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Zero-carb eating (human carnivorism) = awesome!

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Author Topic: Zero-carb eating (human carnivorism) = awesome!  (Read 63931 times)

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dshack

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Zero-carb eating (human carnivorism) = awesome!
« on: October 28, 2009, 04:10:21 PM »

Has anyone else tried a carnivorous diet? I found a group of people that claimed to eat nothing but beef and water, supplemented occasionally with eggs, cheese, and other meat. No veggies, no fruit, no carbs whatsoever. Sounded crazy, but I've been doing it for about two weeks now, and here are my findings:

-Way better, more accurate appetite suppression than oil or sugar. I rarely get hungry, and when I do it's because my body really needs food (ie I haven't eaten in a long, long time).

-I never feel bloated after meals. Even after a big steak, my stomach looks and feels about like it did before.

-My energy levels stay very constant over the day- I don't crash when I'm hungry or while digesting a big meal. I was tired for the first few days, but it passed.

-I've slimmed/toned up quite a bit. No idea about pounds, since I wasn't overweight to start, but I'm definitely in better shape.

-The best part? I sleep like a baby! I've always had insomnia, and Seth's standing-on-one-leg trick did a little for me, but once I went zero-carb, all of my sleep problems went away.

Anyway, since you guys are all self-experimenters, I was wondering if you had tried anything similar.
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karky

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Re: Zero-carb eating (human carnivorism) = awesome!
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2009, 04:44:40 PM »

Someone was doing something like that a while ago, but haven't posted in a while.  I forget their name.  They were talking about an Inuit type diet.

Don't forget your vitamin supplements.  Scurvy is a real drag.
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dshack

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Re: Zero-carb eating (human carnivorism) = awesome!
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2009, 04:49:03 PM »

"Vilhjalmur Stefansson, an arctic explorer who lived among the Eskimos, proved that the all meat diet they consumed did not lead to vitamin deficiencies. He participated in a study in New York's Bellevue Hospital in 1935, where he and a companion ate nothing but meat for a year while under close medical observation, yet remained in good health."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scurvy

Hardcore believers in zero-carbism don't take supplements. I take 5,000 IU's Vitamin D, a multivitamin, and fish oil, and once I've been doing it longer I may play around with eliminating some of those.
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nougat

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Re: Zero-carb eating (human carnivorism) = awesome!
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2009, 10:52:19 PM »

i've been doing 'protein power' which is lo-carb for some months with some weight loss.
i think i would find 0-carb very difficult to do...  and expensive! :)
what about bowel problems??  everything seemed to 'slow down'  when i started lo-carb.
i must also say that i have experienced most of the good effects you mentioned.
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dshack

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Re: Zero-carb eating (human carnivorism) = awesome!
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2009, 11:39:36 PM »

Expensive? You can find quality meat for about $3/lb, and a pound of beef probably gets you 1000-1100 calories. Less cost-effective than bread, sugar, and some grains/legumes, but way more nutrition for your money than a lot of veggies. I'm a college student, and probably spend $7-8 a day on food.

Bowel problems tend to be a symptom of people hearing "lo-carb," and thinking "high veggie/high protein" instead of "high fat." High-fat diets tend to be very easy to digest, eliminating the need for rough fiber to clear out the intestine.
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nougat

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Re: Zero-carb eating (human carnivorism) = awesome!
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2009, 04:57:03 AM »

'protein power' lo carb is also higher fat.  its not the 'usual' lo-carb.  no 'lo-fat' foods and good oils and fats included.
i think what is expensive and/or affordable is relative. 
it has taken some months of this diet for my bowels to settle into a 'new routine' :)
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goblyn

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Re: Zero-carb eating (human carnivorism) = awesome!
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2009, 06:47:01 AM »

My only ONLY complaint with this diet (and believe me, I think anything that works for anyone should be the diet they do, be it vegan, omnivorous or carnivorous) is that in nature even carnivores eat SOME type of non meat product occasionally.  Large predators will still eat fruits and nuts occasionally, and also occasionally eat green leafy veggies to help digestive issues.  Granted we're not talking about regular daily consumption, but when fruits are in season even the most ferocious of carnivore will eat them.

