Why Does The Carnivore Diet Work
I believe the main reason that people can see improvements in their health from the carnivore diet is that it removes most of the allergens and anti-nutrients that people eat. Of course, it is still possible to be sensitive or allergic to animal foods, but by removing gluten, corn, soy, and dairy, many people will find a reduction in inflammatory symptoms simply by eliminating these common triggers. The carnivore diet also removes sugar and other refined carbs, which can be a main driver of digestive symptoms and excess weight.
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Healing Ulcerative Colitis With Diet
Back when I was first diagnosed with UC in 2004, every doctor I dealt with refused to acknowledge that diet had anything to do with ulcerative colitis.
Its gotten a bit better.
About half of the people I talk to in my coaching practice have had a better experience than I did when they bring up the role of diet in UC with their GI doctor. But the other half get the same song and dance I did about the role of diet in healing ulcerative colitis.
Diet has nothing to do with it. Theres no known cause or cure for UC.
How many times did I have to hear that?
If youre here, you probably already have some idea that diet and UC are interrelated.
You would be correct.
Diet gives us the most immediate and profound control over our health from hour-to-hour and day-to-day. This is true in general and applies even more with ulcerative colitis and Crohns disease.
With any autoimmune illness, diet is a major factor in healing, managing symptoms and recovery.
An Ulcerative Colitis Diet: Summarizing The Evidence
Despite many reports online that certain diets or supplements can cure ulcerative colitis, the only known cure is total removal of the colon and rectum.
Those with digestive symptoms during remission may find relief from a low FODMAP diet to identify trigger foods.
A semi-vegetarian diet has also shown promise in maintaining remission in Crohns disease and may be helpful for ulcerative colitis, but we cannot make firm conclusions.
Even without following elimination diets, certain patterns have been shown to reduce symptoms:
- A diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables provides fiber and antioxidants, which are linked to lower disease risk. Reducing intake of high-fiber fruits and vegetables may increase comfort during flares.
- Limiting dietary fat, especially fatty meats, may be beneficial.
- Certain probiotics are helpful in bringing about and maintaining remission. Ask your doctor for a recommendation.
- A few herbal supplements show promise but lack sufficient scientific evidence to support their use.
- Avoid foods that irritate the gut during flares, including fatty foods, caffeine and alcohol.
A registered dietitian can help you identify foods that trigger your symptoms and design a well-balanced meal plan.
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I Tried All The Ulcerative Colitis Healing Diets
After being diagnosed with severe ulcerative colitis back in 2004, I wasted all kinds of time on diets that didnt work.
But there wasnt the glut of content and misinformation to sift through like there is today.
I tried a vegan diet, a raw vegan diet, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, Weston A. Price-style eating and a bunch of related diets.
I did gluten-free and tried all kinds of alternative grains like buckwheat, amaranth, spelt, quinoa and brown rice. I even sprouted some of them prior to eating because that was supposed to be the magic solution to everything.
Sprouting doesnt make grains any better for UC either.
Early in my UC healing journey, I worked with an experienced raw vegan coach who had supposedly overcome UC with a raw vegan diet.
I worked with a prominent Weston A. Price-based naturopath who insisted that raw cows milk was the answer to all of lifes questions. That and his line of private-label supplements.
Both of these guys were published authors too.
I also tried all kinds of fermented dairy.
I fermented my own kefir from raw local cows milk and local raw goats milk.
A few times, I even experimented with different bacteria strains to make the fermented dairy products.
My family and I spent a fortune on food and healers and coaches and supplements and probiotics.
I mostly just got sicker and sicker.
What About The Carnivore Diet Health Claims
In addition to dropping pounds, Baker and followers tout the anti-inflammatory components of the diet. Chronic inflammation has been linked to many diseases, including cancer.
Its true fish, which is acceptable on the carnivore diet, is rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. These fatty acids fight off inflammation in many different ways and reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, says Arsenault.
However, red meat, high in saturated fat, is also allowed on the diet. Saturated fats can cause inflammation. Additionally, a high-protein diet can be harmful to the kidneysand can even promote gout and kidney stones.
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The short list of foods considered acceptable in the carnivore diet includes:
- Dairy, including eggs, butter, hard cheese and heavy whipping cream
- Pink Himalayan sea salt
Restricted foods include everything else, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains, alcohol, any drink besides water and black coffee and seasonings of any sort.
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The Probable Origins Of My Symptoms
The lower gut is called the colon. It stores undigested fiber, explaining why my flat stomach became a mini bulge below the belly button when I added vegetables. The bulky, indigestible vegetable fiber gets the blame. The smoother, less muscular appearance of my physique may be from some of the natural pesticides all plants contain. It may be that I was experiencing low levels of systemic inflammation as a result.
The look could also be a natural part of my yearly cycle. I generally feel that my metabolism slows in the colder months, and I am less active. I usually get smoother in the winter.
