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Ex-vegetarian "I’m never going back to a meatless existence."


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Ex-vegetarian hits rock bottom and tries the carnivore diet for a month

‘I’m never going back to a meatless existence.’

Amira Stevenson-Hynes
 
5 min read
March 10, 2023 - 10:37AM
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Amira Stevenson-Hynes tries the controversial carnivore diet, eating only meat, eggs, raw animal-based dairy products, fruit and honey for a month.

Do you remember last year when The Hills star Heidi Montag made headlines for her Instagram video of her chomping down on a raw cow’s liver in an effort to fall pregnant? (Let me remind you.)

Well I followed the Montag-approved carnivore diet for a month and you might not believe it, but I think she’s onto something.

There’s nothing like hitting rock bottom to open you up to trying new things. So when I found myself chronically bloated, iron deficient, suffering from endometriosis and depression, this ex-vegetarian was ready, willing and able to let meat back into my life in the hope it would cure all that ailed me. 

What is the carnivore diet?

Doctor Paul Saladino, who calls himself carnivore MD, is one of the leading medical authorities of the carnivore diet. The carnivore diet he endorses consists of eating meat (nose to tail), eggs, raw animal-based dairy products, fruit and honey.

Fed up with Western medicine, Saladino created the diet based on the diet of one of the last remaining hunter-gatherer tribes, the Hadza people of Tanzania. This tribe experiences almost no auto-immune disorders, obesity or diabetes; all of which are associated with the gut. 

Saladino claims this diet can be a cure-all for issues of the body, from fertility to depression, arthritis to erectile dysfunction. An important part of Saladino’s diet is consuming meat from 100% grass fed and finished sources to ensure the nutritional benefits you’re receiving are top-notch.

Why aren’t vegetables included in the carnivore diet? Well, Saladino believes they aren’t actually good for you.

He points to two studies to prove his point - the first which found raw and cooked vegetables ineffective against preventing cardiovascular disease and another that found both fruits and vegetables had no effect on oxidative DNA damage (one of the stimuli responsible for cancer development) and repair in healthy nonsmokers.

76a2112f77bb2d29c9525d3fc62f6ccaStudy-backed

There’s no doubt this diet is controversial. It completely rejects mainstream medicine's ideas that vegetables are the leafy-green path to optimal health, grain-based fibre is a key to regularity and consuming large quantities of meat is a sure fire way to develop heart disease.

However, a 2021 Harvard University study concluded, “Contrary to common expectations, adults consuming a carnivore diet experienced few adverse effects and instead reported health benefits and high satisfaction.” 

In the online self-reported study of 2029 participants over 6 months the average participant lost 20lbs, 100% of diabetic participants came off injectable medication and there was a 90% improvement in all patient’s diseases. Other notable findings include 85% of participants reporting better mental clarity, 69% reporting better sleep and 89% reporting higher energy levels.

33f07fd670640991a00c5ef4831dc4a1My experience on the carnivore diet 

Fair warning to any vegetarians out there who want to tango with meat again, be close to a toilet. Lucky for me, the meat shits (the diarrhea you experience after breaking vegetarianism) only lasted a single day but I’ve never been so close to soiling myself at work.

From the moment the first bit of steak hit my lips I knew there was no turning back. After years of lethargy and generally poor health the almost instant energy that meat gave me was exactly what my body was craving. 

On the carnivore diet I experienced no bloating, regular bowel movements (excluding the day one diarrhea), increased levels of energy, a dramatic decrease in endometriosis symptoms and a slight decrease in depressive symptoms. My most recent blood test also shows my iron levels are back in the healthy range.

However, these improvements didn’t come without sacrifice. The novelty of eating only meat, fruit, honey and raw animal-based products very quickly wears off. While cravings for my previous lovers that go by the names of sourdough bread, chocolate, pasta and teriyaki chicken sushi rolls lessened over time they did not go away.

In addition to craving foods that would tickle my palette more than plain steak and apples ever could, there was the added sacrifice of not being able to eat in social settings. There is nothing quite as torturous as watching your friends dig into a delicious meal while you sit on the sidelines thinking about the plain hamburger patty you have waiting for you at home. 

It probably won’t come as a surprise that I also got some pretty weird reactions from people when I told them what I was doing. But their confusion turned to disbelief when it came to the organ meats of it all.

4417ac25d12ffc70911503d9c88a5e00Eating organs 

In the aforementioned organ eating instagram video Heidi Montag claims, “There are so many health benefits to eating liver and [other] animal organs,” and Dr. Saladino agrees. He touts organ meat's jam-packed nutritional benefits on his website for desiccated organ meat supplements and on social media

Since I wasn’t going to be getting any nutritional benefits from vegetables (or vegetables didn’t have them to begin with, depending on whether you believe the above studies) I decided I needed to give organ meats a go. I started with fried liver which can only be described as gross. I then moved on to cutting up little bits of liver and swallowing them like tablets to consume them without having to taste them, which worked well.

But ultimately I settled on Dr. Saladino’s desiccated organ supplements as the least offensive and most effective way to consume animal organs daily. In addition to the carnivore diet, organ supplements have further increased my energy levels and made me even more regular for those of you (sickos) at home with vested interest in my bowel movements.

7ff31101541c37a59b0680088d254848My verdict

When it comes to the billion dollar health and wellness industry it’s important to proceed with caution. Be skeptical about fix-all cures, doctors that claim to have it all figured out and diets as extreme as this one. I encourage anyone who is considering the carnivore diet to do their own research. 

For this ex-vegetarian, the carnivore diet has changed my life. Reintroducing meat has done wonders for my overall health. I’m sleeping, pooping, exercising, working and generally living better. 

The biggest sacrifice of this diet was missing out on social eating experiences. But after a month of eating strictly carnivore I incorporated a few social meals a week back into my diet, eating whatever I wanted for those meals. Thanks to my otherwise strictly carnivore diet and organ supplements, these meals have had little effect on my overall health. 

That being said, most weekday lunches and dinners you’ll still find me chowing down (tyrannosaurus rex-style) on a steak, some roast chicken or hamburger patties. 

Amira is a Sydney-born, New York-based freelance writer with a Bachelor of Communication (Media Arts and Production) from the University of Technology Sydney. Amira has five years of experience working in the TV/film industry and as a freelance writer in Australia and abroad. You can find her here.

Source: https://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/nutrition/exvegetarian-hits-rock-bottom-and-tries-the-carnivore-diet-for-a-month/news-story/59b6747ecaa0c69da08c49bb0141ff3b

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