I’m a meat eater. Steaks, burgers, pork chops, bacon, chicken, turkey…you name it, I eat it (although I do draw the line at seafood and organ meats). Considering this, I thought following the carnivore diet would be a piece of cake. No pun intended. Except now I want cake.
Anyway, even though I’ve been eating pretty low carb for years now, I came to the realization that I needed to make some changes. The weight I’d lost a few years ago started to creep back on, and my aches and pains returned full-throttle. Thinking something in my diet was causing a lot of inflammation, I decided some sort of elimination diet was in order.
Enter that carnivore thingy. I figured a couple of weeks away from carbohydrates would be long enough to get it all out of my system. Afterward, I would gradually add my favorite foods back in to see what it is that doesn’t agree with me.
The first week went by quickly and easily. I barely had to think about what I’d fix for meals because my choices were so limited: beef, pork, bacon, eggs, and butter. I took the hint from other carnivore dieters and also included black coffee, even though it’s technically a plant food. Oh, and I could have salt and pepper. Woohoo! I did have tuna once, mixed up with chopped boiled eggs. I ate it, but it didn’t make me happy. What it did do was teach me a lesson. Tuna “salad” without mayonnaise is just tuna in eggs…and it lands rather dismally on the palate.
Most of my other meals were fine, though. I’ve been practicing intermittent fasting for a while now, so my first meal isn’t until at least noon. During the time I was eating carnivore, that meal was eggs with either bacon or sausage. A few hours later I’d have some rotisserie chicken. For dinner, I’d have pork chops or beef patties. And I had butter with absolutely everything…even my coffee.
While that first week was a breeze, the second week seemed to last a freaking eternity. Not because I was hungry or craving junk, but because I was getting so bloody bored. I missed a lot of simple things like green beans, peppers, onions, apples, cheese, mayonnaise and – perhaps most of all – cream in my coffee. I knew I’d eventually be able to have most of those things again, but the boredom made the days drag by.
It didn’t occur to me until the 12th day that I could probably have pork rinds. I know a lot of people think they’re gross — my husband being one of those people — but I’ve always liked those fried-up little pork skins. I had some on hand and, once I confirmed the ingredients were carnivore-friendly, I dumped a bunch on a napkin and went to town. They tasted so good! That little bit of variety was like a party in my mouth.
Even with the addition of those pork rinds, I still couldn’t wait for the two weeks to be over. I wasn’t noticing any reduction in pain, and my weight loss was minimal. The idea that there are people who have been eating this way for years – and loving it – is just lost on me. It’s not that I think they’re lying, it’s just that I know I could never join their club. And truth be told…I don’t think I want to.
On the 15th day, I had cream in my coffee. It was wonderful. What was even better was the fact that, as the day wore on, I experienced no ill effects. I had some veggies and cheese later in the day, and those settled fine as well.
After watching some YouTube videos about elimination diets, I determined I’m apparently not cut out to follow that sort of protocol. Everything I heard indicated you need to stick with the diet for four to six weeks before reintroducing other foods and condiments. I was dreaming of dragging my bacon through a plate full of mayonnaise after less than two weeks. You’re also supposed to add potential problem foods back in one at a time over the course of several days. I was not blessed with that kind of patience.
With the whole carnivore experience behind me, I can look back on it more objectively than I could during that second week. Deprivation and lack of benefits aside, I’m glad I went through with it. One of the things I’d hoped to accomplish was to stop snacking on processed foods. I didn’t miss eating them during those carnivore weeks, so that proved it wasn’t going to kill me to do without them altogether. I honestly feel that I can now satisfy my snack urges with nuts, cheese, veggies, and fruit. And instead of buying prepackaged “healthy” treats, I’ll make my own. I’m no pro in the kitchen but when push comes to shove, even I can whip up a batch of tasty sugar-free brownies.
Discipline has never been my strong suit, but I feel like my food brain is finally growing up. I wouldn’t have believed it possible if I wasn’t right smack dab in the middle of it.
Sometimes life is weird…in a good way.