Hana improves mental health on a carnivore diet

Hana is a naturopathic physician working and living in the Hawaiian islands. Over the years, she’s struggled with carb and alcohol addiction, and faced mental health challenges related to bipolar disorder, depression, and ADHD. Now 38 years old, Hana has found success over the last two years following a meat-based diet.

“I grew up as a vegetarian,” she shares. “but in college I discovered the power of eating meat.” She later learned that eating wheat and gluten left her feeling fatigued, tired, and depressed. Describing her battle with depression and seasonal affective disorder, she notes, “When it is hard to brush your teeth, you know you’re depressed!

These struggles eventually led Hana to compulsive overeating, which she attributes to carb and alcohol addiction. Hana believes that, “Overeating is an under-diagnosed and hard to recognize eating disorder. It’s really carb and food addiction to a deep level and it has emotional components as well.”

At her heaviest, Hana weighed 178 lbs, and tried various diets to manage her weight, including gluten-free, low-carb, and paleo diets. She dropped most of her excess weight with Atkins. However, she experienced the all-to-common “carb creep” that sometimes happens with low-carb diets. “I’d eat a little bit of that erythritol in the stevia and then some fruit, and the next I know, I’d progress even farther off the path. Binging on ten dragon fruit is not normal!

After making the decision to cut out the rest of the plants in her diet, Hana says she surprised herself with how much better she felt. She’s been following the carnivore diet for the past two years, and no longer feels guilty for ditching vegetables.

Removing alcohol from her diet was Hana’s final step in discovering better health. “When you struggle with addiction, you have to address them all,” she advises. “It’s easier to be carb-abstinent.” Removing alcohol also lifted Hana’s lingering anxiety.

Hana finds various types of fasting is helpful for curbing her addictive behaviors and for busting through her final weight loss plateau. While fasting is not for everyone, Hana believes it was beneficial to overcome her food addiction. “I was so used to being addicted to food. As long as I re-feed with a nutrient-dense feast, I find that incorporating fasting with my carnivore diet meets my needs and saves me some money as well.”

Hana says, “We all have to figure out what works for us. Some people can get away with a lot more (variation in their diet) and some people can’t.” She’s now better equipped to deal with atypical seasonal affective disorder, bipolar type 2 depression, persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia) and circadian light sensitivity. She enjoys more cognitive clarity, and her executive functioning has improved to the point where she has more motivation to get things done.

And what is Hana’s goal with her patients? “I’d like to see people support each other with species-appropriate nutrition, get more sunshine, and make me obsolete!”

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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