My Story

In 2001 I was chatting with an online friend; we were talking about various health issues, and food – a favorite topic of mine since childhood – when he mentioned that he was following a low carb diet and was feeling great as a result! I had multiple conditions and issues even in my mid-40s so it piqued my interest and I started to research. I’ve always been a big-time researcher about whatever interested me so I knew how to “delve”! During the next couple of years he and I had quite a few discussions and, in spite of the naysayers I was finding, I was becoming more and more intrigued. Long story short, April 4, 2004 I had amassed enough information to start my new plan!

In those early years I saw rapid changes. First I told my husband and daughter that they didn’t have to follow the same plan, but they also couldn’t bring any carby foods into the house. I restocked my kitchen with only things that I could eat, and I started cooking. It was a fabulous time, I was having a ball finding recipes and creating dishes of my own! And my family was enjoying the great food too (though I know they were eating junk when they weren’t at home). Within the first few months I saw vast improvement in my pain levels, in my digestive issues, and in my sleep. AND I lost 40# to boot! I was quite overweight at the time and saw no reason to change but it was happening so I got into it and started walking a few miles every day after work with a friend, and that was when I began tweaking things.

I had my reasons for not wanting to drop much weight, and a big one was the whole excess skin issue which in my “delving” I saw was a huge problem for a lot of people. Because I was already losing fat so quickly I wanted to slow it down, to give myself a chance to possibly avoid that whole thing. I learned early on that the more fat I ate, the faster I lost. So when I wanted to put on the brakes I’d increase my protein levels and eat less fat; when I started losing too slowly, I’d eat up to 90% of my calories (often up to 3000-3500/day) in fat – and then the weight loss would speed up to dizzying levels! That early experimentation has served me well over the years!

That first year I lost 70 pounds, then decided to stop. I ate a carbier meal once a week, and I lowered my fat intake, choosing leaner meats instead of fatty cuts with butter, and that did the trick. I maintained for a number of years that way. THEN I started learning more about a keto diet. In those days, keto was clean, and many low carb foods (commonly starches and sugars) were considered “not keto”. Low carb was seen almost as keto’s dirty cousin; I still think of “dirty keto” as actually just being low carb (though like so many words, the definitions have been changed). And as I had used some grain-based foods and a few small amounts of foods containing sugar (fruits for example) even while keep my carb count low, I didn’t want to be the dirty cousin! It was only about 8 years ago that I transitioned over to The Cleaner Side. It didn’t make much difference for me physically, but hey, keto was way cooler than low carb!

In 2017 everything changed. We were living in less than 250 sq ft., and I found myself having to cook two different ways for my husband and myself when he was diagnosed with stage 4 metastatic cancer. Having researched day and night for months, I put him on a diet that seemed to be most highly recommended for his form of the disease, a diet rich in organic vegetables, with plenty of carbs in the form of beans, whole grains, and fruits, and NO MEAT. In our tiny kitchen, with our very limited storage space, I decided I would compromise my own WOE (way of eating) to make life easier; I wouldn’t have to try to keep as many types of foods, or prepare them in such a confined space. My plan was to make lots of vegetables, plus meat, plus a bean or pasta or rice dish; we would both eat the veggies, then he’d have his carbier dish while I had my meat. But that’s not how it worked out. He was eating fresh breads (my kryptonite!) and rice (kryptonite junior) and things, and it was killing me. So I started having just a nibble here and a few bites there…

I didn’t go totally off the rails. But I was indulging enough that my health issues, which were of course progressing even while the symptoms were kept mild, started becoming more problematic. And of course my weight started going up and down a few pounds, then a few more…I never gained everything back but I had started down a slippery slope. That period lasted a couple of years…

When I couldn’t stand it anymore, my mobility was severely affected, I had to start using a mobility device, and pain was keeping me from doing so many of my favorite things, restricting my activity so much, I had to go back to keto (using the definition I’d known for so long). It didn’t take long to start seeing the benefits and that was enough to keep me going. And that’s how I stayed until August of 2022.

One day I was carrying a basket of wet laundry in the yard, and got hit in the chest so hard with a pain so strong that it nearly knocked me off my feet. I had had heart disease since my late 20s, and I knew angina pain well. But this was nothing like anything I’d ever experienced before. And no matter how much nitro I took, it wouldn’t quit. Once again I found myself in a local hospital undergoing all the tests I’d had so often over the years, only this time the results were different. I was sent to a bigger hospital, further away, where I could get more tests…then to one of the biggest hospitals in the area for treatment when the second hospital couldn’t manage my care. When I came home a week later, weak as a kitten, I went back to my researching, looking up all the words from my file that I didn’t understand and every form of treatment from natural health practitioners and world-renowned cardiologists and everyone in-between. I understood the role of inflammation in cardiac and vascular disease (I had learned that my arteries and veins were fragile…very tired…I was told not to do heavy lifting or anything that would stress them – even hold my breath!), and inflammation of course is also a big part of the arthritis that had taken over so much of my body and limited my life so severely.

It was very soon after that that I decided to follow an anti-inflammatory diet that I had read about at both Johns Hopkins and the Cleveland Clinic. The VERY few things that I knew caused problems for me on those diets (oatmeal, for example) I simply omitted. And as I was just starting to get settled in, and continued reading about foods and herbs and teas that were known to reduce inflammation…now, I find myself leaning STRONGLY in a carnivore direction. And that’s where I am to this day. I’m losing weight again, and am lower than I’d like…well, not exactly; I should say I have more excess skin than I’d like! The number of pounds isn’t the problem. I’d been reassured by doctors all these years that the skin could be dealt with surgically if I ever lost the weight; now that is no longer an option…

I have other health problems than what I’ve mentioned (my list of diagnoses in my file may someday break records!) but my current WOE seems to be helping with most of them. I’ve also in the last year begun intermittent fasting, added OMaD days, tweaked things here and there for added benefits, and worked on how to manage what and how I eat for the long term. I have learned that eating things “just this once” that I already know to be problematic aren’t worth it, and can put me in bed popping pain pills and nitros for days. I have learned that a huge variety food isn’t at all necessary for either satiation or for comfort. And I have learned that only I am responsible for what goes into my mouth – and for the results of my choices. And these days, I prefer good results. So I make good choices, and I now love this fantastic way of eating – for life!


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