That said, here were/are my challenges with my January experience with World Carnivore Month. I always try to be as compliant as possible when I'm testing the waters. So to be clear, my reasons for doing this experiment are:
Chronic Gut issues--Irritable Bowel Syndrome -- Something I have to micromanage daily. Chronic constipation has been an issue that has not resolved itself from lifestyle changes including proper diet (high fiber, paleo, keto, etc), exercise, rest, supplements, etc), and obviously a life dedicated to cleansing and proper digestive health care.
Skin -- Perioral Dermatitis and dry skin that takes forever to heal if I have a flare up
Cognitive Performance -- thinking clearly. Having the ability to make it through the day without brain fog and fatigue. Being able to get up and go, write, work, and communicate on a high level.
Fitness -- who doesn't love a good workout? I had been feeling very weak at the gym and had lost a significant amount of weight which came from muscle. I believe a lot of that came from the gut issues.
Sleep -- waking in the middle of the night sometimes unable to go back to sleep makes it nearly impossible to accomplish the above....your gut and skin will not heal and you will not be able to perform properly upstairs in your brain and downstairs in your body.
My biggest issue with the challenge, thus far, has been fear of going all in. Making radical changes in lifestyle and diet strips you of your, dare I say, addictions. The very things that may have contributed to, if not caused, the body issues that you experience.
- I still drank coffee-- which is fine but I added stevia to it. That didn't allow me to break my relationship with sweets.
- I added too much fat to my meals instead of simply getting my fats from the foods. I used too much butter and tallow. This contributed to gut issues.
- I didn't drink enough water nor did I take enough electrolytes
- And just yesterday, I actually had a whopping serving of vegetables - it had been 25 days and of all things, I was craving cauliflower -- weirdest craving I know, but I think I just wanted something that wasn't meat based.
My experience with the carnivore diet has been up and down. On one end, I love the simplicity of it. You simply eat meat. Many people eat anything from the animal kingdom including dairy if they can tolerate it. I just did ghee. I have yet to resolve my gut issues entirely, but It's my understanding that that can take quite a long time since I had been having issues for so long. Finding that balance is critical.
Overall my skin is better. It's not 100 percent but then again, skin health is reflective of gut health. So that's why I need to keep going. What I do notice is increased healing. And that's a BIG deal. When I do have a flare up, things seem to settle down a bit more rapidly. So that's good. I don't have to slather my skin with oils. I'll do a skin update in February.
My emotions and anxiety are so even keel it's unbelievable. I find that when I have an upset, I'm able to handle it much more readily. I believe that the fats are feeding my brain and calming my mind. Remember, the body flows where the mind goes. So eat your fats.
What I'm noticing the most with this experience is that we must understand our "WHY." You can be part of a support group and that's great. But everyone in life has had different experiences mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and definitely physically. Some will heal faster than others. Some will thrive in restrictive environments while others need to ease their way in a bit more. And some will, in this case, need a bit more variety with the sources of nutrition-- perhaps some will be okay eating a variety of animal sources while others can only eat specific sources. But the trick overall is to check in with your body. There is an adaptation period which can be a nightmare. Most days I still feel like I'm adapting because the symptoms seem to be flat one day and rocky road the next. That's when you have to dig deep and remind yourself of WHY you are doing what you are doing.
The biggest ticket, as I'm learning, is that you learn along the way. This is honestly the first experience I've had with doing a challenge ever. And although I technically did have some vegetables yesterday and technically have had some coffee....I still feel part of the process. In February I will be experiencing more with intermittent fasting and OMAD -- One Meal A Day -- I'll be taking out all dairy, butter, and extras, and trying to go a bit more strict on the adherence. I will more than likely add wild salmon back in as well.