reality is weirder than you think

Tag: meat

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!

Image of the week: Eat Your Meat edition

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about carnivory. (Mostly because I don’t want to wax poetic about poop on this blog but that’s another story for another day.)

One of the lines of argument that carnivores use against the constant cries that “you simply HAVE to eat vegetables!” is the anatomy argument. Where ruminants have 27 thousand different stomachs to digest all that grass, humans have one. Much like carnivores, we also have sharp teeth and high acid content in our stomachs.

There are lots of studies and arguments and graphs that show why humans are built more like carnivores than they are like herbivores. There’s plenty of anecdotal data (if you’ve ever read a vegan forum) of people’s digestive systems getting completely wrecked by a vegan diet. Again, statistics and numbers and arguments.

Then, there’s this:

A succinct argument in meme form. Boom, done. QED.

I can’t stop laughing.


On the personal front, switching to an all animal product diet has been one of the best decisions that I’ve made in recent years. I haven’t eaten a plant-based product for five months, and while healing is slow, it’s been fairly steady.

As I’ve searched for “natural” methods to control my autoimmune illness, I’ve focused (perhaps overly so) on diet. After a while, I felt like I could blame everything on what I ate. Taking a whole host of variables out of my diet has revealed how much variability in symptoms has absolutely nothing to do with what I eat. In fact, the lack of margin with food highlights just how much stress or lack of sleep impacts my health. I’m still terrible at exercising regularly, but I’m seeing a few glimmers of how exercise could provide some immediate, direct impacts.

My only diet-related issue is that I keep eating cheese. I have found that raw-milk cheddar is the best option, and eaten only in conjunction with meat. Otherwise, it doesn’t provide enough “matter” for my digestive system to tackle seriously.

Overall, though, no regrets. I may just be able to make it work without drugs. And that, my friends, I never thought that I could say.

Zero Carb, Day… what day are we on now?

Today’s post is mostly an excuse to look at this gorgeous photo of the spot prawns I ate for dinner. (What ho, is this Instagram now?)

These delicious babies were caught by my uncle in the ice-cold waters off the coast of Alaska, and grilled (much later) on his fancy grill. They’re coated in sea salt, and after ripping off their craggy shells, we dipped them in butter. These are some of the best prawns I’ve ever consumed; their flesh was almost butter on its own, with that echo of sweetness that only shellfish has.

The side dishes to this delicious feast were a slab of wild king salmon (again, caught by mine own uncle) and some New York strip steaks, lovingly reverse seared and surprisingly tender, if a little “furry.” You know that stage in cooking beef where somehow the fibers are rough instead of smooth? Instead of “melting in your mouth,” there’s a kind of furry texture on your tongue. I’ve had that happen in stews that I didn’t cook long enough, so I suspect it has something to do with proteins that have not fully denatured in the cooking process.

I’ve cooked a lot of steaks on my Zero Carb journey so far. Some have been quite successful, some less so. I’m training myself on the “poke it with your finger” method of determining doneness, which has consequently helped me explore what I like and dislike about variously-cooked types of steak. Overcooked steak is no bueno, no matter what, but overly-rare steak is, I’ve found, quite delicious served cold the next day.

My one foray into the reverse sear method (with a giant ribeye) did not go so well. The cooking method was interesting and I appreciated frontloading the wait time (with a reverse sear you don’t have to rest your steak before eating it since the juices were evenly distributed during the long, low portion of the cooking process) but take note: without a good thermometer it’s easy to overcook on this method, because you’re not babysitting a hot pan on the stove until the very end.

Also, unlike what seems like the entire cohort of the Zero Carb community, I’m not a huge fan of the ribeye.

As far as the rest of my Zero Carb journey, I eat entirely too much cheese and deal with some inflammation partially as a result of that (the other part I suspect is due to stress…which eating minimal carbohydrates won’t help reduce). But, my skin looks great and for the most part I’m alert and in a decent mood most of the time.

Still trying to quit coffee, but when your neurotic guts decide to wake you up multiple times during the night, thus disrupting any refreshing sleep cycle, it’s a little hard to say no to at least a little bit. I’ve whittled myself down to about 6 oz of cold brew per day, and try not to drink it if I don’t have to.

The one thing that I’ve noticed is the most major change in my body with Zero Carb is that there is very little “buffer” material anymore. When I’m hungry, I go from 0 to “deep wrenching intestinal hunger roar” in about 5 minutes, rather than feeling traditional hunger signals. Coffee effects me much more deeply, because I’m not consuming it with a bunch of other foodstuff that would slow down its diuretic effect.

The funniest thing (to me, anyway) about going Zero Carb is how much less anxious I am about mealtime, even at a restaurant. In the old days, when I was low-FODMAP or SCD or any other type of diet plan that involved eating only specific vegetables and avoiding “bad” carbohydrates, eating at restaurants was a stressful endeavor. Either you find a place with a menu that naturally dovetailed with the diet, or you had to try to explain what you could or could not eat to a kitchen staff who may or may not be invested in helping you out. (And to a lot of people, sweet potatoes totally don’t count as carbs.)

