Coach Danny’s heart is doing well on a carnivore diet

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An avid athlete, firefighter Danny Smith would work out twice—sometimes even three times—a day. In 2016, after a few bouts of what he thought was gastritis, he went to the hospital on a day he was experiencing particularly acute symptoms. He was admitted right away, and while the nurse was asking him about the situation, Danny passed out. The next thing he remembers is being jolted awake by an electric shock to the chest. Looking up at a room now full of people, he realized he had just been defibrillated. His heart had stopped for seven whole minutes. The doctor informed him that he had suffered a major heart attack at only 39 years old.

Diagnosed with familial hypercholesterolemia, Danny suspected another culprit as well—his diet. It was most certainly a wake-up call, and he was willing to do or try anything to make sure it didn’t happen again. Encountering only vague dietary advice from his primary doctor, he decided to give veganism a try. It lasted only a year—Danny never feeling well due to achey joints and a lack of energy—and culminated in the painful tearing of his ACL.

As he started doing research on his own, Danny observed that the guys at the firehouse on the keto diet were looking and feeling pretty good, so he jumped on the bandwagon too. As he continued searching for answers, he kept seeing carnivore pop up, and since he gravitated towards meat while eating keto anyway, he decided to take the plunge and give it a try. “I went on the carnivore diet, I was like—‘I’m never looking back. I feel so great.’ Everything was getting better!”

Now 45, Danny has been doing carnivore for two years and feels fantastic. His cholesterol numbers are all in a healthy range, he enjoys better stamina and muscle gains at the gym, and his heart doctor says he’s in such great shape that he only needs a yearly checkup. His diet consists mostly of beef, with Danny regularly enjoying ribeye steaks, beef ribs, burgers, bacon, eggs and the occasional piece of cheese. He was also able to shed some extra weight he had been carrying around—dropping from 245 pounds to a healthy 180 pounds.

On top of all of this, Danny has experienced extraordinary mental health benefits as well. The shock of the heart attack left Danny reeling with PTSD and major depression, so he started seeing a therapist. “Two weeks into the carnivore diet, I told my therapist, ‘I don’t think I need you anymore, because I’m not thinking the same way as I was.’ And I didn’t need him anymore—and that was only 2 weeks into the diet! The depression really got better—the PTSD…was totally gone.”

Now, Danny enjoy plenty of energy to train, spend time with his family, and play the bagpipes at firefighter events. He may enjoy the odd piece of cake at his children’s birthday parties, or an occasional beer with friends, but he says he really doesn’t crave those things anymore—and is happy to share his story with the hopes that it will help others too.

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