I am a bilingual speech language pathologist, published author, actor and spirit medium. I have 3 amazing children: Seth, Sienna and Syler- who are each a gift and are fulfilling their own path and dreams.
I was a vegan for 6 years, before that I was on low carb way of eating in with a lot of success (for 12 years) and 3 pregnancies. I went vegan for digestive issues (not due to the low carb diet, but due to my dependency of years of laxative use that my digestion could not work on its own). I watched a documentary on veganism and on there they talked about better digestion, and followed recommendation from my GI physician so I decided to give it a try. There was no change in how I felt, or any improvement in my GI symptoms, and actually worsened. I was constantly bloated, I lost a lot of muscle, became skinny fat, despite working out with resistance training. My hair was frizzy and I began losing a lot of it, including my eyelashes and I had to get eyelash extensions. My nails got brittle, my skin was aging so much, due to glycolysis- glycogen end products, which is due to a high sugar/carb diet and lower fats and missing vital nutrients (saturated fats, Vitamin D, K, Omega 3, etc.). I compared how quickly I was aging comparing to my twin sister Mariana who is not a vegan and I had more wrinkles and was looking older than her, my weight fluctuated, I had to reduce calories to see results (for cutting in the gym) and exercise more! I had mood fluctuations, ups/downs, and energy swings, and would even get depressed (due to a low fat diet). My weight would fluctuate, and had to calorie restrict to see very minimal changes. There was increased inflammation in my body, I developed severe IBS, increased toxicity, tooth decay/teeth problems, low thyroid function, migraines, malabsorption of nutrients, hormonal imbalance, insulin- resistant, always tired, lack of energy/libido, premature aging, mineral and nutritional deficiency, mood swings, leaky gut, cognitive decline, and memory problems. So I did not like how I was feeling or looking and had to do something about it!
I ended my vegan diet June 2018 and I went back to my low carb life- but this time adopting a Ketogenic diet focused on carnivore approach. After thoroughly researching scientific /research data that supports Ketogenic diets as a therapeutic dietary support, and found huge benefits, such as: reducing inflammation, reducing/eliminating/controlling seizures, epilepsy, treating diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, lower blood pressure, lower triglycerides, better cholesterol profiles, PCOS, many neurological and metabolic diseases, cancer, autism, ADHD, mood disorders, decreasing inflammation (which improves acne, arthritis, eczema, psoriasis, IBS, pain), Keeping uric acid levels in check (helping kidney function and preventing gout) and much more!
Initially, I worked with several ketogenic/carnivore nutritionists, doctors, coaches, who provided amazing new research that has shown the benefits of eating meat.
I have learned that food can truly heal your body and mind. When you see food as the fuel you can give your body, so it runs efficiently, you realize that the focus lies on the quality macros that will make your body the best that it can be and heal all sorts of ailments without medication or surgery. You focus on health- rather than just esthetics. I also learned that we are constantly being fed misinformation from the media, medical and nutritional advice that is outdated and so flawed that people are adopting plant-based/vegan diets and/or reducing fats and meat. I know this is an upward battle, but it is worth the fight!
I love seeing so much new research being conducted, and having advocates like Dr. Baker, Dr. Champ, Dr. Ede, Dr. Eenfelt, Dr. Westman, Dr. Peterman, Dr. Gustin, Dr. D’Agostino, Dr. Volek, Dr. Phinney, Dr. Mason, Dr. Scher, Dr. Fettke, Dr. Noakes, Dr. Fung, writer/researcher Gary Taubes, nutritionis Maria Emmerich, and many more!…to provide research-based information that is contrary to what we have been told, and healing people along the way! These pioneers are healing cancer, diabetes, neurological diseases, autoimmune disorders, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, inflammation, heart disease and much much more!
