I have been eating the natural human dietary regime for over 47 years now. I do not eat anything whatsoever from vegetable sources. The only things veggie I use are spices. My diet is usually 60% fat and 40% protein by calories. I used to eat 80/20 when younger and about twice as much quantity of meat also, but that seems too much energy at my age, which is 71- even though I am very active. I think the body actually becomes more efficient with energy as you age, but I have no way of proving it true. Otherwise, my body today is very like it was at the age of 30. I figure most of what we call ‘aging’ is due to insulin damage to the collagen and other body structures. No carbs = no insulin. I don’t heal quite as fast when injured as I did as a youngster, however. But I have few wrinkles, and my skin is still strong and elastic.” – Owsley Stanley, AKA – The Bear
When we (Group of people who started the ZC movement about 9 years ago) started the Zero Carb Diet or Way of Eating, over 9 years ago, we didn’t have much information to go on, as to how healthy such a diet was. No modern peoples ate an all meat diet. Then we found this thread in a low carb forum started by “The Bear” Owsley Stanley, who had been eating a Zero Carb diet for 47 years! It was his experience that convinced me that an all meat diet is healthy.
The Zero Carb Diet by definition is not technically free from carbohydrates. Meats, eggs and dairy have trace amounts of carbs, but to separate our extreme low carb diet from other low carb diets, Zero Carb became the name we use to describe our diet. Another very important rule of the Zero Carb Diet is that nothing sweet is allowed. Zero Carb sweeteners are not part of a Zero Carb diet. The only plant foods some of us use is for seasonings, but other than that, we do not eat plant foods, not even lettuce. You can learn more about what we eat here.
Our diet is based on the human natural diet. 12 years ago I was researching hip dysplasia, because one of my white German Shepherd Dogs had it. I was a breeder and wanted to know why some dogs get this and how can it be prevented. It didn’t seem natural that dogs automatically get this disease. Wild dogs do not get hip dysplasia, so why do some domestic dogs get it?
I learned that the reason why dogs get hip dysplasia along with other common diseases that modern humans now get, like heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, tooth decay, cataracts, allergies and such is because they are not eating their natural diet. That realization was a major turning point in my life. If you are interested in natural pet care I highly recommend this book, The Nature of Amimal Healing.
After I started feeding my dogs a more natural dog diet, void of grains and plant foods, I noticed a dramatic change in my dogs. They no longer smelled like dog, their fur became smooth, shiny and bright white, their eyes became clear and no longer had weepy eye stains, no tarter on their white teeth, they ate less, farted less and pooped less. The 3 GS Dogs I have now are 10, 8 and 7. They were all raised on a grain free meat based diet. Not one of them has any signs of hip dysplasia or any other illness. They all still act and look like young dogs.
At the time I was researching Hip Dysplasia, I was unhealthy, couldn’t lose weight, had chronic digestive issues, had every symptom of low thyroid, was hungry all the time, suffered from brain fog and fatigue. No amount of exercise and diet was helping, but I knew diet was the answer. So, when I learned my dogs were unhealthy because they were not eating a dogs natural diet, I wondered, what is the Human Natural Diet? What are humans supposed to eat?
What are humans supposed to eat? Figuring out an animal’s natural diet is easy. All we have to do is look to nature to see what wild cats and dogs eat. In my case, all I have to do is pay attention because my cat brings his natural diet into the house. (lucky me) But, what about humans? There really are no wild humans to observe today dwelling in their natural habitat, living as they have lived prior to world industrialization.
When I first ventured out to learn what humans are supposed to eat, the Paleo Diet was in its early stages. (before it became bastardized by almond and coconut flour cakes and cookies) It seemed like a good diet to me, meat and vegetables. That’s what humans ate, right? Hunter-gatherers! But, as somebody who lives in the wilderness, the “gathering” part made no sense to me. What in the heck did they gather to eat? Berries? Have you ever tried to “gather” enough berries to eat? I have. It takes hours and some bloodshed to get enough berries for a small pie. I assure you I would have had a better chance of finding a good meal if I simply sat by the berry bushes and hunted the animals that came to eat the berries. After eating only meat for almost 9 years I have absolutely no desire to venture out to the berry bushes that line the dirt road to my house. This is why I don’t understand why any able bodied meat eater would do such a thing. I have no interest in eating the bears and the birds food. If I ate the bears food I would have no bears to eat.
