Enemy Controlled Territory aka Your Local Church

Remember that password protected post that I accidentally sent out? That started out as a normal blog post, thusly:

I woke up ten minutes before my alarm went off this morning. I got my Bible reading and prayers done, made breakfast, took the trash, took Get Along Husband to work, did the grocery shopping, and still made it home by 9 a.m. to start lessons with the kids. We did a great job, then I spent an hour working out before our late lunch. In short, I did the sort of things I always do, and that every homeschooling mom finds herself doing routinely. Nothing special, right?

But man, I felt GOOD. All morning long, I felt good. And I started wondering, why do I feel so good right now? And why haven’t I felt this way in such a long time? My habits haven’t changed. My motivations and dedication to duty haven’t changed. My willingness to do the work hasn’t changed. I’ve been basically getting it done all along. It’s just better right now.

I haven’t been so focused and just plain happy to be getting things done in a very long time.

“Why do I feel so good?” I wondered, all morning long. And I think I have it figured out, after looking back on my day yesterday, then the weeks before that, and the eighteen months before those weeks. You want to know what the secret sauce is to being totally into life, and able to face it joyfully? One word:

Fellowship.

Yesterday, I got to worship with God’s people, my people, my tribe. I got to teach Sunday School (although our church is so much cooler than that, so it’s not called Sunday School here, but another name that means the same thing).

I got to see a bunch of sweet little faces, tell them about Jesus, and give a hug to a little guy who was having a tough moment. Then I got to lift my scratchy voice in praise to the One who redeemed me. I heard the Gospel preached by a pastor who loves the Lord and loves His flock with a sincere heart, and brings good Doctrine to sustain them.

Then I had an elder pray with me over a difficulty that I’ve been dealing with for 13 long years, with a hand on my shoulder and a heart that understood my need without being told very much about it. That kind of prayer can only come through the Holy Spirit praying for us, and with us, and through us.

I didn’t get much rest yesterday, though it was a Sunday, because I brought eight hungry kids home with me. I still had a couple more (laid back) meals to crank out, and the little ones still needed a lot of attention. A busy “day of rest” with all that social activity, for someone who is happiest locked in a quiet room with a book surely can’t account for how well-rested I feel today.

The only thing that can account for this long-absent sense of wholeness and wellness is the fellowship. This burst of happy energy was a pretty regular Monday occurrence for me, once upon a time. Before things went off the rails, my week would always start at the top like that, and then take a downward slide as the weekend approached. Then there would be a recharge on Sunday, and we’re off to the races again! (And let me put in a good word for Wednesday night prayer meetings here.)

“When Covid happened”, as people like to say, my good attitude started slipping. I didn’t really even notice it at first, because my lifestyle stayed basically the same. Our family weathered the storm of the tyrannical lockdowns much more easily than most probably did, simply because we’re stay-at-home people anyway. We’re a big family, so loneliness is easier to overcome, or at least to not notice. But over time, it started to wear on us, too. When church opened back up, but with masks, it wore on us even more. Because we knew the masks were a tool of political control, not of a virus, but of the population itself, our consciences wouldn’t allow us to wear them, so we were even more alienated than those who wore them.

Even inside church, because others were masked and social distancing, we were apart, as if a new sacrament, one of masks and hand-sanitizing, had been introduced to mark the True Christians. We were told that this is how we “honor our weak” and “show we care”, but to our family, it sounded like–because it was–gaslighting. It was second-hand gaslighting, to be sure, spoken by people who had been gas-lit themselves into thinking they were bad for questioning whether it was right, or even sane, to cover their faces and refuse to touch other people.

We couldn’t see faces, or hug friends, or even shake hands. Conversation was awkward, especially in a large church where we don’t recognize people quickly in a crowd just by the top third of their faces. I literally ran out the doors after most services, it was so unfriendly a place. Worship itself was sincere, I believe, but strangled. I know I’m not the only one who emotionally couldn’t handle the physical and emotional distancing. We skipped a lot of Sunday mornings because it was too hard to watch.

We couldn’t really hear the voices of those trying to sing with muzzles on. We had to pray without touching each other, or even getting closer than shouting distance. We had to feel awkward about violating the 6-foot distance to speak to friends. Every meal at home became a mechanical event, just feeding a body, because we’d had no meals with the Church to remind us that we are more than the body. The sterile communion cup packages felt–well, sterile, obviously. I wonder if it’s even truly communion like that. God forgive us!

One of the most painful memories I have of this faceless time was when we were sitting two taped-off rows behind a family with a little guy, maybe a year and a half old, and the sweet fellow couldn’t take his eyes off my face. It would be nice to think that he was staring so much because he’d never seen anybody so pretty, but my mirror tells a different story, so I can’t comfort myself with that explanation. My daughter noticed it, too, and asked me later why he was so interested in my face. “I think,” I said, “that it’s because mine is the only adult face he’s seen without a mask since he was too little to remember. He doesn’t know what to make of grownup strangers’ faces.” It’s a scary thought for our society’s future when you consider all the babies who went through that crucial phase of development without adequate exposure to community faces.

We lost a year of learning each other. Our children lost a year of development (there are reports that IQ in the very young has declined drastically), a year of community, a year of Sunday School, a year of friendship and learning who and how to trust. Those years can never be reclaimed. While I did my best to make sure my kids still had human contact, our church connection was first non-existent, then horrifically alienating as things “opened back up”.

My soul started to dry out. That was the worst thing, but my body started to feel the changes, too. I had more allergies and minor malaises–the kind you can’t really pin down, but you just don’t feel good–during this “safe at home” time than I did in the twenty years preceding it combined. My children were often just not quite right, as well. It was a physical depression due to isolation. I was frequently discouraged with my diet and exercise, feeling like I just wasn’t worth the effort, though by force of will I stuck to it anyway. I’ve been quite healthy by any objective measure, but like every other human being, I need more than a mirror and a thermometer to tell me I’m doing ok. Introvert that I am, I’ve discovered that I really do need people to show me myself. That’s a good thing to know, so I guess God can pull something good out of just any situation.

Touching, smelling, swapping pheromones, producing oxytocin and all those other hormones we have during face-to-face interactions, catching colds that educate our immune systems (in fact, they educate our immune systems to handle covid!): we need all of that germy, messy human contact. Because I was aware of these needs, I did everything in my power to keep my family in contact with others, and not just by Zoom meetings.

But the Church is the contact we need most. We didn’t just need to hang out with friends and family, which we managed to do often enough that I think we weathered this storm pretty well. We couldn’t get the same spiritual and physical boost from “worship” in front of the teevee. The Holy Spirit works uniquely through our physical meetings.

We are a literal Body. We share our immune system in a very real way.


