I would love to say that my transition to Carnivore came with no problems. That was not the case though. I had two things that started to cause me problems after being Carnivore for a month: coffee and alcohol. Now, some people may take issue and say, "Matthew, if you are having coffee and alcohol then you are not eating true Carnivore." I would say that they are correct and that was my mistake. I love coffee and I enjoy having a drink or two at the end of a stressful week to unwind. I thought allowing myself to continue to have these things wouldn't be a problem. That turned out to not be the case.
Alcohol and Carnivore
Now, the strictest definition of the Carnivore diet does not allow for alcohol and I believe that is wise. On the flip side, many people who eat a Carnivore diet don't make a religion out of it and allow themselves to enjoy things outside of the strict definition of Carnivore. We are all searching for what best fits our goals and desires. I thought that allowing myself to continue to have some bourbon on occasion wouldn't cause me any problems.
It turns out that your palate changes while eating Carnivore. I was initially skeptical that I could be happy eating just meat, eggs, and limited dairy. It turns out that I look forward to every meal. What I didn't realize was that this palate change meant that I no longer enjoyed the taste of alcohol. I was stunned that after eating Carnivore for 6 weeks that I did not like the taste of bourbon anymore. This blew me away because up to this point I drank bourbon regularly. Honestly, it was an unhealthy amount but I was afraid of giving up this emotional crutch.
It turns out that by switching to a Carnivore diet, my desire for alcohol almost completely disappeared. It's not all gone but if I have a sip of bourbon, even a bourbon I used to like, I just don't find it appealing anymore. It was a bizarre experience. I am not sure how often this change in palate happens to those who go Carnivore but I felt like people should know it is a possibility. Honestly, I am happy about it. I had wanted to quite drinking but social pressures made me feel like I had to have something to fit in. Now, I don't even like to drink. It is as if something just turned off in my head.
I don't know how many other cases there have been of people who no longer wanted to drink alcohol on Carnivore. I am guessing this is not an isolated incident so I felt it was worth mentioning to people considering going Carnivore. It is absolutely worth it though. I sleep better and I feel better. I hated that I would use it as an emotional crutch and I am happy that by eating healthier my desire for it is gone.
Coffee and Carnivore
This is the dangerous one but I feel that it warrants mentioning. Again, a strict definition of Carnivore excludes coffee. Many people can continue to consume it and experience no negative side effects. We are all searching for what best works for us. I am just communicating what I experienced when I transitioned to Carnivore.
I used to drink on average of 6+ cups of coffee a day. I know, that is terrible. I did it so that I felt awake and alert. My diet wasn't ideal so I was abusing coffee to try to stay alert and focused. I felt that to do my job well I had to be awake, alert, and focused all the time and I had fooled myself into thinking that drinking this much coffee was okay. I was in denial, I admit that. I was addicted to coffee as a drug.
When I switched to Carnivore my coffee consumption dropped to between 3 and 4 cups a day. I thought that I was doing better and honestly I was. By eating healthier my energy levels started to stabilize. After a few weeks though I noticed that I started to have a harder time falling asleep at night. I also noticed that I started to have heartburn in the evening when I went to bed. I was frustrated because I had read so many reports about Carnivore improving IBS and digestion. What the heck was going on?
Eventually I made my way to the ZeroCarb Reddit and asked for input on what people thought my problem may be. It was recommended that I try cutting out the coffee. I didn't like that idea because I was still addicted to coffee and wanted to keep using it. After another week or two of this indigestion in the evening though and I decided to give up the coffee. I purchased some L-Tyrosine to supplement with because I had heard that Amber O'Hearn had used it to quite coffee for a time. I successfully stopped using coffee for several days with no ill side effects and my indigestion cleared up. I also started sleeping better.
It turns out that I became much more sensitive to the effects of coffee when I went on Carnivore. I think people should know this is a possibility. It caused me immense frustration because I wanted the health benefits of Carnivore but I wanted to keep abusing coffee as a stimulant drug. My relationship with coffee was unhealthy and this change of diet was forcing me to deal with it. I would love to say I am off it completely but instead I am down to one cup first thing in the morning. I recognize now that I have been using it as a drug and really it was controlling me. I have plenty of energy now that my diet is better. I'll report back in once I have been off of coffee completely for a few weeks to give an update.
I want to point out, there are plenty of people who eat Carnivore and continue to drink coffee. I think this is great. I happen to be someone for whom Carnivore and coffee do not mix well. I would rather go through the pain of giving up coffee and getting the health benefits of better sleep though. I think anyone who experiences the dramatic health improvements from Carnivore will agree with me. I just want people to know that this may happen and if it does, I encourage you to take the step of letting go of coffee and embracing health.