The history of interest in “All-Meat” diets in the United States really begins with Harvard trained Ethnologist and Professor Vilhjalmur Stefansson. He was a truly colorful character who between 1905-1925 led multiple arctic expeditions and lived for years at a time with Inuit Eskimos whose diet had not been affected by contact with Europeans and consisted almost entirely of meat. He returned to the US and became an advocate for all meat diets. When he was challenged that this diet was unsustainable, he agreed along with his friend Dr. Karsten Anderson a fellow arctic explorer to be monitored in an experiment for 1 year where they consumed nothing but meat. He suffered no ill effects confounding the researcher’s expectations. The results were published in “Clinical Calorimetry” in 1930. You can download the complete study HERE. In 1935 he wrote an article in Harper’s Magazine advocating all meat diets. Here is a link to download the book he published in 1956 detailing his life among the Eskimos called The Fat of the Land.
In the 1960’s the strongest advocate for all-meat diets was Blake F. Donaldson M.D. He wrote a book on the subject titled “Strong Medicine”(click here to download a copy). Here’s one of my favorite quotes form the book: “During the millions of years that our ancestors lived by hunting, every weakling who could not maintain perfect health on fresh fat meat and water was bred out.”
The person who first started calling this type of diet Zero Carb was Owsley Stanley III aka “The Bear”. He reportedly ate Zero Carb for the last 50 years of his 76 year life and died healthy in a car wreck in Australia in 2011. There is a copy of a letter to famous, long-time Low Carb Blogger Jimmy Moore in 2008 declining an interview but stating his core beliefs on the Zero Carb Diet. You can CLICK HERE to download the entire letter. Here is an excerpt:
“Trust me, I have eaten as a total carnivore for 48 years, I am nearly 72 and I still have much the same body as I did at 30. Experience is the ONLY proof. The rules of the path are so simple as to be a no-brainer.
They reduce to the following:
– Eat only food from animals
– No vegetables
– Limit liver intake
– Avoid liquid milk (except for butter and cheese)
– Eat as much fat as you like
– Don’t cook your food much
– Avoid salt
And the most important one: Eat your meals as a matter of course, don’t waste any time thinking about food–it is merely a way to stay alive, and must not rule your life.
By the way, for many obese people “low carb” does not work–only “zero carb” does (defined as less than 5 g/day).”
From what I have been able to find on the internet, about 10 years ago a group of individuals, some of whom had developed the idea of an “All Meat Diet” on their own came together in an online chatroom group called the “Active No-Carber Forums” in which The Bear himself would give his guidance. Here is one transcript of a session in which the bear weighed in on his techniques. You can download a PDF of the session by CLICKING THIS LINK.
This “chatroom group” eventually became a Facebook Group named Zeroing In On Health (ZIOH) founded by Charles Washington one of the original chatroom members who recently celebrated his 10th year eating Zero Carb. Dana Spencer Shute another member of the early group and current Admin on the Zero Carb Health site has more information on those early days and advice from the Bear at this post on her blog Zero Carb Health. ZIOH now boasts over 13,000 members one being me. Here is a list of Zero Carb questions and answers that Caitlin Tilton one of the Administrators put together on the ZIOH website: Frequently asked questions on Zero Carb. I have had the pleasure of meeting Charles at a “Get Together” members of ZIOH frequently have called a “Meat Up” (see picture to the right). I started my all meat journey in large part due to becoming a member of ZIOH and listening to much good advice from Charles and several other long time veterans of the group. Marcy Lilly, another long time Zero Carber and ZIOH Admin would be mad at me If I didn’t mention the upcoming Meatapalooza Cruise May 6-13, 2018 which I understand will be a wonderful and fun filled “Meat Up” on the Carnival Breeze out of Galveston. I’m going to help coach the JV Tennis Team at the local high school this spring so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it. ZIOH is a “Public Group” on Facebook which means that non members can easily both post and see what someone else has posted. There were requests for a “Closed Group” where only members could see posts and post. This led to the formation of the Facebook Group “Zero Carb Health“ which is a closed group and already has gained over 6000 members. None of the admins at ZIOH or Zero Carb Health including Charles are financially compensated for all the time and energy it takes to be an group administrator. They certainly have my thanks and I know the thanks of many others they have helped.
