Does Anyone Here Have Experience with the Carnivore/Zero Carb Diet to Fight Ulcerative Colitis?


(Neb) #1

Hi all, first post here - have done a quick search but don’t see any previous posts that specifically address this question, so thought I’d ask. I’ll start with my questions and add my story at the end for anyone who wants to read it for more details on my situation - happy to answer any questions people might have, too!

My big question is, to any of you who have (‘had’?) UC, is how did the carnivore diet work for you? Would it be better to jump in straight at the ‘beef, salt, and water’ level, or follow a ‘tapering’ strategy of e.g. 1 month on dairy/fish/eggs/meat, 1 month on ‘all meats only’, then going to ‘beef, salt, and water’?

Another big question is about bowel movements. I see that diarrhea is fairly common as people switch to the diet, but… well, if your life is already measured in explosively wet toilet visits of the hit and miss variety, how would you say it went? The same? Less? More? Did you notice, for example, as you increased fat levels, that there was increased white foam in the toilet bowl? What about blood? Decrease/increase?

I have been gradually increasing my meat/fat intake (now every day with the fat as opposed to trying to limit it and cutting off ‘unhealthy’ fatty bits prior) and I have noticed an increase in white foam (think dish soap-like bubbles) together with (non-foamy, flat) ‘white patches’ floating on top of the toilet water. Almost like when you make a fatty soup and the fat congeals at the top, only this doesn’t seem congealed or even thick. On the rare occasion my colon manages to put something together, it usually comes with thick mucus around it. I’ve noticed that as my fat/meat intake increased, so did the solid matter. It’s not a lot compared to the diarrhea, but it’s… something. Is this… normal? I’m still eating a low-fiber diet though (5g - 10g/day - no carb restriction), so that may affect things.

Finally, while I’ve looked, I haven’t been able to find all that many resources on UC/ZC - does anyone have any links/book reccs on that? I am still doing preliminary research at this point, slowly going through books like The Carnivore Code by Paul Saladino, The Carnivore Diet by Shawn Baker, Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, and The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz. Perhaps this is too much research, but after decades of thinking fiber was good for me, I’m struggling with the idea that meat and fat alone can sustain me. These books are helping, but also leave me sad and shocked at how upside-down nutritional science and indeed how limited medical knowledge/understanding of the gut seem to be (another, rather long, debate, I guess!).

I am planning to start this diet in the next week or so. I feel a little intimidated, but I feel that this is the best path forward for me at this point. The whys are in the next section…

MY STORY

My guts worked wonderfully until about a year ago - I could eat just about anything and was pretty proud of my cast iron stomach. About a year ago, I noticed that my poop was getting rather wet, and blood was sometimes present. Not a lot, and at first I thought it was nothing and something that would pass. It didn’t get better, so I went to the doctor, who sent me to a gastro, and after a misdiagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (I was more concerned about the joint pain than dodgy guts at this time).

After a colonoscopy and various blood/stool tests, I was diagnosed with mild UC and a campylobacter infection. They sent me off with a 10-day course of Flagyl (Metronidazole) and a 30-day course of Dr. Salofalk Granustix (Mesalazine granules - think Pentasa, but a different brand). This did the trick, and my guts returned to normal.

Naturally, I went straight back to my regular diet - medicine had cured me! But the symptoms gradually returned, with me reluctantly returning to the gastro in July. This time she only gave me a 30-day course of Dr. Salofalk together with a 10 day supply of Ultra Levure 250 (saccharomyces boulardii). Again, it did the trick.

Things got back to normal, as did my diet. When my bowels started to go south again, I decided to put off the gastro and instead try switching up my diet. Cue buying a juicer and juicing a tonne of cabbage (apparently good for ulcers), carrots, and other plant stuff. Did it work? I felt virtuous and healthy, of course, but it was hard to deny that things weren’t improving. Not getting worse, but not exactly improving.

So, I went back to the gastro. More Dr. Salofalk, this time for 3 months. I kept up the juicing as well. However, the medicine didn’t work at all. Effectively, I have had nothing but diarrhea for 5 months at this point. I was hospitalized in December for a week with anemia (from the blood loss) and c. diff. A colonoscopy revealed my disease had progressed from mild to moderate. I was (and am) going to the toilet anywhere between 15-20 times a day. I have lost 17 kilos (37lbs-ish) in the last year.

