The low-carb diet: “I feel better than I ever did in my life”

carol

Before and after

When Carol first started on a low-carb diet, she lost 35 lbs (16 kg) in five months. But not all her ailments healed.

She went down the rabbit’s hole and was able to turn her health around and cure a myriad of health issues with some additional measures. This is what she did:

Dear Andreas,

The following is in response to your request for a success story…

Sure, I would love to expound! I expound every chance I get, with whomever looks vaguely interested in healing with food! Unfortunately, in my line of full-time business, they are few and far between (in the nursing field). I am afraid I may disappoint, however, as what I do, and have accomplished, cannot feasibly be contained within a few short paragraphs. You have my permission to condense or shorten, as you deem appropriate, in my submission.

My story began in 2013, where I adopted an eating protocol via Dr. Mark Hyman’s Ultrametabolism, after discovering my cholesterol was high. Following that plan, I lost 35 pounds (16 kg) in five months and had more energy for a period of time. But I started getting tired, having palpitations, wake-ups at night where I couldn’t go back to sleep, and others. I had already, over my lifetime, been diagnosed with being overweight, high blood pressure, tachycardia, chronic migraines, lumbago, bulging disks, ADHD, generalized anxiety disorder, fibromyalgia, and others. I presented my issues to my doctor, whose only answer was the old, tired adage…”You are getting older, and this is what happens when you get older.”

I have autoimmune disease (discovered myself by literally forcing the conventional docs to test me for thyroid antibodies) based on my research of my symptoms from various functional medicine doctors whom I follow… so I began researching healing autoimmunity. I eliminated gluten, dairy and similar proteins completely from my diet. This includes all store-bought breads, pastries, pastas, and milk and milk products, and replaced them with my own, home-baked, (primarily coconut flour) products, and nut milks, primarily coconut milk. This is where my fibromyalgia, headaches and lower back pain went away for good, I hope indefinitely.

I gave up beans completely (too difficult to absorb, even when soaked), nuts (too much phytic acid in a healing gut). I gave up all processed/packaged foods, and bought and ate/eat only organic (unless ewg.org’s list says I can eat conventional). I consume pastured eggs only, grass-fed beef 1-2 times/week, wild-caught fish, and only hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken and turkey. I don’t use any conventional oils, only olive for my homemade salad dressings, and coconut oil and grass-fed butter for higher-heat cooking. I eat an 80/20 raw diet. I have eliminated soy, and soy products, though I must admit, I still consume soy lecithin, as Chris Kresser, whom I admire, says it shouldn’t be problematic. I have an adoration of dark chocolate, you see… ;) so it is unavoidable. I would make my own, but my time is limited, as I am a full-time nurse, wife and a mother as well.

I consume a lot of supplements. No drugs. I won’t elaborate on it too much, as that would be very long, but I will say that my Vitamin D, B12, all cholesterol and thyroid lab levels are now optimal by functional medicine standards. Mainstream labs are based on sick people’s labs, and I’m aiming to be and stay well, not to get sick until I exceed their ranges of “normal”. I am using additional supplements and probiotics to boost glutathione, immunity, gut repair and cellular metabolism. I also do about 5 minutes of targeted muscle training a day 5 days a week, nominal running, walking and biking.

About six months later, after adopting the additional protocols outlined above, I felt great. I still do, another three years later. You wouldn’t guess to look at me that I’m going to be 52 soon. I feel better than I ever did in my life, and get around like a 20-year old. My only conditions remaining are gas (from all the cruciferous veggies I eat every day in my salad), and thyroid antibody levels that have plateaued still outside of normal range. I surmise, accurately I am sure, that this is due to undiscovered food sensitivities, as I cannot afford the testing required to pay out of pocket for IgG and IgA food sensitivity panels and interpretations. I wish I could, as I know these antibodies may continue to wear away at my thyroid over time, possibly resulting in a reversal of everything I have accomplished. Hopefully, as per Dr. Izabella Wentz (I am one of her recommended clinicians), my consumption of Thytrophin PMG will target the action of the antibodies as opposed to my thyroid, and then all will be right with the world!

It should be noted, that I underwent all the above, totally alone. No family or friend support. It was very hard, but I was determined to decipher how powerful the proper consumption of food is for myself. From what I have read over the past three years (the same amount of time as you, apparently), the odds are extremely low for success while going it alone. I almost ended up in divorce from my husband, and estrangement from my daughter, as I tried to help them with their problematic behaviors before they became sick as well. Now, in order to keep the peace, I must continue to go it alone, and keep my mouth shut. So far it is working, but the clinician inside of me worries for them. I’m definitely not perfect, I do let out some thoughts once in awhile!

