No Butter, No Burgers
I’m into my fourth month of carnivore, and what I’m about to say may be a surprise. My journey into the delicately woven world of steak and butter hasn’t just been sunsets and rainbows. Try as I might, there’s too much going on. Even a near-perfect diet comes with complications. There’s always going to be a bump in the road. After a week of inexplicably terrible sleep, I’m finally going to step up and test out the ultimate trimmed down version of this diet. At least as I’m seeing it. Over the next week, I’ll be looking to see whether eat steak alone can quell the side effects. So that means no more butter or burgers. I’m about to be a legitimate carnivore.
Depending on how the trial goes, I might hang around there for a while longer. I will miss the generous dabs of butter, and the gloriously simple burger snacks, but I could do worse than have to eat three pounds of steak a day.
Let’s start with a disclaimer, I’m not recommending that you should try out this meat and water version. At least, not necessarily. This is a quite unique problem, as eating three pounds of high-fat brisket is a challenge saved for people who are trying to gain hefty weight on carnivore. The general recommendation I give clients is to start with a pound of fatty red meat, and give it time to start working. Three is on the high end.
In any case, meat and water is a fun experiment, and it’s worth testing it out and seeing how your body responds. I’m certainly excited to see how this week goes.
Why Skip Butter?
First let me explain why I’m narrowing my options further on an already uber-restrictive diet. A few problems I dealt with at the onset of the diet have re-emerged, kind of inexplicably. My sleep’s become a nightmare. I’m waking up three to five times a night, and my heart rate often races off and stops me from going straight back to sleep. Pooping has good days and bad days, and I have a suspicion that these two dilemmas are related.
It’s not that I see butter as a problem, but as a dairy product, it is potentially more inflammatory than animal fat. For some unlucky people at least. The same suspicion goes for more processed meat, so I’ll also be dropping my 100% burgers from the set-up.
There’s every chance that the troubled sleep patterns have been caused by my immune system has been fighting something off, but I’ve also felt some uneasy burning sensations in the pits of my stomach after throwing in a few burgers steeped in butter.
I’ve already been through this problem a few weeks back, and figured that the problem was in excess amounts of rendered fat. I seem to lack a strong enough stomach to produce the necessary bile acids, and that can result in some fats going straight through the system, while causing chaos in the process.
If all this amounted to was an extra few minutes in the throne room, I’d probably be able to make peace with it, but a good night in the hay is right at the front of my priorities. Recovery is an art I’m still trying to master.
So when this all happened a few weeks back, I made a few changes. I dropped beef mince, and moved my last meal earlier in the day, to give the stomach a chance to settle down before bedtime. This meant I did less morning fasts, often getting started with a mid-morning meal.
It’s worked, somewhat. There haven’t been any repeats of nausea, but there’s still something that’s leaving me a little too wired in the evenings. I’ve been tracking everything about my sleep, as usual, using my Oura ring. The biggest indicator that all is not well, has been my respiratory rate. It’s jumped from 18 to 19 breaths per minute, throwing a spanner in my credibility as a yogi expert.
You’ll be able find at least a couple of articles on this site where I preach about the importance of slower breathing. It’s not because I’m remotely good at it. Much like sleep, I’ve recently been putting more of an emphasis on fixing glaring issues.
Friday was my first day of taking butter and burgers off the menu, so there’s not much to go off. It’ll be a few more days before I start to get a handle on things. And I might have smudged the truth before, because this still won’t technically be completely carnivore. For one, I’ll still have carbs on the weekend, for reasons I went over in my last bulk update. Keeping it short, I don’t see carbs as the problem. As long as they don’t have toxins, or seed oils. Which leaves me with white rice, conveniently something I’ve always enjoyed as part of my Sri Lankan heritage.
Besides the weekend blurring of the rules, I take a daily shake of collagen mixed with bone broth powder. All carnivore products, but it’s chocolate flavoured, which docks a point. And I suppose there’s the coffee and pre-workout on most days. Just some extras to make sure I still have peak energy levels for training sessions
I’m not in this to follow somewhat arbitrary diet stipulations, but find the best possible way to fuel both cognition and performance. In the future, I may start integrating carbs during the week. Or not. If I can keep pushing my strength levels up, then there’s no reason to go canceling ketosis.
The Gameplan For This Week
The last week has seen me stall somewhat in my progress, but it’s hard to tell when I’m still not aiming for any maxes in the gym. All my measurements are the same as two weeks ago, and that’s fine. It feels like the sleep issue is masking the gains I’ve made over the past few weeks, so once that’s covered, I’ll be up and running again.
What I do need to do, is restrain myself from eating as much as possible. There’s no need to pile on the calories, and a few weeks of static bodyweight doesn’t mean anything. Gaining lean muscle is meant to be tediously slow, so I’d rather concentrate on enjoying myself in the meantime. Eating so much that I slip into a steak coma and struggle to sleep, that’s not an ideal template for long-term bulking.
Here’s what’s going to be a typical day for me over the next week.
Morning – Bulletproof Coffee (Coffee & Beef Drippings & 2g Electrolytes)
Lunch – 1-2lb Brisket & Salt
Dinner – 1lb Brisket & 100g Lamb Liver & Salt
Post-Dinner – Collagen & Bone Broth Shake
Worst case scenario? I don’t eat enough to gain weight. I can live with that. This lean gaining phase is going stretch out over the next year, so there’s no rush. Other than that, I full expect to feel fantastic over the next few days. I’ve called it the apex diet with good reason.
Carnivore Diet Coach And Personal Trainer