And this, dear Reader, is where my blog post took a hard right and turned into a desperate plea to our pastor and elders not to let our church be plunged again into that faceless Hell. I won’t share much of what I said past this point, because I wouldn’t want to drag anything local into it by accident, nor embarrass anyone. But what is happening here must surely be happening in many places as mask dictates and threats of lockdown are once again coming down from on high. I honestly thought we’d at least have until late September, when cold and flu season started up, but the experimental injections have worsened the situation, so even our summer respite was shorter than it should have been.

But did my plea bear any fruit, you ask? Well, what do you think? Do you think a church that congratulated itself on being so wonderfully First-Peter-submissive the first time we were induced into this mass psychosis would feel at all like examining any evidence, even if it was just anecdotal and intuitive, as mine admittedly was, that they have, in fact, been doing great harm to their own ministry? Do you think that an influential group of people in a large church would turn on a dime to hear the heart of one who holds no place in their inner circle? Do you think that a bunch of community leaders with reputations as intelligent, educated people would buckle to the requests of a hillbilly with no degree at all?

Do you think they’re even capable of thinking anything other than what respectable people are expected to think?

Yeah. No.

They will comply. It is narrative uber alles here. To keep the peace, and to be known as good people, and because they trust the Science™ they will comply. Worship services are now masked and distanced, and praise the Lord we’re all such good citizens! Because they believe the narrative that staying apart makes us healthy, and they believe that they were right to comply the first time, they’ll go ahead and comply this flock right down into the grave. When lockdowns come, they’ll feel good about merely piping the music and preaching into our homes via Facebook (and if you’re a good citizen, unlike my perma-banned self, you’ll still be allowed on Facebook). They’ll call that “church”.

We will not.

Our family has been faced with 3 options. We can comply with the senseless dictates that only make everything–mentally, spiritually, and physically–worse, just so we can enjoy in some limited capacity the reduced, faceless kind of worship that is “allowed” to us by those outside the church who passionately hate whole-hearted, intimate, corporate worship of Jesus. We can go be just like the rest of the congregation, and then when the next “lockdown” comes, we can pretend with them that we’re all in it together, apart, in our individual prison cells.

We can, alternatively, go to this same meeting place, but mask-free, as we did before, dodging the mask-waving greeters, standing naked-faced and unashamed in our taped-off rows. I really don’t know how such intelligent people can find it at all reasonable that the singers and preachers go bare-faced while everyone less essential to Worship remains covered. It has to be humiliating to pretend that this makes any sense. I won’t, myself, torture my own mind with such illogic. I find the rigmarole to be emotionally exhausting, and antithetical to the entire purpose of corporate worship. I can’t again face the prospect of being so far out of line with the behavior of the rest of the church. I can handle being a little out of step–the story of my life, really–but for me, the masks serve only as a constant reminder that Covid is the real King around here, and we’ll do whatever Covid requires. I can’t worship with people who don’t even know what they’re really worshipping.

Our last option, and the one we will take, is to find a new group of Christians to worship with–one that values and respects human faces, imago Dei, normal human psychology, normal interactions, and normal physiology. There are believers out there that trust God’s design of our immune systems, and of normally functioning communities, as much as we do. We just have to find them.


We had some family stuff to keep us home yesterday, so I’m feeling a little bit less than enthusiastic about this coming week. It is past nine o’clock, which begins our school day, so I’ll put this up as is, though there is a lot more that I can (and probably will) say later.

 

Carnivore Diet and the Christian Worldview

Has all that evolution talk got you in a tizzy? 

A discerning reader asked a question a while back, and it’s something that’s been on my to-blog list ever since. It’s a very important question, and one I’ve spent a bit of time thinking through.

Well I do wonder what you think about why the Lord created man in the garden of Eden and told Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:29 ~ “Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. (and verse 30: And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.)” It wasn’t until after the flood that He told Noah and his family that they could eat meat. …I’m not against meat. I eat some beef, some turkey, and chicken, and salmon… I also eat vegetables and fruit. It just seems to me that in light of the verses quoted above, that we humans were created to eat vegetables originally. (And I don’t believe in evolution so I don’t think we’ve “evolved” to eat only one thing or the other. ;-)) Just tho’t I’d ask you what you think about those verses and what you think they mean in light of eating various foods.
In His grace, Mrs. O

Thank you so much, Mrs. O! I don’t know what I’d do without comments like this.

I pointed out that after we left the Garden of Eden, God gave us animals for use as clothing immediately, and it is implicit therein that humans began using them for meat soon after leaving the garden. Cain and Abel didn’t have their little scuffle because Abel was sacrificing something he barely needed. This was his best. That very likely means it was his food. God had clearly commanded animal sacrifice, and nothing else would suit Him.

It would seem very odd to me if they were raising and sacrificing animals and wearing them as clothing, but not eating the meat also. But maybe they did waste the meat and righteously consume only plants. I think you come away with a very different meaning–and an anti-Gospel one, at that–by reading the Cain and Abel story that way, but let’s roll with it. I can’t say for sure that they were eating meat, if I’m being very, very pedantic with only the explicit text, so let’s just say that the first generation of Man never had even a thought of eating meat, and the only killing of animals that they did was for sacrifice and possibly clothing.

All I can come up with is: So what?

That was then, this is now. Things changed after Eden, and then they changed again after the flood. There was, for one thing, a cleansing of the human race, wiping out the offspring of the Nephilim and the human race (about which, I won’t elaborate further, but oh, my, the things they don’t tell you in Bible school!). The earth itself also was laid waste, and the plants and animals that were preserved underwent that same culling. These genetic bottlenecks likely introduced even more corruption to our genome, and that of the plants and animals we ate, than was already there. This would (theoretically, but logically) have made us even less able to digest the plants than before.

Noah was told explicitly after the Flood to eat (clean) meat. The restriction on eating meat, if there was one, was lifted at that point regardless. Later on, in the New Covenant, the distinction between clean and unclean meats was also voided. We need to eat meat. I think all of this taken together establishes that a strictly carnivore diet is at least permissible to the Bible-believer. There may be some angle I’ve missed and that’s what the comment section is for, so let me have them, please.

But what about eating only meat? There’s something just flat-out worldly and unbelieving about that. Underneath the health objections, which don’t hold up very well in my experience and opinion, there’s just this visceral reaction to the idea that we evolved this way, and anything built on that foundation must be wrong, wrong, wrong. When I came across the carnivore way of thinking about food, I wanted to reject it out of hand, too. It’s all evolution all the time with these people!

We did not evolve this way. We devolved this way.

I listen to a lot of diet and lifestyle podcasts while I’m doing less mind-intensive things like weeding and running. I also read a lot of nutrition and metabolism-focused blogs. It is by-and-large a Godless conversation, sadly, and it can be very tiresome even to weirdos like me who are energized, rather than discouraged, by a good dose of cognitive dissonance.

I’m with you, Mrs. O. (At least, I think I am.) Since starting the carnivore way of eating, and for the first time in my grain-glutted life, my teeth are now in extremely good shape, but I’m grinding them down to pitiful nubs having to listen to evolution-this and ancestral-that all the time.

