Jillian Faith’s life has been blighted by crippling PTSD – but she says that eating just meat has given her the confidence to overcome it.
A former military musician has told how she has lost three-and-a-half stone in a few months by following an extreme meat only diet, which has also boosted her confidence so much she feels ready to conquer the PTSD that has blighted her life.
Jillian Faith, 34, who was a bassoonist and drummer for the US Army reservists for nine years, became a yo-yo dieter, saying she was left traumatised from a combination of events but particularly after being raped as a teenager.
Jillian, who lives in a suburban part of California, USA, with her three rescue dogs, Kama, Taco and Precious, said: “I was raped when I was 16 by an older friend.”
She continued: “I was scared and young, so I didn’t report it and now I’d rather leave that in my past and focus on moving forwards.”
Determined to get on with her life after the attack, she honed her musical talents – putting them to good use in the army reservists, despite still suffering with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which include anxiety, nightmares, insomnia and depression.
Unable to work because of her health, four months ago Jillian saw people talking on social media about following an extreme carnivorous diet and decided to give it a go.
Now considerably slimmer, Jillian, who was never deployed with the reservists, said: “I’ve lost weight before but always put it back on again and, although I didn’t start the carnivore diet to lose weight, but to try and eliminate chemicals from my diet, slimming down and keeping it off has been effortless.”
Since doctors told her they had found a thyroid nodule, which looked like it could become cancerous, two years ago, Jillian has tried numerous different diets – including vegetarian or plant-based eating plans.
“I suffered whiplash in a car accident, so the doctors only found the thyroid nodule because I was being treated for the injuries to my neck,” she explained.
Jillian continued: “I had a biopsy which showed the nodule is suspicious for cancer, although the test results were inconclusive. The doctors wanted to take half my thyroid out, but I don’t want that.”
Instead, Jillian switched to a diet that, although chemical free, is not for the faint hearted.
Now her daily menus begin with breakfast of elk meat and beef with beef fat, followed by a bowl of bone broth later in the day and finally a supper of beef brains, liver and beef fat – all only just cooked.
Dubbed the “caveman diet,” because it harks back to a time when we were hunter gatherers, relying on meat, Jillian claims it is a more natural way for human beings to eat.
“The animal fat in this diet is very important because it’s where I get my energy or fuel from now that I don’t eat any carbohydrates,” she explained.
She also said the bone broth, which is a staple of the diet, helps her stay hydrated and provides her body with electrolytes, which are crucial for muscle contraction and the transmission of nerve impulses.
“I only eat now when I am hungry and because this diet is so high in fat, I’m not very hungry throughout the day,” she said. “I don’t snack or graze, I don’t have any cravings and I only eat high quality, grass-fed meats.”
Rather than using a diet or health manual to prepare her meals, Jillian now has supervision from a team of nutritional experts and doctors at a Hungarian centre, which specialises in this type of eating.
“They have recommended that I try and eat 500g of liver and 200g of brain or bone marrow every week. They are all really high in nutrients that are good for the intestine which is what I need most,” she said.
She continued: “I was raised on fast food, so I do find some of the meals quite difficult to eat, especially the liver, which I chop into tiny pieces and have to swallow with water, but your body quickly gets used to it.
“And there are huge benefits. My mind is now so much clearer, my memory has improved, I sleep better and I feel ready now to tackle the PTSD I’ve suffered from since my teens.”
Jillian claims her PTSD is partly from having a traumatic childhood, but mainly because of her attack.
“I get completely overwhelmed in a crowd and when the PTSD symptoms are really bad, it feels like there’s electricity shooting through my whole body. I can’t stop shaking and I can’t even speak,” she said.
“I can’t hold down a job because of the PTSD, so I’m on benefits, and it definitely causes issues in my relationships with other people.”
While Jillian, who is single, does not claim that her extreme meat diet has cured her problems, she does feel ready to tackle her PTSD now that her diet has improved her general sense of well being.
She continued: “I’m not saying this meat diet has cured my PTSD, I’m saying for the first time, I feel well enough to explore treatments, whereas before, my mind was so clouded, I didn’t know where to start.”
Buying quality meat in bulk, Jillian freezes what she is not eating immediately and while meat is pricey, she eats less, so does not find her new diet expensive.
“My family and friends think it’s a strange diet, but they can see how much healthier I am and if you think about evolution, this is how we all used to eat,” she said.”
She added: “I know I am going to upset a bunch of vegans eating this way and will probably get hate mail, but all I can say is that eating this way is really working for me.”
Jillian is now such a fan of the carnivore diet her own dream is to own a few acres of land and farm and eat her own animals.
“I know I don’t really fit into normal society, which is down to the traumas I have been through,” she said. “But I have always felt a connection to the land and nature, so my dream would be to live in peace and have that same connection with the food I eat.”
UK nutritionist and spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, Linia Patel, is not surprised that Jillian is feeling so much better on her high protein, high animal fat diet, because ditching carbs can help to stabilise blood sugar levels.
Her weight loss has resulted from her body having to burn fat for energy, but Linia warned that such an extreme diet does have drawbacks.
“Wholegrains and plant foods are important for building the good bacteria in the gut, but animal protein does the opposite and feeds the bad bacteria,” she warned.
She continued: “There is no one diet that works for everyone, but you have to ask is this way of eating sustainable and the best way to eat in the long term?
“People on this kind of diet may struggle to do any high intensity exercise and, since we know exercise is important for stress relief and sleep amongst other things, we would always recommend a more diverse diet.”