What else did they gather? Broccoli, carrots, nuts? Have you ever seen wild broccoli? There is no such thing. Broccoli is a man made vegetable, it’s not natural! It’s KALE! Nuts? Have you ever tried to get a nut out of its shell with no tools? You use a rock to break the shell, then you have a pile of nut meat and shell. In the time that it takes to separate the nut meat pieces from the shells you could have killed 10 squirrels.
So, I tried the “natural human food”, Paleo diet. Lean meats and vegetables. Oh yeah, and coconut oil, because it’s the Paleo Diet superfood. After a few weeks of lean meats and vegetables cooked in coconut oil, I was tired, hungry, crabby and fatter. At this point I just wanted to lose weight! I didn’t care what I had to do, I needed to lose weight. I know what had not worked for me in the past. Slimfast, diet pills, weight watchers, Jenny Craig, The Zone, Trim Spa, Body for Life, Fat flush, Mediterranean diet, South Beach Diet, Mayo clinic diet, Atkins, low carb, Cabbage soup diet, Fasting, Intermittent fasting, 7-Hour diet, a body builder diet, vegetarian, vegan, zero fat, Low calorie, etc. I tried every diet in existence. I needed to do something different!
After my “Natural Paleo” diet failure, I was desperate to find any diet, natural or not, that would work to help me lose weight. I wanted something I could eat for life, not some one week cabbage soup diet that works great, for 1 week only, then gain it all back and then some the next week. In my search for a diet I came across a website called Fatsecret. Fat secret had a pie chart of diets and their success rates based on members reporting. Atkins was winning by a landslide. (I just logged into my old fatsecret account and they no longer have this pie chart.)
I tried Atkins many years ago, but it seemed so unhealthy. All that bacon and cheese and fat, had to be clogging my arteries. I tried to do a low fat version (I know now, why that doesn’t work). Mentally, I could not do it. So, I quit after a week. Now, seeing that Atkins is by far, the best way to lose weight based on the pie chart of all these peoples experiences, I decided to try it again. I bought the book, again, and decided to actually read the book to understand why it is supposed to work instead of just flipping back to the diet plan, like I did before.
The first 2 weeks of Atkins is called “Induction”. This is where you jump start the diet with 20g of carbs or less for the first 2 weeks. The book also mentions trying a “fat fast” for people who are not losing weight, want to jump start fat-loss or have hit a plateau. This is where I learned that eating fat is important for losing fat. I vowed to stick it out for at least 2 weeks. At this point I was so sick of measuring, counting and weighing that I decided to only eat foods I knew had little or no carbohydrates. That turned out to be lettuce, meats, cheese, eggs, hot dogs, sausages and full fat salad dressings. By the 10th day I felt amazing and looked like I had lost 10lbs! For the first time in decades I didn’t have digestive issues, bloating, cramping and pain! I had energy, my brain fog was clearing! I wondered, “do I NEED to eat carbs ever again”? I did not want to eat another carbohydrate. I felt that good! The Atkins book says you can do “Induction” for 6 months, but after that you add back carbs, but never says why. I didn’t want to, so I started researching carbohydrates to figure out if we needed them and why. I figured I had 6 months to research before I was going to die from lack of carbohydrates. LOL
That’s when I stumbled upon Jimmy Moore’s Low Carb Forum, Livin La Vida Low Carb (the forum no longer exists).
I believe I found Livin La Vida Low Carb (LLVLC), by Googling zero or no carbs. Once there, I found a guy (Charles Washington) who had been eating an all meat diet for a few months. So, I read his journal. Charles was a runner, so he was an athlete, who also ate only meat. Quite a few members were interested in this all meat Zero Carb Diet, so a new Thread was started in the LLVLC forum, called Zero Carb / Meat and Water.
