In this post I will be discussing my latest experiment. I am calling it “Diabetic Carnivore 2.0”. It’s 2.0 because I went ‘full-carnivore’ in 2017 for about three years, before tapering off earlier in 2020.
I’ll answer these questions in this post:
1) What is a carnivore in the context of this dietary experiment?
2) Why am I going ‘full-carnivore’ again?
What is a Carnivore?
For my purposes, it’s someone who only ‘eats’ animal based foods. If it comes from an animal … it’s fair game to eat. I did this for about three years starting in 2017, and my version I’ve called ‘full-carnivore’.
Q: Why should anyone go full-carnivore?
A: Plants have evolved toxins as defense mechanisms. Depending on the dose of those toxins and a person’s sensitivity to them, these toxins can cause health issues ranging from minor to extreme. If you are experiencing health issues I’d suggest giving ‘full carnivore’ a trial run for a month.
Foods I will “eat”
Literally any animal-based foods —- beef, poultry, pork, fish, eggs, organ meats, cheeses and whey protein powder. Sausages and other processed meats may also be eaten occasionally, but as always they must be sugar and grain free.
I placed “eat” in the quote above because I do drink plant-based drinks. Drinks such as coffee and tea are consumed daily while drinking wine, vodka, and other alcoholic beverages occasionally, about once or twice a week.
Spices and Supplements
Sea Salt will be consumed at most meals and I occasionally use Potassium Chloride (NoSalt) in addition to Sea Salt.
Plant-based spices will be occasionally consumed, primarily dashes of black pepper. If and when I make chili, I will use the additional spices of cumin, paprika and chili peppers.
My supplements won’t change, Magnesium and Vitamin D3. I will take D3 daily depending on the season, location and amount of direct sun exposure. Magnesium I just take when I feel like it. I don’t have a schedule.
Diabetic Carnivore 1.0
My first ‘run’ of full-carnivore …. was awesome! I thoroughly enjoyed my 3 years of full-carnivore and suffered no ill effects. In fact, I didn’t just survive… I thrived! :)
The main benefit I discovered wasn’t a health or fitness benefit… it was freedom!! Being ‘free’ of eating vegetables, really was ‘freeing’!
Full-carnivore is so simple and saves so much time when grocery shopping and only swinging by the meat section. I once timed myself, I was in and out in under 9 minutes…. and that’s with a trip to the wine section. :)
Cooking … let me tell you, cooking while full-carnivore is so damn simple and FAST! This is especially true for me, because I don’t over cook my meats. :)
You can read more about my Diabetic Carnivore 1.0 experiment in these two posts (intro) “Diabetic Carnivore” and (summary) “Diabetic Carnivore Summary“.
I started my one-year carnivore experiment back in 2017, and loved it. I had no known health issues at the time including ‘truly normal blood sugars’, and health issues weren’t the reason for the experiment.
Therefore it was no surprise that I didn’t notice any health benefits of going full-carnivore, as I stated at the time…
“Going full-carnivore isn’t a giant leap for me as it is for many people. Most of my meals are meat-only now, and if I do eat plants it’s as an edible garnish.”
My main reason for going full-carnivore in 2017 was to see if I could do it … to accept the challenge. Secondarily, was to see if there were any changes… good or bad. For one entire year, I ate nothing but animal-based foods.
At the end of the one year experiment, I continued on for another two years, though I did eat the occasional plant… such as foraged berries in season, or pickles from a veggie tray, etc.
So if I thrived on a full-carnivore diet, and I loved the freedom and time savings … why did I stop?
COVID19 and Meat Prices
I’ve been living in British Columbia, Canada, meat is more expensive here than in the US and that’s before COVID-19 lock-downs gripped the world.
After the Canadian lock-downs, the price of meats skyrocketed and in many instances… doubled. Not only was cost a factor but actual availability was reduced as well. We never ran out of meat, but with the uncertainty of how severe the shortage might become… we were concerned we might.
Add to the situation, the home I’m living in has a large garden space. It was a no-brainer … to grow a garden. While I was eating full-carnivore I never ‘missed’ eating vegetables … but once our garden began producing, I thoroughly enjoyed fresh collards, chard, chives, zucchini, tomatoes, turnips and carrots.
If I thoroughly enjoyed eating fresh vegetables … why go back to full-carnivore? Why Diabetic Carnivore 2.0???
