reality is weirder than you think

Category: Carnivory and other off-road health choices (page 1 of 4)

Making a better meatloaf

100% Carnivore Meatloaf has been one of my staple foods for the last 6 months or so. A meatloaf is really convenient to make, and leftovers are easy to pack and eat at work for lunch the next morning.

In my months of practicing this recipe, I’ve learned a few things.

  • 1.5 pounds of beef works just as fine as 2.0 pounds. 2.5 pounds works just fine too. The only thing that really needs adjusting if you do this is the cooking time.
  • That said, don’t overcook this. Ground meat is never great when you overcook it. If you look in the over and can tell it’s close but not quite done (such as when there are little pools of semi-opaque juices on the top but its starting to brown around the edges), turn off the oven but let the meatloaf rest in the oven for a few minutes. This technique lets the cooking coast to a stop in a highly heated environment without overheating it.
  • Speaking of resting, I typically let my meatloaf rest out of the oven a couple minutes before I slice it. Is this strictly necessary? I have no idea.
  • THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING: unless you legitimately want a “marbled” beef/pork combo, use a light touch when mixing your meat. The more you tighten your grip, the more starsystems will slip through your fingers. Seriously though, mix it gently, thinking “light and fluffy” thoughts, and you will have a much more cohesive end product even after you squish the mixture down into the pan.
  • THIS IS THE MOST USEFUL TIP: buy foodsafe prep gloves. They are the best thing ever. I just use one, mix up my meatloaf, and then I don’t have to scrub raw meat out from under my fingernails. Gamechanger.
  • If you need to switch up your meatloaf game, one easy way to do so is with different types of salt. Hawaiian red sea salt is good for a bit of variety, or smoked salt. This meatloaf is also good with a bit of butter melted on top, if you’re into that.

Overall though, this recipe is easy to make and endlessly iterable.

I highly recommend.

(But of course I wrote it. What else am I gonna say?)

Magic 8-ball says surgery is in my future

Gosh there’s been a lot of self reflection on this blog lately but (psyche!) it’s not going to stop with this post.

Met with an oral surgeon today. Turns out I “””get””” to have my face hole operated on in the next few weeks. This will probably also include a bone graft.

I’ve spent my entire conscious life avoiding surgery. For other reasons, certainly, mostly related to my autoimmune illness. I’ve clawed my way to the top of the walls surrounding our little hothouse garden of health to peer into the endless deserts of possibility to find other options than surgery.

Up until now, I’ve been successful.

This one looks like it can’t be avoided. The bone destruction is real, and I’d like to be able to talk, chew, and look like a human being.

One would think that a simple surgery would be a rational thing to accept and plan for. It’s not even that big of a surgery, just a tooth extraction being extra.

And yet, it feels like this is a personal decision, like I have to somehow reconceptualize or recontextualize myself in light of this new information. Maybe it’s the bone graft, the realization that I have to accept this dead thing (excuse me, “calcium scaffolding”) as part of myself.

I was expecting to encounter anxiety about the process, and was fine with being nervous about the procedure. What I was not expecting was an existential connection with this event. Maybe it’s because my identity has been so wrapped up in NO SURGERY.

Jury’s still out. I’ll keep you updated if I figure any of it out.

They say there’s no magic bullet

And I used to believe them. I wanted a magic bullet. I wanted to be well without doing any work. I wanted to take a pill or do a raindance or stand on my head while whistling “The Star Spangled Banner” or SOMETHING.

My autoimmune illness was raging (although it was nowhere near its worst) one night when I met up with a friend to grab burgers after work. At that point, I was eating somewhere on the paleo spectrum, so I got a lettuce wrap and stared longingly at her truffle fries.

“I have finally realized,” I said, “That there is no magic bullet for dealing with my disease. I just have to suck it up and do the work.”

She nodded in agreement. I really didn’t expect her to understand but she was sympathetic to my cause.

I kept talking: “I have been looking for a pill or something that would just make everything better, but I’m finally resigning myself to the fact that there is no quick fix for any of this.”

Well, past self, I have news for you. There are no quick fixes, this is true, but after a long, slow slog, when you find the right thing the results are instant.

(Or maybe they just feel instant, because a week is so much quicker than 5 years.)

I have been working on my diet for years. First I cut out gluten, then sugar and all other grains. Soon afterward, I realized (for the 3rd or 4th time in my life, and certainly not the last) that dairy had to go too.

