Why I Experimented with The Carnivore Diet
February 8, 2018
Here’s my story of why I decided to experiment with The Carnivore Diet…
It all started as a fat kid. A fat kid whose diet was the opposite of a Subscribe Now!”>Carnivore Diet. My favorite breakfast was cheesy waffles. Yea…I know. I also thought ice cream tasted alright.
For the last two decades, I have been obsessed with health and fitness.
Those chubby years led to decades of studying, research and self-experimenting. I did nearly every diet you could think of and made up countless other diets that I wouldn’t dare admit to. I mixed, matched and manipulated, tested, timed and tinkered with every nutritional variable imaginable. Through the combined years of study and being my own guinea pig, I thought I had cracked the health and fitness code…
I was able to build muscle and have single digit body fat year-round. I was a national level physique competitor, and while I was in dental school, I was also coaching people how to get the body they wanted.
If you had asked me how to do this, I would have told you that it’s as easy as following a “healthy” diet with a little bit of strategy. Not only would I have told you the diet worked, I thought I would be making you healthy as a nice side effect of achieving the body you wanted.
It really wasn’t a secret any more. We have technology that can spit out your entire genome, the vary building blocks of your physical body, of course we’ve figured out what a healthy diet is, right?
Not exactly rocket science.
But after 20 years of eating more chicken breasts than I dare to admit, I decided I had had enough.
Dying from Trying: Broken Brain and Body
It took a horrible event for this realization to descend upon me…
The day I turned 30.
At this crossroad, I took an honest inventory of my life.
It became obvious when I looked at what was right in front of me for years.
As a doctor treating sleep disorders, I never got a good night’s sleep…not good.
I drank an absurd amount of coffee throughout the day.
I crashed every afternoon.
My mood was as stable as my energy. It swung on a vicious pendulum.
My workouts were stalled.
I had joint pain in pretty much every moving area – chronic shoulder pain, mid back strain and lower back spasms, and chronic tendinitis.
I was riddled with inflammation.
I had no libido…so I have a pretty good idea of what my testosterone levels looked like.
I used caffeine for more than just energy, but also to try and clear daily brain fog.
It was overcast every day inside.
Parting the Clouds
On this horrible day in 2017, the clouds parted just enough that I could see what was glaringly obvious – I had spent 20 years optimizing for building muscle and burning body fat, and I assumed health and longevity and vitality and function and performance were all nice side effects of eating “properly.”
When I think back on this misguided assumption, I think I knew it for years. It was like…one of those things that you subconsciously purposefully ignore because you don’t want to see the truth and give up what you have.
Ignorance is bliss.
Interestingly, even with a laundry list of ailments, when you live with them day-in-and-day-out, they become natural, they become the new normal. It wasn’t until I was willing to take an honest look did I realize how broken I was.
This is when a sobering thought hit me.
If the diet I had followed which optimized for physique is not ideal for optimal function, then that necessarily meant I was going to have to sacrifice physique for function or vise versa.
In my 20s I wasn’t ready for that sacrifice.
For every bad symptom, I would simply figure out a cure. If I was tired, drink coffee – it has polyphenols which are a super nutrient, it has caffeine and some fiber making it a good appetite suppressant, it’s positively correlated with numerous health and longevity variables, and it’s going to help me live forever. Pour me another cup.
Just like that – symptom – supplement – self-justification.
A plethora of band-aids patched symptoms.
I was practicing American medicine at its finest.
But during my quarter-life-crisis, a small but very significant shift happened.
My life priorities switched.
It just so happened that when I turned 30 I was closing my private practice where I was treating obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) to venture full time into two new businesses. Great idea, right? While treating patients’ OSA, I discovered several issues in standard treatment recommendations, which prompted me to start a side project. A couple years and many dollars later, an intranasal device was developed to help better treat snoring and OSA. The design, patent, and prototype were ready just as I was launching a second side project.
The other company was an educational technology company, completely unrelated to the nasal device.
Education has always been a passion of mine. I wanted to bring down costs, open up access, and empower anyone, anywhere to be able to get educated in any area they love, and find opportunity that matches that education. I had an idea, a business partner, and software all ready to open up education and opportunity. I know it’s typically not smart to launch two brand new companies at the same time, but I’ve learned to never fight passion. If I feel the fire, I follow the fire.
Needless to say, when I turned 30, I needed to function at a level higher, much higher, than I ever had.
I wouldn’t classify myself as a slacker before this. I had functioned at what I thought was a decently high level. I had graduated in the top of my classes throughout high school, summa cum laude in college with degrees and honors in chemistry, biology and business, and near the top of my dental school class. But launching and building two companies required a new level of performance.
The Hunt to Become Superhuman
I needed to function at a Superhuman level.
I needed endless hours of focus and energy and optimism. I needed to feel great every day. I needed to feel like it was the first time I was drinking coffee – every time. Sustained all day. Every day.
I needed the dopamine flood, but I needed the tide not to shift. I needed the norepinephrine, and fighter jet-like focus.
My goal, my #1 priority, which fitness had held for so many years, became finding a way to function at this Superhuman level. I knew I would have to pull off all the band-aids I’d been using. I would have to get to the heart of the problem to find the cure. I believed if I could unmask the symptoms, I could discover the cure, and just maybe find the Superhuman hiding within.
I had glimpsed him before. That first time I had coffee. That fleeting experience of being in a state of deep flow. That energy of a first love.
If he had come out before, even just as a temporary tease, that means he’s in there.
Was there a way to bring him out more regularly?
Is it possible to feel Superhuman every day?
I wanted to find out. I needed to find out.