Paola grew up in Panama and described her early diet as the “standard Panamanian diet.” Though she grew up eating a lot of meat and very few grains like bread and pasta, Paola says in Panama, everything is fried. So her diet was very high in carbohydrates and seed oils. However, Paola says she was very active as a child and would notice some issues with her gut here and there, but nothing life-altering.
It wasn’t until a trip to Spain at the age of 23 that Paola started to see significant changes in her health. She began to experience debilitating pain in her knees while in Spain. Initially, Paola blamed it on her boots and the weather, but the pain remained when she returned home from Panama. She sought a doctor, who diagnosed her with osteoarthritis. She was put on anti-inflammatory medications and told to reduce her workouts from lifting weights to simple walking.
Paola felt very sad that she received a diagnosis for “old people” at such a young age. She began to do some research and stumbled across eating gluten-free. Paola began to realize that though her previous diet was high-carb, it wasn’t until she started traveling that she ate a lot of gluten. So she became gluten-free and started seeing minor improvements in her pain and health.
Around this time, Paola moved to Canada for grad school. She says between the lack of sun in Canada and her terrible diet; her health began to deteriorate again quickly. While in Canada, Paola met her now husband. Like most relationships, she started eating more food with her then-boyfriend. She would find herself practically passing out at night due to sheer exhaustion.
She searched on Google and found the “Keto King.” Paola describes having a love of eating fatty meats, so utilizing fat sounded terrific for her. After a few weeks of following the ketogenic diet, she felt very calm and saw improvement in her acne and gut issues.
However, her keto results were short-lived. After two years of following the keto lifestyle, her hormonal acne returned, and she struggled again with her digestion. She describes having such severe constipation that she dreaded using the restroom. While searching for answers, she found Mikayla Peterson, an advocate for the carnivore diet. From there, she began to listen to Dr. Shawn Baker’s podcast to learn all she could about this “crazy diet.”
After one year of following the carnivore way of life, Paola’s hormonal acne is gone. She no longer struggles with constipation, and her pain and inflammation were significantly reduced. Paola does describe experiencing acid reflux while on the carnivore diet; however, she has found consuming apple cider vinegar helps relieve her symptoms.
Paola shared that the carnivore diet has been easier than she thought it would be. Today she eats three meals a day which typically include all meats and some dairy for energy. A typical workday for her consists of breakfast which usually includes eggs, bacon, and yogurt, sometimes with berries. For lunch, while she is working, she has found that eating raw meat is easier for her to digest. However, at home, her body tends to digest cooked meat without issues, and she even fasts for up to eighteen hours on the weekends.
Paola says the most important thing to remember when becoming a carnivore diet follower “is do what works for you.” She has found stress plays a role in her digestion, and she admits to still experimenting with what works best for her body. She also says in the end, “what’s important… meat heals.” Her body has been healing immensely with this way of life, and she is very thankful for the health journey she has been following.