So nothing eats ONLY meat, and even those that do seem to eat only meat (I'm thinking polar bears right now), remember they are usually eating prey that itself eats veggies, and unlike humans, they're eating the entire digestive tract as well so they eat small amounts of undigested vegetable food.

However, this isn't to discourage you, but just something to keep in mind.  Otherwise I think your diet makes sense, at the heart of the matter you're eating nothing but unprocessed foods, no diet soda or artificial colors or preservatives (provided you aren't eating cured meats too), so while this might not be a diet for everyone, it obviously works for you.

I have to ask though, how did you do with carb withdrawal?  Whenever I have tried low carbing I had crazy carb withdrawal issues, where I would have killed someone for a piece of bread, but of course I was still consuming some carbs.  So I'm curious how it worked with completely 0 carbs.

Also how frequently do you eat and how much?  And what does a meal consist of for you?  Are you seasoning your meat or eating it completely natural?  Raw or cooked?
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dshack

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Re: Zero-carb eating (human carnivorism) = awesome!
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2009, 08:54:43 AM »

My only ONLY complaint with this diet (and believe me, I think anything that works for anyone should be the diet they do, be it vegan, omnivorous or carnivorous) is that in nature even carnivores eat SOME type of non meat product occasionally.  Large predators will still eat fruits and nuts occasionally, and also occasionally eat green leafy veggies to help digestive issues.  Granted we're not talking about regular daily consumption, but when fruits are in season even the most ferocious of carnivore will eat them.

Absolutely no argument here. A ferocious carnivore would also eat a loaf of wonderbread, most likely. Fruits and nuts taste great because they're dense in energy, and if you're struggling to get daily calories or building up fat to hibernate for the winter, they're wonderful.

So nothing eats ONLY meat, and even those that do seem to eat only meat (I'm thinking polar bears right now), remember they are usually eating prey that itself eats veggies, and unlike humans, they're eating the entire digestive tract as well so they eat small amounts of undigested vegetable food.

The question is not whether they inadvertently eat vegetables, but whether they need to, and whether said veggies make up any significant part of their diet. To be honest, I have no idea. It makes sense that elephants, cows, and many other mammals would have undigested plants inside them, but the polar bear is a poor example- the majority of its diet is seals, which are also carnivorous.

I have to ask though, how did you do with carb withdrawal?  Whenever I have tried low carbing I had crazy carb withdrawal issues, where I would have killed someone for a piece of bread, but of course I was still consuming some carbs.  So I'm curious how it worked with completely 0 carbs.

I expected heavy carb withdrawl, but never really encountered it. I kept meat/nuts/cheese in the fridge, and if I was hungry, I ate those. At first I ate when I craved carbs, but within a few days, I ate because I was simply hungry. I should also note that I did a quasi-paleo diet with no sugars or refined grains for a few weeks before starting this, so the transition was pretty easy. That diet probably had me consuming 100-150g carbohydrates every day, mostly from fruit, yogurt, and legumes. I had significantly fewer carbs to cut out than someone on a standard american diet.

Also how frequently do you eat and how much?  And what does a meal consist of for you?  Are you seasoning your meat or eating it completely natural?  Raw or cooked?


I eat 2-4 times a day. People that have been doing it longer tend to eat 1-3 times a day. Here's what a typical day looks like for me:

-Breakfast: 4-egg omlette, sometimes with cheese (on a whim) or chicken (if I feel like I'm low on protein)

-Lunch: Chicken breast, hamburger (no bun, cheese optional), or sausage. Sometimes nuts.

-Dinner: Steak, 8-16oz.

-Post-dinner: nuts and/or cheese if I get hungry (happens if I eat early and stay up late)

Seasoning: I play around, but the longer I do this, the less seasoning I need. I try to avoid salt, because it makes me thirsty and sometimes triggers carb cravings. Once I stopped eating salt, my tastebuds got much more sensitive to other flavors, and I'll usually top off my meat with a little chili powder, italian seasoning blend, or a homemade marinade (Olive oil + some sort of vinegar + a few spices). I use black pepper and garlic heavily, and salt my eggs a tiny bit, because they get bland otherwise. To be honest, though, if it's a good-quality steak cooked medium rare in butter, I can be satisfied with no spices whatsoever. My experiences make me wonder whether the lack of hunger could be related to flavor- by the standards I used to use, my day is much lighter, possibly more so than someone eating a normal diet and drinking olive oil or sugar water.

