I am still in self experimentation mode. I have lots of goals and expectations for the new year. For January, I am gong to try the Carnivore Diet. Here is a video explaining what it is and why it seems to work for some people:
I know a lot of dancers do vegetarian and vegan diets. These did not and do not work for me. Not just because I grew up on a beef farm. I have tried them both and I gained weight and lost energy.
I’ll be doing video updates this whole month and sharing about my experience here. I also do a lot of fasting, both daily and extended. I’ll be talking about that as well.
I am happy to engage in discussion, hear your experiences, and learn about you journey for health and energy and optimal dancing, but I am not interested in arguing.
Also, if you like my dance wear, please consider buying a skirt or a t shirt to support my dancing and my writing!
I have a goal this year for Cheval to give $1,000 in scholarships this summer. I need your help for the business to be strong enough to make this happen.
I have been dry fasting for 35 hours. My ketone strip was very light this morning. Probably because Saturday evening I have four apples. They were giant Korus and a big fat Granny Smith. They were amazing. But I have to give them up for just a few weeks. *Deep breath* Its going to be OK. But man I love apples.
Below are the items I DO get to eat, along with their weights.
After talking to my Snake Diet Coach Cole, and watching YouTube videos of other Snake Diet women I have decided to shoot for between 8,000 and 9,000 calories per week, eaten in three or four meals. Here is my calendar:
With this calorie plan I hope to keep cutting fat while maintaining my energy with frequent refeeds instead of long fasts. HOWEVER, I’ll still be getting lots of fasting benefits because I”ll be doing lots of dry fasting, 24 to 48 hour stretches, and when I do eat I’ll keep my window small. Right now I hope to be able to eat those 3 to 4 pounds of food in about 90 minutes. If I need more time though, I’ll take it.
I also plan to have lots of broth at the beginning of a meal and tea at the end of a meal to make sure my tummy feels full. I might not need all of those items…
Today is New Year’s Eve, Day Zero. I plan to actually keep fasting today. I am visiting my old dance studio in my home town and I’d like my tummy to be nice and flat when I go take a class there in a few days. And if I’m fasting I won’t be tempted to put the wrong stuff in my mouth at our family party tonight because I’m not putting anything in my mouth.
January 1st Day One
Happy New Year’s! I wish you good luck and strength to carry out your new goals and stick to your systems for the entire upcoming twelve months. Where do you want to be next December 31st? Here are some of the things I want to be true within the next 365 days:
I can easily do 16 fouette turns in pointe shoes.
I can easily do 16 Italian fouette turns in ponte shoes
I can play all the the Party Scene Doll variations from The Nutcracker
Cheval Dancewear has given $1,000 in scholarships to dancer working or attending ballet intensives in Salt Lake City. ( This is probably my favorite!)
I have been to the LDS temple 12 times with my husband
I can do a front and back walk over
I have read the Book of Mormon in Spanish and Hungarian
I (maybe!!) have a baby. This is a big scary one, I might come back to this…
I have hiked the Grand Canyon North Rim to South Rim
I have $3,000 in personal savings (this doesn’t count the savings my husband and I keep together)
I have got to and kept my goal weight for more than two months (unless I have a baby body, then this is flexible, but my health will still be amazing!)
There are more things, I tend to revise these goals throughout the year as things develop.
As you will hear in the video, I did not continue to fast once I arrived at my parents house for New Year’s Eve. But I did mostly stick to protein and fat. my mom saved a small treat for me, it was not very big, and I did not feel bad enjoying it since she had kept it for me especially.
I meant to keep fasting today, I had a small piece of sausage this afternoon, and it probably had some sugar in it. Not a great start to trying to do a perfectly clean carnivore diet! But I just had a giant glass of snake juice and this has quelled my appetite for the day. I would like to do some more aggressive fasting to make up for having a lot of food yesterday. we will see how this goes with all the things I have planned for the rest of this week.
Here is the video for day one:
January 2nd Day Two
Today was supposed to be a fast day, but I was at my parents’ house till about mid afternoon. I wandered into the kitchen and absently put several left over sausages in my mouth. Oops. I know these sausages hadn’t been seasoned with sugar, but TODAY WAS A FAST DAY!
Well I am going to fast tomorrow. I’ll get the same number of fast days for the month, they just won’t be in the order I originally planned. And that is OK. I’m supposed to be learning discipline with food and shorter fasts. So i made a mistake today. Can I stay strong tomorrow and have it be a good fast day?
