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My Experience Eating Nothing From Plants, aka Zero Carb  RSS feed

 
pollinator
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Hi Permies!

I've got something else to share, and it's taken me a while to work up the nerve, so I hope you will be gentle.  I know you will.  I'm going to share my experience eating nothing from plants, aka Zero Carb or a carnivorous way of eating.  Hopefully some of you will find this to be of interest, and perhaps inspire some of you to seek deeper self knowledge and greater health.  You don't know until you go!

Thanks as always for letting me share!

 
pollinator
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I think it's pretty fascinating and cost is the only thing keeping me from trying it right now.  At least until summer.  I like eating from my garden, even if it is more for psychological reasons than anything.
 
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I think it's a very interesting idea, and I definitely agree that our western diet has far too much sugar and refined carbohydrates.
The only thing I'll say is that for diets based entirely on animal products, I think organ meats are critical for getting all the vitamins and minerals you need. I assume you're already making use of organ meats, since you mention you're raising the animals yourself, but figured I might as well bring it up.
 
Matt Walker
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Thank you both for the kind comments and support!
 
Todd Parr
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How much meat a day (roughly) do you eat?
 
gardener
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Am I correct in assuming that all of the meat is cooked? I'm just wondering about vitamin C and any other vitamins that can be destroyed with cooking.

Does anyone else know which vitamins might be lacking, in a diet of cooked meat? I know that the Inuit, ate raw meat and got a big vitamin C boost from muktuk which is the skin of whales. So far as I know, they are the only group of people known to live for months on just meat.
 
Todd Parr
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Dale Hodgins wrote:Am I correct in assuming that all of the meat is cooked? I'm just wondering about vitamin C and any other vitamins that can be destroyed with cooking.

Does anyone else know which vitamins might be lacking, in a diet of cooked meat? I know that the Inuit, ate raw meat and got a big vitamin C boost from muktuk which is the skin of whales. So far as I know, they are the only group of people known to live for months on just meat.



A possible answer found here:Zero carb page
“Meat [also] prevents [scurvy] because it bypasses the need for vitamin C. Vitamin C is required to form collagen in the body… Vitamin C’s role in collagen formation is to transfer a hydroxyl group to the amino acids lysine and proline. Meat, however, already contains appreciable quantities of hydroxylysine and hydroxyproline, [thus] bypassing some of the requirement for vitamin C. In other words, your vitamin C requirement is dependent upon how much meat you do not eat.”  
 
Dale Hodgins
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If I thought it wouldn't break the bank or my body, I would love to join the Andersons, and eat nothing but ribeye steak. I think I could handle having that at least 6 days a week, for three meals. I'm not going to do it, but one can dream.
 
Todd Parr
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Dale Hodgins wrote:If I thought it wouldn't break the bank or my body, I would love to join the Andersons, and eat nothing but ribeye steak. I think I could handle having that at least 6 days a week, for three meals. I'm not going to do it, but one can dream.



I'm willing to risk my body for a month and then take it from there, but yeah, it would be very expensive.
 
Matt Walker
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Whole ribeyes are $3.98 a pound here right now Dale, jump on the Black Ball and hit up our Safeway!

I'll answer all of your comments in detail in the next episode, but, things aren't as we suspect.  I eat no organs because I don't care for them, and I eat only well done beef.  We often assume that rare or organ meat is necessary, but that's not the case in my experience.  Stefansson spent years and years with the Inuit and noted in his Fat of the Land that they actually did not eat much organ meat, that went to the dogs.  There have been many, many carnivorous populations.  Central Plains Indians were primarily carnivorous, Sami, Inuit, Masai, Gaucho, etc.  Interesting as well to look at the populations that are tallest historically.  The strong majority in the top 20 or so are carnivorous or near carnivorous populations.  Here's an interesting link on height and populations.  Look at us European descent people shrink as we get our farms going!

https://ourworldindata.org/human-height/
 
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Matt Walker wrote:...  Central Plains Indians were primarily carnivorous, Sami, Inuit, Masai, Gaucho, etc.  Interesting as well to look at the populations that are tallest historically.  The strong majority in the top 20 or so are carnivorous or near carnivorous populations.  Here's an interesting link on height and populations.  Look at us European descent people shrink as we get our farms going!
https://ourworldindata.org/human-height/



Certainly, the North Asia/North America/North Europe native "carnivorous" populations can not be classified as tall people.
Eskimo, Chukchi, Yakuts, Saami, .... (you name it - lots of examples) can not be called tall by any means.
These peoples are rather short and stocky.