Then, I started cutting out vegetables. Maybe it was just nightshades at first, but then I rooted out [lol] foods high in FODMAPs or foods that I could tell caused an extra special skin reaction. I even cut grapes because I finally realized that any form of grape (fresh, juice, or wine) gave me a runny nose.*

At some point, I was eating about 5 foods. Meats, pickles, cooked carrots, and of course my addiction to sunflower seed butter and honey.

I still wasn’t getting better. Or I would get a bit better, and then get worse again. Usually this coincided with a change in diet or treatment option, so I would get all hopeful for a week or two before my hopes were dashed again.

Even when I went full carnivore, it wasn’t even a week before I decided to try dairy again.

And guess what? Dairy and I are not friends. I mean, we are. Cheese is one of the most delicious foods on God’s green earth. But dairy + me = inflammation all the livelong day.

So last week, roughly 9 months into my carnivore journey, I quit dairy again.

And this week, roughly 9 days later, my health has improved so quickly that I have whiplash.

Is it perfect? No. There’s still a “3 steps forward 1 step back” theme going on. But the three steps forward, well, they are biiiiiiig steps.

Magic bullet? Maybe not. It sure feels like one.

Even after years of experimenting and months of dialing in something that works, those gains come hard and they come fast.

I’ll take it.



*That’s code for “fed the bacteria colony that has a permanent resident card in my left nostril.” And yes I’m serious about the left nostril part, that’s not just poetic license.

I quit dairy and my menstrual cramps are gone again

Forgive me, this entire week has been a learning lesson in “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” leading to a bunch of addle-headed evenings. I haven’t been giving my best to this blog, because right now I don’t have my best to give.

One of the reasons for that is the lovely, ever present PMS. All my ladies know what I’m talking about. My astute gentlemen probably track this in their female bosses and coworkers so they know when to get out of the way.

Anyway, back when I was eating vegetables but no grains, sugar, or dairy, I didn’t have any menstrual cramps. I still got hormonal and moody around my period (I doubt there is any way around that), but my period itself was not painful. That was nice.

Then, I went keto, and lost my period altogether. Keto may not stress your body out, but it did mine. My advice for you is to find out what things unduly stress you body, and then don’t do those things.

After my keto experiment, I went full carnivore, with dairy. I thought I could get away with dairy, I really could. And for a while I truly thought that dairy was helping.

I was wrong. Dairy and I do not get along. As my systemic inflammation rose, my menstrual cramps came back–and it seemed like they were getting progressively worse each month.

Last Monday I cut out dairy again as part of the disastrous breakfast experiment. This weekend, not even a full week later, I’m experiencing no cramping.

There’s a lot of work to be done on the systemic inflammation that’s built up over the last 9 months, but if I can see this much improvement in less than a week, I know I’m on the right track.

A few of my friends have had horrific experiences with menstrual cramps, and they eat high-grain and high-dairy diets. If you eat foods that are known to cause inflammation, I encourage you to explore low-inflammation diets like autoimmune paleo, low carb/high fat (LCHF), or going full carnivore, to see how decreased inflammation can have an effect on your periods.

It doesn’t have to be bad, I promise.

Image of the Week: completely unimpressed edition

This week’s image is more like a visual representation of how I’m feeling right now. This week has not been the greatest.

It was not my best week at work. While I did extend my tentacles into a new project in a different arena that will allow me to use some of my skills, I made some tactical blunders on the personal side. Being in a terrible mood all week did not help.

The terrible mood stemmed from my eating window experiement this week. In fact, the experiment has been so awful that I’m not even extending it for a full 7 day week. I’m cutting it short today.

Moving my window has made me irritable and tired (even though I’ve been sleeping more), caused me to resent mornings, caused a huge upheaval in my guts, and created a huge scheduling problem with my workout schedule. And for what? No real gains.

I’d rather be in a good mood and eat at 8 pm than be cranky and irritable and think that eating breakfast makes me a better person.

Night owl status confirmed.

It’s self-experiment time! Changing my eating window

For years, I’ve naturally gravitated to the French-style dinner. It has been normal for me to eat my evening meal at 8:00 pm–or sometimes even later–since I started managing my own meals.

That’s over a decade, if you’re counting.

As I’ve started to put together the parallels between my physicality and my personality, I’ve noticed that one of my less-helpful habits is my tendency to start slow and build to a huge frenzy of work under pressure.

