Intermittent Carnivore Fasting, or ICF as it is commonly known to nobody but me, is something I stumbled into recently and decided to make it a short-term habit.
What is it and how did it go?
For those of you who have not heard of it, there is such thing as a carnivore diet. It is amazingly self-explanatory.
And that’s it.
A little bit of salt or seasoning on your meat is generally okay, but the idea is to consume nothing but meat.
Proponents have touted disease remission, mental health cures, weight loss, anti-aging, you name it.
In any case, I already practice intermittent fasting a minimum of five days a week, so that part of the fast is normal. I typically do not eat before noon and finish eating for the day by 8pm.
I’ve never been a big breakfast eater, so this fits into my life with little to no effort.
But never did I imagine how much more intense and beneficial the fasts could become.
How it all started
A couple weeks ago I went to Whole Foods to pick up my absurdly expensive lunch from the hot food bar.
Ever notice how they don’t have scales near the section where they sell food by weight?
I wonder why that is.
Anyway, I decided I would have a carb-free (mostly) lunch. I went straight for the meatballs and loaded up. A little more than a pound.
I went back to work and was pretty full by meatball number six, but being the trooper that I am I forged ahead and mowed through all eight.
That’s when a funny thing happened that kicked my normal intermittent fasting schedule to a new level.
I didn’t eat the entire rest of that day.
And that was unplanned.
I had heard about carnivore-adherents eating a pound of steak in the morning and not being hungry for the rest of the day, but I wasn’t expecting it from my meatballs (all beef, no pork, by the way).
Since I am a fan of longer fasting periods during my intermittent fasting protocol anyway, I welcomed this development and abstained from eating that night.
The next day, I was excited and wanted to keep it going.
As per usual, I did not eat until lunch, when I headed back to Whole Foods for another beefy meal.
If you’re keeping track at home, that’s a 24-hour fast, with no effort at all.
My past, wimpy fasting failures
I’m not sure if you’ve tried fasting before, but the mental aspect is a huge hurdle to overcome. It always was for me at least.
I tried fasting before as a vegan and, let me tell you, it was not pretty.
I did the typical juice fast thing, juicing my own juices at home (I was all-in) so it was the real deal. But by the end of the night, I often couldn’t take the hunger anymore.
It was rare that I could fast for a whole day. I sometimes did through sheer force of will, but not every time.
You can imagine how satisfying forcing through a fast can be (it isn’t).
The first time I tried a juice and water fast, I ended up with a can or two of refried beans, a jar of salsa, and a bag of tortilla chips in front of me by the end of the night.
They didn’t make it.
So this has never exactly been something I’ve been wired for, but sometimes I forced my way through just for my health.
Here is a case, however, where I ate a satisfying meal, my body used the nutrients I gave it, and that was all that was necessary.
For 24 hours.
The benefits I immediately experienced were tremendous.
During that non-eating time, I was free to focus on other things.
I got in my evening workout (some resistance training and 10-15 minutes climbing stairs in the building), worked on the website, studied some topics I’m working on, and even squeezed in some TV (the least interesting part of my day, by far).
Including my day job, I basically worked from the time I got to work in the morning until about 30 minutes before bed.
And yet none of it felt like work at all. It was amazing.
And this kept going on, day after day.
It was freedom.
As of now, I’m a couple weeks in and, while I’m not committing to a full-bore (pun-intended) carnivore diet, I can see why those who adhere to it do so.
Anecdotally, of course.
Results and how I’m feeling over a week in
After about a week and a half, I haven’t suffered from any hunger pangs or withdrawals of any kind (I already eliminated sugar from my diet a while ago, so that has certainly helped in terms of cravings).
I haven’t suffered from any fatigue or brain fog that is common with other fasts, and in fact have experienced quite the opposite.
My mental clarity, focus, and drive have never been more dialed in.
Now, is that due to the diet or other things I am doing, like visualization exercises, meditation, increased fitness, etc.?
All of which I am currently doing.
Hard to tell what came first, or if at this point I am in a cycle of the pursuit of greatness. It’s a bit hard to separate them, honestly.
That kind of cycle tends to happen the more you focus on pursuing greatness. Once you start, you can’t hide from it.
The same is also true for more destructive habits.
Wherever your focus is, there you will follow.
To get specific, my ICF has consisted of the following:
- A meat meal for lunch every day during the work week,
- Daily green tea (about 16 ounces usually),
- Green tea energy drink at night if I want a boost to get through a late-night workout,
- And an Organifi Green Juice about every three days or so.
That’s why I have given this diet it’s own name – it’s very specific to me. It’s about 98 percent carnivore, and I will have a beverage or two at night, most nights.
What have I experienced so far?
- Weight loss (I had put on extra weight that was not healthy for me during my time as a vegan. And no, vegans, it wasn’t because I was “doing it wrong”).
- Increased fitness (my workouts have increased in intensity, although it’s possible they were not intense enough before I started. I wouldn’t recommend increasing intensity when experimenting with fasting).
- Enhanced cognition, focus, determination, and drive.
- About a week and a half in, I observed noticeable improvements in facial skin smoothness, which was completely unexpected. My forehead is shockingly smooth now. Couldn’t tell you why, though.
Do I recommend it?
About the only thing I fully recommend for health is to eliminate refined carbohydrates and added sugar. I believe those two items are universal for everybody and the book is still out on everything else.
Some diets may be better for some than for others.
As for me, I am absolutely loving this. So I am going to continue in this lifestyle for a little while longer at least, if for no other reason than I absolutely love the food I am eating (meat has always been my favorite) and I feel amazing.
But I am not going to fully restrict myself from other foods.
At least not now.
You can bet I will return to Giordano’s at some point in time, with a singular focus (those of you who have been there know what that is).
Aside from that, I still do believe there is a ton of value in the plant world in the form of fruits and vegetables. There are amazing healing foods found in nature, loaded with beneficial phytonutrients and flavonoids, the potential of which is just beginning to be discovered.
Check out the food/nutrient database on this site for scientific evidence of that.
With that said, I would imagine at some point in the future I may experiment with a meat-only daytime diet and perhaps have a light helping of things like berries, apples, etc. in the evening. Maybe some delicious sauteed vegetables as well.
Making, in essence, a whole food diet that omits grains as a regular component.
Perhaps the paleo folks are onto something?
Or perhaps I’ll go full-blown carnivore and become an adherent myself. We shall see.
Anyway, thanks for being here. I’ll continue to update you on the personal experiments I conduct on myself in case you might be able to find any benefit from them.
And so you know I’m still alive.
Here’s to YOUR pursuit of great!
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