I would not conclude that predominantly meat-eating diet has direct and positive impact on tallness.
 
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Good for you, working with your body until you find what is the optimal diet by your health markers. I think there are many different optimal diets based on personal chemistry.  

I've known of a couple of other zero-carbers that displayed remarkable health, but they were under 30.  To see someone in my age group having the same success is fantastic.  

Key contributor here too, probably, is that you raise your own meat. I don't know that one could gain the same health benefits from the common meat markets, considering how meat is raised these days.

Look forward to seeing your continued journey - good health to you and stick with what produces healthy results for YOU, to heck with naysayers.
 
steward
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Fascinating.  Well, as a doctor with a Master's Degree in Nutrition, I can state that there are essential amino acids, and essential fatty acids, but no essential carbohydrates.  There have definitely been multiple populations with carnivorous or near-carnivorous diets in human history.

The only concern I would have would be for gut flora and colon function.  The gut flora thrive on fiber, and meat is low in fiber.  Similarly, I would worry that a super low fiber diet would lead to constipation.  Perhaps if you have no dairy that makes a difference?
 
Dale Hodgins
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Julia, what do you think of the long-term effects on colon health?

What about overall systemic acidity?
 
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Since you are calling this Nothing from Plants, Zero Carb, are you giving up coffee, tea and other drinks?  What about seasoning your meat?  All spices are plant based so they have carbs.  Maybe not many ...

I tried to watch your video but since my computer doesn't have sound I just could not read lips well enough to know if you planned to season your meat.  Maybe just salt?
 
pollinator
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Matt,

I know a guy who had terrible cholesterol and was morbidly obese. He went atkins about twenty years ago and has serious regrets- he outlived all his friends and now has to associate with people much younger!

I personally don't want to do it because the human gut needs some fiber. I think a substantial leaf intake would be important and has almost no carb level, like enough you would stay ketotic. That being said our gut is better suited to a low fiber diet than a ruminant diet (in general), and most people eat like ruminants.

One of the things I really disregarded as bogus many years ago was the blood type diet, but what is interesting is that the ABO antigens are actually mannose high chains, and antibodies are atually from gut bacteria (because why would you develop antibodies to someone else's blood type). So there is definitely an interplay there I don't understand. I have not kept up on the research frankly, this is all from like twenty years ago biochem. But I do suspect it is highly variable with what diet you will thrive.
 
gardener
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Matt, I really enjoyed your video. Nice job. I think it's important to note that all meat is not created equal, and ruminants in your case since beef and lamb is what I heard you mention you raise in your video, that are pasture raised, foraging for living grasses and plants, is healthy and vitamin/mineral rich meat, and is very different from what's in the supermarkets. If I were to haul off to the local grocery store and buy their industrial CAFO meats and eat only that, I feel I would be doing a real disservice to my body and likely make myself sick. My wife and I quit buying grocery store meat several years ago, and now only eat meat thats been pasture raised from local chemical free farms. We still include fruits and vegetables that are in season into our diets, and do our best to grow what we can in our garden, and I must say that at 40 years old I feel great and believe I'm in the best health yet of my life. I'm looking forward to your next video.
 
Todd Parr
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James Freyr wrote:Matt, I really enjoyed your video. Nice job. I think it's important to note that all meat is not created equal, and ruminants in your case since beef and lamb is what I heard you mention you raise in your video, that are pasture raised, foraging for living grasses and plants, is healthy and vitamin/mineral rich meat, and is very different from what's in the supermarkets. If I were to haul off to the local grocery store and buy their industrial CAFO meats and eat only that, I feel I would be doing a real disservice to my body and likely make myself sick. My wife and I quit buying grocery store meat several years ago, and now only eat meat thats been pasture raised from local chemical free farms. We still include fruits and vegetables that are in season into our diets, and do our best to grow what we can in our garden, and I must say that at 40 years old I feel great and believe I'm in the best health yet of my life. I'm looking forward to your next video.



James, I would have said the same, but I've been reading up on this quite a bit the last couple days, and there are quite a few adherents to this diet that have been doing it long term based on plain old commercial meats.  One I remember in particular eats only regular grocery-store hamburger.  I'm finding this whole thing pretty interesting.
 