Robert H. Lustig, MD, UCSF Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology, has done so much research and has data from case studies that highlight the damage caused by sugary foods. He argues that fructose appear to be cornerstones of the obesity epidemic through their effects on insulin. He has wonderful videos on youtube and his website (https://robertlustig.com/)
Also seeing so many success stories is a hopeful step! So many ex-vegans and people adopting a Keto/Carnivore diet have increased twofold in the last few years, that the data in these case studies have value, and will hopefully change the status quo- which is evidently not working, as we realize that we are getting sicker, fatter and advancing our aging process with the standard medical/nutritional advice. Research shows that 80% of people who go vegans/vegetarians go back to eating meat and leaving such a lifestyle. I just recently connected with an ex-vegan pioneer in Australia- Katya Arbusoff- who was a vegan for over 30 years, has now adopted a carnivorous lifestyle focusing on ancestral eating- eating from the animal kingdom. She has a Facebook group called “Katya’s Wisdom”- where many ex-vegans from different walks of life can support each other in the transition, and it is just amazing to see how many stories of deficiencies tally up. There are many other such groups on Facebook, such as “Restoration health vegan recovery group”- was my support group as I transitioned out of veganism. Also, with so many baby deaths occurring from their parents feeding them a vegan diet, more restrictions are being talked about with regards to babies, and young children eating a vegan diet, which have shown to damage their health, brains, developmental milestones, causing severe malnutrition and even death! Many vegan parents have gone to jail and is such a sad situation that can easily be prevented. Therefore, no child or baby should be fed a deficient vegan diet. Therefore, this whole notion of a vegan agenda is truly preposterous, because there are many people who could not follow a vegan/plant-based diet without damaging their health and even cause death. Who are those people? People with autoimmune disorders, Hashimoto’s Disease, graves disease, Crohn’s Disease, diabetes, heart disease, IBS/Gut issues, joint issues, mood, people with lymes disease, neurological disorders, babies, children and the elderly. I always recommend people to read more research studies, data coming from many physicians seeking to bring the truth to light.
I always recommend documentaries such as “The Perfect Human Diet”, “Fat- a documentary”, “The Magic Pill” and “That Sugar Film”, so people can learn the truth behind nutrition and health and re-learn what is the BEST and optimal way for humans to heal and thrive. Since switching from a vegan diet, I received so much hate and nasty messages- it was a war against the vegans! It is interesting that people take such labels to heart, to the point of aggression. Many vegans love to claim that Einstein was a vegan and little do they know, that Einstein was a vegetarian (not a vegan), the last couple years of his life- when he was in his 70s-, decades after many of his most important scientific breakthroughs. Thus, all of his scientific breakthroughs occurred when he ate meat! The only reason he followed a vegetarian diet was due to chronic digestive distress and he received the same outdated, flawed misinformation that I received from my own GI doctor that actually worsened my GI issues- of eating more vegetables and fiber! So there you have it, so much misinformation still circles around, but if you are interested, you can find the truth with a little searching.
Another interesting study out there that compares vegan brains vs. meat-eater brains- The study said those on a meat-free diet are six times more likely to suffer brain shrinkage as the most vitamin B12 is found in meats, liver, fish and milk. According to the study, vitamin B12 protects older people against brain shrinkage. Deficiency of vitamin B12 can cause inflammation of the nervous system. These brains were not only smaller but experience cognitive decline. Another similar brain study highlights that choline is an essential dietary nutrient, but the amount produced by the liver is not enough to meet the requirements of the human body. Choline is critical to brain health, particularly during fetal development. It also influences liver function, with shortfalls linked to irregularities in blood fat metabolism as well as excess free radical cellular damage, writes Dr. Derbyshire. Therefore, eating a vegan or plant-based diet can be bad for your brain health, especially if you already have a low choline intake, researchers report. The primary sources of dietary choline are found in beef, eggs, dairy products, fish, and chicken, with very low levels found in nuts, beans, and cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli. Many of the studies concluded, that many of the cognitive deficiencies/decline and atrophy may be restored after adopting a meat diet, but many faculties may not be reversed or restored.
This is exactly what I experienced as a vegan- I was constantly lethargic, had mental fog, very slow to process information, I had many errors writing reports and took me twice as long. I felt I was in a constant haze and I felt irritable, depressed, irrational and experience mood swings. I just could not function, and my kids were scared of my emotional reactions! I was out of control.
