If you had told me even 1 year ago that today I would leave the house without eventhinking about using the toilet, I would have laughed at you.
You see, I have Crohn’s disease. I was diagnosed with this unending digestive disease when I was 6 years old (I’m 32 now).
For those of you who are familiar with Crohn’s, you have my respect.
For those who aren’t, lets get you up to speed real quick. Crohn’s is an autoimmune disease that aims at the digestive system. Instead of the smooth autopilot system that we humans have to digest food, our guts become a warzone. Eating is painful. Digestion is painful. Pooping is painful (especially when you’re pooping 20 times a day). And on top of that, we don’t “look” sick.
I hear the words “irritable bowel syndrome” and laugh.
One problem with a disease like Crohn’s is that there is no cure. The conventional MDs don’t have one. Neither do the alternative practitioners.After a while, you get fed up with doctors and the the convoluted medical system (I’ll tell you that story later), and try to find other options.
One of those options is diet.
When eating makes you sick, you stop eating.
One of the first things you learn with a digestive disease is that some foods are absolutely off-limits.
I love blackberries. They are one of the most delicious foods on this earth. But it doesn’t matter how much I love blackberries, because if I eat some, they will shred my gut.
Weknow that the food we eat impacts how our bodies feel.
Dietary interventions are one of the most popular alternative treatments because they are effective. There are many, many testimonials out there from people who have turned their lives around by changing what they eat.
I got inspired by those stories.
So starting in 2008, I decided to get serious with my diet. At that point, I was still on high-powered meds, but I could tell that their efficacy was starting to fade.
I hoped that fixing my diet would turn things around.
Some of the diets that I tried are:
- Specific Carbohydrate Diet
- A personalized diet based on an IgG food sensitivity test
- Autoimmune Paleo
- Eliminating nightshades
Some of these diets were really fun to try. I made my own yogurt on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, and lost a bunch of weight while in ketosis.
However, none of these diets helped my body to heal fully. Usually there was a burst of improvement at the beginning, but thenthe initial “high” would wear off. My health would dwindle back to normal. Or sadly, it would get worse.
Obsessed with the idea that food could heal me, I kept removing foods from my diet. No more honey. No more raw foods. No more fermented foods. Any time I saw food in the toilet, I cut it out.
At one point, I was eating about 5 foods in rotation.
That sounds crazy, right? I was desperate.
I can hear you say, “Diet isn’t enough! There’s a whole load of other factors to autoimmune disease like stress and exercise!”
This is true.
During this time, I tried a few more things.
Supplementing with probiotics
When I was 18, taking probiotics improved my gut health so much that my doctor decided I didn’t need surgery after all. Probiotics help your body digest and make use of fiber. Adding them to a vegetable-filled diet (or simply eating fermented foods) can be a huge health win.
I took a weightlifting class in college to make sure I was lifting with proper form. It was a fun way to play with toys and build muscle, and I loved feeling strong. However, weightlifting was too much stress for my body. My menstrual cycle shortened, and I was worried that it was building up too much extra inflammation that would lead to a Crohn’s disease flare-up.
Taking herbal antibiotics
Despite what you might think of “herbal medicine,” herbal antibiotics are a powerful way to treat bacterial overgrowths. Plants like neem, garlic, grapefruit seed extract, and Oregon Grape kill many kinds of microbes. I still use a GSE nasal spray when I get sinus infections, it’s that good.
Trying out intermittent fasting
I took up IF when I tried out the keto diet. My preferred method was a 16/8 fasting window, where I would drink only coffee for breakfast and eat a big lunch and dinner. It was very effective for weight loss, but not for healing my gut. During my keto days I lost my menstrual cycle completely, so I knew it wasn’t a sustainable lifestyle choice.
None of these approaches solved my problems. In fact, some of them even contributed to my downward spiral.
At this point, I had no idea what to do. Nothing was working. My guts were so angry and inflamed that I had to time meals around my commute so that I didn’t get stuck in traffic without a bathroom nearby.
It was bad.
