Vegan, 25, gave up her plant-based diet because it was ‘killing’ her
Eating brains and bones saved my life: Vegan, 25, gave up her ‘raw’ diet of fruit and vegetables for a meat-ONLY menu because the lack of nutrients was ‘killing her’
- Alma-Jade Chanter was vegan since 13 after watching campaign videos
- She lost hair, weight, and teeth from her restrictive ‘raw’ diet of fruit and veg
- Doctors urged her to change after an autoimmune disease diagnosis
- She now eats up to 2kg of animal a day and says she is ‘free of pain’
A vegan has given up the plant-based diet that was ‘killing her’ to gorge on a meat-only diet consisting of brains, organs and bone marrow.
Alma-Jade Chanter, 25, had been a vegan since she was 13 years old after watching shocking videos by animal rights campaigners such as PETA.
The life sciences student, originally from Bristol but lives in Holland, took her diet further by only eating raw foods – fruit and vegetables.
Lacking in vitamins and minerals from other foods, her health failed so badly that her hair was falling out and she lost 22lbs (10kg) of weight.
Doctors insisted she changed her diet when she lost her periods and was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.
Her dentist even asked if she was drinking fizzy drinks for breakfast when her teeth ‘snapped in half’ from a lack of enamel.
She began eating meat again at 19, and now, she eats a meat-only diet, consisting of up to 4.4lbs (2kg) of animal produce a day. Ms Chanter eats their brains, hearts, livers and bones a day, believing it is ‘polite’ to eat the whole animal.
Alma-Jade Chanter, 25, had been a vegan since she was 13 years old after watching shocking videos by animal rights campaigners. Pictured left age 18 before eating meat again and right after taking up her carnivore diet
Now, she eats a meat-only diet, consisting of up to 2kg of animal produce a day after suffering with hair, weight and teeth loss, and being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease
Ms Chanter’s staple carnivorous dishes include poached lamb’s brain and scrambled eggs with chicken hearts. Pictured, poached lamb rain and liver
Ms Chanter said she gets her produce from local farmers
Ms Chanter, now a masters student at Wageningen University in Holland, said: ‘I was completely sucked into the narrative of veganism and bought it all entirely.
‘But it was making me so ill and eventually I realised that I couldn’t carry on because it was killing me.
‘Within just a week of going carnivore I felt amazing, and for the first time in a long time my body was free of pain.’
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Ms Chanter, whose staple carnivorous dishes include poached lamb’s brain and scrambled eggs with chicken hearts, said: ‘I know it is extreme, but it is the most balanced I have ever felt.’
Ms Chanter, who visited raw fruit festivals as far away as the US and Spain and travelled to India to advocate her diet beliefs, tried to ignore the fact that her diet was damaging her health.
Though, she said being vegan began to have such an adverse effect on her well-being.
Ms Chanter’s parents took her to see a doctor when her weight dropped, who warned her that her diet lacked vital vitamins and minerals.
They insisted that, if she persisted with it, there could be long-term implications for her body.
Instead of heeding his advice, however, Ms Chanter tried fasting and juice diets – believing she could cure herself and remain a vegan.
Ms Chanter ate a ‘raw foods’ only diet (fruit and vegetables) and visited raw fruit festivals as far away as the US and Spain. She also travelled to India to advocate her diet beliefs
In March 2018, Ms Chanter said she had a nutritional epiphany when she heard about The Carnivore Diet by Dr Shawn Baker on a podcast. Pictured, her supply of animal produce
Ms Chanter took her health seriously when she was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disease. Pictured, duck hearts and scrambled egg
She said: ‘I was so dogmatic and hard-headed that I didn’t listen to what anyone was telling me, just putting all my faith into the supposed health benefits of veganism.’
But, within a year of becoming a raw vegan, she had stopped menstruating – due to a lack of essential nutrients – and her nails were covered in deep ridges, because of calcium deficiency.
Ms Chanter said: ‘My teeth were also in a terrible state, from the combination of having so much sugar from the fruit and not enough calcium.
A TYPICAL DAY’S DIET
Ms Chanter said what she eats varies with the season but a typical day is:
Meal one: A meal of six to eight chicken or duck eggs soft boiled, omelette, or scrambled with brain. Or 500-800g of meat, often minced lamb or beef, sometimes raw as tartar with an egg yolk.