Most Christians aren’t going to even entertain the thought of the carnivore approach if the only supporting narrative–and friends, it is nothing but a narrative, a just-so story–is the modern creation myth of millions of years of evolution. For what it’s worth, the same evolutionary nonsense is also trotted out to justify vegetarian eating, i.e. our monkey brains were only able to grow so large because we learned to farm the extra calories required for such intelligence. They can and do stuff just anything into that evolutionary box.

I have something a lot less flexible, but thankfully perfect and infallible, to base my life choices on: the Word of God. Like Mrs. O., I believe that the Genesis account is literal: six days, two sexes, and only one No-No Tree. I’m one hundred percent in agreement that Adam and Eve were put in a garden and told to eat the plants, except for that one. I further believe that everything that God gave them to eat was good.

And then something happened that changed our very DNA, and that of the entire living world. I don’t know what Eden was like, whether there was any entropy, how long it was meant to last, whether eating was a mere pleasure rather than a physiological necessity. So many questions arise when you start wondering how the metaphysical and the physical met in that place.

But once we’re out of that Garden, meat makes plenty of sense.

I can’t say for sure what happened over the millennia on a physiological level, but my guess is that, because Earth became corrupt, and the entire creation began to groan, much of the nutrition that was available to us through plants became less and less accessible throughout the generations. Our genetic makeup didn’t permit perfect processing of the foods anymore, and the foods themselves developed hardier defenses.:

17And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

18Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

19In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Think of lectins as thorns, and you’ll see why grains might not be the best thing for us.

As for the bizarre-sounding fact that many carnivores have discovered they have to eat only meat, I observe that we are at the end of many millennia of devolution, and we are less and less able to process these foods as our DNA inexorably declines in quality. Except in times of plenty such as we’ve enjoyed for my entire life in this country, needing “the herb of the field” is a hard fact of life, and in many ways a detrimental one, or it wouldn’t be part of the Curse, as it clearly is in the quoted text.

As I said before, I might myself have to eat something besides meat in order to get enough calories to survive someday. I don’t look forward to that, because my health would suffer, but hard times do come. As a nation, we are long overdue for some collective judgment, which I expect will rain on the just and the unjust. Plate me up some lentils, in that case. My soul will survive that just fine. In the meantime, I’m storing up as much health and strength as I can by eating what works best for my body.

Praise Him for providing meat!

I love my brothers and sisters in Christ and would dearly love to see them in better health, so that the Lord’s work can be done with vigor, and his Word elucidated by clear, unclouded minds. Through use of the evolutionary narrative, Satan is convincing many of his enemies to become weak, both physically and mentally, by turning them off on a gut level to the notion that animal nutrition is superior to plant nutrition before they really get a chance to think about it.

Hopefully you can see by now that a carnivore diet, at the very least, does not fail to fit in with the Gospel narrative, aka the Truth. It certainly provides a better explanation for why we need to eat meat than “Monkeys with tiny brains dropped out of trees and started eating brains, so their brains got bigger.” (I know, evolution-worshippers, that this is a gross over-simplification of your beloved stories. But if you believe in evolution, I’d far rather talk to you about your soul than your food.)

Life requires death, on both a physical and a metaphysical level. Animal sacrifice is done away with, but animal eating is not…yet. The Good News here is that all things are being restored. Until that day, we receive with thanks the sustenance that God provides.

What think you? Anybody here looking at that pb&j sandwich a little bit less lovingly now?

You Need to Hear Some Preaching

But I’m a girl, so it won’t be Bible-preaching.

I’ve got a number of friends and family who, because of the example I set, know that they ought to cut the bad foods out of their diet. Unlike many people on a Standard American Diet, they even have some idea what those bad foods are.

The problem is, I’m the only voice they hear this stuff from, and I lack gravitas. It doesn’t matter that I have taken my body from pudgy and sickly to slender and strong. It doesn’t matter that I can run circles around people half my age. It doesn’t matter that I look hotter than I did when I was 21. (I was never very pretty, but I’m now a solid 9 out of 10, if you’re just comparing today’s me to other mes I’ve been.) It doesn’t matter that I am not aging at anything like the accelerated rate of my age cohort. None of my success can be seen as anything but a fluke, because I’m just a congenital weirdo who does things like having “too many” babies and then homeschooling them. It is certainly not just anybody who can be healthy at the ripe old age of…however old I am now. It takes a special genetic predisposition, aka luck, right?

I’m not a doctor or a certified nutritionist. I don’t even have a YouTube channel. I’ve considered it, since watching videos is apparently what everybody really wants to do. Alas, I have a face fit only for radio, and voice fit only for print, so I won’t be venturing into that world.

What I do have is this little blog and my equally tiny real-life social network. And while I’m over here with no credentials whatsoever, trying to save everybody a lot of self-inflicted grief, every magazine, newspaper, tv show, doctor, nurse, athlete, friend, and neighbor is telling my loved ones to eat ever more seed oils, grains, and sugar. And now they’re trying to turn us on to this bizarre fake meat that is supposed to be better for you than plain old, God-given meat.

Lord, help me fight this giant industry that’s trying to kill my people!

Add to these influences the fact that all those processed foods are nigh-on orgasmic to eat. When the tv is off, and you’re finally listening to your rational self and trying to reject that hyperpalatable food, your traitorous brain will start singing the same tune. Your dopamine-loving brain will tell you anything at all to justify the next hit of sweet-fat-salty bliss. Next thing you know, you’re face down in a bowl of macaroni salad, and your insulin is higher than Hunter Biden after the Chinese dropped the latest payment in his off-shore account.

All the people (but me) say this is perfectly reasonable eating behavior!

You can probably see by now that I’m getting a little frustrated trying to convince the people I love most to just stop.

Stop giving yourself cancer.

Stop giving yourself heart disease.

Stop giving yourself diabetes.

Take responsibility for what you put into your body.

You, my beloved friends and family, are giving yourself these diseases. Every time you open your mouth to put in whatever insane food happens to be in front of you, with no sense of responsibility for the effects that it will have on your body (and your mind, but I’ll get to that later), you are sinning against your own body.

Do I take it too far calling it a sin? But I told you I was going to be preaching, didn’t I?

Is there not a point where intentional self-harm begins to carry moral implications? You be the judge of your own behavior.

There was a time when you truly couldn’t be blamed for your physical condition. There was a time, before I started telling you these things, that you really thought that the food pyramid was science from on high, rather than a marketing ploy to boost grain sales. There was a time when it was still possible to believe that your illnesses were all just genetic, just normal aging, just bad luck. There was a time when you could have no idea that you had caused your own problems in large part by your own choices.

But you can’t be ignorant any longer, because I’m standing out here on my street corner with my (bun-less) sandwich-board sign telling you that you don’t have to go through the Hell of metabolic illness. Salvation is here! (Understand, please, that I am absolutely not equating having a healthy diet with saving your soul. I’m going to keep torturing this metaphor until it confesses…something, anyway.)

