It’s been quite a year…these past few weeks. Right?
Corona-quarantine has me reminiscing of last year at this time when we were finishing the sale of our homestead. Since then life has taken such a dramatic turn that I’ve taken almost a full year off from writing any new blog posts. I wrote one long post explaining why we quit homesteading, with some fun story telling (in case you missed it).
“Normal” life off the farm has taken many new forms. For now, I’ll let you in on two developments:
I started rock climbing.
I stopped eating plants.
More about the climbing later. Let me share a little more info about the plants thing…
The Carnivore Diet
Yes. A diet made up of only animal foods: meat and seafood, plus water and salt. Some Carnivores add eggs and whole or raw dairy, some don’t.
Some Carnivores, such as myself, stick with sustainably raised meat and a “nose to tail” approach, meaning we eat or supplement with organ meats, collagen, bone broths and bone supplements. Other Carnivores maintain surprisingly incredible health results longterm (including blood panels/labs) with just conventionally raised meat, no organs or bones.
With a Carnivore diet I’m finally achieving the health results (weight, skin, muscle, hormones) that I’ve been trying to achieve for years without success. While I’ve always promoted animal foods in the diet, much of what I’m researching and experiencing is turning my nutrition education on its head.
Full disclaimer: Every few days I’ll eat an avocado for extra fat and fiber, organic raspberries with plain cream for a dessert, or a small square of 90%+ dark (bitter) chocolate if I feel like it. I also have espresso or decaf coffee every day and I’ll use garlic powder, truffle salt and a few other seasonings on my meat.
I know. The “plant-based” (one world agenda) folks are already screaming. If that’s you, you may want to take a moment and read To Vegans and Vegetarians, With Love.
For 15+ years I’ve been a die-hard whole, clean, macros-balanced, real-food diet advocate (hence the 14 year old blog title, Real Food Family). I was a weird, crunchy, only organic mama before the mainstream even knew what a “clean diet” meant. There was a time when suggesting people make bone broth was like convincing people to eat monkey brains.
Like many moms out there, I’ve battled relentless post-pregnancy weight gain and compiling hormone issues. As a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner I’ve successfully helped many clients lose weight and balance hormones. However, I’ve never been able help my own stubborn body with my most intense protocols.
After my fourth baby was born and the postpartum weight loss stopped, my weight was stalled at 180 pounds…about 40 pounds more than when I first became pregnant, which was still 10-15 pounds more than when I was a professional dancer with an athletic build (I wasn’t a tiny ballerina but a strong contemporary dancer).
Basically, I added an extra 10 pounds of unbelievably stubborn weight gain after each baby. I breastfed each baby until about 2 years old and always gained weight, despite the “rule” that you lose weight when you breastfeed. Over the years of having babies I also experienced acute and chronic symptoms of blood sugar dysfunction, hyper immune response, hypothyroidism and even auto-immune issues.
When baby #4 was six months old, I began a strict diet protocol and intense daily workout regimen. I committed a year to this routine. At the end of the year, I had lost a grand total of…. 3 pounds!
When your goal is 30-40 pounds, 3 pounds in a YEAR is a frustrating disappointment. Even worse, despite regular weight training and intense HIIT workouts, my body mass index remained at about 33%-34%, the obesity range!
I didn’t jump into the Carnivore diet overnight. I began by spending 3 months working through an adrenal recovery protocol. I had success with my adrenal dysfunction symptoms, but I didn’t lose any weight. I then began a strict ketogenic diet and lost about 6 pounds in 30 days. On Keto I couldn’t shake my sugar cravings and obsessed over food and journaling my “macros”. My nonstop Keto research led me to the Carnivore world and I was hooked on the evidence and information being presented.
There is SO much to share about my journey. I hope to simply help and inspire others who have dealt with the frustrations I’ve had with stubborn health issues. I would love to start regular podcasts again where I can discuss all the details of my own journey and interview the experts I’ve been learning from.
For now, I’m still in the process. I’d like to wait until I hit the six month point in my Carnivore journey, or even until I hit my weight and BMI goals, before I devote more posts or podcasts to the subject. At this point I’ve finally started losing the weight that seemed impossible…down about 12 pounds in 2 months- 30 days Keto, 35 days Carnivore (as I write this).
In addition to weight loss, I’m also experiencing other improvements in my health- painless periods, clearer skin, gentle hunger (I never feel very hungry and can go hours without any food), no sweet tooth or cravings, and the most stable blood sugar I’ve ever experienced…among many other things.
Interestingly, I personally experienced the evidence that plants are toxic within days of eliminating my GIANT daily mixed green salad and habit of veggies with every meal. I got an oxalate rash!
Plants contain various levels of oxalates, which are plant toxins. Other plant toxins or “anti-nutrients” include lectins and phytates. As we eat high oxalate foods, the body protects itself by storing the toxins in body tissue. When you stop eating plants, your body might detoxify the stored oxalates through various pathways, such as rashes, canker sores, kidney stones, etc..
For instance, the toxins in poison ivy are the oxalates and so you have an oxalate rash when you are exposed to poison ivy. Oxalates from plant foods can build up and detox in the same way. Most experts do not recommend eliminating plant foods overnight for this reason. I never imagined I could be that full of oxalates, but…
I got the rash. My doctor confirmed it looked like a poison ivy rash, even though I’ve had no exposure to any plants except my house ferns in the last six months. It was oxalate dumping and it was not fun!
Goodbye forever, spinach!
Carnivore Diet Expert Resources
The Carnivore Diet is not a simple topic. Because “Plant Based” is the myopic dogma of the modern world right now, arguing the superior benefits of a totally animal-based diet for both human health and the environment is not something I can cover, or want to cover, in a single blog post. However I am fully convinced the evidence supports this view.
For those who are willing to open their minds a little, I will refer you to my favorite Carnivore resources. Seriously, don’t comment or ask me questions yet. I can only answer questions about what I’m eating support for how to get started on such a diet.
Head over to these sites and direct your serious questions there. I don’t believe in offering advice or information until I have enough personal experience and expertise. For now, I am offering my story and these resources because I’m finally having success with my stubborn health issues and I can’t help but share.
Kelly Hogan, MyZeroCarbLife.com
Kelly is a 10+ year Carnivore and has a fun YouTube channel. She interviews many experts but also is simply motivating to listen to as I venture into the Carnivore diet.
Sally K. Norton, SallyKNorton.com
Oxalate and Plant Toxin Expert and Health Practitioner