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Two Success Stories: Rescued from Vegetarian and Back to High School Weight

It’s always great to stop and realize that eating an evolutionarily appropriate diet for human animals actually helps human animals improve their lives. Yep, there’s a point to this after all and it goes far beyond any drama or nit-picking minutiae anyone can bother to conjure up.

The first is a story from The Independent that I think reads real well: From vegetarian to confirmed carnivore. And, he has a book out: The Meat Fix: How a Lifetime of Healthy Living Nearly Killed Me!

Some excerpts.

John Nicholson was a strict vegetarian for more than 20 years. But when he and his partner became ill, they had a carnivorous conversion.

Growing up as a working-class kid in the North in the Sixties, food was incredibly limited. It wasn’t like today, where everyone has groaning cupboards of unused goods; we had just enough food to get through each week. Meals were plain and boring, but everything was wholesome and home-cooked. […]

…By 1982, I was living in the North of Scotland in a sort of croft with my partner, Dawn. Two years later, we decided to stop eating meat because we used to see all the cattle taken away to the slaughterhouse and we were growing a lot of our own food anyway. That’s where the adventure into vegetarianism, wholefoods and healthy eating started. […]

…With things such as salmonella in eggs, BSE in beef and the rest of it, the diet we’d chosen based on wholegrains­, lentils, pulses, fruit and veg, and all that other groovy stuff, made us seem like we’d been ahead of the curve.

We were very smug about our lifestyle, which we thought was both healthy and morally correct. But after about six or seven years of being vegetarian, we both started to get slowly and progressively more ill.

The first thing was I started to develop what was later defined as irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS. It began as a vague digestive discomfort but within a couple of years had developed into a situation where whenever I ate anything my gut would stick out and it felt like there was a lead weight in it.

…By 1998, it was absolutely chronic. I went to doctors but nobody had a clue what to do about it. […] But not one doctor suggested it might be my diet. As well as my condition getting worse, I was actually putting on weight – despite the IBS – and I became clinically obese.

I would take food diaries to the doctor, who would tell me everything was fantastic, and congratulate me on not eating butter, cream and cholesterol. […] Dawn was developing very depressive moods and suffering mood swings. I was also experiencing a lot of headaches, which occurred pretty much every day. I was also knackered and would have to have a sleep in the afternoon. I was just falling apart. By the time I got to 40 I felt 60.

…Dawn suggested that perhaps it wasn’t what we were eating that was making us feel that way but what we were not eating.

…The first thing I ate as part of my new diet was ox liver, so I really threw myself in at the deep end. […] The second thing I ate that day was a rare steak. That was when I had a transformative experience. It felt like my body was immediately telling me that was what I was supposed to be eating. It sounds really naff but that’s the nearest I can sum it up as. It was quite a profound thing, really. After 24 hours, I never had another IBS episode again. It went overnight.

After 17 years of having something you get used to it, you just think it’s always going to be with you, and then, suddenly, it’s not. I stopped filling my entire meals with carbohydrates – wheat, rice and potatoes – and introduced all meats, butter, cream, lard and goose fat. But it was pure food, nothing processed. And I thrived on it.

I dropped three and a half stone within the first six months. And it wasn’t just weight; what was really freaky about it was that I dropped loads of body fat, going from 28 per cent to 13-14 per cent. In fact, the entire composition of my body changed so I went from being apple-shaped to triangular. And this wasn’t doing a new fitness regime, it was just a change in diet.

My new diet went against all the health advice at the time…

As he and others can attest, that speaks to the quality of health and nutrition advice in general. The comment thread where the article was published stands at 463 and John Nicholson is active in the thread.

~~~

Here’s a great email I got yesterday afternoon. Love getting these. Just so you don’t get a bit confused as I did when reading it the firs time, I take it to mean that the girlfriend is a friend or former GF from high school that’s now paleo, and his fiancé is [still] vegetarian—at least until she reads the first testimonial, above. 🙂

My name is [W]. I was introduced to this way of life by a girlfriend from high school about 10 months ago. To make a long story short, had she not reached out to me, I would be on a path of self destruction via SAD. A little over year and a half ago, I tipped the scales at 230+ pounds and I was extremely hypertensive. To be exact, my BP was 191/100 when I saw my doctor. I was in denial about it, but when my girlfriend contacted me and shared her experience, I made a choice to try it out. And I did it with a passion and started working out….religiously. That was September 17, 2012. Now, I am high school skinny and I wear a size 34, down from a size 38 and I’m not done. I’m still hitting the gym and my physique is improving with each passing day. I look and feel great thanks to this way of life. And, my girlfriend has benefitted greatly too. She looks and feels amazing. I’ll say it again, if it wasn’t for her, I would be in a sad and sorry state.

The hardest part for me was ridding myself of grains and sugars. I still struggle because my fiancé is a vegetarian which doesn’t leave her a lot of options in terms of protein. So, as a result, there is still a lot of grain and carbs around the house. But, that’s OK. I’m still disciplined enough that I stick to my new way of living and enjoy every moment of my life now. I was sick – literally – of being sick and tired.

For what it is worth, a lot of folks don’t get what I’m doing. They think it’s odd that I don’t eat bread and pasta like I used to among other foods. They think I’m starving myself when in fact I’m not (although I will confess that my appetite has gotten a little out of hand. I think it’s because of the exercise I’ve been doing and the muscle mass I’m building). And, saying no to bad food is lot easier now than it used to be.

I appreciate what you’re doing. I hope more folks get with it and see the light. This has really changed my life and I’m really fortunate that an old friend took the time to find me and eventually share this way of life with me.

What’s left to say? Eating real food most of the time, to the exclusion of cheap junk food just works.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More

5 Comments

  1. Ulfric on March 13, 2013 at 05:21

    Re John Nicholson’s article : He doesn’t seem to mention UNTIL replying in comments the fact he stopped taking STATINS three years ago. Surely this might have a huge impact on his current wellbeing?
    Quote ; “John Nicholson > LowPhat • 19 days ago −
    Yes, should’ve seen the doc’s face when cholesterol dropped from 9.2 as a vegan to 5.1 eating loads of saturated animal fat having stopped statins 3 years ago. “

    • Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2013 at 08:27

      “Surely this might have a huge impact on his current wellbeing?”

      No way to know. For all the hoopla about statin side effects there are millions of people on them who notice nothing. So perhaps it wasn’t a big deal for him one way or the other and since he was taking such a big dietary step into uncharted territory for him, he decided to cover his bases until he reached the level of confidence he was comfortable with.

      IOW, big deal? No.

  2. Ulfric on March 13, 2013 at 12:58

    I do see it as a big deal, for a timing technical reason. I’ve read articles/blogs/comments from folk who had nasty muscle reactions to statins and who stopped taking the stuff : on average it seems to take about two years to recover from most of the muscle pain and weakness … bringing the recovery rather close to John’s meat-epiphany and (in my opinion) augmenting the effects significantly.
    I’m happy to have you disagree, but you can see where I’m coming from.

    • Richard Nikoley on March 13, 2013 at 17:41

      I thought he said his IBS basically cleared up in a day.

  3. Dr. Curmudgon Gee on March 16, 2013 at 12:23

    a “profound” experience? Denis Minger said something like that too.

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