Wednesday marked my final day of my three weeks as a carnivorous ketonian (click to read about weeks one and two), and I wanted to check in one last time to document my final thoughts.
For those just tuning in, the nutshell is that I spent the last three weeks eating only animal products. My meals consisted of a fatty meat, and usually some extra fat in the form of butter. The only dairy I enjoyed was some heavy cream in my coffee, and one sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on some wings at a single meal over the course of the experiment. Other than that, I ate meat and animal fat (most of which was bacon grease and butter), and largely drank only coffee and water. I also ate only muscle meat, so no organs or other offal were included in my experiment. No sweeteners, no vegetables, and zero fiber.
- How did it go?
- What were the physical effects?
- Didn’t you get tired of all the meat? Did you miss vegetables or get bored with your food?
- Will you do it again?
- Will others have the same results?
- Anything other thoughts?
Overall, I have to say I really enjoyed the experiment. After the first day my hunger pretty much dried up and I was satisfied with only eating at meal times. I also experienced an immediate and drastic reduction of cravings, down to nil. I ate three meals a day, stopped when I was full, didn’t feel the need to snack, and had no trouble keeping my protein, in grams, within the nutritionally Ketogenic range for my size and activity level.
Over the three week period, I dropped a total of 8.6 pounds and lost a full two inches from my waistline. Outside of that, I did not notice much in the way of physical changes at all. I slept as well as I always do, I showed nothing in the way of signs or symptoms of any nutrient deficiency, and even though I consumed absolutely no dietary fiber, I was still “regular” and experienced no bowel problems at all. Energy levels, mental clarity, etc, are all the same as when I began.
The one weird thing I did notice is that my teeth are noticeably whiter than they were when I started, and they feel cleaner. I made zero changes to my oral care habits, and I drank my usual amount of coffee, so there was nothing out of the ordinary that I was doing aside from the changes in diet.
For the most part, not really. The only things I missed were taco salads from my local Tex-Mex joint (aka, my favorite meal, ever), and I discovered that wings weren’t quite as good a meal without celery and blue cheese dressing to go along. Those were the only two things that I had any desire for outside of the meat and fat. Otherwise, I have been pretty darned satisfied with my meals.
To be perfectly frank, I was pretty surprised to discover that I genuinely enjoy meat- even some meats I had previously thought were just ok or didn’t really care for, like steak or seafood- and that it’s delicious even without a fancy sauce or cheese on it. I also discovered that one meat I kind of don’t care for is chicken, which was a multi-day per week staple on my table prior to this experiment.
I will admit that when I began, I was pretty sure I would get bored without the vegetables. What I discovered is that I just don’t care about vegetables at all and my meals were a lot less stressful- both preparation-wise and the actual eating- without them.
Yes. In fact, while I plan on having a big taco salad today and then making some of Carrie Brown’s White Russian ice cream this weekend, I’m thinking I will continue to largely eat like this regularly. I won’t be quite as strict about it, as I was trying to follow as many of the Zero Carb/ Carnivorous Keto parameters as possible for the purposes of my experiment, but otherwise I found this a really simple, satisfying, and enjoyable way of doing keto that I am happy to largely continue.
Maybe, maybe not. As I’ve noted in this space before, our bodies are all different and react differently to various foods. I had a really positive experience, wherein a lost a little weight and had no hunger or cravings along the way. Other people that I am in contact with that have begun their own Meatatarian experiments aren’t having the exact same results.
One friend is having trouble controlling protein intake and has found her cravings for meat have increased and her ketones levels have dropped drastically while running her own experiment. Another gained some weight in her first week. Several others have complained about being bored after seven or eight days, and missing avocado or other favorite foods. So none of these people have experienced this in exactly the same way I did.
On the other hand, one friend has seen a good number of inches lost overall and a physically noticeable firming of her body in the two weeks she has been experimenting. It really just proves the point that we are all individuals and are unique. My body obviously doesn’t react in the same way as several of my friends’ bodies do, which is ok.
A big part of Ketogenic living is finding out what works for you and how to eat so your body functions at its best. Carnivorous Keto has solved a lot of health problems for a pretty substantial subsection of the Ketogenic community and, for me personally, it helped me get my hunger and craving signaling back under control after a pretty drastic change in my activity level. For those reasons, I think it’s a way of keto-ing that is worth trying out, even if you don’t see those same results; being able to rule something in or out as part of your solution is very valuable in finding the key to your ideal Ketogenic lifestyle.
Yes, one caveat.
It was brought to my attention last week by an acquaintance who was, at one time, a Zero Carb ketonian that the community typically recommends a consumption minimum of two pounds of meat per day. In my own research on the subject I apparently missed that tidbit, and so when I decided on my experimental parameters I aimed to keep my protein intake between a very Ketogenic 70-80 grams per day. While I didn’t have any trouble doing so, I was also only consuming maybe a full pound of meat per day. Maybe. And I was pretty painfully stuffed when I tried to eat any more than that.
Whether or not you decide to keep grams in a more traditionally nutritional Ketogenic range, or go for the full-on two pounds of meat per day could certainly make a huge difference in your results one way or another, and so I urge anyone looking to try it out to do some research on potential benefits and drawbacks of that level of meat intake.
Thus ends my n=1 experiment with the Zero Carb lifestyle. On the whole, I have no complaints about my three weeks as a Meatatarian. I found it enjoyable enough that I plan on largely continuing along the carnivore’s path. But first, White Russian ice cream.