I didn’t come about this decision intellectually, though I did read just about everything I could get my hands on about nutrition. I ended up here after years of experimentation in an effort to feel excellent.
In 2007, after having been Paleo for two years, I still had a good long list of symptoms I wanted to overcome, so I decided to try an elimination diet. Since I did’t eat grains, of course my base could not be rice, so I chose fermented raw dairy. I had eliminated dairy two years before, after going primal, but since I had never tried raw dairy and, being infatuated with Weston Price’s work, I thought I’d give it a shot.
For about six months or so I drank only raw dairy which I soured, unrefrigerated on the counter. I stayed on just that one food for so long because each time I tried adding something else, I didn’t feel as good. I was also reading the most underground, alternative nutrition info could find – all meat diets, raw meat diets, raw juice diets, raw dairy and blood diets. I had had enough of feeling like crap my whole life and so I explored everything.
At some point I added raw beef and blood. No problems there so I’d found another food. I added other raw meats and seafoods and even included a little white rice (which I don’t eat anymore) and eventually eliminated dairy again. For the next year or so I ate a raw Primal diet and felt amazing! I was able to maintain the discipline to eat a strict diet of raw meat, raw seafood, raw eggs, and a little white rice because I felt so great. It just didn’t make any sense to add other foods which altered my mood, impaired my delicate digestion, and fired up my joint pain.
It was getting practically impossible to get back to a “normal” diet because I was feeling so spectacular. I took long hikes every day carrying my daughter on my back for miles. I slept only 6 hours a night and always felt rested. I was happy and smiling all the time. I was busy and productive. My skin was clear for the first time in 12 years. I quit needing lotion or deodorant. Why would I ever go back?
I probably wouldn’t have had I remained a single mom, but I met my boyfriend who ate cooked food and thought it was kind of weird that I didn’t have a stove or oven in my apartment. He brought over a single burner for the counter and little by little I started eating cooked meat again. Cravings are not as easy to control on a cooked carnivorous diet as they are on a raw meat diet so I began trying other Primal based foods as well.
Very slowly I started to discover which particular foods bother me and why. While people are generally ready to accept that food affects our physical health, people often balk at the idea that our attitudes, intelligence, and motivation are affected by the same. After years of careful observation I am certain that the food we put in our bodies is largely responsible for our moods, our mental disorders, our productivity, and satisfaction.
It really is this big.
Interestingly, I have determined that at least for myself a carnivorous diet is not perfect either. A carnivorous diet comes with its own set of emotional complications, namely no emotions. A carnivorous diet makes me Vulcan.
This wouldn’t be much of a problem if I had remained a single mom with no emotional investments (raising children is a job, and doesn’t have to be particularly emotional) but I met this boyfriend of mine whose personality is in stark contrast to my own.
The dilemma: To be or not to be like everybody else. Well the answer is easy if it involves feeling crappy. I am done falling apart from the inside out and am quite content being a Vulcan thank you very much! Except that I am in a relationship and have friends and family who all have heightened emotions. That makes me look rather cold. If I could just run away to Mongolia where people eat a native heavy meat diet and don’t feel much pain, I would be fine, but here I am tethered to the US. Oh well, I went on being a carnivore anyway!
But one particularly hot summer week I stumbled upon a solution to this dilemma: non fat yogurt and a small amount of pure cane sugar does not bring about any of the symptoms I mention below and, in fact, makes me somewhat caring, silly, and mildly emotional. Sugar cured my apathy! (Not that I believe apathy is a thing to be cured. Weston Price noted repeatedly that primitive peoples did not “suffer” from a whole lot of emotion. When people died, loved ones did not dwell or freak out.) I realize that this may come with some trade off since sugar and pasteurized dairy are not primal foods but I have weighed this against ruining my boyfriend’s life (that’s almost a joke) and have decided that I will simply stay tuned for any deleterious effects and fine tune things as needed.
Laugh all you want it won’t bother me too much and if it does I’ll just remove sugar for a couple of days and return to my usual poker face.
With no further ado, I will leave you with a sample week of my carnivorous diet that has seen me well through many years (other than my moments of weakness and failure because we all have them, even Vulcans).
Food Diary and Exercise Regimen:A note on exercising
I’m not really big on exercising anymore but I don’t drive very often and I live in a hilly area. I ride my single gear bike daily 6 miles to daycare and back, pulling my daughter behind me in a trailer. I also walk to the nearby stores and cafes. I get a lot of enjoyment out of walking and contemplating so I will often walk many miles in one day. I also run around and play a lot with my kid. I don’t do sit ups too often but being a singer and doing lots of turning movements gives me six pack abs nevertheless. My arms are fairly strong from the pull ups that I often do walking through my bedroom doorway and the heavy things I carry around (such as the groceries I have to carry up the hills and the 20lb trailer I place on the other side of the gate each day.) Life is exercise for me.
