On the carnivore diet after one month
It has now been one month since I started this carnivore diet experiment to see if I could resolve all the histamine related issues I was experiencing. So I thought I would continue with my dietary oversharing in case someone finds this experiment useful and needs encouragement to try.
To start with the downsides, I still haven’t resolved the part where I am obsessively meal planning, but I am definitely getting better at knowing how much to eat. My main problem was breakfast as, other than fry ups at the weekend, I have only had smoothies or amaranth porridge for breakfast for years.
Given that I can’t eat egg whites and don’t seem to tolerate huge amounts of pork, I was really stuck for breakfast ideas until I a) discovered bresaola, and b) decided to just be wasteful with egg whites. So, now I have 3 or 4 x soft boiled egg yolks, a bunch of bresaola and soft goat’s cheese rolls (as in, I put a big dollop of soft fresh goat’s cheese on a slice of bresaola and then roll it up into a delicious tube), and a cup of either beef or chicken bone broth. For a weekend fry up, I will have lambs or calves liver fried in butter and bacon, plus the eggs yolks and bone broth. This is working well for me.
I still get the occasional carb cravings which is so interesting to me. It feels like a drug craving, in that there is no difference in sensation between how I crave a blueberry now, and how it felt to cut sugar out of my diet before. Finally, I also really, really miss tea and hot drinks. I used to drink loads of Earl Grey and herbal teas, so eradicating them has felt like the loss of a habit. It’s been hard but they were giving me indigestion, so had to go for the time being.
The worst downside occurred two weeks ago. I was doing mostly fine up until that point, and so I decided to use up the lone lemon in my fridge to have a hot lemon (see previous paragraph for why). OH MY GOD: WORST IDEA EVER! This stupid move gave me three days of ‘disaster pants‘ and abdominal cramping which only stopped once I started taking digestive enzymes.
This dumb idea also resulted in me suddenly losing my appetite and I dropped over a kilo in a couple of days, which got me scared because of last year’s experiment. So I started thinking about why I was suddenly not hungry any more and decided that perhaps I had slow digestion due to low stomach acid. Hypochlorhydria is a common culprit behind heartburn (as well as a lot of the other histamine symptoms I had before starting this diet 🤔), so I started taking a Betaine HCI and Pepsin supplement as well. Both the HCI and the enzymes are temporary measures, as I do not want a diet which requires supplements to be able to process what I am eating.
The good news is that I now have the best pooping schedule in north London. 😎 Or at least, the best pooping schedule I have had for a decade. For the first time since I was diagnosed with IBS, I feel like I have zero symptoms of it. It’s kind of amazing and I am having to restrain myself from talking more about my pooping magic. 😂
In respect of my other issues: I still find myself waking up with heartburn at around 1am if I eat a lot of cheese later on in the day, but otherwise it has gone. In addition, it seems like even the halloumi and feta aren’t working 100% for me, but soft, fresh goat’s cheese (e.g. Chavroux or Cabridoux) and buffalo mozzarella are fine in moderation. I also think I am getting a low-key histamine response to beef (I can feel a little tired after eating a big steak), but not so much to make me stop eating it at present.
But other than that, all the symptoms I started this elimination diet for have gone: no more indigestion, face puffiness / sinus congestion, asthma, eczema, insomnia (except for cheese induced), etc. My nails are now super strong and my blood pressure and resting heart rate are back to normal (e.g. 111/65, 61bpm). I am also comfortable with my weight (55.9kg).
Even better, other issues I had which I thought were stress related are also going: specifically, chronic, long-term tightness and pain in my hips, neck, and shoulders. I have noticed that I have been sleeping hard and having a lot of crazy dreams, and when I wake up, I feel like I have had a good massage. I find I can now take longer strides as the chronic muscle tension I have had in my quads and hip flexors for a few years is slowing dissipating. I just feel light and rejuvenated in my body. It never occurred to me that this muscle tension could be diet related as my diet was so wholesome and clean, but it has to be the plants, as nothing else has changed.
So there we have it: one month eating only lamb, beef, chicken, trout, small amounts of pork (i.e. crackling and bacon only), egg yolk, bone broths, bone marrow, liver, lard, goose fat, butter, suet, and the cheeses described above. I have to say that, as a former vegetarian, I do struggle with the texture of animal fat unless it’s crispy, so frying the suet in cubes is only just tolerable at this point, and I kind of have to close my eyes to eat bone marrow. I think the texture issue is why I love pork crackling so much: crunchy, chewy, silky goodness. I should also say that this diet also makes me feel like a fucking animal sometimes, which, strictly speaking, I am. 🤓
When I started this experiment it was for a month to reset, but I am now 100% committed to sticking it out for three months. I am really curious to see what other changes my body goes through as a response to removing (almost) all plants from it. (I say almost as I ate these incredible lamb and mint sausages the other day. 🤤)