Melissa improved energy levels, mental health, inflammation on carnivore diet

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 I am celebrating one year of carnivory, and so I thought it might be helpful to share and document the reasons for choosing this WOE, the symptoms I experienced before this WOE, my background and the current benefits I’m enjoying thus far. 

 
First, I was raised by a very health conscious mother who my relatives would lovingly tease, saying things like, “How old was M when she had her first cookie? 10 years old?”  Meat, cheese, grains, fruits and vegetables were a regular part of our diet, which was considered healthy in the 80s, and I was usually the only child at school with whole wheat bread for my sandwich. Oh, how I wished I could have Wonder Bread like my friends! 🙂  
 
Fast forward through the years, and my weight constantly fluctuated. I just thought I had to exercise to keep up with my appetite. I became a serious athlete in high school and college, and so I managed to keep my weight in check. But no sooner had I walked the stage and received my undergraduate degree where the rigorous twice-a-day practices ceased (without changing my diet), I’d gained a cool 20lbs almost overnight and saw saddlebags on my legs for the first time.  I freaked out and began training and coaching track and field, so I was able to keep my weight down, however, other symptoms began to arise; inflammation, sore joints, back, neck, etc.  I chalked it up to years of weight lifting and beating myself up, and decided I just needed to “keep moving” to distract from the pain.  This would go on for more than a decade, with weight fluctuating and exercise increasing to help stave off extra weight and joint pain.  
 
After my husband and I got married, along with weight gain (which I attributed to the stress of our many moves for school, and lack of consistent routines), I experienced severe joint pain and fatigue,too.  A doctor’s visit revealed I had hypothyroidism.  They wanted to start me on medication, but I refused. Symptoms of fatigue and joint pain would wax and wane for the next few years, then I became pregnant with our son.  First time pregnancy, along with another move made me not care what I ate outside of doctor’s orders. I gained over 50 lbs, reaching my heaviest at around 250lbs before our son was born.  
 
Desperate for a health revamp, which is typical of most new moms, I went to googling in 2011. Veganism, smoothie and juice fasts were all the rage, so I dove right in. Within 9 months, I’d lost 80lbs! I never thought I’d see 159lbs ever again in my life! I actually felt good, too, for a while, with soaring energy (well, when you have 80lbs of energy stored up, along with the relative benefits of fasting for swaths of time, it all makes sense) and a new lease on life as a new, thinner mom. Plus, after reading all the plant-based literature, gurus, and documentaries out there (Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, The China Study-Dr. T Colin Campbell, Dr. Furhman, Victoria Boutenko, Freelee the Banana Girl, and many, many others), I thought plant-based eating was the holy grail to health. Mind you, I did not do this for animal ethical reasons, I just truly believed plants were the answer and key to good health.  My sister and I even started a blog about it. We were serious evangelists (in our small social media circle). We’d converted several of our family members and friends to start juicing and eating more plants. My sister, while not as strict as me, lost 70 lbs and became a personal trainer, so people were seeing the changes in both of us and became convinced there was some validity to what we were doing.  
 
However, by the time I weaned my son at 26 months (2013), what was an easy 165-170lb maintenance (I’m 5’11”) started to not be so easy, and the weight would creep back up to the 180s and beyond.  I thought I just had to exercise more since I was no longer nursing. Well, that didn’t work sustainably on several fronts. The fatigue returned and I was unable to stay on the plant based diet. I would crave eggs and meat, and would cave in and “indulge,” but would feel guilty eating them because I seriously thought I was harming my body with all the protein and fat, when in actuality my body was yelling at me exactly that!  Add to that, my dental and mental (ha, that rhymed) health started to go south, with three chipped teeth, and anxiety and depression to boot.  
 
We moved once again for my husband’s job in 2013, and I found a natural clinic that did muscle response testing, which is a fascinating technique. THey also told me I had pre-diabetic markers. They completely shifted my mindset by telling me I needed meat, organs and bone broths to improve my health. I thought they were crazy.  But they were helping me. I saw various improvements, and in talking with them more and doing some research about a ketogenic diet, I decided to try it. Within 6 months I’d gone from 216lbs to 182lbs, and I felt good again!   That was 2016. 
 
2017 was one of the most difficult years for us as a family, and me personally. We had to leave my husband’s job that he/we loved, and moved into a bedroom at my mother and stepfather’s house until my hubby could find another job. All of our belongings remained in a storage unit hundreds of miles away, my son slept in a cot next to us, and we only took the bare essentials of clothing and important documents in our cars for an entire year. Meanwhile, my mother was suffering from cancer, and she sadly died in December 2017.   I was thankful to be able to be with her so intimately her last days, but it was a shock on so many levels to us.  Three months later, we moved 2,000 miles away where my husband had found a job. 
 
That brings us to 2018. We’d moved, I was grieving the loss of my mother and being so far away from my family, and my health was terrible. By the grace of God, He gave me strength to think about what had helped me in the past regain some semblance of health, and I remembered the ketogenic diet.  I started googling and researching, and, as so many of you have said before, stumbled on the Joe Rogan podcast with both Jordan Peterson and Shawn Baker.  They both intrigued and frightened me. All meat? Surely this was going to kill me or give me cancer, and fast! But after reading so many testimonials on meatheals.com, and even though I didn’t know everything, I felt confident that even if this WOE would give me fewer great days than many horrible ones, I decided at least a 30 day experiment would be in order. 
 
Which is to say, that here I am 1 year later, still eating carnivore consistently.  Here are the many MANY benefits I’ve experienced:
 
-I am 31lbs lighter (I went from 207lbs to now 177lbs). Not a lot for some on this diet, but my body composition has changed dramatically, where I’ve lost incredible amounts of inches!
-Bloodwork came back great, all the things within normal ranges, and my thyroid panel is completely normal!
-No more fatigue or regular naps during the day after doing nothing
-NO MORE JOINT PAIN or INFLAMMATION! 
-Mental health is fantastic. 
-Skin is smoother, tighter and tanner (instead of burning easily in the past)
-Little to no pms
-Consistently satiated
-More emotionally stable. Feel more confident about life and looking forward to the future.  
 
There are probably some things that I am forgetting, but like so many of the stories you read, carnivore has definitely changed my life for the better. Like so many, I went through the keto flu symptoms for the first few weeks, and felt even lower energy for the first three months; but the weight loss and mental health benefits were immediate, so that (along with all these stories and words of encouragement on various Facebook groups) was convincing enough for me to stay the course.  
 
I’m so thankful for finding this WOE, this website and the many individuals here and on social media who have shared and continue to share their stories.  I don’t claim that this is the only way to eat or live, but it’s certainly been working well for me, and I look forward to seeing additional benefits as I continue on this path.  I wish you all good health until the day our Lord takes us home. Either way, here or in heaven, I’ll be feasting sumptuously … I just rejoice in the day I get to do it again with my mom face to face. <3 <3 <3 🙂 
 
All the best. 
M.A.D.

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