I pretty much eat similarly to 2018, I focus 90-100% on the animal kingdom and from time to time, I do have avocado, and a little bit of dark chocolate or a Keto meal/recipe, especially if I am traveling, in the weekends, or social events. The important thing is to focus on health and not being too rigid and being more flexible when uncontrolled life situations occurs. This overall approach has allowed me to continue to live a Ketogenic lifestyle and still enjoy a few “keto” treats from time to time. I do consume some coffee, I do implement Swiss water press decaf coffee, as to reduce my caffeine intake overall, so I may have about 1 cup of coffee per day, sometimes 2- especially in the winter time. For now, this amount of caffeine does not bother me, this may change down the road, as I always like to experiment. My diet consists overall of meat and fat the rest can be a mixture of other animal products: eggs, fish, poultry, etc. From time to time, I have a bit of dairy products- like cheese and heavy cream- but this is minimal and I take collage peptides daily. For me it is critical to include fat that comes from butter (grass-fed), ghee, beef tallow, etc. I make sure to have between 140-200 grams a fat per day coming from these sources and at times, I have also have avocado. On average, I consume around 2000 calories, sometimes more, sometimes less. Just depends on the day. I used to count my macros, but find it that it is no longer necessary. I just eat when I am hungry and stop when I am full. I used to do intermittent fasting, which I sometimes implement a day or two a month, but for me- I realize eating breakfast is more effective in regards to fatless and overall improved blood sugar levels. Therefore, I have been eating 3 meals a day and sometimes a snack. I focus on my own hunger signals, and how I feel.
I have had no setbacks at all- quite the contrary. I have continued to heal. My gut-issues have healed 100%, my skin, hair and nails have restored from the damage of veganism. I actually have much less wrinkles than when I was a vegan! This is saying a lot- since I am going against the clock, so I definitely feel more youthful, energetic and strong. My face is plumper, and has a healthy glow.
There is also research on the damaging effects of sugar on your skin and that includes fructose (sugar derived from fruit). This is due to “Advanced glycation end products” (AGEs) are proteins or lipids that become glycated as a result of exposure to sugars. They can be a factor in aging and in the development or worsening of many degenerative diseases, such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, chronic kidney disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Research has shown that aging is accelerated by sugar. Without getting too technical, at the end of each strand of our DNA is a little cap, called a telomere, which protects our DNA from damage. Every time our DNA is read and duplicated, those telomeres shorten. While our bodies normally replace those telomeres, sugar quickens that shortening, and thereby, advances the aging process (Increased acne, Appearance of wrinkles, sagging in neck and chin, Development of dark spots, Slower healing of cuts, scraps, etc.). To reverse the effects of sugar, Dr. Nish (one of many researches) says we can reduce the metabolic consequences of sugar (diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome) and possibly some of the aging aspects. But, unfortunately, we’ll be stuck with some of the skin changes associated with ingested sugar. This occurred firsthand to me when I became a vegan. I have a post on IG where I show this damage in pictures- I aged so much! I have a twin sister who was never vegan and during this time, I looked almost 10 years older than her. Wrinkles cut my skin, I lost all the youthful fat, I had hollow depressions around my eyes, gaunt cheeks and I looked so bad. Therefore- I am staying AWAY from sugar! I do not want to accelerate my skins aging. You can see this in many vegans- they have premature aging- and their skin is the first sign you see this. Dr. Nish encourages people to start getting rid of sugar early in life. This is particularly important in pregnant mothers. Remember, what’s going on in your skin is going on everywhere in your body. Our skin is just an external display of everything that’s happening inside our bodies.
My mental fog is non-existent, no more depression, or mood swings. I am always happy, positive and calm. I do not get sick! I have had only 2 cold (that lasted 2 days), since I started keto/carnivore. I work in schools, as a Speech Pathologist, so I am constantly working with sick kids and my immune system is strong, keeping illness at bay. My pre-diabetic state is gone, no more inflammation and healthier than ever.
