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Guest Post: Zero Carb and Nerve Pain

By Mikhaila

This post is from Steve. (I titled it myself though.) Good job! What were your die-off symptoms like?

“57 yr old geezer, male, sciatica, walking problems, sitting problems, fatigue, digestive problems, sleep disorder.

Hey all,

Been suffering from digestive orders for just about 40 yrs. It would take many hours for me to put all the experiences on paper. So today I am only talking about recent ailments and my short time on ZC diet.

Finally retired from my job 4-5 years ago to concentrate on regaining my health. As I tried to get more active and get my weight down I started to get lower back pain on my right side. This progressively got worse in the last 2-3 years to the point I was in constant pain. One leg at times would feel shorter than the other, couldn’t sit for any length of time, couldn’t stand still for 5 minutes without getting sciatica pain, couldn’t straighten my right leg in bed, couldn’t find any position to sleep in bed without pain. The misery index was pretty high. Doctors told me I needed my right hip replaced and another doctor told me my pain was in my L4-L5 and my hip was sketchy. Many years in the past I had two ankle operations done by doctors in the past that weren’t necessary so I was very leery about getting another operation.

Luckily I stumbled on a very good massage therapist and after doing research and collaborating with other massage therapists, I have what they call a “frozen or corked hip”. My hip had somehow lost its flexibility and proper functional motion. So the MT would do a very grueling session once a week to work on getting the flexibility back into my right hip. The tension was so bad in my soft tissue the MT would have to put my pelvis back in its proper place for the 1st 3 months. I have been going to the MT for over a year and gotten moderate results but was no way near healed. Then I was trying to expand my diet and started eating dark chocolate, yogurt, and coconut ice cream. Then BOOM, I was right back to full irritation of my hip and sciatica!! Was incredibly pissed off and fully convinced that this problem too originated from diet.

Stumbled on Jordan Peterson diet videos and then watched Jordan and Mikhaila do a video together on YouTube. During their video they said that Jordan had a “knot of tension” in his body that went away from going on their strict diet. I believe my sciatica problem had also started out as a simple knot in my adductor 20 years ago too!
Mikhaila convinced me to try the ZC diet. I was on a pretty restrictive diet for me already so it wasn’t too difficult, I stopped eating yogurt, dark chocolate, and vegetables. Had about 3-4 days of “die-off” symptoms and then started to feel much better! Could actually feel way less tension in my muscles, the right hip has freed up much more, stomach is shrinking, energy is rising. The MT can’t believe how much better my body is responding, I have way less nerve pain in my soft tissue. This week I have gone to 2 pilates classes to keep working on getting balance back in my body! Before the ZC diet, I couldn’t have dreamed about trying to do a pilates class. My hip and back are not fully healed yet but this was an incredibly big improvement and I know I would be able to do a 40hr/week job again now if I wanted too.

PS. I did cheat a few days with a handful of macadamia nuts, beef protein bar, and Lea & Perrins sauce.”

Join the Conversation


  1. I don’t see where zero carb is appreciably better than low carb…the biochemistry makes no sense between the two. Can anyone explain the change biochemically?

    As far as personal experience: What I seem to have found is that mixing in keto days (with lower protein and lots of fat)… that seems to balance the dead parts of low carb. And gives a break to protein overload. I don’t purposely add intermittent fasting, but there are natural days where I don’t eat after my daily breakfast of eggs and olive oil. Also, I run every day: It seems that an occasional more-carbs-and-more-protein day (30g carb) seems to help keep my legs from getting so dead.

    I have consistently lost about 3-5 pounds a month since summer. Now 220 down from 265.

    1. Fantastic! 30G a day is still low carb. I think everyone is a little different and you have to figure out what works for you. I know HIT (i.e. tabatas,. high intensity training) will burn glucose over fat. If I do a 8 to 12 minute tabata and then an hour of weights I am wiped. Yet if I go run for 6 to 10 hours (slower pace HR 110 – 150, 14 to 20 m/mile pace) I am a little sore but not wiped out. (I am not a Dr. so don’t take anything I say as remotely medical advise) Keep it up

    2. Well, you probably don’t have food allergies, then.
      Let me tell you, when you tests come back saying the following are bad for you:
      – Lettuce, Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Peppers, Peanuts, Olives, Mushrooms, Onions, Garlic, etc (45 Items)
      – Egg Whites
      – Dairy (Cow, Sheep, Goat)
      – Grains, including RICE

      The Joe Rogan interview is what got me motivated to try this. I failed on Atkins because Eggs/Cheese/Heavy Cream were daily item. I failed on low-fat because low-fat cheese, and VEGETABLES were causing my inflammation.

      Like them, 1/2 of an apple, and my joints swelled up and ached…

      In many cases, I cannot function because of severe Migraines that come with it, and a big bump in Blood Pressure.

      Eating Only Meat has saved my life! And the sad part is that I LOVE Veggies…

  2. Thanks. Running works for me. I am low tech, old school. A pair of good shoes and off through the woods, neighborhood…wherever I happen to be.

  3. Steve I have been taking 15g of MSM a day (Google it!) for my morton’s neuroma which I still suffered in spite of being ZC for some years. This stuff is amazing for flexibility as well as a good pain controller.