This is probably a great structure for a novel, but my daily life doesn’t need that type of stress.

So I’m changing the way I eat.

Instead of eating no breakfast, a decent lunch, and a huge dinner, I’m eating a legit breakfast, and a big lunch. No dinner. (I’m also deliberately doing some intermittent fasting because I need to lose some fat.) All completely carnivorous, of course.

This means that not only can I not lollygag in bed before work, because I need to eat breakfast, my guts get a nice long break overnight to rest and heal. Supposedly we lose fat in our sleep, too, and I’m hoping that being nice and fasted during a nice, long, uninterrupted sleep will help with that.

Demolishing the food bad habit and the lay-in-bed bad habit (oh I didn’t mention that one?) in one fell swoop. I stopped eating cheese, too.

So far so good, with the exception of some heartburn at about hour 6 of digestion for both breakfast and lunch. Hopefully that will go away as my body adjusts to its new digesting times; if it doesn’t I’ll definitely have to reassess. Heartburn is no bueno.

I’m giving this a one-week trial period.


Update: This experiment ended after 5 days. Not worth it. 

Giving up cheese was a good call, though.

“Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping”

I used to eat for myself.

Then I started eating because of my disease. For my guts, I guess.

Then I started eating for my gut bacteria. Or rather, eating against my gut bacteria.

Now, I’m wondering if that isn’t all wrong and I should be caring for my mitochondria more than I care for myself.

One of the things I love most about this universe is how the micro and the macro tend to mirror each other. It makes it a lot easier to spot patterns, and for someone like me who has a takes somewhat of a metaphorical approach to science, it’s incredibly useful to aid understanding.

I’m reminded of the battle for mitochondrial existence in Madeline L’Engle’s A Wind in the Door; the state of our mitochondria is not merely an indicator or driver of health–it is a battle of eternal cosmic significance.

(Can you tell I’ve been reading 12 Rules for Life this morning?)

It can be very difficult to do things “just because” (even though you know they’re right) or “just for me” (because, who am I to ask for anything? In the grand scheme of the universe, I am nothing).

But thinking about mitochondria, the tiny beings inside of me–however sentient or not–that are dependent upon me for survival, and how what I do directly affects their universe, and that their functioning rightly directly impacts mine….well, that’s another story.

I’m realizing that the true point of embarking on this visualization journey I’m on is to get all my body’s processes in harmony, starting with my digestive organs all doing their dance in order with optimal timing.

Part of that will be strengthening intracellular signalling so that these organs know what the beat is, so they can dance.

Turns out mitochondria play a big role in cell signalling.

Sick, weak mitochondria will lead to weak signalling and possible miscommunications. I don’t want that, I’m sure my cells don’t want that. Strong communication is good for all parties involved.

So, how do I help my mitochondria become strong?

Basically, make life challenging for cells:

I was hoping to avoid cold showers again but it looks like that’s not going to happen!




Visualizing Perfect Digestion

If visualization can work for our behaviors and our plans for the future, why can’t it work for health?

Over the weekend I learned that it is a myth that chemical imbalances cause mental illness. (Thanks to AJA Cortes for the tipoff. Sign up for his mailing list–worth it.) A myth propagated by big pharma to sell prozac, no less.

What is more, these psychic ailments are linked directly to our willingness to take responsibility for our actions:

The chemical imbalance theory offers something else, however, and that is the opportunity for the psychiatric patient to limit responsibility for his condition. It has long been noted, particularly by psychoanalysts, that many of the problems labeled psychiatric symptoms are attempts by the person, consciously or unconsciously, to evade responsibility for his conduct. The depressed patient withdraws and removes himself from his stressful environment. The dissociative patient switches “alters” at times when it is most convenient. The psychotic patient creates his reality when he is no longer able to handle his affairs. It is no secret that human beings have a love-hate relationship with responsibility. They love the freedom that responsibility affords, but they fear the thought of being responsible for everything they do.


If things as hugely life impacting as dissociative identity disorder can be explained through something as simple as refusing to take responsibility for one’s actions, what about every other disorder in the body?

Maybe cancer doesn’t split your personality, but ding dang dong can you conveniently die from it without having to clean up multi-million dollar messes that you made.

Or, in cases like mine, a chronic autoimmune digestive monster gives me some really great reasons to be lazy or to ditch out on plans. When I was younger, I operated as normally as possible through sheer force of will. I’ve lost that mindset as I’ve grown older.

