Cattle producers learn about the benefits of ‘The Carnivore Diet’ at USCA’s annual meeting
September 9, 2018
Beef producers from across the country gathered in Billings, Mont., on Sept. 5-6, for the 2018 United States Cattlemen's Association Annual Meeting and Cattle Producer's Forum.
"This year, our discussions focused on the future of the U.S. cattle industry and how USCA will engage its grassroots membership to further our policy goals and objectives," said USCA President Kenny Graner. "The industry is at a crossroads on several important issues — modernizing the beef checkoff, instituting a truthful country-of-origin labeling program, and establishing a fair playing field for the emergence of alternative proteins. How we move forward from this point will impact my children's generation and their children's ability to make a living producing high-quality U.S. beef."
Of the event speakers, one in particular created a lot of buzz — Shawn Baker, MD. Baker is a doctor, athlete and the author of "The Carnivore Diet." For two years, he's eaten nothing but beef, and he joins thousands of others who have committed to eating a zero carbohydrate diet.
"When you take out everything else and just focus on meat, you realize how great it is for your health," said Baker, in his presentation to attendees. "I've been fully fully carnivorous for two years, and 98 percent of my diet is steak. For a lot of people eating this way, they really gravitate towards beef and not as much pork and chicken. It's a simple diet, but I look forward to every meal and every steak I eat.
Baker says eating this way allows folks to distance themselves from food being an entertainment source, so that the focus becomes more on nutrition.
"Go back generations ago, we only had access to five to six different foods; today, I can walk into the grocery store and pick between 100 different flavors of ice cream," Baker said.
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A RADICAL DIET?
The diet may seem radical and many people scoff at the idea of no carbohydrates in their diet; however, Baker said he's seen hundreds of cases where people are sharing anecdotal stories about how an all-meat diet has cured their health problems.
"Through this diet, diseases can be cured, mitigated or reduced," said Baker. "I've seen folks eliminate anxiety, depression, colitis, diabetes, high cholesterol, thyroiditis, hemorrhoids, infertility, joint paint, digestive issues, skin tags, boils, autoimmune diseases, irritable bowel syndrome and more."
Of course, a zero carbohydrate diet completely contradicts the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Guide pyramid, but Baker said the nutritional advice of the last 40 years has been based on poor epidemiological studies and influence from big companies like Coca Cola.
Yet, as more people realize that meat, particular beef, can heal the body, a growing movement is building as people ditch conventional wisdom to pursue health and wellness via a carnivorous eating style. Facebook groups like Zeroing in on Health and Zero Carb health boast thousands of members who share testimonies of their experiences eating a carnivorous diet.
"I found ZC in December of 2017, when I was researching which plants to include in my garden," said member Meagan Zych. "I found an article about vegetables being unnecessary and probably harmful. I started zero carb on Jan. 22, 2018. I feel amazing and pain that I had in my hip from a car accident three years ago is gone. I currently eat a chuck steak for breakfast and one for dinner totaling about 2.5-3 pounds for the day. I have a 2-year old who is still nursing, and I have great energy and no desire to eat anything else. Beef is the perfect fuel!"
Dana Spencer Shute, a moderator on the Zero Carb Health forum, said, "Back in 2007, I found ZC by accident. I was trying to lose weight, decided to do Atkins induction, was too lazy to count carbohydrates, so I just ate things I knew didn't have any carbs — meat and cheese. After 10 days, I only lost 3 pounds, but looked like I lost pounds, I felt amazing, and I wasn't hungry all the time. Also, my lifelong digestive pain and bloating was suddenly gone. The Atkins book says you can stay on induction (less than 20 carbs per day) for up to six months. I never wanted to eat a carbohydrate again, so I started researching what would happen if I didn't add them back. Through my research, I found on a low-carb forum, somebody else who was also only eating meat and experiencing the same miracles. We eventually called this new diet 'Zero Carb,' started a forum, built a website, and the rest is history. I never ate another vegetable. I lost 50 pounds eating this way, and I feel better than ever. I'm 51 now and have been eating an all meat diet, mostly beef, for almost 11 years."
Kelly Williams Hogan, a member and moderator on Zero Carb Health, added her story. She shared, "When I was 25 years old, I went back to the doctor to have yet another boil lanced. I had had several to become infected with staph and was growing weary from these painful abscesses. My doctor told me to eat as much meat, eggs and cheese as I wanted, but to avoid carbs. He said low-carb veggies were acceptable, but I found that I felt better and better the more I ate only meat, eggs and cheese.
"That was 14 years ago, and I've never had another boil. I also lost 130 pounds, regained my menstrual cycle (which had completely stopped for two years), and was able to finally get pregnant and have three pregnancies, all of which were zero-carb pregnancies and free from plants and carbs. I am zero carb for life."
Despite these remarkable testimonies, Baker said a major challenge moving forward will be changing consumer perceptions about beef.
"We hear all the time that meat is bad for our health — that it's just as bad as cigarettes, that it causes heart disease and cancer, that it's awful for the environment and cruel to animals," Baker said. "Whether these things are true or not is irrelevant because people believe who is screaming loudest on the microphone. People are so far removed from what ranchers do; 80 percent of the population lives in the city, and they don't know how their food is produced."
Consumers are getting their information, he said, from people who would like to see animal agriculture eliminated completely. From investors in fake meat products, to WeWork banning meat as a company policy, to the Army having a compulsory twice weekly vegetarian meal plan, to schools adopting Meatless Mondays to the menu, Baker said people are buying into the rhetoric that meat is bad and cattle production is harmful to the environment.
The truth, he said, is incredibly valuable, but only if the industry can figure out a way to share its story in an easy, concise way.
"The beef industry is sitting on a health gold mine; it's just time to share that message with consumers," he said.
An all-meat diet is really not too far-fetched, and Baker's carnivore diet isn't new. In 1928, Canadian anthropologist Vilhjalmur Stefansson explored the Arctic and lived with the indigenous Inuit and Eskimo people, who ate mostly fish and meat from seals, whale, caribou and water fowl.
Returning to the United States following his time in the Arctic, Stefansson gained national attention by eating nothing but meat for a year while living in New York City. Stefansson remained healthy and challenged people to reexamine what is necessary to include in a healthy diet.
He went on to publish a book titled, "Not By Bread Alone," which chronicled his time with the Inuit and his experiences eating entirely meat.
Around the world, many populations eat meat-centered diets including the Chukotka of the Russian Arctic, the Masai, Samburu and Rendille warriors in East Africa, the steppe nomads of Mongolia, the Sioux of South Dakota and the Brazilian gauchos, according to Georgia Ede, MD, on her blog, Diagnosis: Diet.
Ede wrote, "To the best of my knowledge, the world has yet to produce a civilization which has eaten a vegan diet from childhood through death, whereas there are numerous examples throughout recorded history of people from a variety of cultural, ethnic and geographical backgrounds who have lived on mainly-meat diets for decades, lifetimes, generations. What exactly did these carnivorous cultures eat, and how healthy or unhealthy were they?
"To my mind, examples of real people eating mostly-meat diets for long periods of time gives us much more powerful information about meat and health than conventional scientific studies conducted over short periods of time in which one group of people eats a little more meat or a few extra servings of vegetables than another group of people."
Ditching the carbohydrates may seem extreme; however, the proof is in the thousands of people who have reclaimed their health by simply eating beef and other meat products. If that's not a solid testimony for beef, what is?
For more information on Shawn Baker and the carnivore diet, check out https://www.shawn-baker.com/.❖