    1. Thanks for the input. I will look into the MSM if I level off on the ZC diet.

    2. Hi Marian, Most morton’s neuromas are misdiagnosed in my opinion. The pain is from a strained or inflamed plantar plate (excessive stress in the metatarsal phalangeal joint). If you ever had a cortisone injection that helped, its because your foot was inflamed. A neuroma is a thickened nerve, not an inflamed nerve. MSM helps because it’s anti-inflammatory. Try taking the strain out of your foot with a stability or motion control athletic shoe and a pair of arch supports. For shoes try the asics GT 1000, Mizuno wave inspire or new balance 860. For arch supports, try either the Sole active with medium cushion (yoursole.com) or Power Step Pinnacle Maxx (powerstep.com). If the arch supports are uncomfortable then they are probably too long for your foot. Wear them whenever you are on your feet. It takes about 6 weeks to recover.

      For for info… https://www.footankleinstitute.com/plantar-plate-tear-ball-of-foot-pain

  4. Mikhaila,

    Johnny Mustard here again – wanted to agree with all of the above. I’m a 57 year old geezer myself, and your diet, in a nutshell, has made me a new man. I almost can’t believe it.
    As a thank you, and not sure if this breaks any protocols, but I don’t know how else to contact you. I’d like to send you a copy of my old’s cool/cutthroat/killer Darwinian board game Oneupmanship. In one of your dad’s lectures he calls you a ‘greedy little capitalist’ and if that’s true you’ll love our Machiavellian money-making misery.

    Seriously, email me if you’re interested.

    Meantime, keep upping the miraculous transformative diet/healthy lifestyle standards up, kid!

  5. I would like to know about the die-off symptoms as well!

    These testimonials are fun and helpful to read. I’m glad to hear people find solutions to their ailments 🙂

    1. For me, die-off symptoms are usually very deep fatigue. Fall asleep on the couch for an hour or two. Try to get off the couch but my body immediately tells me “your exhausted go lay down some more”. I move even slower, definitely harder to focus, physically weaker. But to me, this symptom is way more tolerable than eating the wrong thing. Even though I am way more tired than normal, it is more of a calm tired. I don’t feel my body is under as much tension and I am not a irritable. Now I am very lucky that I don’t have to work anymore because going to work under die off conditions would still be very difficult. When I first had this disorder my die off symptoms were probably worse at the start than they are now.
      To me the worst symptom from eating wrong foods for my body is the tension that it creates. A few decades of working 12 hour days going to bed exhausted and waking up after only a couple hours even more tired but I can’t go back to sleep. So many years of dragging my ass around the house at 2am in the morning wondering WTF is going on!! At least give me a pull-cart so I can walk the neighborhood yelling “bring out your dead”!! I now believe that these past few decades this tension was also a product of soft tissue pulling on my spine in a gentle “vise-like” manner creating even more stress. So again for me, die-off was almost a welcome symptom because it was something different and though not pleasant it was a change in my energy.
      Mikhaila, one of these days start a thread on probable symptoms from this digestive disorder. I am sure you have a shopping list longer than your arm on this topic. I know I have a bushel full.

    2. I have wondered about what the die off symptoms are. I had a lot of nausea and anorexia like symptoms. Not sure what is die off and what is fat adaptation.

    3. Joy,

      I think that is a really good question!! I am guessing that nausea and anorexia symptoms could be die-off. Never had anorexia but if you are talking about dizziness I have definitely had that symptom from die-off. Many times I would get dizziness from sitting to standing for anywhere from 20sec-2min. I would have to grab a chair, wall, or take a knee to make sure I wouldn’t fall down but I never did fall or pass out.
      Sometimes a little gentle nausea in my stomach when I am changing the foods that I am putting in my stomach could be a good thing if it feels like my stomach is trying to do a self-cleansing. And of course eating something that doesn’t agree immediately with you causing nausea then is something you should stop. SO VERY TOUGH QUESTION TO ANSWER FOR ME. And something where you have to monitor your body very closely.
      In yoga there is a term call “tapas” and it means heat, inner energy, suffering. Just like when you get in really good shape and you are working out hard, you suffer to get to a higher level of well being. I feel you can get a similar place from changing your diet. Your body is trying to get back into balance, you potentially can really feel the fire of it ridding itself of impurities and trying to get the organs back into good operating condition. So if you immediately eat a food and it gives you a bad reaction that is probably something you should not put into your body. But if you feel the food you are eating is okay and a few hours later you start to feel a” different” poor sensation it may not be a bad thing. So again, if it is a different sensation, you might be “in the fire” of your body trying to find balance!! Monitor it very closely. For me a different sensation is good and something to explore closely to make sure it is good. There is nothing worse than to be in the same rut, feeling the same poor symptoms everyday and many times those symptoms are slowly getting worse.After reading Mikhaila’s story there is no doubt in my mind she wasn’t going to live much longer if she stayed on her past diet. Something in her body would have failed causing a major disease to enter her body. Also I do feel if the stomach is gently on fire, but is shrinking, that is a great sign that the stomach is trying to heal, tone and find it’s proper balance. I don’t mean to fast either, for me I eat plenty of meat and can still get this gentle strengthening burn in my stomach. So don’t starve yourself!! Look at how strong and lean Mikhaila looks and she is eating plenty.
      Also believe, that fat adaptation could be a part of “die-off” as the body is learning how to adapt to different fuels.

      Good Luck, be strong, pulling for you!!! Hopefully, someone else will give you their insight on this topic.

  6. Hey Steve, how long it it take being on the carnivore diet for you to feel your muscle tension get better?

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