It all started with a 4-week trip to Goa over a decade ago.
We thought it would be nice to have an elephant shower experience, so we went along and climbed on the gorgeous sitting animal, who proceeded to stand up and ‘shower’ us with his proboscis, prompted by his keeper. It was fun and we smiled a lot for the photos.
Sadly, as we were drying ourselves we noticed the whip used by the keeper, and the heavy chains attached to each foot of the elephant. Which made us instantly regret taking part in a tourist attraction that was clearly causing suffering to an innocent animal. We also watched the keeper use massive nets to fish out gigantic balls of dung from the pond that the elephant (and we) were in. During the long drive back to our beach lodge, we reflected on our poor choice of tourist activity and joked that we must have swallowed loads of poo water.
Little did we know that there was nothing to laugh about. The very next day I became seriously ill. Initially with vomiting. And then with explosive diarrhoea. I literally couldn’t leave the toilet for more than 5 minutes at a time. After 10 whole days of this, and unable to keep any water or food down, I was so unwell, drained and weak that I honestly thought I was going to die.
Fortunately, as the days passed, the time between toilet visits gradually stretched. Then, much to our relief, I had enough respite from toilet slavery to feel that I could travel back to the airport and get on the flight back to the UK.
Eventually, and very slowly, things got better. It took 9 months for me to feel OK. Not back to my previous health. Just OK.
Despite probiotics and different cleansing attempts, my immune system and gut health never returned to pre-India health.
I have no doubt that the keto lifestyle helped with my recovery. But the battering I received from that awful bacterial infection had a long-lasting impact on my digestive system. I would get regular peptic ulcer flare-ups, and short episodes of diarrhoea after even the tiniest diversion from my day-to-day foods.
A while later, a psoriatic plaque appeared on one knee. This remained small and contained for about 2 years, after which it suddenly spread over most of my lower leg, then over my other lower leg, followed by new plaques on my scalp, eyebrows and ears. None the less, it was all very mild and I kept my skin in check with tallow – which I rendered myself from pasture-raised ox kidney fat.
I was managing just fine, with zero prescription meds or treatments. Until…
My psoriasis jumped from 1st to 6th gear during a relaxing beach holiday in late summer 2022. No stress, no food variation (keto every day), lots of sun and laziness. And yet, the damn thing went crazy. For no apparent or logical reason. Thick plaques on my legs, chunky bumps all over my scalp, crusty ears and eyebrows. And if that weren’t enough, I developed a new inflamed area: one eyelid – swollen, red, sore, and with constantly peeling skin. I wondered what would be next…
The Great Reset
That’s when I decided that enough was enough. I needed to restore my gut health and immune system once and for all. And there was only one way that might achieve that: by going carnivore.
Over the years, I had seen plenty of videos by Dr Berry and many others in the keto community who had turned to carnivore to address a multitude of medical problems, including immune system disorders. They were fascinating, and I watched them with interest and curiosity, thankful that I didn’t need to be so drastic with my food choices. But now it was my time to give carnivore a go.
So, ladies and gentlemen, starting on 22 September 2022, my keto lifestyle is going to be set aside, for a while at least, to experiment with a strict + clean carnivore diet. Obviously, going from a clean keto lifestyle has its advantages, as I’m already primed for low carb foods. However, I’ve never been a steak lover, and I don’t buy burgers and sausages form supermarkets because they’re not ‘clean’ enough for me. The challenge, therefore, will be finding sufficient variety of grass-fed/pasture raised meat and wild fish, plus different meat cuts and offal. And also figure out different ways of cooking them, to keep me unwavering for as long as it takes to achieve the reset I’m aiming for. Luckily, I absolutely love eggs, so they’ll feature very highly in my new carnivore lifestyle.
As time goes on, I’ll be sharing how I get on in my Carnivore Chronicles. So do subscribe to my Newsletter if you’re interested in learning about my progress (or lack of). I will be publishing monthly updates as well as recipes.
My first Carnivore Chronicles update.
No ulcer flare-ups thus far. Very happy about that.
In terms of psoriasis, progress hasn’t been great. However, on some days my legs aren’t as ‘crusty’. The eyelid soreness has diminished a bit, with less redness and less peeling. My ears haven’t improved yet – lots of skin shedding on the pinna, lobe and even the concha. My scalp doesn’t seem any different either – I can feel bumps from scabs pretty much all over.
I had great hopes that I would see everything improve by now, given the quick success stories described on YouTube by others. But I guess everyone’s different and the ‘reset’ takes longer in some people compared to others.
My Experience So Far
The big positive is that what they say is absolutely true! No cravings at all! I truly thought I wouldn’t be able to do carnivore for more than a few days, since I love veggies, fruit, pasta, bread-types and sweet treats so much. Since day one I haven’t felt that I’m denying myself any of my favourite keto foods, so I don’t miss them one bit. Amazing! Let’s hope it lasts.
The first negative (but for some people this would be a welcome achievement), is that 4 kg (almost 9lb) of weight melted away in the first 3 weeks, so I now weigh just 51kg (8st/112lb). But I am eating to full capacity, never hungry, and full of energy, so I’m OK with that.
