There are many benefits of the Carnivore Diet, but if you watch the news you may not have heard of them. The media seems to be in love with all things Vegan/Vegetarian lately.
And currently there are an equal number of searches on Google for the terms “Carnivore” and “Vegan”.
Both Vegan and Carnivore can be considered “restrictive diets”, but for some reason the media presents Veganism as more ideal.
So today, let’s look at the truth about the carnivore diet and you can make up your own mind.
Hello and welcome to Fearlessly Holistic.
My name is Irma and I want to share my journey to improved health by eating whole foods, moving my body and eliminating stress as much as possible.
It is my hope to inspire you to make daily changes. Why? Because eating fresh, seasonal food and getting some sunshine is the best way to increase longevity. But you do not want just a long life.
You want a quality long life.
My blog posts are my opinion and the results of things that I have tried that either worked for me or didn’t. My opinions are for informational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. Medical advice should always be obtained from a qualified medical professional for any health conditions or symptoms associated with them. As well, there may be affiliate links in this post. Read more here.
Vegan vs Carnivore
Thanks be to the internet that gives us a plethora of information at our fingertips! It’s a blessing and a curse because sometimes the amount of info is overwhelming.
It took me forever to work up to try Carnivore. Not that I was afraid or anything; it’s just that we’ve been brain-washed by government entities to believe that a certain way of eating is the correct one.
I was trapped into thinking that I must eat plant foods to be healthy.
I kept inadvertently cooking and eating a vegetable side dish…out of habit. Sigh.
I’m here to call BS on that.
Thanks to crappy advice from the powers that be, I was eating “healthy” foods that were unhealthy for my body.
I believe that many people are having a similar experience, hence the rise of Vegetarian/Veganism as well as Low Carb/Keto/Carnivore.
People are sick of being sick!
The modern diet of North America is filled with garbage “foods” that we are encouraged constantly to eat.
Billboards, TV commercials, radio ads, flyers, big-money-off coupons and more go into encouraging us to pick this product over that one.
The problem these days is that people eat “fake” (i.e. lab created psuedo-food)
Instead of eating like everyone did up until about 100 years ago or so, we eat things that our body does not recognize as food.
You can’t trick your body into thinking that the powdery stuff on those Dorito’s is actual food…because it isn’t.
And neither is that weird thickening agent in your pudding cup.
Our body knows the truth. And our suffering health is directly related to how much processed food we eat.
Eat processed food = slowly decreasing health
Switch back to healthy, natural food = gradually increasing health
Duh, am I right?
So Veganism has it partially right. They eat a lot of plant foods. But there are two things wrong with their approach.
- They eat fresh produce year ’round – A steady diet of sugar with no break (carbohydrate foods are sugar to our body)
- Much out-of-season produce comes from countries far away, complete with foreign pesticides. More on that in a bit.
Many people switch to Veganism from an unhealthy diet. So of course the influx of nutrients from plant foods improve health. The Vegans believe that this proves that Veganism is superior.
Over time, most Vegans become more and more unhealthy.
Of course there are exceptions, but the high number of videos on YouTube suggests that Veganism is a health anomaly.
Some people thrive on it, but they are the minority.
Watch this quick (~7 minute) video from Joe Rogan’s podcast channel to be “enlightened” about Vegans who eat meat.
Their limited menu of “real” food means they must supplement with fake/unnatural foods or actual vitamin supplements.
If you require supplementing your diet with vitamins, then it is neither optimal or natural. #breakfastcereals
Our ancestors would not have survived if they required – and you do with Veganism – B12 supplements. Or Iron. Or Creatine. Read this from Healthline.
Which brings us ’round to Carnivore.
The carnivore diet is just meat, so you get the most bio-available iron – the heme kind. Your body utilizes heme iron more efficiently.
And you will also get plenty of B12, which is abundant in meat and fish. Your body cannot make B12; you must have it in your diet.
Eating just meat is exactly how people survived in winters when there was no fresh food.
Let me preface this by saying that over time, people did learn how to keep vegetables over winter. You can keep root veggies in cold rooms for a few months, if it’s done right.