Soon I will be starting a course of Pentasa and Budenoside, but my faith in medicine has slipped. I also don’t relish the steady deterioration of my condition while also increasing my intake of immunosuppressing (and worse drugs). So I started looking for answers again in diet, and that’s how I ended up finding the carnivore diet. My gastro had pretty much insisted on a a low-to-no fiber diet, and I’m tired of constantly looking at labels. In some respects, the carnivore diet represents freedom from that and a newfound simplicity that may offer remission, even (whisper it) cure.

Most of all, I simply cannot accept that the rest of my life is going to be governed by autoimmunity and bags of drugs with the threat of colectomy in the background. If a change in diet can help me to nurse my body back to health and maintain it, then I am prepared to give it a good go. I guess I’m just seeking advice/information from people who have walked this path.

Regarding the medication, I will continue to take it per my gastro’s orders - the Pentasa/Budesonide should (hopefully) work to reduce inflammation while the zero carb approach means no scratchy plant matter. My hope is that after a month (or more), I’ll have enough progress to stop the drugs. I won’t be returning to my ‘normal diet’ this time though. I’ve made that mistake twice! :slight_smile:

Thanks for reading - and apologies for the long post and hopefully it’s in the right place!


(Ronald Weaver) #2

I’ve been living with UC for the last 27 years. It’s bloody miserable, isn’t it ? In the Untied Kingdom it took them nearly two years to let me know that I had UC. I was also prescribed some sort of Pentasa. I had a very bad reaction to it but was told to just increase the dose. I did until it nearly killed me and in desperation I stopped. Then things got better. Not cured, just better and more manageable. All this time I was being told by doctors that diet had absolutely nothing to do with my condition. I was finding that harder and harder to believe. So I earnestly tried all sorts of regimes going from vegan to Atkins diet. And I really did try them for 3 months at a time. I also gave up on my doctor about this time when after a series of blood tests I was told that I seemed to have a chronic low level inflammation somewhere. When I asked what could be done about it the doctor just shrugged her shoulders ! In 2007 I moved to France and my UC disappeared for nearly five years. Change of climate, change of diet less stress, I don’t know. Sadly it came back with a vengeance and while on a visit to family in Glasgow I went to a doctor and was prescribed another form of Pentasa which again nearly killed me…until I stopped taking them. I was then fine for another three years and the UC returned. I got a colonoscopy in France and was again told that large regular doses of Mesalazine would sort it out. I took them for nearly a week and was in agony and just squirting blood every couple of hours. Until I stopped. The French specialist seemed rather offended and recommended that I restarted the medicaments. So we agreed to disagree.
I then discovered Keto and Low carb regimes and studied how much damage excessive amounts of insulin and high levels of blood glucose cause. This was when my GP told me that I was at that point Prediabetique. So I’ve been keto and low carb for the past 4 years and I would love to say that my UC has gone away. It’s not I’m afraid. But it is much more manageable now. If I get a flare up it’s nothing worse that a week or so of the trots. I’ve had to accept the fact that my tripes are probably damaged beyond total repair But the odd mild flare up a couple of times a year isn’t too much of a hardship to bear considering that keto has repaired so many other things in my body.
In conclusion, I can only recommend a keto way of life, it might not cure your UC but it wont do any harm. Bon Courage !
Also, I too am sorry for such a long post !


(Neb) #3

Man, 27 years is a long time - I’m just entering my second and can’t imagine 27 years of this! Certainly, long, drawn-out flares are an interesting form of torture when there seems to be no end in sight and you wonder if your body will ever remember how to poop like a normal person again.

I feel like the mesalazine doesn’t really work. Looking back at my ‘successful’ remissions, I did have some denial in that my poop wasn’t quite normal. It was solid (victory!) but it wasn’t the same. I also noticed (TMI time) that as the quality of the poop got worse, the texture would change in one sitting - it would go from fairly normal poop to what looked like a cow pat. I now recognize that this is my body saying “you’re about to flare (or already are, sucks to be you)”. Perhaps if my gastro had kept me on, that would not have happened. But at the same time, I don’t want to be taking/dependent on drugs every day for the rest of my life.

interestingly, there are rare cases of intolerance and allergy which mimic the symptoms of colitis (although stopping the medication is the easy solution for that, if not the UC itself). I’ve wondered if stopping/starting this drug contributes to an eventual issue in individuals for whom it originally works on top of long-term tolerance developing, while also increasing the need to go for more potent medicines (immunosuppressants, biologics etc.). The side-effects of these worry me more, particularly in the middle of a pandemic.

