Ok, today is officially Day One of the Carnivore Diet Experiment. This will go until the end of November when I have my physical and check all my blood markers. Today will be statistical with a lot of pictures since it is, of course, Day One! Other days will be less factual, more lyrical, more about my dream research and novel project. But I’ll always include some hard data.
I will also be posting some pictures of life here at camp (“camp” never “cottage”) in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This fall is the loveliest I can remember in some time. The grouse are running up my road, while I can hear the bear dogs baying off in the distance. I’ll be blogging about life off the grid, the energy challenges both grid-wise and diet-wise, and my “dream” novel project. And I’ll be posting pictures occasionally of my culinary efforts.
One of the biggest challenges for me going Carnivore is that I’m a foodie. Hence my woodfire cookbook memoir presently out for consideration at my publisher. (My son, John, is in culinary school.) I love cooking and Keto afforded opportunities to be creative. Luckily, my son will still be eating that way, so I’ll get to cook. And I suspect I’ll be eating Keto a lot down the road.
My background: I am an adjunct university professor, taught for years at Northern Michigan University. I am a writer and working on a prophetic dream novel (I’ve always published literary fiction, though I have a woodfire/memoir thingy at my publisher presently). This is a project that fascinated me. Something more commercial that deals with the prophetic, creative nature of dreams, and Einstein’s ideas of time. I’ll be blogging some about that.
If you missed my previous post, I am 63 years old! I’m 5’5” tall. On Day One I weigh 125 pounds. I’m guessing. I’m 120 on my scales which is usually five pounds higher on a doctor’s. I’ll weigh myself weekly. I wish I had taken pictures before I started Keto since I’ve been on a Ketogenic diet for three months with no befores. I’ve lost 13 pounds so far, though I suspect my natural weight is a bit lower, perhaps still carrying 4-5 pounds too much on my smallish frame. I am not really concerned with measurements at all. My goals are primarily health oriented and to improve my skin, hair, and nails, and primarily to tone up. I want to lose flabbiness in my neck/jaw and belly and lose cellulite in my legs. We’ll see if this does it. Or if I’m just getting too old!
I will be having all my numbers done the end of Nov. so this will be essentially a two-month experiment. Presently, I have very low blood pressure (105/79 is average), low blood sugar (under 88), triglycerides about 65, .13 C-reactive protein which is very low, little belly fat. I have very high cholesterol. Usually 240 or more, sometimes as much as 300, but my HDL is as high as 95 at times. My LDL particles are larger. The last time this was done, I was eating Paleo, not Ketogenic. So the new numbers in Nov. will be illuminating. I’m missing some detail on LDL particle size, I think. I couldn’t decipher those blood values. So will supply that information in more detail at the end of the challenge.
I’m doing the Warrior Made workouts 3 x week. They are twenty minutes long. I am active here, hauling wood, walking (sometimes fly-fishing), some snowshoeing. Lots of stairs.
Sorry about the before pictures. I always take my picture in mirrors rather than selfies so they look like I’m used to seeing me! No make-up, right after getting out of the bath, in this case. I’ll do the same when I’m done in two months (as well as one with some make-up, I think, and a hairstyle) I am technologically challenged and I have no one to take my picture and only a small full length mirror. (My dog Maggie is brilliant and plays checkers but she hasn’t yet mastered the camera on my cell phone). My son, Josh, isn’t too good at this either since he has Down Syndrome! Rest of my family is off working, my husband downstate, my other kids grown and in different spots.
I am also posting a “Before” of Josh, though he will be doing Keto between 20-50 grams of carbs daily rather than the Carnivore diet. He also does not need to lose much weight, just improve overall health. He has digestive issues and skin problems, some bladder issues. His stomach is always distended.
Though I plan on my posts being more literary and lyrical (somewhat factual), today I will concentrate on the specifics of my baseline statistics and the tenets of this diet:
I woke up today headachy due to my sinus issues, long ongoing, exacerbated by the humidity and steady drizzle I could see out my bedroom window. Fifty-five degrees out there. I stoked the woodstove, fed my dog Maggie, drank two glasses of filtered water, carried some wood to get it drying (we moved the wood pile out from under the lean-to because we are pouring concrete there soon in preparation for my new sauna–it will get protected again soon), then poured myself a tall black cup of joe.
I often have it with heavy cream or butter from grass fed cows. But today since I planned on having cheese and heavy cream in my casserole, I skipped it. I did some research on dreams in front of the wood fire, and then had my first meal about 1 p.m., then dinner about 5:30 p.m. I try to keep my eating in six-hour windows with an occasional 24-hour fast, something that seemed natural to me before–having been influenced by Mark Sisson, Dr. Mercola, Dave Asprey, and the like.