Now, I just waltz in and order my stack of 3 burger patties with cheese. No worries, no fuss, just meat please. The hardest part is convincing the cashier that yes, I really just want the beef patties.

If you’re interested in the Zero Carb life, there’s still time to join the group of 300+ who will participate in the first-ever study of the carnivore lifestyle. Check out more at

On Fillers

Dearest Reader!

This week I have been thinking about the concept of “filler.”

You know, the stuff that we stick between the gaps of real things. Like snacks. Or grout. It exists, and has to exist, to tide you over between meals, or to prevent getting your pinky toe stuck in the gap between the tiles on your bathroom floor, but nobody has ever gone into a beautifully-tiled bathroom and said, “My God that is some fantastic grout!”

(Now, interior designers are doing some cool things with grout these days so it is possible that someone has actually said this. Interesting grout, coupled with tile set in an interesting way, could in fact exist. Inside of a larger context, grout is useful and even perhaps beautiful. But on its own, grout is nothing.)

Or take meat products, since I am writing to you as perhaps the only carnivore that you know. Delicious sausages and hamburgers require no extra ingredients: meat, fat, perhaps a little salt or other flavorings, that’s it. Cook those babies up and you have quite a satisfying meal. Or if you want to get REALLY fancy, smoke ’em. I am now tempted to drift away into fantasias of smoked sausages….

No fillers are needed to make a good meat product. Some fillers might be added to say, a sausage, to create extra delicious flavors. Chicken-apple sausage is a popular variety, in which the (cheap) apples stretch the (expensive) chicken farther, but also provide a refreshing counterpoint in both taste and texture.

However, some purveyors of meat use fillers to use less meat while charging the same price-per-pound. These fillers are usually starch-based, and add nothing but cost-savings to the burger. No added flavor or texture for the end consumer to enjoy other than extra starchy things to digest. These people are why you can’t trust any pre-made beef patties and have to read the ingredients every single time. Thanks, fillers!

The idea of fillers also exists in art and music, in the form of white space, or rests. Good use of white space in a graphic design, or negative space in a painting or sculpture, can add oodles of visual interest and breathing room to the piece. In fact, I would argue that negative space is essential to good visual presentation. (Bear in mind that you can’t have negative space without first having an object for that negative space to react around.)

In music, the space between the notes is often just as important as the notes themselves. There’s a vast difference between the short, clipped notes of a march, and the long drawn-out notes in something like a tone poem. A complex rhythm is the interplay between positive and negative, in they way that the filler interacts with the drumbeats. Any specialness in the silence is a byproduct of how that silence interacts with the musical notes.

If you try to treat the silence between the notes as Its Own Thing, you end up with such ridiculousness as John Cage’s 4’33”.

The point: fillers are not necessarily bad, and can be useful or even helpful as a part of a bigger picture. On their own, fillers are neutral. The problem comes when you try to substitute the filler for the real thing.

A day full of snacks is a day at the end of which you’ll (read: I will) be unsatisfied and cranky.

A bathroom full of grout is…well, unfinished.

A hamburger full of fillers is still a hamburger, I guess, but not one that I would want to eat.

A painting full of white space is…not a painting.

And let’s be real, a “musical composition” of silence is not a musical composition at all.

That leads me, dear reader, to the topic on which my mind lingers…mental filler.

I spend more time than I should on Twitter.

It’s is fun! It’s full of novel content that makes me (mildly) amused and makes me (shallowly) think. There’s always something new!

But social media is primarily a connector–grout, if you will. Some people are doing good work of providing premium content on social media (this tweetstorm by AJA Cortes is a good example), but for the most part, all the content on social channels is dependent upon the primary media that tweets link to. Or references, in the case of many of the parody or esoteric accounts.

Twitter is very good for connecting things, for discovering, for bridging from one content creator to another, but as a “meal” in itself? It’s ultimately unfulfilling.

It can be very easy to fall into the trap of wanting mental snack food all the time. It’s easy, it’s amusing, and it’s very readily available. (And often wrapped in brightly colored, single serving containers!)

But I have to remind myself that single-serving snacks, be they mental or food, won’t build a good body. Whether it’s a body of work or body of thought doesn’t matter.

One can’t build a solid, delicious hamburger out of starchy filler.

And if I (or you) don’t want to end up blown away like a pile of dried up starch on a tile counter made of actual tiles by people who Did The Work, can’t focus on the filler. We have to focus on the substantial things. Meals. Tiles. Meat. Good art and music. Solid thought: books.

We must relegate filler to its proper place–to fill in the gaps.

It can be a beautiful, delicious, or amusing way to fill in those gaps, but it must exist within the proper context of Real, Solid Work.

So do the work, dearest, and enjoy the fleeting space of filler in its own due time.

(If you thought I was giving you advice, my dear reader, you might be wrong. I am mostly giving myself a lecture here. This is a common failing on my part.)

With all my love,

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