Vegan & vegetarian recovery
Real People, Real Results
From suffering and frail to healed and strong.
I was vegetarian for 28 years (age 24-52) although practically speaking I was vegan for a majority of the time. The first few years seemed to go well, which reinforced my belief that it was the cure for mankind’s mental and physical ills.
I read every vegetarian/vegan book and watched every anti-meat documentary and tried every version of the diet in my quest to overcome ailments, but they only changed or got worse. The smell of meat made me nauseous so I walked around the meat section at the store.
Vegan/vegetarianism has the attraction of being the oppressed underdog fighting the good fight against the evil meat and dairy industry and, being someone who never followed the crowd, I was the perfect patsy for their diabolical indoctrination. I was also a new believer in Christ and thought the bible made it clear that God created us as vegans (obviously I didn’t read my bible).
Here’s a sampling of the issues I experienced during my years as a vegan/vegetarian: tooth rot, anxiety (I could barely hand money to the cashier without dropping it), anger, depression, decreased confidence, inability to focus, hyperthyroidism, IBS, brain fog, weakness, high blood pressure, racing pulse, heat intolerance, night sweats, red dotting on skin, insomnia, pre-diabetes, food addiction (attended 12 step meetings for years to no avail), sun intolerance (I could barely go outside without getting burned), liver spots, electrosensitivity (it turns out the myelin sheath needs fat to function well.)
It felt like I was receiving electric shocks thoughout the night and my insomnia got so bad that I would wait to pass out from exhaustion in the morning, But still I held to the belief that I must not be doing it “right.”
The last straw was when I was doing a “master cleanse” on a solo camping trip in 2018 and my front tooth began to chip away for no reason. I was also losing weight at an alarming rate. I was experiencing what Dr. Baker refers to as “end stage veganism.” I went home and cried to God for help and the next day was led to some videos on extended dry fasting.
I spent several days researching dry fasting while eating a raw vegan diet when I heard someone mention Dr Baker’s interview with Joe Rogan. I watched the interview and 2 months later, after watching and reading hundreds of testimonies, decided to give it a try. That was December 1, 2018. My depression disappeared within 2 weeks and I’ve never gone back. I notice new benefits every month that passes. Not only have almost all my symptoms gone away, but life is much simpler. The need for stuff is disappearing and I’m content with less.
God bless everyone who has shared their stories because you never know who’s life you will change.
Colorado Springs, CO
My interest in nutrition began when I was 11 years old. I was a little on the heavy side and wanted to lose weight. I lost the weight quickly and my interest in health grew throughout middle and high school. As a junior in high school, I cut out grains and legumes and praised the works of Mark Sisson and Robb Wolf. By senior year, I was following a very regimented paleo diet. I felt amazing and worked out before and after school, always maintaining a lean physique. I graduated high school with 10 years of perfect attendance, never sick.
Shortly after graduating high school, I learned more about veganism and meat’s impact on climate change. It seemed virtuous to belong to the vegan community so I gradually cut meat from my diet. My health steadily declined and I lived in denial as I dropped out of community college, welding classes, liberal arts school and almost university. I’d lost a lot of strength and weight while experiencing extreme irritability, fatigue, and brain fog. By the age of 19 my testosterone levels went down to 44ng/dL (249-836ng/dL is the healthy range for a male this age). I was rendered asexual and didn’t care. I had no strong connections because the only thing on my mind was food.
In 2016, at 121lbs, I was admitted into Johns Hopkins Eating Disorder Unit for 10 weeks. I was said to have anorexia but I was never intentionally losing weight. I never had body dysmorphia but I was merely doing what I thought was right and the Plant-Based Agenda was so ingrained in me I could not let it go. This place was horrible and to this day I still think about some of the events I saw in the psych ward. Every day I was forced to eat heavily processed, calorically dense food as way to put on weight as fast as possible. I’m talking about cupcakes, candy, pizza, pancakes, syrup, cookies and so much Ensure. My body struggled to put on weight from this crap and they actually had to raise my caloric intake more than everyone else just to get the weight up. I left 40lbs heavier and though it was hell, I felt the doctors did the right thing. In actuality though, they just gave me different problems to deal with.
