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.