A mum-of-two claims she is feeling healthier than ever after ditching veganism in favor of a raw meat diet—washed down with 12 egg yolks a day.
Suffering since the beginning of 2018 with a long list of ailments, including fatigue, acne and panic attacks, Jo Tyler, 28, tried to alleviate her symptoms by becoming a vegan, after reading about it on social media—often eating nothing but fruit and vegetables.
But, when she saw no signs of her health improving after 18 months, at the beginning of 2020, the full-time mum of Williamsburg, Virginia had a drastic change of heart and adopted a 'primal diet,' consisting of raw or minimally processed foods.
Claiming she has “never felt better," Jo, who has two children, son Alexander, eight, and daughter Rae, two, with her husband, gas and electrical engineer Matt, 30, now wolfs down raw chicken, intestines and hearts, saying:
“Within four months of following the raw meat diet, I was completely back to normal."
“My acne disappeared, and my skin seemed plump and hydrated for the first time in years."
“All of my allergic reactions went away and my anxiety disappeared."
Jo claims going primal has helped her 'keep the weight on' (PA Real Life/Collect)
“I felt calm and well balanced for the first time in a long time and had bags more energy."
“People are most shocked by the fact I eat raw chicken, but I love it with chicken hearts and lots of delicious yellow fat."
“I also enjoy a raw smoothie—with raw milk, eggs and honey—throughout the day."
Jo eating an ox heart (PA Real Life/Collect)
“Every two or three hours I crack open two eggs and swallow them whole."
Having previously followed a healthy, balanced diet, Jo admits that her eating habits deteriorated soon after she moved out of her family home aged 18.
Busy working full time as a waitress, she would rely on quick fixes, like takeaway burgers or fried chicken.
A meal of raw chicken, raw chicken hearts and radishes (PA Real Life/Collect)
“I grew up in a very healthy household and we'd eat a lot of well-balanced meals."
“But when I left home my diet went out of the window. I ate a lot of processed food, doughnuts, meaty sauces and a ton of burgers. The quality of the food I ate was very poor and not nutrient-rich at all."
In early 2018, Jo suddenly began to struggle with fatigue, panic attacks, depression and anxiety, acne breakouts and mysterious allergic reactions.
Jo and Matt (PA Real Life/Collect)
“I got very sick, very quickly. I was having allergic reactions to things I'd never had problems with before—even the smell of a candle or perfume would make me incredibly ill."
“So would coffee, alcohol, some fruits and vegetables and cooked meats—it felt like I was allergic to everything."
“I'd get terrible rashes and my whole face would turn red. My hands and feet would go numb."
“I was having daily panic attacks—my chest would be very heavy and I would be wheezing and struggling to breathe."
“I felt like it all came over night. I'd never experienced anything like it before."
“I wasn't connecting the dots at the time, I just thought I was generally unwell."
Jo enjoying some raw eggs (PA Real Life/Collect)
“I didn't have a clue why I felt so sick."
Visiting her doctor in March 2018, Jo was given a blood test to check her thyroid and liver function, as well as her vitamin levels—but the results came back clear.
Medics suggested that her issues could be linked to her hormones and she was offered antidepressants to lift her low mood but, adamant she did not want to take medication, she started researching alternative treatment.
“I knew from the start I didn't want to go down the pharmaceuticals road, so I began looking online."
“Everybody suddenly seemed to be promoting a vegan diet. It was impossible to ignore, especially on Facebook and Instagram."
“I found a page that specifically promoted healing through veganism. People even claimed to have cured cancer with plant-based food, so I knew I had to try."
Jo's acne, before and after adopting a primal diet (PA Real Life/Collect)
After turning vegan overnight, Jo started her days with an entire melon, followed by a salad for both lunch and dinner.
Between meals, she grazed on fruit, eating six apples and a bunch of bananas a day.
“I would go to the grocery store every other day and fill up a whole trolley with nothing but fruit and vegetables."
Matt and Jo (PA Real Life/Collect)
“The rest of my family's diet stayed the same, though. I was very conscious of making sure that what I ate didn't impact them."
“My husband tried to join me in going vegan a few times, but after a few days he just needed some meat."
After two months, Jo began to feel as if her health was improving.
But then, six months later, her symptoms returned with a vengeance.
“At first, I had more energy and a spring in my step, but before I knew it the symptoms were worse than before."