Why Diabetic Carnivore 2.0?
I am ALL about optimizing my health and fitness. As a diabetic, my number one priority is blood sugar levels. No one, diagnosed diabetic or not, can optimize health and fitness if they have chronically elevated ‘above normal’ blood sugars.
“I want to add years to my life, but more importantly I want to add LIFE to my years.”
I have no ‘nutritional biases’. This may surprise some because since 2009 I have followed a very low carb meal plan and thrived. I have however experimented with many different ‘diets’ through the years, high carb, low carb, low fat, high fat, etc.
I stick with ‘very low carb‘ and now full-carnivore eating styles, for a reason. The reason is…this ‘diet’ allows me to maintain truly normal blood sugars! This way of eating also provides me with all the energy and nutrients I need … to THRIVE!
Blood Sugars with Sugary Starchy Vegetables
Had we only grown lower carb, leafy green vegetables in our garden, I’d still be eating them probably … but we didn’t. We also grew higher carb vegetables and fruits like tomatoes, beets, turnips, onions and carrots.
We started out eating collards, chard and turnip green salads … all was well. Then I began easing turnips, carrots, beets, and tomatoes into our slaw. Small portions at first… but then the ‘carb creep’ happened. I would add more and more of the sugary, starchy veggies and fruits to the slaw, as well as eat more and more of them.
I only tracked my daily intake of carbs from the vegetables and fruits once. That one day, my carb totals were in the 70 gram range! Not a lot compared to ‘Standard American Diet’ but a lot compared to my typical ‘near zero carb’ meal plan.
Just like a previous high carb experiment (see this post, “Very Low Fat (and high carb) Experiment“), my body handled the sugar and starches from the vegetables pretty well at first but then the fasting blood sugars began to creep up.
Fasting blood sugars increased to the upper 80’s to upper 90’s mg/dl (4.8 – 5.4 mmol/l) but still some days in the upper 70’s and mid 80’s mg/dl (4.3 to 4.7 mmol/l). Then I started having readings in the low 100’s (5.7 mmol/l)… then two days in a row I waited until lunch to test my blood sugars, the readings below were taken after fasting 18 and 20 hours!!
108 and 112 mg/dl (5.9 and 6.2 mmol/l) is way too high for me and the trend was going higher. Enough was enough.
Carb creep is insidious as are the resulting blood sugars.
Blood Sugars… Without Plant Based Foods
I did a couple of things immediately… I stopped eating plants and I ate only one, larger meal a day. This is a form of intermittent fasting or ‘time restricted eating’, called OMAD, an acronym of One Meal A Day.
My body responded well 97 and 93 mg/dl (5.3 and 5.1 mmol/l) but still higher than I want.
Next I began eating twice a day, around noon and 6 pm, for the next several days. My larger meal was at noon and a smaller meal in the evening. Still avoiding plants. My body was loving the absence of dietary carbs and the resulting ‘truly normal blood sugars’.
Sub 80 mg/dl (4.4 mmol/l) three days in a row … I was BACK!
Back to truly normal blood sugars!
Tweaking Full Carnivore 2.0
Because of the COVID-19 lock-downs meat prices remain high and while availability has improved it’s not like it was before the world went crazy over COVID-19.
To help extend the meat budget I will consume more eggs than usual and I plan on adding a little more fat with a little more cheese added to the meals and cream added to my coffee to increase satiety.
Very Low Carb or a Carnivore diet has once again proven to be the best for me. I feel confident that I could consume low-carb, fibrous vegetables (as I had done for years) and still maintain truly normal blood sugars. However, I learned that I can’t eat higher quantities of higher carb, starchy vegetables every day without elevating my fasting blood sugars.
If you have elevated fasting blood sugars above 100 mg/dl or consistent and persistent blood sugars over 120 mg/dl after meals, you need to experiment and ‘change things up’. If you are not currently ‘very low carb’, give the meal plan I’ve been following for over a decade a try. It’s a meal plan you can ‘live’ with. :)
If you are ‘very low carb’ and still have elevated blood sugars or other health issues … I urge you to give ‘full carnivore’ a try. I did. :)
Regardless, very low carb or carnivore, they are both meat-based, with fatty meats being the cornerstone! — I love the way I eat, play … and LIVE!
Thanks to Kelly Tee Chief Editor
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