Actions come from belief, and belief comes from hearing, and how will you hear if I don’t preach to you?

To my dismay, I’ve discovered that what most people are willing to believe has more to do with how often they hear a thing than whether what they’re hearing makes any sense at all. (Consider this your invitation to throw out your lying tv, also.) If you hear over and over that whole grain bread is a health food and that meat will kill you, you will eat whole grain bread and cut down on meat, even though you can see with your own two eyes that you haven’t gotten healthy by following this advice. Your fat, sickly doctor will look you unabashedly in the eye and tell you to lose weight, and you’ll do the same things to lose weight that your fat, sickly doctor is doing. And guess what? You’ll be fat and sickly, too. 

People in authority, people in white coats, people in front of tv cameras, and simply the people from whom you desire social approval just keep repeating the low-fat, anti-meat mantra. They win your mind because they keep repeating the lie. I’ve been remiss in that. I cut back on saying it because I don’t want to bother people, but repetition is the key.

You know that the “healthy” way of eating will kill you; you’re watching it happen in real time. But you still need to hear from the other side daily, kind of like reading your Bible to fight the devil’s incessant tricks. So, for the sake of my loved ones (and you strangers on the internet) I’ll repeat this until it either sinks in or I die trying:

Repent!

Stop making excuses. Do the emotionally and socially painful work of changing your diet. You have a choice to become sicker or healthier, every single time you eat. I will be tickled pink to give specifics to anybody who asks, and feel free to browse my scanty archives.

If you are interested in hearing more, here are some preachers you may find quite a bit more credible than apparently I have been.

I don’t always agree with everything that all of them say. Some of them are nerdier or meatier or more plant-tolerant than others. They’ll all get to you to a much healthier place than your current advisors can.

Ken Berry, MD

Dr. Cywes, the Carb Addiction Doc

Dr. Berg

Ivor Cummins

Shawn Baker, Meat Rx

 

 

 

Carnivore Forever?

How long will I continue to eat this way?

Life without cake. Life without spinach. Life without quinoa. Dreary, dreary life without chocolate. Can a person really be happy like this? Health considerations aside (for just a moment), who wants to go through life without tasty treats? Or…spinach? I’ll bet I get a few takers on that one, at least. I made a great vegan lasagna, once upon a time. I used to break out in a rash on my hands every time I’d squeeze the water out of the cooked spinach for the filling. You’d think that would have been a clue that something about spinach wasn’t agreeing with me, wouldn’t you? I have no trouble saying no to spinach these days.

But what does it take to get kicked out of the carnivore club? Do I still get to call myself a carnivore if I eat chocolate on my birthday? Because I did that. I had several plant foods at Thanksgiving. Some pickles worked their way into the deviled eggs on our anniversary. I had a piece of keto cake on my Dad’s birthday, too, because sometimes you just need to be part of the celebration. So I’m not really a carnivore! Oh, gosh. My self-image is in ruins. Shawn Baker will never let me look at his website again.

Carnivore is where I live. Every normal day, and that is probably something like 350 days of the year, I eat only meat and eggs. I visit other places sometimes. For instance, nobody will ever come between me and that first perfectly juicy pear of the season. I’m going to eat that. It’s not going to harm me.

There are a lot of people who come to the carnivore way of eating because they can’t handle even a slight taste of sweetness. They are carb-addicted, and meat is the only safe food for them. The only way to defeat carbohydrate addiction is with a super-strict approach that leaves no room for cheats and treats. I have never had that particular problem, I’m grateful to report. I’ve always been able to put that last piece of pie into the trash because that’s where extra pieces of pie belong. Other people I know can’t even sleep knowing that there’s an extra piece of pie in the house that hasn’t been eaten yet. I can go months at a time without even a single sweet thing, but eating a blueberry or a spoonful of honey (which one might argue is still an animal product, and thus carnivore) won’t throw me out of my healthy place, so it’s cool if I let that food into my diet sometimes.

There are people who will have to go the rest of their lives with zero plants consumed. Even a green vegetable will set off that longing for more carbs. I believe, based on all my research and the hundreds of stories that I’ve heard so far, that they will thrive that way. I could, myself, be perfectly healthy and happy that way. But I am perfectly healthy and happy with the occasional treat, too.

But if I can have these things from time to time, why not work them in regularly? Isn’t this overly strict, and bordering on weird? Maybe. I’m not ready to say yet just how long I’ll go from today until my next helping of plant matter. It will almost certainly be weeks. It could be months. It could be years! I don’t mind being strict and weird, as long as I’m doing what’s best for me at the moment.

There are many, many plants that I will never consume again, barring a SHTF situation where starvation is the alternative. Most of the plants we think of as staple foods are, in fact, harmful to me (and to a lot of other people who haven’t realized it yet). I’ll never choose to eat the things that give me boils, make me wheeze, or exacerbate my auto-immune disease. Dairy, unfortunately, is included in that group of foods, so it’s not even just plants.

The main reason I stick so contentedly to my carnivore plan is that it’s easier for me to keep a short list of what I can eat than a long list of what I can’t. I could have a few more foods with no harm, but I find that when I start to include, say, asparagus, pretty soon lemons will sneak into a recipe, then some mushrooms, or some other food I’d forgotten I shouldn’t have. Before I know it, I’m tired of thinking through my options at every meal, so I get careless. My eczema gets cranked up to 11, my thyroid symptoms are getting worse, and I have no idea which thing that I ate is causing me to feel so gassy and bloated.

I’m a busy woman with lots to think about every day. I don’t have the mental energy required to be that hyper-vigilant about my food just for the sake of a little variety in flavor.

So, for a slightly looser version of carnivore than many may need, this will almost certainly be the way I eat forever. Maybe someday, when I’m 100 and feel like the end can’t be much farther away, I’ll chow down on some pizza and beer and just have a great blow-out at the very end. But I doubt that. Even a centenarian values her future if she’s wise. Who knows? I might live to be 105 or 110. I want to feel as good as possible until the day I die, and I want that day to be as far away as possible.

Meat is what will achieve those goals for me, so that’s what I’ll keep doing.

 

Do You Need Supplements on a Carnivore Diet?

Polyphenols! Antioxidants! Vita-mints!

(As usual, nothing in this blog post is to be taken as professional medical advice or instruction. Even the parts where I call your doctor an idiot should not prevent you from consulting your doctor about any changes you make to your diet or exercise. I’m a hillbilly mommy blogger. Take me just as seriously as that warrants, and we’ll get along just fine.)

I am often asked what kind of supplements I have to take because meat is basically the only thing I eat. The first time I was asked this, I was kind of surprised. I never really thought about it because it seems obvious: I’m made of meat, therefore meat should have everything in it that I need to eat. Of course, this is a silly gut feeling and not a deeply researched conclusion. So I have done a little research over the last year or so, just to be sure I’m not missing out on something that only broccoli can give.