I live in Adams Center, New York

My FB is:

Yours in health,
Carol

Comments

Thank you for sharing Carol, what a fantastic health transformation :-)

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More success stories

PS

Do you have a success story you want to share on this blog? Send it (photos appreciated) to andreas@dietdoctor.com, and please let me know if it’s OK to publish your photo and name or if you’d rather remain anonymous.

It would also be greatly appreciated if you shared what you eat in a typical day, whether you fast etc.

24 Comments

  1. Diana
    Great job Carol! You are an inspiration! You can help your family by being a great example of good health and perhaps they'll follow your lead. I know I need to do this for my sons who are very grain addicted. My youngest is a pizza addict. May I recommend Beano for the gas? You take the tablets right before you eat. All natural.
    Reply: #10
  2. Desiree Foster
    I need your help. I have three very young kids and while I don't think I need to lose a lot of weight, I need to be healthy. I'm fairly confident that my husband would be 100% on board, and the kids will just grow up healthy, unknowingly. But I am awful and live on carbs/sweets. I lack in motivation and/or drive. But deep down, I do want to be better. What should I do? Can you give me meal ideas, lists, recipes?? I'm incredibly lazy/ burnt out from chasing babies!
    Reply: #11
  3. Flo
    I agree 100% with Diana, and want to reiterate the statement that Carol you are indeed an inspiration! You are an amazingly strong lady to go it alone, and to be able to stay the course. You have inspired me to take control of my situation, and the steps you have laid out to gain success are priceless. I have a thyroid issue, and for the last 20 years have battled with extreme sadness since my only son married a girl that has turned him away from his now ailing father and me...and on top of that the last five years dealing with my husband's heart problems has helped me gain 50 pounds as I have indulged in all the feel good food that I know very well isn't good for me, but I totally lost the will to fight the good fight. Reading your testimony has lite a fire in me to not give up or give in but to look to the future with hope. The interesting thing is I pray everyday, and many times a day and also at night for blessings upon all those that have hurt me, and my husband, and that hardened hearts would be filled with love, so one day we will be a part of our son's life. So now I must lose this weight, and feel good again so that I can be around for the family reunion. God bless for who you are, and for what you've done! I wish you continued success, and would like to send a love offering towards the price of the test that you need to learn about any potential food allergies. Please advise how to send my check. Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart.
    Reply: #12
  4. Gentiann
    Congratulations !
    I have a couple of questions,
    First: What do you mean by "80/20 raw diet" ?
    My second question is about eating raw cruciferous vegetables in your salad. Raw cabbage and other cruciferous are not recommended for the thyroid because they contain goitrogens. Are you concerned about this?
    (It's fine to eat them cooked)
    Reply: #14
  5. John Dozier
    I would hope your body would need itself of the allergies. I realize many believe that is not possible but I'm living proof that simply is not true. Imho main stream health care and dieticians have a lot of catching up you do. Kudos on your sucess. Wow!!!
    Replies: #16, #23
  6. Pat de
    Try Activated Charcoal for gas. Dave Asprey on Bulletproof sells natural Coconut Charcoal capsules. It works!
    Reply: #17
  7. Iliana George
    Hello Carol!!!I admire you for your strength and determination. I'm a nurse much, much older then you and I hade a valve replacement surgery, heart failure, ablation all this in 2 years. I'm not in a very good place right now and and your post kind of gave me hope.Wishing you all the best you deserve it Be healthy, happy and enjoy every moment of every day. Thank you!!!
    Reply: #18
  8. 1 comment removed
  9. Karen
    You are my inspiration. I too suffer from Hypothyroidism.
    I just began my journey with Keto.
    Thank-you for posting your amazing journey.
    BTW -you look marvelous!
    Reply: #19
  10. Carol Rivers
    Hey, thanks! Unfortunately, I have looked at the ingredients, and potatoes are not Paleo and contain GMOs and pesticides, and magnesium stearate has been found to be problematic to the digestive tract, as well as causing absorption issues of nutrients and macronutrients. I am looking into caraway seed. Can't get more natural than that!
  11. Carol Rivers
    Hi Desiree! I found that the easiest way to get well was to eat food that man has not touched. In essence...food with a face, pulled from the ground, or off of a tree. Once man gets involved with his chemical placement in the food, it is simply not something we should eat. Also, cow's milk is problematic. Humans are the only mammal that drink milk past babyhood, and look where that has gotten us! There is also a huge problem with consumption of A1 dairy vs A2 dairy, and 95% of the milk in the US is A2.