And you can preserve vegetables, and some fruit, using lacto-fermentation. Examples are sauerkraut, kimchi, and pickles.
But for most people over the course of history, the staple food is some kind of animal protein: meat, poultry, or seafood.
The “True” Human Diet
Humans have evolved from our caveman ancestors, but there is zero reason to believe that it means our bodies have evolved to eat crap.
If you live in an area that has, more or less, 4 seasons, then you know that fruits and vegetables do not grow in frozen ground or under a blanket of snow.
How are you supposed to eat your half plate of veggies?
Won’t people die if they don’t get plant fiber everyday?
Help! What Do I do??
Over time, our ancestors figured out better food preservation.
But one concept would have/could have been discovered by accident: food drying.
It is inevitable that during times of plenty, leftover food would have simply dried out. Once people clued in that this could be helpful, they started figuring out best practices.
A quick internet search for “the history of dried meat” brought me to plenty of websites that sell jerky (go entrepreneurs!), but also this article from Delishably.
Small bits of meat, veggies, and fruit would dry quickly and easily
And foods like Pemmican were born.
Pemmican made it easier to go on long treks to find food, because you now have portable food that won’t go bad.
The true human diet is eating anything ‘fresh’ that you can find.
If found, we ate leftovers from the carcass of animals killed by other animals (scavenging). Priority was given to: the animals brain, organs, bone marrow, and animal fat #carnivore
We ate seasonal vegetation, which was risky the first couple of times (I’d feel bad for any caveman who accidentally ate poison ivy).
And we hunted and gathered as much as we could so that we survived when we couldn’t find anything.
Humans are Omnivores
A quick check of vegan recipe sites shows a ton of creative foods made from obscure ingredients.
If a diet of predominantly plant foods really is our “true” diet, we would have to have an instinctual way of combing plants to form complete proteins (all 9 essential amino acids).
It must be instinctual and apply to everyone otherwise our species would die off.
Compare that to eating meat and fish, which are complete proteins. Supplement that with fresh, seasonal vegetation for optimal health.
It makes sense for humans to eat meat
It also makes total sense for us to eat fruit and vegetables. But notice the seasonality of vegetation and what order plants grow through the seasons.
In spring, there is plenty of green leafy stuff. It’s fresh and plentiful.
When summer comes around, we get berries and fruit trees are blooming. Tree fruits arrive in mid-to-late summer.
Autumn brings us colorful squashes, corn, apples, pears, and root vegetables.
Nature provides nutrients that keep us healthy throughout the year, in succession
Imagine hibernating i.e. stuck in your cave during a tough winter.
As the snow melts and the ground thaws, you venture out to find food. Fish are available, as are small animals to trap.
The weather gets progressively warmer and you start to notice leafy greens among the old, brown grasses.
Your eye is drawn to healthy foods.
Leafy greens are nutritional powerhouses which is why we are told to eat lots of them. These tasty greens would recharge our body’s supply of nutrients and give us stamina to get out to find more food.
If we eat some of every fruit and vegetable as it comes into season, we get the nutrients our body needs for that season. The fruits and veggies that are healthiest are naturally vibrant and attractive, encouraging us to eat them. #survival
And notice that the foods easiest to over-winter are naturally ripe right before its time to store them.
Carrots, squash, apples and pears can be kept for months if conditions are right. Not so much for springtime leafy greens.
But even if we only eat them and don’t store them (because we haven’t figured out how yet) we are getting good nutrition to carry us through winter.
Winter is when we ate meat almost exclusively
There is always some form of meat available year ’round. We could hunt, trap, snare, or fish but fresh protein is available. #carnivore
As well, the foods growing in your area would provide nutrition to people in that area. Every area in the world provides nutrition that is adequate for life in that area.
I always thought it was strange to be told that Quinoa is a super food when no one in North America had heard of it before about 10 years ago…
Humans Are Designed To Be Carnivore Part Of The Year
Eating sweet tree fruits in late summer is meant to help us store fat that our body can use for energy in winter.
We more or less hibernate in winter, only being awake during daylight hours. We continue to hunt/trap/fish weather permitting.
Government food guidelines are not created to help us be healthy, otherwise they would be tailored for each persons needs.