They prescribed me a strict eating regimen and I was constantly terrified of messing up. I went back to school but I couldn’t participate in any extracurricular activities or build relationships because I was paranoid if I didn’t eat at the specific times they demanded. My life continued to revolve around food and eating. I will take the blame that I should not have returned back to eating plant-based. I was still convinced by the media and some athletes that it was the way to go though. Nevertheless, Hopkins basically prescribed me the same high carb, high grain, low protein diet recommended by the USDA. I was extremely carb dependent after leaving the unit and could not function without fruit and starch. I lost half of the weight I gained in four months.
In March of 2018, I was diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease. What lead me to this diagnosis was an emergency visit to a naturopathic doctor after a few months of an extreme inability to maintain weight. The doctor concluded that I was bitten by many ticks carrying Lyme Disease over a period of time, potentially 10 years before getting diagnosed. Growing up in Maryland, tick bites were the norm to me and I never thought much about it because I never showed immediate symptoms. Looking back on it now, I can see that it wasn’t until I gave up meat in exchange for more carbs that I began to experience leaky gut symptoms and develop Candida in my body. This diagnosis was the last straw and I gradually returned back to a paleo diet low in carbs. Common sense told me that the carbs and sugars were feeding the parasites so I had to cut it out.
The 10 weeks of IV antibiotic treatment got me right back down to 121lbs again. After this long treatment, even more parasites showed up in my blood results. I began feeling pretty helpless and not sure what to do. I began researching obsessively on keto because it was trendy during this time and I knew people with Lyme experienced good results from this diet. I would go on coconut and avocado binges and keep protein moderate because of the fear surrounding gluconeogenesis and gout. The protein I did eat came mostly from eggs, chicken liver and sardines. At this point I still believed cows were killing the planet and I pretty much avoided it. I continued to struggle to put on weight no matter how much fat I ate. It was normal for me to lose 8-12 pounds in my sleep and spend the entire day regaining it. Not dying felt like a full time job.
In July of 2018 I saw Shawn Baker on Joe Rogan’s podcast. I first thought he was an idiot and arrogant for eating only meat. But after a month of still barely hanging on, I had to go strict carnivore out of sheer desperation. I began my first month of carnivore on August 29th, 2018 and put on 15lbs. I felt superhuman and couldn’t believe the daily changes in energy and focus. I was finally looking forward to the next day instead of wondering if I would even make it to the next day. The second month, however, was a different story. I was still super energized but maybe too energized to the point of insomnia. I ultimately had to loosen the reins on my diet and returned back to paleo for a while, in hopes of sleeping again. I learned from that first month the problem was that 90% of my diet was pork belly and lard. The other 10% was chicken and eggs. Though my body craved the animal fat and protein and overall responded well, the excess PUFAs and Omega 6s were too much. I gave up pork after that experience but still kept in the chicken livers and gizzards.
My sleep did not seem to improve while incorporating the high magnesium plant foods that everyone recommended to cure insomnia. I was actually starting to feel weaker and hungrier again. My daily staples were eggs, sardines, chicken livers, green leafy vegetables and olive oil. I eventually discovered the raw primal diet by Aajonus Vonderplanitz. From March 2019 to October 2019 I was eating a mostly raw diet consisting anything beef, lamb, fish, animal fat and some chicken along with a few seasonal plants like tomatoes and cucumbers. Again, all in hopes of sleeping through the night. By this point my weight and testosterone have significantly improved but I was having too much energy too fast and my body responded by sleep loss and increased cortisol levels as well. By November 2019 to today I pretty much stopped eating plants completely and eat meat both raw and cooked. In early 2020 I was still going through this vicious cycle of constant insomnia and extreme energy. My body desperately wanted meat and fat after years of abuse but it was trying to figure out how to process it all. As 2020 progressed, I finally regained sleep and my weight and cortisol levels have seemed to balance out.
I have learned a lot from my experimentation with carnivore and so happy I stuck with it. I don’t see myself leaving this way of eating anytime soon now that I have adapted to it. Overall, it has helped me to recover from severe malnutrition, gain weight, increase testosterone, heal my gut, eliminated my brain fog, and improve strength and energy levels. Looking at my blood results, you can even see the number of Lyme parasites diminish as I ate more meat and less carbs. It’s insane.
If you would like to contact me for any questions or help, feel free to dm me at instafrank95 on Instagram.