The true secret to healing
What I know now, but didn’t know then, was that I was dealing with a few interconnected health issues:
- Crohn’s disease
- Small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO)
- A leaky gut
- Dyshidrotic eczema
Any one of these things takes time to heal. All of them together is a overwhelming, like trying to design and paint a giant mural all at once.
It took a lot of detective work, but I finally figured out the root cause of my symptoms, and how they all worked together to cause me pain and misery.
This was not a fun time in my life, but I grew stronger each and every day. I decided to get healthy, no matter how much I had to uproot my life and change my habits.
What I learned during the process feels like a secret. It’s the opposite of what you’re led to believe by pharmaceutical ads and diet books. But I will tell you what it is, because I believe that everyone has a right to be healthy.
The truth is, food doesn’t heal you. Medicine doesn’t heal you.
YOU heal you.
Except in rare cases, our bodies are programmed to function perfectly. Our bodieswant to function perfectly. Our bodies figure out creative ways to keep functioning even when we abuse them by constantly drinking soda or getting only 4 hours of sleep each night.
When your body gets the things that it needs, and when it stops being subjected to things that itdoesn’t need, it will start to heal.
Your body will heal itself. Your job is to give your body the tools and environment that it needs to do the work.
There is no other way.
Eating meat doesn’t heal you, but it sure does help.
Let’s back up to my food journey. In early 2017, I was at my wit’s end. I was an emotional mess and stressed out at work. My diet consisted of maybe 15 foods. My Crohn’s was controlling nearly every aspect of my life.
I figured that SOMEONE out there had the answer, so I dove back into the research.
One avenue that I hadn’t explored was juicing. So I watchedFat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, and revisited the Wahl’s Protocol. Both approaches favor eating lots and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, so many that you’d need to make your own juice to consume your daily quota.
I was about to order a juicer when a chance encounter on Twitter pointed me to the carnivore community.
I’m not going to say that discovering the carnivore diet saved my life, but it was pretty close.
That’s not to say that I immediately bought half a cow to put in my freezer. I had a lot of questions. Don’t weneed vegetables? Will I get scurvy? Isn’t fiber necessary? Is this dietallowed?
No, no, no, and absolutely. I won’t bore you with the technical details now, but human beings can survive and THRIVE on an all-meat diet.
When you don’t have to digest and metabolize plant food, your nutrient needs change.
Many people around the world are discovering this way of eating.
The carnivore diet has helped people heal from arthritis to nerve pain to even things like cystic fibrosis!
As for me, I cannot describe to you the absolute, joyous RELIEF I felt when I realized I never had to eat a vegetable again.
Never would I stand in the grocery story, trying to guess if radicchio had FODMAPS. (If you’re wondering, the answer is yes.) Never again would I have to carefully vet restaurant food and hope that they could cook something that was on my “approved” list.Never again would I writhe in pain after a meal.
I was FREE from my quest for the perfect diet.
But I thought you said there was no cure for Crohn’s disease?
You’re right, my friend. There is no cure. I am not healed. (Yet.)
Two weeks after I started the carnivore diet, my skin tolerated sun better. Four weeks in, I decided to start a major project – sensing that I finally had the energy to see it through (and I did). A few months in, I started to see signs of normal poop.
That’s not to say that everything was perfect. Not even close.
My second week as a carnivore, my colon failed me and I had an accident in the middle of my commute – one of the worst days of my life.Even eight months later, it felt like my guts were broken all over again.
It was then that I discovered that eating cheese and drinking coffee, two “vices” I decided not to give up, contributed to my ongoing battle with SIBO.
When I quit them, I could tell a difference.
I had to give my body a chance to heal.
So far, my carnivore diet plan has been working.
I don’t worry about food, I just eat meat and free-range local eggs. I drink lots of water, and try to get enough sleep.
My guts have calmed down – they’re no longer reactive, jumpy, and nervous.
I meet friends and dates at restaurants without knowing the menu, knowing that I can order my usual – “just steak on a plate, please.”
I don’t worry when I run errands, because I can trust my gut not to have an accident.
Yes, there’s still a ways to go on my healing journey. I have yet to poop a perfect poop. My eczema is still active. The last gasps of SIBO are still being eradicated by my immune system.
But for the first time since I was 6 years old, I have confidence in my body. The trajectory of my health is finally going up. Now, I trust my gut.
