Before you read further, I think it’s important to know that I am unwilling to accept advice from anyone that believes I shouldn’t be doing a keto carnivore experiment. I have thought and researched a LOT about this and have a team of professionals I am consulting with to help me make sure I am making progress in the right way. I will only listen to myself and those who know me best, period.
Image Courtesy of Chef Steps
Note: this post isn’t about the details of this way of eating and what I’m eating, it’s more about WHY I am doing it. There is plenty of information out there, and I will hopefully provide some in the future! My Instagram will be the best way to see how I am putting it into practice. I call this an experiment because it allows me to make mistakes and pivot as needed.
I’ve had a hard time coming out of the closet about this. For so long, I have been seen as an influencer in movements like the Whole30 and intuitive eating and even anti-diet culture. In fact, my ups and downs sprung the idea behind the Food Conversations Podcast where Ali and I openly talk about and interview others about their food, diets, anti-diet culture and everything in between.
I guess you could say that right now I feel like a hypocrite.
How can I preach something and then completely take it back? Well, because I’ve changed . . . EVERYTHING has changed since then. I have swung on the pendulum to each side of diet culture back and forth enough to believe that BOTH sides of the coin could be equally as damaging. The right way to eat is defined by what works for YOUR body in the season you’re in. And seasons change.
If you’ve been following me for a long time, you may have watched me crumble and fall after a failed attempt at a strict keto diet one summer. I became so obsessed with results that I didn’t give things enough time to work and so I kept changing things I shouldn’t have to the point where my hair started to fall out and my cycle got a little weird for the first time in my life.
Even though I learned a lot, it scared me so I went back to eating intuitively. Well, that didn’t work for me either for many reasons. Dare I say I felt worse?
Eventually I reached a place where I was happy eating low carb-ish, tracking macros occasionally and half worrying about the quality of my food.
Then, I got pregnant and a whole slew of changes happened with first trimester nausea, weight gain, heartburn, and body image issues etc. Oddly enough, I was able to give myself grace during this period full well knowing I’d have plenty of time to get back to myself.
I don’t really share much about this, but I went through a VERY rough postpartum period after having a c-section and weaning from breastfeeding after 3 painful and hellish weeks. My body wasn’t right and my brain wasn’t either. For the first time in my life I tried pharmaceutical help which ended up not working for me even though I am glad and proud I tried.
I began researching hormone balance after pregnancy and birth and just soaked up everything I could.I started to tinker with a keto carnivore way of eating. Even though I didn’t go whole hog (no pun intended), I felt SO much better. My brain became clear and I wanted to start moving and exercising. My cycle started to regulate and I finally felt pieces of myself returning.
That brings me to now, 5 months postpartum. I still don’t feel quite like myself but I know what to do to try and get there, and part of that is admitting that I am going to continue on this way of eating and start sharing about it more for myself and in case it may help someone.
Keto Carnivore Experiment – My Why’s
- Simplicity – as much as I love to cook, my time is incredibly limited even being a mostly work from home mom. I can’t always make elaborate dishes or even dishes with more than 1-2 components most days. I need to keep things simple, nutrient dense and efficient and eating mostly meat and vegetables does that for me.
- Hormone Balance – the more I research hormones, the more I realize how truly important it is to get them in check in order to live your most healthy vibrant life. SO many things can’t happen correctly in the body if your body is off kilter. Even though diet will play the biggest part in balancing this out, I have other things I am doing to help this along including dry brushing, tongue scraping, Chinese herbs, infrared sauna, Acupuncture and more.
- Productivity – I want it all! I want to be an excellent mom, wife, friend and business woman. I’m fully aware that things will not be perfect but when I feel better in my brain and body, I tend to DO MORE and be so much more positive and open. The energy increase I get from eating this way has saved me from being completely torn down by sleep deprivation. Also, my son is in the 100th percentile for height and weight and is constantly on the move, I want to keep up with him!
- Sugar and Fake Sugar Addiction – One of the reasons keto didn’t work for me last time I tried was because my diet was heavy in keto treats and sweetener that didn’t claim to spike insulin but actually did. Because of this, I ate less and less real food which in turn made me feel like I was on a standard American diet. I’m not saying I won’t foods with sweetener or even sugar sometimes during this process, but I now am aware of the strong negative impact they have on my health.
- Keep PPD and PPA at Bay – If you didn’t catch on from what I wrote above, I suffered from postpartum depression and anxiety early on. Tackling those issues in this way has been more helpful than any other method I’ve tried.
