The Carnivore Diet
What is the carnivore diet?
The carnivore diet is really very simple. It’s simple to define although there are competing variations, see below. A carnivore diet is a plant-free diet, that typically excludes high carb dairy, so it’s a low or zero carb diet. In the most commonly practiced variation, food is eaten to hunger (ad libitum). Limiting quantity is strongly discouraged, even for fat loss.
In a sense, it’s simple to adhere to. Anecdotally, most people report that after a short adjustment phase, it’s easier to stick to than a low-carb or ketogenic diet because of how the cravings and desire for non-carnivore foods disappear.
It’s simple to do. Carnivores spend far less time thinking about food, planning menus, shopping, or cooking than people usually do on almost any other diet. The carnivore diet is still in the pioneering stages. In other words, there haven’t been any large randomised controlled trials (RCTs) “proving” that “it works” or “it’s healthy” – or that it’s unhealthy. This is true of most diets actually. And even government recommended diets that have been subject to RCTs like DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) have failed to perform . The big difference here is that carnivore diets at least make sense in evolutionary terms, while the same cannot be said regarding low-fat vegetarian or the DASH diets.
People following the carnivore diet do so because they have seen the results for themselves and because they think the ideas behind it make sense, not because an authority like a doctor or a government agency approved it. It’s smart to avoid arguments by authority generally speaking.
What to Eat on the Carnivore Diet
Your primary focus should be on fatty meat, especially BEEF.
Lamb, pork, chicken, and fish are next on your list.
And…if you’d like…eggs, and low carb dairy products like butter, heavy whipping cream and hard cheeses.
Your Go-To Beef Cuts:
Steaks (ribeye, sirloin, strip, chuck eye)
Roasts (Prime rib, chick, brisket)
Organs if you want (though not necessary)
Chops Ribs Shank
Salmon Trout Mackerel Sardines Crab Lobster Shrimp Scallops
Water (with or without carbonation or minerals)
What to Avoid on the Carnivore Diet?
Everything that is not meat.
Seasoning and Sauces
Minimize processed meats.
It frequently contains additives you don’t wanted added.
Aged meats are high in histamines, which increase sensitivities, intolerances, and inflammation – the things we are wanting to remove.
How Much to Eat on the Carnivore Diet
Eat when hungry.
Eat until full.
Listen to your body.
I found the majority of people average 2 meals per day.
But some people do best on 3 meals a day, while others do best on 1 meal per day. Neither 1, 2, 3, or 4 is better than the other.
Let your appetite guide you.
While your body is adapting and healing from years of malnutrition, it is common that you will eat twice as much as you will once healed.
Eat. Your body has been dying for it.
2-4lbs of fatty meat per day can be a guide for shopping purposes.
It is important that you do not intentionally restrict calories or food intake or force fasting. I’ll explain why in the WARNING at the end.
Most people eat somewhere between 2-4 lbs/day on average. The amounts depends on so many variables (kind/cut of meat, fat content, your activity, height, weight, genetics, metabolism) eat until satisfied.
How Often to Eat on the Carnivore Diet
You should drop your preconceived notions of how many meals to eat per day.
You should eat when you are hungry. You should eat until you are full.
That said, I did a bit of research and investigating and found that on average:
70% 2 meals/day
20% 1 meal/day
10% 3 meal/day
1 meal per day is not better than 2, nor 3 better than 4.
Carnivore Diet Snacks
If you eat enough fatty meat at your meal, you should not feel like snacking.
If you feel continually hungry after eating you need to:
Eat more during meals
Eat more meals
Many people have a habit of snacking, and find they have an urge to snack even when not hungry. If it is something you can’t or don’t want to kick, pork rinds can be used to snack on. Be careful what they are cooked in. No vegetable oils.
I’ve found that this snacking habit fades for most carnivores over time.
Getting Started: LEVELS 1, 2, and 3
Level 1 Protocol
If it’s meat or fish – it’s on the menu
“Sides” and “Exceptions”
Coffee and Tea
Butter, Cheese, and Heavy Whipping Cream
Supplements (during adaptation)
Pink Himalayan Salt
Level 2 Protocol
Meat + Water
No processed meats
No “sides” or “exceptions”
Including coffee, tea, eggs, butter, cheese, whipping cream
Exception: Pink Himalayan Salt
Exception: If you are skipping Level 1 and going straight to Level 2
Level 3 Protocol
BEEF Only (ideally Grass-Fed and Finished) + Water
Level 3 is the ultimate “elimination diet.”
Cut Everything but (Grass Fed, Grass Finished) Beef and Water
I know this isn’t convenient
I know this isn’t cheap
I also know that if you go this pure for 30 more days, it will be worth it
If you can’t afford the Grass-fed, grass-finished beef, then doing just beef and water is the way to go (eliminating other meats like pork and seafood).
Beyond Level 3
After completing 30 days at Level 3 you are in a prime position to personalize and perfect your diet. From here you slowly and systematically add back in “test foods” and evaluate how you feel and react to them.
Start by adding back in BEEF that is not grass fed/finished (if you were able to do just grass-fed, -finished)
Then test other meats
Then test eggs
Then test “ok’d” dairy
Then test coffee/tea
After completing Level 3 if you try adding back in pork and notice ill symptoms, keep it out of your regular diet. If you test back in dairy, like cheese, and notice bloating – cut it. But you may try adding eggs back in, and you feel good with them and like having them as a side. Keep them. You may try having your morning coffee again, and enjoy it and feel great with it. Add it back in. Personalize your plan.
The best way to do this is complete Level 3, and then only add back in 1 “test item” at a time using grass fed and finished BEEF as your baseline to test everything against.
Recommended for most people to start at Level 1 for 30 days.
If you are not a coffee drinker than starting off at Level 2 (+supplements from Level 1) is a often a great place to start.
It is not recommended jumping to Level 3 until having completed at least 30 days at either Level 1 or 2.
Beyond the Carnivore Diet “Experiment”
Most carnivores settle somewhere between Level 1 and Level 2.
By completing Level 3 you will know where the best place is for you.
If you want to experiment adding back in plants or fruits or sugars it is acceptable. Just remember testing off a baseline of grass fed and finished beef is the best way to get accurate feedback.
While most people get great feedback 30, 60, and 90 days into a carnivore diet, for some people reversing the years of damage takes months to years. The longer your “test experiment” the better gauge you’ll have knowing if this diet is for you.
If you survive the experiment CONGRATULATIONS!