Meal two: Something made in a slow cooker such as oxtail, lamb or cow ribs, cow tongue, shank – or the favourite, pichanca (rump) with extra fat.
Or pure meat sausages, cooked up with some eggs and chicken liver in tallow.
In the day Ms Chanter has mugs of salted bone broth.
‘I went to the dentist and my front tooth literally snapped in half, because the enamel had been so badly worn away.
‘He asked me, “Are you drinking fizzy drinks for breakfast?”‘
Eventually, however, Ms Chanter accepted her poor health when she was diagnosed with Graves’ disease – an autoimmune condition affecting the thyroid.
She had experienced alarming symptoms including hair loss, joint pain and insomnia.
‘Graves’ disease makes your metabolism work faster, which effectively accelerates the ageing process,’ said Ms Chanter.
‘Before then, I had been unwell but just about functioning. It was only when I really started not being able to cope that I decided I had to take action.’
Eating meat for the first time in six years was at first a struggle, having, through her years of veganism, developed a powerful aversion to it.
As she ate an omnivore diet – meat, fish and vegetables – Ms Chanter experienced a few months of bloating and diarrhoea as her body adjusted to breaking down animal muscle.
‘My thyroid and metabolism improved and symptoms like hair thinning and joint pain got better,’ she said.
‘But I’d still have flare ups of my old symptoms like joint pain and fatigue, so I was still pretty unstable.’
In March 2018, Ms Chanter said she had a nutritional epiphany when a former vegan friend suggested she listen to a podcast featuring the author of The Carnivore Diet, Dr Shawn Baker.
In the podcast, he extolled the virtues of meat-only eating.
Mini ‘sandwiches’ of raw entrecôte beef topped with raw Mangalitza pork fat
Ms Chanter said: ‘Organ meat is very dense in nutrients and can provide you with everything you need’. Pictured a typical meal of burger meat, chicken liver, duck hearts and solidified pork fat
Intrigued and increasingly desperate to find a solution to her continuing ailments, she resolved to give being exclusively carnivorous a month-long trial.
She said: ‘After only a few days, I felt amazing. Everything suddenly just clicked for me and, at long last, I felt as though my body was well-regulated.’
A year on, eating two meals a day, she mixes animal muscle meals – such as steak – with offal dishes of liver, heart and brain, as well as tallow, or animal fat, and bone marrow – and says she has never looked back.
Insisting that animal products provide her with all the necessary minerals needed to remain healthy, she said: ‘Organ meat is very dense in nutrients and can provide you with everything you need – even vitamin C – and I get calcium from making bone broths.
‘I really love brain, though, which has quite a mild and fluffy taste to it.
‘I know people get a bit freaked out by that, but I just think if you’re going to kill an animal, you can at least be polite enough to eat the whole thing.’
Ms Chanter hasn’t completely turned her back on the morals she upheld for so long.
She said: ‘I totally agree with vegans that industrial farming is wrong. That’s why I never buy anything from supermarkets and get all my meat either from a butcher or from the local farmer.
‘But just quitting meat entirely seems to me to be throwing the baby out with the bath water now.
‘Spending so many years waking up in pain each morning doesn’t give you much hope in life, but this way of eating changed my life – and possibly even saved it.’
WHAT IS THE CARNIVORE DIET? AND IS IT SAFE?
Followers of the carnivore diet typically eat just meat, with no carbohydrates, vegetables, fruit, grains or nuts. Some also have dairy and fish.
Experts argue followers of such an eating regimen miss out on fibre, antioxidants and vitamins. Lacking in these nutrients can affect a person’s immunity, digestion, circulation and cognitive function.
Eliminating most of the major food groups does cause many carnivore dieters to lose weight, however, it can also lead to constipation.
Due to meat being rich in protein and fat, many followers claim they feel fuller for longer, even though they are missing out on vital nutrients.
Experts claim followers of such a diet may initially feel better due to them cutting out sugar and processed food. Yet such eating plans are often unsustainable, causing dieters to feel frustrated and defeated.
Among those who take it one step further and eat raw red meat, they are putting themselves at risk of food poisoning if they become infected with bacteria like Salmonella.
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