UPDATE: This is a sample of a real week. While I do eat pretty much the same things all the time, there is some variation. For example, I don’t usually eat yogurt every single day. I often throw one food in, which isn’t in my base diet just to keep it interesting and to observe my reaction. So, this month it’s been yogurt. Last month it was bacon. I’ve had hot dog phases, and gellato phases, phases where I drink a whole lot of tea or a whole lot of alcohol. Sometimes I even let myself eat peanuts for a week because I like them so much. As soon as I get tired of feeling icky, I get back to the tried and true.
I also wanted to mention that I was out of fish oil on the week that I charted all of this, but usually I take cod liver oil each morning. I also drink bone broth several times a week but it has been so brutally hot in the last couple of weeks that I haven’t fired up the pot. I eat 100% local grass finished grass fed ground beef because I lOVE it. I realize that steaks may be healthier but I love ground beef, so there.
A week in the life:
Up at 6:30
8am breakfast: 2 eggs cooked in grassfed tallow from US Wellness with about 6 wild shrimp.
Bike ride 3 miles to daycare.
10am Black organic coffee.
12pm Lunch: Ground grassfed beef and a can of sardines.
4pm 3 mile bike ride to daycare
6pm Dinner: Two chicken thighs with skin, a glass of limeade (1 lime, 2 tsp sugar, water), and a few bites of raw, grassfed liver.
Walk to the river. We all stopped at the store hungry and bought some vanilla non-fat yogurt.
Bed at 11pm
Up at 6am
8am Breakfast: Decaf orgainic black coffee, a good sized handful of grassfed ground beef, 2 pastured eggs cooked in tallow.
Walked 1.5 miles to daycare (the trailer broke down!). Rode my bike back.
11am Lunch: Glass of limeade, 1 can of sardines in water with lime, cup of non-fat yogurt.
1pm cup of decaf coffee
6:30 Dinner: I had a coupon at a wicked sushi place nearby so we went out to eat.
We all shared tuna sashimi, muscles steamed in a saki lemongrass broth, and three huge orders of pork and apple skewers. Things I shouldn’t have had included apples, saki (rice), wheat free tamari, and maple syrup. Oh well. I survived.
A walk down to the river and back, about 2 miles.
11pm Bed time
Up at 6am
7:30am Breakfast: 2 pastured eggs cooked in tallow with 3 slices of bacon. (While I absolutely love bacon I don’t eat it too often because I can’t digest it well. The same is true for all processed meats.)
3 mile bike ride to daycare.
10am Black organic coffee
11am Lunch Cup of yogurt, super thick slice of ham, 1 hard boiled egg.
3 mile bike ride to daycare.
No Dinner: I decided to fast till tomorrow.
5pm Evelyn and Julian ate dinner and I had a small glass of fresh squeezed limeade.
5:30 5 mile bike ride downtown to go shopping and see a movie.
(Evelyn had a sucker during the movie. I had water. While Winnie the Pooh and I were fasting I was thinking that planning a fast before going out on the town would not a bad idea. I have super human discipline and think that anything sold at a movie theater is utterly repulsive so I wouldn’t have need for this tactic but I bet this could work for a lot of people.)
Bed at 10pm
Up at 6am.
8:30am breakfast: 2 pastured eggs scrambled in tallow with some grassfed ground beef.
I rode as fast as I could on my 3 mile commute.
10am Snack: A hard boiled egg, a cup of non-fat yogurt with sugar, and a cup of black coffee.
1pm Another Snack: Cup of iced coffee and a thick slice of ham plus a few bites of pemmican.
A 2 mile walk down to the cafe and back for a cup of ginseng peppermint tea.
5 mile bike ride to daycare and downtown.
6pm Dinner: Chipotle carnitas, double meat with lime.
2 mile walk downtown and back.
Cup of black coffee and one Grey Goose and soda with lime.
Bed at 2am
Up at 6am
9am Breakfast: 2 pastured eggs and 1 yolk with white fish cooked in tallow.
12pm Lunch: A potluck with our meetup group: 1 hardboiled egg, 2 bautwurst, homemade beef jerky, iced decaf coffee (this was not a carnivorous meetup group, that’s just what I ate for lunch.)
Long bike ride and walk in the hot sun.
6pm Dinner: Frozen yogurt – hot sun, hangover, and no sleep = bad decisions (although frozen yogurt doesn’t come with too many consequences for me).
Up at 5:45
8:30am Breakfast: Shrimp sauteed in tallow.
3 mile bike ride to daycare and back. Some pull ups
12pm Lunch: 400 calorie pemmican bar
7pm Dinner: 12 raw oysters with lemon juice, non-fat yogurt, and a chicken thigh with skin.
3 mile bike ride to daycare and back.
Sparring with Julian.
Bed at midnight
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