While my instincts led me to the correct place, the reasoning I laid on top of the intuition to explain it wasn’t very good, was it? You could just as easily think that because the animals I eat are also made of meat, and they eat plants, then I should eat plants, too. But many of the animals I eat turn out to be not very much like me, having things like crops and extra stomachs to add umph to their digestive workings. As it turns out, those animals are doing a great deal with their digestive systems that I can’t. I then eat them, so that I can get the nutrients from plants in a form that I can use.

As one guy whose name I can’t recall said “My eyes are in the front of my head, and I only have one stomach.” My stomach acid is that of a predator, not a ruminant animal. I don’t have the enlarged cecum of an herbivore that would allow me to digest large amounts of fiber like a gorilla does. I am clearly designed to hunt and eat meat. Since going carnivore, I can tell you on a personal level that my results bear out my gut instinct, however silly it may have seemed to begin with. I’ve never been so consistently healthy and happy in my life.

But what about those vitamins, huh? Especially Vitamin C, which is apparently the only thing standing between me and certain death. Everybody swears by mega-dosing with C, including some very smart people, but I’ve concluded that nobody actually needs to do this, provided they’re willing to make the changes necessary to keep their bodies healthy without supplementation. Even if you’re trying to avoid getting a cold or think it will help with cancer, I don’t see a lot of value in just shoveling in more supplements to cover for a detrimental diet.

There are couple of little secrets the food nannies haven’t let us in on for some reason. Among the best-kept is that there is C in fresh meat. Yes, there is. So there’s that, but the other secret is even more interesting. You see, vitamin C and insulin compete for the same receptors in your cells. When you’re chronically consuming carbohydrates, and thus chronically raising your insulin, your cells are less able to use whatever vitamin C you consume, making higher and higher doses necessary to get any of the needful nutrient into your tissues. As you become more hyperinsulinemic, you become more vitamin C deficient.

Some people do need a vitamin C supplement. Those people are not carnivores. All the stories about limes saving sailors from scurvy have very little to do with the limes, and much more to do with their insanely deficient diet. They ate dried meats, beer, and refined carbohydrates all day long. Of course they got scurvy.

Instead of spending extra money and time to take more and more of something that you’re actually getting plenty of, if you’d only stop wasting it, why not just lower the carbohydrate load to a point where your glucose, and thus your insulin, no longer impede your body’s use of it? You could even lower your carbs to zero for maximum effect.

Besides C, though, there’s a plethora of vitamins and minerals that we’re told we need to worry about. People who want you to assume that meat is bad for you conveniently leave out the fact that meats have every single nutrient you need in them. Do you know which people need a whole lot of supplements to survive? Vegans and vegetarians. There are a number of nutrients that you simply can’t get from plants. B12, DHA, iron, Vitamins D, A, and K, and many minerals like selenium are missing in a vegan diet, and remain inadequate in a less strict vegetarian diet with eggs. Even those plants that are touted as having a lot of nutrients often have them in the wrong form for humans to absorb and use. Some plant foods block the absorption of vital nutrients, as black beans are known to do for zinc. Plants are not your friend if you’re trying to get vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. I know this is hard to hear. I used to like black beans, too, especially with tortillas and salsa.

What about all the other super-food things? Don’t I need the polyphenols in chocolate or the antioxidants in blueberries to keep me from getting cancer or something? The simple answer for me is no. You should do your own research, of course, but I have read a lot of the literature on these things. Go ahead and eat those superfoods if you think they’ll help you. I doubt there’s much harm in many of them in the amounts you’ll be consuming them–the low-sugar foods like berries, anyway. But there is, as far as I can tell, no advantage in consuming these things, provided you get a totally unbalanced diet of meat, meat, and more meat.

I’ve concluded that those polyphenols are probably better termed “toxins”, as the power that they have seems to be in inducing a hormetic response, rather than providing something that you actually need in order to be healthy. They’re almost, to my thinking, a tiny dose of chemotherapy on a fork. That might be an ok thing to throw in there if you’re filling up on insulin-raising, immune-system destroying, cancer-feeding “foods” all day long, but I prefer to keep myself healthy by not doing things that require medicinal correctives to begin with. Your mileage may vary.

Hold on, though. I do think there is a place for supplementation! I take a couple of supplements at the moment. Depending on where you live and what diet you’ve been eating all your life, you might need some supplements, too, at least in the short term. I take the supplements I take, not because the carnivore diet is lacking, but because my environment is lacking. I simply can’t get enough sunshine or iodine where I live right now. Chances are you can’t, either. Meat helps, even with this, though, and I need far fewer supplements than I used to.

There are only two supplements I need right now: iodine and Vitamin D. Other people might need boosts of other nutrients, depending on their own location and physical needs.

I take Lugol’s 2% solution for iodine because the plants around here don’t have enough iodine in them for it to get into my meat. Everybody who lives inland and subsists mainly on meat from land animals should probably take an iodine supplement, regardless of diet. (Magnesium is also a good addition for some people for similar reasons. I don’t seem to need it, but Get Along Husband certainly does.) Most carnivores don’t even do this much, though, and they seem to be fine. With my thyroid history, I think it’s probably helpful, and I don’t see how it can hurt. The CW is that iodine is dangerous to the thyroid and we have to be very careful, but the CW is so ass-backward most of the time that I admit I just discount it out of hand now. And if that’s so, what’s with all the iodized salt in everything?

Vitamin D is just a good idea for everybody in the winter months. I use a brand that couples the D3 with K2, as D can wreak havoc with calcium absorption if there isn’t sufficient K. Some people trust that there’s enough K2 in their grass-fed meat and dairy, but I don’t feel too sure of that. The cows aren’t getting any more sun than I am right now, right? I take it once or twice a week in the winter months. This, however, is a far smaller dose than I needed back when I was consuming plants, because my diet contains more D than it used to, and I absorb all my nutrients to a far greater degree than I did when I had all that fiber clogging up the works. I used to struggle to keep my levels up, but now they stay right where they ought to without much effort at all. Just 5000-10000 IUs per week is sufficient now that I’m more replete. I suspect that I won’t need a supplement at all next winter, as long as I keep getting my sunshine, liver, and egg yolks all summer long. I get my D levels tested every fall to see what my needs will be going into the cold and flu season.

Rather than adding more and more “good” foods and supplements as medicine to offset the damage we’re causing to our bodies with harmful foods, the most effective way to be healthy is to keep from doing dietary harm in the first place. First, do no harm. Now, where have I heard that before?

Get your sunshine and eat your meat. It’s as simple as that.

(You’ll notice I’ve included no links. You have the same internet I have, so dig around and you’ll either find that I’m right or wrong. I’m a mommy blogger, but I’m not your mommy. I don’t have a lot of time to find links, but it’s a very searchable topic. Have fun finding out for yourself!)

 

How to Save Not a Dime on Food

but sleep like a baby.

