My Healthy 2020

Yes, a Zero Carb Diet Exists. It’s Called the Carnivore Diet, and I Love It

updated Apr 13, 2020
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Credit: Design: Kitchn; Photo: Samantha Makoski

“Previously, I thought of healthy as being an end goal, like if I do certain things, I will eventually become healthy. Like I’d wake up one day and be healthy.” Trevor Britton, a government employee in Ohio, went completely carnivorous 18 months ago. He adds, “But I realize now that it’s much more about an attitude and lifestyle than it is about focusing on a destination. And that is where the holistic aspect comes in, because even if I got to a certain size or weight, I was still unhealthy if I had an unhealthy attitude or mindset.” Trevor now prepares, often through the sous vide method, and consumes a couple pounds of meat once daily and exercises regularly. Because of this change, Trevor says, “My definition of health has broadened.” Trevor shares his journey and way of eating, including his advice for getting started as a carnivore.

20 people, 20 stories of what healthy means for them in 2020.

My Healthy: Carnivore (Zero Carb)

  • Name: Trevor Britton
  • Location & Occupation: Government Employee in Ohio
  • How Long Being a Carnivore: 1.5 years

What does “healthy” mean to you?
Healthy to me is holistic; it’s about having your mind and body in alignment. Getting healthy physically has forced a lot of growth in my mental and emotional health. How I view food, how I view our environment, and how I view myself and others have all shifted because of this change. I realize that it’s really all tied together. I would get to points where I was physically doing everything that I am still doing (eating, exercise, etc.) but it wasn’t until I worked through some anxiety issues that I was able to break through plateaus and just feel very de-stressed. 

So health for you is defined in relation to being aligned. What does that alignment do for you? 
It brings me a feeling of peace and oneness. I think it can be described as zen. It all kind of ties into the flow state. My default state is the flow now. For me, being in the flow means I’m kind of acting without worry or stress. I have a natural confidence that comes from a feeling and knowing that I’m doing what’s right by me. 

What eating style helps you feel your healthiest?
I started on a keto/low-carb diet and naturally progressed into being a carnivore. I eat fewer meals, only once per day. I eat when I’m hungry and I’m not usually hungry until after I get home from work. My daily meal is typically 2 to 2.5 pounds of beef — no vegetables and no grains. Sometimes I add in eggs. I drink coffee in the mornings and water throughout the day. I used to have eating days and fasting days. But once I lost 130 pounds, I stopped fasting and now just eat once per day. It feels amazing. I know some people who have lost a lot of weight and there’s a difference in how they look. You can lose weight and look unhealthy. I haven’t gotten those comments. And I feel like I look good. 

What were your goals when you made this change?
When I initially made the change to a keto/low-carb diet, it was mostly to lose weight. It’s been great to lose weight. But since I had higher ambitions, meaning I truly wanted to pursue good overall health, I made the switch to a carnivore way of eating. 

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn
Garlic Butter Steak Bites

How did you make the change to going all carnivore? What motivation pushed you on?
I learned from reliable sources and first-hand that the keto/low-carb diet worked. But the question I asked was, “Are any carbohydrates really necessary?” The sources I trusted said that I could consume zero carbs and still reach my goals. The carbs weren’t necessary. I asked the same question about fiber. If you don’t need fiber, it takes away the need to consume any plants. My research showed that I simply didn’t need the fiber. This knowledge really motivated me.

I was also motivated by how much better I felt a few weeks between when I was keto/low-carb and when I decided to give being a carnivore a try. There was a part of me that thought this carnivore thing sounded funny. I thought to myself that I’ll try it for 30 days because it probably won’t kill me. At the end of the 30 days, I didn’t want to go back. I feel like I don’t need all the other foods. In fact, I stopped viewing plants and grains as food. They look nice and I’ll sample stuff from time to time but I don’t view it as food as much anymore; it’s more like filler and I’m trying to eliminate filler. It’s a switch in how I see things. That mental switch was my motivation. There’s a scientific explanation behind it all but that’s the general idea. 

What are you most proud of?
I’m proud that I was able to do this on the first try. I got to a point where I was very unhealthy physically and it always felt like I was too unhealthy to make simple lifestyle changes that would work. So often you hear about people who are on and off diets. I didn’t necessarily like how unhealthy I was previously, but I didn’t like the idea of trying and failing for the rest of my life. I am proud and happy that this was the first effort to get control of my health and it worked. I didn’t slip. I didn’t feel a desire to cheat. It’s been a success story. 

I am most proud of how simplified my grocery shopping and food preparation has become. I know in the past I’ve had a lot of anxiety over food decisions for healthy eating. A carnivore way of eating cuts out a lot of the time spent deciding what I’m going to eat as well as the energy required to do so. Simplifying the grocery list also helps in saving money, since I often will buy whatever is on sale in the meat department. I just feel very efficient.

So what does keep you going? Lifestyle and habit changes are famously hard to make and keep. Do you have a secret?
There are a lot of factors that contribute to what keeps me going. I look and feel a lot better and healthier, but I don’t know if that’s enough to sustain a lifestyle change. It helps that my doctor is supportive as he is familiar with keto/low-carb diets, and this is essentially a “zero carb” diet. But I think the secret to this change for me has been buying into the science and logic behind the lifestyle. This has brought about a change in how I think about food. I stick to it because I believe this is how I should be eating, and how I look and feel is just evidence of this. 

What’s the one food you love the most?
Ribeye steak.

If you were to recommend going full carnivore to someone else, what is the most important piece of advice you would give them?
I advise others to eat the meat you can afford. There are a lot of people who try to make this way of eating more expensive and more complicated than it needs to be, and I believe this can inhibit some people from giving this or other meat-focused diets a try. For example, there isn’t a difference nutritionally between ground beef and ribeye steak, but there is a big difference in price. “Eat the meat you can afford” is a good place to start.

Thank you, Trevor! Follow him at @bigbuckeyes on Instagram.

Some Resources to Help You Eat More Meat

My Healthy 2020: 20 People, 20 Healthy Choices

Every January people make changes to improve their health. But which ones actually make a difference? We’re sharing the stories of 20 people who changed their lives for the better and stuck — thanks to choices that are individual, diverse, and sometimes wildly different from each other. Read their stories here throughout January. We hope they inspire your own journey to finding your own, unique, individual healthiest 2020.