Another long time Zero Carber and Admin from ZIOH who has her own blog is Kelly Williams Hogan. She is probably the “Most Famous Zero Carb Practitioner”. She made the cover of “Woman’s World” magazine and has been interviewed on the news by a local TV station. Of course her Zero Carb Message was watered down and got almost totally lost in the hype they added. She tells the whole story of how that happened in this post on her Zero Carb Blog. Kelly is most esteemed in the Zero Carb community for overcoming her infertility problems. Before she became Zero Carb she was over 100 lbs overweight and was told by a fertility doctor after years of treatment that she would never get pregnant. 4 years after going Zero Carb she not only got pregnant but has had 3 lovely, healthy children all conceived on a Zero Carb diet. I did this blog post on her story last year. I have also met her and her husband in person and they are just as genuine and congenial in person as Kelly is on her blog.
One of the saddest Zero Carb stories of the last few years is the saga of the Anderson Family. They came across this way of eating on their own as many have and just celebrated 19 years of eating Zero Carb last month. They eat pretty much only rib eye steaks. Unfortunately in 2015 they were interviewed and the interview was posted on a Zero Carb Website. They received incredibly negative feedback and even threats from people opposed to eating animals and the interview had to be taken down. They are now more private but you will see them from time to time encouraging people on Zero Carb Websites and posting pictures of the amazing health that Zero Carb has given them. They continue to be an inspiration for us all.
Another well known and articulate advocate of the Zero Carb Lifestyle is L Amber O’Hearn M SC. She has spoken and written widely about the benefits of a ketogenic Zero Carb diet. A list of lectures and writings can be found at THIS LINK. Amber like myself has a scientific background and I have enjoyed discussing Zero Carb subjects with her at low carb conferences around the country.
Another large Zero Carb Facebook group is “Principia Carnivora” which also has over 13,000 members. It was started by Michael Frieze. Gregg Sheehan, Amy Menke and Esmée La Fleur all with lots of Zero Carb experience handle the admin. Esmée also has a blog with a wealth of information on Zero Carb including numerous interviews with long time Zero Carbers like myself (946 days as I write this) called “Eat Meat. Drink Water.” All of the folks at Principia Carnivora are also volunteers doing this to help their fellow man. I’m proud to be a member of that group also and thanks to the admins, I’m beginning to realize how much work it is.
Of course Zero Carb is not just a US phenomena. I am in contact with people from all over the world. The Zero Carbers in England recently put up their own Facebook Group “Zero Carb UK” and already have almost 3000 members. I am a proud member and hope to go to England for a “Meat Up” someday.
Another very valuable Zero Carb resource is the blog of Ash Simmonds called “High Steaks – Meat is Life”. I have yet to have the honor of meeting Ash but he has an excellent grasp of nutrition science and his book “Principia Ketogenica” available on Amazon is encyclopedic in explaining how a ketogenic diet works.
There is yet another Zero Carb Doctor, an orthopedic surgeon named Shawn Baker. He has been ketogenic for over 5 years and zero carb for about a year. Here are some of his accomplishments:
Natural Association Of Strength Athletes Deadlift American Record 772lbs
World Association of Bench Press and Deadlift Submasters World record (Deadlift 738lbs)
USA powerlifting 40+ Master American record Deadlift 711lbs)
NASS Texas Strongest Man 300lb class winner
NASS- Strongman national championships 300lb class 5th
Highland Games Masters US invitational championships 1st place
Highland Games Masters World Champion
Highland Games Masters World record “Sheaf” toss
USA track and field all American standard-Discus, weight and super-weight throws
50+ world record concept 2 indoor rower for 500m, 1min, 100m row
Here is a link to a nice interview with Shawn.
I am a retired family medicine doctor who eats nothing besides meat, eggs, cheese and butter and drink only decaffeinated coffee or tea without milk or cream and water and thus consider myself to be a Zero Carber. I welcome everyone to my Facebook Group “Zero Carb Doc” and though I cannot give individual medical advice, I am always glad to talk about any health subject even if it has nothing to do with diet though most discussions do involve low carb diets, especially Zero Carb. I also have a strong interest in stress reduction techniques the treatment of addictions, especially sugar for which I think the Zero Carb diet is an invaluable tool. I hope you will drop by. If you are not a “Facebook Person” You can email questions to me at ZeroCarbDoc@gmail.com. Thanks for reading my blog. Paul
If you note ERRORS or OMISSIONS and I’m sure I have made both please email me at ZeroCarbDoc@gmail.com and I will make corrections, thanks.
Good summary, Paul.
Way to go Dr. Paul , you nailed it
This was great, Paul!! Touched on something for everyone to read and do further research. Continued success on this journey!!