My Story: Hi, my name is Amy and I have had my fair share of health issues during the past 26 years that make up my life. When I entered this world, I was an unhappy baby (diagnosed with chronic colic) which meant I barely stopped crying for the first 6 months of my life. As I got older it became apparent that I had a weakened immune system. I seemed to pick up anything and everything that was going around. I would even get really sick even after I had been vaccinated, like a few days later. Whenever I caught a cold it would last twice as long for me than it would for others and I would always seem to suffer the more severe symptoms. I cannot count the number of times I have been placed on a course of antibiotics. From the age of 13 I was prone to developing infections (primarily UTI’s), but I also suffered greatly from inflammation and had issues with my digestive health.
By the time I was 14 I had developed severe acne and my doctor thought the solution was to put me on ‘the pill’ to ‘sort out’ my hormones. This did not work, it only resulted in an abnormal level of hormone production which lead to further health complications. I was tired, larger than most girls my age, more moody and cranky. At 16 I was placed upon the controversial accutane drug. Accutane is typically only prescribed as a ‘last resort’ as it is renowned for causing severe side effects and is linked to detrimental effects on health. In my experience, it literally ruined my joints to the point I was borderline arthritic and couldn’t walk properly some days, I became so stiff and felt exhausted all the time. Not to mention it dried out my tear ducts, increased my skin sensitivity so much that I had to constantly and excessively moisturise, avoid the sun at all costs and if I got a cut or bruise it would take a long time to heal – and worst of all, if I came off the drug my acne would simply come back with a vengence!
After coming off accutane I suffered from severe anxiety and depression, I was constantly overwhelmed by negative emotions – my parents even jokingly gave me the nickname ‘little ray of sunshine’ (all about the sarcasm, right?). But honestly, I found it very hard to see the good in anything and my favourite thing to do was hide away in my room and sleep, comfort eat and watch TV… And consequently, my weight started to pile on.
When I turned 18 I went off to university. My parents had managed to convince me that gaining a higher education was very important for future career prospects. I attended locally so that I could come home every night, my anxiety would have never allowed me to completely leave my ‘comfort zone.’ This is where some real damage to my health was done via my diet. I basically lived off MacDonald’s, Hungry Jacks, Subway and KFC for the entire 3 years. To no surprise my depression got worse, but I actually thought it was the weight gain making me depressed, not the type of food I was consuming! Weirdly enough, during my time at university, I did not drink a drop of alcohol nor attend any of the famous uni fresher ‘parties’. If it wasn’t work related I wasn’t interested, a plus side of this was that I managed to obtain a very high grade in my university studies scoring grades within the top 5% and received several academic excellence awards. That was pretty much the only thing I had to feel proud of myself about.
After university, I put on a lot of weight, I was no longer eating quite as much fast food but I was eating a lot of chocolate and crisps and more ‘snack’ foods. Within 2 years after graduating uni I had bought my first home, had a nice car, was working cushy hours part time and had recently gotten engaged, this scenario all had taken place within a lovely sunny part of Australia… many outsiders would have envied my lifestyle and I remember constantly being told how ‘good’ I had things. The truth was, I had never felt more miserable. By the end of the year 2014 I was at my heaviest at nearly 90kg and at complete breaking point. I had to do something drastic as I couldn’t go on living the way things were. So, I called off my engagement to my long-term partner, sold my house, quit my job and moved to the UK for a ‘fresh start’ and new adventure.
By mid 2015 I had settled into my new home and dream job in the UK, and I joined a gym and started to cut the crap out of my diet. However, the weight loss seemed quite slow particularly when compared to all of the exercise I was doing. And I wasn’t eating much, probably around 800 calories a day. It didn’t make much sense to me and as I was beginning to get demotivated I started to actively seek answers. I did a lot of research into nutrition and diets which lead to the discovery of a ketogenic diet. I began to listen to countless hours of YouTube and podcasts concerning health and developed a keen interest in nutrition. I finally felt like I had the answers. Without further ado, I put my newfound knowledge into practice and the results spoke for themselves. Not only did the weight start to fall off, I was more focused, energised and generally happier. On top of this my skin problems cleared up and my joint pain ceased to exist. I wasn’t getting sick as easily either. My interest in nutrition was ever increasing during this point, it was like the more I learned the more things made sense and the more things made sense the more I wanted to know why we were still being provided with diet advice that was just plain wrong and is evidently making us sicker and sicker.
After experiencing much success with the keto diet I decided to take things one step further and commit to trying the carnivore diet. Within a month of being on the carnivore diet so many things happened. My skin looks even more radiant, my overall energy and mental focus has increased even more, I’ve had not experienced a depressive state so far, in fact, my mood is through the roof and much more consistent rather than up and down. In addition, my digestive health has improved greatly as I have experienced minimal bloating and inflammation issues. Eventually, I do plan to reintroduce some keto foods back in to my diet, but I really want to give my body the chance to heal properly from the inside out. I know I have had candida and gut problems so it is for this reason that I plan to be true carnivore this for the next 3-6months and monitor my progress. I would like to say a big thank you to the carnivore community who have been unduly supportive throughout my transition. In the near future, I hope to even help others regain their health and provide them with the guidance necessary to experience similar success, but for now I am happy being an advocate for this diet and lifestyle.