Gina manages IBS, anemia, joint pain, migraines, anxiety, and mood on the carnivore diet
I’m Gina. I’m a 52 year old wife, mom and dental hygienist. I had my two oldest when I was in my early 20s and became very physically active when they were little to stay in shape. I lifted weights and even worked at a gym as a trainer. In my 30s I was involved in karate, and in my 40s and 50s I was running. In the 90s, the “fat makes you fat” idea was in full swing. You could eat all the Snack Well cookies you wanted, just stay away from butter. I followed that but eventually transitioned into more of a mainstream diet most of my life. I also figured I had wiggle room due to being active so I never turned down chips, cookies, cake, etc.
In 2019 I was 49 and had been running several years doing everything from 5ks all the way to ultramarathons. I was looking ahead to 2020 when I would be turning 50 and decided to celebrate by signing up for a 50 mile race. It was a good training year until end of summer, early fall. I started to experience trouble running. I would get very winded and unable to continue. I’d go for a 6 mile run and quit in the first mile or two. My legs felt like they were stuck in wet cement. Severe fatigue, numbness and tingling followed. MS was suspected so I had MRIs, tests and a spinal tap. All came back fine, and I had no diagnosis for the illness.
I quit running for six months, but was desperate to feel better. I began to think about my diet. My best friend and running partner is vegan. Everywhere you turn, vegan is promoted as the healthiest diet. I decided to give it a try. I watched all the documentaries. I liked Game Changers because it was about athletes. I was whole food, plant based for 18 months. At first things went well. I began running again, and it felt good to have such a “healthy” diet. I even got my certification in plant based nutrition. I was gearing up for possibly health coaching.
As time went by, my health began to decline. But I had no idea it was diet related. I had gallbladder pain and an ultrasound revealed a polyp. I had my gallbladder removed. I had IBS for about 10 years, it was mostly manageable but suddenly was becoming really bad. It was interfering with my work. It got so bad at one point it I almost had to quit my job. My cycle became extremely heavy and painful. I had a hysterectomy. Then one night I woke with my heart pounding and I was panting. A trip to the ER revealed severe anemia. They wanted to give me a transfusion, but I managed to hold them off and got 4 weekly iron infusions. My bones and joints began to ache really badly. I was Googling bone cancer. Brain fog and some cognitive issues began to arise. I was sure I was dying from something.
I quit veganism in early 2022, not because I thought the diet was the problem, but because I figured, what’s the point in eating well if I’m just going to feel like garbage anyway. I spent about 6 months alternating between a terrible diet and trying to get back to veganism, but I just was over it. I gained 20 pounds. I felt like my health was in freefall.
Then I read a blog post by The Peasant’s Daughter called “Why I Am No Longer Vegan”. It was the first time the idea that the diet may have been behind my health troubles. Down the rabbit hole I went, consuming everything I could and eventually landed on the countless stories of carnivores.
I transitioned slowly because I wasn’t completely sure it was a good idea. I took things out of my diet like vegetables, kept things like oatmeal, and increased meat. For 2 months I worked toward carnivore, which I think helped me transition because I never got the keto flu. Mid December I was pretty much full carnivore.
I lost the 20 pounds I gained. My joint and bone pain disappeared. My migraines were about 90% gone. Brain fog gone. Energy soared. But the biggest, most wonderful thing has been that my IBS is gone. To live life like a normal person and not have a brain completely consumed with going to the bathroom or holding in gas. Just a feeling of nothing going on in my gut. It is unreal.
I want to learn and devour everything I can about this way of life. I no longer think about food all day. I know that this way of eating could stave off Alzheimer’s which I am at great risk of developing. I’m lifting again and feel better, stronger, more energetic than I have in years. I’m even beginning to talk with my dental patients about this diet. Everyday I see patients trapped in bad metabolic health. My hope is more people can heal like I did.