Vegan Scraps Plant-Based Diet For Bone Marrow And Brains To 'Save Life'
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Alma-Jade Chanter has followed a strict and committed ethical vegan diet since she was just 13 years old when she watched shocking videos made by animal rights campaigners.
Now she has decided to swap vegetables for a diet which consists of up to 2kg of animal muscles, organs and bone marrow a day. It's a pretty drastic lifestyle change but one she says has saved her life.
Life sciences student Alma-Jade, 25, began eating 'brains and bones' when her health failed so badly her teeth were snapping in two, and a former vegan pal introduced her to The Carnivore Diet. Talk about going from one extreme to the other.
Alma-Jade, 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."
Alma-Jade took her veganism so seriously that at 14 she became a raw vegan (meaning she would eat only raw fruit and veg) and visited raw fruit festivals as far away as the USA and Spain. But she was also trying to ignore the fact that eating according to her principles was damaging her health.
Soon, though, she said being vegan began to have such an adverse effect on her well-being that she lost 10kg (22lbs).
Concerned, Alma-Jade's parents took her to see a doctor, who warned her that her diet lacked vital vitamins and minerals, insisting that, if she persisted with it, there could be long-term implications for her body.
Instead of listening to the advice she tried fasting and juice diets - believing she could cure herself and remain a vegan.
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.
She continued: "My teeth were also in a terrible state, from the combination of having so much sugar from the fruit and not enough calcium. 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 the acceptance that her poor health was linked to her diet came in 2013, when she was diagnosed with Graves' disease - an autoimmune condition affecting the thyroid.
A few months later, once her body adjusted to breaking down animal muscle, Alma-Jade became an omnivore - eating meat, fish and vegetables.
"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."
Then in March 2018, Alma-Jade recalled having a nutritional epiphany (wish I could have one of those) when a friend suggested she listen to a podcast featuring the author of The Carnivore Diet, Dr Shawn Baker.
A year on, eating two meals a day, she mixes animal muscle meals - such as steak - with dishes of liver, heart and brain, as well as 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 continued: "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. I know it is extreme, but it is the most balanced I have ever felt.
"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."