Do you think that this might have been your issue - developing an intolerance to the medication on top of your existing UC issues, exacerbating the disease? My gastro is switching me from Salofalk to Pentasa just in case I have developed an intolerance to Salofalk. TBH, they’re both the same drug with small differences so I’m not really sure how it solves a potential intolerance issue. Will find out soon, as I start the new drugs tomorrow.

Ultimately, I feel like none of this is healthy for our immune systems. Given that there’s so little knowledge of how the microbiome and the gut “works” in medical science, together with a general lack of knowledge on nutrition, I feel like the real answers lie in diet - and possibly that every individual is going to have different nutritional profiles. If a person can identify that, then (in theory) one can follow the Hippocratic ideal of let thy food be medicine. I think ZC could work well as an elimination diet while removing the problem of fiber from my diet completely. No way to know until i try, of course.

After months of vigorously unpleasant bowel explosions (mostly at night time because yay, UC :expressionless:), this sounds like heaven! A weird, imperfect heaven, but everything is relative when one is blessed with autoimmunity! As the saying goes, what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.

I can see large parts of the French diet working well with UC whether following a keto/ZC approach - all that delicious fromage, charcuterie, rich cassaroles, an abundance of buerre and creme :drooling_face: Glasgow, on the other hand (deep fried Mars bar/Munchy Box, anyone?). Mind you, I would have been one of the first to try those weegie delicacies even last year, so no shade!

No problems with the long post - if I’m honest, I would say that the UC diarrhea complements my verbal diarrhea quite well :wink: Stay strong, friend. I’m happy you found something that works for you to minimize the impact of this disease on your life.


#4

I never dealt with it but carnivore has healed many from UC. Read it all the time on the zero carb boards.

the campylobacter infection can easily be nailing ya too.

so they say there is NO cure for UC mostly cause of that inflammation but it is some foods you are eating or combination of foods that are probably causing this inflammation.

Carnivore diet is a massive elimination menu so it is a great way to ‘test the waters’. Go full on carnivore. If you have some trots or so, eat leaner meats, use less fat in cooking meats etc. Everyone goes thru adaption and healing gut changes but if UC and your infection might make it a tad more miserable for you, but time on carnivore will get you set way more straight for sure. But time thru adaption will be absolutely an issue for ya to heal more since you are out of whack more.

Plus, later when ya feel better etc. if you wanted to go back to low carb eating then you can add some things, if your UC flares ya know to not eat that LOL but carnivore can fix up people to a way better life with gut health.

here is a good read:

this gives alot of info about what nails our guts from the plant world.
many plants inflame the body all the time so this gives some info on how that can happen to us.


(Ronald Weaver) #5

It’s interesting to read that some surveys of various versions of Mesalazine list up to 20% of people with allergic reactions. Three doctors in Glasgow and a specialist in France were insistent that if a couple of versions of Mesalazine didn’t work then it was straight onto steroids.
At first I took Pentasa for over a year which relieved the dreadful cramping and fever but still left me with a hair trigger anus and a distinct looseness of bowel movements. A bit better but no cure. Eventually, even after increasing the dose, it became less and less effective and my flare ups were pretty hellish…until I stopped taking it. Despite the praise given to the much vaunted National Health System in the Untied Kingdom, don’t believe it ! You’re at the mercy of a doctor who is just there for the wages and you can’t change, unless you move to a different area. Hospitals are even worse. Twenty odd years ago I had to wait for three months for an appointment, and it’s even worse now I believe. In France, I can pick and choose my General Practitioner and often I can get an appointment the same day. For my colonoscopy I was only kept waiting for two weeks.
I have never went completely carnivore but I did live for several weeks on just bacon and eggs with no problems whatsoever, so I think I’ll give it a month’s trial and see what happens. I’ll report back here with my results.
As for my improvement after changing to French food, I can only surmise that the actual quality of food here is better than the UK in general Actual Bio is real here, not just a label on the packet. Meat from our local market is raised within 25 km of our town. And I can buy the most incredible yoghourt from a local farm made from unpasteurised milk. The last time I was in UK I tried to buy full fat yoghourt in a supermarket and I was treated as if I was asking for pornography. Everything is low or no fat !
So keep experimenting. You’ll probably get better advice from this forum than just about any doctor or so called expert you encounter… Am I allowed to say this ? Is the vegan squad going to kick my door in at 4am tonight ?


