Welcome to my carnivore blog that I never in a million years thought I’d write.
Six months ago I didn’t even know what the carnivore diet was. Four months ago I embarked on an experiment in a controversial way of eating that (if you believed the carnivore proponents) may heal my wrecked body from the daily onslaught of chronic pain and symptoms that I was experiencing.
In between that time I researched like a mad woman all the pros and cons of the carnivore diet, and finally came to the conclusion that I had nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
I don’t even remember where I first learned about the carnivore diet. Maybe it was in one of the multiple Facebook groups I’m in whose members are desperate for pain relief. Maybe I saw it referenced on Instagram. Or perhaps I read about it somewhere else online. Frankly I don’t really care where I first heard about it, I’m just thankful that I did.
I’ve had health issues for many years. Decades as a matter of fact. I won’t go into great detail in this post, but if you’re curious, you can read my full story here.
Long story short…
In February of 2016, I had a serious adverse drug reaction to Cipro, which is a very powerful, mitochondria-destroying, failed chemotherapy drug that was later turned into a very popularly-dispensed antibiotic. I had a suspected UTI (which later turned out to be negative after I had already completed the entire course).
Within hours of taking the first pill to months and years later, I experienced some very horrific symptoms.
In those first few months I developed:
- Achilles tendinitis in both feet
- Painful blistery rash
- Incredibly painful stomach ulcer and pain throughout my digestive tract – my intestines felt “raw” or “burnt”, also very painful spasms, cramps, etc.
- Painful gas and bloating
- Debilitating shoulder and back pain
- Very painful and heavy periods and I felt like I had the flu the first two days of my cycle every month
- Extreme nausea that lasted for months, I literally felt sick all the time
- Compromised immune system; that first winter I was sick probably 10 times (I hadn’t had even a common cold in like 7 years prior to that)
- Mental symptoms – extreme anxiety and panic attacks that would last for hours at a time
- Cognitive issues – I had trouble remembering simple things, brain fog, and general confusion
- Unbelievable fatigue (the kind where you have to prop your head up with your hands while sitting because you’re so tired)
Over the next couple years, I started developing even more symtpoms:
- In November 2018 I got a very bad case of peroneal tendinosis on my left foot (without doing anything I might add; it wasn’t an injury, it was spontaneous)
- My liver wasn’t optimal for a time
- I had frequent bladder pain but no infection
- My thyroid was acting up and we really had quite a time getting it under control
- I had severe deficiencies in many nutrients because my gut was so badly damaged that I wasn’t able to absorb them
- My eyesight and hearing were affected
- I had extreme muscle wasting and unwanted weight loss
- I experienced more cognitive decline
- My hormones were a mess; I’d cry at the drop of a hat, and I almost NEVER cry normally
- Extreme irritability (who could blame me, I was a mess!)
This is only the tip of the iceberg. There were literally dozens of symptoms that I dealt with throughout my ordeal.
I have found some healing and relief over the years. I attribute that to a few things:
- Time – Healing was extremely s-l-o-w, but I did experience improvement in many of my symptoms with the passing of time, especially the mental and anxiety symptoms, as well as the horrible burning stomach and intestinal pain.
- Functional Medicine – Very early on I sought out a functional medicine doctor who helped me get on a clean eating plan and prescribed supplements to address nutrient deficiencies as shown through lab tests.
- Neurofeedback – To help even more with my anxiety and panic attacks, I underwent several months of neurofeedback treatments.
- Physical Therapy – I got PT on my left foot and ankle for four months; it helped for a time but then my healing stagnated.
- Regenerative therapies – Most recently (winter of 2019/2020) I received regenerative treatments on my ankles, feet, and legs. This included low level laser therapy, neuromuscular reset on my leg muscles, and shockwave therapy. These therapies helped get my muscles to reset and get the blood flowing to my joints and tendons so I could begin to heal.
The regenerative therapies really helped a lot; however, even after all this, I was still in pain daily, and still not able to physically do all the things that I wanted to do. It was depressing, and I thought I’d have to live this way forever; that this was as good as it was going to get.
So what happened when I started the carnivore diet?
The carnivore diet was my last ditch attempt at some relief. I figured I had nothing to lose, and I was desperate. I felt like I was a shell of the woman that I used to be.
After only two days on the carnivore diet, I noticed the following improvements:
- My bladder pain was completely gone.
- My urine was no longer cloudy.
- My bloating disappeared entirely and my tummy got flat.
And over the course of the first month, I noticed more symptoms improvements:
- I was much more flexible and my muscles were less “stiff”.
- My frequent sour stomach went away.
- I had significantly less muscle, tendon, and joint pain.
- The fungal rash on my skin (that I’d had for over 20 years) was starting to disappear.
- I was no longer groggy in the mornings or hitting snooze six times before finally dragging myself out of bed at 8:00. Now I was getting up with the sun and full of energy!
- My period was normal. Prior to this, I always had very heavy bleeding, intense cramps, and felt like I had the flu the first two days of my cycle every month. This time – no cramps, normal bleeding, and I felt fine.
To say that I am overjoyed by the huge decrease in symptom severity is an understatement. Perhaps even more importantly, for the first time in over 4 years I saw HOPE. Hope that one day I might actually be completely healed.
Has there been any downside?
As with any major change in your way of eating, there will likely be some temporary side effects as your body adjusts.
For those who switch to carnivore, it’s usually digestive disruption for a while. It’s different for everyone, however. Some people get constipated, others get diarrhea, and others experience neither.
I was in that middle camp. When they say “never trust a fart,” now I totally understand 😂
By removing fiber and plant foods, and increasing fat (from eating fatty meat), many people experience looser stools as a result. I learned early on that it’s important to supplement with lipase, ox bile, and other digestive enzymes to help your body adapt to digesting the extra fat.
While annoying, it’s definitely not something I’ll let deter me from this way of eating, as I know it’s only temporary. The massive benefits I’ve already seen in this short amount of time offset the temporary side effects by far 👍
Will I be on the carnivore diet forever?
When I first started this way of eating, it was not my intention to eat this way forever. It still isn’t necessarily. Honestly I’ll have to see how it goes.
Many good-intentioned people have told me they’re concerned I won’t get all the nutrients that my body needs, and they’d like to see me incorporate some vegetables and fiber back into my diet.
Firstly I tell them that actually you can get all the nutrients you need through animal foods, and that fiber is not necessary for good digestion. There is ample scientific evidence to prove this.
Then I tell them that at a minimum I will remain 100% carnivore until my gut fully heals. This is extremely important. If I reintroduce questionable foods before that, the inflammation and pain could start up all over again.
Since I’ve had digestive issues for many decades now, realistically this probably won’t be anytime soon, as it will take quite some time to heal. In the meantime, I’ll continue to have my labs monitored periodically, and I’ll supplement if necessary.
Anyway, I’m glad you’re reading this and I’m excited to share with you not only my carnivore journey, but also yummy carnivore recipes and helpful resources that I love.
Until next time…