There are ten people in our family. The volume of consumables that goes through that many alimentary canals on a daily basis can be an intimidating prospect for those who have to procure that much food. Our single-income family grew faster in the beginning than our income did, so I learned to cut as many corners as I could. Couponing, gardening (poorly), eating vegetarian for several meals per week, avoiding restaurants and convenience foods, bargain shopping at big box stores, and buying in bulk were all weapons in my money-saving arsenal. I felt like kind of a genius at saving money, honestly. I even blogged about feeding a large family on a budget back in the day, saying appalling things like “use meat as a condiment, not a main course” or “organic is a rip-off”.

A number of the things I did to save money were both sensible and healthful, though, so it’s not like it’s always a binary choice. A bag of Cheetos costs similar to a bag of apples, and any fool can tell you which one will give you a better bang for your buck. We still avoid restaurants, even more than before, though it’s less about the money now than about the low-quality ingredients they sneak into everything, even in some the high-end establishments.

Alas, most of the strategies I’ve employed to make my husband’s hard-earned money stretch farther have fallen by the wayside as I’ve learned the keys to healthy living. Now, of course, the whole family’s diet is meat-heavy. There are no coupons to be found for the foods we eat now. (Though I did once win a year’s supply of coupons for FREE STEAK back in my sweepstakes days. That was an awesome win.) And I would feel kind of guilty serving vegetarian meals just to save money now, even though I once thought that it was healthy to do so.

Penny wise, pound foolish. Like most penny-pinchers (and I still very much like the sound of loose change in my pocket), I used to think of food as an expense to be kept to an absolute minimum. I’ve come to realize, however belatedly, that food is an investment. It is a very basic fact, and thus one that I’d overlooked in my zeal for perfect budgeting, that every cell in my body is made of what I put into my mouth. Those cells’ proper functioning depends upon being made of the correct components, which come only from real food.

Sadly (for those of us with limited means), real things do cost more than fake things. Real Hot Wheels cost more than the plastic matchbox cars my children spurn; real diamonds cost more than fake ones; and real nutrition costs more than fake food. For years of my children’s growth that I can never recover, I mainly bought food that would give our family some calories and a sense of fullness, but from which our bodies couldn’t extract sufficient nutrition. Almost everything you find in the center aisles of the grocery store, where food is “affordable”, is fake. All of the nutrition has been refined out of it so that it will be shelf-stable. Much of it is made with industrial waste products that we’ve been tricked by underhanded industries into ingesting. You can eat that mac and cheese powder stuff. You may even enjoy the taste. But it’s not food.

I pay about 1/3 more for groceries now than I did three years ago. Some of that may be due to inflation, but most of the increase reflects the higher quality of the food. While I was saving a lot of money back in the day, I was already seeing the ill effects of a poor diet in my children. I just didn’t recognize that fact yet. Focusing on my food-dollars to the exclusion of any other consideration amounted to a storing up of biological debt that my children would certainly have to pay later.

No matter how much I brushed and flossed their teeth, my children were getting cavities, due not to the sugar in their diet, as I’d assumed and stringently restricted, nor to bad genes, but instead because of inadequate fat-soluble vitamins in their diets. Those vitamins come almost exclusively from animal foods. Some of them have needed orthodontic correction because their jaws grew too small in their early years. Their growth was not what it could have been, as I’ve seen in my strapping youngest ones, who have a much more protein- and fat-rich diet than their elders siblings did. One of my children was developing inflammatory bowel symptoms from the overload of grains and fiber. Now that their main source of fuel is fat, their moods are on a much more even keel, and they never crave snacks the way they did when bread was on the menu. Inexpensive industrial seed oils were building up in my children’s tissues, sure to wreak havoc later on in the form of diabetes, cancers, and who-knows-what else.

Y’all, I’m a conscientious mom. I never thought I was harming my kids. I thought I was being a good steward of both our resources, and their bodies. I was doing everything the pediatricians and dentists said I should do, right down to the insanity of six to eleven servings of grains per day. I’m talking about homemade, no-additive, no-preservative, whole grain, lower-sugar food that was made with as much love as a mom can muster. But I was making many of my food decisions based on cost, thinking that it didn’t matter very much, as long as our tummies were full.

Knowing what I know now, I can’t in good conscience make money my priority when feeding my family. Doctors and dentists are expensive. Either I’ll pay for it now, or we’ll all pay more later, in both money and misery.

Love your neighbor by eating well?

Besides the overwhelming financial strain that the burgeoning health-care sick-care industry is putting on every one of us, there is both a spiritual and practical advantage to increasing the quality of your food. The best way to improve quality is to buy fresh, seasonal, local food. Big box stores do offer a better price, and I still use them when local offerings aren’t available. But I’ve come to realize that loving my neighbor means more than treating him nicely and praying for him. It also means frequenting his business and not penny-pinching him to death. I now buy local food, especially my meat, as often as possible, which doesn’t help my budget at all. It does help me in myriad other ways.

You can ask your local rancher how the cows are fed and encourage them to look into better practices. You won’t be getting melamine-enhanced tooth paste from someone who has to look you in the eye the next time she goes out, even if that tooth paste (or powder, in my case) does seem a bit pricey. You also build community allegiances and in-group loyalty that goes far beyond the kind of big-money grants that the corporations use to bribe communities to let them come in and destroy Mom and Pop.

And, perhaps most importantly, you are ensuring that the local food supply will be up and running smoothly, and hopefully ready to scale up when the global system inevitably fails. Local products, especially meat, certainly do “cost more” in fake Federal Reserve notes, but they cost a lot less in real terms than the consequences of continuing to disemploy our neighbors in favor of imported, slave-produced goods.

I won’t even get into the environmental aspects of things. We can go down that rabbit hole some other time. Suffice it to say that I believe we can take care of the world God gave us much more efficiently both by eating more meat, and eating local.

A penny earned is a penny saved.

Let’s not just look at groceries as a spending problem, though. Many people find after switching to a whole-food, or even a ketogenic or carnivore way of eating, that they have a great deal more energy, less pain, and a sharper mind. When you have these benefits, you may find yourself able to produce more and better than you could before. I certainly have. Not long after I started a ketogenic way of eating, I started feeling well enough to do things like building (however amateurishly) my own chicken coop and raised garden beds. I’ve raised meat chickens as well as egg chickens. I can do a better job at nearly everything because I’m more reliably energetic and happy to have honest work to do.

There’s a very good chance that you might find other parts of your budget breathing a sigh of relief as you increase the pressure on the food side of things, just because healthy, community-connected people are more productive.

Of course, I do realize that sometimes the money just isn’t there to go totally local. Like I said, a large portion of our needs are still supplied through freakin’ Walmart. (I have never said the word “Walmart” without “freakin”. I hate it.) But that’s the system we’re in. You can’t break out of it all at once. Our family has been poor. Right now we’re a bit less poor, but we’ve had to make sub-optimal choices aplenty. I’m not trying to make anybody feel badly about what they simply can’t avoid. I wouldn’t feel guilty at all if we ended up subsisting on beans and taters again out of necessity. I can at least grow those without harmful chemicals and get some delicious sunshine while I do it, right?