James Freyr
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Todd, I agree with you that there are and always will be a handful of exceptions to the rule or the norm. For instance, my buddy's grandma who smoked for over 70 years and died in her mid nineties, living a full life without ever getting emphysema or cancer, but for most of the rest of us, smoking will kill us. This also makes me remember a news article of a guy who's consumed a bigmac everyday since the day they were introduced in the 70's, the article boasting this guy had eaten his something like 25,000 bigmacs, and is apparently a "normal healthy guy". Here's the article:

http://www.fdlreporter.com/story/news/2016/12/08/don-gorske-big-mac-supersize-me-29000/95059914/
 
Gregory T. Russian
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Relevant to this topic I think are the so called "primal living" ideas (this includes diet) that blogger Mark Sisson promotes.

Basic primal diet - meat and fruits/vegetables as the historically primary components of the human diet.
No grains and associated carbs, as too recent additions to the human diet, are considered natural and healthy.

Google "Mark's Daily Apple".
I am not associated in any way with the blog but just a fan and trying to conform to the ideas best I can (doing well on the physical side but not the diet side).
Check it out.

 
Julia Winter
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I believe that this could a quite healthy diet, probably not for all people (I firmly believe that different people do well on different diets, and this is why it's so hard to do good research on the health effects of food) but I can't imagine following this kind of diet myself.

I love food.  For my first 35 years I could eat as much as I want of pretty much anything (probably helped by the fact that I didn't really like junk food).  Over the last, um, more than 10 years I've been slowly gaining weight, but I can't imagine giving up the variety.  Strawberries in spring, apples in the fall, lambsquarters in an omelette. . . . mmmmmm.
 
Todd Parr
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James Freyr wrote:Todd, I agree with you that there are and always will be a handful of exceptions to the rule or the norm. For instance, my buddy's grandma who smoked for over 70 years and died in her mid nineties, living a full life without ever getting emphysema or cancer, but for most of the rest of us, smoking will kill us. This also makes me remember a news article of a guy who's consumed a bigmac everyday since the day they were introduced in the 70's, the article boasting this guy had eaten his something like 25,000 bigmacs, and is apparently a "normal healthy guy". Here's the article:

http://www.fdlreporter.com/story/news/2016/12/08/don-gorske-big-mac-supersize-me-29000/95059914/



I don't think we know enough about this to determine if the person eating grocery store meat is an exception to the rule or not.  I don't think smoking is an apt analogy.  We know that smoking causes chance of various cancers to go up by a very large degree.  There are definite exceptions, but they don't change that fact.  My gut feeling is that of course free-range grass-fed beef is better for you.  Have I seen anything that shows me definitive proof of that?  Nope.
 
Dale Hodgins
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I decided to search out the plant food diets of several tribes that were mentioned. It seems that they all had many plants that were used for both food and medicine. The link is for plant foods of the Masai.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1475560/

There are lists for the plant foods of just about every group of people imaginable, including the Plains Indians. So, while meat was an important part of their diets, plants were certainly eaten, long before they came into contact with Europeans.

There was mention of height of various peoples and its relationship to a high meat diet. The Dinka are probably the tallest people in Africa, with the average man coming in just under 6 ft tall. Not the Giants of 1930s story books. The Tutsi or Watusi, are about the same height. Both groups have plenty of plants in their diets. The Dutch are taller, and the Masai are shorter.

The Masai are cattle herders, and gave up much of their hunting and gathering ways, long ago. It's quite likely that 2000 years ago, they ate a much wider variety of food.

If we were looking for people in Africa with the most traditional diet, it would probably be the pygmies who live in dense forests. They generally do not cultivate crops, so they're not living on maize and sugarcane. The list of food that they consume is very large, and consists of both plants and animals.

I'm not proposing to this diet is a good or bad idea.  Just clarifying that the tribes mentioned, do in fact consume plant material, and they have always done so, so far as we know. Some, particularly herders of Africa, gave up hunting and gathering long ago, and developed high meat diets, based on available  supply, from their herds.
 
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Probably need to get some koji and LAB to get that digestive enzyme going and gut flora. Dont be afraid of some fungi, they are almost animal and surely not plants.
 
pollinator
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Doing one-meal-a-day intermittent fasting might make the low-carb/no-carb diet more affordable, for those who mentioned their concerns about the cost.  IF is also a healthy way to eat.

Kathleen
 
Matt Walker
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Thanks so much for all the dialog and kind comments and interest.  I've finished Ep2, covering the questions and comments here and giving you all an overview of this way of eating in practice.  I've also added this as a podcast on Itunes and Google Play, so feel free to follow along there if you prefer audio to video.  Thanks so much for all of your support and for letting me share!



Podcast Links:

Google Play:

https://play.google.com/music/listen#/ps/Iolyfs4omquuaubcr33mhqwho24

Itunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/zero-carb-journal/id1328453741?mt=2
 
Matt Walker
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Hey Permies, welcome to day one of World Carnivore Month!  Never a better time to dive in and take control of your health.  Meat heals!