My cholesterol is at a healthiest level ever! I want to address cholesterol- because Ketogenic diets get a bad rap regarding this issue. Cholesterol does not correlate to heart disease, but inflammation due to high sugar in our diet does. Studies show that the higher your cholesterol the longer your lifespan and your health. The fact that doctors are still prescribing statins when people get a cholesterol reading higher than 200 is just bogus, and is ancient outdated advice that is like it came from the middle ages. This is no longer the case. In fact, many studies associating dietary cholesterol, high cholesterol levels, and an increased risk of heart disease have since been debunked[*]. The true measure of a heart attack would be a Coronary artery calcium test (CAC) that ranges from 0-100. The test uses computed tomography (CT) to check for calcium buildup in plaque on the walls of the coronary arteries. The higher your calcium score, the higher your risk for a heart attack. I am including three wonderful resources written by doctors and a nutritionist to explain this further:
My body has overall improved (even with less exercise), I am naturally curvy- a small waist and curvy hips/bottom, and strong/lean abs, so it is nice to keep a lean, curvy, flat stomach, yet strong, frame, which is a size 0-00, XS, and keep a weight between 114-118. Sure, there is always room for improvement, but I am overall happy with my figure, especially after having 3 kids, and being a 42 year old active single mom! Best of all I do not have to kill myself at the gym (even though I love to train and I do it because I love it). People think I have good genetics, which I do believe is 50% of my success, the other 50% is definitely leading a Carnivore/Keto lifestyle. I have found the Holy Grail! I am enjoying the best health possible, and will continue eating this way indefinitely.
I actually work out less than when I was a vegan which I used to be in the gym 6-7 days per week. Now I have a home gym, and have a pilates machine, so do resitance training 4-5 times per week, and cardio- biking (30-40 minutes) 5 times per week, I never run, to avoid knee/joint injuries. I stretch and breathe in between exercises to reduce cortisol levels while exercising.
Even my spirituality practice has improved. Many people believe that you must be vegan to develop your spirituality/spiritual gifts, this is not so. His holiness, the Dalai Lama used to be vegan and got ill, and he went back to eating meat. So eating vegan/plant-based is not prerequisite to developing your spiritual gifts/practice. I am very conscious of my food source, I seek out grass feed, free range and organic as much as I can and honor my food source that nurtures my body as the native Americans did. We are all a part of the circle of life, which one day our bodies will return to Mother earth womb.
I urge people to educate themselves and re-learn everything you think you know about nutrition and health. Veganism is NOT a sustainable long term way of eating…I am NOT the only one…so many vegans I know from different circles, or some of my vegan hero’s/heroines- I would look up to and admire- have too stopped being vegan for the same reasons/struggles/issues. Many people feel better at first, but over time, the vegan diet starts causing all sorts of issues. Children should never eat a vegan diet, so many research articles and cases showing the dangers of veganism on children. Understand how your body works and what it needs to survive, and thrive. It was very hard to detach from the “Vegan” label, but what is a label worth, if it destroys the very thing you are trying to attain? I know many people are in different points along their journey on health, so I wish I would have learned this a lot sooner….there’s many Facebook groups “Recovering Vegans” and YouTube stories of “Ex-Vegans”….if anyone is doubtful, just research a little and you’ll find the ugly truth. The information is out there, you just have to be unbiased and realize you may be wrong, but accepting that and moving forward with change takes risk and being brave, but you and your health are worth it.
My life has improved since changing my diet. I do a lot of things on a day by day basis, including many work projects, personal projects (weight training, books, films, screenplays) and keeping up with being a busy mom (home life, cleaning, extra-curricular kids activities, etc.) that I have all the steady energy and mental focus to do it all! I have become a Super-Woman and I owe it to my new way of life and eating.
I have had quite a journey regarding my health. All my life I have been very much into fitness and nutrition. I almost became a nutritionist, but decided on Speech/Language Pathology- but took a ton of nutrition coursework and love reading and researching the science about our physiology, hormones and how macros interact with our body. It hasn’t always been easy for me, I have tried so many things in the past! (I came from a dieting background). I give everything I do 100% but something would always fall short. My goal has always been to FEEL good and regain my health, not just look a certain way! Because health starts from within. I urge any person implementing a Keto diet to have patience in the process, especially if you are coming from a deficient way of eating or have metabolic damage. Give your body time to heal, allow it to trust you again, and you will definitely reap the benefits of this way of life. It’s not always about the scale, it’s about changing the way you feel.
I always remind people, to do their own research. To not just believe something as truth. By taking this approach, you will do your own research to learn the truth. I even urge you not to believe what I say- go out and do the research yourself and experiment on yourself. All I can say is that this lifestyle is what saved my life and gave me back my health. I got a second change to live my best life and I am part of the collective who is trying to make a change.
You can contact with Mariela on social media/website/blog:
Listen to Mariela’s story on the MeatRx.com podcast.