My activity level today was quite low, so I’m not worried about not having enough calories from today going into a full fast day tomorrow. Especially if I can squeeze a nap in before I go teach tomorrow evening.
I don’t talk about this in the video, but I had a business idea to help local dance companies and studios. I’m thinking of offering a line of shirts and tank tops that they can sell at shows or events to raise money. I know that there are a lot of companies who already do this, and they have way more resources and options than I do, but I think my items are unique, especially the ballet tops that I dye by hand myself.
I can get them to studio directors pretty cheaply and they can use the mark up to fund rentals and other studio expenses. I’m working on a plan that will help this be cost effective and a great deal.
Here is the Day Two video:
January 3rd Day Three
Today so far has been ballet class, unpacking from my New Year’s family visit, and a NAP!! I’m off to teach some ballet classes this evening.
I will be getting home kind of late. I trained myself really well to just get to bed while I did my 21 day fast, so I am going to make sure I do that this evening. I won’t stay up watching YouTube and wandering around the kitchen.
Today I’m trading in as a fast day since yesterday was supposed to be a fast day and it wasn’t. I’ll snap a picture of my updated calendar, the purple and red boxed one above, to show you some time this weekend.
I heard some GREAT advice today. “If you are snacking you can’t be in the present moment. ” Food has a great numbing effect. I can some times step back and watch myself when I over eat, but it is a hard thing to grasp that you are doing, and I’ve rarely been able to see myself, be present, and stop when I’m sliding down the slope. Yet another reason fasting is incredibly powerful. You have to be present in your body to stick to it.
Here is the Day Three video:
January 4th Day Four
I completed a 44-ish hour dry fast today. I bet I could have gone longer but as you’ll hear in my video, some fresh chicken liver paste was made and the bacon grease I used to cream it up just smelled amazing….also I’m still a little behind on sleep. I can feel it. So I embraced today as an eating day. I kept my eating window under one hour, and I stuck to my approved Carnivore Food list. So I am learning discipline.
I have a plant shaped hole in my brain when it comes to food. I don’t feel “full” till I’ve had an apple or a couple of cucumbers. But I remember feeling the same way when I gave up grains. I’d eat a huge amount of veggies and fruits and meat, eggs and dairy, but I had a bread or oatmeal shaped hole in my mind. I don’t have that any more. So I know I can get to where I am satisfied with meat and eggs.
This doesn’t mean I won’t ever eat them again. I LOVE eating plants and nuts, but I want it to a conscious choice when I do eat them, not just another habit the way grains were.
I’m going to end here for the day because it is already after 10 pm and I need to get to bed so I can get up and do that work out I have been neglecting!
January 5th Day Five
Today was supposed to be a fast day, but I’ve just had too much time at home. On the other hand I do need to learn the discipline of eating, so today was another chance to “practice.” I broke from Carnivore though to have an apple and a large piece of broccoli. It is SO WEIRD how I didn’t feel satiated until eating those items. My tummy physically felt full. It was all in my head.
I need to keep this in mind. All the challenges and problems I have with eating, fasting, and sticking to my carnivore list are ALL IN MY HEAD. I will not die or get sick if I don’t give in to what my food addicted little brain started whining for.
I had some lovely liver pate and oysters today, plenty of nutrients there.
I visited a studio in another city today and had a WONDERFUL class! I felt good in my body and the combinations were challenging, basic, and interesting. I’m excited to attend more classes there through the spring. I do love the studios I have been attending on Saturdays here in Salt Lake for the last 14 years, but I’m wanting to explore a little.
Biggest lesson today, which I’ve known since I started fasting, ITS ALL IN MY HEAD.
Here is the video:
January 6th Day Six
Practicing eating. I’m glad I have the experience of fasting behind me, to use as a tool, but I’m still nervous about eating. My weight has gone only up in the last four days of eating carnivore, even with a solid 44 hour dry fast in there. Some clothes that were comfy about a week ago are starting to feel a little tight too. So I’m scared! I know it is possible to stall and even gain weight on Keto, Paleo, and this Carnivore diet.
Fasting all day is pretty easy (I want to eat right now at 1;00 pm, but I know its jut because I need a little nap), but when I start eating, I have a whole slew of old habits that take over, even though I’m home in my own carefully planned kitchen.
I have a fear of still being hungry after a meal. I’m ok with being hungry 20 hours into a fast, I’ve done that a lot. But I still have a fear of finishing my weighed out amount of food and not feeling full.
But with the kinds of foods I’m eating and with my fasting, I don’t need to eat till I can’t move. I only need to eat enough to keep my energy and workouts strong. All food past that amount is fuel that takes the place of body fat I could be burning. My brain understands this but my body is still afraid.