(Neb) #6

I agree - the inflammation is caused by something and while autoimmunity complicates the picture, it makes sense that eliminating, then pinpointing those causes would go a long way to introducing long-term remission to the point of effective cure. Since UC can cause scarring of the colon, I do wonder (speculatively) if the quicker one can do that, the more chance there is of lifelong remission as there should be less scarring, or, more working intestine - I’m not sure, but I think scarring effectively renders the tissue useless in terms of proper function aside from the thickening/blockage issue).

Thanks for the PDF - had a quick look and will go through it in more depth later! Oddly enough, I had been mildly alerted to ‘plant poisons’ when I was going through my high carb/juicing period by a tiny note on some foodie blog somewhere about phytic acid. It struck me at the time that it was really weird that there were so many resources online celebrating how awesome these diets/lifestyles were, yet information on potential issues was so quiet - you need to know what you’re looking for to find it, and if you’re ignorant to it, well… - certainly all the other things in that PDF I didn’t know about. You certainly can’t say that about ZC/Keto/Atkins!

I had 3 lightly peppered scrambled eggs with butter and heavy cream cooked in the fat rendered off 5 bacon rashers for breakfast! It was top yums. Usually I would have some toast with it. I don’t feel hungry, but nor do I feel full. Might have some smoked salmon later, or make some kind of egg/parmesan/leftover shredded pork patty…

The NHS is a bit of a mixed bag for me. I’ve been living in Greece for the past 19 years - the (similar) health system here is probably in worse shape, though private care is a cheap supplement much like the French system. With that said, I was born deaf (I pass as ‘normal’ with a slightly weird voice and a propensity to mishear things with hilarious and/or awkward results…) so had a lot of time in and out of hospitals for tests etc, and they were brilliant. With that said, beyond having cloth ears, deafness doesn’t typically make one ill, and the ‘cure’ (hearing aids, cochlear implants) are simple to implement. For anything that isn’t an easily fixable issue I feel like medicine (and medical science) on the whole falls short, and that’s a global health issue. It certainly doesn’t help that the NHS has been deliberately underfunded for decades now, but that’s another subject…

I’m lucky enough to be in a similar situation, out in the countryside with 2 local butchers who sell fresh, local meat. Many families also raise their own animals (typically chickens, but sometimes also pigs and lamb) which are later butchered and shared with extended family/sold on the ‘cash economy’ for supplementary household budget $$$. There are also a tonne of local cheesemakers around here - getting good meat/dairy/egg options is easy. And, of course, Greek yoghurt (the unpasteurized is quite a different beast to store-bought!).

Veganism, never mind vegetarianism, remains a foreign concept to many :slight_smile: Although tourist influences have increased its profile - compared to when I first arrived, it’s common to see vegan/veggie options highlighted on a menu. Gotta get those tourist $$$, it’s just about the only thing keeping Greece afloat these days!

You could repel them by throwing slabs of meat at them, forcing them to retreat. Or, perhaps collect the aroma of all the stinkiest boiled offal in a deadly olfactory stink bomb and lob that instead. This way, you can eat the meat without getting it covered in vegan fear particles. :upside_down_face:


(Take time to smell the bacon) #7

A couple of thoughts provoked by the various mentions of inflammation.

Polyunsaturated fats, eaten in excess, are highly inflammatory, especially ω-6 fatty acids, so it would make sense to avoid all oils, especially the industrial seed oils, which are mostly ω-6 fatty acids. Animal fats are mostly saturated and monounsaturated fats, so they would be the way to go. And a low- or no-carb diet, by reducing insulin, is also anti-inflammatory in its own right.