I’m not certain what to expect but transitioning into Carnivore may not be as hard for me as some since I’ve been doing Keto three months prior. I almost seemed to be naturally transitioning into Carnivore before reading the usual folks online (Shawn Baker, and the folks from Canada). I have the usual misgivings about my nutrient profile and an all-meat diet, but my digestion and system are so touchy, I have decided to go Carnivore without any plants or supplements of any kind for these two months so that this might serve as a baseline elimination diet. Most of what I read about Carnivore seems to frown on supplements of any kind. I mostly ate Carnivore the last three days, but did have a few glasses of wine with my family who were visiting for a color weekend. We visited Tahquamenon Falls near my camp which is near Paradise and Sable Falls which is near Grand Marais– with a stop at a couple brew pubs, of course. Lovely weekend. I also had a bit of cocktail sauce and bbq sauce (a nice final meal), so my official start is today.
I plan to eat more beef and oily fish like Atlantic salmon, lamb and pork– than chicken, though I will fill in with chicken wings, roasted chicken, shrimp, smoked oysters, sardines, and once a week: a liver meatloaf for extra micronutrients. (Though I love wild game and hope to glom on to some grouse, duck and venison, courtesy of my friends and son-in-law, I am not a liver fan so I’ll be looking to mask that flavor). Will be using heavy cream. Eggs and cheese unless cheese doesn’t seem to agree with me. I don’t plan to eliminate coffee so my biggest sacrifice will likely be that bit of wine. I will substitute LaCroix sparkling water for now.
- 1 p.m.:
- Two glasses filtered water
- Black coffee (I am not anticipating ever completely giving up coffee)
- Egg breakfast casserole (I fried up half pound of ground pork in some reserved bacon fat—I keep some reserved in the fridge—in a medium cast iron skillet. Once browned, I mixed up six eggs, ¼ cup heavy cream, half a cup of sharp cheddar cheese, salt and pepper (Dave Asprey would frown on that pepper) and poured this mixture over the sausage. I added another half cup of cheese to the top and baked it for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Almost too long since the skillet was already hot. Fed the two of us nicely with a bit leftover for a snack tonight if I need it. Leftover it smacks of cold pizza.
- 5:30 p.m.:
- Dinner was a 6 oz. top sirloin topped with 6 oz. sautéed jumbo shrimp in butter, all seasoned with salt and pepper. I am out of my ribeyes presently—on order from Butcherbox—so substituted some lovely sautéed shrimp and butter for extra fat. Unsalted grass-fed butter. I add a good Celtic or Himalayan sea salt to my cooking.
- One glass of sparkling water.
- Evening, sparkling water, filtered water.
- I tracked the day’s eating on my Stupid Simple Keto tracker and it appears I am still eating 63% fat and only 36% protein, less than 1% carbs, mostly in the eggs, I guess. On Keto, I was more like 66% fat, 25% protein, about 10% carbs. I am eating about 1200-1500 calories/day in the two day’s I’ve planned so far, though I don’t plan to count calories and will eat until I’m satisfied. I was thinking I’d be a higher percentage of protein, at least 40%. But perhaps this is where I am supposed to be.
So far I feel extremely satisfied and almost too full. I went to the bathroom twice today and easily, unheard of for me. Headache never really lifted, however. So far with this slow transition into Carnivore, I notice (already) better skin (I had the driest skin in the world), less BLOAT by far. In fact, I had a slightly enlarged liver though my numbers were always fine, and I can actually feel it getting smaller. I have had no problems digesting fat and protein and no heartburn or stomach pain. I had a lot of energy today and my mood was good, especially given this gloomy day and shortening days!
I will finish this post in the morning, report in on my night’s sleep. I’m a writer and a night owl. I sleep 7-8 hours, but rarely go to sleep before 1 a.m., especially since I no longer teach even online. I know I should improve those hours for my circadian rhythm, but it just won’t work with my work schedule. I’m creative at night. I will be interested to see how this diet informs my dreams, the synchronistic fabric of it all. Overnight, I’ll see if I can “direct” my dreams, participate in them actively, something called “lucid dreaming.” I’ll leave a notebook by my bed. When I awake, before moving, I’ll pay attention to how I feel: any dream I remember, any imagery, any pervasive feelings any characters or settings afford me, that mis en scene. What is it trying to tell me? I’ll lie very still and try to extract a theme or the solution to a problem I am wrestling with, literary or otherwise. There will be much more on this as I blog during this experiment.
(* We had rain all day and wild thunderstorms until midnight which kept me awake, but slept well and woke without a headache. Dreams not remarkable–more later on that.)