The second negative is that my blood pressure has dropped, causing me to feel dizzy and unbalanced when standing up or turning quickly. I continue to take 450mg daily magnesium glycinate and extra salt every day, so I don’t understand what’s going on. It remains to be seen whether this is temporary or not.
The last negative is poo. I thought that consuming zero fibre would lead to constipation, so I wasn’t surprised when I didn’t need the toilet for the first 5 days. But since then, I’ve had diarrhoea most mornings. Not the painful or continuous type like the horror I experienced in India. Just stools that are mostly liquid and splatter. And only once. In the morning. After a cup of tea. That’s it. No discomfort at all. Again, I have no idea if this is a temporary gut adjustment, or a permanent toilet affair. We’ll see.
The Foods I Eat
My carnivore diet consists of meat (including organs), fish and eggs. No dairy whatsoever. I know some carnivores find dairy acceptable. But it can be inflammatory, so I’m leaving it out. For now.
I have been cooking all sorts of delicious carnivore meals, using grass-fed, pasture raised animal protein, and wild fish whenever possible. Variety was always prominent in both my high-carb and keto dietary habits, and I need that to continue in order to stay focused. Trust me on this, carnivore life is way more exciting when you introduce different animal parts, including offal. You just need to know how to cook them to create interesting textures and lovely flavours.
Eggs, beef, lamb, chicken and oily fish have been my staples, with some pork – mainly as bacon and pancetta, which add a welcome crunch to any meal. Steak is only a once or twice a week affair, because a) I’ve never liked it, and b) I find it utterly boring. Nutritionally, eating nose-to-tail is considered best, so I’m experimenting with all sorts. So far, beef liver and oxtail take the crown. The texture of Heart is a bit weird, but by cooking it together with liver – which I adore – it isn’t so bad. Beef tongue and kidneys are in the freezer ready for testing.
I definitely prefer slow-cooked, tender meat that falls off the bone. My new Ninja Foodi Max Multi Cooker (no affiliation, just my honest opinion) , purchased specifically for my carnivore journey, has consistently delivered beautifully cooked food.
This amazing piece of kit isn’t just convenient thanks to its plethora of cooking modes. Forget fat splatters all over the hob area, say hello to reduced smells, and welcome the savings made from not having to replace the grease filter in the extractor fan above your hob as often. Granted, it’s pricey and a bit bulky. But it’s easy to clean and replaces a multitude of machines, since it does so much and so conveniently. I’m a happy cook and whole-heartedly recommend it. In fact, I wish I hadn’t waited to go carnivore before buying it.
As for drinks, it’s just purified water, lots of it, occasionally with a slice of lemon. Oh and I also have one cup of organic white tea and one-two coffees a day, all barely sweetened with a pinch of stevia.
Happy to report no ulcer flare ups. Great!
My psoriasis hasn’t improved one bit. Scalp, ears, eye area and calves all seem the same. Some days are better than others, but overall, quite disappointing.
The dizziness and abnormal bowel movements have both gone. Thank goodness! It was clearly down to transitioning and therefore temporary. If you’ve just started carnivore and you’re experiencing the same, don’t worry, it won’t persist. Keep taking your electrolytes and drink plenty of water.
- The weight loss continued for a while, but seems to have finally settled. My weight now hovers around 48kg (7.5st/106lb). My starting weight was 55kg (8.6st/121lb). According to my height of 167cm (5’5″), I’m now classed as ‘underweight’. Whatever. Yes my bones are sticking out everywhere, but I feel great. Plus it gives me a good excuse to get new clothes, since nothing fits me anymore. Still no cravings, which is unbelievable. The only thing I miss, occasionally, is a little crunch. Pork scratchings aren’t my thing, which is a shame because you can pretty much buy them everywhere. Adding crispy chicken skin, bacon or pancetta, alongside the main protein I cook, has helped. And I’ve been making delicious prosciutto and bresaola crisps, which are super easy and very simple. Essentially, you just bake them on low temperature until they’ve dried out. See recipe HERE.
I’ve also been experimenting with ‘bread’, just to have more meal options. So far, the results have been rubbish. I’ve either produced memory foam, or a weird eggy thing, or something dry and impossible to swallow. I’ll keep testing and maybe one of these days the magic will happen…
In terms of protein choices, I’ve been cooking all sorts in an effort to eat nose-to-tail as much as possible. Liver, heart and kidneys remain firm favourites. Ox tongue is very fatty and definitely an acquired taste. Beef lung was a disaster: spongy texture and very unpleasant to chew on – one for the dustbin. Offal is a great way to ensure a variety of nutrients, especially the all-important B Vitamins.
Organ meat aside, there are myriad food choices when it comes to carnivore. I’ve been cooking pork belly, beef short ribs, lamb shanks, lamb’s neck, lamb’s shoulder, chicken, duck legs, pig cheeks… and my least favourite: steak.
Salmon, scallops and monkfish are a weekly feature on the menu.
I’ve also been eating tons of eggs, whether scrambled or soft boiled or whatever, mainly functioning as a ‘side’ to my main protein meals.