I am 100% certain that alcohol adds empty calories and causes weight gain. It is a well-known gut irritant. The smoother-looking physique was definitely due to excess calories and inflammation from it. I did not expect it to be so harsh, but then again, I have never stayed away from it for so long.
Calm The Immune System Down With Diet And Uc Starts To Heal
Here are the major trigger foods for autoimmune disease.
Some are probably already out of your diet. Some are probably still in.
These are the foods that are excluded on Paleo-AIP.
Some are excluded on standard Paleo and some are allowed on it.
Can you see that some of the foods in the list below are excluded on some diets for ulcerative colitis?
Many with UC are already avoiding dairy or eating gluten-free for example.
Even one of the foods below once or twice a week could be enough to keep you struggling with UC.
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Food Prep And Meal Planning
Although there is no cure for UC, meal planning and prepping food ahead of time can help people living with UC limit foods that trigger their symptoms.
Planning meals, snacks, and even your hydration efforts in advance gives you control over everything youll be consuming.
With preparation, you can avoid making quick decisions when youre hungry or thirsty that could result in a flare-up.
Taking the time to plan out your meals and read nutrition labels may take a couple of hours initially, but it can save tons of time throughout the week overall. Helpful steps include:
- buying ingredients in bulk
- cooking in batches
- preportioning your meals before storing them in the fridge or freezer, making them easier to reheat and eat
Not only will you have your meals prepared ahead of time, but youll also help limit food triggers, allowing you to feel better and be more productive overall. Buying and planning your snacks ahead of time is a good way to avoid reaching for trigger foods, too.
Additionally, because frequent diarrhea from UC can cause you to lose more fluid than you put into your body, planning water intake can help you avoid dehydration.
Constipation can be a symptom for some individuals, and their dietary needs may differ.
Ulcerative Colitis Is A Whole
The majority of the books and internet content related to healing inflammatory bowel disease focus too much on tangential and minor topics and generally neglect how all the parts fit together and work as a whole.
They are generally over-focused on quick fixes, complicated and convoluted diets and near-magical food supplements that are over-hyped and dont deliver.
Other websites give general, trite advice that isnt grounded in any kind of real experience.
Sometimes UC advice that you read contradicts other advice youve come across.
Sometimes the conflicting opinions are on the same website.
The only effective approach to healing IBD naturally is a holistic, whole-life approach.
This approach necessarily includes a significant focus on foods, food quality and diet.
It requires persistence and long-term consistency on the order of years and to heal ulcerative colitis with diet
And it requires major lifestyle changes.
In my experience, medical marijuana can make a significant difference and catalyze deep healing when used effectively also.
Incidentally, I hear from people pretty routinely who are on one or more medications and still find they need to make dietary changes to fully eliminate digestive symptoms.
Medication or not, diet is a major factor in managing and healing UC.
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Is The Carnivore Diet Safe
From a scientific perspective, we dont know if the carnivore diet is safe, as there hasnt been any official published research on this way of eating. Evidence right now is limited to people who have tried this diet and anecdotally reported their experience or clinicians who use this approach in their practice. However, even this information is lacking, especially for long-term results or risks.
When we look at indigenous communities around the world, historically, even those who subsisted primarily on animal foods still ate plant foods when they were available.
When I searched Pubmed , for information on the carnivore diet, much of the research that popped up was on dogs and other carnivorous animals. Humans are actually omnivores and are designed to eat both plants and animals.
Lets now tackle the issue about safety more deeply. The carnivore diet is likely safe as a short-term therapeutic tool where, from an anthropological perspective, it can essentially mimic a period of the year where hunter-gatherer populations didnt have access to any plant foods. However, I have some issues with the long-term use of the carnivore diet.
First of all, research is pretty clear about the long-term benefits and decreased risk of chronic disease from consuming vegetables and fruits .
Plant foods are also very important for the health of the microbiome and maintaining a healthy digestive system, so I question the long-term removal of these foods.
What Causes Ulcerative Colitis
The same environmental factors that contribute to disease onset can also cause debilitating flares.
Certain medications, like antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, are known to increase disease risk and trigger flares. But be careful, abruptly stopping any medication may also lead to a flare. Only do so under a doctors approval.
Stress is also thought to be a major contributor, as well as diet .
In particular, research has linked excessive use of sugar and artificial sweeteners to IBD, but other studies have shown no connection .
Some research has also shown a strong link between animal protein and IBD risk.
For example, in an observational study of more than 67,000 middle-aged French women, those who frequently ate meat and fish were significantly more likely to develop IBD. Eggs and dairy were not linked to increased risk .
Summary: A combination of genetic, environmental and immunological factors contribute to ulcerative colitis risk. Symptoms occur in flares and include digestive complaints, as well as fatigue and fever.
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What Should I Eat If I Have Ulcerative Colitis
If you have ulcerative colitis, you should eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Talk with your doctor about a healthy eating plan.
