Dawn reversed her osteoarthritis and menopause symptoms on a carnivore diet

Struggling with Weight and Osteoarthritis Diagnosis


I have always struggled with my weight. At aged nine, I was put on a 1000-calorie-a-day diet, the first of many attempts to be a healthy weight. In my twenties, I was told I had a binge eating disorder and that I should never try to restrict what I ate as this would lead to more bingeing. Apart from a brief period when I was about 30 years old, I weighed between 210 lbs and 270 lbs.


In 2013, at the age of 42, I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both my feet. Six months later, it had also started in both hands. I questioned how ‘wear and tear’ could start simultaneously in both hands and both feet, but I saw three consultants who all confirmed that I had osteoarthritis and not rheumatoid arthritis. Over the next few months, I was given cortisol injections and an increasing number of painkillers.


Trying Various Painkillers


By October 2014, I was on 8 Paracetamol, 8 Tramadol, 6 Naproxen a day, and Amitriptyline at night to help me sleep. I had to stop taking the Naproxen after two years as it caused a stomach ulcer, so they changed me to Gabapentin instead (9 a day). Despite all of these painkillers, I could barely walk a hundred meters with a stick, and I needed special cutlery as I couldn’t grip it.


Discovering a Gluten-Free Diet


The first step on my journey to health came in September 2017 when my partner decided to go ‘gluten-free’ to help his stomach problems. For convenience, I did the same, not expecting any difference in my own health. Within a couple of weeks, I noticed that the food cravings which I had always had, seemed to have ceased. I was amazed as I had always believed that it was part of me.


Discovering the Elimination Diet


At the beginning of 2018, we saw Jordan Peterson being interviewed. I bought his book for my partner’s birthday, and we read about Mikhaila’s health conditions and how they had been helped by an elimination diet. Then I saw both Jordan and Mikhaila on Joe Rogan’s podcast.


The before and after pictures of Mikhaila were staggering. I also found other carnivores on YouTube, such as Amber O’Hearn and Dr. Shawn Baker. Their videos showed me that this diet was sustainable long term and that I would not be alone on my journey. I had nothing to lose, so I decided to give it a go, not expecting any change in my own health, as mine was not the same type of arthritis as Mikhaila’s.


Losing Weight with the Carnivore Diet


At first, I started on meat, eggs, and green veg before dropping the veg and just having meat and eggs. I went fully carnivore on 12th June 2018. On 1st July, my mother-in-law had a party for her 80th birthday and, for the first time in five years, I left my stick at home. A few days later, we had a day out in Whitby, and I walked much farther than I could have done before. By the middle of July, I was walking several miles without any pain.


I bought a pair of hiking boots at the beginning of August, and we were able to return to our old hobby of hiking on the coast near where we live. We have a route of about six miles which we started doing almost every morning.


The first week in September, we had a walking holiday in the Lake District in northwest England. I was able to hike all day just like I did before I got the arthritis. It felt like an absolute miracle.


Weaning off Pain Killers and Complete Healing


During that summer, I started to wean myself off the painkillers. This was awful!! I had been taking Tramadol for almost five years, and coming off them was not a pleasant experience. I couldn’t sleep, and my whole body twitched terribly.


I probably weaned myself off too quickly, but they were capsules, so I could cut them in half. Not too bad when you go from 8 a day to 7, but when you go from 3 to 2, it’s a big jump. I took it a little more slowly, coming off the Gabapentin (and I hadn’t been on them so long), so that was a little easier.


Finally, I came off Paracetamol, and by the end of September, I was finally on no medication. When I told my doctor that I no longer needed my repeat prescription because I was no longer in pain, she was astounded, saying that she had “never heard of such a thing.” Strangely she didn’t really seem very interested in how I had done this, nor did she think I should return to see the consultant who had diagnosed arthritis.


One of the most striking side effects of the diet was my weight loss. Between May 2018, when I started the elimination diet, and December 2018, I lost 70 lbs. I am a mature student and started the diet while on my summer vacation from university.


When I went back in September, people I knew literally walked past me without recognizing me. The two photographs I have included were taken in July and December 2018 (just five months apart!).


Reflecting on Life Before Carnivore 


Before starting on the carnivore diet, I had also been suffering from menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes and tinnitus. These started around the same time as my arthritis, and I do believe that there may be some link between menopause and osteoarthritis.


I have found books from the 1950s that refer to menopausal arthritis, and Dr. Blake Donaldson’s book Strong Medicine describes how he used a low card/carnivore diet to treat menopausal arthritis. I had tried several different hormone replacement therapies but to no avail. Since going carnivore, I have had no menopausal symptoms at all; the hot flushes disappeared, and after a few weeks, I noticed that I didn’t have tinnitus anymore.


I have had one or two ‘flare-ups’ of pain and inflammation over the past two years. These have been when I’ve eaten something other than eggs, meat, cheese, or heavy whipping cream. For instance, on Christmas Day, I had some Christmas Pudding and Brandy sauce, which left me in pain for a couple of days.


Recently I used a spray weed killer, and that, too, seemed to cause inflammation despite my wearing gloves when I used it. Other than that, I have been pain-free for almost two years, and I never intend to go back to my previous life.


Recent Fasting Experiments 


More recently, I have been experimenting with fasting. When you eat a meat-only diet, you don’t need to eat as often, so fasting becomes easy. I have always had a large appetite, but after a concerted period of fasting (2 or 3 40-hour fasts per week over six weeks), I have noticed that I have started to feel full on less food. I had never really had that ‘full’ feeling before, so it felt very strange!


I hope that my experiences will encourage others to change their lives. I will be 50 this week, and I have never felt fitter or healthier in my life. I hike, swim, and exercise regularly, and I am looking forward to a more energetic, pain-free future.


Results are not typical. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

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9 thoughts on “Dawn reversed her osteoarthritis and menopause symptoms on a carnivore diet”

  1. Dawn – that’s an astounding transformation. takes a lot of grit and hardwork. very happy reading it.


    1. Thank you. I just hope that my story will help others to achieve similar improvements in their health

  2. Wonderful story. So sad and frustrating that the doctor was not more curious about your recovery. Says a lot really. Really happy for you Dawn.

  3. Hi Dawn,
    Reading this was a big one for me – I am on my second attempt at full carnivore and it’s going even better than the first try, it feels like this is it now and I’m loving it. I was diagnosed with osteo in both hips last year and as long as I move plenty, I’ve had hardly any issues in the past three months and I am hoping it continues. There are races I want to do, I’m not ready to give up sport yet!
    I digress. Thanks for the inspiration.

  4. Great to see how carnivore can also help menopause women. It’s an important female issue that rarely gets ignored and which is very important. I would love to know more success stories like yours for women going through the change as its a very tricky and delicate adaptation period. You’ve given me confidence that it can be done safely as you achieved overcoming menopause symptoms on top of all the other health challenges. Impressive determination indeed.

  5. Congratulations Dawn! So happy for you and thank you for sharing your inspiring story. Today I’m attempting to start the carnivore diet. I’m nervous about failing but your story gave me great hope! Thank you.

  6. Thanks for sharing. I so relate to your story. I have osteoarthritis in both knees and tinnitus as well as aches all over and neuropathy in my feet. Your story has inspired me to do a carnivore diet. I’m sure my family will think I’ve gone crazy but I owe it to myself to give it a go. Thank you so much. God bless you

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