Cooking: I shoot for rare to medium rare, but I'm not the best steak chef yet, so sometimes it comes out medium. I cook frozen meat all the way through. I've heard good things about raw meat and eggs, but it sounds gross to me.

One more thought: I used to consider myself a foodie. I loved spices, loved salt, loved beer, bread, ice cream, crackers, and pastries. I loved ethnic food, and when I traveled abroad, would revel in experiencing the local cuisine. When I first read about it, I thought a carnivorous diet would be boring, bland, and cut out a natural, wonderful part of human culture, and felt that it would be impossible to keep up for more than a day or two. Once I adapted, though, I lost all desire for carbohydrates, and while food pictures are still pretty, they don't look that appetizing anymore, nor do they trigger much of an insulin response.
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goblyn

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Re: Zero-carb eating (human carnivorism) = awesome!
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2009, 09:21:07 AM »

If you eat nuts, aren't you therefore having some carbs?  Same with sausage and cheese?

Though your diet sounds like its working well for you (I can imagine it would, sounds like you're not taking in all that many calories when you sit down and think about it), I just don't find enough of the diet appealing to me personally to go about doing it for an extended period of time, but I could see doing it for maybe a week or two to restart your metabolism or similar.

I have long considered doing a strict paleolithic style diet, but know that I could never give up certain foods like cheese. 

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dshack

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Re: Zero-carb eating (human carnivorism) = awesome!
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2009, 09:30:16 AM »

I bought the nuts at costco before I knew I was starting this, and don't want to waste food. They're nice sources of fat, but I won't be buying more. Same with sausage.

Cheese is an animal product, totally okay within the bounds of this diet. Most good cheese has <1g carbs. If I could find uncured sausage that would be okay, be it's rare. I'll be getting more carnivorously kosher as my food gets used up.

Calorie intake: I don't really count. My weight never fluctuates by more than about 10lb (13% of my total mass), so I judge health by how fast I feel, how easily I move heavy things, and how good I look without any clothes. If I was to ballpark, though:
Breakfast:
4 eggs: 320kcal
Butter: 100=150kcal

Lunch:
2 sausages or 3 chicken breasts: 500ish
Butter: 100-150kcal

Dinner:
Steak: 600-800kcal
Butter: 100-200kcal

Snacks/other:
Cheese, 2-5oz: 150-400kcal
Nuts: 200kcal

So in a day, that's upwards of 2,000, which I think is enough for a 130lb guy, no?
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sdeshwood

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Re: Zero-carb eating (human carnivorism) = awesome!
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2009, 10:15:53 AM »

Interesting, monky- I have been curious about the all-meat diet myself although I pretty much know I couldn't deal with it.  I practice a low-carb diet a la Atkins (high fat, moderate protein, low carb) and I find it pretty satisfying.  I definitely notice a huge change in appetite, satiety and many of the positive changes you have noticed from going all carnivore. 

My only concern would be whether the meat we get is really as nutritious as animal meat would have been in cave-man times.  Back then the cattle or bison we ate would have ranged around, getting plenty of exercise and eating lots of grass and plants.  Chicken would probably scratch around eating seeds and grubs (I don't really know what chickens eat in the wild.)  Now cattle is raised on grain and crap they wouldn't have eaten in the wild and they get no exercise.  That's why I try to only buy organic, free-range, grass-fed, bla bla bla- but I think that's where this diet gets expensive (I agree with you, nougat!  Veggies are way cheaper than that grass-fed flank steak!)  I have found organic, nitrate-free sausage aplenty at whole foods, which helps ease the budget a bit.  I'm wondering what kind of meat you get for $3 a lb.?!!  The only items I can find that cheaply are chicken drumsticks or legs, which are admittedly pretty delicious with the skin on, browned in butter and then roasted.
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dshack

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Re: Zero-carb eating (human carnivorism) = awesome!
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2009, 10:47:39 AM »

$3/lb buys me boneless cuts of chuck roast, and occasionally other steak cuts, and far less than that buys chicken and pork (I'm not really a pork guy, though).