Ulcerative colitis symptoms may cause some people to lose their appetite and eat less, and they may not get enough nutrients. In children, a lack of nutrients may play a role in problems with growth and development.
Researchers have not found that specific foods cause ulcerative colitis symptoms, although healthier diets appear to be associated with less risk of developing IBD. Researchers have not found that specific foods worsen ulcerative colitis. Talk with your doctor about any foods that seem to be related to your symptoms. Your doctor may suggest keeping a food diary to help identify foods that seem to make your symptoms worse.
Depending on your symptoms and the medicines you take, your doctor may recommend changes to your diet. Your doctor may also recommend dietary supplements.
Eating When You Are In Remission
While theres no cure for UC, you may experience periods of remission. During this time, youll be symptom-free and your UC wont interfere with your daily life.
Theres no definitive way to avoid flare-ups forever, but you can prolong your remission periods by maintaining a diverse and nutrient-rich diet that does not include trigger foods.
To stay symptom-free, it may be helpful to follow one of the diets that other individuals with UC find successful, as well as introduce new foods slowly and stay hydrated.
However, its important to consult with your doctor or dietician before making any changes to your diet.
Some foods that may help keep you feeling good and hydrated during remission
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Jordan Rubins Health Journey
In 1993, while thriving as a freshman at Florida State University, seemingly out of nowhere Jordan became sick and gradually developed what would be a slew of debilitating symptoms and illnesses.
Within a matter of months, he went from being in top physical shape and having an active social and academic life to frequently feeling wiped out all day. It quickly became his new normal, due to serious gastrointestinal issues that continued to worsen.
Jordans illness first manifested as stomach cramps that had him running to the bathroom several times a day with diarrhea. Towards the beginning of his illness, at one point he alarmingly lost 20 pounds in one week and became noticeably much weaker. His upset stomach was constant, leaving him dehydrated, lacking an appetite and with several concerning nutrient deficiencies.
Jordan Rubin, severely underweight after being diagnosed with Crohns disease.
Despite being prescribed various antibiotics from a doctor he visited, his condition only worsened, as he began experiencing even more severe gastrointestinal problems, weight loss, fatigue, fevers and poor sleep.
The doctors Jordan worked with prescribed antibiotics and antiparasitic drugs that had to be given intravenously for maximum effect, but his body was so overridden by infection that it had become terribly inflamed. As a result, heavy-duty steroid medications that are notorious for causing side effects were also needed.
The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol How Food Affects The Immune System
Eating with regard to the immune system came into its own within the Paleo community from around 2010-2015.
There were so many who came into the early Paleo world with some kind of autoimmune disease.
There are certain foods that overstimulate the immune system for people with IBD and autoimmune disease in general.
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Are Fruits And Vegetables Actually Bad For You
None of these anti-plant arguments are wrong per se, and theres absolutely an argument to be made that in the context of autoimmune disease, some of these plant compounds could cause problems. As I mention in my Autoimmune Protocol post, Sarah Ballentyne makes these arguments quite thoroughly regarding grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and nightshades.
Indeed, phytochemicals are generally handled by the body the same way as drugs and other xenobiotics, and some such as naringin in grapefruit can impact liver detoxification to such an extent that the metabolism of prescription medications is affected.
However, all of this begins to make sense if we look at the effects of these phytochemicals through the lens of hormesis, and its now well accepted that many of the thoroughlydocumented beneficial effects of polyphenols, flavonoids, and other phytochemicals do operate through a hormetic mechanism.
In other words, the body responds to a stressor in this case, a plant toxin in an adaptive way that ultimately promotes health.
Taking into account the reams of preclinical, clinical, epidemiological, and anthropological evidence for the health benefits of plant foods, theres no question that plant foods are extremely beneficial to human health as a general rule.
But that doesnt mean that they can never be harmful in individual cases, especially in disease states such as IBD where the bodys normal adaptive mechanisms are out of whack.
Meet The Maker’s Diet
Next time you are craving a snack or unsure what to prepare for dinner, ask yourself, what would Jesus eat?
Still unsure?Ã A new diet called the Maker’s Diet promises to clear it up for you. This 40-day guide is built on principles first described in the Bible.
But some nutritionists aren’t so sure that anyone can say for certain exactly what Jesus ate and whether or not it was good for him.
The Maker’s Diet: The 40-Day Health Experience That Will Change Your Life Forever encompasses physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional health. Written by Jordan S. Rubin, NMD, PhD, founder of Garden of Life health and wellness company in West Palm Beach, Fla., this new eating plan is rich in whole, organic foods and eventually includes red meat, carbs, and some saturated fats.
The catch is that all of these foods be consumed in their natural state — unprocessed, unrefined, and untreated with pesticides or hormones. Carb is not a four-letter word in the Maker’s Diet — even starches and sugars are allowed as long as they are consumed in their natural, unrefined form such as brown rice, fermented whole grain sourdough bread, oats, and barley.
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