Alright, so this is something I’m not 100% comfortable posting about…which is usually a good litmus test for whether or not I should post about it. I try and keep it real around here – you aren’t just getting the plastic curated social media bullshit from this corner!
Am I making sense? Even a little bit? I’m not so sure because my brain isn’t working all that well these days. Let me explain.
I am on day 8 of the 30-day Carnivore Diet Challenge, which is exactly what it sort of sounds like: 30 days of eating meat. Almost exclusively – other things on the menu include eggs, limited amounts of hard cheeses, heavy cream, butter, and spices/seasonings. You know, being a carnivore. You eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full – no restrictions on how much or how often you eat. Boring? Hell yes. Effective? So far!
Now this is a pretty marked departure from where I usually live and I know how crazy it sounds. I know. I preach moderation to my clients and try to steer clear of extreme diets. Diet religion and sanctimony drive me bonkers. I’ve railed against ketosis and veganism and restriction here numerous times. So WHY?
Well, it started with watching from the sidelines while Mark “Smelly” Bell and Joe Rogan and a few other celebs did the carnivore diet thing in January of this year. You can’t argue with the results that they saw and that led me to do some reading about the risks and possible benefits of an all-meat diet. My husband is a huge Joe Rogan fan and he was excited about trying it; he is all for any plan that eliminates decision-making, and a diet comprised of most of his favorite foods seemed like a perfect idea. For my part, I started February feeling a little panicked about competing at the end of the month; I was over the limit for my weight class and I needed to get pretty strict in order to make weight. I also have a photo shoot booked for the end of the month that I have to take off a lot of clothes for…so for vanity’s sake the prospect of getting (a little more) shredded was attractive. But the biggest reason for me was general health (and again, I KNOW that sounds nuts but hear me out): I have an active pituitary tumour that I’ve written about here before, and my last round of blood work came back abnormal. I could feel that things weren’t quite right so hearing that news wasn’t a huge surprise. I wanted to make some kind of drastic change to how I live to see if I could manage this tumour’s activity more effectively, and I’ve read about the effects ketosis has on tumours, so…it was experiment time.
Suffice it to say that all of these pieces came together with strangely fortuitous timing, which is how I left Costco last Sunday pushing a cart full of steak, salmon, eggs, chicken pieces (WITH bones and skin), bone broth, and a little bit of other food that our kids like to have on hand that my husband and I wouldn’t be eating for the next thirty days such as fruit, vegetables, and grain products.
Want to know how it’s going after a week? Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly – ready?
Weight’s coming off FAST – 3kg this week. Now I know that lots of that is water weight but fat loss is happening too. I can eat as much as I want on this plan…but here’s the thing: I don’t WANT very much. I’m hungry most of the time but the thought of eating more steak or meatballs or eggs is just depressing. Better to just drink some tea or coffee and try not to think about it.
I’m sleeping better than I have in years. This was a surprise as generally if you go to sleep hungry you don’t sleep as well – and I was nervous about sleep on this plan; I suck at sleeping at the best of times. What is actually happening here is that I run out of gas at about 8:30pm, and when I run out of gas, that is IT – I can’t hold my eyes open. So I’ve been going to bed between 8:30 and 9pm, which leaves me rested for when my alarm goes off at 4:30am.
Training hasn’t suffered! This is another thing I was worried about; as I mentioned I am competing on Feb 22nd so ain’t nobody got time for low energy levels and shitty training sessions. I told my husband when I agreed to this that if my training suffered, I was OUT – but that hasn’t happened. Fortunately for me I’m in a sport that doesn’t require sustained energy output because you really do need some carbs for that, but since weightlifting requires all-out effort for a couple of seconds followed by a couple of full minutes’ rest, it’s a pretty good fit.
Eating nothing but meat is freaking expensive. And it’s getting boring. Shocking, I know.
I cannot brain very good lately. Brains need glucose to function well, and getting fully into cruise control where the body can efficiently create glucose from protein and fat takes a little while. It’ll get better. In the meantime, I am making an effort to not open my mouth too much because nonsense comes out and it’s annoying.
I know, I know – ALL of you are wondering about the bathroom thing. Fact is, if you change your diet, you’ll change your poop. Everyone thinks if you eat nothing but protein you’ll get backed up like China National Highway 110, but in most cases the opposite is true: thanks to the higher fat intake on the carnivore diet, most people spend the first couple of weeks squeezing their buttholes closed for dear life. Forewarned is forearmed, however, and so for this first week I was pretty conservative with my intake of just about everything. No client needs to get sprayed with projectile doodoo in the gym while I tell them to stick their elbows in their ears because I can’t remember what body parts go in the place for the exercise. TLDR: not awful but not good either.
On to week 2! Gonna try some new foods to try and stave off the boredom.