Some time in February I became aware that my fortieth birthday approaches fast (100 days out), I decided to try and use it as some kind of motivation to get back in shape. I’ve always enjoyed a challenge, and I find my body usually responds pretty well to a bit of a dietary shake up.
Some 18 months ago I embarked on a short stint of vegetarianism, which somehow blew out until now, and to be honest I really enjoyed it. I have eaten a LOT of fish, eggs and dairy in this time, so I guess I’m more pescy than vego per-se. Admittedly it hasn’t aided in any significant weight loss, but then again, who knows how heavy I’d be if I had been eating meat the whole time. And when I think of the benefits of these kinds of culinary exclusions, I personally think the real advantages are more psychological than physical. To exercise control, restraint and awareness three times a day is suitably challenging for my impulsive nature to make me feel like I’m back in charge.
When the 100 day count-down began, I thought I’d ease myself into a bit of routine. Now is a great time for me, as I’m the primary carer for my beautiful one year old daughter Kora. My days’ schedules are fairly regimented, unlike most of my existence since school ended 20-something years ago! (Us artistic types generally thrive on impulse and spontaneity, so routine has evaded me mostly to date.) So, to kick things off, I returned to something that has worked well for me in the past – intermittent fasting. My preferred method is at least a 16 hour fast, followed by an (up to) eight hour eating window. Strong black (sugarless) coffee in the morning, a vitamin supplement (some kind of cheap Berocca substitute), lots of water, then nothing until lunch at midday. We eat dinner pretty early (close to 18:00), so unless I sneak in some popcorn before 20:00, that’s the last meal of the day. Oh, and I’m drinking a good 2-3 litres of water after dinner while I veg out, and cutting the booze altogether for the time being.
This regime has been working a treat. My energy levels are good, mood is stable, brain seems fairly switched on. I’m still stuffed after dinner every day, but I suspect that is more to do with the small child demanding my time and attention for 12 hours a day! Weight has remained pretty constant, but I feel a lot lighter on my feet, and seem to have more energy than normal.
So… to ramp things up a bit, (and take a fair detour from my current path) I’ve decided to go on a month-long carnivore diet for all of March. That is, nothing but meat, oil, butter, seasoning, and water for the next 31 days. It has piqued my interest of late, due to reports of success from podcasts I’ve listened to, and a few things I’ve read online. Essentially, from what I can gather its success comes down to two things: Firstly, the lack of any carbohydrates or sugar puts your body into a state of ketosis – burning fats for energy rather that carbs. This make it excellent for rapid weight loss, and steady energy. Secondly, its success may come from the extremely exclusionary nature of the diet. Without processed foods, carbs, gluten, fructose, lactose and other known allergens, proponents of the carnivore diet hypothesise that your body is able to rid itself of a lot of inflammation that it has long been accustomed to.
As a nearly forty year old man with a lifetime of sports-field and dance-floor injuries, these benefits seem worth the sacrifice – at least for 31 days! I’ve decided that I’m going to keep my 16/8 fast going, cause that’s working well for me so far, and I’m embarking on a month of intense reconnection with my long-lost meat-loving self.
To prepare, I sourced some good local grass-fed meat from my local butcher. I bought a Carnivore’s Butcher Box from Midwest meats for $175 which contains:
- 2 Kg Angus Porterhouse Steaks (8 X 250g Steaks)
- 2 Kg Angus Rump Steaks (5 X 400g Steaks)
- 2 Kg Angus T-Bone Steaks (5 X 400g Steaks)
- 1 Kg Pork Spare Ribs
- 1 Kg Pork Belly
- 1 Kg Thick Pure Beef Gourmet Sausages
To that I added:
- 1 Kg Premium Beef Mince
- 1 Kg Thick Pure Beef Gourmet Sausages
- 2 kg Chicken Thigh Fillets
- 2 kg Middle Bacon
- Lots of eggs
- Fish (I’ll get it fresh when I need it)
- Lamb and kangaroo (I’ll wait for a bargain when it comes up)
So, it’s just over $200 (so far) that I’ve spent, which seems reasonable for month. I’ve made a basic meal plan for two meals a day, with a variety of meaty pleasures. I’m not quite sure about quantities yet, so I’ll feel it out as I go, and check in daily to keep track of my progress.
Please wish me luck on my crazy carnivorous crusade!