Not long after this thread was created I found, or maybe somebody posted it, The Bear’s ( AKA: Owsley Stanley) epic thread: The real human diet is a totally carnivorous one. The real human diet is a totally carnivorous one.” I spent the next 3 weeks immersed in this thread. I was fascinated that this man had been eating an all meat diet for 40 years and he was healthy. It is this thread that convinced me that I will never eat another carbohydrate again. One thing The Bear said that I did not agree with, was he thought women needed carbs due to hormonal cravings. He got this idea from his wife who could never get over her cravings, so he assumed all women had this problem. I emailed him to let him know that women can indeed be craving free and not need carbs during hormonal fluctuations. He was happy to learn that. But, he was unhappy about Charles Washington. Apparently he had found our ZC thread on the internet and knew about us. He told me the guy (Charles) was a fraud and was simply copying his experience as written in his epic thread.
The funny thing is, Charles hadn’t known about The Bear or his thread. What’s even more interesting, is our Zero Carb experiences and thoughts mirrored, that of The Bears. Much of what The Bear wrote about his 40+ years of experience with eating an all meat diet rings true for our entire group of long timer Zero Carbers as well. We also, to this day, get people coming into our groups attacking us with the same old questions that The Bear had to deal with and assuring us we are a crazy bunch, who will certainly die for not eating vegetables. What about vitamin C?!, fiber, Omega 3 ratios, grass fed vs grain finished, CLA, cholesterol, antioxidants, and other nutritional myths. We still see these questions daily.
Over the next 5 months, the ZC thread on LLVLC became wildly popular. It was the most popular thread on the forum. (I saved this thread, it is over 1600 pages long, you can download the PDF of it here.) Jimmy made a living promoting low carb foods, the Zero Carb thread was a distraction from the purpose of his forum, so we were informed that the ZC Thread was going to be closed! You can basically learn all you need to know about eating a Zero Carb Diet by reading these 2 threads: The Bears, and Zero Carb / Meat and Water, from LLVLC.
After getting kicked out of LLVLC we all moved over to the shiny new forum, created by Charles Washington called Zeroing in on Health – ZIOH.
At first ZIOH was an open public forum. How soon we learned THAT was a mistake. We were constantly getting attacked by people who thought we were crazy. (See, The Bears thread, to read what kind of arguments we had to (still do) deal with on a daily basis.) So, we came up with a questionnaire that people had to fill out, letting us know a little bit about themselves and why they wanted to join. This helped with some of the problems but not all.
The best part and the most valuable part of ZIOH was our personal journals. It was in these journals that we talked about our progress, experiments and general ZC life experiences. Due to trolls exploiting us in other groups, we ended up having to make the journals private. Only members who had some number of posts, I think it was 100, could then see our personal journals and create one of their own. This encouraged new members to read and learn a little bit about the Zero Carb Diet as well as giving us time to get to know the new members before we opened the door to our private journals.
Some of these journals were wildly popular. Margot’s, Kelly’s, Charles, Caitlin and Christiana’s, I think, were the top 5. It’s a shame these journals were lost because the information is so valuable to the newbie’s who think they “have a better way”. We tried it all! More fat, less fat, less protein, less calories, fasting, exercise, coffee, no coffee, dairy, no dairy, supplements, more water, carb cycling, calorie cycling…. We ALL experimented with every experiment in existence, if any of those experiments were successful in accomplishing anything positive, we would all be at our perfect weight, telling everybody how we did it. Between me and a few dozen other zero carb dieters, we have about 10 years of experimenting with a Zero Carb Diet, trust me, not one of the experiments worked and in fact, the experiments just slow progress / healing or lead to failure and eventually caving in to fierce carbohydrate cravings. I can’t tell you how many members we lost due to experiments, only to return weeks, months or years later to tell us what a mistake that was. Our mantra will always be the same, “Just eat meat and drink water, as much as you want, whenever you want”.
The most popular documented experiment was to prove fat and excess calories won’t make you fat. This was Jeff’s MAM experiment. (I can’t remember what MAM stood for) Since people feared fat and calories so much, he set out to prove that fat and excess calories, in the absence of carbohydrates, doesn’t make us fat. It’s the carbohydrates that make us fat. Gary Taubes explains the science behind this fact, in his book, Why We Get Fat. Jeff spent 30 days trying to get 5000 calories in per day. It was impossible for him to eat that many calories of fat, cream and meat. He mostly ate closer to 4000 calories. I know I can could easily eat 5000 calories of pizza in a day and be hungry later for more. This just goes to show all calories are not the same. It is impossible for me to eat 5000 calories of steak. At the end of the 30 day experiment, Jeff didn’t gain any weight, in fact he lost some, proving calories in does not = calories out.
