Zatara uses an animal-based carnivore diet to heal postpartum depression and anxiety, improve breastmilk (both quality and quantity) and eradicate joint pain. She has experienced amazing results and is confident that meat is an essential part of the human diet.
I hope you as inspired as I am after reading Zatara‘s story!
Please introduce yourself briefly with your name, general location, age, height, and current weight.
My name is Zatara Hale and I am from WA state. I will be 30 years old in less than a week, so exciting! I’m 5’4” and weigh around 240 now (started this carnivore journey at 270)
How long have you followed a carnivore diet?
I’ve been doing this for almost 8 months now, however, I did have a few slip-ups during the time frame. Consecutively I have probably been strict carnivore for 3 of the 8 months.
How did you hear about carnivory and the zero-fiber approach?
My husband first told me about carnivore while I was pregnant with our third child, I had some serious doubts and a ton of questions about this. I am currently in school to be a holistic nutritionist so what I’ve learned in school and a carnivore diet didn’t exactly go hand in hand.
I dove deeper into learning about carnivore by following Dr. Saladino, Primal Edge Health, and Mikhalia Petersen to name a few. I reached out to Dr. Saladino when I was two weeks postpartum and he answered my questions and helped me go into this thing with an open mind.
What was your first impression of eating animal foods exclusively?
When my husband first told me about it, I thought it sounded extreme to only eat animal foods. Not because I was against eating animal products, but because my initial thought was “what about the importance of produce”?
Once I started following other people on a carnivore journey, I saw how they were healing with this way of eating and that is a big part of what intrigued me.
What made you want to try this WOE for yourself? Where were you coming from at the time?
After my first two pregnancies, I struggled with some serious postpartum depression.
Before getting pregnant with my first child I tried a vegetarian diet because it was something, I thought was healthy, prior to that I was eating a standard American diet and just felt like I need to change my eating habits.
I never overindulged, but I gained a lot of weight while I was on the depo shot. I was embarrassed by that weight gain despite always being active whether hiking, running with my dogs, or playing softball.
The vegetarian diet didn’t help me in any way, in fact, it changed my health in a bad way. Before getting pregnant I got off the depo shot and started eating paleo, which I kept doing through all my pregnancies. I did have some raw dairy here and there while pregnant and breastfeeding.
With my first two children, I experienced bad postpartum depression and tried drinking smoothies, taking extra vitamins, placenta capsules, exercise, sunlight… the list goes on. Nothing really helped it go away, it was always there and really made life hard to live, it also didn’t help that I was good at hiding it from everyone.
When I told my husband about all the feelings and experiences while pregnant with our third child, he started looking for natural ways to help me and that’s where he found the carnivore diet.
Was the beginning hard? Were there any unexpected flare-ups or side effects?
The beginning was the hardest for me trying to figure out how much food made me feel satiated. I started the carnivore diet at about two weeks postpartum, so I was exclusively breastfeeding and still nursed my 2-year-old about 4-5 times a day. Once starting the carnivore diet, I started producing more milk than I had with my previous breastfeeding journeys.
I tandem nursed before and never had to pump after each feeding, this time was way different I had to pump after every nursing session. It was awesome and I could see how fatty my milk was.
I was happy to be able to donate all the extra milk I was producing and to wet nurse my friends’ babies. I didn’t experience any flare-ups or negative side effects, only positives.
Did any symptoms get worse before they got better?
Where did your motivation to keep going come from?
My lack of depression and joint pain are what keep me going. When I had a slip up for a 2-month stretch all those things came back and I had to start all over.
How long until you saw results? What is your marker of “healing”?
Results for depression and anxiety were quick, within a couple of weeks of very strict carnivore.
I’m not doing this for weight loss, right now I am doing it for healing.
I want to continue to heal my gut.
Improved skin (glowing) is probably my number one marker for healing. Number two is how the brain fog has been lifted.
Were your family and friends supportive of your choices?
My husband was very supportive and has been doing it with me and the children. Unfortunately, others aren’t as supportive. Some are and some aren’t, but that doesn’t bother me.
What other diets have you followed, how long were you on them, and what were the results?
I’ve followed a vegetarian diet for close to 2 years, I was strict with it and didn’t go out to eat.
I ended up suffering from low iron, was always cold, always got sick, and had mild depression. After the vegetarian diet and getting my blood results I went to a paleo diet and felt great on that, I did occasionally have dairy and tried to limit it to only raw. I was following a paleo diet for close to 4 years.
What did you use to eat before turning to animal-based nutrition?
Before this I was paleo, so the transition wasn’t difficult for me.
What do you eat now? Are you strict meat only? Do you eat poultry, pork, or seafood? Do you eat eggs or dairy (raw or pasteurized)?
Right now, I eat mostly red meat and eggs. I also eat salmon, tuna, sardines, raw dairy, bacon, and sometimes chicken.
Do you ever use culinary herbs (basil, oregano, thyme, etc.) or spices (cinnamon, ginger, hot peppers)? Do you ever add a plant-based condiment like mustard or salad dressing, etc.?
At the beginning of my journey, I had a hard time cutting those things out because it was a habit.
Now I make my own bacon mayo for deviled eggs or other things, only use salt, and make my own tallow and ghee for cooking fats.
Do you track macros or calories?
Not while breastfeeding I won’t do that.
Do you supplement with anything?
I do take elderberry syrup with vitamin D daily during the winter months. I live in the PNW, so I need some liquid sunshine. I also take beef organ supplements.
What is your current view of vegetables and plant foods?
Currently still have a lot to learn about them for myself and my family. I feel like my body doesn’t need them at all, but not everyone is the same. Some people seem to do fine with plant foods in their diet and some don’t.
Do you ever think of reintroducing plant material to your diet? Would you perhaps do so in the future? (Could be anything from herbs to white rice to mushrooms to berries, etc.) If you have reintroduced something, what was it and what happened?
About two months in I started adding plant foods back in and that is when all the symptoms started coming back. The depression, joint pain, brain fog, and anxiety all came back with reintroducing the plant foods. This is what makes me believe that plant foods just don’t agree with my body.
Do you ever miss a specific food, meal, or texture?
I miss Mexican food! I love to make enchiladas from scratch and made the best spicy sauce that everyone loved.
What does a typical day of eating look like for you? What did you eat today?
Breakfast; 4 eggs cooking in butter or ghee with Redmond’s salt and 4 slices of bacon or a steak.
Lunch; bulletproof coffee (sometimes), raw milk, more eggs, bone broth and ground beef.
Dinner; Steak and salmon have been a favorite meal lately.
Do you practice fasting or OMAD?
I have had good success with fasting and OMAD, but my son is teething so both our appetites have gone up. I am very good at listening to my body and know when I can handle a fast.
Would you recommend a carnivore diet to someone else and why?
This is hard for me. I’d say yes, I would recommend it based on my personal results, but I don’t really know how to go about recommending it when someone is talking about health issues that might be solved with a carnivore diet.
What would you say to someone 2 weeks into a carnivore diet who is having a hard time?
Healing takes time, keep going!
If someone wants to learn more about your health journey or contact you, where is the best place for them to go?
Are you ready to try a diet of animal-based nutrition for yourself?