“I thought maybe it was just part of my body detoxing, so I persevered and tried to keep going."
Jo enjoying some raw food (PA Real Life/Collect)
“But as time went on, things got worse and worse. My complexion looked almost grey, and the weight was falling off me."
“I lost about 25lb in a year, but I was only 125lb to begin with."
“Friends and family were really worried. When you're in it, it's so hard to see just how bad it is."
Raw elk with a side of raw oysters (PA Real Life/Collect)
Things came to a head for Jo in November 2019, when her hair began to fall out in clumps.
No longer able to ignore what was happening to her body, she took to the internet once again to research alternative remedies.
“I noticed an influx of people following a carnivorous diet, eating raw meat and untreated animal products."
Matt and Jo (PA Real Life/Collect)
“I thought the meat eaters looked so healthy. They glowed."
“I figured there was nothing to lose. I already felt so awful, what was the harm in experimenting?"
So, at the beginning of the year, as a record 400,000 people worldwide took part in Veganuary, Jo did the complete opposite, ditching her plant-based diet in favor of meaty meals.
Jo enjoys raw fish, as well as raw meat (PA Real Life/Collect)
“The taste was fine, but the texture was a bit more difficult to get used to."
“I've always enjoyed rare steak, so it was really just like that without the cooked outside."
“Other things, like raw chicken, were harder because it's so ingrained in our mind not to eat it."
Jo's meal plan
- Breakfast: Raw cheese, five raw oysters
- Lunch: Chicken tartare with radishes and avocado
- Dinner: Raw beef liver with potatoes and mushrooms
- Snacks: 12 raw eggs, raw milk shake
“It tastes just like it smells. I call it land sushi as it's a similar flavor and texture to regular sushi."
“I was a bit nervous about food poisoning, but I've never had one case of being sick from the raw food."
Within just a few months, she claims to have seen a huge transformation in her health.
Now, on an average day, she has raw oysters for breakfast, followed by uncooked chicken for lunch, and liver for dinner—wolfing down a whopping 12 raw eggs between meals.
Estimating that she easily eats 4,000 calories a day—double the recommended intake for women by the NHS—Jo claims that going primal has even saved on the weekly shopping bill.
“We used to spend $450 a week on the food shop for our family of four—most of which went on my fruitarian diet. Now we spend $250 to $350."
A meal of raw chicken (PA Real Life/Collect)
“There are a lot of local farms in the area that we use—it's the most humane way to eat meat."
“I'll get a really good deal because I've built a relationship with the farmers and we've got a good rapport."
“People say saturated fat and cholesterol is bad for your heart, but I don't believe that."
Jo claims going 'primal' has strengthened her teeth (PA Real Life/Collect)
“It's cherry picked science and I'm a firm believer that the primal diet has only been beneficial."
“I'm a healthy 135lb and I look and feel better than ever. You can't argue with that."
But while Jo is happy to extol the virtues of her extreme diet, she does not anticipate her family following in her footsteps.
Jo, Alex and Rae (PA Real Life/Collect)
“Alex will look at my plate and say, 'That's disgusting'."
“I'd never put pressure on either of the children to go primal. It's their choice."
“Everyone who sees me says how much healthier I look now and how worried they were about me before."
“They're shocked when they hear about my diet, but they're more impressed with how much better I look."
Buffalo brain, with avocado and scrambled egg (PA Real Life/Collect)
Meanwhile, dietician Dr Frankie Phillips, of the British Dietetic Association, has stressed that, while some cuts of meat may be safe to eat raw, chicken poses too high a risk of food poisoning.
“Eating some cuts of meat raw or lightly cooked poses a health risk, but provided it has been butchered, handled and stored correctly—with proper hygienic conditions—it may be low risk."
“A 'blue' steak, or steak tartare, may be safe to eat but it can't be guaranteed free of harmful pathogens. Conversely, cooking meat to a high temperature for long enough reduces the risk of food poisoning as harmful bacteria are killed, or denatured."
Dr Phillips continued:
“If eggs have a UK lion stamp, they are salmonella free and so, should be safe to eat runny or raw"
“Raw milk is less clear and pregnant women, infants and elderly people shouldn't have unpasteurised milk."
“However, raw chicken is a definite no and food hygiene practices should be strictly followed when handling raw chicken. We would never recommend people eat chicken that is not cooked thoroughly as there is too great a risk of food poisoning."