The Frustrating Search for Digestive Solutions
It’s New Year’s Eve 2018, and this time last year, I was making lists and action plans for how I might once-and-for-all get to the bottom of my digestion problems. “This will be the year,” I would think as I would set out at the top of that willpower mountain, only to make a steady trail downwards and backward.
I would tell myself, I will drink more water than ever, I’ll eat kale, collards, and spinach, and I’ll cut down on meat to once a week max. I’ll have my plate mostly vegetables.
Endless Attempts and Disappointments
I tried soaking my grains, slow cooking my food, juice fasts, bone broth fasts, water fasts, I tried yoga postures for digestion, a regular evening walk, going vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, gluten-free, grain-free, paleo… I did the Whole Life Challenge three times and the Whole30 several times a year. I tried staying on the Whole30 for 100 days…
I did the GAPs diet. I tried eating only once a day; eating three times a day; grazing all day; not eating after 4 pm. I tried the Low Fodmap diet and the SCD. I saw doctors and specialists; I had abdominal X-rays, ultrasounds, a colonoscopy… I worked with a nutritionist (for a year!), received regular acupuncture, took Chinese herbs, went to naturopaths, did colon cleanses, and saw Mayan Abdominal massage therapists.
A Myriad of Health Issues
At one point, I tested positive for SIBO and stuffed myself with supplements like goldenseal, oil of oregano, bitters, and all manner of digestive enzymes, Berbercap, 5htp, ABD5, Interphase, and Floradix. I did two rounds of Rifaximin and Neomycin, but the SIBO kept coming back.
I was “being so good,” doing everything I was supposed to be doing! I’d see slight improvements, but eventually, all of my symptoms would return. Nothing was actually healing me. And not only was I chronically constipated, but I also had all kinds of mysterious health issues about which doctors would always shrug and say, “Let’s just watch it and see.”
I was always getting “benign tumors,” including a lump under my arm, a lipoma on my shoulder blade, an enchondroma in my finger that caused the bone to fracture, a uterine fibroid, fibrocystic breast tissue…
Discovering the Keto Diet
I had mysterious skin rashes, rosacea, vision problems, and constant whooshing (tinnitus) in my left ear. I had problems falling and staying asleep, and I had bizarre inflammation flare-ups in my joints, including one in my knee that was so debilitating that I could not walk without a cane for several months. I had interstitial cystitis, irregular cycles, and headaches (including ocular migraines), and I was also depressed, anxiety-ridden, and anemic.
There were days when I could manage to go to a barre class, only come home and sit parked in the driveway for half an hour or more, trying to muster the energy to walk to my front door.
I was miserable. I was red-faced and so bloated that I looked five months pregnant. I would wake up with a day planned, and by 10 in the morning, I would have to start canceling things because I was so inflamed/in pain/bloated/exhausted, and emotionally drained. I was missing out on time with my kids, my husband, my friends, my life.
I felt I had tried everything, and I was miserable. And then I tried going keto. I started seeing a slight shift in regularity. I started having more energy and better moods. I was sleeping better.
I started learning everything I could about ketosis and macros! I was tracking and peeing on sticks and trying amazing keto recipes like graham crackers with cream cheese frosting!!
The Micronutrient Dilemma
Then I heard about micronutrients and slammed on the brakes. The fear set in, and I was worried that I might not be getting what I needed if I wasn’t eating my greens and other “superfoods,” so I added collards back in, and immediately the tinnitus came back. I added in berries and avocado, and I became constipated again. My energy dropped, and the mood swings returned.
Embracing Carnivore: A Last Resort
Then one night, I was listening to Anthony Gustin’s podcast and heard Dr. Shawn Baker talking about Carnivore. I thought, you know what? I have tried EVERYthing else… What have I got to lose by trying one more thing? So, I threw my hands up and went Carnivore.
That was September, and now, 4 months later, every single one of those symptoms I mentioned above has disappeared. In six weeks, I went from 156lbs to 127lbs (and have now stopped weighing myself because I couldn’t care less about the scale). I went from CIC (chronic idiopathic constipation) to having several -at least two- bowel movements every day. I can make plans with confidence because I am no longer a slave to mysterious physical and mental health issues.
Claire’s Simple and Nourishing Diet
Today my diet is simple. There is no guesswork, recipe scouring, or fretting over whether this dish is “legal.” I eat mainly beef, pork, elk, and fish. I can have small amounts of cheese, but I don’t do well on eggs or yogurt. I do not miss anything that I used to eat. I do not feel left out when others partake in things I cannot eat because I have my health back, and that is way more delicious than anything else imaginable!
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.