Did keto, lost my way, now doing carnivore


(Daniel) #1

Hi all. This is kind of a long post, so thank you in advance if you actually read it.

This is my second time going on a keto/carnivore type diet. I’m 38 years old, 250 lbs, 5’11". Lots of digestive problems, depression/anxiety/sleep issues for many years (much better than they used to be thanks to physical activity/diet/meditation, and therapy). I did a paleo type of diet for a long time because it did seem to help, but not enough. Best I ever felt was on a keto diet with very low carbs and mostly animal products. I’m just going to call that keto/carnivore from here on out.

I did keto/carnivore in the past and went from 250 to 185 lbs. Felt and looked the best I ever have in my life. Eventually the shine wore off. I wound up feeling awful all the time from a combination of overdoing it on exercise, and going through some very stressful times in my life. I found myself losing the hair in my beard, feeling depressed and tired, and losing my ability to focus.

Long story short: after finally reaching a weight goal I never thought I’d achieve, I went right back up to 250 lbs. It was really discouraging and depressing. In addition, a lot of uncomfortable health issues started to form. My right eye is blurry, and doesn’t want to stay focused on stuff. I had to get special prism lenses so that I wasn’t seeing double all the time. I even had a short but scary arrhythmia episode. Good times.

I never went back to eating just any old thing. I stuck to meat, eggs, dairy, and vegetables (no grains/beans/corn, not a lot of added sugars). I walked around 4 miles a day, and I still do. But the weight just kept coming, and I felt really old.

One day I remembered how I felt a million times better on keto/carnivore, and decided to go back to it. This time I decided to do a long period without any dairy, and to just focus on good quality meat and eggs for the first few months. So, basically my diet is all kinds of animal proteins, eggs, ghee, and whatever fat the meats have.

Results so far:

So far, a lot of my issues have gotten better very quickly. I had terrible gas all the time before, and that’s almost gone away completely. My acid reflux that I struggled with when I was younger had come back with a vengeance, but that has mostly subsided now as well.

No major weight loss, yet. My appetite is still yo-yoing around, playing mind-games with me. Trying to just be patient about that. I eat when I’m hungry, and if I feel the urge to snack I go for something like Carnivore Snax, Carnivore Crisps, jerky or smoked sausages with no sugar or vegetable fillers, etc.

Bathroom experiences have been all over the map in the morning (at least I’m regular). Expecting that to take a while to level out. I remember last time I did this I had loose bms by default, and I decided to just accept it. Didn’t really seem to matter what I did. Maybe it was too much cheese, back then.


I take a supplement from Standard Process called Gastrex which helps with my reflux immensely. I used to have immensely painful stomach issues which switching to paleo resolved, and switching to keto/carnivore made even better.

I take a few other supplements, as well: Reflux and IgG oral Immunoglobulins from SilverFern (to try and heal my gut lining).

Drinking a ton of water with some pink salt in it, as well as some Trace Minerals drops.

I take Vitamin D at 10000 IUs a day. I take period breaks from it, but I take a lot on the advice of my nutritionist, as it has helped a lot with autoimmune issues and depression.

Need help with:

  1. I would have really crazy dreams while I was doing keto/carnivore and a nutritionist suggested that I try just having a teaspoon of honey before bed so that my liver wasn’t freaking out about glycogen. Curious if anyone else had that issue and what they did about it.
  2. Anything that jumps out at people, really. I tend to overdo things, so I’ve carefully avoided getting too nerdy about these diets. I try to just go based on how things make me feel, rather than buying a bunch of gizmos that I’ll obsess over and stress myself out with. But if people think I’m making a big mistake, I’m listening. I’m just tired of being overweight and feeling sick.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #2

Wow! A lot to parse, there! Firstly, welcome to the Ketogenic Forums.

As you have noticed, keto is like showering; if we stop doing it, we lose the benefits it confers.

This second time around, you may find things working differently. Keto may very well help with the mental problems, but you might still need to keep on with an anti-depressant. In any case, do NOT tamper with your mental health medications without talking to your doctor first. Chris Palmer, a Harvard Medical School professor and researcher, has horror stories to tell about patients who unilaterally stopped their meds. Your doctor can help you stop or lower dosages safely.

