tells me this SHOULDN’T work, my body is telling me that it is.