Yes, I’d say it is. Look at all the things it has restricted from my life:
In no particular order, here are the things that I don’t have going on at all anymore, as long as I stick to my current way of eating:
- Hidradenitis suppurativa
- joint pain and swelling (never diagnosed, but probably arthritis)
- brain fog
- trichotillomania (y’all, I have eyebrows.)
- severe social anxiety
- generalized anxiety
- unexplained recurring skin lesions
- compulsive cleaning (My house is less clean. This is a good thing. Trust me.)
- mood swings
- PMS (I do still suffer fools a little less gladly during that time.)
- Heavy periods with several extra days of spotting afterwards
- emotional eating/food cravings
A number of other things have greatly improved, and continue to:
- Hashimodo’s thyroiditis (I’m currently experimenting with no thyroid medication, and it seems to be going well. I’m cautiously optimistic.)
- ADHD (I have improved self-control in every aspect of my life, but let’s face it: I’m always going to be a little bit squirrely.)
And that’s just me. For privacy’s sake, I won’t be able tell you most of what has changed for my family as I’ve narrowed down their diets to what works for them, and should work for just about anybody. We’re still figuring some things out. I’ll just tell you that it is 100% true that everything, right down to those old-lady bunions you’re getting, is affected by the way you eat.
Why is restrictive bad? Fences are restrictive, but they keep the bull from goring every passerby, so I’m good with those restrictions. Marriage is restrictive. The yellow lines on the road are restrictive. Lots of things are.
But do you know what’s really restrictive, in a very negative way? Having to fill in your eyebrows with a pencil before you feel ok letting other people look at you. Being stuck at home because of social anxiety. Using inhalers. Paying expensive doctors to give you even more expensive medicines that don’t work. Getting hideous boils that restrict movement and make you just miserable. Being unable to exercise because your energy is non-existent. Being so OCD about the house-keeping that your children don’t get as much of you as they deserve.
Does any of that sound like healthy living to you? Because that’s what I get when I loosen up my way of eating.
My small children often ask me “Could you eat this, Mommy?” and the answer is “Of course! I can eat anything I want. But why would I want something that would make me feel bad?”
You can think of carnivore, or keto, or low-fat, or water fasting, or any other eating pattern as restrictive, but the question for me is, is your diet making you better or worse? Just that, and nothing more, is how you should judge your eating choices.
How restrictive do you need to be?
Very few people jump straight to a carnivore diet, because it seems too far out. For me, it has been a very quick path to health. What consequences you do feel comfortable with? Do you love your raw kale salad so much that you don’t mind suppressing your thyroid function? Is cheese so important to you that you don’t care that it gives you brain fog or constipation? That’s entirely up to you! Do you look at that healthy, tasty, whole grain bowl of oatmeal, and then your out-of-control blood sugars and say “Yeah, I think diabetes is a fair trade for this breakfast experience. Shoot me up with that insulin, doc!”? Fine. Up to you. You are the one that has to live with that choice.
I’m willing to deal with the slightly disturbed sleep I have after wine, so I drink a couple of glasses occasionally. For a while there, I felt comfortable enough with that last patch of eczema behind my left knee to go on feeding my coffee habit. That was worth it to me. But once I found out that coffee inhibits T4 production, I had no trouble letting go of that plant toxin. I’ve eased myself off of T4 medication over the last few months, so I need optimal functioning. I’m now coffee free, and eczema free. Hopefully, I’ll find that my thyroid labs look good, as well. Certainly I feel good–better than I did with the T4, surprisingly. I’ll let you know how this particular experiment turns out, either way.
I listed everything that the carnivore way of eating has taken out of my life, but it really should be stated more positively than that. I have better skin, better poop, no pain, a great mood, better relationships, clearer thinking, better productivity, more fun (FUN! I never had fun before!), fantastic body composition, more stamina, impressive strength for such a little gal, and the emotional freedom to explore the world God made for us.
How could anybody ever call that restrictive?