Most people would die before they consider changing their dietary habits. Your diet is supposed to nourish your body and make you feel great physically, mentally, and spiritually. Use it for its intended purpose and beware dietary dogma.
I’ve experimented with most approaches to eating that exist. Both in terms of food choices and of meal timing: from a strict raw vegan diet to a strict cooked carnivore diet; from 22 hours fasting and a single meal a day to 6-7 meals a day.
I will spare you the long history by focusing on the last few years. I was a strict vegan from May 2015 to May 2018. 2.5 out of these 3 years I was a strict raw vegan.
The vegan propaganda machine is very strong. I was intellectually convinced by the partially correct scientific evidence for the health benefits of plant-based diets. The emotional appeals and shocking language and imagery used by vegan activists like Gary Yourofsky hooked by heart as well. So, almost overnight I went from a paleo diet consisting of mostly cooked animal foods like meat and eggs, some vegetables and little fruit, nuts and seeds to an entirely plant-based diet.
Initially, I felt very ungrounded and emotionally unstable but started noticing some health improvements (better digestion, better skin, more peaceful attitude). A few months into my vegan journey I decided to go raw vegan. Energy levels went through the roof, skin got even better, the clarity of mind was exceptional. After a few months, I decided to also implement caloric restriction (CR) and intermittent fasting (IR) from 16 to 22 hours each day. I continued this practice of eating once a day for approximately 1 year.
N.B. Every step along the way was supported by tens if not hundreds of hours of research to ensure I’m doing everything correctly, getting all essential nutrients, and combining foods in the most digestible way. I read many books, completed some course, and was even planning to do a degree on natural hygiene and dedicate my future to ‘improving people’s health’ through a raw plant-based diet.
The need for change
Fast forward 3 years to the spring 2018 and the signals that my body was giving me had become rather difficult to ignore. I had lost ~10kg (15% of my body weight), I had reached a dangerously low body fat level of ~3%, I had no spark for life or interest in sex, my teeth would often hurt. Some people were expressing their concern about how slim I am and sometimes asking whether I am well. While I care little about what others say or think, this may be an important factor for some readers.
Intuitively, I knew that it is time to change. I also knew that the change needs to be in the diet. I had been so indoctrinated in the vegan propaganda and was promoting the cult myself. So, it took a lot of courage to transcend it and introduce animal foods again.
Around May 2018 I started with some raw eggs. My body was so deprived, that I couldn’t get enough of them. Then I tried raw meat, which while being unappetising in comparison to fresh ripe fruit made me feel great and sky-rocketed my libido in a matter of days.
Over the next 3 months until August 2018 I experimented with a variety of cooked and raw, animal and plant-based proportions in my diet. I went all the way to a cooked carnivore diet (just meat, eggs, and butter) for approximately a month. In essence, over the past 3 years, I’ve tried everything from 100% raw vegan to 100% cooked carnivore diet and most reasonable combinations in between.
Then in mid-August 2018, I decided to implement fully a raw primal dietary approach as outlined by Aajonus Vonderplanitz (I’ve read and recommend his books We Want to Live: The Primal Diet, and The Recipe for Living Without Disease). It was difficult in the beginning to get used to eating raw meat but it only took a couple of days until I started craving it.
After a few weeks of adjustments and refinements, I settled on eating the following items on daily basis: raw meat (~1lb or 0.5kg/day), raw eggs (6-12 a day), raw butter (60-150 g/day), raw honey (30-100 g/day), raw vegetable juices (~500ml/day). I consider these to be the essentials.
At the moment I also use some raw goats’ milk, raw cream, and raw coconut oil in small amounts. On the days that I workout (~2/wk at present) I’d usually eat one piece of fruit with one avocado. Once or twice a week I’d eat a nut formula (nuts, raw eggs, raw butter, raw honey mixture), which makes the nuts more digestible. I also started making and eating small amounts of ‘high meat’ – meat that is deliberately left to ferment in glass jars over a long time.
I started by eating throughout the day:
At the moment I’m revisiting intermittent fasting (IF), so I’m experimenting with reducing my eating window to ~8 hours each day leaving 16 hours for fasting. My schedule looks like this:
At present, I work out in the morning, so I’d have a milkshake or a lubrication formula after the workout and some fruit and avocado later in the day. I do not fast on workout days.
Since implementing this approach I was able to effortlessly gain back the ~10kg that I lost during my 3 years as a vegan in approximately 3 months. Some of it was a desirable fat gain. Most of it was lean tissue – i.e. better hydration throughout, plus some muscle. I feel consistently happy, content, and in love with life. I have a strong interest in the opposite sex, drive to achieve in life and desire to create. I feel my mental performance is better and I also feel more grounded and connected with nature.
This way of eating requires little preparation, it is very portable, and takes little time to eat as raw meat eaten by itself or with raw butter/honey requires little chewing. Obviously, there is no cooking and little cleaning involved.
On the other hand, there are some consequences that are less than optimal. I am taking the risk of eating raw meat that is bad and my body may respond. When this happened, I felt nauseous shortly after the meal, diarrhoea came within 1 hour, vomiting within 2 hours. Usually, within 3-4 hours, everything would be out of my body and I’d feel great by the end of the day. So, it seems that my body responds quickly and decisively to the rare occasion when I eat something bad.
Most people would agree that they experience similar symptoms a few times a year even on cooked food diets. I am happy to take the risk and experience diarrhoea and vomiting a few times a year but feel much better than I’ve felt on any other diet throughout the rest of the time. This risk can further be mitigated if one has access and can afford to eat only high-quality meat.
Eating raw meat, which is arguably the most natural thing for humans, is often seen as socially awkward, which shows how inverted our society is. Still, it is a good social sift, as the more open-minded people would come and inquire about my approach.
At the moment, with this approach to eating, I feel great on a physical, mental, and spiritual level. I now have enough experience and knowledge not to become a slave and be willing to change any particular ‘diet’. In my opinion, not a single health educator has the answers to ALL questions related to health or is right on ALL topics. This includes myself.
So, I’m willing to listen to my body, expand my knowledge, refine and experiment and always eat in a way that leads to optimal health, well-being and longevity.
If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch.
Martin Stefanov Petkov