Carnivore Diet week 1: Death to vegetables

First Restaurant Carnivore meal looks a little sad
A week ago I began a four week plan to test out the Carnivore diet.  (The backstory can be found here).  This week was the perfect week to begin the experiment, as I was recovering from a 100 kilometer trail run (you can read about here) so my training block would be small and I could deal with the lack of carbs like a normal person...sleep and cry!

Before I begin, I need to mention there is no universal agreement on what is included in this diet.  Some people drink coffee, because it's good, others wont touch it as it came from a plant.  Some have high fat dairy (cream and cheese). Some even use honey (is it bee milk/poop, or is it a plant product? But cows eat grass...does that mean beef is a vegetable I going on a salad diet!!!  I digress).  Diets are like religions, everyone knows the correct way to do it, and everyone else is wrong. I'm setting out to keep it a little more chill, like everyone starting a new diet does.

Here we go.

Day 1
I finished my run the night before, around 10:30pm, after 16.5 hours out on the trails, and ate my last burger and beer combo for a month.  I had a veggie burger.  When I woke up Sunday morning, I was hungry.  Like otherworldly hungry.  Since I was away from home, and would be traveling all day, we were going to have to eat out.

Going out for my first carnivore breakfast was interesting.  I asked for the steak and eggs, no toast, no hash browns, black coffee.  The waitress asked several times to ensure this was correct.  Watching my friend devour his eggs benny while I had a meager steak and two eggs definitely did not start me off well.  'maybe I should wait a day to start', 'do I really need to do this?' were all I could think of.  I powered through however, and surprisingly felt satisfied.  I ate slowly and deliberately, so I wouldn't finish way before my friend, and to try and enjoy the food.

We began the drive home,  and I opted for some all beef pepperoni for lunch, so I could get the drive done quickly.  Maybe not the best choice, but it had loads of salt, which apparently I will be needing.

This is me the day before at the race
Dinner.  After a 7 hour drive, my wife had agreed to take me to a smokehouse for dinner.  We had salt and pepper smoked wings for a starter, and I had a rather sad looking (but super tasty) rack of ribs.  Again, I think I hurt the server's brain when I asked for no delicious looking sides, and the sauce on the side (didn't touch it).  It was a lot of meat.  I was very full, which is odd, because I could usually chow that whole meal down the day after a race.  All in all, I felt no more tired then what I normally do after a race.

Day 2
I weighed in first thing in the morning to get a baseline weight.  It was 162.5lb (I'm 6'2), but I knew that weight would be high, as my legs were very swollen from the race.  I was exhausted, but at least I didn't have to work.  I made eggs and had some cheese for breakfast (I'm doing cheese and heavy cream as a supplement), and went for a quick jog, as well as a nice long walk.  On my walk, I brought my big backpack, and went from grocery store to grocery store, loading up on sale meat. 8lbs of Prime Rib Roast, 8 Pork tenderloins, 4 bricks of cheese, 20 Italian sausages, a pork loin, a dozen chicken breasts, and some more eggs.  I was all set.  Something weird happened, I wasn't hungry for lunch.  So I ate a bit of cheese to get the hunger going, but that was it.

Dinner was two whole pork tender, and a few glasses of water.  I was in bed by 8:30pm.

Day 3
 I awoke to a record setting early snowstorm, and it went downhill from there.  I was tired.  I went through the motions of a 9mile run on the treadmill (hating my life/diet decisions), gagged down a few eggs and some black coffee, and wanted to go back to sleep.  I was in a fog.

I walked to work which takes about 20 minutes, exhausted and feeling out of breath the whole time. 'that's it, I'm dying', '3 days in and I'm having a heart attack!' were all I could think.  I wasn't hungry still, just exhausted.  The brain fog was bad at work.  I felt like my mind was underwater.  No carbs for three days....what was I thinking?  I could see brussels sprouts dancing around my head.  I'd never eaten them in my life, but at this point I was sure they were amazing.  I work beside a grocery store, and I can smell the fresh bread every morning.  In my mind, baguettes and brussels sprouts were dancing hand in hand, their siren's song calling me to the produce department next door.

 I resisted however, and on lunch walked home, and ate a pork tenderloin with some cheese baked on it.  I still wasn't hungry.  While I was home, something magical happened as well.....I had to use the loo.  When I expressed to family and friends I was doing this, their first response after shock, anger, and betrayal, was 'have fun never pooping again!'.  As disturbing as it sounds, the experience lifted my mood, and I began to think I could do it.  that is until I walked back to work, and the fog returned.