Food Guidelines Keep Trade Flowing
I get that. But if the guidelines make us unhealthy, we should not be chastised for trying to repair that.
The rise of fake meat like Beyond products is speaking to one specific part of the market and trying to make the rest of us feel bad.
Just remember that their priority is making money.
Not everyone likes or wants to eat vegetables. That should be okay.
I did a different elimination diet about 8 years and discovered that I get major heartburn from cucumber, watermelon, and zucchini which are all from the same broad family of plants.
Until I did the elimination diet, I had to guess which one of the multitude of foods I was eating caused the heartburn.
How would I ever figure that out following government food guidelines? I wouldn’t.
But it’s okay to give me Proton Pump Inhibitors (that cause kidney problems) for the heartburn instead of letting me stop eating foods my body does not like. #smh
Benefits of The Carnivore Diet
Okay in all seriousness, there are many benefits to eating carnivore, but the number one is that it is an elimination diet.
1. It’s An Elimination diet
If you are having multiple health issues (digestive problems, joint pain, sleeping problems, brain fog etc), Naturopathic doctors will put you on an elimination diet first.
The point is to eliminate every food except plain meats, herbs, some spices, and non-dairy clean fats (dairy is a big allergy food).
Then you add in 1 new food, usually a vegetable, every four days, watching for a reaction.
Typical food allergy reactions, which can appear in a few minutes or up to 2 hours, are:
- Flushed skin or rash
- Abdominal cramps
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Coughing or wheezing
- Tingling or itchy sensation in the mouth
- Face, tongue, or lip swelling
- Dizziness and/or lightheadedness
- Swelling of the throat and vocal cords
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of consciousness
After four days, you remove that new food and try a different one.
You keep a food diary and monitor symptoms and it takes months to go through multiple foods. Usually you test 2 vegetables, then 1 fruit and work your way through the produce section.
After you finish testing fruits and veggies, you start testing the more allergy-producing foods.
Most peoples food allergies fall into a few basic categories:
- Beef. See below in “what to eat on a carnivore diet” about the Lone Star Ticks which can cause a beef “allergy”.
- Wheat, which is technically a grass and not a grain.
- Eggs (egg white specifically)
- Shellfish (crab, lobster, shrimp)
- Dairy (the exception might be raw dairy)
- Certain fruits like strawberries
- Peanuts, which are legumes like chickpeas, black beans or kidney beans.
- Soybeans (also a legume)
- Tree nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds etc)
- Anything processed (i.e it comes in a bag inside a box or contains more than a few ingredients).
If you test a food from the broad category like dairy, and you get allergy symptoms, you can stop testing all other dairy foods until later on.
You only need to have a small amount (i.e 1 tablespoon) of the allergy-inducing food to get a reaction.
The whole time you are adding and removing veggies etc you will be eating meat.
Most people do not have meat or fish allergies; some people are allergic to beef or shellfish.
Do not take chances with your health. If you think you might have an allergy, get tested.
2. Simple Food Preparation/meal planning
Getting rid of everything except meat makes life simple.
You can cook one roast and feed everyone or if you’re alone, you can bulk-cook every couple of days. Animal flesh and its fat is satiating, which means that you eat less often.
That’s what makes it so easy to pair with Intermittent Fasting, and the combination will super-charge your health benefits.
You could have 2 eggs fried in butter at 8 am and then eat a pork chop at 2 pm and not be hungry for the rest of the day. #cheapandeasy
3. Carnivore is Less Expensive.
People seem to think that an all-meat diet is expensive, but the opposite is true.
Because animal protein is nutrient-dense (meaning it has more nutrition ounce-for-ounce compared to non-meat protein), your body gets the nutrition that it needs to function.
If you pair your meat with good quality saturated fat (ghee, avocado), you stay full longer.
If you maintain eating this way for several weeks, your body will use up its glycogen stores (stored energy from carbohydrates is stored in your liver) and start burning body fat for energy aka Ketosis.
For a quick explanation of Ketosis and why burning body fat for energy is superior to burning glucose (blood sugar), watch this (`5+ minute) video from Dr. Berg:
4. Carnivore Makes You “Fat Adapted”
Putting your body into Ketosis is a highly efficient way to maintain it. This is how our hunter/gatherer relatives survived harsh winters with no fresh fruit or vegetables.