So that is what I’m dealing with in my own head. One way I want to combat it is with mindful eating. I’m still thinking about that advice I heard, “when you are snacking you can’t be present.” I am rarely present when I eat. I turn on YouTube or grab a book or I’m already listening to a book on my phone. There is something else happening, not just me eating.
I did slow down for a bit yesterday, I have a couple of fried eggs. I talked to myself between bites, about the warm runny yolk, the crispy whites, the dripping olive oil, how good a bit tasted etc. It felt a little silly, but in this moment as I write, I remember eating those eggs with a fondness, not with a fear that once the plate was empty there wouldn’t be any more.
I seriously feel that sometimes, that fear that there won’t be anything more to enjoy after this plateful. But that doesn’t make me slow down, that fear makes me bolt my food, then so looking around for something else until I’m so full I hate myself.
If you’re thinking right now about how normal I look weight wise, I want you to know its because I’ve been thinking about this for years and the amount of success I’ve had is all that stands between me and being overweight. I’ve had just enough success that it out weights all the issues I still have and all the times, from single meals to whole months that I have really messed up my healthy lifestyle journey.
Thanks for reading. I hope this maybe helps you too with any addiction or fear you have that is keeping you from your goals.
January 7th Day Seven
Keeping it short today. I may check back in with an evening update, and I have some ideas for Cheval Dancewear that I want to share soon.
I’m doing an Instagram give away! Ends this Friday. Check out my Instagram, Cheval_DW to enter the give away.
My weight has gone up, which tells me I just need to get my math figured out. I need to not be afraid of the scale, and I need to really get my amount of food more disciplined. I haven’t been doing carnivore perfectly, as you’ll hear I had some fermented vegetables. But I need to not rely on those and instead make sure I have a higher amount of raw meats and some raw egg yolks. I’m disappointed in gaining some of this weight back, but I know that I can’t just fast for another two weeks to fix it. I really need to figure out my food discipline.
January 8th Day Eight
Finally had another full fast day, as I write I’m at 37 hours fasted and I did a 24 hour dry fast yesterday. I had some water and Snake Juice (salt water) last night so I would be abelt to sleep.
I’m amazing and so happy about the energy I have this morning! I may need a short nap later, but I didn’t sleep super hot ad sweaty like I did al last week while not fasting, and I popped up right away with my alarm. This morning has been so productive! My brain feels great!
I had moderate ketones last night. I had been afriad to check, even though I have been 90 to 100% keto for several days. I just didn’t feel like I’d still be in ketosis while eating. As if ketosis ONLY comes with fasting. But I know it doesn’t. I just need to learn this, and learn how to eat!
So while fasting feels great, I know I can’t rely on it alone to reach my goals. I need to learn how to eat, like I have been saying. But after a morning like this one, its will be hard to make myself take in food. I am still afraid I’ll over eat or some how justify eating fruit or something that could take me out of ketoisis.
Today’s video is a little rambling. My body was awake but my brain wasn’t quite there! Listen on double speed.
January 9th Day Nine
Feeling successful! I ate yesterday and did not feel heavy, groggy, or over hot last night and this morning. I think eating carbs and also over eating are what make me sleep so hot.
I was also able to get up this morning at 7 like I wanted to. I had almost no problem doing that all while I was fasting for 21 days in December. So it may in part be a habit have finally been able to build up, but I think it is also being able to fast Monday and eat properly yesterday.
Today is a fasting day. I will be busy most of the day, which is always a great help. If you want to try even just Intermittent Fasting, I suggest getting a good night’s sleep, then starting on a day where you are busy, and just see how long you go without even thinking about food. Some people will intermittent fast without really planning to, then feel guilty for not eating “the most important meal of the day,” while they are actually doing something wonderful for their body!
Here is the Day 9 video. I’ve had a hard time being coherent these last few mornings, so I’ll put together a better thought out video a little later this week.
January 10th Day 10
Yesterday was a FAIL! But it will only be bad if I give up today.
So yesterday, despite all of my high hopes, was NOT successful. We are going to call it a learning experience. I was supposed to fast all day, but after an interrupted nap I swear my brain turned totally off. Or switched 100% over to my lizard brain.
I did a good job eating all carnivore, I remembered to weigh myself before and after, and I ate about three or three and a half pounds of food. that was very encouraging. To see both weights and to know that the “extra weight” was good food that I’d put into my body. but later in the day, I was still sleep deprived and a little anxious. So I messed up and ate some oatmeal. That is not a carnivore item! it messed me up for the rest of the day, messed up my sleep, and this morning I’m feeling all right, but I’m not in ketosis and I’m still feeling short on sleep.