Poor folks don’t have as many choices, now do they? But when we have choices, we ought to make better ones. If you can scratch together just one locally raised meal a week, or one locally produced tooth powder, you’re making both your body and your community stronger.

Buying More Meat on a Budget

I’ve mentioned a couple of times that I eat a steak almost every day. That is absolutely an expensive way to go about eating a carnivore diet. I don’t deny it, and sometimes I feel like I’m being a little bit extravagant. At the moment, though, for reasons I won’t get into right now, it’s what I do. That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped trying to save as much money as I can. I can eat a lot of meat and still get within shouting distance of a reasonable grocery budget. I would never want to see someone forgo the idea of a carnivore diet because of the cost. Here are some ways I keep things manageable:

Buy in bulk. If you’re buying the packages of one or two ribeyes from the grocery store, it is going to cost a ridiculous amount of money. I do buy my steaks that way when I have to, and resent the heck out of it. Thankfully, there are usually better ways to go about getting steaks. My primary source of beef comes from a local ranch that sells me a whole beef at a time. Our whole family can eat on that for about three months, so I get my steaks and roasts for quite a bit less than you might expect. When my freezer runs low, or I just want to stock up on ribeyes, a local grocery store frequently has either whole boneless rib roasts or boneless strips on sale for $4.99/lb. Those roasts carve up into 12-16 ribeyes or New York strips for around $55.

Buy cheaper cuts. If you want beef steaks, they don’t have to be ribeyes. You can get sirloin or skirt steak and enjoy them just as much if you learn to prepare them properly. Just be aware that the cheaper cuts are typically the leaner cuts, and you’ll need to add fat accordingly. I make sure the butcher knows I want the fat trimmings from my cow. You can often buy suet or rendered fat from local farms or independent butchers, as well. Sometimes they’ll just give you the rib fat trimmings for free, because they’re just going to throw them out, anyway. We really do live in clown world.

It’s ok to get the 10 lb. chub of ground beef from Wal-mart. As important as it is to buy local, and to support a sustainable meat supply in that way, there is no getting around the need to live within your means. There’s very little evidence to support the idea that conventionally raised meat is less nutritious than the grass-finished, and you’ll get along just fine on the cheap stuff. Kelly Hogan, one of the most amusing and adorable carnivores in the online carnivore community, eats a whole lot of inexpensive hamburgers–even McDonald’s hamburgers. It really is good for you, so go ahead!

Eat all the meats, not just beef. You can eat an all-animal sourced diet without ever having a steak at all. A lot of carnivore/zero carb adherents are perfectly happy eating fish, chicken thighs, canned seafood and other meats, pork rinds, and even (gasp!) bologna. I stick to beef and eggs almost exclusively right now, but I’ll eat anything that ever moved if I’m hungry and it’s all I can find at the moment. Eat whatever meat you like. Chances are you can find something you can afford.

Eat the organs. I always get the organs and offal from the whole beef that I buy. Liver, heart, tongue, kidney–you name it, we’ve eaten it. (Except lung. I think I’ll ask for that this time, too.) Some people don’t like organ meat, and I don’t think they’re strictly necessary for everybody. But they are cheap, and, in my view, superfoods. You can have liver ground into your beef to both hide the taste and stretch your meat a little farther.

Do not fear the egg. Whether you buy them or raise your own chickens, nothing beats the nutritional punch of eggs. I know you’ve been told that they’re terrible for you, but…well, I’ll get into why they’re good for you some other time. Right now, just ask yourself: when’s the last time the “experts” told you the truth about anything? One brand of eggs I’ve bought says “Two a day are OK!” on the package. That’s stupid. Twenty a day are ok, if that’s how many you can eat. They are a perfect nose-to-tail diet, easy to cook, easy to digest, and cheap. I raise my own chickens and buy some eggs, too. Dirt-scratching, insect-eating, happy chickens give you better eggs, but you’ll do just fine on the cheap eggs, if you need to. Splurge a little on the free-range ones, if you can afford it. Or just get to building your chicken coop now. Spring is coming! I’ve got 20 more chicks coming in a couple of weeks!

It’s still going to cost more. Even with all these tips, I’m sorry to report that I have not seen any way to wrestle my grocery budget back down to the size it used to be. Meat really does just cost more, and my next post will explain why I think it’s well worth the investment. I hope that some of these tips make it seem less scary to eat a meat-heavy, or even meat-only diet. I’ve found this to be the most satisfying and healthful way to live, and want to see more people discover its benefits for themselves.

A Carnivore-ish Meal Plan

A few people have asked for a sample meal plan for what the kids eat. If you like printables, here’s a good one for meal planning. To be honest, I’ve been kinda winging it lately. It doesn’t go as well when I do that, though, so I made a proper plan this time, just for you. Here’s our likely week this week. Looks like I’ll run out of food before I run out of week:

 

Gosh, that’s a lot of scrambled eggs, isn’t it? It’s the fastest way to feed a crowd, and nobody seems to mind, so it’s what I do.

You’ll probably notice that that’s not “paleo”, as it contains beans, legumes, and seeds. I’m not totally anti-seed, like many paleo people. (I don’t even believe in cavemen; I’m a creationist, as a Christian ought to be.) I do try to keep seeds down to a couple of times a week, and only those kinds that I think all the tummies handle well. As a rule, there are no grains in our diet, but if we’re out somewhere and someone hands them a corn chip or a rice cake, that’s ok by me.

For the strict carnivores:

My own plan amounts to “procure, cook, then eat meat and/or eggs”, so there’s not much planning to do. I’m currently taking a high-fat approach to eating, so breakfast is a medium-rare steak of some kind and one whole egg plus 4 yolks cooked sunny side up. My second meal is usually 4-6 quarter-pound burger patties, with the rendered fat poured back on. If I’m still hungry at supper-time, I will have a bite of whatever meat the kids have, or an egg cooked in butter, or more hamburger patties. This is a maintenance amount of calories for me on a normal day with a workout and walking. I have a little bit less on a low-activity day.

It sounds a little bit monotonous, doesn’t it? But I’ve found that when I’m actually hungry, I’m never sorry that I have to eat just meat. If I don’t want to want to eat it because it sounds boring, that’s a clue that I’m not truly hungry, but bored or just seeking food out of habit.

Jesse eats the same breakfast as the kids, minus the fruit or veg. His lunch is either sandwich meats (mostly roast beef) or hamburger patties, plus boiled eggs and homemade coconut oil mayonnaise or herbed butter. (Mayo recipe follows shortly, if I ever get the pictures taken.) His dinner will be steak and fish, or hamburger patties, or whatever meat the rest of the family is having.