During spring, summer, and early fall there is usually plenty of fresh, seasonal vegetation to supplement your diet. People ate as much as they could find, of whatever they could find, to load up on nutrition.
As winter approached, your choices were limited to what you can hunt/trap/catch, weather permitting.
Ketosis allows your body to burn the excess body fat that was stored during times of plenty so that you can survive in winter if you can’t get out to hunt or fish during a blizzard. #superefficient
5. Helpful For Multiple Health Issues
A processed food diet, as well as eating foods that your body does not like, causes rampant inflammation.
Inflammation is your body’s way of dealing with invaders, which in past times would be things like parasites and infections from wounds and trauma.
In our current world, the invaders are mostly so-called “foods” that are not food.
While the FDA may say certain ingredients are safe, that does not make them food.
Lab created products are designed for one thing only: sales.
These creations are made to:
- Cause food addictions (high fructose corn syrup/fructose = highly addictive sugar substance) and weight gain.
- Extend shelf life (products can sit on shelves longer before the best-before dates expire)
- Pander to certain population groups where they stand to make a lot of money i.e imitation meat.
Make no mistake…these lab created products are only intended to make money for the creators company. Food manufacturers are not concerned with your health…it’s all about the money. #capitalism
Your body recognizes these ingredients as foreign invaders and sends white blood cells to fight them.
That is how inflammation works.
However, if you eat a lot of processed food, it taxes your immune system and eventually your body can’t keep up. This is when you discover that you have multiple health issues that seemed to come out of nowhere.
Or worse, people (doctors, dieticians, friends and family) tell you that it’s part of getting older. Pffftt.
Typical health conditions that stem from inflammation are:
- Diabetes Type II (7th leading cause of death in the USA)
- Cardiovascular disease (accounts for 1 in 3 deaths)
- Arthritis and Joint Diseases (affects approximately 20% of the USA population)
- Allergies (affects 50 million people. Asthma affects 24 million, including 6 million+ children)
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) (the 3rd most common cause of death)
These are mostly modern health issues related to our new and modern foods, antibiotics, chemicals, cleaning products, personal care products, and environmental changes like pollution and unclean water and soil.
People on the carnivore diet report:
- Improvement to leaky gut (intestinal permeability)
- Hypothyroidism, including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis
- Gastritis, including H. Pylori
- Gum disease
- Weight Loss
- Improved skin, nails, and hair
- Less brain fog/more clarity
- Less depression (Low fat diets cause depression/mental health issues in many women)
6. You Ingest Less Pesticides If You Don’t Eat Produce or Grains
Let’s face it…we live in a global economy. Up until around the 1970’s, people ate local food. Now we are encouraged to eat fresh produce daily and year ’round.
The food guidelines suggest that we must do this to be healthy. So to them, it’s irrelevant whether we are ingesting harmful substances sprayed on foods from other countries.
All that matters is to keep the economy moving.
They gamble with our health, knowing full well that we are eating pesticides, but they think it’s worth it to keep up trade.
The FDA knowingly allows incoming food to be sprayed with whatever they use in other countries. And they encourage us to eat it. #corporateshill. Read this from One Green Planet for more info.
Cons of The Carnivore Diet
1. You may be verbally abused for daring to mention that you are on the carnivore diet
Meat only? What’s wrong with you? Don’t you know that meat will kill you??? Ugh.
I don’t tell people anymore. When they ask what I’m doing, I tell them portion control. If they keep pressing, then I tell them about Carnivore.
But I’m a grown-up…let me decide for myself!
2. Dieticians will tell you that it is unsustainable due to lack of plant fiber
(what do they think our primitive ancestors ate in winter??).
Another “follow the money” scenario. Pushing grains and produce is good for the economy.
Also, eating 5-to-10 or half a plate of veggies is required if you eat grains, because grains cause an increase in bad bacteria in the gut. You then need good bacteria to fight the bad, which you get from plant fibers.
So basically eliminate grains = eliminate the need for fiber.
