Last week, I wrote about my first week of my little n=1 experiment. In a nutshell, I spent the week enjoying a carnivorous keto lifestyle. I’ve gotten a lot of questions about what it is I’m actually doing here, and so I figured I would give a short update on my progress, and then get to answering some queries.
So far, after 15 days, I have lost 7.8 pounds (which is a little over 3.5 kilos for our metric measuring friends), and an inch-and-a-half is gone from my waist. My clothes are much less fitted than they were, although I have not dropped any full sizes as far as I can tell.
I have experienced no adverse symptoms or reactions at all. No digestion issues, no headaches, no cramps or muscle problems, no signs of electrolyte imbalance, and no bathroom problems. Nothing. Zip. Zero. Nada.
I’ve also taken to taking my blood pressure in the mornings with a little at-home cuff I picked up several years back. A perfect 120/80 (or a hair under that) every single day.
Overall, I can’t report anything negative. I’ve lost weight, have no negative side effects, and am seeing the benefits of greatly reduced hunger and no cravings. In fact, I’ve managed to skip meals every few days (usually lunch) because I’m genuinely not hungry, which is a very rare thing in Mandy-land. I have never fasted well, and almost always end up very hangry and irritated when I tried to skip meals. Not so at all right now.
The cravings are all completely gone and, I’m happy to report, I’m genuinely not tired of meat and fat. It still tastes just as delicious and decadent as it did on day one, and I genuinely don’t miss vegetables or keto-friendly treats.
- Why are you doing this, you crazy woman?!
- What are you actually doing here?
- Any exceptions?
- Are you eating dairy?
- What about condiments?
- What about spices and flavorings?
- Are you eating any non-animal fats?
In all seriousness, it’s more out of curiosity than anything. We’ve been beaten about the head for the better part of a century about how important plant foods are, how they’re necessary for proper health and bodily function, and we’re even at the point now where “health experts” are all recommending limiting- or even eliminating- meat and animal products from our diets and shifting over to “plant based” dietary protocols.
Well, what happens when we ignore that junk and just go straight up carnivore?
There is a fairly substantial sub-community of Ketonians that have done just that, and they all claim to be thriving. So, why not give it a shot?
For three weeks (although I am seriously considering extending past that) I’m eating nothing but meat and fat. The rule I set for myself is that if it don’t come from an animal, I ain’t eating it. Therefore, I’m eating a lot of meat, eggs, butter, bacon drippings and other drippings and juices that come from my meat, and a little heavy cream in my coffee. That’s it.
The single exception to my animals only rule is in allowing myself one, single scoop of Ballistic Keto MCT Oil Powder in one morning coffee. Nothing else.
Dairy is, from my reading amongst the Zero Carb/Carnivorous Keto community, a grey area. Some of them use it. Others shun it completely. The most widely held opinion I could find was that a little heavy cream in coffee was fine, but most Zero Carb folks tend to stay out of the cheese and other dairy products. The idea is to stay as close to zero carbs as is actually possible, and the inclusion of dairy can hinder that quite a bit. Therefore, I’ve limited myself to 1 tbsp heavy cream in each (8-10 fluid ounce) cup of coffee I drink. I did have one meal out on which there was a small sprinkle of shredded Parmesan cheese. That has been the extent of my dairy usage, and for anyone looking to genuinely try out Zero Carb, I would recommend limiting it in a similar fashion.
The only condiment I have used is butter. I am considering making a mayonnaise or hollandaise sauce from the massive amount of bacon drippings I have collected in the last two weeks.
This is another subject, like dairy, that seems to have a variance of opinion in the Zero Carb community. Some allow for small amounts of spices, while others are more hard-core and say no to them all. Spices are generally derived from plants and so those who believe plants can be harmful tend to shun spices altogether. Even the consumption of salt and pepper (and the necessity of the former) is up for debate in that community.
I have personally used copious amounts of salt and pepper. Salt is necessary for life, and so I salt my food. I have also used some minced garlic, mixed in my butter, to top a few meats, and a little home made taco seasoning on a burger patty or two. I haven’t experienced anything negative from it, although aside from the salt and pepper I have limited my use of garlic and spices, and would recommend anyone looking to try this way of eating to do the same.
I have allowed myself one scoop of MCT oil powder in one coffee in the mornings. Outside of that, no non-animal fats. This includes avocado oil, olive oil, and all nut oils. I have not used any condiments outside of butter, but if I were to do so I would not use anything that contains a non-animal source of oil or fat (this is going to exclude any restaurant, store bought, or premade dressings).
Overall, I’m very pleased with my progress thus far. It’s hard to be dissatisfied when I’ve seen zero negatives and several major pluses. My own thriving on this way of eating has gotten me waxing quite philosophically on how we were created/designed/evolved to eat- and how human beings actually managed to thrive for thousands and thousands of years under pretty limited food conditions- versus the whole “eat the rainbow” advice that’s standard in the health and medical communities in this day and age.
When you think about it, it’s only with the advent of modern agricultural and transportation methods that people have even been able to “eat the rainbow.” Before the last century, eating anything that you couldn’t hunt, raise, or grow in your locale was rare in the extreme. Human beings simply did not eat a large variety of foods because they could not do so. Thinking it through historically gives me some serious pause in regards to the current dietary advice, even amongst the more mainstream Ketogenic community. And I now flat-out reject all pro-fiber theorizing. I have lived two weeks without any dietary fiber and have zero adverse effects. If fiber were necessary for proper digestive and bowel function, I should be seeing some signs of it by now. And yet, nada.
Stay tuned to this space for another update next week!