Ten years ago, when Zero Carb was just starting, Kimkins was the popular fad diet. Kimkins was a low carb, low fat diet. Most people who come to the Zero Carb diet, did so via a low carb and or a low fat diet, so many of our members were low carb, low fat or Kimkins refugees. Due to the fear of saturated fats, high cholesterol and heart disease, we had to stress eating fat. Eating animal fat is healthy, the human body loves animal fats. Animal fats give our bodies the fuel it needs to build a strong healthy body and brain. But people were conditioned to eating skinless chicken breasts, lean pork and fish, because those were the healthy white meats. We had to tell people to add fat in the form of butter, lard, tallow or bacon grease because if you do not eat enough fat, you will have no energy, and you will eventually give into carb cravings or quit the diet, altogether. Most of us added fat to our meals. It was like our bodies were fat starved. We craved it. We seeked out fat scraps in restaurants, butcher shops and grocery stores. We were fat crazed!
I believe we added fat for a good 2 years, then noticed we didn’t want so much fat anymore and began eating regular fatty meats like well marbled cuts of beef, chicken with the skin, 80/20 ground beef (instead of 73/27). Not one of us long time Zero carbers eats lean meats. We do on occasion, if we have to, but we don’t feel well on lean meats.
Fast forward to 2014. I’m not sure exactly when it started, but around 2013-2014 we started seeing KETO refugees. The KETO diet (Ketogenic) in my opinion is a hack of the Zero Carb diet for people who wanted their fat, sweets and veggies too.
A Zero Carb diet is the ultimate ketogenic diet. It is a carbohydrate free diet that forces your body to burn fat (ketones) instead of sugar (glucose). The Zero Carb Diet as we defined it, is a diet of animal products only. Zero Carb sweeteners are not part of The Zero Carb diet. We learned that even Zero Carb sweeteners raise blood sugar just like regular sugar. Zero Carb sweeteners also feed sugar/sweet cravings and lead to sugar or carbohydrate binging. Sugar addiction is a real thing. Then there are people who believe some vegetables, fruits, nuts and plant oils have magical nutrients and antioxidants that the human body NEEDS. And so the KETO diet was born.
The KETO diet thinks maintaining a high level of ketones is of some benefit to the human body. ( There are studies showing a ketogenic diet is helpful for epileptics and cancer patients, but I am not sure if it is due to the presence of ketones or due to the absence of carbohydrates.) This diet relies on manipulating Macros (carbohydrate, fat, protein) to maintain high ketone readings on a meter. The problem with this is on a very low or zero carb diet, our bodies become more efficient at using ketones and therefore it becomes more and more difficult to maintain high ketone readings. In order to keep ketone readings high, people need to limit protein, increase fat, lower carbs, fast and or workout more. At some point they burn out and get sick of all the tweaking and measuring.
In my opinion and experience, if your body is still producing high ketone numbers it is not running efficiently. It is not fully fat adapted and you will not see the benefits of strength, endurance and health that is achieved in a fully fat adapted body. The KETO diet puts the body in a position of hybrid fuel burning, straddling the line of either glycogen or fat burning, never giving the body a chance to fully engage in 100% clean fat burning.
Today, we no longer tell people to add fat, because they are coming from KETO where they are drinking fat in their coffee, consuming fat bombs and eating way too much fat in order to maintain high ketone numbers. The problem with too much fat, besides having to run to the bathroom all day long, is that nutrients are in the meat. If you are eating too much fat, you get full faster and don’t consume enough meat and nutrients. Too much fat is just as bad as eating lean meats.
This brings us to today. Keto and low carb are getting some good press. This is a good start for some real changes in nutrition guidelines. There are some very influential people putting out books and collecting data about how limiting carbohydrates can reverse diabetes, prevent or reverse Alzheimer’s, prevent heart disease, obesity, control cancer, etc. But, if they know carbohydrates are not essential and they know carbohydrates cause bad health, why are they still eating them?!
Source: Article by Dana (http://www.zerocarbhealth.com/the-human-natural-diet-and-the-evolution-of-the-zero-carb-diet/)