(FYI: I read a report once that said eating white flour bread products is actually healthier than eating multi-grain. The white flour travels more slowly through your digestive tract, so your body absorbs more Iron from it!)
3. People will tell you red meat causes cancer.
This myth has been disproven multiple times. However, there may be a correlation regarding processed meats.
Red meat is not processed meat, but reports always lump them together for a double scare.
Processed meats are: bacon, sausage (breakfast, salami, pepperoni etc) or any that use chemical preservatives. If you can get naturally preserved meat (like people have been making for thousands of years), eat it in moderation like everything else.
4. An All-Meat Diet Causes Constipation
Meat travels more slowly through your digestive tract because your body is extracting all possible nutrients.
That is not the same as being constipated! Read this article from Wild lumens to discover why.
It just means that you do not need to go as often as you do when you eat processed foods and grains. Some carnivores report only “going” twice a week. #normal
What To Eat on A Carnivore Diet
Okay, there are a few schools of thought on this, depending on who you ask.
Some “purists” say eat only meat from ruminants – cattle, sheep, antelope, deer, giraffe – plus the meats fat, salt, and water.
That puts me out because I have a beef allergy. If you’re not sure if you have meat allergies, try this first.
If you feel gross eating only beef, switch to pork, poultry, or fish.
FYI: The Lone Star tick affects beef and causes people who eat that beef to have health issues. So technically you wouldn’t be allergic to beef per-se, but you may be allergic to this form of beef.
Read more about this phenomenon at ACAAI.com. Understand that it is working its way across North America and is no longer confined to the southern USA, as cases are being found in Ontario, Canada.
There are two ways to go Carnivore:
1. If you have a lot of health issues and don’t know what they’re related to, go basic. Stick with:
- Plain meats like roasts, chops, and plain poultry (not the boneless, skinless seasoned breasts). No processed meats yet!
- Salt – good quality like sea or pink Himalayan
2. If you are more into weight loss or have less inflammation, go with:
- Plain meat/poultry
- Low-lactose dairy in small amounts (hard cheeses like Parmesan and Asiago)
- Other meat products like bone broth, bone marrow, eggs
To fix your health issues faster, go with the least number of foods daily until you establish which foods are okay for your body.
I know that for myself, I can feel the lack of inflammation within a couple of days.
I can also tell almost immediately, when I’ve eaten something my body does not like.
When you are ready to start adding in vegetables (spring and summer is a good time to get fresh, local, organic produce), I suggest going with Ketovore which is Keto and Carnivore combined.
Related Post: Ketovore For Better Health
You can easily switch back and forth from just meat to meat and some veggies, and maintain Ketosis.
Carnivore Sample Meals
Many people who eat carnivore do not eat 3 meals and a snack per day because you are just not hungry. You can easily move breakfast to later and then have an early dinner.
Or do like the Keto world…drink coffee with fat (butter, heavy cream) in it until lunch, and then eat a big protein and fat meal. #myplan
Carnivore Sample Menu #1
Breakfast: 2 eggs fried in 1 Tbsp butter with another 1 Tbsp of butter on top. Add bacon or sausage if only eating 2 meals
Lunch: Canned tuna mixed with 2 Tbsp. good quality mayonnaise
Dinner: Grilled beef steak topped with butter
Snack: Pork rinds
Carnivore Sample Menu #2
Breakfast: 2 eggs scrambled with 1 Tbsp. heavy cream. Cooked in 1 Tbsp of butter. Serve with turkey sausage.
Lunch: 6 ounces of beef steak
Dinner: Beef liver
As you can see, there are multiple reasons to try the Carnivore Diet.
Nay-sayers will tell you that it’s not sustainable, but just ask Mikhaila Peterson or Dr. Shawn Baker. Both have been carnivore full-time for more than 2 years and resolved multiple health issues because of it.
We lived for thousands of years eating meat. Why would it suddenly be a health hazard? It’s not.
But we do need to keep the economy moving…
Holistic approaches never just address symptoms of specific health problems, but instead aim to return or keep the patient in a state of balanced health between mind, body, and spirit. Holism targets overall wellness, and when we are well, we only get better with age.
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Until next time, here’s to our health!