July marks the two-year anniversary of my carnivorous diet. For the last two years of my life, I have eaten nothing but meat and water. For the second year, I ventured into the pemmican arena and decided to give that a shot for a year.
So the question is, what do I have to show for it? Well, to be honest, not much more than last year. My hair is still on my head, which still amazes me, but I can't help but think that there is more ground to cover in terms of obtaining better health. As Dr. Harris pointed out, a zero carb diet is beneficial, not because it restricts all carbohydrates, but because it restricts refined carbohydrates, gluten containing grains, and vegetable oils.
Those of you who have followed this blog know that I'm not about weight. I originally set out to stop my hair loss in a drug-free, natural way. Well, I have succeeded. Yet, I have had one persistent symptom that hasn't gone away no matter what I've done.
Bear with me while I explain my morning ritual of getting ready for work:
I wake up and turn on the mini-heater next to my bed. When I muster up enough courage, I leap from my sheets and sprint towards the shower. I set the dial to scalding and procrastinate as long as possible before exiting in a flash to be next to my heater. Before I put on my clothes for the day, I add a thermal top and bottom.
COLD INTOLERANCE. Not just some cold hands and feet, but purple hands and blue feet. I swear I was experiencing some kind of hypothermia.
Eating pemmican to appetite sadly did not help this lingering symptom, but OVER-eating pemmican did warm me up a bit. I had to force about 4,000 calories of pemmican down my throat to achieve this. It left me feeling bloated and unable to move - not something that I necessarily loved doing, but the warmth was nice.
Enter Matt Stone. Like the rest of the paleo community (am I part of the paleo community?) I despised the guy. I had first heard of Matt Stone over at Dr. Harris' PaNu Weblog and Richard Nikoley's Free The Animal. Apparently Richard and Matt have some kind of feud going on, go figure.
Upon reviewing Matt's work, I immediately wrote him off as a douche. The high-everything-diet (HED) was just too much for me to process. Matt's reasoning for forcing tons of food down one's gullet was the goal of increasing body temperature.
Matt explains the importance of body temperature as part of the definition of metabolism on his site:
When I say “metabolism,” I mean body temperature. This is a far better indicator of, pound for pound, what kind of hormonal state the body is in. The REAL definition of metabolism is the sum total of all hormonal and metabolic processes within the body – not just calorie burn or oxygen consumption.
Matt's idea of body temperature being of chief importance stayed with me long after I wrote him off. Months passed and I forgot about Matt, until I caught his interview on Jimmy Moore's Livin La Vida Low Carb Podcast. I loaded up my iPod with interview and was ready to violently disagree with everything he said. I made it half way through the interview and was completely dumbfounded. I wasn't cursing, I wasn't shaking my head, and for the most part, I loved what Matt was saying.
Soon after the interview, I purchased a thermometer and started monitoring my body temperature. I was floored upon reviewing the results; I consistently hit a chilly 95F.
So yes reader, in the pursuit of perfect health I have put the carnivorous diet on hold. I'm attempting my version of Matt Stone's high everything diet, which consists of grass fed meat, yams, eggs, coconut oil and butter. Matt lays out a much more liberal version of the diet in his free ebook, but I prefer to tightly control variables, noting what I respond well to. Matt's main points, which are already adhere to, are increasing body temperature by over consuming nutrient dense foods, while avoiding refined flour/sugar and vegetable oils.
Results so far?
Body Temperature has come up from 95F to 97.5F. My girlfriend now calls me a "normal person." My nails have made a huge change as well. The ridges are softening up and are no longer cracked and bleeding.
How's the hair you ask? Have the nine sweet potatoes a day while on HED obliterated my hair follicles? Nope. Experiencing the high-everything-diet actually has caused me to go back and rewrite the book I'm working on. New title and all.
While the positives are great, there is one thing I'm a bit shaky on.
Whenever I don't get to stuff my face, my body temperature seems about .5F lower the next morning. Perhaps this means I need to overfeed more, but I'm skeptical that my wacky body can sustain a higher temperature when over-feeding ends.
It took a lot for me to end my two-year adventure and attempt a diet that seemed, and maybe is, completely insane. I can only hope that Lex Rooker, a man that is far more open minded than I am, will return my phone calls after reading this :P
Perhaps I'll eat my words after more experimentation, but I can't deny the positives that I've been experiencing. My small understanding of how my body works continues. My year of veganism, my year of paleo eating, and my two years of carnivorous eating have taught me a lot. I honestly can't even imagine where I'll end up.
If I've disagreed with you over the last two years about carbohydrates being more evil than Satan, picture me consuming a large serving of crow.
Matt says it pretty well here:
“If you aren’t confused about health and nutrition, then you haven’t studied it long enough or deeply enough.”