My husband and I are working on getting to ed earlier. We have been mostly successful, but Wednesday evenings he plays basketball with friends from 9 to 11, so he gets home around 11:30 and sometimes doesn’t make it to bed till almost 1 AM because he needs to shower, snack, and wind down a little from playing hard. I will admit that when I have the house to myself late in the evening like that I too tend to stay up t late. I was doing some work, some reading, some writing, and I didn’t get into bed till almost 10:45 myself. Our goal. except for Wednesday night, has been to be in bed by 10:00. That works perfectly for getting up between 7 and 7:30.
I will fast all day today and either all day tomorrow or all day Saturday. I’m looking forward to a beautiful smoked pork butt that my husband is going to prepare for Sunday. Smoking meat takes time and careful attention, so I I love when he is able to prepare something like that for us, and I want it to be special, to be a feast balanced with a fast from earlier in the week. Its not special if I’ve been eating too much and eating junk in the days before.
I am still the master of the rambling video, but if you’d rather listen than read, here you go:
January 11th Day Eleven
Out of pink tights for the week, that’s a good thing! I should buy a few more.
Sleep is still my missing link here. Long day yesterday and a long commute home for a late night.
I have a rant about sleep. I agree with Cole Robinson, a human cannot be happy without good sleep. We especially abuse teenagers in our school system. We waste so much of their time in a bureaucracy driven system then eat up their social and sleep time in order for them to pursue “extra” stuff they are actually interested in, like dance, theater, music, and even STEM subjects that they want to spend more time on.
Ug. Any way my kids are never going to go to public school At the very least not exclusively. I’ve worked in public school and I don’t want to be part of that system.
I continued to pay for that bowl of oatmeal yesterday. My guts felt weird, I still slept a little hot, and I have a small break out around my jawline. Not worth it. When I do reintroduce carbs I’ll have to start with plants and if I add grains, it’ll be steel cut oats and barely. Maybe. I still don’t think grains will ever be a regular part of my diet.
January 12th Day Twelve
MY HUSBAND HAS THE FLUE!. He went to the InstaCare this afternoon and is still contagious. I really don’t want to have the flue. So. I have been dry fasting since last night, I’m almost at 24 hours dry. I’m going to do dry fasting all day tomorrow too, since it is Sunday and I don’t have a lot of things to worry about. Then Monday I’m going to hit some garlic laden Snake Juice hard.
Still working out my energy levels. I need to be better at sleep, I need to not over eat when I do eat, but I can’t just fast for a quick fix every time I over eat or screw up my ketosis with a bowl of oatmeal.
Maybe I need to show you my pink or purple keto stick every morning. That might be good motivation to not over eat protein (look up gluconeogenisis if that doesn’t make sense) and to not eat stuff that is not on my Carnivore list.
Here is today’s video:
January 13th Day Thirteen
I think I will start posting a picture of my keto stick every morning….to keep myself motivated and accountable. I KNOW how good being in ketosis feels. I have to keep myself there!
We had a really cool set of meetings at church today. We met with our Catholic neighbors (we are LDS) and had a joined service to celebrate the last day of Christmas. Both of our leaders shared a lovely sermon, youth speakers read fro Luke 2 and Isaiah, and both groups had a musical group share a musical number.
Then we met to have a big lunch together. I’d brought a soup to help out. I was worried about leaving my pot there unclaimed when it was time to clean up, but I also needed to get out of there so I could keep fasting….well I wasn’t thinking very clearly. So I stayed….I had some soup. Aaaaaaand a hunk of home made bread by a sweet old lady in my ward. *face palm* See, I wanted to dry fast at least 48 hours to try to avoid the flue my husband has. Fasting, especially dry fasting, boosts the immune system. Instead I had soup, (meat and veggies, but may have had a glutenous thickener) and freaking BREAD. FAIL. BREAD=FAIL.
I just feel stupid for breaking down when I know I easily could have kept fasting if I’d removed myself from the situation. I thought I could be strong. Sometimes I can with fasting, but I was not far enough into a fast to have lost my interest in food.
But I am back to dry fasting right now, after having more meat and some eggs. I can already feel the difference from this morning and after having eaten
I went for a long walk in the cold to get some “ice” therapy. It was 32 degrees F when I left my house and I got nice and chilled. Contrary to common “wisdom” getting nice and cold can also be very good for your immune system and help you sleep better, especially when paired with a nice warm bath. I’m going to take one as soon as this is posted.
