My 12 Week Carnivore Experiment
Back in February, I made a pretty drastic change to my diet.
The Carnivore Diet is a zero carb diet where you remove all fruits and vegetables and eat nothing but animal products - basically just meat, eggs and dairy.
I'd heard Dr. Baker on a few podcasts talking about this way of eating and I immediately dismissed him as an idiot.
You need SOME carbs.
And you NEED fruits and vegetables for health.
I figured he was just being contrarian and controversial, trying to gain a following.
But he had thousands of testimonials of people feeling better, dropping a ton of bodyfat and ridding themselves of disease, all by following a carnivorous diet.
So before I came to any conclusions about what he was teaching, I decided I'd experiment with it first so I could have some firsthand experience.
12 Weeks of Carnivore
For 12 weeks, I ate nothing but eggs, bacon, steak, ground beef, cheese, coffee and water.
Literally nothing but those things.
Zero carbs. Zero fruits. Zero vegetables.
Strictly meat, eggs and cheese.
I stuck with my usual intermittent fasting schedule of not eating breakfast and having my first meal around 1pm and my last meal around 6:30pm.
As Dr. Baker prescribes, I only ate when I was hungry and I ate as much as I needed for satiety.
I loved the structure of the diet, it was easy to follow and made preparing meals fast and simple.
The first few days were pretty straightforward but on day 4 I got hit pretty hard, all of a sudden I was really lethargic and had zero energy.
But I stuck to the program and the next day I was back to normal.
Everything that happened after that, I don't really have an explanation for yet.
From week 2 on, I'd never felt better in my life.
My mood was high and I had endless energy, even though I was only sleeping for 6 hours a night.
I would wake up as soon as my alarm went off, with zero grogginess or wanting to hit the snooze.
I was excited for my workouts, my training was at it's peak and I lost 20lbs of fat.
I was literally firing on all cylinders and it felt great.
I still have no explanation for it, but that experience is apparently very common among people who adopt a carnivore diet.
Eliminating plants from your diet also rids your body of the phytochemicals that they carry.
Phytochemicals are a plant's self defense system against predators - basically a small dose of poison that, when ingested, has negative effects on the host.
So when you stop eating vegetables, and subside only on meat, you eliminate the negative effects that those phytochemicals produce.
And with the results that I experienced, it's hard for me to argue against it.
Week 13 and Beyond
Even though my experience was nothing short of amazing, I decided to veer slightly off the carnivore approach.
The main reason was that, towards the end, I was getting pretty bad muscle cramps fairly regularly.
It was no doubt due to not getting enough magnesium (found in leafy green vegetables).
The cramps usually happened at night, making it tough to get a full night's rest.
Oddly enough, even though I wasn't getting adequate sleep I was still waking up fully refreshed and energized.
But it was still enough of a warning sign for me to add some vegetables back in.
Today, I eat a mostly carnivorous diet with a touch of vegetables and carbs thrown in.
I still eat mostly eggs, bacon, steak, ground beef and cheese but I'll also throw in a little bit of spinach with my eggs and some sweet potato with my steak.
I've found that with those small modifications, the muscle cramps have gone away, my energy levels remain high and I can still train hard.
There are a couple things that I really liked about this way of eating.
The first is that it's super simple, you eat meat and that's it.
There's no thinking that goes into your meals so it's really easy to adhere to, and cooking and clean up are super quick and easy.
The second thing is, eating steak all the time is so satisfying.
It always tastes good and I always feel content after eating.
The thing I don't like about it is the zero carb nature of the diet.
We don't need a lot of carbs in our diet, but I think zero is a little on the low side.
Removing sugar and grains is great but I'm not ready to say that vegetables and fruit are bad.
Overall, it was a great experience and I recommend everyone give it a try for themselves to see how they feel.
At worst, you come away with the realization that you should be eating more red meat for your body to feel good.
And at best, you find a new way of eating that allows you to be strong, healthy and perform optimally.
In Strength and Health,