I'm not on FB, but here's a great group to chat with for any of you who are interested in making a significant change for the better for yourself.  If I can help, let me know.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/163527891074530/

Here's part three of my story, also available as a podcast.  Links in my previous post.  Thanks Permies!



 
Kathleen Sanderson
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I've just listened to all three of your videos, and can identify with so much of what you have said.  Had to laugh at one of your final comments on #3 -- that's why I haven't sought a definitive diagnosis on my conditions, because in order to get one, I'd have to go back to being sick first, and it isn't worth it!

My mother was diagnosed with celiac probably about twenty-five years ago, and shortly after that we realized that I probably also had it, because of symptoms I was having.  At that point I did some research, and realized that my youngest daughter had obvious symptoms of celiac disease from the time she was a baby until she was about six, when the copious constant diarrhea finally disappeared (as seems to be common with children who have celiac disease).  She is autistic and severely mentally handicapped, so it's always been a struggle to figure out what was going on with her health.  She was diagnosed with lupus about eight or nine years ago when we just happened to go see the doctor while she had a butterfly rash on her face.  We are currently struggling with her health in particular (she's 37 now); she has lost quite a bit of weight, and is obviously in a lot of discomfort/pain.  Because of her mental handicaps, the doctors (her GP and Rheumatologist) don't seem inclined to put much effort into finding root causes, and we don't have access to any big-city medical facilities.  So I've been trying to figure out the most helpful diet and/or supplements for both of us (I have several auto-immune diseases, as does my mother).  

The gluten-free diet was somewhat helpful, but I always still had some gut pain, and continued to gain weight.  

Going low-carb was somewhat helpful, reduced inflammation and I did lose weight, but it was hard to stick to it.  

The auto-immune protocol, an elimination diet, was somewhat helpful, but I gained weight.  It's also very hard to stick to while traveling.  

Intermittent fasting (not recommended for people with auto-immune diseases) has been somewhat helpful, but we've been eating too many carbs, even though less calories than normal, and I'm noticing joint pain that had gone away with low-carb and the AIP diets.  

So starting tomorrow we are going to try the zero-carb diet.  If it works, we can go back to raising most of our own meat again (we, like you, used to raise almost all of our food, and I was raised on a homestead in Alaska, where our meat was mostly wild, so I can do my own butchering).  I don't want to deal with cattle, but I have thirty years experience raising dairy goats, so we'll probably go primarily with meat goats and maybe some sheep.  Until we get set up with them again, hamburger sounds like a good go-to.  I'll post results back here.  I am going to continue intermittent fasting, as it boosts human growth hormone, which repairs the body on the cellular level.

Kathleen (and Juniper)

 
Matt Walker
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Kathleen! Thank you so much for listening and for the open mind! I strongly suspect you will be amazed, although like all ways of eating, it doesn't work for everyone.  The first week will be a bit messy and there will be ups and downs, but do try to give it 30 days.  For me, the results have been nothing short of miraculous.  I'm far from the only one, I know it has helped many like me, and people with Lyme's and other AI issues.  Here's hoping from the bottom of my heart you find some healing for you and your daughter by trying this.

Here's a great list of resources for you:

Justmeat.co

IF is pretty much the norm on this way of eating after the adaptation phase.  You just no longer are interested in snacking, and most find one or two meals a day is all they really desire.  I tend to eat at about noon and six, but lately I've not been hungry for my first meal, even though I workout for hours each morning and then usually spend the rest of it doing physical work like fencing.  
 
Julia Winter
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Matt, have you had any gene testing?  Specifically I'm wondering about the MTHFR mutation.  You can read about it here:
https://www.mommypotamus.com/mthfr-mutation/

It's not especially associated with gut problems, but it is associated with depression and issues with B-vitamins.  The B vitamin issues may be bypassed via an all meat diet, sort of like the vitamin C issue,

Aside from that, wow, Matt, I'm sorry you had to go through all that, and I'm glad that you've found something that works for you!  I've had occasional gut issues (mine seem to be stress related, as in finals week when I was a student)but I can't imagine having an unhappy gut most of my life.  I'm glad your PCP is cool, and I'm sorry the first gastroenterologist you encountered was an old fart.
 
Matt Walker
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Thank you so much Julia.  I can't tell you how much good the dialog and the support from you kind folks is doing for me.  I am so glad I found the courage to share all of this, you are all helping me heal.  Thank you.