Honestly, there was a time I’d have laughed at anyone who thought there was something wrong with grains, seed oils, or any other food our culture sees as normal. Just give them all the things! Food can’t hurt anybody! Eat the rainbow!

You can see that there is a fair amount of repetition in the children’s diets, too. Some of them reject the vegetables entirely, so it’s even less varied for them. I’m good with that.

Until fairly recently, historically speaking, the insane variety in food choice we take for granted was something even kings couldn’t take for granted the way we do. The human race did just fine–nay, thrived–on just meat and local, seasonal produce, so that’s how I try to feed my kids. I admit, we eat more like the kings than the peasantry, and I’m tickled that we’ve been able to do so thus far. I thank God for that, and I pray that our food system can adapt to handle everyone’s need for more meat. Most people really aren’t eating enough protein to thrive.

Variety tends to be more seasonal than daily, but we do change things up from time to time. There will be more salads and berries in the spring, cucumbers and melons in the summer, and squash and grapes in the fall. Hopefully, I’ll be a somewhat better gardener this year than last, so some of that will even come from our own land!

How Does a Carnivore Mom Feed Her Children?

Friends and family who know how restrictive my own diet is often wonder if I’m doing the same sort of thing for–or to–my family. Well, yes and no. Some members of my family are 100% carnivore, some could be defined as paleo, and ketosis is something we all experience on a daily basis, as healthy humans should. I don’t aim for ketosis anymore, as I did when I was trying to lose weight, it’s just a metabolic fact around here.

I know of a number of carnivore parents for whom that way of eating extends to the whole family, and I do firmly believe that children–and anyone else in the world–can thrive on nothing but meat. Not only does their health not suffer, I think it’s probably superior, if you can pull it off. If your family is very young and you just don’t eat plants much, that will be normal for your kids.

But my older kids were raised on quite a bit more variety, so to take all the extras out of their diets would cause quite a ruckus. And as much I like the simplicity and safety of the carnivore approach for myself, there’s no good reason that all plants should be eliminated unless you have some damage to your body that requires drastic measures. I believe we’re blessed with the ability to make full use of what the world has to offer, and many of the plants are good for food and medicine. The trouble starts when we over-process our foods, find ways to eat things that shouldn’t be eaten, and start messing around with our microbiomes, hormones, and immune systems through antibiotics, vaccinations, and plastics. Many of the things that our society thinks of as “progress” are truly toxic.

If someone is healthy (and that is increasingly rare in this world) he should simply avoid the things that cause damage and eat whatever real food he likes.

I have a few guiding principles for feeding my children:

  • Whole foods only, except for special occasions when we will veer off into some home-made, but still processed foods like keto birthday cake, or maybe even a gluten-free sugary birthday cake. They’ll recover. It’s ok!
  • No seed oils, ever, under any circumstances.
  • Fats and carbs. Healthy people are made to get their energy from both fat and carbohydrates, so I allow my children both substrates. It’s not necessary to eat carbs the way it is fats, and we do prioritize fats. But there’s a sweet potato or an apple, for example, at least once or twice a day. There’s no good reason to restrict whole food carbohydrates in healthy people.
  • Nose to tail. I don’t force any of the kids to eat organ meats, but they’re available several times a week. I encourage them to at least take a bite and see what they think. I do think organs and offal are superfoods, but they seem to only taste good when a person has a real need for the nutrients, so I leave that to the individual palate.
  • Most vegetables and fruits should be cooked or fermented. There are a number of good reasons for this that I won’t bore anybody with for now.
  • No wheat, and other grains are eaten only when unavoidable (corn and rice are, at present, on my “ok if we have to” list). Because of auto-immune problems with several of us, we have to adhere strictly to gluten-free eating.
  • Carbs are on the low side when compared to most children’s diets. We have one or two whole-food starches per day.
  • I don’t make my children eat their vegetables or finish everything on their plates. A person’s hunger is what should drive him to eat, not guilt over “waste” or insulting the cook, or whatever. If you don’t need the food, it’s a waste to eat it! This is one thing that I’ve flubbed in the past. I insisted that none of my children will be picky eaters, and they’ll eat some of everything that’s offered. Now I think that’s ridiculous. One of my “picky eaters” turned out to have IBS, and needs a 95% carnivore diet to control it. I was harming him by making him eat foods that he knew didn’t agree with him. A child absolutely should be in control of how much and which foods they eat, provided that the foods on offer are real food. My job is to make sure that my kids have a healthy range of foods to chose from, and let them learn to listen to their bodies. Compared to the standard American diet, I offer a much smaller array of choices, but they are learning to make good choices, and not learning emotionally or socially-driven eating behaviors.
  • Meat and eggs are the main thing, and sometimes the only thing. Many of the meals are 100% carnivore.
  • No snacking. Who has time for grazing, anyway? If you’re feeding children appropriately at the meal, they can go a very long time without needing to fill up again.
  • Foods that cause noticeable symptoms are avoided, even if the symptoms are supposedly harmless. For instance, most beans bloat my littlest one’s belly up to a ridiculous size, so we limit beans and legumes to lentils and chickpeas, which don’t do that for some reason. Some of us can have dairy, and some can’t. One child gets excruciating stomach pain from white potatoes, so he skips those if they’re offered.
  • No stressing about perfect eating. It’s the pattern, what was eaten over the course of the day or week or month, that matters, and not the single food item. If we went to a birthday party and ate ice cream, then we just thank the Lord that we had a chance to hang out with our friends. If poor choices become habitual, poor outcomes are sure to follow, so we make sure that these kinds of things are far from our daily routine, but an occasional deviation is not a big deal.

When I type it out like this, it seems like a lot of rules, and probably looks at first blush to be a very difficult way to eat. And, to be honest, when we’re traveling or visiting others, it does present some challenges. At home, though, I spend less time in the kitchen than I used to, not more. I don’t often do more than add salt and pepper to some meat and veg, and then throw it all in the oven or crock pot, so its not at all time-consuming the way it used to be. It’s really a very simple and satisfying way to eat.

But it is thought-consuming. It takes a good bit of research to decide who in the nutrition world is making the most sense right now. So many opinions are out there, and I have to figure out what works best for our situation. I am emphasizing physical health in a way that my parents certainly didn’t. They didn’t have the information I have, and our food environment wasn’t yet as toxic as it is today. Health extends far beyond food, of course, but we can talk about the other stuff some other time.

Everybody has reasons for eating what they do. I’d like to know what you guys are doing and why, if you don’t mind leaving comments.

Do any of our food “rules” seem overly restrictive to you? Too permissive?

Is Carnivore an Extremely Restrictive Lifestyle?

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
  • Asthma
  • joint pain and swelling (never diagnosed, but probably arthritis)
  • brain fog
  • depression
  • trichotillomania (y’all, I have eyebrows.)
  • severe social anxiety
  • generalized anxiety
  • constipation
  • eczema
  • 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
  • overweight

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.)
  • bunions
  • 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?