I don’t know if this is at all helpful, but I certainly do hope you both find the answers you are seeking.


(Neb) #8

POTENTIALLY INTERESTING TO PPL READING IN FUTURE WHO ARE CONSIDERING STARTING CARNIVORE MID- ULCERATIVE COLITIS FLARE

So, bit of an update. I managed to go full carnivore (i.e. meat, seafood, eggs, cream - no other dairy) for around 4-5 days, but increasingly felt unwell. It’s hard to pinpoint what was causing it, but likely a combination of keto flu onset (? never had it before so…), plummeting electrolytes, blood loss, water loss, fairly drastic weight loss (2kg - I’m already underweight from UC) and the flare going into deranged overdrive. And possibly the change in drugs. Too many variables, too much enfeebled brain matter :slight_smile:

Long story short, I checked myself into hospital where I was found to indeed have very low electrolytes and very dodgy blood test results, so they hooked me up to an IV for 4 days. The carnivore diet had to be abandoned simply because the hospital’s main fare revolves around mountains of tasteless carbs, small amounts of overboiled, gristly, tough, and tasteless meat, and on luxury days, low-fat yoghurt. Oh, and 1 (amazingly delicious and sweet) fruit every other day. It’s hard to see how this diet is restorative for any patient, but that’s another subject matter. On the plus side, I had plenty of downtime to read a lot of material on this diet and the science behind it.

They’re also switching up my drugs again. I’ve come to the conclusion that I should NOT attempt carnivore again until this flare has been overcome and I have a somewhat functioning and compliant gut to begin with. I’m a little disappointed, but this is a marathon and not a race and I’ll take the lesson for what it is. Hoping this round of drugs will get me in the clear and that at some point in the near future I’ll be ready to tackle this and :crossed_fingers: I can make a much better go of this :crossed_fingers:

So, if you’re like me and excited, want to get started ASAP, perhaps consider holding it off for a bit. It should be noted that I am considered mild-moderate in symptoms, though compared to last year I would grade this flare-within-a-flare as “oh my God, I’m :poop:ing myself towards the sweet release of death” YMMV :slight_smile: Good luck, whatever you decide…

Just wanted to quickly touch on this - I was reading through The Big Fat Surprise by Teicholz who touches on olive oil in the context of the Mediterranean Diet. Basically, it would seem that until the last 200-ish years, olive oil was more of a commodity (oil for lamps, for use in ear to soften earwax etc), but then something changed. The historical evidence shows that animal fats were preferred, if not exclusively used.

I was surprised - it’s very deeply ingrained here (Greece and all other major OO-producing regions) that this is super healthy and has been used in cooking for thousands of years - in Crete, there’s an entire subspecies of recipes called ladera which I would describe broadly as olive oil “soups” with veg floating in it - perhaps a smidge of meat. Food for thought. I wonder what changed culturally, and why.


(Robin) #9

Someone will one day come looking for this specific topic and be so happy to find your story. You’ve already done the homework. Good job!


(Bob M) #10

That would be nice. I’ve never seen that here (US), although you can get unpasteurized milk and make yogurt yourself.

I’ve seen some pictures of the meals they serve in French schools, and they are stunning: real meat (eg, beef that was red on the interior), vegetables, etc. The stuff in the US is garbage. Heck, we can’t get full fat milk, but can get chocolate skim milk, highly sugared of course.


(Ronald Weaver) #11

I’m sorry to hear that. But don’t give up ! Personally, I found that if anything at all, drugs, diet or whatever started to make me feel worse, I just stopped it. I know it’s hard to change just one thing at a time, especially when you have no idea what your body is doing, but do your best to limit changes to one thing at a time… I would suggest…


(Ronald Weaver) #12

Yes, so far they don’t seem to have given in to the low-fat, sugar filled junk they dish out in UK and probably the States too. But you wonder for how long ? Watch French TV and you’ll see very fit looking athletic types grinning like Cheshire cats while scoffing bars of what looks like grains, nuts and chunks of chocolate. The sugar is invisible but you can be sure it’s there in many forms ! And this is being sold as HEALTHY snacks ! And don’t listen to that nonsense about French women all being fashionably slim not round here there not !