Yes, I am failing about once a week at this carnivore thing. It is taking practice and set backs to learn, just like fasting, running, playing the piano, or dancing.
January 14th Day Fourteen
I feel like this has been a failure. I have not done justice to this diet. I haven’t been able to go more than a few days fasting and sticking to carnivore only.
So I’m thinking of taking a small break at the beginning of February, maybe the frist two or three days, then jumping back in for another try. This month I’m going to try to make the last half successful. We are half way through and I want to do this! But as I’ve said, eating takes practice, just like fasting did and does.
I haven’t checked in with my Snake Diet coach for a while. About three weeks now. Partly this is because of travel during the holidays, but also because I had a handful of days where I did not fast or eat well.
I have also hesitated to contact him again because I have had to come to terms in my own head that he is right. I can’t just fast for a quick fix. I NEED to develop my discipline around food. I can’t just never eat again, though sometimes deep in a fast I wish I could.
Here is today’s video:
January 15th Day Fifteen
Yesterday morning I took a cold shower. Its amazing the things I’m willing to put my body through after I’ve messed up my diet and am upset at myself. 5 whole minutes in the coldest water my shower can produce, and mid January in Salt Lake means it was pretty cold.
I feel really motivated to keep fasting today. I think I will. We will see how I feel after class and a NAP today. I had a hard time getting to sleep. Some times after a nap I feel ready to fast all week, some times I wake up ravenous ready to eat the house.
But I’m very busy Tuesdays, maybe it would be a good idea to make them a fasting day, since it might be easier. We’ll see. I obviously need to tweak something in my system since carnivore and fasting did not work out so well for the first half of this challenge.
Man I look tired in this video.
January 16th Day Sixteen
I had a thought that didn’t make it into this video. Focusing on meat and eggs this month has been a big help in that these items, thanks to modern refrigeration, store really well. When I am eating a lot of plants, unless they are frozen, I have some times broken a fast to keep from throwing away a nice fat cucumber or a bright apple that is just starting to age.
With meat and eggs I don’t worry about this. I can throw it in the fridge or freezer and I know it will be there tomorrow, or a week from now.
I have been reading about Genghis Khan. His men ate hose meat and milk and fasted from both food and water for days at a time. They were extremely successful, i part thanks to this flexibility with food. They traveled with horses that could be ridden into battle. stocked with supplies, or killed and eaten, and that were able to fend for themselves by grazing. I don’t know if the writer has a “Paleo” or “Ancestral Health” agenda, but he argued that the Mongols were healthier and more fit for battle than many of the gruel and grain eating people they conquered.
Today fasting was easy. It helped to sleep in, though I was sad to miss class. My body needed it. With only my commute to work, I didn’t have a lot of physical activity that would make me hungry. I’m still trying to figure this out. I wish I could just fast and dance hard until I reach my goal weight. Maybe I need to learn from this and fight for the discipline to fast on low activity days? That would only be Sunday at this point and I planned this month to eat on Sundays to stop upsetting my mother in law…
As I mentioned yesterday, I might need to tweak this month’s plan any way, given that I am dancing hard almost every day and teaching a lot.
But right now, in this moment at 8:45 pm at 31 hours fasted and having done a 24 hour dry fast from yesterday to this afternoon, I feel fantastic and I’m excited for the increased energy and focus I’ll have tomorrow.
January 17th Day Seventeen
I think this post is getting really long, so I’m going to end here with Day Seventeen and start a Part Two for the rest of the month.
Today was a successful eating day! I ate carnivore, kept my window tight, did an 22 hour dry fast ( I think I said 24 in the video, sorry) .
I DIDN’T GET THE FLUE! I don’t know if its really because of the fasting, but I’m sure that and my cold therapy helped my immune system.
Yesterday is was easier to fast because physically it was a lighter day. Thi is a bit of a conundrum because I don’t want to have too many down days; I want to have ballet class 6 days a week, even as many as 7 or 8 classes if possible. Does this mean I need to give up doing full fast days? Because my goal is to never besides Sunday, have a physical day off? And even on Sundays I try to go for an hour walk or so.
That is why I might need a Part Two, in order to reassess.
I’m traveling to my home town this weekend. Less phycal work than I usually do might mean I’ll be able to get in another 48 hour fast more easily. I am planning on ballet class, a contortion class, and some biking to and from work tomorrow. But If I can get good sleep I might be able to do it. Then Saturday is just a long drive.
See Part Two Here: