Andrea’s Weird Diet
This 4th of July weekend, I found myself explaining a lot of my eating habits to our family. It’s something I’ve learned comes with the territory of family gatherings. My eating habits are definitely abnormal and attract attention, and I often find myself explaining why I’m only eating 2 of the various foods offered at the buffet, why I brought my own sauce (and what’s in it), and did I really eat 5 hamburgers today? (yes).
I’ve had digestive issues ever since I can remember. I’ll spare you the details, but I can say it’s not the most fun. I’ve spent years trying to find a diet and lifestyle that make a positive impact on my digestion, and I’m finally starting to see small changes. I definitely don’t have it all figured out, but the momentum is going in the right direction for once, and that’s honestly pretty exciting!
This is my (current) weird diet
The carnivore diet is gaining recognition on the diet scene, and it’s pretty popular among keto and anti-inflammatory diet fans. It’s pretty clear what this diet calls for: eating only meat! This diet has not only been an amazing tool for weight loss, but it has also changed the lives of many dealing with various chronic illnesses and autoimmune disease (Mikhaila Peterson is a notable example). If you are unfamiliar with this diet and the research behind it, I highly recommend The Carnivore Code by Dr. Paul Saladino. The sheer amount of fact-based research in that book is astounding and frankly a bit overwhelming. I defy you to read this book and still disagree with Paul at the end.
I followed the strict carnivore diet for 3 months. I got lean and I learned a ton. The transition into a zero carb, keto diet was pretty rough for 1 day, leaving me feeling dizzy and really low energy. After that I was fine, though I personally didn’t experience the boon of energy that others have mentioned (although I feel like to really experience the full benefits, it’s best to have a digestive system that’s already working properly). An elimination diet this strict can really teach you a lot about your body, and I learned what my body has the most trouble digesting (fat) and a likely reason why (low stomach acid). While I haven’t been able to fully fix this issue yet, I have a direction and steps to work toward – something I’ve been missing for a long time. But I also did start to feel a little better on the strict carnivore diet. The improvement wasn’t monumental, but I started to notice that I didn’t have nearly as many bad days, and I actually started to have good days every once in a while. So I was moving in the right direction! Then, I noticed that I was starting to feel dizzy again (probably because I wasn’t eating enough fat and I had already burned through the extra fat on my body). So I made an adjustment to my diet and came to:
The Animal-Based Diet
The animal-based diet is less well-known than the carnivore diet, but it is much less strict and more attainable. In the animal-based diet, the base of the diet is still meat, but it includes dairy and healthy carbohydrates from fruit and honey. This is my current diet, and I’ve been on this diet for about 2 months now. Personally, I really like the addition of the carbohydrates back into my diet – maybe that’s just because I was craving them like crazy on the zero carb diet, but I have heard good things about what a reasonable amount of healthy carbohydrates do in the body. And Dr. Paul has even updated his own diet to add in healthy carbs from honey and fruit, citing his experience and new research in The Carnivore Code Cookbook.
So over the 4th of July weekend, when grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins asked why I wasn’t eating the pizza with them, or if there’s anything they made that I can eat, or what’s in the mason jar I brought, I explained my weird diet: “I’m only eating meat, dairy, and fruit.” “I can eat the hamburgers and the fresh fruit!” “It’s a homemade barbecue sauce with no tomatoes, garlic, or pepper.”
But the best thing about family is that they’re asking because they really care, and it can become fun to see what I’m doing next! Everyone knows I will eat an inordinate amount of meat, and they’re generally impressed when, at a cookout, I put away 5 hamburgers over the course of the day. Plus, it’s always interesting to see what new bread-shaped thing I’ve made out of meat. And when there’s a tray of exquisite looking desserts that are trying to break me from my diet, I’m specially offered a bowl of honey, my go-to dessert.
Sometimes, I wish I could just fit in and not have to explain my weird diet. But obsessing about health and trying new things is a big part of who I am, and I’m happy to share that with friends and family. As Tyler & I gain new information, our diet is always evolving to be as healthy and evidence-based as possible. I think that’s part of the beauty of really caring about health: it’s a never-ending journey because there’s always something new to discover. We’ve learned so much and changed our lifestyle in so many ways over the last few years, and I’m excited to see in what ways we’ll evolve over the next few years.
Tyler & Andrea
We travel the country full-time in our RV, making documentaries and podcasts about our life. We are the ultimate adult beginners. From RVing full-time to cooking to some of our newer interests like bow hunting and jiu-jitsu, nearly everything we do we discovered as adults. Being an adult beginner is surprisingly challenging, and at times we really do feel like we don’t know anything! But if there’s one thing we know in the Hixson household, it’s that we want our lives to be wild, free, and lived intentionally. If something looks difficult or intimidating, it’s probably worth doing. And there’s no better time to start than now.
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