It’s been fifteen years since I hobbled into Dr. Benjamin Dunlap’s office with yet another boil for him to lance.
This one was just above my knee and was surrounded by a circle of cellulitis several inches wide, resulting in bone-deep, throbbing pain. These boils were becoming almost routine, and I expected to leave his office with yet another round of antibiotics and some gauze to pack what would become another purplish scar.
But that day, Dr. Dunlap told me that if I didn’t make changes soon and didn’t lose at least 100 pounds, I would “continue to get boils until I died an early death”. (Dr. Dunlap isn’t one to mince words.) He caught me off-guard, and I sat and cried right in his office.
I had tried to lose weight my entire life and wanted nothing more than to be skinny, but no amount of calorie-restricting or low-fat dieting had ever worked. Not for long, anyway. I had yo-yo dieted my way up to 262 pounds and didn’t have a clue how to fix it. I was only 25 years old, but felt hopeless.
Instead of telling me the same “eat less and move more” advice that most physicians offered, Dr. Dunlap told me that I was suffering from inflammation, likely caused by a sensitivity to carbohydrates. He gave me a list of foods that contained carbs, and from that day on, I began to avoid them like the plague. Within a year, I had lost 80 pounds. And over the next few years, I lost another 50.
More importantly, I never got another boil. Not one.
I ate a very low-carb diet for those next five years. And at that point (age 30), I realized that I felt better and better with fewer plants in my diet, so I began eating an animal-based diet consisting of only meat, eggs, and cheese. (Yes, ONLY meat, eggs, and cheese. And yes, I’m fully aware of how crazy that sounds.)
Like most Americans, I grew up believing that fat is bad for you. That vegetables are the healthiest foods. That meat and eggs cause high cholesterol, which will kill you. And that eating only meat will cause you to be nutrient deficient, constipated, laden with scurvy, and on dialysis. (I haven’t found any of these things to be even slightly true and am currently in the best shape of my life. But still, old ideas are sometimes hard to shake.)
Even after thriving on a Zero-Carb (ZC) diet for 10 years, I still get a little nervous to see the official numbers.
And I added one more test this time: C Reactive Protein. It’s a blood test that checks for inflammation in the body and is now recognized as a strong indicator for both cancer and heart disease. To my knowledge, I had never had this test done before and was a little nervous to see the result. Based on my previous weight and my past issues with boils, I assume that I had a very high level of inflammation in my blood prior to starting this diet. But what would this number look like after ten years of eating only meat, eggs, and cheese?
(See my results from the last time I shared my screening.)
If you aren’t familiar with the test, anything below 2.0 is considered optimal, and a reading of 3.0 or higher puts you at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. The lower, the better, in this case. (Many tests only read in a range of 0.5-10.0.)
My result: 0.5, which is as low as my doctor has ever seen. (I released a deep sigh of relief that I wasn’t somehow harboring inflammation in my body, despite feeling like a million bucks and having zero issues for an entire decade. Still….Whew.)
As for my Cholesterol numbers:
- My Total Cholesterol level is 167mg/dL. (Anything under 200 is considered normal)
- My LDL level is 101 mg/dL. (As long as there are no health issues, anything under 130 is considered normal. Most Carnivores do not worry about trying to get this number low, though as long as they have the large, fluffy particles in their blood, which are not a health concern. The presence of the safer particles is typically indicated by having low triglycerides and high HDL numbers.)
- My HDL (“Good Cholesterol”) level is 58 mg/dL. (Anything higher than 39 is considered normal.)
- My triglycerides level is 42 mg/dL. (Anything lower than 149 is considered normal.)
- And my triglycerides/HDL ratio, which I think is the most important: .724 (anything under 2.0 is considered Ideal, while anything under 4.0 is considered normal).
Here is a copy of my full panel:
Bottom line, my doctor said that I’m still his healthiest patient and that I shouldn’t change a thing. I’m thankful and yes, relieved.
So, if you’re considering a Keto/carnivore/zero-carb diet, but just don’t know what it will do to your cholesterol and general blood-work, please know that hope abounds! My numbers have only improved year after year while eating this way. I have yet to suffer a single issue with my kidneys or with scurvy. My energy levels are excellent. I have no trouble going to the bathroom. I don’t take a single supplement, yet my nutrient levels are all well within normal range. And best of all, I feel great, have a strong immune system, and never have to worry again about getting dreadful boils.
I am ZC for life.