I made it home, cooked up two rib eye steaks, drank some more water, and promptly went to bed at 8:00pm.  I was turning in to a real party animal.  I had a terrible sleep, and kept having nightmares about being chased by oversized carrots and broccoli, and the only way to stop them was to eat them.  I was pretty sure I was losing my grip on reality.

Day 4
Day 4 was the worst.  My run was awful and slow, so bad I bailed on it after an hour, my brain fog was bad, and I was feeling depressed.  I didn't want to eat.  My body felt like it just couldn't process any more meat.  I was at the point where I could eat and onion like an apple before I could eat anymore meat, and yet I persisted.  Cheese helped me here.  I made a snack pack to eat all day.

Lunch was another pork tenderloin covered in baked cheese.  There was another bathroom stop as well, so I guess you still digest food on this diet.  Work was a real slog, and I contemplated quitting again.  I couldn't let my work suffer for an experiment.  But yet I persisted.

Dinner was the last of the rib eye steaks.  My wife had baked potatoes and veggies with hers,  I ate the fat she didn't want for my side dish.  I stayed awake until 9:30pm though, so I felt accomplished.  I slept like the dead.

Second Restaurant meal.  Ribs and water.  Yum yum
Day 5
Day 5 started with a slow outside run.  The weather had turned a corner, and my wife and I had a bonus say off together.  I wasn't at all hungry for breakfast, so I didn't eat.  I also knew I was getting some cheats in, as I had to go to the tasting room at the local brewery to try their new products for work (life is hard!).  I was feeling more optimistic as well.  Maybe I could do this.

We walked the four miles each way to the brewery, on hiking trails, and on the way home stopped at the grocery store.  Something strange happened.  I needed to sit down, and I began sweating profusely.  I was in sugar shock from the couple glasses (not pints) of beer I'd had that afternoon.  It was like a diabetic with too much sugar.  I managed to get home, and had a quick nap.  Dinner was more pork products (my favorite meat) and some cheese.  I made it til 10:00pm, and slept great.

Day 6
A blazing fast run, and buckets of energy greeted me in the morning.  My Stomach was a little uneasy from the carbs I had the previous day, but I felt great otherwise.  I was not hungry, so I didn't bother eating.  I just walked to work.

At work I enjoyed leaning into the energy I had.  It felt a little like star power in Mario brothers.  I got stuff done.  Like a lot of work.  Physical tasks, mental tasks, no problem.  I was a super hero.  Lunch rolled around, still not hungry. I hadn't even thought of food which is unusual for me.   As an ultra distance runner, I'm practically always eating something, or thinking about eating something.

Dinner was meeting some friends at a local pub.  I got off work and met the group there.  My wife had ordered me some wings, so they would show up shortly after I got there.  They were breaded, so  I had to do the awkward thing of asking for another order of non breaded wings, and packing up the breaded ones so my wife could have dinner the next evening.  I got home and was finally hungry.  9pm Pork chops and sausages.  I slept like a champ.

My go to: Pork tenderloin and Franks
Day 7
I no longer missed sugar.  Bread held no appeal. Week one weigh in was 157.5lbs.  I usually sit in the 150's during run season, and had intentionally gained 5lbs before starting this diet as I was worried a bit about nutrition.   It was my final non run day before getting back into training, so I go to do a weights and core routine for a little over an hour, before walking to work.  I was still not hungry, but I stopped on the way to work and got a coffee with heavy cream to get some calories.

Work was another super human effort. I felt great.  I made a cheese plate for lunch though because I need to eat. Dinner was more pork chops and sausages.

Week One Conclusions
First, I have to mention that by the end of the week, I missed sauces and non meat products a lot less.  That said, there are a lot of good foods right now I'm still missing.  Another great observation, is using the um.....washroom, takes much longer in the rare occasion I need it.  This was never an issue on Keto, as I could pack in the veg.  I don't feel like my gut is full of rottenness or anything however.  This could be due to the high amount of running, walking, and coffee.  Mental clarity....I'm doing this diet, so an outside observer may question whether I am fit to weigh in on this, I did however notice a drop off the first 4 days.

 I am optimistic about the next three weeks, but next week will be the real test as it's a large training volume block.  This week had about 70km of running, next week will be closer to 200km (if you're interested in what that looks like, it'll be on the app 'Strava').  Can the Carnivore diet keep me going?  How will I survive without getting much fuel on long runs?  It is very difficult to stop and chomp down a steak on the move.  Maybe fill a water bottle with blood?  I know, vampires are so 2010 right?  I haven't figured that part out yet.

Next up:  Can I eat an entire cow?  Can I eat an entire pig?  Can I eat an entire chicken??  Stay tuned.  Same bat time, same bat channel.

Keep it Weird,

The Canadian Ghost Runner

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