I was not aware of the MTHFR mutation.  Very interesting!  My PCP had a few concerns considering my diet, so he request a bunch of blood work and a full folate panel was one of them.  I only got that now that I'm well, a few weeks ago, but at the moment all of my iron numbers are ideal.  Some day I will probably do a gene test, now that they are so common.  Do you know if the usual ones test for this?  I suppose I'll go look into it.  Thanks again!
 
Julia Winter
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Matt Walker wrote: Some day I will probably do a gene test, now that they are so common.  Do you know if the usual ones test for this?  I suppose I'll go look into it.  Thanks again!



Apparently 23 and me will test for them.  There's a test I can send on my patients that is aimed at psychiatric medications (it generates a list of recommended and not recommended medications in multiple categories) and it includes testing for at least a couple MTHFR mutations.
 
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I don't have the ability to watch the videos.  I wonder if it has been mentioned that CAFO meat has a different nutrient profile than grass and pasture fed and finished meat.

Exclusive grocery store meat diet is not a diet I would want to eat.
 
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As a gout sufferer, this kind of diet won't work for me.  Low carb doesn't mean no vegetables though.  I am a true ominivore, and enjoy meats.  However, if I eat meats every day, which I enjoy doing, I do suffer with crippling gout.  The last time I bought a little pate' I was crippled for a whole week after.  But my genetics are fish, tofu, miso, vegetable pickles, seaweed and rice eating people.

My sister had been brutally strict on her diet and is a total PITA to be with during our holiday meals.  We were all relieved when her most recent nutrition guru told her to keep to her ancestral diet making it okay for her to eat rice.
Really, I don't care if people eat a different diet than me.  Just don't orally obsess about it during meal times.  I know a lot of vegans and vegetarians that just quietly eat the way they need to eat and don't feel the need to make a big deal out of it with the general public.

To me, eating "clean" is the best, no matter what food you consume.  Easier said than done if you don't produce your own food! I went through a "prepper" phase last year where I was buying a lot of Zaycon bulk meats and canning it.  I discovered that despite everyone''s claim that they had good meat, it was nothing but the same stuff which you get in the supermarket.  I've been disgusted with supermarket meats over the past few years.  Grass fed and pasture raised is expensive if not produced on your own.  I plan on backyard chickens and rabbits in the future.  I'm sure that as grass-fed home grown animals gain favor it will be easier to barter and trade for other meats, but us fruits and nuts in California are more commercial vegetable and fruit people than a ham curing Appalachian.  I have some longing to attend a hog butchering.
 
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Thanks for introducing the topic, though I didn't watch the video so hope this contribution doesn't duplicate anything you said. In one post you mention Vilhjalmur Stefansson, who indeed was able to thrive for long periods of time on meat and fish alone. See the Wikipedia article, in particular this final section:

In 1928, Stefansson and Anderson entered Bellevue Hospital, New York for a controlled experiment into the effects of an all-meat diet on the body. The committee which was assembled to supervise the experiment was one of the best qualified in medical history, consisting as it did of the leaders of all the branches of science related to the subject. Dr. Eugene F. DuBois, Medical Director of the Russell Sage Foundation (subsequently chief physician at the New York Hospital, and Professor of Physiology at Cornell University Medical College) directed the experiment. The study was designed to find the answers to five questions about which there was some debate. The results of the year-long trial were published in 1930 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry and showed that the answer to all of the questions was: no. There were no deficiency problems; the two men remained perfectly healthy; their bowels remained normal, except that their stools were smaller and did not smell. The absence of starchy and sugary carbohydrates from their diet appeared to have only good effects. Once again, Stefansson discovered that he felt better and was healthier on a diet that restricted carbohydrates. Only when fats were restricted did he suffer any problems. During this experiment his intake had varied between 2,000 and 3,100 calories per day and he derived, by choice, an average of eighty percent of his energy from animal fat and the other twenty percent from protein.[23]



Now, I eat no meat, so I'm not promoting this diet (let alone the cost to the planet of livestock rearing). But it's fascinating that their shit literally didn't stink.
 
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Wow. Can’t imagine a meat-only diet. Too much protein, especially animal protein, is causing many of our modern health epidemics (obesity, diabetes, etc.). Of course, industrial animal farming is terrible for the planet. Wild game or small-scale animal husbandry isn’t so bad, but they aren’t an option for most people. Simple carbs have no health benefit, but complex carbs (i.e., fruits, veggies, legumes, etc.), which also usually have associated protein, seem vital to good health.
 
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