As a carnivore, I canlive my life.
If you need a word of encouragement on your own healing journey,join my email newsletter.
PS. I’m Amazon Associate, so I may earn money from qualifying purchases if you click on links in this post. Thanks for your support!
An alternative and potentially more effective leaky gut diet is based around muscle meat, organ meats, and healthy fats loaded with bioavailable nutrients. One way to dramatically rebalance your gut is to practice a carnivore diet. Though based on ancestral ways of eating, it's new to the world of nutrition.
Beef, pork products, and other high-fat, fried, or cured meats could make your symptoms worse. Fatty, spicy foods often trigger diarrhea and gas. That's because Crohn's makes it harder for you to digest excess fat.
For many people with Crohn's, greasy foods will upset the digestive tract, so stay away from fatty cuts of meat like rib eye, pulled pork, beef brisket, fatty burgers, pork sausage, hot dogs, and bacon. Anything grilled, baked, or broiled is a great bet.
For some, the carnivore diet can greatly reduce inflammation, both in the digestive system and throughout the body, making it a possible solution for those with autoimmune disease and other inflammatory conditions as a way to calm the system while putting other measures in place.
In the book, I talk about the clean carnivore reset and it's just 30 or 60 days. That's a reasonable time frame for the immune system to reset and become a little more quiescent if you're removing the actual food triggers. It's a little bit of time for people to see how they feel.
Experts question the carnivore diet
And despite the Peterson family's effusive anecdotal evidence of the diet's ability to cure depression and autoimmune disorders, there have yet to be rigorous scientific studies to prove such claims.
A Diet Low in Red and Processed Meat Does Not Reduce Rate of Crohn's Disease Flares. Gastroenterology. 2019 Jul;157(1):128-136.
- Low-fiber fruits.
- Peeled or poached fruit.
- Prepared vegetables.
- Lean meat.
- Oily fish.
Taylor emphasizes that you shouldn't try to manage the disease with food alone. “Crohn's isn't something you can cure with diet – you need to have a health care team treating this,” she says. “But if you're having a flare-up, these are some foods you might want to avoid.”
pork tenderloin. peanut butter. white meat poultry. tofu and other soy products.
Studies have confirmed that excessive intake of red meat is associated with an increased incidence of IBD (7–9). A cohort study of 67,511 people in France showed that high-protein, high-fat diets of red meat were significantly associated with the onset of IBD (8).
Probiotic foods like yogurt, kefir, aged cheeses, miso and real sourdough bread can help maintain a healthy gut microbiome, something that is altered in Crohn's disease.
Shawn Baker, a former American orthopedic doctor, is the most well-known proponent of the Carnivore Diet (1). He cites testimonials from those who follow the Carnivore Diet as proof that it can treat depression, anxiety, arthritis, obesity, diabetes, and more (1, 2).
After doing this for 21 days, I can honestly say that a full transition would probably need at least 4-6 weeks. In the beginning, your body is working on getting fat adapted and the brain is being rewired to not crave carbs, and that could take quite a bit of time for some.
The carnivore diet is high in saturated fats which can cause elevated LDL or bad cholesterol and put you at risk for heart disease. What's more, many different kinds of processed meats like bacon and some lunch meats are loaded with sodium and have been linked to certain types of cancer.
The Carnivore Diet Can Combat Chronic Disease
Cardiovascular conditions – like heart attacks and strokes. Autoimmune disorders. Metabolic disorders – like type 2 diabetes. Cancer.
Conclusions: The carbohydrate, zero bre, carnivore diet shows great potential for being a readily available, cost-effective, and equally effective alternative treatment for SIBO.
Probiotic supplements are touted to feed the gut bacteria, which change on a carnivorous diet. Unkown and unneeded through most of human history. Natural bacteria ingested through fermented, aged food, soil, etc is different. Unnecessary on a human diet of meat and water.
That said, there are plenty of steps you can take to improve your digestive health. To combat leaky gut, eat foods that promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria, including fruits, cultured dairy products, healthy fats, lean meats, and fibrous and fermented vegetables. Avoid processed and refined junk foods.