Do not overdo the exercise, especially during your period of readapting to a keto diet. Exercise doesn’t help with fat loss, in any case, though it is good for metabolic health. But embarking on a keto diet is a strain on the body, so exercise should be very moderate.

Think of ketogenic eating as a permanent change in you way of eating, rather than as a quick weight-loss trick. A diet free of sugar, starches, and grains will be most helpful in that respect. Keep any carbohydrate you do eat under 20 g/day; that level of restriction is likely to be the most effective. Remember that carbohydrate is completely unnecessary to the human diet. Protein and fat are essential; carbohydrate is not.

Gas is likely an effect of eating too much fibre. It gets digested by intestinal bacteria, which produce methane from it. The methane goes in both directions. We tend not to notice the burps, but the flatulence attracts our attention, lol!

As for acid reflux, the condition is likely caused by too little stomach acid, not too much. (Our stomach needs enough acid to keep the oesophageal sphinctre tightly closed.) Many people find that a tablespoon (probably around 15 ml) of vinegar in a glass of water helps their acid reflux enormously.

As for healing your intestinal lining, the β-hydroxybutyrate produced by the liver (it’s one of the three ketone bodies) is very healing to the gut. It helps strengthen the junctions between cells and reverse leaky gut syndrome. People with irritable bowel and Crohn’s disease often find that fibre, which is recommended as a treatment, actually can make their symptoms worse, so don’t worry about fibre.

The crazy dreams may or may not recur this time around. You’ll have to see. In any case, they are likely caused by ketones improving brain function, since ketones can feed the brain without the need for glucose (which requires insulin, apparently, to enter the brain). If you stay keto long enough that sense of energy and a revved-up brain will most likely diminish over time. Honey will indeed kick you out of ketosis, but that’s not necessarily the best way to deal with the matter.

There is no need to go overboard with keto. It is really the proper human diet: eating real food, and not too much carbohydrate. Our society’s problems with chronic disease really began when inexpensive refined grains and sugar, together with processed industrial seed oils, entered the food supply. Before that, metabolic disease was the exclusive privilege of the rich, who could afford refined sugar and white flour. So reversing all that by eating whole real foods (meat and green veg, basically), while avoiding processed foods, is very good for one. If you want to be obsessive, obsessively avoid all industrially processed foods (almost everything that comes in a box or a bag, basically)!

(Peter - Don't Fear the Fat ) #3

Eeeer what Paul said lol :arrow_up:

Not sure how honey is gonna help anything but hey, I’m no expert.
I actually enjoyed the crazy dreams I first got in Ketosis. I had terrible sleep, overweight and bloating etc so I saw the dreams as a result of a really good (and continued) deep sleep :blush:

(Daniel) #4

Thanks very much for your thoughtful and thorough response, Paul!

Don’t worry, I’m not taking any medications. I just do talk-therapy and meditation.

I will try the vinegar trick for the reflux and see if it helps. My nutritionist believes I have low stomach acid, as well.

That information about the ketones produced by the liver healing the gut is fascinating! I’ll have to read more about that. Very nice to hear that it will help.

As for the crazy dreams being a result of improved brain activity, I hadn’t thought of that… I will just have to see how it goes. I’ll stop the honey and just ride it out.

I truly appreciate the information and encouragement.

(Daniel) #5

You raise a good point… maybe it’s just better sleep and my brain is “catching up.” So to speak. Thanks for the brain-food.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #6

Eric Verdin has also elucidated certain epigenetic effects of β-hydroxybutyrate, by the way. And I read a fascinating paper about the epigenetic effects of acetone in the brain (lost the link, unfortunately).

So the ketone bodies aren’t simply energy sources, they are also hormones.

(Daniel) #7

That’s fascinating. Truth be told, I know very little about the science of ketosis. I normally deep-dive into things so I can get to the truth, but when it came to this topic I decided I didn’t want to fall into a rabbit hole and get lost trying to do things “perfectly.” You know how the internet goes.

But it’s awesome to have someone distill the useful parts down for me, so thank you.

I’m glad I’m doing it again, and I’m glad there are folks here like you that can help cut through the static and the noise to share the facts. I’ll have to poke around the science section of the site and find some good resources that people have distilled down so I don’t get lost in the sauce.

