When Bradley joined the army straight out of college, he never really gave much thought about nutrition. “I think—like a lot of young soldiers—I just ate whatever I wanted with the expectation that I was going to burn off all the pizza and beer.” It slowly caught up with him, however, and by the time his four years in the army were over, he had gained twenty pounds and was experiencing lower back pain. Shortly after leaving active duty, he was diagnosed with bulging disks around his L5-S1. A back surgery in 2018 mostly solved the issue, but there was still lingering stiffness in his lower back and leg.
As the years rolled on, Bradley continued to try to better his health with limited success. Then, when he got deployed overseas in 2020 with the Army Reserve, a friend recommended the ketogenic diet. “I was calorie restricting, I was running 20 to 30 miles a week…I was just exhausting myself…and I just wasn’t seeing any real positive results.” Thinking a military base would be an ideal environment for a controlled dietary experiment, he took the plunge and overnight cut out processed foods, sugars and sodas, while loading up his plate with all the protein and fat he could find.
“Some people talk about switching to low carb and seeing positive effects in a couple of days or weeks—but for me—it took about 20 minutes…I couldn’t finish that plate of food. This was really my first introduction to satiety.” After that, Bradley was off to the races. He lost 30 pounds over a six week period, and eighteen months later is happy to report that he is the healthiest he’s ever been. “I look better, my skin feels healthier, I’m stronger than I was before I injured myself—and the pain that was lingering after the surgery vanished in a matter of weeks…This was such a perspective shift for me—showing how quickly you can turn around your health just by putting proper fuel in your body.”
His Achilles heel—an insatiable sweet tooth—also disappeared within a matter of days. “In the past, if there was an Oreo in front of me, I’d have eat the whole box…and now…I just have no desire for it.” About to turn 33, Bradley now confidently lifts heavy weights at the gym without fear of injury, or experiencing any soreness the next day. “I just compare that to running five days a week in the past, and I would wake up and my shins would be on fire.” He’s also been able to attain greater mental clarity and concentration, something he found particularly useful when pursuing his Master’s degree.
“The surprising thing to me about the carnivore diet, was really how little effort it took. You know, it’s not about discipline—everybody thinks it is—but it’s really not. I didn’t lack for discipline running 30 miles a week, but then I couldn’t control myself in front of candy. So, it wasn’t a discipline issue, it was about ‘How is your brain wired to think about food?’ and ‘What kind of food are you putting in it?’”