- Vitamin and Mineral Deficiency – When you grow a human, you essentially give them a VERY large portion of your vitamins and minerals to grow. Most women don’t replenish them and see the effects years later. Eating this way will allow me to replenish things I’ve lost from pregnancy.
- Aesthetic – ok, yes I want to lose the baby weight too. My honest opinion on postpartum weight loss is that I can’t STAND when women are shamed into thinking it’s not ok to want to lose weight after having a baby. Just as fat shaming is real, so is fit shaming! You can be proud of your body for what it did and still want to change. You don’t get a badge of honor for sitting there with a body you’re unhappy with. A good portion of the weight we gain is maternal fat that’s used for breast feeding. If you weren’t able to use it for that like me, then it just sits there. Getting your “body back” is not always just about the weight. It’s a state of mind and it’s taking back yourself after giving it to a little human for so long. Of course extreme grace is needed in this process because it takes TIME and energy, two things new moms don’t really have. To me, this is not a weight=worthiness issue. It’s a you feeling better across the board situation.
- Sluggish Liver – I had a sluggish liver BEFORE I got pregnant. During my c-section I was pumped full of a LOT of drugs and also had quite a bit for the few months after. This along with my MTHFR mutation doesn’t make for a happy liver!
- Discipline and Restriction – I am a type A, Enneagram type 8, Capricorn and abstainer. For so long I have felt like I’ve been going against my DNA to be a moderator. It doesn’t work in SO many areas of my life, so why did I try to force it with the way I eat? The truth is, a little bit of discipline and restriction actually helps me thrive better than letting me have too many options. I understand this could get out of control, and I understand this won’t always be the case, but MOST OF THE TIME I feel better having structure and that’s ok.
- Sense Of Accomplishment – any mom knows that when you have a small child, you don’t feel like you get ANYTHING done in the course of a day. There’s always something to wash, feed, clean, buy and take care of. This feeling day after day could make you feel like you’re constantly drowning and never getting anywhere. Taking care of myself in this way gives me the sense of accomplishment that I crave so desperately that makes me happy.
- Sparking Creativity – as a chef and recipe developer, I just LOVE a challenge. Making new recipes that are in line with my current way of eating is exciting to me and is also something I need back in my life!
Questions You May Have:
- Am I Tracking Macros? – Maybe? I have a love hate relationship with tracking macros but the love part of it really helps me. I go through periods of tracking every once in a while so that I can collect data on what’s happening in my body. However, I’ve learned that if I need more food, I’ll eat more food and just be ok with it rather than spiraling out of control by trying to hit certain numbers.
- What Are Your Macros? This is ever changing but I will say that I seem to do better with a slightly higher than moderate protein approach. I really don’t know what my macros are or will end up being.
- What Will You Be Eating? Mostly meat, vegetables and dairy with the occasional “dirty keto” treat and some carbs if necessary. I tend to want/need carbs during certain phases of my cycle and it’s totally fine.
- Will you never eat sugar or carbs again? – Of course not! I don’t believe in a life where I wouldn’t be able to indulge in foods that are soul feeding and taste delicious regardless how they make me feel. I plan to be conscious about when it’s truly worth it especially since I don’t want to restrict what my son gets to experience as he grows up.
- What About Your Recipes? – My recipes haven’t changed that much and they probably won’t! I focus on mostly real food, gluten free flavorful meals and meal components with different cooking variations. Sure, there will probably be more keto and low carb recipes on the blog than usual, but I plan to make recipes to share that are not within those guidelines for my husband and for the sake of creativity and enjoyment. My blog has always kind of been a reflection of where I am at in life in my health journey, but it’s also a business and a source of inspiration to others.
- What If This Doesn’t Work? I’m aware that there is always a change that things won’t work out or that I will stop eating this way where the reason is because it has a negative impact or because I just don’t want to anymore, or choose to transition into something else. Either way, we are allowed to change our minds as often as we feel necessary. I’m not afraid to be wrong!
- How Long Do You Plan To Do This? As long as it feels good to me.
It feels so good to get this out in the open! Honestly, I’m still figuring all of this out and I know I’ll make mistakes but my goal is to FEEL GOOD and I’ll do whatever it takes to get there.
Have any questions about anything I wrote? Leave a comment or DM me on Instagram, I’d love to hear your thoughts!