(JJ) #8


How wonderful you have found your way here. I loved reading @PaulL response to your original post, lots to be learned for anyone reading that. My favourite take home message was the shower analogy- yep, I agree. You stop eating keto, you lose the benefits, let’s get us some benefits back, @DocFleg!

(Daniel) #9

Thank you @JulesyMcJulesface!

(Alec) #10

Quite a few parallels here with my own journey. Given your descriptions of your health issues, I cannot recommend strict carnivore enough! Meaning, get rid of the plants, and see if this supports your health improvements (clearly already happening).

I would say do not worry about weight loss right now. Focus on health first. I think as your body heals it will naturally start dropping its spare fat. My experience is that I didn’t have to measure anything on carnivore to lose weight. It just happened. My body knew what to do, but only as long as I did not feed it carbs or plants.

Welcome and good luck!

(Peter - Don't Fear the Fat ) #11

Pauls fascinating paper about the epigenetic effects of acetone in the brain (lost the link, unfortunately) …

Could this be it at 54


(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #12

A fascinating paper, but not the one I was thinking of. I’ll try and look around for it. Eric Verdin has done a lot of research into the epigenetic effects of β-hydroxybutyrate, so maybe he has published about acetone as well.

(Daniel) #13

Thanks for the encouragement and advice! I’m glad to hear from someone who resonates with all the struggles I’ve been enduring. I especially appreciate the advice of not worrying about the weight. I was reading some other popular posts on here, and that seems to be a theme. I’m just going to trust that my body is doing what it needs to do in the order it needs to do it, and just enjoy the ride. I was obsessed with weight the last time I did this, and I think that even though I got good results, that obsession with observable results is what caused me to backslide.

(John Bradshaw) #14

@DocFleg You’re doing just great Daniel. I’m quite encouraged by your story.
My wife started strict Keto in August 2022, because she was pre-diabetic and did NOT want to face the consequences of diabetes! At the time, we had no idea about Keto, never even heard of it before. Well, after 10 days she went for blood tests (that were due anyway). Blood sugar was normal, fatty liver gone, high blood pressure dropping, a kilo of weight lost. Amazing! But then there was something else that happened.

She had been on over 15 different anti-psychotic meds for schizophrenia for over 35 years. She often had delusional thoughts, paranoia etc. After 10 days on strict keto she said to me, “I think the voices in my head have gone.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Well we started digging a lot more. Came across the Diet doctor YouTube videos with Dr Brett Sher. https://youtu.be/oAdN0AmRqCk
We spotted one with Dr Chris Palmer from Harvard. This was a revelation to us.
Well, 10 months down the track, her psychiatrist has dropped her antipsychotic meds by 90%. She has lost 21kgs. She has buckets of energy. She enjoys what she eats. Takes zero supplements. Eats beef, chicken, fish, bacon, pork, eggs, all cooked in butter. No fancy cuts or grass fed hoo-haa. Sausages, bacon, mince, steak etc, pretty inexpensive. Takes a teaspoon of salt a day. And as they say “That’s all folks”. She will never go back to the old way of eating. She is 65.
I now eat the same… after 4 goes. Don’t even think about what I’m going to eat now. I have some cheese most days and cream with a couple of strawberries occasionally. I’m 10kgs lighter and no brain fog.

Keep going Daniel. Keep it simple. Keep educating yourself about keto. Take it slowly. Eric Westman, Brett Sher are great on YouTube. If it’s whole food, it ain’t gonna hurt you. Just stear clear of the sugary, processed stuff and you will be a winner!

(Daniel) #15

@John_Bradshaw I love hearing stories like your wife’s. I hope to one day get my girlfriend on a keto/carnivore type diet, but I learned a long time ago to just let people do whatever they’re going to do. I’m glad your wife found something that worked so powerfully for her. If I had a choice between clearing up a mental illness or losing weight, I’d 100% go for clearing up a mental illness. I used to have really bad anxiety and depression, and I wouldn’t wish those on anyone (let alone schizophrenia… jeez).

Thanks for your encouragement and K.I.S.S.-style advice. I’m trying to do exactly that, without complicating or overthinking anything.