This journey is turning out quite interesting and far from boring and repetitive.
More weight loss at the beginning of the month, albeit minimal. My weight is now stable at 47.5kg, with a BMI of 17. Which is pretty low. Yes, I’m skin and bones, but my energy is off the scale and I feel great. Plus with clothes on I don’t look malnourished, which is one thing I’m clearly not, since I eat 3,000-4,000 calories of nutritious food every single day.
- Still no ulcer episodes. Super happy about that.
- My shins look and feel better, but it could be that I’m having a period of remission, which is quite common in psoriasis. On the other hand, scalp, ears and eyebrow areas are no different. The only relief I obtain is by moisturising with my home-made tallow and then, an hour or so later, by scraping away the dead cells. Other creams and ointments make it all worse, including aloe vera – which some people find relief from. I know everyone says to avoid scratching, but: a) it offers relief and I only need to do it once after washing and moisturising (no itching for the next 24 hours) and b) it stops crusts from forming and causing the itch.
- Bowel movements are fine. Every 4-5 days, but no bloating and no discomfort. Which signals to me that my body is absorbing most of the nutrients it’s receiving and has therefore less to discard.
The only thing I regret is switching back to keto suddenly over the Christmas festivities. I cooked meat and low-carb veggies, and baked lots of keto-friendly goodies for the whole family to enjoy, including my popular low-carb Yorkshire puddings. I thought I’d be OK. After all, nothing was high-carb or ‘junk’, and it was the sort of food I’d always enjoyed in the past. Big mistake. I spent 2 whole weeks in pain. With cramps, lots of belching, lots of gas, horrible constipation, and feeling nauseous and generally unwell.
I have learned a valuable lesson: going back to keto after carnivore will need to be a gradual process.
After the Christmas experience my weight dropped to 47.2kg (104lbs/7st 6lbs), so I started to add loads of extra butter or ghee to my meals, plus a tiny plum every other day. Happy to report that I gained a little and I’ve been stable at 47.5kg for 4 weeks now. Phew!
No peptic ulcer episodes since last summer.
The psoriasis on my shins is showing improvement, with very few plaques here and there and looking a lot less inflamed and angry than it was. I won’t post a photo just yet, in case I jinx it, but yes, definitely promising at the moment.
Scalp, ears and eyebrows don’t look or feel better. I suppose the cold wintry air and frigid breeze aren’t helping. Still applying home-made tallow and then scraping to reduce crusting and itching.
Bowel movements aren’t an issue. I seem to be in a cycle of 3-4 days with no stools, followed by 1-3 days with stools. Pre-carnivore, if I didn’t go every morning I’d feel bloated all day. Not so now. I feel absolutely fine.
In terms of food, I have seriously fallen in love with slow-cooked meat. My favourites are shin, shank, tail and cheeks, to which I add diced kidneys. Cooked long and slow in my Ninja Foodi Max Multi Cooker , these turn into the most succulent, pull-apart meat that just melts in your mouth.
Still don’t enjoy steak, but I have it occasionally, when I’m short for time or I forgot to take my supply out of the freezer in good time. I have no idea why people rave about steak…
I also very much enjoy beef Liver and Heart , which I cook 2-3 times a week.
Eggs tend to be my ‘side’ dish. Either scrambled or soft boiled, usually.
Zero-Carb Carnivore Sour Gummies are the only sweet treat I allow myself in the evening, while watching TV. I know many will balk at this. But I cannot see how a tiny amount of pure stevia powder would hinder my carnivore journey. And I am yet to find any physiological or biochemical explanation as to why it would. So I shall continue.
After testing it forever with various ingredients, ratios, baking vessels and oven temperatures, my experimental ‘bread’ is finally working! It’s not perfect by any means, but it’s letting me enjoy sandwiches and toast again, which I was missing like crazy. I just want to refine it a little more. Then I’ll share the recipe with you all.
Carnivore life is great. No more weight loss. No ulcers. Bowel movements still fine.
Skin…. so and so. Some days are better than others, and overall everything looks slightly better. Not ready to give up yet.
As for food, I have two admit that meat, fish and eggs have started to bore me. I’ve been longing for a crunchy salad, a bit of cheese, a slice of keto cake, low carb pizza… basically everything that I cannot enjoy on carnivore. And I kind of knew it would happen when I first embarked on this journey. Still. I’m not giving in.
The one thing that I can now add, however, is bread. My goodness have I missed bread! When you’ve eaten eggs for lunch every single day, for months, a sandwich sounds infinitely appealing, don’t you think? Well, I have finally managed to create a decent carnivore bread that isn’t powdery, isn’t sticky, doesn’t feel like you’re eating styrofoam, needs no sweetener and doesn’t require tons of ultra-expensive ingredients. Yep. It’s finally here and I’ll be sharing the recipe next week.
Biting into a couple of buttered slices alongside some mackerel, or a sandwich stuffed with tuna and butter mayo, is pure heaven. I needed bread so much!
Sautéed Heart & Liver
Soft and Creamy Scrambled Eggs
Easy Home Made Ghee