Iliana has used a carnivore diet to heal thyroid imbalance, eradicate IBS, and regulate blood pressure. She has experienced amazing results and is confident that she can maintain long-term success.
I hope you as inspired as I am after reading Iliana’s story!
Please introduce yourself briefly with your name, general location, age, height, and current weight.
My name is Iliana Brown. I am in Arizona part of the year, and travel between Idaho and Utah. I am 5’3″, 144 lbs and 69 years old.
How long have you followed a carnivore diet?
I have followed a carnivore diet since October of 2017.
How did you hear about carnivory and the zero fiber approach?
I heard about carnivory in a thread in a keto group, a couple of months before I started. Someone mention a group that ate only meat and talked about the benefits. Somehow kidney failure came up. She said these people were having success with healing kidney failure. This sounded absurd but somehow I was curious and interested. My husband had 95% acute kidney failure years back and now has CKD stage 3.
I joined the group. It is a hardcore Zero Carb group. No nonsense. It is run by Charles Washington who is a Zero Carb, meat only carnivore of 12 years. I learned most of what I know from him and several other “pioneers” in the group. I read what little there was at the time about this woe. I read Owsley “The Bear” Stanley’s ( a 47-year carnivore) writings, asked a lot of questions in the group, and received a lot of help and support.
What was your first impression of eating animal foods exclusively?
I thought it was bizarre and assumed I would find a lot of weird people. I really could not wrap my brain around the idea.
What made you want to try this WOE for yourself? Where were you coming from at the time?
I felt motivated and impressed by all the stories and testimonies, one after the other of incredible healing, strength, energy, no more depression, etc. It was astonishing to hear the tremendous improvement, healing, and ultimate reversal people were experiencing with so many different illnesses and disorders.
All this time I was talking to my friend, and now partner in their Facebook group, about this. We were already doing a higher protein keto diet, eating 20 or less total grams of carbs per day. I encouraged her to try with me. We took the plunge.
I needed to feel better. My blood pressure was still high on keto, my thyroid was a little low. I really struggled with fibromyalgia, inflammation, and pain from 2 big back surgeries. I also had some permanent damage and compressed nerves on my neck and shoulder. I needed to find a solution for these.
Was the beginning hard? Were there any unexpected flare-ups or side effects?
The beginning was had adaption even though I was eating very little carbs for about 2 years prior. One of the biggest issues for me was oxalate dumping. It felt like I was being pricked with needles. I had electrolyte issues, cramping, some palpitation, my blood pressure drop really low, and I had anxiety. I was in contact with people and they told me just to eat more meat. I started on beef only.
Another thing that happened is that hunger registers different. I would feel not hungry at all but I would have anxiety or feelings of loss or doom, I was told to eat and that I would find out that it was hunger. Sure enough, it was. I felt absolutely giddy and wonderful after eating. I ate when hungry and to satisfaction. I chose fatty cuts. I had no dairy for 30 days.
How long until you saw results? What is your marker of “healing”?
I saw results pretty quickly. My blood pressure was previously uncontrolled while taking 3 medications and a diuretic stabilized. Any given day while on meds I would wake up to bp of 170. Last Wednesday at the doctors it was 115/80. My A1c was 5.1 down from 5.7, my thyroid is super. I was off my thyroid meds within 5 months.
Were your family and friends supportive of your choices?
My husband is very supportive and joins me now. He is not as “carnivore” as I am. My friends and children think that I am weird. This is really not a concern of mine in the least. I have had a couple of vegetarian friends that could not wrap this drastic and “bizarre” change in my diet and struggled with it. They sent me literature to persuade that I was on the wrong path. I just told them that I was not going to argue with my blood test, how I felt, or the fact that I was no longer on any medication. That took care of it.
What other diets have you followed, how long were you on them, and what were the results?
Name the diet I have been on it. I did Atkins in the 1970’s. I did Weight Watchers, the soup diet, fasting, digested protein, egg diet, grapefruit diet, a bunch of different protein drink type diets. I was a consultant for a diet company in CA and also for Jenny Craig.
What did you use to eat before turning to animal-based nutrition?