But I’ve gotten to the point where I’m tired of letting my guts run my life. If simple chemical imbalances don’t exist, that means that things like attitude, mindset, and will have a lot more to do with our state of health and wellbeing than we think.

Which brings us back to visualization. It is known that positive visualization of the future (be it a state of being, winning a race, or even moving your pinky finger a bunch of times to build up strength) drastically increases the chance of that future coming true.

Starting last night, I have Decided (yes, capital D) to visualize my guts working in perfect harmony and producing the perfect poop each day.

Is that weird? I don’t care.

Today, my normal 4:00 pm bathroom run still hasn’t happened yet–and it’s five hours later.

That is enough confirmation bias for me to continue.

I WILL be healthy, even if that requires brainwashing myself.

Image of the Week: there’s a leaf in my meat edition

Personal photo this week. This one made me laugh.

I hadn’t eaten at McDonald’s for years until I became a carnivore. Now it’s a trusted source for quarter pound all beef patties when I run out of food for work lunches.

They put my patty order in salad bowls, which is ironic enough by itself.

But they just can’t resist the lone lettuce leaf at the bottom of the bowl.

Garnish? Passive-agressive encouragement to eat more plants?

Protection against the plastic?

We may never know.

World Carnivore Month

It’s 2018!

You know what that means? (Of course you do, you read the title of this post.)

It’s WORLD CARNIVORE MONTH, which is conveniently timed to coincide with both the new year’s resolution crowd and with #veganuary.

I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather spend the month eating steak than raw carrots.

Most people think that eating only meat is extremely weird (which, yes it is) and/or potentially unhealthy (I disagree). If you’re one of the intrepid few who is doing some research before diving in, here are some quick resources for you.

Disclaimer: I’m biased, as my health has improved dramatically after becoming a strict carnivore.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you poop?

Yes, all of us poop. I myself have gone from nothing but off-the-charts urgency to fairly civilized, almost gentlemanly poops. (FYI, I have a digestive-themed autoimmune illness.) Others have had their constipation relieved. It varies, but the general consensus is “no pooping problems, other than a smaller volume of waste.”

What about scurvy?

I’ve never heard of a case of scurvy amongst the zero carb crowd. Even those who have been eating nothing but meat for 10 or 20 years are scurvy-free. It turns out that vitamin C and glucose share similar molecular structures, so if one is not digesting glucose, one can be super-efficient digesting vitamin C (and there is vitamin C in meat, believe it or not). This topic is discussed more during Shawn Baker’s appearance on the Joe Rogan podcast.

Isn’t it expensive?

It can be, if you eat nothing but wagyu tenderloin (although I wouldn’t recommend that because the tenderloin doesn’t have much fat). Typically I spend between $10 and $15 per day on food. I’ll eat a 2 or 3 lb meatloaf, plus some cheese, coffee, and maybe a little butter.

How do you get all the nutrients you need?

Easy, through beef. I eat plants like everybody else…they’re just pre-digested. 😉

Do I have to eat grassfed?

Nope! Any meat is fine.

I don’t eat many carbs…how is that different?

It’s incredibly different, believe it or not. My journey to carnivory started when I was following a ketogenic diet last year. I lost weight, sure, but my body was stressed out and my digestive system was not improving. Switching to “zero” carbs has made a world of difference.

How hard is it to get started?

Functionally, it’s pretty easy: just eat meat (and drink water). You’ll go through a period of adaption, which can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. I won’t lie, the adaption period is not always fun–when I first detoxed from gluten I was a raging bitch for 2 weeks–but it doesn’t last forever. Your hunger signals will change, you may experience withdrawl-like symptoms from gluten or sugar, and you’ll probably get “keto breath,” which is a sickly sweet smelling byproduct that means your body is adapting to running on fat instead of sugar. Keep eating meat, drink lots of water, take it easy on exercise, get lots of sleep, and you’ll be fine.

What else do I need to know?

Well…there’s lots to find out and lots that’s still unknown. This diet takes mental fortitude to follow, because it goes against socially-acceptable diets and it feels like a risk from the outside. I suspect that’s the reason that carnivory and bitcoin are so closely linked.

But you never really know until you try! I encourage you to take advantage of World Carnivore Month. Eat only meat for 30 days and see how you feel. Don’t rely on what other people (“experts”) say you should be feeling–feel it for yourself and then decide.

Other resources

Happy (meat) eating!

Older posts

© 2018 Batfort

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