    I make a huge pot of salad (vegetables only) on the weekend, and divide it up for myself over the week. I make my own salad dressings, which really MAKE it taste awesome! Manmade dressings all have canola or soybean oil, as well as high fructose corn syrup in them. A definite nogo on all counts. Then I will make a meat for the family, and add it to my meal (red meat only once a week). A few pieces of fruit during the week as a snack.

    I also fast every day during the workweek. No food from 8 pm to 6pm each day. Just bulletproof coffee, water and tea, sweetened with Stevia leaf. Makes it cheap and easy. You can find more information on healthintegrations.com if you are looking for more guidance. Good luck!

  12. Carol Rivers
    Wow, Flo! You are amazing too! I have found that through intense study, unrelieved stress can be a deal-breaker. Meaning, that no matter what a person does to get well, stress will halt the process in its tracks. Please make time to do some relaxation techniques for yourself every day. Epsom salt baths at half a cup per pound, with a few drops of calming EO (essential oils) like chamomile, lemongrass or lavender, is a great way. I do it by candlelight and with some great yoga/piano, violin music. If you're on the go? No problem. Try some box breathing. Breathe in for the count of 5, hold for 5, exhale for 5. I call it the Take 5. It is a version of Dr. Andrew Weil's 4-7-8 Breathe technique. Walk barefoot on the ground. Soak up some sun to the trunk. Enjoy the goodness of nature.

    I am so glad I was able to bring you hope. That is the most awesome payment ever that I could ask for! I just about had a happy cry when I read your comment. I am extremely happy for you, and YES...YOU CAN do it.

    As for your selfless offer...OMG thank you! You are just wonderful and kind! But guess what? Da hubby has found a way to get that food testing for me done! I am currently undergoing 3 weeks of eating things I haven't been in order to test what I am sensitive to. I am so happy! It has been 3 days now, and not feeling too great right now, with the need to consume gluten, especially. Today, I have a date with a bagel, and tomorrow, a cinnamon bun. That will def be enough, and then no more gluten for me. Ever. The stuff is absolute poison to the body, regardless of whether you test as not having a sensitivity.

    Please keep in touch. I would be pleased to hear of your progress. You can find me at the sites listed at the end of my article. Many hugs to you girlfriend, and feelings of strength being sent to you.

  13. Andrea Mabee
    You are an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your story and congrats on feeling so much better! I had unknown food sensitivities that were slowing down my progress for years and finally found one online (testyourintolerance) that wasn't too expensive and feel a million times better now. And of COURSE it was some of my most commonly eaten foods (chicken, shrimp, carrots, cauliflower, cooked tomatoes etc)

    Anyways, I digress. I just wanted to say that I relate about how hard it is to do it alone. My family and friends don't understand why I am doing this because they don't know how good I feel now compared to before. So good for you for sticking with it!

    Reply: #20
  14. Carol Rivers
    Hi Gentiann! I eat a diet 80% raw, and 20% cooked, while following the Paleo diet and Ketogenic principles.

    As to the cruciferous veggies...I follow Dr. Tom Malterre, Dr. Izabella Wentz and others in Functional Medicine. They state that as long as you don't eat more than 2 pounds of it a day (I eat one meal a day, generally, so that is not hard), you are fine in regards to the thyroid. There are just too many nutrients and macronutrients that are necessary to obtain from cruciferous veggies. Sulforaphane being hugely important. Check out this video... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hmFnzc3oZ04. You will find great information there from Tom!

  15. 1 comment removed
  16. Carol Rivers
    Wonderful news, Tom! You are indeed correct. Allergies can correct themselves over time. But a period of abstinence is necessary to allow the body to heal. Then gradually incorporating it back in to see how the body reacts. I don't seem to have ANY reactions to ANY food whatsover, but I may be missing the insidious extended reactions. Like my thyroid antibodies, for one, which continue to remain elevated. I am hoping I can finally remiss Hashimoto's with the food allergy test. I am currently undergoing a replication of a 2017 study done on daily selenium and inositol intake with subjects having a reduction in antibodies. I am currently awaiting results of my 6 month trial period. Since beginning my journey, I have long believed that nutrient deficiencies and environmental toxins are the root cause of chronic disease, and this points right on to that. I will see what happens.

