By Rebecca Drew
THIS MUM-of-two has ditched the vegan diet she followed for FIFTEEN-YEARS after it caused her immune system to crash and now only eats MEAT which she says has given her more energy than ever before.
Health coach, Nicole Carter (44) from California, USA, went vegan when she was 18 thinking it was the best thing to do for her health and to protect the environment.
For 15-years Nicole lived on a diet rich in whole foods, packed with leafy greens, berries and freshly squeezed juices. She also cut out sugar and alcohol and spent her days scouring local food markets, growing vegetables in her garden and making her own flaxseed crackers, veggie burgers and nut milks.
Initially Nicole felt great but this soon changed as her immune system crashed and she started to suffer with candida overgrowth, joint pain, anxiety, depression, low energy, insomnia, constipation, digestive problems and was eventually diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in September 2012. Nicole tried everything to try to improve her health and took natural supplements to give herself a boost, but nothing worked.
A year ago, Nicole started to research the carnivore diet, and after reading of the positive ways it had helped others thought she would give it a go to see if it could relive her ulcerative colitis. Almost immediately she noticed an improvement in her gut health, energy levels and mood and found she had more spare time.
Typically, Nicole eats a pound-and-a-half of red meat a day and sometimes adds in bacon and eggs, drinking coffee, water and sparkling water. She has also lost weight, going from 9st 4lb when she was vegan to 8st 6lb now and feels better than ever before.
“When I was vegan, I ate a whole foods diet. I soaked and sprouted all my legumes, nuts and seeds. I roasted my sweet potatoes. I rinsed my quinoa to remove saponins. I ate brown rice instead of white to get more fibre. I ate mostly leafy greens such as kale, chard and rocket and I cooked greens as well. I avoided wheat. I consumed juices made freshly daily. I ate fresh berries. I ate as much as I could organic or grown from my yard,” said Nicole.
“I took vitamins, I made dehydrated crackers out of flaxseeds, I never ate sugar, I didn’t drink alcohol, I made my own veggie burgers and I made my own nut milks. I spent most of my days preparing all this stuff, growing it in my garden, or shopping at farm stands and natural markets.
“I spared no expense or effort. I felt good at first, then very tired. My immune system crashed and my hormones were not functioning properly and I had all sorts of health problems.
“I had raging candida overgrowth, hair loss, joint pain, fatigue and insomnia. My blood tests showed almost non-existent levels of iron and Vitamin D. My hormones were low and my thyroid hormones were low despite natural supplements.
“I had gall stones and pancreatitis which led to gall bladder removal in 2006. I had chronic constipation, gas, bloating and eventually ulcerative colitis. I was hypoglycaemic. I had insomnia at night and no energy all day. I didn’t drink coffee, only organic green tea. I was depressed, had anxiety and felt lost as to how to improve my health.
“I read about Amber O’Hearn doing it [carnivore diet] for mood disorder. I was curious if it would cure my autoimmune disease, ulcerative colitis. It is the elimination of all plant and non-animal foods. There are varying degrees, but most carnivores focus on beef and ruminant animals and add in pork, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy to some degree.
“It is extremely nutritious because the nutrients are all bioavailable as opposed to the nutrients in the plants which are bound by oxalates and phytates. It also eliminates foods that are destructive to the human gut such as fibre.”
Before following a meat-only diet, Nicole would start her day with a green spinach smoothie with almond milk and then eat salad or steamed vegetables for the rest of the day. Now, she starts her day with coffee with cream, has a pound of meat for lunch, followed by half a pound for dinner.
Nicole’s favourite meal to prepare is roast lamb but admits that there are some misconceptions about the diet.
“People think that meat causes cancer, that it causes high cholesterol which may kill you, that it causes diabetes and that it is bad for the environment. None of this is true,” said Nicole.
“The hard thing for most is eating enough. The other hard thing is the social aspect. Most people can’t wrap their head around it because of being told their entire lives that they need vegetables.
“My life is entirely better. My health is better, my gut, my energy and my mood. I also have a lot more time for other things now that I don’t spend all my time in the kitchen cooking and cleaning up. I also save a lot of money this way.
“All of the symptoms I mentioned before are gone. I no longer have a life-threatening disease nor any of the annoying symptoms or problems I had before. My autoimmune disease is gone and I am so grateful for what I have learned that got me here.”
Nicole shares advice about her diet on Instagram under the handle, @healthy_with_nicole.
“Be open minded. If you have unresolved health issues of any kind, try it,” she said.
“Simply start reducing the amount of plant foods you eat. Don’t do it cold turkey, especially if you are coming from a heavy plant-based diet.
“That can lead to severe symptoms of oxalate dumping and dehydration. Take it slow.”
For more information see www.instagram.com/healthy_with_nicole