Before I was on this animal-based nutrition, I was on plant-based nutrition. I was predominantly vegetarian. I was very much into juicing, ate little if at any beef for over 15 years. I ate some chicken, and fish. I was completely plant-based for about 4 years. I ran a wellness center in Miami. Everything was plant-based. My counseling was plant-based. I taught juicing classes and how to make and use tinctures.
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)?
For the most part, I am predominantly carnivore. I make plan exemptions here and there but never with SAD food. I eat mostly meat within that, mostly beef. I went for 2 months a couple of months ago where I ate only beef and only drank water. That was followed by adding eggs, then I added dairy. Dairy, unless it is made raw, is not good for me. During the holiday, I actually added some keto treats. That was a disaster. I had many issues with doing this. As a result, I am back on carnivore purely. I eat meats, eggs and am having some limited dairy. This month I have had pork, beef, and eggs and shrimp.
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?
I do use culinary herbs on occasion on occasion. I use mostly some granulated garlic here and there and granulated onion, as well as some of the other herbs. But to tell you the truth, I don’t really need them anymore. I prefer my meat with just salt or as is. I don’t use any sauces. I do sometimes add bone broth to my ground beef.
Do you track macros or calories?
I do not track at all. I eat when I am hungry and as much as will satisfy me. Sometimes it turns into OMAD, sometimes 2 meals a day. Once in a while is a small chicken wing or something like that as a snack but not very often. I usually eat twice a day.
What is your current view of vegetables and plant foods?
My current view on vegetables is that we really do not need them and most of them have anti-nutrients. I have lost my desire for them. I feel like if I eat them I am going to fill up faster on the fiber, eat less meat, and not get the nutrients that I need.
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?
I have already experimented with reintroducing some plant material to my diet. I am not fanatic about that. I do have to consider my specific sensitivities and needs. I have not done well in reintroducing certain plant food. I would never reintroduce grains, or any cruciferous vegetable or any gluten, or potatoes, or most fruits.
I forgot to mention that since I gave up plants, I no longer have IBS, this is the biggest reason why I wouldn’t reintroduce most plants. My BP also shoots up when I do. I have tried nuts, specifically pistachios with a disastrous outcome. The one thing I will probably try again in season are berries from my hubby’s garden. They are not as hard on me but it has to be just a little handful. I am not sure if I will do this or not.
Do you ever miss a specific food, meal, or texture?
I miss mangoes and a Cuban guava pastry, but would probably not like in the same way them anymore.
What does a typical day of eating look like for you? What did you eat today?
This varies depending on whether I stop eating early. Lately, I’m eating a bowl of ground beef with bone broth, and, Oh yes, I do have some herbal teas like peppermint, sometimes with a spoonful of cream, if I am having dairy at the time. No sweetener (this is a new thing as of 30 days ago). I eat my meat before I drink my tea. Sometimes I eat eggs and bacon, but this is not as satisfying to me. Today I ate two NY steaks about 14 ounces each.
Do you practice fasting or OMAD?
Technically, I intermittent fast about 17-18 hours daily. But, I don’t call it fasting since I don’t force it. It is just the time that I stop eating at night until I am hungry the next day. If I am hungry at any time before then I eat.
Would you recommend a carnivore diet to someone else and why?
I do recommend the carnivore diet. Meat does heal. Or at least it has healed me and thousands of people I see in groups daily. I think you get a lot of healing benefits even if you do not give plants up completely. Eat the meat first, fill up on it and then eat your plants whatever they may be. For me, eliminating them or at least limiting them has been a necessity.
What would you say to someone 2 weeks into a carnivore diet who is having a hard time?
If someone is struggling two weeks into it I would ask questions and address them with possible solutions for them. There is usually a simple solution that eases the adaption issues. Discomfort could be from electrolyte imbalance or not enough food. They might need to eat more meat, or need fattier cuts.
I would for sure encourage them to keep going because they are about to experience energy, wellbeing, and health that makes it really worth continuing on!
If someone wants to learn more about your health journey or contact you, where is the best place for them to go?
The best place to get ahold of me is at [email protected], at Iliana Farnot Brown on messenger, or by joining our group Protein For Health on Facebook, or our women’s only group, Keto Carnivore Women 60 and Beyond.
Are you ready to try a diet of animal-based nutrition for yourself?