    Congratulations to you as well for sticking with it and resolving your issues!

  17. Carol Rivers
    Hey, Pat! I too, have read this over and over. My problem is I take quite a few supplements, in the morning, lunchtime and at night. Charcoal stops the absorption of nutrients and supplements, and must be taken away from both of the above. I have recently been diagnosed with PVC with bigeminy (after I discovered it myself, of course, and insisted on a rhythm strip being done on me). So I did research, my addiction :), and came up with a magnesium glycinate and Vitamin C elixir which I drink at lunchtime to manage it, in addition to 3 other dosings of the same over the course of the day. I simply can't do without it. I study orthomolecular medicine, and keeping the cells saturated with nutrients and minerals is def a good thing. Evidence... I am a nurse at a Family Medicine clinic. Who doesn't get colds and the flu every year, after continual exposure? Me! I need to keep it that way ;)
  18. Carol Rivers
    Hi Iliana! Your story can be a success story too! It's definitely time to get to your own root cause. Hippocrates had it right..."Food is Medicine". Start self-treating, and weed out the weeds. See my post on my own heart problems above. You have to Dig at It, like a pit bull, find the cause, and eliminate. You can find a lot of great information at healthintegrations.com, or my Facebook Page listed above to help guide you.

    Good luck!

  19. Carol Rivers
    Hi Karen! Keto is a great way to go. With hypothyroidism, it is a systems based approach, so include removing environmental toxins as well. Remember to watch your electrolytes on Keto. The Keto flu isn't fun!

    Good luck!

  20. Carol Rivers
    Hey Andrea! Good for you for sticking with it too in the face of adversity! My fam and friends all think I am a bit nuts, too, as they do not understand the complete difference in the way I feel. I don't know how they can discount what I do and practice, considering it has made a huge impact on my physical appearance as well. Yes, it started out being hard, but now it's fairly easy. Everything I do has become a habit, and I vow that is integral to success.

    Keep powering through!

  21. WarblingLisa
    Carol, thanks so much for sharing your amazing recovery story. It just confirms for all of us that we need to look beyond the weight loss goals (though mighty important for most of us) to the overall health benefits eating low carb high fat provides. Often times, improvements in lipids, blood glucose, and blood pressure are evident long before any significant weight loss, especially for us gals over 50.

    Good luck with your continued success!!

    Reply: #22
  22. Carol Rivers
    Agreed! I'm working on it still...you too! :)
  23. Kathleen Frankel
    Hi, John - I have many food sensitivities: egg, wheat, dairy, peanuts, cashews, etc. which makes the LCHF diet difficult to contemplate. Did you start out the LCHF diet without them? If so, were you able to add them back into your eating later? Many thanks - KF
    Reply: #26
  24. Diane
    Great job! You are an inspiration! I was wondering what you do for the 5 minutes of muscle training each day? Thanks!
  25. AJinFLA
    DON'T TRUST ANYONE,
    They Lie, you have probably never been free, you don't even know yourself.
    Do This:
    - for 3 days eat zero, as close as you can to zero carbs. Meat, Fish, dairy,
    - for the next 3 days stay below 25g. check labels, and we are talking total Carbs. Don't be fooled by the simple/complex/good.bad/starch/sugar etc. Total
    Get a good nights sleep, wake up on the 7th days and you be the judge. Eat what you want...

    and when the shock of how much you have been lied to wears off, tell everyone. Then find the carb limit to match your activity level once you are finally free

  26. russell
    Hi Kathleen,
    Eating LCHF doesn't REQUIRE you to eat eggs or dairy, so your allergies shouldn't be an issue. Just don't eat them. As for wheat, you're not supposed to eat wheat or wheat products or any grains for that matter on LCHF, so that shouldn't be an issue. You're supposed to limit or avoid nuts altogether, so again, shouldn't be an issue. And why would you want to add those things back into your diet if you're allergic?

    Instead of focusing on your allergies and all the things you CAN'T, I'd recommend looking at the "what to eat" guides on this site and picking your favorite foods. Find the stuff that you enjoy eating and eat that. Make sure to watch the carbs, try to keep them under 20g per day, make sure to eat enough protein of your choice, and don't be afraid to add fat--an extra drizzle of olive oil on your salad or veggies, for example.

    Once you've been eating LCHF for a while, you'll be feeling so good that you'll forget all about what you "can't" have!

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