The question about relative nutrition of grass-fed vs grain-fed is an interesting one. Grass-fed meat has more Omega-3 fatty acids, but besides that, I have no idea how different they are.

Where do the bulk of your calories come from in a vegetarian/grain diet? How much do they cost?
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August

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Re: Zero-carb eating (human carnivorism) = awesome!
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2009, 12:10:23 PM »

My diet trends toward yours.  I have limes and xylitol at home to make a little limeade with if I feel low on vitamin C, I do occasionally get some fruit or some vegetables, but the bulk of my calories come from eggs and meat.  I often buy either a pork roast or a brisket, which usually provides at least a week's worth of leftovers (unless I've been working out- then my body demands larger portions!).
Look into organ meats, if you can.  They are a bit hard to handle, but they have even more nutrition, and they are cheaper.  Liver is good for you.
Of course, in the summer months I ate a lot more coconut milk because roasting a pork shoulder for several hours would have made the house unbearably hot...
You know you are on the right track when you start googling for sources of tallow and begin to bemoan the fact that all the major lard producers destroy the stuff by hydrogenating it!  What a crazy world.  They take exactly the stuff our ancestors would have eaten first, after a kill, and throw the bulk of it away, or feed it to the birds!
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sdeshwood

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Re: Zero-carb eating (human carnivorism) = awesome!
« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2009, 12:27:43 PM »

Monky-

I am not sure if you were asking me or not, but the bulk of my calories also comes from eggs, meat, chicken and fish (and fat- lots of butter, dairy fat, fat on the meat, etc.)  But I also eat veggies- mostly greens but I don't discriminate other than to avoid the starchy one.  I eat nuts and dairy but try not to go too crazy.  I try to avoid grains other than the occasional low carb tortilla or something of that sort.

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dshack

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Re: Zero-carb eating (human carnivorism) = awesome!
« Reply #14 on: October 29, 2009, 01:29:36 PM »

I don't think that non-starchy vegetables are *bad,* I'm just not convinced that they're necessary, and they don't taste that great to me or fill me up. Sdeshwood, it sounds like you're doing a functionally similar thing.

I found this on a Paleo eating website. Not quite the same as pure carnivorism, but I think there's a lot of overlap:

Quote
Here is a 12- step list of what to do. Go as far down the list as you can in whatever time frame you can manage. The further along the list you stop, the healthier you will be. There is no counting, measuring, or weighing. You are not required to purchase anything specific from me or anyone else. There are no special supplements, drugs or testing required.*

1 Eliminate sugar (including fruit juices and sports drinks) and all flour

2 Start eating proper fats - Use healthy animal fats to substitute fat calories for carb calories. Drink whole cream or half and half instead of milk.

3 Eliminate grains

4 Eliminate grain and seed derived oils (cooking oils) Cook with butter, animal fats, or coconut oil.

5 Get daily midday sun or take 4-8000 iu vit D daily

6 Intermittent fasting and infrequent meals (2 meals a day is best)

7 Fruit is just a candy bar from a tree. Stick with berries and avoid watermelon which is pure fructose. Eat in moderation.

8 Eliminate legumes

9 Adjust your 6s and 3s. Pastured (grass fed) dairy and grass fed beef or bison avoids excess O-6 fatty acids and are better than supplementing with 0-3 supplements.

10 Proper exercise - emphasizing resistance and interval training over long aerobic sessions

11 Eliminate milk (if you are sensitive to it, move this up the list

12 Eliminate other dairy including cheese- (now you are "orthodox paleolithic")

If you can do step 1, that is about 50% of the benefit and alone a huge improvement on the standard american diet (SAD) By about step 6 you are at about 75% , by step 9 about 80% and at 10 you are at 99% for most people.

I pretty much agree with him, though I see no reason to stop cheese, and I haven't moved over to grass-fed for financial reasons. But basically, the biggest changes come from shrinking the percentage of carbs in your diet drastically, and the rest is just playing around according to personal preference and circumstances. It's your standard law of diminishing returns.

In summary: I don't eat veggies because I don't think I need to, not because I think they will hurt me in some way, and I feel like most high-fat, moderate-protein, very-low-carb, no-starch-no-sugar diets are pretty similar, and pretty sweet.
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